Ever since the NFL announced the findings of the Wells Report investigating deflategate, we have been waiting to see what the punishment for the Patriots would be. The Report found that they did deflate the footballs and that quarterback Tom Brady not only at least knew of it but also lied about it in the investigation.
As such, the NFL came down hard on the Patriots for cheating and on Brady for not complying with the investigation. The league has suspended Brady for four games, fined the Patriots $1 million, and taken away their first round draft pick in 2016 and their fourth round draft pick in 2017.
Brady will certainly appeal his suspension and it's very possible that it could be reduced (if so, it would probably be reduced to two games), but as it currently stands Brady would return in week six against the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday Night Football. Considering that it was the AFC Championship game against the Colts that sparked the investigation into deflategate, plus the fact that it would be Brady's first game of the season and a game between two of the AFC's best, it would figure to get massive ratings. That is, of course, assuming Brady's suspension isn't reduced after an appeal, which is certainly possible.
For the Patriots' organization, the NFL fined them $1 million (a significant amount for a fine) and docked them two draft picks (including a first rounder next year), so the league obviously is taking cheating very seriously. You can say what you want about how deflating footballs wasn't a huge deal (and I tend to agree), but the league is taking a stance here and saying that they're not going to tolerate cheating at all, no matter what. Oh, and also trying to cover it up and acting like your franchise is incapable of doing any wrong probably doesn't help, either.