It’s no secret that New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick doesn’t like distractions in his locker room.
Over the past two years, as the shadow of Deflategate and Tom Brady’s four-game suspension hung over both his team and the league, Belichick remained as stoic as ever. His players followed suit, staying as quiet as possible about their newly-strained relationship with Commissioner of the NFL Roger Goodell, all the while keeping their eyes on the prize of getting to and winning Super Bowl LI.
Many speculated about what would happen if the Patriots were to win the Super Bowl in the 2016-17 season. How would Goodell deal with handing the Lombardi Trophy to team owner Robert Kraft — or even to Brady?
In the days leading up to the big game, Goodell insisted he would not feel awkward up on that stage with the Patriots, going so far as to say it would be “an honor” to award Brady his fifth trophy. He also addressed his notable absence from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, throughout the 2016 season and playoffs, saying that he would gladly attend a Patriots home game if the team were to invite him.
Other than a few thinly veiled shots at the commissioner from Robert Kraft, the Patriots, still, kept their feelings to themselves.