If youíre a loyal listener to local sports talk radio in Boston, particularly 98.5 The Sports Hub, you know Mike Curtis.
You just may not realize it.
In the radio world, the popular caller goes by the name, "Mike From Attleboro." Occasionally now "Mike From Parts Unknown", since he recently relocated from Attleboro.
Saturday morning, Curtis casually started a movement thatís since taken New England by storm in the wake of the Deflategate verdict. If youíre on social media, youíve seen it.
That's where it all started.
If youíre new to the trend, Tom Brady was suspended four games Ė pending an appeal Ė for his role in the leagueís ball-deflation scandal. The heart of the hashtag is fans donít want to see the Patsí fourth Super Bowl banner displayed on the Gillette Stadium facade alongside their previous title-signifying banners from 2001, 2003 and 2004 until their three-time MVP-winning quarterback is on the field with his teammates, in uniform, to bask in the memory.
That moment is presently scheduled to take place prior to the NFLís kickoff event in Foxborough on September 10 when the defending-champion Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Curtis doesnít think a banner-raising should take place without Brady.
"You know, itís funny," he told me Tuesday in an interview for WBZ NewsRadio 1030 and Boston.com. "I had called into a show on the weekend, Gasper and Murray, and I just out of the blue came up with this idea: If the NFL is going to have this sham investigation and itís going to be, as we saw yesterday, a sham punishment, we should as Patriots fans demand our quarterback, the guy that basically won the Super Bowl, be on that field no matter what when they raise that banner that he helped that team earn."
Thousands of Patriots fans have joined Curtis in his cause, to the point where #NoBradyNoBanner recently started trending on Twitter in the Boston area. He's even been supported by 98.5 The Sports Hub host and Patriots color commentator Scott Zolak.
See you at 10 pic.twitter.com/wRobpn6ZdE— Scott Zolak (@scottzolak) May 12, 2015
"I think this is just a case of Patriots fans feeling like theyíre being prosecuted unfairly because of national perception of them and previous punishments that anybody," Curtis said. "If they want to go to YourTeamCheats.com, you can look and see there are no teams in the NFL that are squeaky clean when it comes to straying from the rules in the NFL."
Ultimately, Curtis is just happy this little accidental brainchild of his has helped further unite a frustrated fan base.
"Iím shocked itís been this well received," he laughed. "I wish #FireChiarelli had gone this well. It wasnít as successful until recently."
Itís true; Curtis desperately wanted Peter Chiarelli removed as general manager of the Bruins for years before the decision came down in recent weeks after his first playoff-less season in Boston.
He thinks this latest effort has a good chance of finding success as well.
"I would be shocked it if didnít work, honestly," he said. "I canít think of anything that would be more disconcerting for Patriots fans than tuning in on Opening Night and seeing Jimmy Garoppolo starting for the Patriots and watching [owner Robert] Kraft kowtow to [commissioner Roger] Goodell by giving in to his primetime season-opening extravaganza. Iíd much rather see that banner go up before a 1 p.m. regional game that nobody but Patriots fans will care about, while Tomís on the field getting a 15 or 20-minute standing ovation."
As things stand, Bradyís first home game after the suspension would be a Week 7 clash with the Jets on Sunday, October 25. Yes, a 1 p.m. game. If Bradyís suspension were reduced to, say, a game or two, his first contest at Gillette would be Sunday, September 27 against Jacksonville. Another 1 p.m. kickoff, and likely a blowout to boot.
"They have extended amounts of time for pregame ceremonies and whatnot [during the Opening Night bonanza]," Curtis added. "So I say let Goodell and his lackeys figure out how to fill the time."
So whatís next for the #NoBradyNoBanner hashtag?
"The thing people have requested is T-shirts," Curtis admitted. "Iím not a businessman, Iím not an entrepreneur. Iíve sort of been looking into things but if somebody wanted to pick up the torch for me and donate the proceeds to Tomís charity, Best Buddies, that would be fine.
"I donít want to see this become a cottage industry or anything like that. Thatís not my game. This is just something that gives Pats fans a voice and lets people know where we stand with Brady."
And whatís up for Curtis now?
"I will not be blocking traffic on 93 anytime soon," he joked. "But I think the hashtag is just a common-sense thing that, if enough people get behind it, it will take care of itself."
UPDATE (5/13, 10:30 a.m.): Curtis announced on Twitter he's made plans to sell shirts after all and, as he promised, all the funds will go to a good cause.
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