Broncos’ John Elway backs NFL crackdown on Tom Brady, Patriots


John Elway says the lesson from the New England Patriots’ punishment for deflating footballs is that no one is above the law in the NFL.

Elway, the Broncos general manager, and new Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak spoke with reporters after participating in John Lynch’s annual scholarship luncheon at Sports Authority Field.

The league suspended Tom Brady four games, fined the Patriots $1 million and took away two draft picks for deflating footballs used in the AFC title game.

At first, the Elway said the punishment didn’t matter to him because "I knew that Tom Brady was going to be playing in Week 12" in Denver.

Asked if the league’s heavy hammer ultimately was good for the game, Elway said, "The integrity of the game is No. 1. … I support the commissioner 100 percent."

Lynch said the matter pained him because he’s tight with Brady, coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft.

Lynch said Brady’s legacy "will be a little bit tarnished and I think (for) many people it will just be a topic of conversation. I think everyone knows Tom Brady is one heck of a player. As far as I know, in the Super Bowl they were airtight — pardon the pun — in terms of watching the footballs and he threw the ball all right."

Elway, the Broncos’ QB before his front-office career, is among the highest-profile football figures to chime in on the punishment.