BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady loves the sport of football. Since he was a kid watching Joe Montana in San Francisco, through his high school days in San Mateo and his college days at Ann Arbor, through his NFL rise in Foxboro, Brady has lived and breathed football his whole life from coast to coast.
It would stand to reason, then, that the man who became arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play the sport would be enamored with the league that made it possible.
Instead, that league has made Brady feel unwelcome.
That much has become clear after Brady was spotted without the NFL logo on the back of his helmet during the preseason.
CBS Boston’s Michael Hurley joined Toucher & Rich on Tuesday morning and said that is a problem, and it’s the league’s fault for creating this situation.
“I think it’s actually too bad, because Brady’s a guy that loves football,” Hurley said. “His whole life, this is his dream. He’s obviously attained it and he’s been one of the best ever. He should be — Jonathan Kraft has said this before, and I think he’s right — he’s the guy that should be held up as the model that you want to be. He should be the face of the league. And now he’s taking your logo off the back of his helmet. That’s just a failure on the NFL’s part. It should have never come to that. Tom Brady should be happy to be in the NFL, and you made him unhappy to be living his dream.”
WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche, filling in for Fred Toucher, chimed in to note that Tom Brady has made a lot of owners and executives quite a bit of money over the course of his career, too.
“You can thank Brady and [Peyton] Manning for that TV contract, because they’re the ones that every network wanted,” Hurley added. “That’s the guy, he should be embraced by the NFL, not treated like a criminal.”
Everyone agreed that the multi-millionaire Brady will be OK during the month out of football, but that doesn’t mean he’s unworthy of some sympathy.
“You feel bad because he does obviously still have such passion for it, and a four-game suspension is just absurd,” Hurley said.
Rich Shertenlieb followed the story with great curiosity, and he is now wondering, based on the history of Roger Goodell disciplining Brady, if the quarterback might actually get in trouble.
And according to the rule book, technically Goodell could come down with a hammer on Brady if he wanted to.
From Rule 5 of the NFL Rulebook, you can see where Goodell could lean if he wanted (click photos for enlarged images):
That supplemental note — the one that says “the Commissioner may subsequently impose independent disciplinary action on the involed player, up to and including suspension” — might make a few hearts skip in New England.
But Hurley noted that Brady should be safe, so long as an NFL official didn’t notice the lack of sticker during the preseason games and bring it to Brady’s attention. That being said, there’s no guarantee that Goodell would play by the NFL’s own rules if he really wanted to go after the man he spent two years hunting down already.
“Obviously, we know the NFL doesn’t really follow things by the book,” he said. “Let’s see what the helmet looks like come Week 5. Then, it’ll really be a protest. Then, there might be a problem.”
Rich remained finely in tune with potential areas for Brady to get in trouble with the NFL, as Brady has been banned from talking football with his teammates. As Rich noted, “You have to think that [the NFL] wants to bust him doing something nefarious.”
Hurley noted the limits to the NFL’s ability to really keep close tabs on Brady, but ultimately agreed.
“Look at what they did with the Al Jazeera players and look at what they did with Brady. If they want to say, ‘Tom, we think you knowingly and intentionally took this off your helmet six months ago, we need to see very text you’ve sent for the past six months,’ what’s stopping them from doing it? That’s the kind of power they have now.
“They’re hoping someone slips up. I think they’re hoping Julian Edelman in Week 3 says, ‘Yeah I ate dinner with Tom the other night,’ and then they’re going to say, ‘What restaurant did you go to? We need the security footage?’ It’s going to be like that, because [the NFL] would love it more than anything else. This story did such wonders for [the league], ratings-wise, attention-wise, that any more tidbits, rumors, innuendo that could be added to it, I’m sure the NFL would love. It’s a good thing to be in the news for. It’s not domestic violence, it’s not Sheldon Richardson with the Jets driving around with the kid in the car, it’s not guns, it’s not drugs. It’s this silly little fun, gossipy story. So anything that could [apply], the NFL would be happy to stumble across, I’m sure. I don’t know how they’ll get it, but they’ll be happy to have it.”
Check out the video above, and listen to the full interview below: