BOSTON (CBS) — One of the enduring storylines surrounding Tom Brady and the Patriots in the 2016 season, ever since the quarterback served a four-game suspension, is the idea of Roger Goodell having to hand the Lombardi Trophy or Super Bowl MVP award to Brady after the Patriots won the Super Bowl. What would the NFL commissioner do? How would he feel in such a situation?
Radio host Colin Cowherd asked Goodell that very question in a rare interview appearance by the commissioner on his show The Herd. From the perspective of most Patriots fans, having to hand the most coveted trophy in football over to Brady after everything they went through during the DeflateGate saga would make Goodell sick to his stomach. Would he feel uncomfortable?
“Not for a second,” said Goodell. “This is one of the great opportunities we have – two dominant teams playing in the Super Bowl. The Patriots and Falcons both earned the opportunity to be there, and whoever wins that championship is going to have to earn it.
“Tom Brady is one of the all-time greats; he has been for several years. He’s on the precipice of winning at least his fifth Super Bowl ring. It would be an honor.”
Goodell was also asked about why he did not go to Gillette Stadium for the AFC Championship Game between the Patriots and Steelers, instead opting to go to Atlanta for the second straight week to see the NFC Championship Game between the Falcons and Green Bay Packers. Cowherd asked Goodell if there were any safety concerns involved with avoiding Foxboro.
“No, Colin,” said Goodell. “Listen, we had two great games. I was in Boston two years ago for the divisional and the championship games. I try to get to as many stadiums as I can. But, you know, we had two great games and you have to choose. And frankly, the focus should be on the players, the coaches, and the great game, and that’s where it was this weekend and the way it should be.”
On his relationship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Goodell admitted that the two have had their differences in recent years – but that it’s simply part of doing business with each other.
“I wouldn’t be doing my job if somebody wasn’t unhappy with a decision that you make or where you’re doing it,” said Goodell. “Robert and I can disagree about things – we have a healthy respect for one another. But that’s true with any owner. That doesn’t impact my relationship or the fact that we work together to try to make the NFL better, ultimately.
“I can’t agree with everyone at every moment, and I shouldn’t. … It’s not personal, it’s professional, and it’s to make sure were doing everything to protect the great game we have and promote it.”
If Goodell really is feeling any discomfort over potentially handing trophies over to Brady, Kraft, or Bill Belichick, he will certainly keep it hidden.