The New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals will square off in the first “Sunday Night Football” game of the 2016 NFL season, so NBC’s Bob Costas was tasked with previewing the matchup Thursday night during halftime of the Denver Broncos-Carolina Panthers Super Bowl 50 rematch.
Costas didn’t say anything too inflammatory in setting the stage for Sunday’s showdown, but he also didn’t sound too enthusiastic about Tom Brady’s four-game suspension and how the NFL handled the entire Deflategate saga.
Below is a transcript of Costas’ preview.
“Meanwhile, NBC’s Sunday Night Football will premiere with the Patriots in Arizona taking on the Cardinals — a matchup of Super Bowl contenders who both reached their conference championship games last January. But the headlines for this one are also about who won’t be in uniform, as Tom Brady, more than 19 months after the initial events in question, begins serving his four-game Deflategate suspension.
“Without rehashing the whole absurd affair, it’s still worth noting that ultimately, the appeals court only affirmed the NFL’s right to impose the penalty. It did not affirm that the penalty itself was right.
“The punishment — a quarter of the season for a mere misdemeanor — needlessly turned into a literal federal case, remains striking in its disproportion. But, the Brady ruling stands.
“So Sunday night, the Patriots’ quarterback will be 24-year-old Jimmy Garoppolo, the 2014 second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois who takes charge of an offense that ranked third in the league in scoring last year, and goes against another prolific attack in the Cardinals led by Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald — a pair of veterans who are well aware they don’t have that many shots left at getting to the Super Bowl.
“Now, if Tom Brady were playing, a high-scoring game would seem likely. But with Garoppolo making his debut, it’s hard to know exactly what to expect. Then again, if anyone can make the best of such a predicament, it’s probably Bill Belichick.”
Again, it isn’t like Costas went all in against the NFL with regards to Deflategate in this particular situation. In many ways, he’s simply stating the facts.
But he still used some interesting words throughout his monologue, and they highlighted the league’s questionable handling of Deflategate more so than anything Brady did or didn’t do.