The 45-7 beating the New England Patriots laid on the Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday prompted the NFL to do something it's never done before.
In a rare, impromptu, behind-closed-doors meeting, NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, met with other league officials and unanimously voted to allow the Patriots to take the 2015 season off. The meeting apparently took 10 minutes.
However, even though the Patriots will not play a single regular-season down -- or take a snap in the playoffs, as well -- they will still represent the AFC in Super Bowl 50, to be played Feb. 7th, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.
Head of Officials, Marty Voight, said:
It's more of a preventative measure, actually. There's really no reason for the Patriots, specifically Tom Brady, to risk injury during the regular season. And, it would be stupid for us to allow fans to sit in -20-degree temperatures in December and risk pneumonia when we already know what's going to happen. It's as reliable as the sun rising from the east. The Pats are going to beat anyone the AFC has to offer next year, so this is just our way of protecting both the team and their fans.
Voight went a step further and added, "Who do you think will be there next year? The Jets?" Can't argue with that.
According to the NFL, ad revenue for Patriots games is lower than any other team due to the fact viewership plummets to virtually nobody after the first quarter.
"There's no reason to watch," says Bill Donahue, AFC President. "Some Pats fans have written angry letters due to the fact their wives make them do chores rather than watch a game that's all-but-over in the first 15 minutes. They really have no excuse."
Donahue wanted to go a step further with a second vote.
I was part of the group who wanted to award the Pats the Vince Lombardi trophy this year -- and next -- before the games are even played. However, the others in the room brought up the all-too-real possibility of a 'Brady-Belichick' collapse in the big game. But, I quickly pointed out, as long as the Giants won't be there -- and, Lord knows, the odds of that are even greater than the Jets -- the Pats have nothing to fear. It didn't fly. I guess even the unstoppable Patriots need to leave a bit up to chance.
Commissioner Goodell stated:
We're simply trying to save the Colts, Broncos, Ravens, and their fans from another long summer of night-terrors. No matter how good any of these teams may look against each other, going into Foxboro in January is like throwing a baby into the lion's den. And, we're not in the business of sensationalism. Although I did watch the Ray Rice video like 1000 times.
The new rule goes into effect after the Pats beat the Seahawks on Feb. 1 and will remain in effect until Belichick and/or Brady retire.
L.A. hot-spots Bazaar and the hyper-trendy Boa and have already reached out to the Patriots' front office offering discounts on their spaces for the after-party.