The New England Patriots remain undefeated after a Sunday afternoon victory over the New York Jets. The win puts them at 6-0, seven weeks into the season.
The victory comes two months after a federal judge overturned a suspension that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell attempted to impose upon Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and in the midst of a new “#RevengeTour” catchphrase hitting social media sites.
Brady’s since-overturned suspension stemmed from allegations that Brady used deflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts last season—a game the Patriots won decisively before going on to win yet another Super Bowl. That championship amounted to the fourth in six tries for Brady and head coach Bill Belichick.
The deflation allegations were detailed in a report by Ted Wells—hence the naming of the report as the “Wells Report.” That report that didn’t produce hard evidence that the Patriots deflated footballs, but instead relied on a scientific analysis from engineering firm Exponent, which was supported by Princeton University physics professor Dr. Daniel Marlow.
The American Enterprise Institute, however, debunked the baseline of the report.
“The Wells report finds that the Patriots footballs declined in pressure significantly more than the Colts balls in the first half of the game, our replication of the report’s analysis finds that it relies on an unorthodox statistical procedure at odds with the methodology the report describes,” the AEI wrote about its analysis of the Wells Report’s flaws.
The AEI writers pointed out:
It also fails to investigate all relevant scenarios. In addition, it focuses only on the difference between the Colts and Patriots pressure drops. Such a difference, however, can be caused either by the pressure in the Patriots balls dropping below their expected value or by the pressure in the Colts balls rising above their expected value. The second of these two scenarios seems more likely based on the absolute pressure measurements. Logistically, the greater change in pressure in the Patriots footballs can be explained by the fact that sufficient time may have passed between halftime testing of the two teams’ balls for the Colts balls to warm significantly, effectively inflating them.
Federal Judge Richard Berman, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, overturned Goodell’s suspension of Brady because the suspension was based on the Wells Report’s questionable findings and because the appeals process thereafter was flawed. The NFL continues to appeal.
But Brady has been, thanks to the U.S. court system, allowed to play in every single game this year, and has led his Patriots to an explosive opening—a league-leading 36.6 points per game. Brady even beat Andrew Luck’s Colts again.
In response to Brady’s sterling performance, a new hashtag #RevengeTour has popped up on social media, particularly Twitter. People across Patriots Nation rejoice as Brady and Belichick compete without a defeat in 2015.
And Brady keeps rubbing it in, saying in an interview he might play for 10 more years.
“I’d like to play a long time,” Brady said last week. “Yeah, a long time. There’s a lot that goes into playing well. I’ve played with a lot of great teammates. But I want to play for a long time. Maybe 10 more years.”
That would mean Brady would hit 48 before he’d retire from the NFL, making Goodell’s life even more of a nightmare.
The whole Revenge Tour, as social media, Rolling Stone, and the Boston Globe have been calling it, could last a full decade. And it all started when Patriots fans chanted “WHERE IS ROGER?”—mocking Goodell for skipping the first season-opener since he’s been NFL commissioner. While he was absent from Gillette Stadium, Brady’s Patriots steamrolled the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-21.
For now, the tour remains in Foxboro for home dates against Miami and Washington before hitting East Rutherford, New Jersey, Denver Colorado, and points beyond. With New England enjoying the league’s best record over the last decade, stops on the “Revenge Tour” may play as the beginning of revenge tours for competitors hating the Pats as much as the Pats hate Roger.