The Patriots are no longer holding back their feelings on Roger Goodell

It's no secret that New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick doesn't like distractions in his locker room.

Over the past two years, as the shadow of Deflategate and Tom Brady's four-game suspension hung over both his team and the league, Belichick remained as stoic as ever. His players followed suit, staying as quiet as possible about their newly-strained relationship with Commissioner of the NFL Roger Goodell, all the while keeping their eyes on the prize of getting to and winning Super Bowl LI.

Many speculated about what would happen if the Patriots were to win the Super Bowl in the 2016-17 season. How would Goodell deal with handing the Lombardi Trophy to team owner Robert Kraft -- or even to Brady?

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In the days leading up to the big game, Goodell insisted he would not feel awkward up on that stage with the Patriots, going so far as to say it would be "an honor" to award Brady his fifth trophy. He also addressed his notable absence from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, throughout the 2016 season and playoffs, saying that he would gladly attend a Patriots home game if the team were to invite him.

Other than a few thinly veiled shots at the commissioner from Robert Kraft, the Patriots, still, kept their feelings to themselves.

Until now.

After winning Super Bowl LI in dramatic fashion, Kraft accepted the Lombardi Trophy from Goodell while the crowd inside NRG Stadium booed the commissioner relentlessly. Kraft called this championship "unequivocally the sweetest," hinting at the difficulties of dealing with Deflategate -- casually bringing up how "a lot has transpired over the past two years."

In a press conference the next day, Belichick took the opposite approach, calling it "insulting" to insinuate Tom Brady worked any harder this season because of his suspension. But it seems Belichick is the only one still downplaying the Patriots' feelings on Goodell.

Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, one of Belichick's right-hand men, presented his feelings silently but clearly when the team plane touched back down in Massachusetts:

Hey, if a coach can do it, why not everyone else?

Wide receiver Danny Amendola, who scored one touchdown in the Super Bowl and a clutch two-point conversion to tie the game, let his feelings be known during the team's celebratory parade on Tuesday:

Even Tom Brady, the personification of Belichick's "do your job" mantra, finally let himself get some shots in at the commissioner who suspended him.

In a commercial recorded months before the Patriots even made it to the Super Bowl, Tom Brady flaunts his fifth championship ring with a pretty blatant shoutout to Goodell at the end:

The duck boat Brady rode during Tuesday's parade featured an unabashed reference to the commercial: a "Roger That" t-shirt (with the 2016 championship ring strategically placed on a certain finger) that everyone in New England will be trying to get their hands on.

New England Patriots Super Bowl LI Victory Parade
New England Patriots Super Bowl LI Victory Parade

(Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

No one truly "won" Deflategate -- the scandal dragged on for two years and took far too many prisoners.

Robert Kraft and Roger Goodell, once good friends, now have a tumultuous relationship at best. The Patriots lost $1 million and two draft picks as punishment. The NFL spent millions on an investigation and court battles with one of the league's most prominent players. Both Goodell and the Patriots are somehow hated even more now, and Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season.

But the Patriots came out of this debacle as Super Bowl champions for the fifth time, all in the Brady-Belichick era, and they're finally able to let their true feelings on the matter show.

They're probably pretty pleased with that result.

See more from the team's celebration with fans:

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