Patriots fans finally have power to end Deflategate, but they probably won’t

This really, really, really is … not the end of Deflategate.

Nobody’s naive enough to believe it is. If nothing else, the next act was all but telegraphed last week in the annual state-of-the-NFL press conference.

Roger Goodell talked around the idea of visiting Gillette Stadium again, about avoiding it the last two years, about the protocol of a commissioner going to a game involving one of the 32 teams he oversees.

And now that the Patriots have won another Super Bowl — their second since the day the PSI may or may not have been too low — we know almost exactly when the next chance for Goodell to visit Foxborough will be. It will be the first Thursday of next season, the banner-raising, the ring ceremony … the event he skipped two years ago.

If he shows up, he’ll get booed back into the Stone Age. If he skips it again, the crowd will shame-chant him again.

Former Bear and Super Bowl champion Gary Fencik and NFLPA president Eric Winston kicked off the program, and were quickly followed by U.S. Women’s National Team soccer player Brandi Chastain and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., who sat out much of the 2016 Cup Series season with concussion-related symptoms.

Said Springs, who played contact football for more than 20 years in high school, college and the NFL: “As we start to see the effects of football, we want to learn more. Why wouldn’t I give my brain to help with the research so people can become more educated and more aware?”

Although football has driven the national conversation about CTE, February as Brain Pledge Month is focused on expanding donations in other sports that involve frequent, repetitive blows to the head, such as soccer, hockey and lacrosse, as well activities related to military service.
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