With the reinstatement of Tom Brady's suspension, it seems as if it is a forgone conclusion that the greatest-quarterback-of-all-time will have to sit out the first four games of the 2016 season. While all reports seem to indicate that Tom Brady will not accept any settlement and see this until the end, the sad fact of the matter is that this ruling has nothing to do with deflated footballs. The court ruled that the commissioner has the right to suspend Brady, which was agreed upon in the most-recent CBA.
It is terrible to lose the best quarterback in the NFL for any amount of time, but could this be a blessing in disguise for the New England Patriots?
The obvious immediate effect from the ruling is that the Patriots are going to be pissed off. If Patriots Nation thought last year was the Revenge Tour, just wait until this year. If the Patriots can channel that energy and put it out on the football field, they should be in great shape this season. With Tom Brady suspended, he will be making his return Week 5 against the lowly Cleveland Browns. Over/Under 100 points for the Pats?
Additionally, letting your soon-to-be 39-year-old quarterback take a couple games off at the beginning of the season could prove vital towards the end of the season. Whether Patriots Nation wants to admit it or not, Tom Brady is not getting any younger. While avocado ice cream and hyperbolic chambers may slow his aging process, the more protected and fresh Tom Brady is the better it is for their chances at Super Bowl 51.
Finally, this gives us all a chance to cast our opinions on Jimmy Garoppolo after a couple of years under Tom Brady. Garoppolo is a free agent after the 2017 season, and it is vital for the Patriots to decide if he is their quarterback after Tom Brady retires. By all indications, the Patriots coaching staff loves Garoppolo and believe he can be the next great Patriots quarterback. Furthermore, if Garoppolo lights it up, his trade value may skyrocket, as many teams could use a young quarterback with upside.
While the Deflategate ruling certainly stings, there are still some positives to take out of it, and I won't be the guy that says this is the year everything crumbles for the Patriots.
Drive for five, baby.