Tom Brady proved that he won’t let controversy get to him or his game as he tosses four touchdowns in the Patriots 28-21 win over Pittsburgh in the NFL’s opening game of the year.

By Jeff Weisinger

When his career is said and done, there will be many, many people who will deny the legitimacy of the “legend” of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

And that’s pretty fair.

Brady’s career, along with the Patriots of the 2000’s has been marred with controversy – “The Tuck Rule,” Spygate, Deflategate, and most recently, Spygate 2.0. At the same time, it could be fair, maybe even somewhat, to question the fact that all the success that the Pats have endured since 2001 has been off of the arm of pick No. 199 in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.

Yes, there were 198 players who were taken ahead of Tom Brady, along with the now infamous “Brady 6.”

Brady showed his thanks to the Patriots fans who supported him throughout the Deflategate-filled offseason, especially the recent court trial by throwing four touchdowns in New England’s 28-21 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Thursday night’s NFL season opening game.

“Yes, I think it was something I really looked forward to,” Brady said afterward. He didn’t just throw for four touchdowns though – Brady recorded a 143.8 passer rating, completing 25-of-32 passes for 288 yards.

His performance against Pittsburgh in the opener could be taken in several ways: Brady being Brady, Brady and the Patriots response to the NFL and their handling of Deflategate, or Brady responding to the doubters, haters and critics, as he has throughout his entire football life, let alone NFL career.

“It just shows you how mentally tough he really is to be dealing with what he’s dealt with in the past and to be able to come out here and lead us,” Pats receiver Julian Edelman explained. “He’s always a firecracker. There’s one thing about him: Tom never has a down day.”

The Patriots win on Thursday was also Brady’s 161st of his career, putting him ahead of Brett Favre as the winningest quarterback in NFL history. Overall, Brady is 161-47 his 208 games he’s started. He also hasn’t missed a start since opening day of the 2009 season.

While Brady’s name will most certainly be affiliated with deflated footballs, along with other cheating scenarios regarding the Patriots in football, Thursday night in Foxborough probably would have been a good night to take some air out of the balls. It rained heavily for our before the late kickoffs and poured in the second half, making a fully inflated somewhat difficult to successfully throw.

However there were no incidents of under-inflated, or even over-inflated balls in Thursday night’s game.

NFL officials went through their regular pre-game procedures and then checked the game balls two hours and 15 minutes before kickoff, checking the team’s 24 game-balls (12 regular and 12 back-up). Two game officials, designated by referee Carl Cheffers checked the Psi of each football. After approval by Cheffers, who stamped each approved ball on the corner of the non-insignia panel, the designated ball coordinator took the approved ball and held it in their custody until 10 minute prior to kickoff.

After all of the checks, a ball coordinator along with a designated game official and a league security representative brought the balls to the on-field replay station where they were then distributed to each team.

At halftime, the league randomly selected balls for Psi checks in the officials’ locker room by designated members of the officiating and security crew. Once measured, the balls were removed and back-up balls were used in the second half. Those balls were inspected after the game.

In short, NFL officials and referees are now all over the game-balls, meaning that Brady, or anyone for that matter, couldn’t deflate or inflate a ball if they wanted to.

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