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NFL Weekend: The Week That Was, And What's Ahead...

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Crammed into the week before training camp began, three people stand out: Tom Brady, Jen Welter, and Sheldon Richardson... I'll get to them in a minute, since this is a time of year marking the end of the NFL deadzone. Training camps are in full swing, and the beginning of the 2015 season isn't all that far away. Heck, the first pre-season game will be on August 9th: Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota, in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio...

An interesting note about just where this game will be played: Fawcett Stadium. For those who bemoan how NFL teams somehow get cities to foot the bill to build fancy homes for NFL teams, get ready to moan just a bit longer... Built between 1937-39 for $500,000, it was a combined financial effort with the Federal government (WPA), and the Canton School board. Yes, the Canton public schools system ponied up the cost of materials... OK, it was built as a high school football stadium, but I couldn't resist the urge to edge toward how the NFL somehow found a way to use a stadium without really paying for it. They did foot the bill on subsequent renovations, taking the original seating from 15,000 to its current 22,364, and adding lights to enable ABC Sports to telecast night games.

The first Hall of Fame game was player in 1962, shortly after the HOF museum opened. It became a AFC vs. NFC contest in 1971. Following a trend of selling naming rights like other NFL-ish venues (this stadium still shares playing time with two high schools, and two small colleges), in 2014 New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson donated $11 million for renovations. Fawcett Stadium - named for a Board of Education member John A. Fawcett - transitioned to the the new name: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.... Kind of rolls right off your tongue, doesn't it?

Seems the new name may not have everyone happy, since the Hall of Fame Game website hasn't meshed with the Benson label just yet? I guess they're waiting until the upgrades are finished and paid for? Have a look...

With that bit of history out of the way, let's get back to those three names I mentioned earlier...

Tom Brady...

While many continue to cringe every time something to do with a football's air pressure is mentioned, the Deflate-gate" mess continues onward. The fact that the league upheld Brady's four game suspension doesn't signal this debacle is going away any time soon. "The Tom" just won't let this one go, and I think he's either getting some really bad advice, or his ego is bigger than anyone ever realized? At this point, every day that passes with this continuing hurts Brady and his legacy far more than the league's. Patriots owner Robert Kraft may have thought bowing to Goodell's fines earlier this year had bought some kind of leniency for Brady; and if he did he very well could be the most naive billionaire ever.

Tom Brady is literally imploding his once virtually guaranteed legacy as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. Hopping on the NFLPA lawsuit-happy bandwagon isn't going to change anything. They've already gotten the cold shoulder from the Minnesota U.S District Court. Hoping to land before player-friendly Judge Doty, the door was slammed in their faces, and rightly so:

Judge Kyle noted the NFL's action in New York "triggers application of the first-filed rule" and therefore "perceives no reason for this action to proceed in Minnesota."

"The Court strongly suspects the Union filed in Minnesota because it has obtained favorable rulings from this Court in the past on behalf of its members," Judge Kyle wrote.

"Indeed, the Court sees little reason for this action to have been commenced in Minnesota - at all," Judge Kyle wrote. "Brady plays for a team in Massachusetts; the Union is headquartered in Washington, D.C.; the NFL is headquartered in New York; the arbitration proceedings took place in New York; and the award was issued in New York..." - Excerpts from an article by Will Brinson, CBS Sports

Trying to circumvent one court for another isn't a smart thing, especially when it doesn't work out they way they planned. Now they have to face a court that's going to take quiet umbrage with Brady and the NFLPA's little end run scheme. Just Brady's bad luck, if the guy who paid for this turns out to be the New York judge hearing the cases, eh?

Brady needs this thing to go away, and fast. I'm on the outside looking in, just as everyone else is in the whole absurd mess. On the face of it - that's all we have to go on, right? - Brady appears to have had something to do with the deflated balls bumble, and his bizarre "...always destroy my phones" thing rings anything but true. Bottom line: This isn't going to get any better for Brady, and the league holds all the cards. Tom, put this thing to rest, and suck up that ego just a tad...

Jen Welter...

Jen Welter

First, let me just apologize to Welter and the millions of women out there. I'm a guy... I admit it. So when the first thoughts running through my head - after reading about Welter's remarkable achievement of becoming the first female coach - bent toward "..She's good looking", it had more to do with this - - than anything remotely tied to disrespect for her achievement. Though I must say I'm a fan of her taste in shoulder-pad labels...

Funny-golf caps off to Arizona Cardinals' head coach Bruce Arians for taking what shouldn't have been much of a leap at all in the first place. Like many, many players have been saying since the announcement, coaches are teachers. Gender has little to do with the ability to convey knowledge.

Sheldon Richardson...

You have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! Training camp opens, and Richardson can't resist taking a his Bentley, a 12 year old kid, a gun, and some friends on a high speed joyride... Really? Got to love his "I'll turn out the car's lights..." thing too... The New York Jets just can't buy a break... A 2015 defensive front that looked down right scary, now has a Richardson blowing up, a Wilkerson unhappy about pay, and a fingers-crossed Quinton Coples. Is it just me who gets blown away at how fast we fans can go from swooning with possibilities, to standing at the cliff's edge of doubt? Defensive line "Swiss Army Knife" lineman - and #6 overall pick in the 2015 draft - Leonard Williams is going to be a busy young man...

Have a wonderful weekend!