Tom Brady: How does his suspension impact AFC East?
Unfortunately for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, the U.S. Court of Appeals reinstated the four- game suspension on him as he’ll miss Week 1-4. How does this affect the AFC East in 2016?
Just when you thought the #DeflateGate saga was over, another plot twist emerges. Brady‘s suspension was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals on Monday and will serve said suspension at the beginning of the upcoming season.
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It’s another chapter in a muddled saga that could put a damper on Brady’s legacy when things are all said and done. But that is several years from now, let’s talk about the immediate impact this has on the 2016 season.
Dec 13, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Brady appears to be out of options and the American legal system has stated its ruling and according to Lindsey H. Jones of USA Today, his chances are slim to none on getting this suspension reversed. Rafi Melkonian, a partner at the Houston firm of Wright & Close explained in further detail:
“He would need to get a majority of those judges to agree they want to hear this case. That is incredibly rare in every circuit, especially in the 2nd circuit, which is notorious for not taking cases en banc,” Melkonian said. “That, I would say, has a less than 1% chance of it happening.”
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So in layman’s terms Brady is missing the first four games of next season which include games against the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills.
So how does this suspension impact the AFC East?
Well again, as discussed last season, it opens the doors for the other teams in the division.
It directly impacts the Dolphins and Bills who actually play the Patriots within the first four weeks of the season.
But it also indirectly affects the Jets who finished second in the AFC East at 10-6. The Patriots have proven before that they can survive without Brady (finishing 11-5 and missing the playoffs back in 2008 after Brady’s season ending injury).
The heir to the throne, Jimmy Garoppolo, is relatively inexperienced and the Patriots at least on paper seem to be facing a relatively competitive schedule to open the season. The Cardinals were in the NFC Championship game, the Texans went to the playoffs (improving in the offseason) and division games are always toss-ups.
The Patriots in the revenge tour last season made it all the way to the AFC Championship game. Could this suspension be enough for the Jets, Bills or Dolphins to take the opportunity?
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The Jets don’t have a quarterback right now, the Dolphins lost a lot of key pieces, and the Bills are well, the Bills. The suspension opens up an opportunity, nothing more than that though as it is up to each respective team to take advantage of said opportunity.