What? The NFL announced that the New England Patriots have already been given a bye for next year and been installed as NEXT SEASONS AFC Champions! How? Huh?

"In a rare, impromptu, behind-closed-doors meeting, NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, met with other league officials and unanimously voted to allow the Patriots to take the 2015 season off. The meeting apparently took 10 minutes.

However, even though the Patriots will not play a single regular-season down -- or take a snap in the playoffs, as well -- they will still represent the AFC in Super Bowl 50, to be played Feb. 7th, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.

Head of Officials, Marty Voight, said:

It's more of a preventative measure, actually. There's really no reason for the Patriots, specifically Tom Brady, to risk injury during the regular season. And, it would be stupid for us to allow fans to sit in -20-degree temperatures in December and risk pneumonia when we already know what's going to happen. It's as reliable as the sun rising from the east. The Pats are going to beat anyone the AFC has to offer next year, so this is just our way of protecting both the team and their fans."

What they didn't discuss is the fact the Pats WON'T be playing the Lions in next year's Super Bowl. Why? You live here, you have to ask?

Pete Salout/ThinkStock