Training camp is set to take off later this week while hype levels for the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots are uncomfortably low. Malcolm Butler emerged from the shadows to help reassert the Patriots dominance on the league, but that is a secondary headline going into training camp. Reports are that Tom Brady was waiting for the doors at Gillette Stadium to open on Monday morning, three days before he was expected to report to camp, so you tell me if Patriots fans should worry about the end of the debacle that Deflate-gate has morphed into.
Goodell upheld Brady’s suspension, but I truly don’t care about all that. Consistency is not the NFL’s strong suit. Brett Favre wouldn’t turn his cell phone over while being investigated for sending inappropriate pictures to a team reporter and was fined $50,000. And yet, the fact that Brady wouldn’t hand his cell phone over and later destroyed it was Goodell’s most emphasized point when announcing the full suspension being upheld. Does Brady look a little childish, and even a little arrogant for destroying his phone? Sure. Was it a power move? The type of move that a player the NFLPA is ready to rally around would pull? Absolutely. You must remember he wasn’t handing it over regardless. Requesting someone’s personal text messages for a work dispute is a slippery slope, and under no circumstances was Brady required to turn it over. Brady admitted to having the phone destroyed, and even received documentation that the information from the destroyed phone was permanently gone. Goodell continues to push the narrative that Brady has damaged the integrity of the game. I think that Goodell knows he has found a formidable match up for his own ego, which he has recently renamed “The Shield”, and will go to war to protect it. Likewise, the NFLPA has found the perfect case and the perfect player to rally around in hopes of taking steps towards straightening out Goodell’s path of inconsistency and destruction. Goodell wants to punish Brady, so punish him. Give him four games off and see what happens when he comes back. There is still a chance that Brady won’t miss a single game depending on what happens when the NFLPA takes the case to Federal court. Sports Illustrated’s Michael McCann outlined Brady’s options in court here so take a look at that if you want the legal jargon.
One thing is certain, it’s football season. It’s here. We made it folks. Now let’s look ahead at the 2015-2016 New England Patriots season, by the numbers.
Zero: The combined amount of fucks Bill Belichick and I give about Deflategate.
1: The amount of tears that will trickle down my cheek when Brady makes his season debut at Gillette Stadium and the banner is revealed, whenever that might be.
3: The amount of games the Patriots will lose this season.
5: The amount of rings Tom Brady will leave San Francisco with next February.
6: By Week 6 the Patriots will be declared dead in the water by the media.
14: By Week 14 some people will realize the Patriots are poised for a deep playoff run.
25: The amount of times I will realize how much I miss Vince Wilfork this season.
30: Combined number sacks between the three-headed monster of Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, and Jabaal Sheard.
35: The Patriots margin of victory over the Colts in Week Six.
240: Combined number of catches Brandon Lafell, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola will have.