What a great day to be alive.
Tommy B is a free man.
The absolute nonsense that has been following the Patriots all offseason came to a close today when Judge Berman overturned the NFL's four game suspension for Brady. And while the NFL is sure to appeal (I believe they may have already even filed), the bottom line is that Tom Brady will be playing every single snap of the 2015 regular season and there isn't a damn thing anybody can do about it.
And while today is absolutely a day to celebrate and start getting excited for Week 1, which is exactly one week away from this evening, I do think that it's important that I mention that much of what Patriots fans have experienced this offseason isn't going to suddenly go away. I don't want to rain on anybody's parade today, but it's worth saying: just because Brady's suspension has been vacated, that doesn't mean that all of a sudden comment sections and Twitter feeds and ESPN employees and NFL Network analysts are suddenly going to stop calling him a cheater. The word "technicality" is going to be thrown around a lot. Folks are going to make the highly logical and apt observation that criminals get away with murder all the time, and just because you get an innocent ruling that doesn't make you a good person. I'm sure there are plenty of people, sitting high atop their moral high horse as they enjoy a brutal and violent game played by roided up criminals as the rich white men who more or less trade them like cattle line their pockets, who will be thinking that the Patriots have done it again and how we are now setting the tone for the poor children of America by saying that cheating is OK and the message is that if you have enough money and are enough of a media darling, you can be a detestable cheatycheet McChetcheat and get away with it. The trolling isn't going to suddenly come to a close. Fans of the teams the Patriots are playing on the road this year aren't tearing up the deflated balls signs they have been working on all summer.
Good, I say. Never, ever stop. In fact, if you need some ideas on how to continue expressing your moral outrage and disappointment, hit me up. I have some ideas.
I know this is borderline blasphemy, but I'm willing to admit that one of my big concerns as a Patriots fan over the past several years or so has always been exactly how motivated Tom Brady can really still be. Now I know as well as the next person that he will always have that competitive fire, that he wants nothing more than to win, and that his favorite ring will always be the next one, but despite all that, I still couldn't help but look at where he was in his life and the body of work he has already accrued over his career and wonder just how hot the fire can still burn. Prior to this past season, he was a quarterback in his late 30s with three rings, five Super Bowl appearances, a Hall of Fame resume, more money than he knows what to do with, a super model wife, beautiful children, a house with a moat...I mean how motivated can a man who has accomplished that much possibly be? Add to that this 2014 season and his fourth ring, the ring which launched him out of the "how great is he" conversation and into the discussions of "is he the greatest of all time," and I don't think it's unreasonable to wonder whether or not Tommy B will still be bringing the same kind of heat to the locker room each and every Sunday.
Well no more.
Anybody who thinks that Brady isn't going to treat this season like Clubber Lang training for a fight simply hasn't been following his career. Anybody who thinks that Brady doesn't have something new to prove now doesn't know Tommy B the way that we do. He is going to take this whole ordeal, grab it by the throat, look it squarely in the eye, and say "you just made a very, very bad mistake." Brady is motivated enough as it is, but we're taking things to a whole new level now.
So while Deflategate isn't fully behind us, and in reality never truly will be, the only battle that really matters to anyone without an agenda has been won. Tom Brady is the Week 1 starter. It's one team against 31 others once again, perhaps more so now than it has ever been in the past. It's 53 men against 1,643.
And you know what? I like those odds. Because this man is leading the charge.
You never really left. But welcome back, buddy.