Well, Patriot fans out there.
Tom Brady has done it again. He has won again. This time, it's the respect of someone who has been, quite possibly, his most vicious critic.
I don't mean "vicious" in the self-glorifying sense that you might get from some brown-noser in the sports media.
I mean, vicious.
I have rooted for players to break his bones. I have rooted for his fall from grace to echo Greek tragedy. I have stated that his "One Glove" look seems like an homage to Michael Jackson. When Antonio Cromartie called Brady an "asshole," Brady's response was that he had, "been called worse."
I have called him worse.
Maybe now, you Patriot fans who once threatened me can look back and quaintly laugh.
Because he has earned my respect. (Can you hear the gun cocking?)
Why has Tom Brady changed my view?
For all I know, Brady is still an "asshole," but at least now his actions speak louder than any words.
My faith in the virtues of the NFL have been restored.
From the beginning of my time with Bleacher Report in March of 2008, I have made an issue of Spygate and what I saw as double-standards in the disciplinary policies of the NFL, perceptions of fans (including me), the media coverage and all the implications (mostly racial) of such double-standards.
That issue and its many facets has been the underlying motivation of many of my articles, no matter how disparate.
I have advocated numerous times for anti-trust suits against the NFL, often times in articles that I have since deleted. When you start to thumb your nose at people making billions of dollars, you start to wonder about who's reading.
The NFL is constructed to protect the quarterback, not only from injuries, but also to set him aside from all the other players. The cynic in me wants to think that the NFL owners intentionally construct that paradigm in order to turn the quarterback against the rest of the team.
The cynic in me wants to think that it's only lip service when people say it's about the team.
Especially when reach-around writers in the sports media gush about quarterbacks, "It is about you."
Brady, Manning and Brees have shown otherwise. Clearly, there's a reason why each quarterback has been a winner in the NFL and it's because they understand the importance of the whole team.
My Two Cents on the Labor Dispute
Both sides are playing a shell game.
I don't support the 18-game schedule because I'd prefer to see the postseason expanded—there is more money in those games anyway.
Think about this too.
Let's say that "your" team has been eliminated by Week 16. Would you even buy a ticket? And if you did, you would want to see star players.
Yet, by forcing the star players to play, it would only put them at risk of injury, which could be costly for the owners. Thus, adding two games would more than likely be detrimental to younger teams, or teams that are rebuilding.
Why force the best players of a bad team to risk injury? To me, it makes more sense to simply expand the postseason, especially after the dreck of this past postseason.
Frankly, I think the fact that Seattle earned a playoff spot at 7-9 (after getting thumped all year), was disillusioning. I'll get over it, but it could happen again. Changes should be made.
It makes more sense, in my opinion, to simply eliminate the fourth preseason game and add another week of the postseason.
The NFL draft is a mess. I'd like to see the draft overhauled (i.e., rookie salary cap).
I'd like to see a more innovative approach to expanding the NFL, rather than tacking on the Super Bowl in a foreign city.
I think the players should have more say in writing the rulebook and disciplinary actions. After all, safety is intended to prolong their careers so they can make more money.
The players must also realize that, while they sacrifice their health to play the game, the game would not be organized or even profitable without the owners.