Sunday, May 10, 2015

How The Patriots Stand To Benefit From A Possible Brady Suspension

"Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost." Dante Alighieri from The Inferno

As if.

What kind of rat-bastard psychotic would find any benefit to the greatest quarterback of all-time being exiled from Foxborough into the second circle of hell, where those accused of cheating are whipped to and fro by violent winds, the result of allowing their lust for a competitive edge sway their ability to reason...

...symbolizing the power of their wants and desires to blow them around aimlessly, certainly off the straight and narrow path, never able to choose their own direction, doomed to an eternity of being shoved around by fate like a schoolyard sissy.
Garoppolo would get the call if Brady is suspended

And, yes.  Dante had many enemies and despised legions more after his exile from Florence, Italy at the turn of the fourteenth century, being accused of corruption by his political adversaries.  Also ordered to pay a substantial fine, which he refused to pay because he believed himself innocent - a decision that cost him a chance to return home, succumbing to disease in exile.

For certain, his Divine Comedie, a trilogy of which The Inferno made up the first section of the masterpiece, Dante carefully constructed a metaphoric place of punishment, where his enemies would become subject to his devious imagination, spurred on by what scholars contend as poetic justice.

So, it's easy to imagine National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell gaining enjoyment in assigning those who force him to deal with their bad behavior to various levels of punishment.  Of course, the second circle of hell comes well before middle hell, it's borders guarded by deep and murky waters of the River Styx, souls doomed "into a black sulkiness which can find no joy in God, or man, or the Universe."...

...those doomed to the fate of the violent ferried across the river by Charon.  In the seventh circle is where one may find most of Goodell's condemned, where the violent against people and property are immersed in accordance with their level of sin in Phlegethon, a river of blood and fire that runs parallel to Styx that has centaurs armed with flaming arrows as sentinels, ordered to shoot any of the damned that tried to emerge from the river through the heart.

This is the place where you will find the Ray Rice's and the Adrian Peterson's of the league, only in Goodell's version, the doomed are transported to their fate across Styx by Troy Vincent, but unlike Dante's vision, this modern-day master is kind and sympathetic, willing to allow the damned to earn their way back to the land of the living by satisfying certain stipulations.

Brady is likely headed for the second circle sometime this week, with Goodell laughing and wringing his hands like some preternatural villain while the flames rise and slowly erases all traces of the certain first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback, his fate the result of "More likely than not having general knowledge" that two lower-level franchise minions were collaborating to let air out of footballs that he had earmarked for usage in the AFC Championship game last January.

The word around Manhattan Island, where the NFL offices are located, have Brady going down anywhere from one week to half of the 2015 season, an event that many perceive to have potentially season-altering implications.

Lord knows, there is enough evidence to support that theory, as there are not too many quarterbacks that reside in Brady's rarefied air - and none of those are currently on the Patriots roster.  What the Patriots do have is 2014 second round draft pick Jimmy Garoppolo, a project so well-schooled in the Pro set offense and with an off-the charts football IQ that the club was comfortable with sending long-time Brady backup Ryan Mallett packing for Houston last offseason.

An unintended repercussion of an imminent Brady suspension is that, despite the burden of not having Brady running his offense, Belichick will have the benefit of having no choice but to insert Garoppolo as his staring quarterback with a very real opportunity to get his probable eventual replacement for a retiring Brady invaluable in-game, real-time snaps against the best the Patriots' opponents have to offer.

While that doesn't sound very appetizing for Patriots' fans, the opportunity for Belichick to see what he has in his investment at such a young stage of his career is tantalizing indeed - and for Brady detractors, it will be an opportunity to gain evidence that Brady is nothing more than a system quarterback if Garoppolo has immediate success.

Be that as it may, with Belichick roaming the sidelines, history has shown that the Patriots always have a fighting chance, and it's not as if Garoppolo won't have a supporting cast which could be the envy of the league, given the circumstances....

...with names like Gronkowski, Edelman, Amendola, Chandler and LaFell with sticky mitts and veteran savvy in the pattern and names like Blount, Gray, Gaffney and White to turn and hand the ball to - not to mention an ungraded offensive line with two of the best in the business protecting him on the wings and with a trio of wide-bodied maulers guarding his face.

If there had to be a suspension of the biggest, albeit most polarizing, name in the league, there certainly couldn't be a better situation to have Jimmy Football step into - and if Goodell is indeed the generous and sympathetic omnipotent one whose punishments and reinstatements are fair and just, the best-case scenario for New England would be a one-to-three games suspension.

However awkward it will be for the NFL having Garoppolo under center when the Patriots unfurl their fourth Super Bowl banner in early September on National TV against their hated AFC Central rival Pittsburgh Steelers, well, they probably view it as a lesson for all players to learn and abide by.  Ten days later, the Patriots travel to Buffalo for a date with the Bills, then return home to host the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.

If Brady returns before the Buffalo game or the Jaguars tilt, so be it, but drama dictates that he will cross back over the River Styx during the team's bye-week, a merciful week four hiatus in which Brady could get in two weeks worth of practice before reassuming his role as the leader of the Patriots.

There is zero doubt that any suspension of Brady will be motivating to the rest of the team, and God help the rest of the teams left on New England's schedule, who are sure to feel the wrath of Brady and Belichick, running up the score and stomping each of them like so many grapes as they set out to prove that the Patriot Way still exists as they march on a road of bones toward title number five...

...the PR department for the team could do worse than hanging a plaque in the tunnel leading out from the visitor's locker room that reads:

"Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.

Justice the founder of my fabric mov'd:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.

Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon ye who enter here."

But first they are going to have to prove that they are not just a one-man show, and that's the opportunity that presents itself if Brady is indeed suspended.

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