Tom Brady is one win away from what potentially would be an awkward moment in accepting the Vince Lombardi Trophy from the man who suspended him four games for his alleged role in Deflategate.
Only one issue: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who handed down the suspension that Brady ultimately served this season, doesn’t feel uncomfortable about that possibility.
“Not for a second,” Goodell said Wednesday on “The Herd With Colin Cowherd.” “This is one of the great opportunities we have — two dominant teams playing in the Super Bowl. The Patriots and Falcons have both earned the opportunity to be there. They deserve it.”
Goodell, whose punishment over the Patriots’ use of underinflated footballs in the first half of the AFC Championship Game two years ago withstood the appeals process in federal court, insists it will not be an issue to hand Brady the trophy if the Patriots win Super Bowl LI.
“Tom Brady is one of the all-time greats,” he said. “He has been for several years. He’s on the precipice of at least potentially winning his fifth Super Bowl ring. He’s an extraordinary player, a great performer and a surefire Hall of Famer. So it would be an honor.”
Goodell hasn’t been back to Gillette Stadium since the game that started the Deflategate controversy, choosing instead to attend Falcons games at the Georgia Dome in the divisional round and the NFC Championship Game. Goodell was derided by many Patriots fans for not showing up.
“We had two great games,” Goodell said of the championship-game matchups. “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 we had two great games, and you’ve got to choose.”
One of the reasons he stayed away was to not become a subject of controversy during the game.
“Frankly, the focus should be on the players, the coaches and the great game,” he said. “And that’s the way it was this weekend, and the way it should be.”