On January 18, 2015, during the New England Patriots' 45-7 AFC championship victory over the hapless Indianapolis Colts, the scandal/farce that later became known simply as Deflategate was brought into existence. Coincidentally, the same day was also the last time NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has set foot in the Patriots' Gillette Stadium.
966 days after his last visit, Goodell will return to the stadium - at least when his words at a recent fan event associated with the New York Jets can be trusted (something that has not always been the case in the past): The commissioner confirmed once again that he will visit the 2017 season opener between the Patriots and the visiting Kansas City Chiefs. And, according to the New York Post's Brian Costello, Goodell is not concerned about the fan feedback.
Overall, the team and the 65,000+ fans present on opening night will be in a celebratory mood as the Patriots will unveil their fifth championship banner before kicking off the 2017 season. However, in case Goodell will be spotted in his luxury box, the mood will quickly change. And it will be overwhelmingly negative.
After all, it was Goodell who suspended quarterback Tom Brady for four games for "generally being aware" of nefarious actions that according to scientists all across America have never taken place. It was Goodell who forced the team to forfeit two draft picks. It was Goodell who misconstructed Brady's statements during the appeal hearing. And while the Patriots ultimately prevailed and won two Super Bowls since the dawn of Deflategate, Patriots fans have not forgotten the scandal and its fallout.
To quote "Game of Thrones": The North remembers. And on opening day it will likely show it once more.