Tom Brady missed the first month of the 2016 season for his role in the Deflategate silliness, which all started in January 2015, when the Colts accused Brady and the Patriots of deflating footballs during the AFC title game. By July 2016, Brady had given up his legal battle against the NFL and accepted his four-game suspension.
When Brady returned to the field, the Patriots were 3-1. By the end of the '16 season, they had won their fifth Lombardi Trophy and the quarterback had his fourth Super Bowl MVP award.
In a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, Brady explained why he decided to accept his Deflategate punishment two summers ago.
"Just too much anxiety," he said, via the Boston Herald. "I realized I couldn't win. It was divided attention and I was tired of that, tired of waking up and having a call with someone from the Players Association. I said, 'You know what, I'm going to use this as an opportunity, to have the month of September off for the first time in like 16, 21 years, and 'I'm going to take advantage of this.'"
Brady was originally suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season but won after taking the case to court. He didn't miss a game in 2015 but the league had the ruling overturned on appeal, at which point Brady decided enough was enough.
"I think it taught me a lot of things," Brady explained about Deflategate. "It taught me about the people I could really count on, the people that really supported me, and it taught me a lot about life. Sometimes you do the best you can do, and it doesn't work out. There are a lot of frustrations. I tried to fight as hard as I could for what I believed in."
In the end, it didn't matter; the Patriots won another Super Bowl, perhaps in part because their then-39-year-old quarterback was so well rested.
"Man, that was the best month off I think I've ever had," Brady said. "In some ways, it was a great experience. I think you look back on those experiences and it was a really tough experience in my life."