Welcome to the Victim Tour.
Tom Brady returned to the NFL on Sunday after serving his four-game suspension for Deflategate.
From here on out, we will hear about how Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback, was the victim. Better yet, how Brady will take it out on the league with his play and how he will get his revenge against the mean man – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
I think I just threw up in my mouth.
And talk about the perfect return for Brady. He got to beat up on the lowly Cleveland Browns, a pathetic, winless team.
In the Patriots’ 33-13 victory in Cleveland, Brady threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns.
The only thing worse than the Browns’ defense was the coverage of Brady’s return on the network pre-game shows. You would have thought he returned from his death bed to play NFL football, instead of coming back for a suspension in where he both cheated and then obstructed the investigation.
Most athletes would have been barbecued. And most of the analysts would have poured the sauce on themselves.
Nope. Not for Brady.
(Photo Credit: USA Today)
Many simply acted as it nothing happened. It was terrible journalism, at best. It was more like fan boy stuff. It was embarrassing, even for networks in bed with the NFL because of the TV deals they have with the league.
It’s not about simply ripping Brady just because. It’s about being fair, covering all players the same way.
The defiant Brady – who once even threatened to take his case to the Supreme Court – was, of course, coy after his first game back.
“This isn’t a time to reflect.” he told the media in Cleveland. “I’m just happy we won today. I have a job to do and there is no point in looking back at anything whether we won the Super Bowls or lost championship games. The last four weeks, none of it matters.”
Sure, Brady is back. But guess what, his career with the Pats still stinks, too.
Brady – and Brady alone – is to be blamed for this entire mess.
Most outside of New England still feel Brady got away with another one, cheated his way to his fourth Super Bowl victory.
What makes sports fun and compelling is that most believe there’s an equal playing field and all involved has an equal chance to win.
Most don’t believe it’s the case when it comes to Pats’ coach Bill Belichick and his team.
(Photo credit: USA Today)
Brady was originally levied the punishment after the Ted Wells investigation revealed that Brady had a role in a conspiracy to deflate footballs below the allowable limit at the AFC Championship Game two seasons ago.
That’s why most NFL fans pulled for Peyton Manning and the Broncos in last season’s championship contest. It’s not that fans are crazy about Denver. It was more like an anybody-but-Brady movement.
To this day – and you saw it yesterday in Brady’s return – it’s amazing that some Pats’ fans believe that the NFL railroaded Brady into a crime he didn’t commit. That simply made no sense for Brady, one of the faces of the league.
Clearly, the ball boys didn’t do this on their own. Any honest former NFL QB great would acknowledge that it could not have happened without Brady asking for it. Even Joe Montana – Brady’s childhood idol – fingered Brady.
Yet, Brady and the already-convicted Patriots got to laugh at the NFL – again. They got to keep their Super Bowls despite Spygate. And in that case, they were found guilty.
Until this justifiable suspension, Brady had a charmed life in the NFL.
Most honest football fans know Brady had a hand in this scandal. It still hurts his character and tells you about him.
Brady, once in the same class as Derek Jeter for their squeaky-clean careers both on and off the field, is no longer there. His resume is dirty.
There are many in the NFL that won’t view Brady the same away going forward. Hard to respect a cheater. Better yet, a man who won’t own up to his mistakes and simply ask for forgiveness.
Brady is a lot of things. Victim isn’t one of them.