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Why Roger Goodell doesn’t care if Patriots win Super Bowl 01.23.17 at 4:36 pm ET
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Roger Goodell won't be able to dodge the Patriots in the Super Bowl. (Jason Getz/USA Today Sports)

Roger Goodell won’t be able to dodge the Patriots in the Super Bowl. (Jason Getz/USA Today Sports)

It probably doesn’t make a difference to Roger Goodell whether the Patriots win the Super Bowl. For him, Deflategate is ancient history. He won a long time ago.

When owner Robert Kraft grabbed the microphone Sunday following his team’s blowout victory over the Steelers in the AFC championship game, he seemingly spoke for every aggrieved Patriots fan around the world.

“For a number of reasons, all of you in this stadium understand how big this win was,” Kraft told a rabid crowd in Foxboro.

It wasn’t difficult to connect the dots. Almost two years ago to the date, the NFL caught the Patriots playing with slightly under inflated footballs against the Colts. Over the next year-and-a-half, even when the science said there was no wrongdoing, Goodell smeared Tom Brady’s character and imposed draconian penalties on the team –– including suspending Brady for four games. Now, in two weeks, Goodell may be in the building when Brady is handed the Lombardi Trophy. Talk about sweet revenge.

Once a regular visitor to Gillette Stadium, Goodell has avoided it since Deflategate started. He’s been in Atlanta for the last two weeks closing down the Georgia Dome, one of the most unremarkable venues in professional football.

It’s unclear whose decision it is to keep Goodell in hiding. According to Comcast SportsNet’s Tom E. Curran, Goodell would’ve been at the AFC championship game Sunday if he had gotten his way. So perhaps somebody else in the league office, or the Krafts themselves, are making the call. But then again, it’s hard to believe that Goodell would allow other people to dictate his schedule. After all, this is guy who doesn’t permit his staffers to eat pizza until he gets the first slice.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Deflategate, New England Patriots, Roger Goodell
Tom Brady is a fool to wonder why his friendship with Donald Trump is a big deal at 1:34 pm ET
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Tom Brady doesn't understand the Donald Trump questions. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady doesn’t understand the Donald Trump questions. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady doesn’t understand why people care about his friendship with Donald Trump. He must’ve been born yesterday.

In his weekly appearance on Kirk & Callahan Monday, Brady shed further detail on how often he communicates with the President. Last week, Trump said Brady called him before the inauguration.

“I have called him, yes, in the past. Sometimes he calls me. Sometimes I call,” Brady said. “But, again, that’s been someone I’ve known. I always try to keep it in context because for 16 years you know someone before maybe he was in the position that he was in. He’s been very supportive of me for a long time. It’s just a friendship. I have a lot of friends. I call a lot of people.”

In the past, Brady has shied away from talking about Trump. But that wasn’t the case Monday. Just when the conversation was heading in a different direction, he brought up the subject again.

“Why does everybody make such a big deal? I don’t understand it,” he said. “I don’t want to get into it, but if you know someone it doesn’t mean you agree with everything they say or they do. You have a lot of friends in your life. I think there are things that are based in your own dealings with someone that is a personal dealing, not a public dealing. Because you have personal experiences.”

While Brady didn’t formally endorsed Trump –– he declined to tell K&C who he voted for –– he aligned himself with him throughout the entirety of the campaign. In September 2015, after a “Make America Great Again” hat was spotted in Brady’s locker, he said it “would be great” if Trump were in the Oval Office. At that point, Trump had already derided some Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and spent years propagating a racist birther conspiracy theory meant to delegitimize Barack Obama’s presidency. Brady later claimed to be unaware of the political issues at play, but ignorance isn’t an excuse.

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Read More: Donald Trump, New England Patriots, Tom Brady,
LeBron James gives LeGarrette Blount a shoutout on Twitter at 8:37 am ET
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LeGarrette Blount took a page out of LeBron James’ book in the AFC championship game. After scoring a touchdown late in the third quarter, he brought out “The Silencer,” mimicking James’ signature road celebration. James, who was presumably tuned into the game like most sports fans, appreciated the gesture.

Though James is an unabashed Cowboys fan, it was difficult to not admire the Patriots’ dismantling of the Steelers Sunday night. Blount’s touchdown run, which came after he had dragged seven Pittsburgh defenders all the way to the goal line, served as the proverbial nail in the coffin. The burly running back finished with 16 carries and 47 yards.

Of course, when James mentions you on Twitter, it’s only appropriate to return the favor. Blount let him know the shoutout was appreciated.

Read More: LeBron James, LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Athletes and celebrities react to the Patriots’ AFC championship win over Steelers at 8:25 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: New York at Indiana, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NFL: San Jose at Colorado, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: N.C. State at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: TCU at Oklahoma State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: American University at Holy Cross, 7:05 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Texas Southern at Miss. Valley State, 8:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oklahoma at Texas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Women’s college basketball: Mississippi State at South Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Women’s college basketball: Penn State at Indiana, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

— After the Patriots beat the Steelers Sunday night to seal their spot in the Super Bowl, other athletes and celebrities reacted to the win on social media.

 

 

   

Some Patriots themselves also posted about the win:

 

Tight ends baby! @jdevelin @martellusb Them boys worked hard for this!!! A photo posted by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

Great Team Win #PatsNation

A photo posted by Logan Ryan (@realloganryan) on

 

THAT’S SOME HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE! #letsgooooooo

A photo posted by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

 

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Read More: New England Patriots,
Over next four years, Patriots won’t be able to hide from Donald Trump 01.20.17 at 11:37 am ET
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Tom Brady and Bill Belichick didn’t react well when they were asked questions about Donald Trump this season. But over the next four years, they should get used to it. One of the most divisive presidents ever is tied to the Patriots. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask some of his most high-profile backers to answer for him.

On the eve of his inauguration, Trump name-dropped both Brady and Belichick in front of a room full of supporters –– including Robert Kraft. He credited Belichick for teaching him a great work ethic, and let everybody know Brady called to wish him well.

“In the audience we have somebody that’s under no pressure whatsoever ’cause he’s got a great quarterback named Tom Brady, and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft,” Trump said. “So good luck, Bob. Your friend Tom just called, he feels good. He called to congratulate us, he feels good. Good luck. You’re going to do great things.”

Later in the speech, Trump said he outworked everybody who’s ever ran for president. “I learned that from Belichick, right?” he said while appearing to point at Kraft.

Brady probably didn’t think he was making a political statement when he placed a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker a year-and-a-half ago. As he said several times throughout the campaign, he’s “good friends” with Trump. It’s perfectly normal for good friends to support each other.

But that doesn’t mean he was forced to stick with Trump at every turn. Even Vice President Mike Pence condemned Trump’s remarks about how much he enjoys sexually assaulting women. Brady, meanwhile, walked out of his press conference when he was asked about the Access Hollywood tape.

Patriots beat writers are obligated to cover more than the games on the field. They write about issues surrounding the team, spanning from a nearly 18-month scandal involving deflated footballs to a murderous former tight end. If Trump sends out a tweet calling for flag-burners to get their citizenship revoked or reintroduces his proposed Muslim ban, Brady should get asked about it. As one of Trump’s “good friends,” his perspective is pertinent.

The same applies to Belichick, who wrote Trump a fawning endorsement letter before the election. It doesn’t matter if Belichick never intended for the note to be public. He said he hopes Trump can “Make America Great Again.” So if Trump signs legislation that leads to the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants, including mothers and fathers, it would be interesting to see if that’s the kind of greatness Belichick has in mind.

Brady and Belichick, of course, are under no obligation to answer any of these questions. On Friday, Belichick wouldn’t even bite when he was asked about his reaction when he heard about Trump’s shoutout. But if they didn’t want to be tied to Trump, they shouldn’t have expressed their support. They’re accountable for their words.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Kraft, who’s been spotted around the capital this week, went all-in on Trump.

“Loyalty is important to me, and he has been a wonderful friend,” he said. “I think one of the great problems in the country today is the working poor, the middle class, that there hasn’t been growth in income on an equal basis, and I really think the policies he’s going to bring to bear are going to be great for the economic side of America.”

Kraft doesn’t appear to have a problem touting Trump’s economic proposals, which include starting a costly trade war with China, so he should be asked about them after they’re enacted. As a titan of industry himself, it would be interesting to hear his thoughts.

Trump’s behavior during the transition wasn’t any less inflammatory than it was during the campaign. With that in mind, it’s fair to assume he’ll act similarly once he assumes the Oval Office. That means on many days over the next four years, Trump’s rhetoric or actions will be the No. 1 story in the country. Brady, Belichick and Kraft have aligned themselves with him. They’re forever part of the story, whether they like it or not.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Donald Trump, New England Patriots, Robert Kraft
Robert Kraft reportedly still simmering about Tom Brady’s suspension 01.19.17 at 3:44 pm ET
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Robert Kraft

Robert Kraft

Patriots owner Robert Kraft last spoke publicly about Deflategate last summer, shortly after Tom Brady announced he would no longer fight the NFL’s draconian four-game suspension. In a statement, Kraft condemned the league, calling Brady’s punishment “unprecedented, unjust and unreasonable.” Five months later, his feelings haven’t appeared to soften.

In a wide-ranging feature story in the New York Times, Kraft is described as still “simmering” about Brady’s ban. He defends his decision to not take the NFL to court –– Kraft said in May 2015 he would accept the league’s penalties –– but takes a couple of jabs at the commissioner’s office.

“Sometimes, the league really messes up, and I think they really messed this up badly,” he said. “But we’ve all agreed to subjugate our right to disrupt everything. I mean, we can, but we’re a partnership. There’s jealousy, there’s envy, there’s stupidity. Sometimes, life is unfair, and you have to suck it up and move on and not use it as an excuse.”

Besides Deflategate, the other big controversy surrounding the Patriots over the last year has been their affiliation with the divisive President-elect, Donald Trump. Much like Brady and Bill Belichick, Kraft maintains a relationship with Trump. He called him a “good friend” ahead of the Massachusetts primary and visited Trump Tower in November. This week, Kraft was photographed at a pre-inauguration dinner party.

Though Kraft has donated to Democratic causes and candidates in the past, he praised Trump when asked about his incoming presidency.

“Loyalty is important to me, and he has been a wonderful friend,” he said. “I think one of the great problems in the country today is the working poor, the middle class, that there hasn’t been growth in income on an equal basis, and I really think the policies he’s going to bring to bear are going to be great for the economic side of America.”

Read More: Deflategate, New England Patriots, Robert Kraft,
There have been some awful Tom Brady hot takes this week 01.18.17 at 5:17 pm ET
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There’s nothing wrong with a good Tom Brady hot take. In fact, the genre was seemingly invented for him. He fills up the sports page with his Hall of Fame play and the gossip section with his A-list lifestyle. Add in the nearly 18-month Deflategate scandal, and he’s produced perhaps more content than any athlete in history.

For those reasons, it’s tempting to write or talk about Brady –– even when there’s nothing to say. It’s important to keep that in mind this week, because three of the worst Brady takes in recent memory have surfaced:

1) Brady is a liar (Sara Jane Harris, the Sporting News

Sara Jane Harris thought she caught Brady in a lie. During his weekly interview on Kirk & Callahan, Brady said no Patriots player would ever mimic Antonio Brown and stream a video of their locker room on Facebook Live. The team posts an edited video of the postgame celebration on its website after each win, but that’s a professional production. Apparently Jane Harris didn’t catch that when she stumbled upon this week’s version:

“No, there wasn’t any cussing, but we did get to see what happens “inside the walls” of the Patriots’ locker room at Gillette Stadium, something Brady said would never happen,” she wrote.

A simple Twitter or Google search would’ve shown Jane Harris there was nothing nefarious about the video. The article, which amazingly is still posted, is an outright lie. How ironic.

2) Brady is playing for his career with the Patriots Sunday (Colin Cowherd, Fox Sports 1)

It’s probably been a humbling couple of months for Colin Cowherd. Like every program on FS1, his radio show simulcast is struggling to attract viewers. So this week, he decided to throw the talk radio version of a Hail Mary: Claim Brady’s career with the Patriots is on the line.

“If Pittsburgh wins this game and Brady is average, you’re darn right [Robert] Kraft and [Bill] Belichick are having that, ‘Let’s have lunch and talk,’” he said.

According to Cowherd, Brady can’t afford to play poorly in three consecutive postseason games. In his last two playoff contests against the Broncos and Texans, Brady has posted an average QB rating of 62.6.

With Jimmy Garoppolo’s emergence, it’s likely the Patriots will trade a quarterback this offseason. But after an MVP caliber season, it’s not going to be Brady. And even if it is, does anybody really think Belichick would make a decision like that based off just one game?

Cowherd knows better. It’s sad to see somebody so desperately vying for relevance.

3) Aaron Rodgers would have more Super Bowls with Patriots than Brady (Manish Mehta, New York Daily News)

As Christopher Price notes, the world wants to see a Brady-Rodgers Super Bowl. But Manish Mehta is getting a little ahead of himself. In his latest column, he writes Rodgers would have won more Super Bowls with the Patriots than Brady. What’s his reasoning, you ask? Well, outside of talking about “physical tools,” he never gets to it:

“Rodgers, however, would have put up even more ridiculous numbers if paired with Belichick. He’s every bit as smart as Brady with more physical tools.”

Mehta talks about Rodgers’ incredible athleticism and his ability to make plays outside of the pocket. That’s all true, but it doesn’t explain how Rodgers would’ve been able to win more than four Super Bowls in New England. Apparently, Mehta’s theory assumes David Tyree wouldn’t have caught that pass in Super Bowl 42 and the defense would’ve held the Giants in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 46 if Rodgers were standing on the sideline instead of Brady.

That’s the problem with making this argument: there are far too many variables at play. It’s a noble effort for Mehta, but he comes up short.

Read More: New England Patriots, Tom Brady,
Robert Kraft photographed at Donald Trump pre-inauguration dinner party at 1:42 pm ET
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Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are both tied to Donald Trump, but somehow Robert Kraft gets to skate, even though he appears to be closer with the President-Elect than either his coach or quarterback.

Trump made the rounds at a pre-inauguration dinner in Washington D.C. Tuesday, mingling with a plethora of diplomats, politicians and donors. The Daily Mail posted photographs from the event, one of which featured Kraft arm-in-arm with senior Trump propagandist, Kellyanne Conway (pictured above). Billionaire real-estate developer Richard LeFrak, who Trump asked recently to lead a new infrastructure council, was also in the shot.

It’s not surprising that Kraft is celebrating Trump’s victory. He called the former reality television a star a “good friend” ahead of the Massachusetts primary last year and was seen at Trump Tower in November. When I reached out to Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks to ask about the meeting, she said it was a “congratulatory visit.”

While Brady and Belichick have tried to distance themselves from Trump since the election, expect Kraft to only get cozier with the President-Elect. If the Patriots advance to the Super Bowl, perhaps Trump will be seated in Kraft’s box. He’s been there before, and in fact, even once paid a visit to the Patriots’ locker room after a victory in 2012.

The New England Patriots are the official football team of Donald Trump. There’s no debate about that.

Read More: Donald Trump, New England Patriots, Robert Kraft,
Thanks to Bill Belichick, SnapFace is going viral at 1:39 pm ET
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Over the last couple of years, Bill Belichick has made a habit of botching the names of popular social media platforms. His apparent ignorance of the Internet came to the forefront again this week, when he was asked on Dale & Holley about Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown live-streaming a video of the team’s locker room on Facebook Live.

“Yeah, as you know I’m not on SnapFace and all that, I don’t really get those,” he said. “I’m just really worried about getting our team ready to go. I’m not really too worried about what they put on InstantChat, or whatever it is.”

While InstantChat is a new addition to Belichick’s repertoire, SnapFace is an old favorite. He first dropped the term around Patriots reporters last year and it seems to be picking up steam. According to NFL Network’s social team, “SnapFace” has been used on Twitter more than 12,000 times over the last day.

At his press conference Wednesday, Belichick referenced InstaFace, which might be an offshoot of SnapFace.

Malapropisms aside, it’s worth noting that the pre-fixes of Belichick’s fictional social media networks are up to date with the latest trends. Back in 2011, he was talking about MyFace. As John Tomase points out, maybe Belichick is more aware of the social media landscape than he likes to let us believe.

Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots,
Sporting News writer calls Tom Brady a liar for no reason whatsoever 01.17.17 at 4:44 pm ET
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Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has caught a lot of flak this week for streaming a since-deleted video on Facebook Live of the team’s locker room following their win over the Chiefs Sunday. In a laudable attempt at contrarianism, a writer for the Sporting News tries to use this story as a way to put down Tom Brady. But unfortunately for her, she doesn’t have her facts straight.

On Kirk & Callahan Monday, Brady was asked about Brown’s video, which includes sound of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin calling the Patriots “a––holes” during his postgame speech. He said something like that would never happen with the Patriots.

“Our team has a policy. We don’t show anything that should be private because he [Bill Belichick] feels when we are inside our stadium, inside the walls, there has to be a degree of privacy that we have,” Brady said. “What’s done in the locker room should stay in the locker room.”

Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger piled on Brown Tuesday. Tomlin said the wideout’s actions were “foolish,” and Roethlisberger said he was “disappointed.” But that’s not the way Sporting News scribe Sara Jane Harris sees the situation. She stumbled upon the weekly video the Patriots post on their website following each game, and calls out Brady for being hypocrite:

“No, there wasn’t any cussing, but we did get to see what happens “inside the walls” of the Patriots locker room at Gillette Stadium, something Brady said would never happen,” she writes. 

When compared to Brown’s livestream, which was shot with his smartphone camera, it’s obvious the Patriots’ clip is professionally edited and put together. If the aesthetic differences aren’t stark enough, Jane Harris also could’ve completed a Twitter or Google search, where she would’ve found out the Patriots publish a postgame video every week.

It’s sad to see a hot take so thoroughly debunked.

Read More: New England Patriots, Tom Brady,