by Andrew Blanchette
There has been an awakening. The greatest quarterback to ever play, Tom Brady, returned from his absurd four-game suspension on Monday, October 3rd, in preparation for his first game on Sunday, October 9th versus the Cleveland Browns. His New England Patriots went 3-1 in his absence, falling Sunday against the Bills, 16-0.
Brady’s suspension is the result of a series of events following the 2014 AFC championship game versus the Colts, in which Brady and the Patriots were accused of using underinflated footballs. Following the accusations made by some questionable sources, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell chose to suspend Brady for four games and confiscate $1 million and a first round draft pick from the Patriots.
While Patriots owner Robert Kraft reluctantly accepted the penalties against his team, Tom Brady chose to appeal the suspension in court. Just a week before the 2015 NFL season began, judge Richard M. Berman sided in Brady’s favor and vacated the suspension. The NFL chose to appeal that decision, and following the 2015 season they won the appeal, which forced Brady to sit out the first four weeks of the 2016 season. Although there was no true evidence, this ultimately came down to the power held by Roger Goodell to suspend whoever he wants for however long he wants.
This past Monday marked the end of the saga known as “Deflategate.” Tom can return to the Patriots practice facility and begin to prepare for the Cleveland Browns. Backup quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett both filled in to start games for the Pats. The lack of Brady effect was finally felt in the brutal loss versus Buffalo. There is no doubt Bill Belichick is an absolute genius head coach, but to go 4-0 with two banged up quarterbacks with little to no experience is asking for a lot, even for him. Sunday was a confusing time for Pats fans; the Pats played terribly, but if you had asked fans before the season if a 3-1 start would be okay, they all would have told you yes.
Brady’s motivation has been a huge reason for his consistent success over the years. It is inspirational for fans to watch him take the field and do everything he can to win. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said, “He wants to be the best player he can be every time he takes the field. I wouldn’t expect anything different from him.” It is safe to say Brady’s return will have a positive effect both physically and emotionally.
Twelve regular season games remain for the Patriots, and likely more with playoffs. The Patriots remain the heavy favorite to win the AFC east division and a favorite to win the Super Bowl. Tom Brady will be as angry as ever, and will wreak havoc on the rest of the NFL. He has shown no signs of slowing down, even at 39.
Roger Goodell is a clown. Watching him hand the Lombardi Trophy to Tom Brady and the Patriots would be an amazing feeling for any Pats fan. He obviously has it out for the Patriots who are the NFL’s dynasty of the 2000s. Deflategate has been a painfully long and brutal process but it is finally over after 20 months. Tom Brady is back and it will be glorious.