FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One year ago today ...
Who could have known the bombshell that was coming, which would hover over the New England Patriots’ offseason and create an uncertainty over quarterback Tom Brady’s availability until one week before the 2015 regular-season opener?
This was the time, 365 days ago, that was the springboard to becoming familiar with science, NFL rules, Patriots and league staffers, and court hearings that weren’t part of the regular football lexicon.
PSI: 12.5 to 13.5 ... ideal gas law ... Jim McNally and John Jastremski ... Mike Kensil and Jeff Pash ... Judge Richard M. Berman ... Wells report vs. Wellsreportcontext.com.
On this day last year, the Patriots soundly beat the Colts 45-7 in the AFC Championship Game, and a few hours after the game, it all started with this:
Breaking: A league source tells me the NFL is investigating the possibility the Patriots deflated footballs Sunday night. More to come.— Bob Kravitz (@bkravitz) January 19, 2015
When Bill Belichick addressed reporters on a conference call the next morning, the first four questions were about air pressure in footballs. Belichick said the team would cooperate fully with the league.
“I didn’t know anything about it until this morning,” he said at the time.
What did he think about being asked questions about the air pressure in footballs instead of the team’s Super Bowl berth?
“Look,” he responded. “You’re asking the questions. I’m just trying to answer them.”
He’d soon be answering many more, which included an unforgettable news conference a few days later when he said, “I would not say that I’m Mona Lisa Vito of the football world.”
Of course, no one needs a recap of how it all unfolded from there, but for a reminder of how personal and emotional it became for some in the Patriots organization, we could fast-forward to Sept. 3, when word came down shortly after 10 a.m. ET that Brady’s four-game suspension had been overturned in court by Berman. Patriots staffers relayed that they heard shrieks of excitement from the offices of owner Robert Kraft and team president Jonathan Kraft.
The team then tweeted the following:
It’s not over yet, with the NFL appealing the decision, so there will be more courtroom football in early March.
But after being a dominant storyline early in the 2015 regular season, with some latching on to the idea that this season had a vengeance-tour feel to it, the reality is that it mostly faded to the background as the banged-up Patriots made their way through another successful season and now find themselves back in the AFC Championship Game.
One year ago today ... no, this isn’t the type of anniversary to celebrate.
More than anything, it’s a reminder of the time that has passed, and how this is the day when everything changed.