FOXBORO -- It has to be driving the folks at 345 Park Avenue slightly bananas that the player they worked so hard to keep off the field has been the league’s best through two weeks.

The Patriots are 2-0 and Tom Brady -- out on parole, as it were -- leads the NFL with 754 yards, seven touchdowns passes, and hasn’t thrown a pick.

Interestingly, despite having the best performances in the AFC over the first two weeks, Brady’s been brushed past for the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week honors both times.

First, it was Titans rookie Marcus Mariota winning it after throwing four first-half touchdowns in his first NFL start. You can kinda understand that: Mariota set a record, Tennessee does something of worthwhile mention every few years or so, blappity, blah, blah.

This week, though, the NFL’s media staff decided that Brady throwing for 466 yards and three touchdowns on the road against Rex Ryan’s ballyhooed defense in the most hyped game of the week (could ESPN have been any more transparent with its rooting interest as it pumped up the Bills for seven days?) was no match for Ben Roethlisberger throwing for 369 and three touchdowns at home against the 49ers.


On one hand, it’s the Player of the Week award. Roethlisberger’s won 12 of them. Brady’s won 24. A season-and-a-half of Player of the Week certificates. And that’s if the NFL even dips into the budget to send out an 8x10 sheet of parchment with Roger Goodell’s signature stamped at the bottom anymore.

So what if Mr. and Mrs. Brady out in San Mateo don’t get to slap another, “My Son Won AFC Offensive Player of the Week in the NFL!” window sticker on the minivan.

It just doesn’t matter. And that’s why the league’s refusal to cough up a piddly award makes it all the more amusing.

The NFL easily spent more than $10 million trying to keep Brady off the field until Columbus Day. Its legal team got battered. The national reputations of league officials couldn’t be lower. Owners, coaches and GMs from teams that ran to the league for relief from the Patriots, or patted Goodell on the back for a job well-done on “the Brady thing”, are in turmoil.

They can’t control that. The league can control who gets the Player of the Week Award, though.

And it won’t be Tom Brady, dammit!