RICHMOND—Tom Brady is headed to court to try to get the legal system to do what NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wouldn’t do when he appealed for a reduction of his Deflategate suspension. If he ultimately loses in court, the Redskins could end up winning.
One of the first things that Brady’s camp will do when this gets underway is to ask the judge for an immediate injunction against the suspension. The reason is obvious. Even if the case moves relatively quickly through the judicial system, it will take some time for it to be resolved. If it takes beyond September 10, the day of the Patriots’ season opener, for a final verdict to be rendered, Brady would suffer irreparable harm by missing that game. If the court ultimately finds in his favor, he could not make up for having missed that Thursday opener against the Steelers and any other Patriots games played between the opener and the decision.
So, Brady’s lawyer could ask the judge to order the NFL to let Brady play until things are decided, a request the judge would be inclined to approve. So the season starts, the wheels of justice keep turning and at some point a decision is made.
Let’s say that at some point in the mid to late October, the decision comes down and it is not in Brady’s favor. He likely would start serving his suspension immediately. If that ruling comes down and Brady starts his four games off in Week 7, he would miss the Patriots’ Week 9 game against the Washington Redskins. Jimmy Garoppolo would be behind center, making his second or third NFL start.
To be sure, the absence of Brady would not guarantee that the Redskins would win on November 8 in Foxborough. To the contrary, the Patriots would still be strong favorites. After all, the last time they were the visiting team against Bill Belichick and Brady the final score was 52-7. In the intervening eight years I’m not sure the gap between the two teams has shrunk to much less than 45 points with or without Brady.
But without Brady the Redskins would go from the proverbial snowball’s chance is a very, very hot place to the Dumb and Dumber “So you’re saying there’s a chance” chance.