Stewart Wooden gave voice to what many New England Patriots fans have been thinking after hearing the latest twist in the Deflategate saga Tuesday.

“I think they all push the envelope,” said Wooden, 66, in defense of Tom Brady’s alleged deflation of the footballs he used in the AFC title game in January. “I think Brett Favre did the same thing with balls and I think this is just one more thing quarterbacks do to get an edge.

“I think it’s going to get dragged out and I think they’ll say that the process that they put (Brady) through was unfair and he’ll probably get a reduction in his suspension.”

Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, a decision that the league upheld Tuesday despite Brady’s appeal claiming innocence. The news quickly reverberated through the sporting world, but found particular resonance in New England. For many Patriots fans, it was just further proof that the league is out to stick it to their team, which has won four Super Bowls while gaining a reputation for bending the rules.

For other fans, the revelation by the NFL that Brady had destroyed his cell phone early in its investigation was most damaging.

“That doesn’t help. Same with Aaron Hernandez. You destroy things, it makes you look that much worse,” said Ben Costain, referring to the former Patriots tight end convicted of murder this spring. “(Brady’s) reaction hurt him more than if he had just come out and said it. He knew the suspension was going to hold. But he’d never been in trouble before because he’s the Golden Boy.”

Costain, 26, grew up in Fairfield as a Dallas Cowboys fan, so his take on the situation doesn’t mirror that of most Mainers. But he said he still respects Brady as a consummate winner, and even had reason to wish for a reduction in the four-game suspension.

The Patriots visit Dallas in that fourth game.

“What happens when we play them now? If we win, it’s going to be like, ‘OK, you played against (backup quarterback) Jimmy Garoppolo, you didn’t play against Tom Brady.’ And if we lose it’s going to be that much worse because we didn’t play against Tom Brady, we played against Jimmy Garoppolo,” Costain said. “It’s a lose-lose for us because we want to play against Tom Brady and we want to beat him.”

Matt Jones has been fuming ever since it was announced in January that the league was investigating possible tampering with footballs in that 45-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 18. The 31-year-old Portland resident believes a federal judge will exonerate Brady and eliminate his suspension.

“It’s been unfair from the beginning. They didn’t measure the balls correctly. The Colts were in on it before the game. Goodell handed down the punishment and then he reviewed the punishment and said, ‘Yeah, I did a good job,'” Jones said.

“Why would (Brady) need the balls lower (in pounds per square inch)? What would his motivation be? ‘I can’t score touchdowns with balls that are 12.5 PSI. I need you to let just a little bit of air out?'”

As for a motivation for the NFL to go after Brady, Jones offered what has become a Patriots’ fans’ rallying cry – “They hate us because they ain’t us” – before adding a further conspiracy theory.

“I think they did this to take the view off of the domestic violence stuff,” Jones said, mentioning Greg Hardy, a Cowboys defensive end who recently had his suspension reduced from 10 games to four after a domestic violence incident. “This is going to be the thing that people remember before the season. It’s going to be the Brady suspension. They’re going to be talking about that when we play the Cowboys. They’re not going to be talking about Greg Hardy all the time.”

Not everyone has been caught up in the drama surrounding Deflategate.

Jason Rivard of Portland said he hasn’t been following the case closely, but said he remains a fan of Brady.

“I thought everything was a little blown out of proportion,” said Rivard, 37. “What’s the difference between a pitcher greasing up the ball with his own sweat? Whatever little advantage they can get. It didn’t really seem like a big deal. But if they did do something wrong it’s obviously cheating and the Patriots have been caught cheating before.

“But I’m sure every team does it. It’s just who gets caught suffers.”

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