We won’t rehash all the details of Deflategate. That’s been done enough. Tom Brady was (eventually) handed a four-game suspension for his role in the ordeal, which he served at the beginning of the 2016 season. That’s all we really need to know for this.
Brady and the Patriots made it back to the Super Bowl, which probably isn’t a surprise to anyone who has even casually followed football for the last 15 years. The added narrative of Brady appearing in his record-breaking seventh championship game, though, was that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell might have to swallow his pride and hand Brady the Lombardi trophy (or MVP trophy) after fighting so hard to make the Deflategate suspension stick.
Well, the Patriots did win the Super Bowl (with a thrilling comeback, no less), and Goodell did hand over those trophies to owner Robert Kraft and Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady, respectively. While both parties downplayed their negative history, Brady recently revealed focusing on winning was his way of fighting back.
“Well, what’s the best way to fight? There’s only one fight I can win and that is how well I play,” Brady told Peter King of the Monday Morning Quarterback. “That’s the only one I can control, because I tried to play for 18 months and it didn’t work. So finally I said … ‘My team is going to go out and play great, I know they are going to, and when I come back, I am just going to do what I’ve always done.'”
Brady also talked about the massive amounts of criticism he receives, whether it’s being labelled as a cheater or reporters questioning his political beliefs.
” … When you subject yourself to a lot of criticism (as a professional athlete), what I’ve learned from myself is, I don’t want to give my power away to other people by letting my own emotions be subjected to what their thoughts or opinions are. So if someone calls me something, that’s their problem. It’s not my problem. I’m not going to give away my power,” Brady said.
“You can call me an a**hole and I am going to smile at you probably,” he continued. “I’m not going to say, ‘No, you’re an a**hole.’ Because that person is controlling me with what their thoughts and actions are. How can you go through life, now at this point, 17 years, being affected by everybody all the time with what someone says?”
The four-game suspension ended up being completely irrelevant, since the Pats managed to go 3-1 with backups Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett taking the snaps. By adding another championship ring to their trophy case, Brady and the Patriots got the last laugh — just like they always do.