By Alex Norman

The argument for football fans has raged for years, and will continue to do so long after you and I have departed this beautiful life…

Who is the better quarterback?  Peyton Manning or Tom Brady?

The fun part about these discussions is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Is your main category statistics? Wins?  MVP awards?

If it comes down to winning Super Bowls, Brady has Manning’s number.  Actually, thanks to the New England Patriots title this past February, Brady now has four Super Bowl championships (to Manning’s one) and has drawn even in that category with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana.  And Brady has a chance to add to that total in the next few years.

But if it comes down to whose career will be remembered as the most clean? Manning has the edge.

What do I mean by clean?  Well, Brady’s career has been tainted (sorry Pats fans, this is the truth) by accusations brought forth in the Spygate scandal.  Would the Pats have won their first three titles without their videotaping opposing team’s coaches signals?

We will never know the true extent of Spygate because NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell destroyed the tapes. Why did he destroy the tapes?  Maybe as a favor to his good friend, Patriots owner Robert Kraft? Or maybe because there was so much more documentation never made public that would have really scarred those championships…

And now, with Deflategate, we are learning more and more about the way Tom Brady operated.  According to the Ted Wells report (the investigation into allegations that Patriots deflated footballs), Brady was “generally aware” that “inappropriate activities” were going on.

Tom Brady was not forthcoming with investigators.  He told them that he didn’t know the equipment manager that was being questioned.

If you believe Brady, I have a great plot of land where the Brooklyn Bridge sits to sell you at a reasonable price.

Brady had a previously scheduled speaking engagement the night the report was released.  Ever PR conscious, Brady didn’t back out.  Of course, the speaking engagement was in front of a couple of thousands of Patriots fans that applauded Brady as if he was leading the Allied troops into Paris.

Brady could have said that he was guilty of smuggling pandas into Portugal and they would have cheered him wildly.  He said that he hadn’t had the chance to read the report so he couldn’t really comment.

Don’t know about you, but if a 243 page report was released accusing me of cheating and lying, you can be sure I’d take a few minutes to read it.

Brady is an all-time great, has a supermodel wife, kids, and more money than he will ever be able to spend.  He’ll be in the Hall of Fame and might go down as the winningest player in NFL history.

But to many, his legacy is forever scarred.  It is hard to read the Wells Report and think that Brady is innocent here.  Brady fans and many Boston area media members are trying to push a narrative that the equipment guys did all this on their own.  Brady’s agent and his Dad seem to believe that this is all a big conspiracy because the NFL is paying the investigators.

Right, because the NFL certainly wants to accuse one of their most recognizable players of breaking the rules.

Maybe Brady has done this so long that he is just has made himself believe that he’s innocent.

Or maybe this is Costanza-ish.  “Remember Tom… it’s not a lie… if you believe it.”

Before the Super Bowl Brady denied everything in a very uncomfortable press conference.  But what else was he supposed to do?  If he admitted it, he would have certainly been suspended for that game.  So there was no way he would risk a chance at another title.

And now, his pride is getting in the way of the truth.

We are a forgiving society.  If Brady simply stood up after the report was released and said, “I did it… it was dumb and I’m sorry…” he would be applauded.  Sure, there would be those that never forgive him, but the majority would support him.

But now, Deflategate will hang over the Patriots for years to come.  They were already thought of as cheaters.

That reputation grows…