The feeling Wednesday going into the Deflate-Gate settlement hearing was that the NFL was not going to budge on its demands that Tom Brady be suspended four games and he must also accept the findings of the Ted Wells Report.

An impossible request and, frankly, a dumb strategy.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman brought the league to task when asking for "direct evidence" linking Tom Brady to Jim McNally and John Jastremski's actions before the AFC Championship game. There really is none. Especially when you take into consideration that the NFL, rather Ted Wells, shot himself in the foot by solely investigating the AFC Championship game instead of a more broad approach.  

"I don't know what to make of that finding" said Judge Berman referencing Brady's "general awareness" as cited in the Ted Wells Report. He is only looking at this isolated event (the AFC Championship game) because the NFL through Ted Wells' report shows no direct evidence that links Tom Brady to the deflated footballs.

"Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must have a lot of stress trying to get them done," said John Jastremski to Jim McNally via text. As damning as that text is, Judge Berman will not take the leap to assume that they were talking about Tom Brady. Is it a technicality? Yes. But who cares?  The NFL cannot prove Brady had any direct involvement and that goes on their very own "independent" investigation.

According to what Attorney Alan Milstein told Sports Illustrated's Michal McCann, Brady seems to be on easy street.
Attorney Alan Milstein, who has litigated against the NFL and tried cases before Judge Berman, told SI.com Wednesday night: “After what we heard today, I think Judge Berman will absolutely vacate Brady's suspension.”

This is bad news for the NFL, especially if they continue to not play ball. The Brady camp is showing Judge Berman that they are willing to take some sort of a deal, which could include a fine and language saying the quarterback had no involvement in the deflation of footballs, but if they league keeps it up Berman could come down hard on the league.

Berman could come down with a ruling that strips Commissioner Roger Goodell of his discipline powers. Going forward, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York would then become the new default option for any litigation arising from player suspensions.

Not to mention that this would be the latest in a long laundry list of failed attempts at discipline by Roger Goodell. At that point, it is not that far of a stretch to say he could fall out of favor in the league similar to what was going on at the time of the Ray Rice scandal.

This time however, you will not hear Patriots owner Robert Kraft going to bat for him on national radio.

Like Ted Wells and his report, Goodell seems to be shooting himself in the foot.

Photo Credit: CBS Sports

Follow Tyler on Twitter: @TylerSully

Tyler Sullivan 8/14/2015 08:00:00 AM Edit

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