2016 was a challenging year for Kyle Van Noy. After struggling to make an impact with the Detroit Lions for two season, things just weren’t working out. While he technically had a starting job with the Lions, he wasn’t making much progress through seven games of the 2017 season. Less than three years after taking him in the second round of the draft, the Lions decided to ship Van Noy and a seventh-round pick to the New England Patriots for just a sixth rounder in return.
That’s when things turned around in a hurry for Van Noy. Four weeks later, Van Noy would tally his first sack as a Patriot—only the second of his career. Two weeks later, he grabbed his first career interception. Flash forward two months: Van Noy is helping lift the Lombardi Trophy after an unbelievable comeback victory in Super Bowl LI.
On Friday night, members of the 2016 Patriots team received their Super Bowl rings, embedded with 283 diamonds as a petty—but hilarious—jab at the Falcons and their 28-3 lead. Despite only spending half of the season with the Patriots, Van Noy was entitled to his ring, and he took the opportunity to throw a little shade towards the team that traded him away:
Note the hashtags: “#Lions #tradedfora6thpick.”
Back before the Super Bowl, Van Noy didn’t seem to hold much animosity about the trade. Though he admits he was surprised by it and thought he was playing better at the time, he ultimately took the blame himself. From MLive in January:
"I'll take the blame for all of it," Van Noy said. "Injuries, that kind of set me back. Ultimately, it was me. I don't want anyone else getting the blame. I don't want coaches getting the blame, scheme being the problem, I think it's just me.”
But those words ring a little less true today knowing that Van Noy now feels more vindicated having won a world title with New England.