(Reuters) - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Wednesday he would not be uncomfortable handing the Lombardi Trophy to quarterback Tom Brady if the New England Patriots win the Feb. 5 Super Bowl in Houston.
Goodell, whose suspension of Brady for his role in deflating footballs used in the game that put the Patriots in the Super Bowl two years ago was upheld after a lengthy court battle, said handing the trophy to the quarterback would not be awkward.
“Not for a second,” Goodell said on Fox Sports Radio’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd. “Tom Brady is one of the all-time greats; he has been for several years. He’s on the precipice of at least potentially winning his fifth Super Bowl ring.
“He’s an extraordinary player, a great performer and a surefire Hall of Famer. So it would be an honor.”
After a seemingly never-ending court battle that included several months of appeals, Brady relented and accepted Goodell’s suspension for the first four games of this season.
The Patriots went 3-1 without Brady and have lost only once since he returned as they cruised to their 13th division title in 14 years before a pair of lopsided playoff wins put them into the Super Bowl where they will play the Atlanta Falcons.
Goodell was also asked why he went to the NFC title contest last week for his second playoff game in as may weeks in Atlanta rather than watch the Patriots at home at Gillette Stadium where he has not attended a game since the Deflategate scandal.
“We had two great games. I was in Boston two years ago for the divisional and the (conference) championship games. I try to get to as many stadiums as I can,” said Goodell, who would have received a hostile reception from Patriot fans.
“We have two great games and you’ve got to choose. And frankly, the focus should be on the players, the coaches and the great game. That’s the way it was this weekend, and the way it should be.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Larry Fine