The Patriots are coming. The Patriots are coming.
And eventually, all Paul Revere alerts aside, the New England Patriots did Monday afternoon, a full 24 hours after the Atlanta Falcons arrived.
When you’ve been to seven of these Super Bowl things in 20 years, what’s the rush?
At least Roger Goodell sent a police escort, so Bill Belichick and Tom Brady didn’t have to Uber it from the airport.
But the lines have been drawn. The NFC champion Falcons have a molten lava offense and are eager to be here.
The Patriots? Well, it seems Brady’s dad has already spoken for them.
To Spygate and Deflategate, we can add Dad-gate. The first musket of Super Bowl 51, as it turns out, was fired by Tom Brady Sr. last Friday on San Francisco TV station KRON.
Speaking of NFL commissioner Goodell, roundly despised from Lexington to Concord and everywhere in between, Brady Sr. said, “He went on a witch hunt ... and had to lie his way out in numerous ways.”
He was referring, of course, to the deflated football saga that eventually reached all the way to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and Tom Jr.’s subsequent four-game suspension.
Though Goodell oh-so-sincerely said last week that he would “be honored” to present the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the quarterback if New England were to win Super Bowl 51, Dad Brady told the TV audience where the Brady family still stood.
“It should be an honor,” he said, “because somebody that has Roger Goodell’s ethics does not belong on any stage that Tom Brady is on.”
The opinion prompted Tom Jr. to joke that he has issued a media gag order on his father for the rest of this week.
Which is a shame, because Super Bowl Opening Night could have used Tom Brady Sr. on Monday night.
Once billed as “Media Day” by Super Bowl organizers, the NFL surrendered to the circus a year ago and started calling it the made-for-TV freak show that it has become.
You used to be able to actually interview the players on the Monday of Super Bowl week. Now the media has to wait in line, while a guy dressed in lime-green spandex asks Matt Ryan what his favorite vegetable is.
In truth, little that is media-memorable has ever come out of what used to be called Media Day.
Oh, there was Hollywood Henderson’s delectable line about Terry Bradshaw: “He couldn’t spell ‘cat’ if you spotted him the ‘c’ and the ‘t.’ ”
And there was poor Leon Lett, surrounded by cameras on all sides on Super Bowl XXVIII Media Day, sweat cascading from his cheeks, and finally bolting for the team bus.
But in the end, the most memorable quote ever to emerge from Media Day came from Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch:
“I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”
Remarkably, as the NFL has greedily discovered, there are citizens willing to pay real money to sit in the grandstands and watch people try to interview other people on Super Bowl Opening Night. A search of StubHub on Monday afternoon revealed that there were no tickets remaining for the festivities at Minute Maid Park.
Sadly, the Patriots didn’t put Tom Brady Sr. on one of the podiums.
While the Falcons expressed their excitement about being in the franchise’s second-ever Super Bowl, the Patriots barely had time to make it in from the airport and wax about the “great defensive challenge” they have ahead of them.
They know they haven’t heard the end of Dad-gate or questions about Goodell.
The week is just getting started.