Plenty has changed between the New England Patriots and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell since Deflategate, namely the relationship between owner Robert Kraft and Goodell. The two were good friends years ago, spending time together in the booth at Patriots games.
Now, things are much different. Kraft was irate about Goodell taking away the Patriots' first-round pick last year over the Deflategate findings, which also cost the team a $1 million fine. Since then, Goodell hasn't been back to Foxborough for a game, thus fracturing his relationship with Kraft.
Kraft admits much has changed between him and Goodell, and isn't sure they'll ever get back to their old ways.
"I don't know if it will ever be the same, but in order to do what is best for the Patriots franchise long term, I believe it is best to compartmentalize and move on," Kraft told the New York Daily News. "Like our quarterback, I am trying to remain positive and look to the future rather than dwell on the past. As a native New Englander, that's easier said than done, but I am doing my best to put the matter behind me."
Kraft has been much more outspoken on Deflategate than Brady, who has moved on publicly, at least. Many are hoping the Patriots win the Super Bowl on Sunday just so Goodell has to hand the Lombardi Trophy to Kraft -- and possibly the MVP trophy to Brady -- but the Patriots owner declined to discuss that possibility.
He does think Deflategate gave Brady an extra bit of motivation, though.
"He's a very positive person, and did it give him a little extra motivation? Sure," Kraft said, "The whole thing, yeah, I think it was extra motivation."
If the Patriots do win it all on Sunday in Super Bowl LI, it'll be the fifth championship for the trio of Kraft, Brady and coach Bill Belichick. That's quite the accomplishment for the franchise, and it will establish them as one of the best franchises in NFL history.