By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — As the “Where Is Roger?” chants echoed through a celebratory Gillette Stadium, it was obvious to any observer that the next two weeks will be filled with the storyline of Tom Brady seeking personal revenge against commissioner Roger Goodell. After all, there would be no better way for Brady to get back at the man who spent nearly two full years assaulting his character than to force him to hand over the Lombardi Trophy.
But in the mystifying saga known as “DeflateGate,” Roger wasn’t the only man to make Brady’s enemy list.
One man who’s sure to be on that list will be in the broadcast booth, providing color commentary on television for Fox. Troy Aikman, a three-time Super Bowl champion himself, was among the loudest and most confident critics willing to label Brady with a scarlet “C” for “cheater.”
A brief refresher:
“It’s obvious that Tom Brady had something to do with this. … For the balls to be deflated, that doesn’t happen unless the quarterback wants that to happen, I can assure you of that. Now the question becomes did Bill Belichick know about it?”
“Now twice under Bill Belichick, and possibly a third time, they’ve cheated and given themselves an advantage. To me, the punishment for the Patriots and/or Bill Belichick has to be more severe than what the punishment was for the New Orleans Saints.”
“Every quarterback has the footballs the way that they like them. But here’s the difference, is that once they go through inspection and balls are either accepted or rejected, that’s the end of the story. That’s it.
“I still haven’t seen where anyone has been … where it’s been determined that air was not let out of the balls. I haven’t read anywhere where that now is a certainty, that, ‘OK, well no one deflated the balls.’ And if that happened, if balls were deflated, as I said a week after it all happened, if balls were deflated, I will go to my grave saying that Tom Brady knew that the balls were then being deflated. Because the only reason balls are deflated is because that’s how the quarterback likes the footballs.”
Aikman didn’t reach the verge of tears on live television, so his comments didn’t quite reach the folk level status of those of Mark Brunell. Still, the opinion was quite strong.
Of course, over time, it was proven that the footballs weren’t deflated. Experts in science and physics from around the country proved this to be the case, and the NFL tacitly admitted its reality when the strict recording of PSI levels during the 2015 football season was quickly changed into just being “spot checks” to make sure the chain of custody was never broken with the balls.
Those who jumped to premature conclusions remained unchanged, and there’s nothing on the record about Aikman ever changing his tune. With his first opportunity to call a game quarterbacked by Brady since the “scandal” coming in this year’s Super Bowl, viewers at home can know that Brady is acutely aware of the rush to judgment by the Hall of Fame quarterback.