In the aftermath of Monday's devastating announcement that Tom Brady's four-game suspension would be reinstated, Patriots fans are starting to face the distinct possibility that Jimmy Garoppolo will lead the team in it's first four contests.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, however, Brady won't be going down without a fight. Schefter noted that Brady will review all legal options and continue the fight. Regardless of which one he chooses, one thing remains certain: this issue is far from over.
So what are his options?
Sports Illustrated's Michael McCann—a legal analyst who has covered the Deflategate saga better than almost anyone since its inception--brought up three legal possibilities for Brady:
1. Have the NFLPA petition the three-judge panel for a rehearing
2. Petition for an en banc hearing with the entire Second Circuit court judge panel
3. Petition for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case
McCann did note that each of these possibilities were unlikely. However, Brady gained a valuable "ally" in the fight against Goodell and his kangaroo court: the support of Chief Judge Robert Katzmann.
Katzmann, easily the most respected member of the panel, was the only judge to rule in favor of Brady. Much like Patriots fans (and anyone with common sense) have noticed, Goodell's arbitratry wielding of authority was "troubling" to him, and poses an imminent threat not only to Brady, but anyone who could break a rule.
Unless an NFL player were to assault someone—in that case, they'd be fine.
Essentially, if Katzmann's argument is enough to sway the fellow members of the court to re-hear the case—and it should be, since he wrote a NINE PAGE dissent regarding the ruling—then options 1 and 2 become extremely viable. Not only that, but if the en banc hearing is granted, there's a good possibility that it wouldn't be heard until the 2017 offseason.
If those two options fail, then Jeffrey Kessler will need to make an excellent case to the Supreme Court to hear the case.
These next two weeks will be incredibly crucial in determining Brady's playing status for the 2016 season.