Aug 13, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; A pair of New England Patriots fans wear shirts to free quarterback Tom Brady (not pictured) during warm-ups before a preseason NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Brady is finally free.
The overturning of the DeflateGate ruling blew up the Internet and has been the headline of every sports media outlet for the past several hours. The decision drastically changes New England’s odds of winning the AFC East, but it also drastically changes the entire landscape of the NFL. Not only does this decision (or I should say an inability to enforce this decision) bring the NFL’s arbitration process into question, it indirectly impacts the Cincinnati Bengals in a couple of ways.
But before getting to that, here are a few funny tweets regarding the DeflateGate decision that have to do with the Bengals in some way or another.
The New England Patriots’ Twitter was obviously blowing up this morning, but here’s a funny tweet that actually references a quote Bill Belichick made last season, “On to Cincinnati.”
Former Bengal and current Brown, Andrew Hawkins chimed in with a funny thought.
Steelers great, James Harrison–who spent the 2013 season in Cincinnati–congratulated the NFL Players’ Association for the overturning of the initial ruling.
And finally, Adam Jones had a little something to say to Roger Goodell.
But now that DeflateGate is essentially over, let’s get on to what really matters, how the overturning of Brady’s suspension indirectly impacts the Cincinnati Bengals.
Aug 28, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks to his receivers during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
First off, Tom Brady will be suited up in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is huge for Cincinnati, as the NFL Kickoff game is almost always won by the home team. In fact, former Super Bowl Champions opening up the season at home have won a shocking 11 of 13 NFL Kickoff games since the event first occurred in 2002. Now that Brady’s back in the mix, New England will be at a huge advantage. With Cincinnati opening 2015 up in Oakland, the Bengals could have an easy one-game lead on the Steelers by next Sunday.
It sounds weird to say that the New England Patriots doing well could actually benefit the Cincinnati Bengals, but in this case, it’s true. The only AFC North team that has to face the Patriots is the Steelers, so a Patriots win on Thursday night would be huge for Cincinnati. In addition, the Patriots’ dominance within the AFC East is huge for Cincinnati. New England, with Brady and Bellichick at the helm, are almost a lock to make the playoffs every season, so Cincinnati can only hope that New England wins a ton of games within the AFC East. The Patriots will face the Dolphins, the Bills and the Jets two times each in 2015, and if New England sweeps the division, that’s two automatic losses for teams that could be vying for a Wild Card berth late in the season.
In the end, Brady’s presence on New England’s roster in the first two games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Buffalo Bills greatly helps Cincinnati indirectly. Assuming that New England is a lock to make the playoffs, winning games against the Steelers and the Bills certainly helps Cincinnati; the Wild Card race in the AFC is always a tight one, and the Bengals could use all the help they can get.