Once again, I find myself in awe of how the Patriots just seem to get it done year in and year out despite the various hurdles they always seem to face. The last time the New England Patriots had single-digit wins was 2002, that is absolutely incredible. They haven’t just been a paragon of consistency for the past 14 years — they’ve been a paragon of excellence. At the helm of this juggernaut are obviously Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, but for the first four games of the season the latter wasn’t there to man the offense.
We’ve all heard about this by now. The never-ending stupidity of the Deflategate scandal has resulted in a four-game suspension for Tom Brady to open the 2016 season.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, Brady was accused of involvement in deflating the footballs used in the 2015 AFC championship game against the Colts, which sparked an investigation that ultimately concluded in his suspension.
After a long fight against NFL Commissioner/Dictator Roger Goodell, Brady decided that the Patriots were good enough to survive the first quarter of the season without him, so he abandoned the fight against Goodell’s ruling and accepted the suspension. He was right.
Despite a week-four loss to the Buffalo Bills in which the offense wasn’t able to muster any points, the Patriots are 3-1 and remain on top of the division. Second-string quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo filled in admirably for Brady, completing 71.2 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and zero interceptions through the first two games — both wins — of the season.
Unfortunately, during a week-two game against the Miami Dolphins, Garoppolo suffered a sprained AC joint, meaning rookie Jacoby Brissett would fill in. Though his play wasn’t as inspiring as Garoppolo’s, Brissett was able to fight through a torn ligament in his thumb while limiting any self-inflicted damage during his two starts, ultimately allowing the Pats to split at 1-1.
Now Brady’s back. He’s arguably the greatest QB of all time, and he will be given the keys to the engine of a 3-1 team on his quest for a fifth Super Bowl.
In a pretty fair analogy, the Cleveland Browns’ left tackle Joe Thomas claimed that Brady had received the death penalty for going 66 mph in a 65 mph zone. The analogy was more than fair at the time, but the Patriots’ supporting cast has weathered the storm so well that “the death penalty” for Brady meant Brady got to vacation in Italy while his buddies took care of business.
I feel sorry for the Cleveland Browns next week. Tune in Sunday, Oct. 9 at 1:00 p.m. EST/10:00 a.m. PST to watch a man on a mission demolish the worst team in the league. If you thought he was carrying a chip on his shoulder after being picked in the sixth round of the draft in 2000, just wait until you see him now.
Written by: Michael Wexler — firstname.lastname@example.org