Add Bob Costas to the list of people that seem to have realized that, even if you think Tom Brady is 100% guilty in the comedy of errors known as Deflategate, the NFL's punishment clearly didn't fit the crime.
During halftime in Thursday's Super Bowl rematch between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos, which most Patriots fans were probably watching and thinking "Can they both lose?", Bob Costas laid down his opinion on Tom Brady's four-game suspension, and the only thing missing was ending the segment with "Dude, are you serious??"
Since the NFL would probably find a way to suspend me for Conduct Detrimental to the League if I posted the video, here's a transcription of what Costas had to say. Pay attention to his word choice. This is where he shifts from talking about Thursday Night Football to Brady and the Patriots:
"The Panthers lead the Broncos 17-7 at the half.
Meanwhile, NBC's Sunday Night Football will premier with the Patriots in Arizona taking on the Cardinals, a matchup of Super Bowl contenders who both reached their conference championships last January. But the headlines for this one are also about who won't be in uniform, as Tom Brady, more than 19 months after the initial events in question, begins serving his four-game Deflategate suspension.
Without rehashing the whole absurd affair, it's still worth noting that the ultimately, the appeals court only affirmed the NFL's right to impose the penalty. It did not affirm that the penalty itself was right.
The punishment - a quarter of the season for a mere misdemeanor - needlessly turned into a literal federal case - remains striking in its disproportion.
But, the Brady ruling stands. So Sunday night, the Patriots quarterback will be 24-year-old Jimmy Garoppolo, the 2014 second-round pick out of Easter Illinois who takes charge of an offense that ranked third in the league in scoring last year, and goes against another prolific attack in the Cardinals led by Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald - a pair of veterans who are well aware they don't have that many shots left at getting to the Super Bowl."
And if you're keeping score at home, this is the same Bob Costas that said last summer that Brady's "cover-up" was worse than the "crime" and said "It's not awful, but it became awful because of the way the league perhaps overreacted and Brady himself didn't say what he could've said."
(It's OK if you read the phrase "the league perhaps overreacted", and had the same reaction when Lloyd tells Harry "So we backtracked a tad!" and Harry's response is "A TAD??")
Either way, good on you, Bob, for using one of the biggest sporting events of the year - the NFL season opener - to let football fans everywhere know that Brady's suspension was beyond absurd from the start. Better late than never.