NFL Season To Begin on Thursday With Interest At All-Time High





Tom Brady - National Football League - NFL - Team: New England Patriots - Stock photoEarlier this week, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman vacated the four-game suspension that the NFL had imposed on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his alleged role in the "Deflategate" scandal. With that ruling, Tom Brady is now free to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the opening game of the upcoming NFL season on Thursday night.

In a post on his Facebook page, Tom Brady said that nobody had won as a result of the multi-month wrangling between the two sides. This might be true from one perspective, as both Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell were the subject of much scorn and ridicule during the off-season.

On the other hand, however, the NFL won again this past offseason. In a clear case of "there is no such thing as bad publicity", the NFL dominated the headlines for the entirety of the offseason. The "Deflategate" scandal, which involved Tom Brady's alleged role in under-inflating footballs prior to his team's successful AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, was the talk of the entire offseason and meant that the NFL was never far from the minds of many millions of people. The NFL has made it clear in recent years that they want to remain in the news during the offseason, which is why they moved some events around in order to make sure that something was happening during every month of the offseason. While the "Deflategate" scandal was certainly embarrassing for the league, there can be no doubt that the anticipation for the upcoming season is at a fever pitch. After all, how big is the Patriots/Steelers game going to be on Thursday Night Football this week? With Tom Brady's court battle looming large, don't be surprised if this game does the biggest ratings ever for a Thursday Night Football game.

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In the minds of many, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is a blundering fool who has made a number of head scratching decisions since being named to his post. The Ray Rice and Tom Brady situations have both been very big news stories, but both could have likely been avoided by a competent Commissioner. In the end, however, both stories generated a tremendous amount of press for the NFL. The Tom Brady situation in particular, with its relatively harmless focus on under-inflated footballs, has turned many Americans into physics experts and amateur sleuths. Destroyed cell phones, bumbling employees, a hated and successful team that many wanted to see punished - this story had it all.

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If you subscribe to the "no such thing as bad publicity" theory, this was a tremendous offseason for the NFL, and I believe that you will see the results on Thursday night. While the league has had to deal with embarrassment after embarrassment, their ratings have just continued to soar and soar.

The NFL's stated goal of never leaving the minds of its fans during the offseason has certainly proven to be successful, even if they have had to consistently "drop the ball" to do so.




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