Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were summoned to the Patriots’ boardroom one afternoon after practice. As they entered the room they noticed an oddly familiar figure already sitting at the table. Slowly the person arose and began to speak.
“Good Afternoon, Gentlemen! Long time, no see. I guess I really should introduce myself. I have many names but for now you may just call me Devlin. I am a huge fan of you both and a behind-the-scenes supporter of the Patriots’ organization. We have invested a lot in you, and I wanted to meet with you to make sure we’re all on the same page before the big game.”
“Tom, let’s begin with you. I remember how upset you were on that draft day so many years ago. I can still see you crying and how you were so angry you swore you would do anything to show all those teams that passed you over for six rounds that they were wrong. I know you felt like no one was listening to your pleading, but I was paying close attention. I don’t want to make it sound like you owe me or anything, but just look at you now. You’re a five-time Super Bowl champion with an opportunity this year to make it six. You’ve already won more Super Bowls than any QB ever and the word GOAT keeps getting attached to your name. Off of the field you’ve been just as successful. How is your super-model wife doing these days? I trust your kids are doing well also. I have tried to keep the pressure off of you this season, as always, by making sure no defensive player touched you—and if they did, making sure they were penalized. I even took care of that aggravating backup quarterback Jimmy G. He was always around, looking over your shoulder, waiting for you to fail. He thought he was so cool. Now look who got the last laugh in that situation. You’re welcome, don’t mention it!”
“Bill, don’t think I’ve forgotten about you. Thanks for your patience. I recall the very day you reached out for my help. You had just been fired by the lowly Cleveland Browns and didn’t know where to turn. Who could blame you? Cleveland, are you serious? I must say I love Cleveland. It has become my home away from home, so to speak, but your career had definitely hit rock bottom. Look how far you’ve come since that day. You’ve already won more Super Bowls than any coach in history and have been titled the mastermind of the Patriots’ dynasty. You went from being a functional coordinator who looked like a middle-school PE teacher in a gray hoodie, to being a respected genius and living legend. Who was that guy who couldn’t get out of Parcell’s shadow? Now you are the shadow! By the way, you’re welcome!”
“That brings me to the matter at hand. We need to be a little more cautious moving forward. We can’t be openly celebrating with the referees after touchdowns or when they start assisting our efforts to get back in the game. There are cameras everywhere nowadays and the fans are starting to get suspicious. There have been whispers of cheating behind the scenes for years throughout the league and even some fines, but this year it’s taken on a life of its own.”
“It all started when I pulled that obscure “Tuck Call” that no one else even knew was in the rulebook to help you win your first title. Then I gifted you Randy Moss in his prime to make sure every game didn’t come down to a last-second field goal. Winning every game this way was becoming more than a little predictable. I thought everyone would catch on for sure when I created Gronk in my laboratory. There’s just no way that anything that large should be that agile and be able to run that fast with an absurd catch radius—but still, no one was the wiser. This year, however, has been like walking a tightrope. I thought the jig was up after my newest hire; Mr. Al Riveron, ignored protocol and, without any indisputable evidence, overturned the call on the field which awarded you the victory over a Steelers team built specifically to defeat you. Even that didn’t blow our cover, as some of my minions in the national media came to the rescue. But the sight of one idiot referee smiling and jumping up and down could undo everything we’ve accomplished.”
“Finally, in closing, please remember to keep the faith, act like everything is on the up and up, and pretend you don’t already know the outcome of the game.”
“Good luck to you both—like you need it! Enjoy the game and revel in the moment. We can discuss the terms of your deals at a later date. I can wait. I have all the time in the world!”