Tonight’s matchup between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts will take place at 8:30 PM at Lucas Oil Stadium. Almost exactly 9 months ago, the Colts were utterly embarrassed in Foxboro as they were humbled by the eventual Super Bowl champions in the AFC title game.
Unfortunately, the Colts couldn’t handle the loss without creating controversy. NBC Sports’ Michael David Smith reported that Ryan Grigson (the Colts general manager) told the NFL to check the footballs being used after the 2nd quarter in the game. Reports came out saying 11 of the 12 balls used were illegally deflated, while later reports said only 1 of the 12 were. Regardless, there was/were some illegal ball/s used during that half of the game, and Grigson and his football team created what we call “Deflategate”.
This isn’t a post about the specifics of the incident. This isn’t a “#freebrady” rant that ran it’s course over the offseason. This is about tonight.
It’s obvious that the rest of the league has their issues with the Patriots organization. Dancing on the line of what is and isn’t legal is something Bill Belichick has done for some time now, and quite frankly, he isn’t afraid of stepping in to punishable grounds. The combination of this and the fact that New England has been the most successful franchise since Belichick took over has made the Patriots the most hated team in the league.
The Colts must be the most sour team of them all.
The days of Peyton Manning in the blue and white were overshadowed by Brady’s rings. While Manning recorded the regular season records, Brady brought home the titles, and often sent Manning and the Colts into the offseason in the process. A team with one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game was only able to win one Superbowl during his time in Indi. Brady and Belichick ruined something that could have, should have, been perfect.
Now Andrew Luck runs the offense there. One legend replaced with the prodigy. What hasn’t changed? Their road block.
Can you blame some of the Colts players for pointing out the balls being a little light during the game? No. It wasn’t a legal PSI for an NFL game ball. But the blame for this mess falls in the Colts’ front office’s lap. They take responsibility in carrying this ‘scandal’ to the extent it went. They tried to smear Tom Brady’s legacy. They couldn’t handle it anymore.
Now you go ahead and scoff at the idea that a team will try harder against a certain opponent on the pure idea of revenge. You usually won’t be wrong. NFL players give everything on game day no matter who the opponent. Why would this game be any different?
Because it Tom Brady. The man that has every reason to demand the top salary in the league, but take a pay cut to help the organization bring in and keep talent around him. This is the guy that started as a 6th round pick, fighting to remain on the roster right from the bat, and made his way (with a little luck) to a 4-time Superbowl champion. Tom Brady isn’t sticking around for the paychecks. He’s not holding on to break regular season records. Tom Brady is on a mission to establish himself as the most successful quarterback to ever play in the National Football League.
Attempts to tarnish the legacy of a man that has worked his entire career to build won’t be forgotten. This should be a fun one.