The Patriots had a special Tom Brady banner to unveil if he was still suspended to start the season

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots kicked off the NFL season last night in Foxboro in a rainy, controversial win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Before the game, the team unveiled its 2014 Super Bowl banner, hung from the Gillette Stadium rafters next to the ’04 banner and across the jumbtron from the ’01 and ’03 banners. The unveiling was part of an uproarious celebratory pregame show that featured cameos from former Patriots Ty Law, Willie McGinnist, Troy Brown, and performances from T-Pain and the Dropkick Murphies. 

But had Judge Richard Berman not upended Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension and Brady hadn’t played in the team’s opener, the Patriots had a different banner that they planned to unveil.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft told Sky Sports in an interview on Wednesday that the team would have waited for Brady to return from suspension before unveiling the banner, and instead would have unveiled a banner dedicated to Brady as, I gather, a direct shot at Roger Goodell.

“I’m going to give you a little secret,” Kraft said. “So, if you look up there, you’ll see our Super Bowl banners — ’01, ’03, ’04. And that fourth banner, if he weren’t playing, that would have been his shirt, with Super Bowl MVP three times. We wouldn’t have unveiled the 2014 banner. When we do that, this place is gonna go nuts.”

Here’s that banner:

The special Brady banner looks like something you put up to celebrate the career of a player that’s either recently retired or, uh died, so it’s a good thing we avoided that!


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