Look - what happened here?
Tom Brady always had a guy (who worked for another guy) who worked for the Patriots who would take the balls after the refs got done checking them and deflate them. Cuz Brady liked them softer. It is simple as that. When the balls were too hard (overinflated) Brady bitched - not to the NFL, but, rather, to the two guys whose job it was to make sure the balls were deflated after the refs got done inspecting them.
When Brady was afraid it would rain during the playoff game, he made it very clear in advance that he really needed the balls deflated. This was difficult to accomplish, because there were so many people around during a playoff game. So "the deflator" (as he actually called himself in texts) took the balls into a locked one-person bathroom in the tunnel and deflated them. He probably panicked some given the stress of cheating and the fact that he usually deflated the balls in better conditions (when no one was looking in the locker room) and he inflated the balls to under 12.5 psi.
Then, when the Patriots were caught, the cover up began -- Brady started suddenly making phone calls to one of the culprits (after not calling for six months). The two guys started making up ridiculous cover stories that don't pass the straight face test.
When the investigator discovered the email with the reference "the deflator" the investigator requested a second interview with the deflator. The Patriots (who allegedly had nothing to hide and who wanted any wrongdoer sniffed out and properly punished for sullying their good name) got counsel involved and started placing conditions on a second interview with the deflator. Let me repeat that -- the organization went into full out panic mode when confronted with evidence that they had an employee calling himself "the deflator."
Why? Because the organization knew DAMNED WELL that they had a guy deflating balls. And they knew that the balls were being tampered with after the official inspection AT THE DIRECTION OF TOM BRADY, Are the actions in lawyering up and refusing to produce a witness the actions of an organization that wants to help uncover the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Uh, no.
Another key finding that does not get much ink in the report? Tom Brady is asked to turn over his phone to the investigator and refuses to do so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why? What possible good reason can exist for doing this? Is this not specific conduct designed to obstruct the investigation? If you are worried that there are texts to your mistress or your gay lover or whatever else, what you do is give the phone to a third party that you trust and the NFL trusts and you pay the person to review everything confidentially and hand over all texts that possibly have anything to do with the investigation (and not the others). Did Tom Brady do that? No, he did not.
In my opinion, it could not have been more obvious that the Patriots were cheating and the cheating was encouraged by their quarterback. Allowing Belichick to get off the hook is the triumph of "plausible deniability" over common sense. Here is a guy who is a micromanager and control freak. He has NO IDEA what his quarterback is doing to the footballs that are being used in the game 50% of the time? No idea? OK. I guess it is plausible. But ask yourself whether this is more akin to me saying that I have no idea whether my wife uses a lot of garlic in her cooking. Sure I am a fat tub of goo who loves food, and sure I eat her cooking virtually every single day, but because I can say that I don't stand there and actually watch her cook, I can profess ignorance and you really don't have a lot to go on to dispute my claim that I am ignorant.
Brady should be suspended for a year, the two guys at issue fired, and the Patriots forced to surrender at least two first round picks. Anything else is a slap on the wrist. You have a team systematically cheating to obtain an unfair advantage, and it isn't their first time doing so......come on Goodell, let's see if you care about the integrity of your game.