Just weeks prior to the end of the seemingly never-ending saga known as Deflategate, Tom Brady suddenly finds himself in the middle of another equipment firestorm, one some people are already referring to as “Stickergate.”
During the Patriots’ final preseason game, it was noticed that Brady’s helmet was missing the NFL shield logo sticker, normally seen just to the left of the numerals on the back of the helmet. It turns out, this sticker has been missing since the beginning of training camp in May (see below).
The immediate speculation was that Brady was staging his own small silent protest against the NFL over his Deflategate suspension.
So far, the NFL has not commented on the situation and neither Brady, not the Patriots, have spoken about the matter.
However, during an interview with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Tom Curran of CSN New England said that, to his understanding, Brady will say that he didn’t know the logo was missing.
This will probably end the issue for the NFL, who can probably do no more than issue a standard fine for not wearing a proper uniform, something they do with great regularity.
But this does raise some questions. If Brady did indeed not know the sticker was missing, the only other plausible explanations would seem to be: 1) This is all an amazing coincidence, that the one player stuck in a years-long legal war with the league is the one player with the missing sticker; or 2) An equipment staffer went rogue and did this without Brady’s knowledge.
Considering everything that went down during Deflategate — one long-standing theory is that the equipment staffers involved in Deflategate deflated the footballs on their own without Brady’s knowledge — the latter scenario is a fun one to contemplate with all its dripping irony.