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Chris Hogan: ‘I could not care less’ about Roger Goodell deciding not to attend AFC championship game 01.17.17 at 6:32 pm ET
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Roger Goodell won't be in New England on Sunday. (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

Roger Goodell won’t be in New England on Sunday. (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Much of New England seems to be upset Roger Goodell will not be in attendance Sunday for the AFC championship game as he will be in at Atlanta for the second straight weekend for the NFC title games.

But the Patriots players don’t seem to care at all.

“I could not care less,” wide receiver Chris Hogan said. “I’m focused on Pittsburgh and their defense and studying them as much as I can this week, watching them as much as I can so I can go out there on Sunday prepared.”

Special teams captain Matthew Slater isn’t concerned about it, either.

“Not necessarily, I mean the game is going to be played and whoever is in attendance is in attendance,” he said. “We’re just worried about trying to play well.”

Hogan is also just glad to still be playing football this time of year considering this is his first playoff appearance.

“On a couch watching football, wishing that I was in this position,” he said of what he was doing last year at this time. “I’m fortunate to be in this position now and I’m going to go out there and give it everything I have to help this team win.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Chris Hogan, Matthew Slater, roger goodell,
Roger Goodell will not attend AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium at 11:06 am ET
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Roger Goodell won't be in New England on Sunday. (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

Roger Goodell won’t be in New England on Sunday. (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

Roger Goodell is not coming to New England.

A league spokesman told WEEI.com the NFL commissioner will attend the NFC championship game in Atlanta on Sunday, and not the AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium.

This will be the second straight weekend Goodell has been to Atlanta as he was there for the Falcons-Seahawks game last Saturday. He attended the Steelers-Chiefs game Sunday night and was in Seattle on wild card weekend.

Goodell hasn’t attended a game at Gillette Stadium since Deflategate began.

On Kirk & Callahan Monday, Tom Brady said he would be OK with Goodell coming to the game.

“He’s the commissioner, so obviously whatever he wants to do, he can do,” Brady said. “If he wants to come, that would be — yeah, he can come.”

The Boston Globe was first to report the news.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: roger goodell,
Would Tom Brady be OK with Roger Goodell at Gillette Stadium for AFC title game? ‘He can go wherever he wants to go’ 01.16.17 at 8:41 am ET
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There's a chance Roger Goodell could be in Foxboro on Sunday for the AFC title game. (Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports)

There’s a chance Roger Goodell could be in Foxboro on Sunday for the AFC title game. (Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports)

With the postseason in full swing, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell typically attends one or two games per weekend.

On wild card weekend, Goodell went to Seattle for the Seahawks-Lions game. Then, this past weekend he was in Atlanta for the Falcons-Seahawks game on Saturday and Kansas City for the Steelers-Chiefs game Sunday night.

Now, that the conference championship games are set, Goodell could go back to Atlanta for a second straight weekend, or come to Gillette Stadium to see the Patriots take on the Steelers. Goodell hasn’t been to New England since the 2014 playoffs when Deflategate started.

Monday morning on Kirk & Callahan, Tom Brady was asked about Goodell potentially coming to Foxboro.

“He’s the commissioner, so obviously whatever he wants to do, he can do,” Brady said. “If he wants to come, that would be — yeah, he can come.”

He was then asked if he wants Goodell at the game?

“He can go wherever he wants to go,” Brady said. “Whoever is at the game is at the game.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

TO LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE TOM BRADY INTERVIEW, CLICK HERE

Read More: roger goodell, Tom Brady,
5 mostly Patriots-related thoughts on Sunday’s divisional playoff action: If you don’t have an elite QB, you’re out of luck at 12:05 am ET
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Aaron Rodgers celebrates the Packers' win Sunday. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

Aaron Rodgers celebrates the Packers’ win Sunday. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

1. So the NFL’s Final Four is set, with the Packers meeting the Falcons in the Georgia Dome Sunday at 3:05 p.m., and the Patriots and Steelers squaring off at 6:40 in Foxboro. In the NFC, it’ll be a four seed (Green Bay) and a two seed (Atlanta), while the No. 1 seed in the AFC (New England) will host the third seed (Pittsburgh). But more importantly, it’s simply the latest reminder that in a quarterback-driven league, if you don’t have a signal-caller who stands head-and-shoulders above the rest of the field, you’re pretty much going to be out of luck. It’s hard to look at this group of quarterbacks — Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisbeger, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan — and not include them in some sort of combination of the NFL’s top 5 QBs, at least at this point. (What does it say about the field that the guy who now appears to be the odds’ on favorite to win the MVP has the thinnest resume of the bunch?) Anyway, keep that in mind when the next round of team-building commences shortly after the end of the postseason. (Oh, and for what it’s worth, I’d still be shocked if Roger Goodell was in Foxboro this weekend. That dude is headed straight back to Atlanta.)

2. These quotes from Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler will be fun to revisit this week. Prior to the October game between the two teams in Pittsburgh, Butler was interviewed for the “Coordinators Corner” podcast on the Steelers’ team website, and was asked about Brady and Bill Belichick and if they study harder than other teams, or if they’re doing something special? “I don’t think they’re doing anything special,” Butler said, via MassLive.com. “I think they do things outside the box sometimes, you know, that might be on the edge of being legal or not legal. They’ve done a couple of things in the past — putting an offensive tackle out as ineligible but he’s not really. Sometimes the emphasis by the NFL in terms of what they call and what they don’t call, [the Patriots] use that a little bit. They’ve been accused of doing a lot of things. But the thing we’ve got to do is ignore that and play.”

For what it’s worth, Brady has faced the Pittsburgh defense twice since Butler took over as defensive coordinator prior to the start of the 2015 season:

9/10/15 in Foxboro: 25-for-32 for 288 yards with four touchdowns, no picks and two sacks in a 28-21 win
10/23/16 in Pittsburgh: 19-for-26 for 222 yards with two touchdowns in a 27-16 win

3. Travis Kelce wants to be Rob Gronkowski the same way that Bon Jovi wants to be Bruce Springsteen. The Kansas City tight end was underwhelming on the big stage Sunday night against the Steelers, committing a dopey penalty while finishing with five catches for 77 yards in the loss. On a night where the Chiefs needed Kelce to be a difference-maker, he and the rest of the Kansas City offense came up short. Consider this NSFW locker room video of Kelce a fitting postscript to the season:

4. The Steelers are a far more appetizing opponent for the Patriots to consider than the Chiefs for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the fact that Pittsburgh does a better job stirring the emotion in the New England fan base than Kansas City. Who can get upset with Kansas City? It’s Andy Reid in a big red jacket. Meanwhile, the Steelers are still worthy of a spot among the Patriots’ chief rivals. There’s so much terrific history to consider between these two teams. The names and faces have changed along the way, but this week promises to be a lot more fun — at least from a hype-driven perspective — than last week against the Texans.

5. We covered our feelings about Rodgers and the Packers’ wild win over the Cowboys here, but it’s safe to say, the NFC title game should be a compelling contest in the Georgia Dome. Can Ryan rise to the challenge and advance to the Super Bowl for the first time in his career? Can Rodgers keep his remarkable streak rolling? From this viewpoint, we’re in completely uncharted waters when it comes to Rodgers and what he’s doing. Despite the fact that they’re on the road, our first inclination is to go with the Packers. No one else has been able to slow down Green Bay quarterback over the last month-plus. Why should Atlanta be any different?

Read More: aaron rodgers, Andy Reid, Ben Roethlisberger, Bon Jovi
Jonathan Kraft wonders why Roger Goodell hasn’t been to Gillette Stadium in recent years 01.15.17 at 1:32 am ET
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Roger Goodell attended the Atlanta game on Saturday. (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

Roger Goodell attended the Atlanta game on Saturday. (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — It isn’t just fans that wonder about Roger Goodell coming to Gillette Stadium, it’s also executives in the Patriots organization.

Goodell hasn’t been to Foxboro since the postseason in 2014 and the streak continued this weekend, as the commissioner was in Atlanta for the Falcons-Seahawks game.

So why hasn’t he been to Gillette stadium?

“I’ll let you ask the league office about that,” Patriots president Jonathan Kraft told the Patriots Radio Network pregame show prior to the game. “I don’t know how they pick where he goes.”

“They don’t call the teams and say, ‘Hey…’ You know, that’s not the way it works,” he added. “I think the league office determines where he goes and I don’t know the factors that go into that.”

Kraft said the league office would have more answers to the situation than he would.

“Owners don’t extend invitations,” he said. “You don’t — opening a stadium or something special [might call for it]. I think the league determines based on a variety of factors where the commissioner is going to go. I might be totally wrong on that, too. I don’t know because I’m sure somebody will take this through social media and I have no idea. You should probably ask Park Avenue and the guys there about how it gets determined.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Jonathan Kraft, roger goodell,
Roger Goodell won’t be at Patriots-Texans 01.14.17 at 5:07 pm ET
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FOXBORO — For anyone who thought Roger Goodell would be at the Patriots-Texans game, it’s not happening.

Goodell is at the Falcons-Seahawks game in Atlanta, which could be the last game in the Georgia Dome. Last week, Goodell attended the Seahawks-Lions game in Seattle.

The commissioner hasn’t been to Gillette Stadium since the 2014 AFC championship game.

Read More: roger goodell,
Mike Florio on OM&F: ‘I don’t know under what circumstances [Roger Goodell] comes back to New England’ 01.13.17 at 3:23 pm ET
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Mike Florio

Mike Florio

NBC Sports’ Mike Florio checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Friday to talk about Saturday’s Patriots-Texans game and Roger Goodell. To hear the interview, go to the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.

Goodell hasn’t been at a game in New England since Deflategate began, and it doesn’t look that will be changing this weekend, either.

“I’d be surprised,” Florio said. “I mean, if they win the Super Bowl and he has to hand the trophy over — now, he doesn’t hand it directly to Tom Brady. He hands it to Bob Kraft, but maybe after that, after giving them a trophy following Deflategate does that become that palate cleanser? Does he say all the right things then? I don’t know what makes it OK for him to come back to New England.

“I don’t know if he’s been back to New Orleans since Bountygate, but they were every way of which mad at him, if not madder. Well, he was probably there for the Super Bowl that year, but they probably kept him in a pupmobile the whole time.

“I don’t know under what circumstances he comes back to New England because I really do think the Patriots fan base isn’t going to forget this one and I don’t think they should. Every fan out there should remember this one because every other team is subject to the same arbitrary and unfair treatment the Patriots endured.”

Check out Chris Price’s column where he says Goodell will never visit Foxboro again.

LISTEN BELOW FOR THE COMPLETE FLORIO INTERVIEW

Read More: Mike Florio, roger goodell,
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