For some, especially those who live in New England and root for the Patriots, another Super Bowl victory can cement Tom Brady’s legacy.
With a victory, Brady would be in a class all by himself with five Super Bowl rings, passing greats Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw, who both have won four.
Even though five is more than four when most are counting, it’s not that cut and dry for many in NFL America.
Sure, they will recognize Brady’s fifth Super Bowl – if he’s able to beat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI on Sunday in Houston.
But there are still fans that won’t be able to look at him as the greatest of all time. Hall of Famer Brett Favre said he considers Montana and Brady both the greatest.
Unlike Montana, there’s tarnish on Brady’s resume he may never be able to shake.
Some still just can’t let go of the cheating scandals that have plagued Brady and the Pats for over a decade.
And no matter how much Patriots’ fans push back and defend their legendary signal-caller, there are still many that simply can’t overlook it – the fact that the Patriots have been caught cheating.
And not once, but twice.
Don’t forget. Brady, 39, started this NFL season suspended, sacked for four games for Deflategate.
And if you believe in integrity and fair play, you can’t root for the Patriots on Sunday.
You can only hope that the Sports Gods will see to it, not reward Brady and a team that doesn’t play by the rules.
This isn’t about being a hater or a closet Falcons fan.
It’s about the backbone of sports, why we care so much. If you knew a sport was fixed or a team got an advantage by doing something against the rules, it wouldn’t feel as good.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Heck, we probably wouldn’t care much at all.
But in NFL America, most will not want to see NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hand Brady the trophy and have him hoist it over his head standing in a confetti shower.
Even if you think there was too much made out of the 11 (out of 12) Pats’ footballs that were under inflated by two PSI, according to NFL rules.
It’s hard to shake the fact that the Patriots have been branded as cheaters – again. They were found guilty in 2007 of recording opponents defensive signals. The NFL fined them big time (a total of $750,00) and took away a draft pick.
And this time, Brady, the league’s Golden Boy, was front and center. His word about not having any knowledge of what happened didn’t play well.
Not just with some fans, but even with former greats in the game. Even John Madden and Troy Aikman have pointed the finger at Brady being involved. Those two know a little about football.
In hindsight, Brady missed a golden opportunity to come clean and be honest.
He could have accepted responsibility, telling the media that he asked the ball boy to let some air out of the balls, but didn’t realize it was below NFL regulations. That would have been more believable than acting as if some rogue ball boy took it upon himself to do it. That makes no sense at all.
Whether Pats’ fans want to admit it or not, the suspension of their star QB in “Deflate-Gate” has tainted him forever.
Another Super Bowl win and other fans will still have the opportunity to turn their nose up at all the Patriots’ success in the Brady era.
It would pain New England fans almost as much as the Pats losing their third Super Bowl in Brady’s seven tries. And that would be the case with a loss on Sunday.
Remember, there will be no coronation if the Pats lose to the Falcons. Instead of a fifth Super Bowl, Brady would fall to 4-3, not nearly as pleasing. And don’t buy the notion that getting there is as important as winning.
Pro sports has a short menu: wins and losses.
Brady may win his fifth. Still, there will be filth attached to it in some eyes.
Parker’s pick: Atlanta 35, New England 24.