Celebrate Brady but remember he’s not perfect

Tom Brady’s return to New England is sure to be a big party of love, at least until he lines up under center on Sunday night for Tampa Bay. With good reason, because there is much to celebrate for the greatest quarterback of his time and the legacy he continues to write at the age of 44.

Everyone knows the six Super Bowl rings for the Patriots and the late-game comebacks so plentiful they’re hard to count. Brady also won 219 regular season games for New England and was 30-10 overall in the playoffs, with 73 touchdown passes.

Along the way, he and coach Bill Belichick turned the Patriots into a heavyweight like the NFL has never seen. Brady’s numbers are so impressive that he’ll be a Hall of Fame member in the first round, assuming, of course, that he someday decides to retire.

But while he gets some well-deserved praise for 20 seasons of spectacular work in New England, let’s not forget a few other numbers.

At least five soccer balls softened on the air in the 2015 AFC Championship game against Indianapolis. A four-game suspension for Brady for his part in their deflation, and a $ 1 million fine and loss of two draft picks for the Patriots.

No, it probably won’t be mentioned on the NBC telecast as it doesn’t fit the narrative. Sunday’s game is an opportunity to celebrate a remarkable journey with a team and a coach, without dwelling on the mistakes made along the way.

Like it or not, however, Deflategate is part of Brady’s legacy. It always will be, even though he strongly denies the allegations that led to his suspension.

It might not matter to New England fans, who for the most part believe their quarterback was unfairly punished initially. But it should be remembered, just like all the last minute winning records and Super Bowl wins.

The NFL said Brady cheated. Period.

The league suspended Brady after a 243-page report from investigator Ted Wells said two former equipment managers had been involved in evacuating the air from the balls and that Brady “was at least generally at the current “of the ploy.

Maintaining the suspension, Commissioner Roger Goodell noted that Brady destroyed his cell phone just as he met Wells to answer questions about deflated soccer balls. Goodell said Brady had done so “even though he knew investigators had requested access to text messages and other electronic information that had been stored on that phone.”

No, there was no smoking gun connecting Brady to the deflation. He was not caught with a needle and a bag of soccer balls behind the stands that day at Foxborough.

But there was enough circumstantial evidence for the NFL to attack – and harshly – the parties involved. Soccer balls don’t suddenly deflate, especially when those in possession of the opposing team keep their air going.

Brady and the Patriots would beat the Colts in the game, leading 17-7 at halftime before deflation was discovered and winning 45-7. A few weeks later, Brady and Belichick celebrated their fourth Super Bowl together, this one against Seattle.

Two years later, they would win the Super Bowl again, after Brady missed the first quarter of the season while serving his suspension. New England owner Robert Kraft thumbed his nose at Goodell, calling the victory “unequivocally the sweetest” of all the team’s championship wins.

No incident should define Brady’s career, of course, and Deflategate hardly registers when it comes to evaluating his incredible success. Winning six Super Bowls in New England and adding another in Tampa Bay while playing through his forties is what Brady will be remembered for, and he did things no other quarterback can even hope for. to achieve.

Indeed, the most puzzling thing about Brady’s involvement in deflating the game balls is that he seemed to feel he needed help winning. He didn’t, and if anyone thinks otherwise, all he has to do is take a look at the three Super Bowl rings he’s won since that year.

So celebrate him on Sunday when he returns to Foxborough, because you’ll never see a quarterback win seven Super Bowls again. Celebrate Sunday because, if he retires, he will do so by holding many more records that no other quarterback can even hope to match.

Remember, even the biggest aren’t necessarily perfect.

——

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for the Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlbergap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg

Tom Brady is entrevistado en el terreno de juego tras the victoria of Tampa Bay sober Kansas City in the Super Bowl jugado el 7 febrero del 2021 in Tampa, Florida. Brady’s Super Bowl fue el s & # xe9; ptimo, que se sum & # xf3; a los seis that gan & # xf3; against New England. (AP Photo / Steve Luciano, file)



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