Goodell admits Tom Brady is 'probably the greatest player' in NFL history originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell isn't the most popular figure among the New England Patriots fan base, and a lot of that feeling comes from how he and the league handled the Deflategate controversy.
U.S. & World
We all remember when Goodell suspended former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his alleged role in Deflategate. Brady was suspended four games and served the suspension at the start of the 2016 season after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reinstated his four-game ban.
Why is this relevant right now?
Goodell held his yearly state of the league press conference Thursday as part of the build up to Sunday's Super Bowl LV matchup between Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The commissioner was asked about that suspension, but instead of addressing the question directly, Goodell talked about Brady's place among the game's greatest players.
“Tom Brady has shown that he’s probably the greatest player to ever play this game,” Goodell said. “His leadership, his ability to rise to the big occasion, and make everybody rise around him. That’s what’s absolutely incredible to me. Everyone just plays better when they’re with him. And so, he’s an exceptional talent, but more importantly, he’s one of the great guys.
“I’ve known him for probably 15 years. He’s an extraordinary guy. He’s real, and he cares about this game, deeply. He cares about people involved with the game. For me, I wish him well. I think he’s going to continue to be a great performer. I’m glad to hear he’s going to play a few more years.”
Brady got the last laugh with Goodell after overcoming his suspension and winning Super Bowl LI with the Patriots during the 2016 campaign. The veteran QB saw Goodell again two years later when the commissioner awarded the Patriots the Lombardi Trophy after they defeated the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
Brady is good for business. He drives TV viewership, sparks passionate sports debates and provides fans with thrilling games -- especially in the Super Bowl. We believe Goodell when he says he's happy Brady could play a few more years.
The league is in a better place when Brady is at the forefront and a major player in the Super Bowl pursuit, regardless of which team he's playing for.