Dec 15, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) on the ground after a sack by Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake (not pictured) in the second half at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
One of the biggest reasons for success for the New England Patriots has been the presence of quarterback Tom Brady. Arguably the best quarterback over the past decade and a half with four Super Bowl championships and three Super Bowl MVP awards, Brady is a champion driven to succeed each year. The only two seasons the Patriots did not make the playoffs was Brady’s first full season as a starter in 2002 and in 2008 when Brady was lost for the season in the first half of the first game of the season.
Brady has grown from a “game-manager” riding a strong defense and running game into a record-setting quarterback. The former sixth-round draft pick has pushed himself to improve and maintain his level of excellence. Season after season the Patriots are in championship consideration due to the presence of Brady under center.
With the NFL’s four-game suspension of Brady for alleged knowledge of a plan to deflate the footballs illegally looking more and more like a witch-hunt as new information emerges, the hope for the suspension being thrown out improves. However, at this point of the appeal process, the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell have been shown to have no evidence that Brady cheated in anyway. Unfortunately, the appeal is only about whether Brady has been given due process under the collectively bargained agreement between the NFL and NFLPA.
Aug 6, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) look on during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Unfortunately, the prospect of Brady remaining suspended for four games without any substantial and credible evidence that he did anything illegal still exists. In that case, the Patriots are left with second-year untested quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and veteran Matt Flynn. Unfortunately, Flynn has yet to practice as he has been slowed by injury and behind Garoppolo so far.
Garoppolo had limited snaps in 2014 and although he looked solid as a rookie, he has not had a lot of snaps in the NFL to prepare him for potentially taking the reins for the first quarter of the season. While the Patriots fanbase is likely anxious to see how Garoppolo does under the big lights of the regular season, be careful what you wish for. A 1-3 start and a rusty Tom Brady returning to the starting lineup could doom the season by Columbus Day.
Next: An Injured Gronk