You can stop all the wondering right now, he’s not Tom Petty. And this is about history.
There is absolutely zero chance that Tom Brady will skip a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be honored on an international stage with 42 other Super Bowl MVPs who will be recognized on Saturday night’s NFL Honors show and in an on-field ceremony that will air on CBS prior to Super Bowl 50’s kickoff Sunday.
“You are part of an elite group that has earned one of the most prestigious honors in sports as one of only 43 players to have been named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in his letter to Brady dated April 16, before Deflategate turned into the theater of the absurd.
Brady was so taken with announcement that he posted a photo of the letter on his Facebook page.
“What an honor,” Brady wrote on April 28. “Hope I have my helmet on for the on-field ceremony in SF! #teameffort.”
Brady can forget the helmet, but he can’t forget what this honor represents. His legacy in the game. The effort of his teammates. The loyalty of the fans.
It’s true that Goodell and Brady have been battling for over a year over what really happened to the underinflated footballs in Foxboro. And that battle continues in court in March, and Goodell is currently under fire for not revealing his PSI “spot check” finding over the last season.
But this honor is not related to Deflategate in any way, shape, or form. This event is mutually exclusive of Brady’s tiresome feud with the NFL commissioner. And if Brady makes it about that and is a no-show in San Francisco — essentially his hometown — he loses big and will live to regret it.
Goodell recently reiterated his respect for Brady who he has “great admiration” for in all things other than the Deflategate saga.
“I have great admiration for Tom,” Goodell said on The Rich Eisen Show Tuesday. “I know him personally. Obviously, I respect his playing ability. He’s an extraordinary player, a sure Hall of Famer.
“I have nothing but admiration for him, but I have to make sure we continue to do the things that are necessary to protect the integrity of our game and I will do that without compromise.”
The bottom line is this an unforgettable opportunity to be shoulder-to-shoulder with his boyhood idol Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, John Elway, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and other NFL greats.
It would be an unmitigated disaster if the sixth-round draft pick turned All-Time NFL Great were to somehow convince himself that skipping the event was in his best interest.
“He’s got to go and show some class,” ESPN’s Bob Ryan said on CSNNE’s “Sports Sunday.” “He may even have some fun. He may even have a quick one-liner for the commissioner. Seriously, take the highest road possible. That’s my advice to Tom Brady. Get out there.”
And the Herald’s Steve Buckley is betting on Brady making making an appearance.
Rodney Harrison, Brady’s former Patriots teammate turned NBC football analyst, also believes TB12 should be in San Francisco.
“To be honored as a Super Bowl MVP, it transcends, I think, a little deeper than just the NFL,” Harrison said on WEEI’s Ordway-Merloni-Fauria show Tuesday. “I think he’ll be doing himself a justice, his family, representing.”
And make no mistake, this is not just another trip to the White House that Brady can blow off to get a workout in at Gillette Stadium.
That barely flew with the fans. And this would serve as a big kick in the teeth to Patriots Nation whether they admit it or not.
Tom Brady Sr., the famous QBs father, claims he doesn’t know if his son will attend the ceremonies in No. California over the weekend.
“He said he would let us know soon,” Tom Sr. told the Globe’s Chris Gasper. I have no idea whether he is going to do it or not do it,” said Brady Sr. “I didn’t know he was going to Michigan [for National Signing Day] until I read the paper.”
Brady was named the Patriots MVP in Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XLIX in what Goodell wrote was “an enduring legacy of a great performance on the biggest stage in sports.”
In the Super Bowl XXXIX win over the Eagles in 2005, it was wideout Deion Branch who earned the MVP honor over his quarterback.
Brady — who appeared with Derek Jeter and others in Ann Arbor for Michigan’s Signing Day Wednesday has not tipped his hand on whether or not he will show for the Super Bowl festivities.
“I’m not sure [if I’ll watch the Super Bowl],” Brady said in a postgame press conference after the loss in Denver although the press failed to ask directly about the MVP ceremony. “So I don’t know. Get over these bumps and bruises, that’ll be the first thing.”
And the next thing he’s going to do is get on that plane, go west, and do the right thing.