NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has spent the past 14 months chasing Tom Brady over much-questioned allegations that the New England Patriots quarterback “more likely than not” knew about deflated footballs, even taking the Deflategate case to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

So Patriots fans probably won’t like Goodell giving Peyton Manning, who will retire Monday, quite the glorious send-off, even as the soon-to-be-former Denver Broncos quarterback faces legal questions of his own.

“Peyton Manning’s extraordinary career was driven by his talent, an incredible work ethic, and an unwavering desire to be the best and ended so perfectly for him with a Super Bowl victory,” Goodell said Sunday in a statement released by the league, according to ESPN. “Peyton’s competitive fire and love of the game made him a legendary player who thrilled fans for a generation. He has served as a great representative of the NFL both on the field and in his community. We are forever grateful for Peyton’s unmatched contributions to the game and know that his success will continue in the next phase of his life.”

Manning’s 18th NFL season ended with a Super Bowl championship but also with new allegations concerning a 2011 human growth hormone shipment and resurfaced details about a 1996 sexual assault claim while the QB was at the University of Tennessee. The media and many others were quick to defend Manning, in sharp contrast to their treatment of Brady, who was raked over the coals — and still is.

To be fair, Goodell said in October that he has “a lot of respect and admiration” for Brady. It’s just that the rules are the rules, according to the commissioner, and everyone must follow them.

Still, to the New England faithful, it’s quite the statement when Goodell comes to praise Manning but continues to bury Brady.

Thumbnail photo via Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports Images

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