Don’t worry, the team’s not dumping Brady, they’re just getting rid of the banner.
During an interview before the Patriots-Cardinals game on Sunday night, team president Jonathan Kraft told 98.5 the Sports Hub, a CBS Sports Radio station, that no one should be surprised by this decision because it was the team’s plan all along to take the banner down.
“When the game kicks off at 8:30 [against Arizona], there’s a construction crew that’s assembled down at Gillette. And right as the game kicks off and the season starts, the banner and the numbers will come down,” Kraft said.
Here’s what the banner looked like last week:
According to Kraft, the idea of the banner was to honor their suspended quarterback before the regular season started. However, now that the Patriots’ season has kicked off, they don’t want the banner to become a distraction.
“Because Tom would be the last person — no one in the organization, Tom leading the pack, would want anything to take away once the games had started,” Kraft said. “But this was a way to let him know that everybody loves him and has his back and we don’t feel that he was treated fairly.”
Just as Kraft said, there was a crew at Gillette Stadium tearing down the banner at exactly 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Before the interview ended, Kraft made sure to take a shot at the NFL by specifically mentioning that Brady “hasn’t been treated fairly.”
“We’re a team, and we’re an organization, and we’re a family, and everybody is equal,” Kraft said. “But when somebody is your longest-tenured member who has not only won those games but won four Super Bowls, and you don’t feel as an organization and as an extended family of all players — retired, current, et cetera — that somebody hasn’t been treated fairly, for us we wanted to do something just to symbolize him because we are a family. And he wasn’t going to be with us for the start of the season. And so for that window of time, between the end of the preseason and today, we wanted to symbolize the fact that he’s very much on everybody’s mind and we love him.”
The decision to remove the banner comes just seven days before the Patriots’ home opener. New England opens up its home schedule with a Week 2 game against the Dolphins, which will be followed by two more home games before Brady’s eligible to return in a Week 5 road game at Cleveland.
Source: CBS Sports / LOOK: Giant Tom Brady banner gets torn down at Gillette Stadium