The league has suspended quarterback Tom Brady four games, while the Patriots lose their 1st-round pick in 2016 and their fourth-round pick in 2017. They were also fined $1 million, tied for the largest fine in NFL history.
This discipline comes in the wake of the Deflategate scandal that made waves beginning just before Super Bowl XLIX between the Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, alleging that the Patriots were purposefully deflating game footballs.
The NFL also indefinitely suspended the two Patriots equipment staffers who carried out the plan, including one who called himself “The Deflator.”
The league cited the integrity of the game in handing down the punishment five days after a report said Brady “was at least generally aware” of plans by two Patriots employees to prepare the balls to his liking, below the league-mandated minimum of 12.5 pounds per square inch.
Largest fines in NFL history
$1 million — San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo, Jr., for conduct detrimental to the NFL, after DeBartolo who pleaded guilty to a felony in his role in a Louisiana gambling scandal, 1999.
$1 million — New England franchise, for violating playing rules and for failure to cooperate in the subsequent investigation of the use of under-inflated footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship Game, May 11, 2015.
$950,000 — Denver franchise, for circumventing the salary cap between 1996-98.
$760,000 — Baltimore RB Jamal Lewis, after pleaded guilty to drug charges in federal court, 2004.
$500,000 — Patriots coach Bill Belichick, for spying on an opponent’s defensive signals, Sept. 13, 2007.
$500,000 — San Francisco franchise, violating the league’s corporate ownership policy, 1990.
$500,000 — Indianpolis owner Jim Irsay, violating the league’s personal conduct policy, Sept. 2, 2014.
$500,000 — New Orleans franchise, and forfeiture of second-round draft picks in 2012 and 2013 for running a bounty program, May 2, 2012.
$400,000 — 49ers executive Carmen Policy, violating the league’s salary cap in 1997, 2000.
$400,000 — Browns NT Shaun Rogers, for carrying a semiautomatic handgun in a carry-on bag into Cleveland’s Hopkins International Airport.
More to come.