NFL to play season in Brady's honor

I just saw this info over at

The rest of the 2008 NFL season will be officially played in honor of injured New England QB Tom Brady. A statement released by the commissioner's office notes the significant impact the Patriots' superstar has had on the league for the last decade and dedicates the rest of the regular season and playoffs to the injured QB. Commish Roger Goodell stated, "The season-ending injury to Tom is a significant loss not only to the Patriots but to the entire NFL. His absence will be felt around the league, affecting the competitive balance on the field as well as the media, marketing, and economic arenas. Honoring Tom by playing the season in his name is the right thing to do, the least that we can do to acknowledge the impact that he has upon us all."

The most noticeable measure will come in the form of a uniform patch, similar to the "GU 63" patch on all teams’ jerseys this year. The Brady patch will be a simple "-12" on the left shoulder. Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian acknowledged that this is an appropriate symbol of honor for a fallen rival. "With the loss of Gene and now Tom, this has been a bleak year for the NFL. Of course we have to move forward, but we can still let them know that we feel their loss."

Reaction from players around the league was mixed. Cowboys linebacker and captain Bradie James said that without Brady on the field, the Cowboys’ path to the Super Bowl won’t mean as much. "A hollow victory," said James. "If you don’t [beat] the best, it’s not as good. So this patch will get me pumped up for next year when Tom’s back and the games mean something again."

Brett Favre wasn’t impressed by the news. "I was retired for almost two months. Where’s my patch?" he said. "If the league makes me wear [the "-12" patch] I’ll demand a trade to the CFL."

But Kansas City’s Bernard Pollard, whose borderline hit ended Brady’s season, likes the idea. "It’s a good tribute," he said. "I’ll wear the badge with pride. I’m just glad the league is still letting me play after taking out the face of the league."

Brady was not available for comment, but his agent released a statement that read simply " ‘All the right things’ – Tom Brady. We know that’s what he would say if he were here."

- Patriots coach Bill Belichick wasn’t thrilled with the attention being given to his injured star. "One man goes down, and the next steps in and does his job. That’s why we have a 53-man roster. If they want to recognize Tom, maybe a patch that said "system" would be more appropriate," Belichick said

- Each franchise will be allowed to honor Brady in their own way, although the NFL is suggesting that all teams designate one home game as "Minus Twelve Day." Fans will be given t-shirts with the number 13 in Patriots red-and-blue, honoring Brady as the true "twelfth man."

- Apparently the NFL debated changing the name of this year’s Super Bowl in Brady’s honor, but corporate licensing agreements would not allow it. Instead, the Super Bowl MVP trophy will be named after Brady, and the Lombardi trophy awarded to this year’s champs will have Brady’s name engraved on it. "As it should be," said Goodell, "he would have won it anyway."

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