…because if there is one thing that they don’t need is for the New England Patriots and Tom Brady to have one more reason to think of themselves as underdogs, hated by the NFL and wanting revenge:

Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers … and … and?

The fourth playoff quarterback never appeared in the championship round teaser for the 2017 NFL Playoffs on NFL Network. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was the only quarterback left out.

Let the anti-NFL conspiracy theories commence.

It’s worth noting that if you go to the NFL network twitter feed or the NFL site this story is completely ignored.

Well we can’t assume the NFL has it in for the Patriots, it’s not as if they’re rescinding fines for opposing players body slamming members of the Patriots on the field and celebrating, oh wait.

What kind of message does this send to the rest of the league? For a guy that’s all about integrity, Roger Goodell certainly sends a weird message to the players.

In fairness it might not be about their hatred of the Patriots, it could be all about Brady & Kraft’s public friendship with the president elect, either way if I’m the Steelers I don’t need this right now.

Just under a year ago, before his suspension was overturned I wrote about how Tom Brady’s suspension had a huge silver lining for the Patriots:

First of all Tom Brady is 37 years old, while he is arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history even the greatest gets old and the toll of 15 seasons of getting hit has to have a cumulative effect on a body.

Second of all the Patriots are a pragmatic bunch of folks, they understand Brady is getting older and need to start considering who might be replacing him down the line.

Third of all how do you motivate a man who is:

1. Married to a Supermodel
2. Has all the money he will ever need
3. Has all already been to six superbowls and won 4

That’s why this suspension will do wonders for everybody.

Well now Brady’s suspension has been reinstated by the US appeals court

Last year, a federal court ruled that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had not treated New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady fairly in a disciplinary investigation, overturning a four-game suspension at the start of the 2015 season. Today, the 2nd Circuit threw a flag on the lower court and Brady, overturning the ruling and reinstating the suspension:

Other than the fact that Tom Brady’s is now 38 instead of 37 every single argument I made concerning the advantages of Brady getting a 4 week rest to start the season still applies.

Add to that the fact that the only reason Brady did not reach his 7th superbowl was a missed 2 pt conversion and the questionable coaching decision not to settle for 3 points with plenty of time on the clock on several occasions you have to believe Tom will want that 5th ring even more than he did last year.

I suggest the fans of Buffalo, Houston, Arizona and Miami enjoy their 4 game Bradyless windfall (which are not btw guaranteed wins for them) because after those four games the rest of the league is going to be paying for it.

P.S.  None of this changes the fact that there is absolutely no way minor functionaries fiddled with footballs without the knowledge and or consent of their QB and if you believe they would you’ll believe anything.  Yet it is a minor thing which produces a miniscule if any advantage but you’re not telling me it didn’t happen.

When you find yourself in distinguishable from Barack Obama when it comes to truth, that’s bad.

Incidentally we’re still going to win.

One of the most interesting episodes of the favorite TV show of my youth the Adventures of Robin Hood was “The Truce”.

The episode starts with Robin Hood stopping someone in the forest to rob him, the target challenges Robin to an archery contest. Robin wins and the man throws down his purse in disgust accidentally dropping a medal showing he Mark Crispin Champion Bowman of England.

Meanwhile the Deputy Sheriff is tricked into a 500 mark wager against Lord Redford who has stated his archer can beat the Deputy Sheriff’s man who too his shock discovers Redford has hired Crispin as a ringer before he could. Desperate to avoid the loss he offers Robin Hood a one day truce, half the prize money and a & safe-conduct in writing (threatening to tax the poor for every penny he loses if he declines).

Feeling confident the Sheriff offers to increase the wager by 100 marks, Redford agrees and proposes doubling the wager so now the bet is 1200 silver marks.

At the shooting field when Robin wins round one Crispin recognizes him and Lord Redford hints to the Sheriff that he should admit and denounce him. When Crispin makes an excellent shot on a spinning moving target the Deputy Sheriff, in a panic approaches Robin and says the following:

Deputy Sheriff: I forbid you to win.

Robin turns to him and answers:

Robin Hood: My Lord you seem to think I can win or lose as I please. That is a very difficult target.

Deputy Sheriff: I see

Robin Hood: A man could be excused for missing it entirely.

And that exchange is a perfect example of the situation that the New England Patriots and Tom Brady find themselves in every single time they make it to the NFL Playoffs.

Tom Brady a sixth round draft pick in 2000 went from backing up arguably the best quarterback in NE Patriots history at the time (Remember Drew Bledsoe?) to becoming not only the best Quarterback in the teams history but one of the best of all time. As Wikipedia puts it:

In Brady’s fourteen seasons as a starter, the Patriots have earned five trips to the Super Bowl, winning three. He has also won two Super Bowl MVP awards, two league MVP awards (2007, 2010), has been selected to ten Pro Bowls, and has led the Patriots to more division titles than any other quarterback in NFL history, with twelve. He is currently fifth on the all time list for career passing yards and fifth for career touchdown passes. His career postseason record is 18–8; his playoff win total is the highest in NFL history. He helped set the record for the longest consecutive win streak in NFL history with 21 straight wins over two seasons (2003–2004). He also set the record for most consecutive playoff wins with 10, and in 2007 led the Patriots to the first undefeated regular season since the institution of the 16-game schedule. He has thrown for more passing yards than any quarterback in NFL postseason history and is third for career postseason touchdown passes, and has the sixth highest career passer rating of all time (95.9) among quarterbacks with at least 1,500 career passing attempts.

Brady and Joe Montana are the only two players in NFL history to win the NFL Most Valuable Player and Super Bowl MVP awards multiple times. Brady and John Elway are the only two quarterbacks to lead their teams to five Super Bowls. He was also named the NFL MVP in 2007 and 2010 (becoming the first player to be unanimously chosen as MVP in the 2010 season) as well as 2007 Male Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press, the first time an NFL player has been so honored since Joe Montana won the award in 1990. After the 2010 season, Brady was ranked as the best player in the NFL. He was also the first quarterback to throw for 50 or more touchdowns in a season. In 2010, he set the all time record for consecutive passes without an interception (335), and broke his own record for season TD:INT ratio at 9:1 (which has since been broken by Nick Foles).

And if Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks ever what about Bill Belichick?

In his fifteen years as coach of the Patriots his team has made the playoffs 12 times winning their division each of those years. He has gone to 5 Super Bowls winning three.

To put that in perspective in the first 40 years of the Patriots history the pats made the playoffs 10 times going to the Superbowl twice and losing both of them.

In other words over the last fifteen years this has been one of the best teams of all time.

This comes at an odd price, the price of expectations.

Every single time the Patriots take the field they are expected to win, it has reached the point that when New England dropped two games early articles began to be written asking if he was finished.

Of course As I type this Brady’s Patriots have just taken a 4 point lead over Baltimore in the 4th quarter of an exciting game that can go either way so he’s without a question not done, but consider, if Baltimore comes back to win the only topic in New england will be what’s wrong with the Patriots.

The newspapers will not talk about the excellent Baltimore team that is only 3 years removed from a Superbowl. They won’t consider the excellent coaching on the other side or the fine effort, it will be what’s wrong with the Pats.

And even if the Patriots beat the Ravens if next week they lose to Andrew Luck’s Colts or Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos the same questions will be asked despite the skill of either team (particularly the Broncos).

And lets say they manage to win again and get to the Superbowl, no matter who they face if they don’t manage to win, the only thing that will be talked about in New England is their failure.

Those are the wages of the Patriots success and in many ways it’s unfair.

Then again I suspect there are a lot of teams who have been on the outside looking in that would love to have that expectations problem.

FYI if you want to know how that Robin Hood story ends, here is the episode in question.

As I type this the Pats have just intercepted the ball in the end zone with under two minutes to go. Barring a huge mistake they now only have two more obstacles to overcome to meet those oversized expectations.

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There were two stories in the news from Boston concerning Sport figures, and their proper behavior.

First championships already won and Bruins Goalie Tim Thomas.

The Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins visited the White House today to be honored by President Barack Obama, but the team’s star goaltender declined to attend for poltical reasons.

I too am a staunch conservative and have very little respect for the job president Obama has done but since the Carter years when he first appeared with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the most awkward moment I’ve ever seen president have appeared off and on with championship teams to the point where it is now considered tradition.

And while I think he is frankly a sorry example for a president, President Obama is still president, I think that to skip the meeting for political reasons is just not proper.

Now if Thomas would have been unable to restrain himself and act with decorum that might be a mitigating factor but this would be a moment when president Obama would be acting in his capacity as head of state and I would hope Americans should be willing to give the head of state of our system respect in a ceremonial situation.

Next we have potential championships. Yesterday the Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens 23-20 in a game where Tom Brady rushed for 1 touchdown but not only failed to pass for a touchdown but threw two interceptions

“Well, I sucked pretty bad today, but our defense saved us,” Brady said as the team was accepting its conference championship trophy on the field.

He has a point, his Quarterback rating for that game was 57.5, he elaborated:

“As a quarterback, you never want to turn the ball over,” Brady said. “You want to hit the open guys; you want to capitalize when you have open receivers. I wish I had done a better job of that today. In some ways, you always beat yourself up. I’ve been doing this for quite a while. I’m glad we won, I’m glad we’re moving on. Hopefully I can go out there and do better in a few weeks. I think offensively, we can do better, and that’s what it’s going to take.”

It’s a fair assessment but Brady has gotten some grief for using the word “sucked”. It was the talk of radio shows in the area today.

My thought is this, he could have used “stunk” and I would have preferred that he used that word but how refreshing is it for a high paid athlete to come out and admit that he failed to perform in a key game. Such an admission is a sign of character akin to Ted Williams insisting on a pay cut due to poor performance in his final season.

More please.