"This discipline is ridiculous and has no legitimate basis," Don Yee said Monday in a statement. "In my opinion, this outcome was predetermined; there was no fairness in the Wells investigation whatsoever. There is no evidence that Tom directed footballs be set at pressures below the allowable limits. In fact, the evidence shows Tom clearly emphasized that footballs be set at pressures within the rules.
"We will appeal, and if the hearing officer is completely independent and neutral, I am very confident the Wells report will be exposed as an incredibly frail exercise in fact-finding logic."
Troy Vincent, the NFL's executive president, said in a statement that Brady's failure to turn over "electronic evidence [emails, texts, etc.], despite being offered extraordinary safeguards by the investigators to protect unrelated personal information," also played a role in the severity of his punishment.
"Although we do not hold the club directly responsible for Mr. Brady's refusal to cooperate, it remains significant that the quarterback of the team failed to cooperate fully with the investigation," Vincent said.
The Patriots' so-called "Spygate" incident in 2007 also played a role in determining the team's punishment, Vincent said.
The investigation and report by attorney Ted Wells, released May 6, found that Brady was "at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities" related to the deflation of footballs before the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft released a statement addressing the penalties levied by the league.
"Despite our conviction that there was no tampering with footballs, it was our intention to accept any discipline levied by the league," Kraft said. "Today's punishment, however, far exceeded any reasonable expectation. It was based completely on circumstantial rather than hard or conclusive evidence.
"We are humbled by the support the New England Patriots have received from our fans throughout the world. We recognize our fans' concerns regarding the NFL's penalties and share in their disappointment in how this one-sided investigation was handled, as well as the dismissal of the scientific evidence supported by the Ideal Gas Law in the final report.
"Tom Brady has our unconditional support. Our belief in him has not wavered."
The Patriots also will forfeit their first-round draft pick in 2016 and a fourth-round selection in 2017. The team was fined $1 million.
"The NFL has a well-documented history of making poor disciplinary decisions that are often overturned when truly independent and neutral judges or arbitrators preside, and a former federal judge has found the commissioner has abused his discretion in the past, so this outcome does not surprise me," Yee said. "Sadly, today's decision diminishes the NFL as it tells its fans, players and coaches that the games on the field don't count as much as the games played on Park Avenue."
Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme