After serving a four-game suspension for Deflategate at the beginning of the year, Tom Brady has led the New England Patriots to their seventh Super Bowl since 2001. And yet, Brady claims that he feels no grudge or animosity toward commissioner Roger Goodell for what many felt was a bogus suspension.
Don’t buy it.
“Let’s say he’s being politically correct,” CBS Sports NFL analyst Jay Feely said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney, laughing. “I would say that game – the AFC Championship – and this season, for him, has been very personal. I think you saw that when he didn’t really answer Tracy Wolfson’s question. He talked about his family. He talked about his parents and his sisters and how much it meant to them. I think that was just his moment of stepping aside and just thanking them for their support and acknowledging how difficult it’s been on his family to go through this entire process, this whole Deflategate and then the suspensions. I do believe that this victory, if he gets it against Atlanta, will be the sweetest one that he’s had in his career.”
Brandon Tierney believes that Brady rarely says what he truly feels but gets the sense that he wants to. Feely, who played with Brady at Michigan and remains close with him, believes that Brady will eventually share his true thoughts.
“I think probably when it’s all said and done, there will be a book,” Feely said. “I think you got a taste of that when he did The Brady 6 video. He kind of lets you inside that world and reflecting on what it was like to go through that draft day and how difficult that was for him and his family and his whole college career. Think back to his senior year after he won 10 in a row as a redshirt junior, and then he come back for his senior year and Lloyd Carr isn’t starting him. Him and Drew Henson are both playing back and forth. One plays the first quarter, then the second quarter, then they decide. So he gave you a little window and I think you’ll see that. When he’s done playing, he’ll do something to open up more, but he’s a very private guy. He doesn’t want to be in the spotlight, he doesn’t want to draw attention to himself, he’s comfortable at home, and I don’t think that’ll change when he’s done playing.”
Of course, that might not be for quite some time. Brady completed 67.4 percent of his passes this season – his highest since 2007 – for 3,554 yards, 28 touchdowns and just two interceptions in 12 games. He followed that up with a 384-yard, three-touchdown, turnover-free day against Pittsburgh.
How much longer will Brady play?
“Well, he keeps saying 45, that he wants to play until he’s 45, (that) he wants to play until he’s done,” Feely said. “He loves it. He likes being around all the young guys, (and) it keeps him young. It’s funny because when you go back and think about all the things that happened with Deflategate and Roger Goodell, when you’ve accomplished as much as Tom Brady has in his career, it’s hard to find the motivation to go out and to work out and to do all the things in the offseason that you have to do to prepare yourself, especially at 39 years old. And so, Roger Goodell basically gave him the perfect motivation to do everything he has to do to come back this year and to be the very best that he could be – and you see it out there. Sometimes you need that external motivation and that drive to push you.”
Brady, who is 4-2 in Super Bowls, will go for his fifth ring Feb. 5 in Super Bowl LI. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. ET.