Despite the Roger Goodell suspension of Tom Brady for an unprecedented four games to start out the 2016 season, Brady carried the Patriots last night to an unprecedented date for a ninth Super Bowl appearance. Even though The NFL commissioner wouldn’t come to New England to see the AFC Championship game this weekend, it looks like the Patriots are taking the game to him.
Goodell had been tough on Brady and the Patriots for their perceived role in the "Deflategate" scandal. New England was also docked a first-round draft pick and fined $1 million – the largest fine in NFL history. The sentence was much harsher than some domestic abusers in the league have gotten.
But now, after the Pittsburg win, there will be no more ducking of the Patriots by Roger. There’s nowhere left for the commissioner to hide in Brady’s (abbreviated) season-long revenge tour.
Once a close friend of Kraft’s -- he was a guest at the owner’s pre-AFC Championship Game party two years ago – but he has been conspicuously absent the last two years. He skipped the season opener here in 2015, an unheard-of slight for the NFL’s kickoff party. Goodell hasn't attended a Patriots game since the Deflategate story broke after the 2014 AFC Championship Game.
Patriot’s fans have seethed at the injustice of it all, believing Brady and their teams were targeted as payback for all of their success. (Four Super Bowl titles, and counting, since 2002 for those keeping track.)
But now, If the Patriots win the Super Bowl two weeks from now, Goodell will surely have to show his face and hand Brady the Lombardi Trophy, right? And for Patriots fan, all that’s left is for Brady to flash that Cheshire Cat grin as he accepts the MVP trophy from Goodell.
Because Roger can’t hide forever.