By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots will forever be under the largest of microscopes from not just the NFL but fans across the country. It comes with the territory when you win as much as they do and, of course, the cynics and sour grapes were going to crank it up a few notches with Tom Brady returning on Sunday.
Brady was incredibly sharp in his return, throwing for 406 yards and three touchdowns and showing no real signs of rust after being away from the Patriots for the first four weeks of the season. All three touchdowns went to tight end Martellus Bennett, and the Patriots took it upon themselves to tweet out the third score from their own Twitter account.
Except the NFL literally just issued new rules prohibiting such actions.
Naturally, the immediate reaction from Twitterers was either a strange eagerness to see the Patriots punished by the league or satisfaction that the Patriots stuck it to the league by disregarding their new rules. Neither idea was actually the case because the new rules don’t take effect until Wednesday, Oct. 12.
The new rules do not prohibit teams from posting videos or GIFs that had already been shared from the official NFL Twitter account. The league tweeted the same video just seven minutes prior to the Patriots. So even if the new rules were in effect, the Patriots would have followed them properly.
But the facts won’t stop some of Pro Football Talk’s best and brightest from giving their astute thoughts on the situation.
“Wait, what? The Patriots didn’t cheat? That IS news.”
“Patriots doing something disgraceful, never.”
“But of course, there were undoubtedly others that were because of Belicheat****”
“‘Why does the NFL hate its best team?’ It’s easy, you keep the most arrogant little boys mad and you generate social media activity for the league because god knows the Pat’s brats like some whine.”
That last one is pretty ironic.
If you’re a Patriots fan who follows NFL action on Twitter, you’re probably just going to have to get used to this kind of nonsense. Especially now that Brady is back, fans will be chomping at the bit to find any possible way to poke holes in the team’s performance and behavior. This one, unfortunately for the haters out there, was all for naught.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.