Sorry, Indianapolis Colts fans, but no one is going to be placing asterisks next to Tom Brady’s name the night he’s inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Sorry, Indianapolis Colts fans, but the eye-assaulting yellow blazer Brady wears won’t be a lesser shade than those worn by his fellow inductees.
How do I know this?
Because we’re likely talking the summer of 2023 or 2024.
By then “Deflategate,” “Spygate” and every other ridiculously “gated” gridiron reference will be in our memory’s attic collecting cobwebs in the general vicinity of Uncle Fred’s Zubaz pants.
Exactly where the New England Patriots’ quarterback wants them.
Brady’s recent decision to go ahead and take his prescribed medicine and sit out the first four games of the upcoming regular season has nothing to do with admitted guilt.
It has everything to do with legacy.
Brady finally realized the earlier he stops fighting the deflated football battle and serves his suspension, the sooner people will forget it ever happened.
Being a forgiving nation when it comes to our sports icons, Brady will be able to craft his speech in Canton around thanking coaches, teammates and loved ones.
He’ll laugh remembering some of the characters who used to be his teammates in the Patriots’ organization; he’ll tear up while mentioning his parents, wife and children.
No mention of gates, spies or lies — the way it should be.
Like it or not, the California kid who grew up idolizing Joe Montana and would later be compared to him is going to be remembered as the greatest quarterback to play the game.
Not only in this generation, but of all-time. At least until someone better comes around.
This doesn’t make me a Brady apologist.
Like most around here, I long thought he was a coddled pretty boy benefiting from good fortune, be it the Tuck Rule (2001 AFC Divisional Playoff win against Oakland), Adam Vinatieri’s trusty right foot or the inexplicably bad play calling of one Pete Carroll.
But sports legacies are built by numbers, and Brady’s don’t lie.
In a sense, being a second- or third-ballot Hall of Famer would benefit Brady simply because it generates additional separation between the conclusion of his football career and his entrance into the hallowed halls of Canton.
But like former Colts QB Peyton Manning and other greats who have played the position, Brady is a first-ballot shoo-in.
He had to disassociate himself with controversy as soon as possible.
Arguing whether Brady deflated footballs during the 2015 AFC Championship Game ranks as one of the biggest wastes of time, money, paper, ego, emotion and resources in sports history.
New England hammered Indianapolis 45-7 that cold, rainy day in Foxboro.
Brady could have used half of a nerf football, worn beach sandals and pared the Patriots’ offensive playbook down to six plays and the same franchise would have advanced to Super Bowl XLIX.
Is he guilty? Don’t know. Is he innocent? Don’t know.
In the long run, it really won’t matter.