BLOOMINGTON, Minnesota -- Though the Deflategate sage may have indicated something else, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said on Wednesday that he believes the success the Patriots have had is good for the league and its fans.
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This year's Super Bowl-week presser for Goodell was the first time in four years that he wasn't asked a question that was somehow related to Deflategate. Asked instead about New England's relative dominance when it comes to Super Bowl appearances and championships, the commissioner explained that their consistency is something to behold.
"It’s really remarkable," he said, "that they’re going for their third Super Bowl in four years in this kind of a system, where keeping that group together, changing whatever they need to change, whether it’s players or coaches, they do that in a way and still create success.
"I just marvel at that. I think our other clubs marvel at that. I think fans marvel at that."
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For the NFL, having the Patriots back in the Super Bowl, and having a variety of non-playoff clubs from 2016 back in the playoffs this year -- the Jags, Bills, Titans, Eagles, Vikings, Rams, Saints and Panthers were all back in -- represents all that the league is shooting for.
"I think the balance of having new teams with having teams that continue to find ways to win is a great thing for the NFL," Goodell said. "And I think it’s a great thing for our fans, so you can continue to win, and there are also teams that can surprise you. That’s what makes our game special."
Patriots first-round draft pick Sony Michel surprised both of his parents with new cars.
Michel told the NBC Sports Boston Camera Guys all about it, saying "It's my obligation to take care of my parents. That's always been my goal, to take care of everything they need from here on out."
Michel posted photos on Friday of his parents posing next to their new rides:
Jabar Gaffney, a former Patriots (2006-08) wide receiver, is suspected of vandalizing a car belonging to his former high school and college teammate Lito Shepard, an ex-Philadelphia Eagles cornerback.
Gaffney and Sheppard were teammates at the University of Florida and in high school, and according to details from the police report published by First Coast News, Sheppard said he and Gaffney, and Gaffney's longtime girlfriend, have had an ongoing feud that began in 2012.
Here's the account of the incident outside a Jacksonville Beach restaurant from the police report: "Gaffney retrieved some type of tool and a container from the suspect's vehicle, walked over to the passenger's side of the victim's vehicle near the gas tank, and pried it open. Gaffney then poured an unknown substance from the container into the gas tank...The unknown female walked around the vehicle and stabbed all of the tires with a sharp object."
The report said the suspects fled the scene in an unknown direction. Sheppard said his BMW sustained about $14,000 in damages.
No arrests have been made as of yet. Gaffney, 37, caught eight touchdown passes in 43 games (20 starts) in three seasons in New England.