Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman believes the NFL should punish the New England Patriots more for Deflategate than it penalized the New Orleans Saints for Bountygate, he said Thursday on The Ticket's Musers on SportsRadio 1310 AM.
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season after the league uncovered a bounty system among his team's defense. The team allegedly rewarded players for big hits on opposing players. Several players were also suspended.
The NFL is currently investigating the Patriots for using under-inflated footballs during the AFC title game against the Indianapolis Colts. It was reported that 11 of the 12 footballs used in the first half were under-inflated by at least two pounds per square inch.
On Thursday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick denied any involvement or knowledge of the footballs being under-inflated.
Aikman said he believes quarterback Tom Brady must have been involved and that commissioner Roger Goodell must follow his own precedent when giving out punishment.
"This whole comment by Roger Goodell based on the Saints when Sean Payton got suspended for the year, and he says 'ignorance is no excuse,' that's going to come back to haunt him again," Aikman said "That haunted him during the whole Ray Rice situation with he, himself, and now it's going to haunt Roger Goodell in terms of what the punishment is for the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick. If ignorance is no excuse, and it wasn't for Sean Payton."
"Now twice, under Bill Belichick and possibly a third time, they've cheated and given themselves an advantage," Aikman said. "To me, the punishment for the Patriots and/or Bill Belichick has to be more severe than what the punishment was for the New Orleans Saints."
The Patriots will play the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1.
- Paul Palladino
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