Former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne ticked off a lot of Patriots fans this week when he said on “NFL Total Access” that New England quarterback Tom Brady shouldn’t win the MVP award this season because “he was caught cheating this year.”
The anti-Brady-for-MVP argument can be rationalized, even if one doesn’t necessarily agree with the overall sentiment. Brady missed the first four games of the season because of his Deflategate suspension, so his cumulative statistics aren’t there just yet, though other metrics prove beyond a doubt he’s been the best quarterback — maybe the best player — in the league since returning in Week 5.
What can’t be rationalized is Wayne’s total disregard for the facts. The whole Deflategate saga began immediately following the AFC Championship Game in January 2014. The NFL has gone through an entire season since Brady’s suspension was first handed down. Not to mention there still is no irrefutable evidence that Brady did anything wrong, let alone did anything wrong this year.
Maybe Wayne simply meant that Brady shouldn’t win the MVP because he served a suspension this year; not that he shouldn’t win it because he was “caught cheating this year.” Either way, Patriots fans weren’t going to let the comment slide.
Wayne was on the Colts team that the Patriots decimated 45-7 in that January 2014 AFC Championship Game. Plus, the former NFL wideout spent time with the Patriots prior to the 2015 regular season before retiring amid a report that he wasn’t having fun with New England because playing for the organization was too hard. It’s easy to see how someone who supports Brady and/or the Patriots could immediately dismiss Wayne’s opinion as sour grapes.
As such, some Patriots fans let Wayne have it on Twitter this week. The six-time Pro Bowl selection took note of the criticism and fired back by refuting the report that playing in New England was too hard for him.
If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that Deflategate probably will never go away. Nor will Patriots fans’ willingness to stick up for TB12.
Thumbnail photo via Thomas J. Russo/USA TODAY Sports Images