It is over.
The haters will still sputter their nonsense, but the media narrative (and, by extension, popular opinion) is already changing irrevocably away from the ball pressure nonsense. It will no longer be Tom Brady, great player dogged by scandal and allegations of cheating, but instead Tom Brady, the best quarterback of all time, period. The singularly gifted athlete who never lost focus throughout his two-year ordeal and put up one of greatest seasons ever by a QB (at age 39!) and culminated this journey by engineering the greatest comeback in football history. Then, he went on to win two more Super Bowls, including one unencumbered of Belichick's genius.
Need a personal angle? How about a loyal son who quietly endured those outrageous slings and arrows along the way while his mother battled cancer? The warrior who spent the immediate aftermath of his greatest triumph kneeling on the field, overcome by emotion and completely spent. The man who faced his biggest accuser in person and could have used the moment to exact a little personal revenge (and, really, who would have blamed him if he did?) but instead took the high road, classy as always.
That is a powerful narrative and it will be irresistible, told and carried forth by the sports media and those who write history. America loves a redemption story and Brady will increasingly be depicted as the guy who was wronged by petty bureaucrats only to rise above it and reach greater heights. The old myths will slowly die off, replaced by this new tale of this greatest NFL player of all time. He will be glorified and celebrated even more from here on out, with constant reminders from football broadcasters and the media to appreciate his greatness while we still can. This is the renewed narrative that will accompany Tom Brady as he closes out his career and then moves on to Hall of Fame legend and beyond.
The haters, those few bitter ex-players and the fans of rival teams who have been slayed by Brady over the years, they are not going away, of course. Their bitter worldview will no longer carry the day, though, because the more influential members of the sports media will gradually stop catering to them. It's happening already. Though numerous in number still, the influence of these opponents will be minimized and their protestations will be seen as petty. They will eventually become the sports equivalent of those Japanese soldiers still clutching their rifles who were found on Pacific islands years after the end of World War II, figures of pathos if not deserving of pity. We Patriots and Bucs fans may wince every time we are subject to this whining but it will be a temporary annoyance at worst.
It is over.
Tom Brady has won. Again.