It's been a wonderful week to be a New England Patriots fan. The start of the NFL season is a beautiful thing in and of itself, but the focus and heartbeat of all Pats fans has been the return of Tom Brady. After last week's overturned suspension of Brady by a New York District court's Judge Richard Berman, he will be taking the field for the Pats' first game on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. While there are about 500 things to love about this successful appeal by Brady, here are 12 — the hallowed number — things to love about Brady's overturned suspension:
1. TB12 is back with a vengeance.
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This one is obvious. Thank the powers that be, Brady will be donning jersey number 12 this week and leading Massachusetts' favorite Pats in their first obliteration of the season. All of New England and others around the country will watch in awe as TB12 gloriously jogs out of the tunnel and leads the rest of the Pats behind him.
2. Jimmy Garoppolo can breathe now.
Good ole Garoppolo can rest this week knowing that he won’t be under the scrutiny of Bill Belichick and every person in New England. Yes, people love Garoppolo and he has much potential to be a great quarterback in the league, but we missed our golden boy. Big thanks to Garoppolo for working hard over training camp as if he would start these first four games, but the master will take it from here. Maybe Garoppolo can grab a snack during the game, get a good seat to watch from, kick back and relax.
3. Belichick may actually smile.
Brady is to Belichick as a tiny lamb is to a caring shepherd. Belichick may love Brady more than his family at times, and he could not be more elated that his quarterback is in this week's the starting lineup. The ever-stoic Belichick is likely to crack a small, discrete smile on Thursday as Brady leads the offense, but who could blame him? In all seriousness, Belichick — like all Patriots front office officials — has had Brady’s back since the night of the Colts game where it all started, and it will be nice for him to finally see his loyalty and trust pay off.
4. Robert Kraft can continue to bash the league and Roger Goodell.
Kraft, Patriots owner and true hype-man, has had quite a few things to say over the course of Deflategate, most notably saying he was “wrong to put his trust in the league” during a press conference after he accepted the penalties levied by the NFL in order to simply get Brady back on the field. Last Thursday Kraft issued this statement about the Deflategate saga:
“As I have said during this process and throughout his Patriots career, Tom Brady is a classy person of the highest integrity. He represents everything that is great about this game and this league. Yet, with absolutely no evidence of any actions of wrongdoing by Tom in the Wells report, the lawyers at the league still insisted on imposing and defending unwarranted and unprecedented discipline. Judge Richard Berman understood this and we are greatly appreciative of his thoughtful decision that was delivered today. Now, we can return our focus to the game on the field."
Right on, Mr. Kraft.
5. Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski have Christmas in September.
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It’s no surprise that fan favorites Gronkowski and Edelman are extremely pumped that their quarterback is back in action. Once again, Garoppolo is a great guy, but there is no stronger bond between these two playmakers than that between them and their quarterback. They both took to Twitter after the suspension was lifted and posted photos and messages of excitement that Brady is back. Bromance is a real thing and fans love it.
6. The home opener ceremony will be crazy.
The Patriots are the reigning Super Bowl champions and will have their banner raised on the field just before kickoff on Thursday. It will be a glorious reminder of how dominant the Pats were last year, the infamous interception by Malcolm Butler, and Brady’s fourth ring. The crowd, Boston, Massachusetts, and New England will go wild, and this will be the loudest region of the country this week. Alas, Goodell will not make it, a curious thing since he has attended every opening night since becoming commissioner in 2006.
7. We can actually have a home opener ceremony now.
There was a very significant movement called #NoBradyNoBanner. Fans and the team were willing to delay the ceremony if Brady was not reinstalled into the Patriots' lineup for the opening night ceremony. How can you raise a Superbowl banner without the arm of your offense? Better yet, how can you raise the banner without the G.O.A.T? If you aren’t aware that G.O.A.T stands for “greatest of all time” then perhaps your allegiances lie with a different team.
8. The Indianapolis Colts are obviously on our schedule this season.
The Colts are basically the reason this whole exhausting process happened in the first place. After the AFC championship game last season in which the Pats wiped out Indianapolis 45-7, NFL officials launched an investigation into the inflation of footballs. Don’t you feel like it should be more important to investigate players involved in domestic violence, drug abuse, and actual crimes?
9. The road to another possible Super Bowl win.
Anyone else in the country that does not root for the Pats will be very much rooting against us this season, more so than usual. But for those of us in New England, we expect every season to be of Super Bowl caliber. Not to mistrust Garoppolo, but who knows how those first four games would have gone with him under center? It would be tough to really get going after a 0-4 start to the season, just in case Garoppolo had some jitters. With Brady back at the helm it will add a new charge to the offense and the defense as well. This could be another year with a Super Bowl run.
10. If the Pats win it all, Brady is surely the best QB ever.
As previously mentioned, Brady is the best quarterback the league has ever seen in the eyes of Pats fans. To the rest of the world, however, he is still right in competition with some historic greats such as Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Johnny Unitas, Brett Favre, and Dan Marino to name a few. With a fifth Super Bowl ring, it seems safe to say that Brady would cement his legacy as the greatest quarterback of all time.
11. Judge Berman slapped the NFL in the face.
Berman basically mocked the NFL and Goodell in court during the two hearings this summer when he read some of their findings and the Wells Report aloud for the courtroom. At times, he would put Brady under scrutiny, but in truth he annihilated the NFL with both his ultimate ruling and his treatment of the league in the courtroom. This is just another case of a player appealing the NFL’s decision and the NFL losing, this time in a court of the law of the land.
12. We’re readier than ever to watch the Pats play this year.
We know there would have been anticipation and anger that Brady would have had to sit on the bench for four games to begin the season. Brady brings not only great football and physical finesse to the team, but he charges his players up and gets the crowd going all season long. He will truly bring a fire to the team and even more of a will to win this year just to throw it in the face of Goodell and the league, and hopefully this time next year another Super Bowl banner will be raised in Foxboro.