Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Sports

In banning Brady, NFL hoped to hobble the Pats. It didn't work

The whole fatuous episode began 623 days ago, on the evening of Jan. 18, 2015, when the New England Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship. In those 20-plus months, the Patriots have won a Super Bowl, lost a first-round draft pick, fallen in another AFC title game and dodged one four-game suspension of their star quarterback, only to incur it on appeal in federal court.

And where did the NFL's judicial misadventures in the case of Tom Brady and the Missing Air leave the Patriots? Brady's suspension ended Sunday with the final seconds of New England's unsightly 16-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills. When he returns, he will inherit a 3-1 record and a one-game lead over those Bills in the AFC East. He will be rested, tanned (all over, apparently) and vengeful.

The Patriots surely would have signed up for 3-1 behind Jimmy Garoppolo, let alone behind Garoppolo and two-and-a-half games with third-string rookie Jacoby Brissett. They played an atrocious, burn-the-tape game Sunday, but they will emerge from Brady's suspension in good shape. And into their huddle will walk a ticked-off Brady, and ticked-off is just how you want him.

In the bigger picture, the four weeks without Brady may provide the Patriots a benefit to counteract the more damaging penalty stemming from Delfategate. The lost first-round pick, which owner Robert Kraft accepted in the misguided hope that Roger Goodell would drop his hunt of Brady, was always going to sting more than forcing Bill Belichick to come up with Brady-free game plans.

But Garoppolo's emergence in the six quarters he played could undo that part of the Deflategate fallout. The Patriots have the option to deal Garoppolo to recoup the pick the NFL took away. If Sam Bradford could net the Eagles a first-rounder, a quarterback who flashed the potential of Garoppolo should be able to bring at least two. Maybe Garoppolo could have been exposed if he played more. The Patriots don't have to worry about that.

New England could also keep Garoppolo, and it would also be a prudent choice. They know what they have in a potential Brady successor, and they can also feel comfortable they have a capable backup in case their starting quarterback — who, despite his durability and excellence, is pushing 40 — suffers an injury. They even have a rookie who may or may not factor into their plans.

The NFL worked for more than a year to ensure the Patriots would feel the sting from Deflategate, from whatever it is the league thinks the Patriots did in the first place. In the end, they have a 3-1 record and a quality backup who proved himself a valuable trade chip. The Patriots win more than any team in the NFL. It's possible no victories could be as satisfying as all that.

— Washington Post

Comments
Steven Souza trade: Instant reaction to the Rays latest deal

Steven Souza trade: Instant reaction to the Rays latest deal

The Rays traded right fielder Steven Souza, Jr., their 2017 team MVP, to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night in a three-team deal for Arizona's No. 2 prospect, lefty Anthony Banda, Yankees infield prospect Nick Solak and two players to be named...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays trade team MVP Steven Souza Jr. in three-team deal that nets prospects

Rays trade team MVP Steven Souza Jr. in three-team deal that nets prospects

PORT CHARLOTTE — Evan Longoria traded in December. Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson dumped over the weekend. Then, in a stunning move Tuesday night, 2017 team MVP Steven Souza Jr. shipped to Arizona as part of a three-team deal that netted onl...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Girls basketball: Resilient Carrollwood Day back in state semis

Girls basketball: Resilient Carrollwood Day back in state semis

SEFFNER — Tarriyonna Gary's sprained ankle was not in one of those bulky, protective, doctor-proscribed plastic boots Tuesday night.Not even close.Gary, in fact, was not only running up and down the floor, but she was leaping and diving and, pe...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Girls basketball: Lakewood edges closer to state return

ST. PETERSBURG — Paris Williams scored 17 points to lead Lakewood 64-38 past Bradenton Southeast in their Class 6A, Region 3 semifinal Tuesday.Lakewood (25-4) will host Robinson in the region final Friday. Last year the Spartans beat the K...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Girls basketball: Rebounding edge keeps Clearwater on top

Girls basketball: Rebounding edge keeps Clearwater on top

CLEARWATER — The result was expected but definitely didn't come easily.In Tuesday's Class 7A region semifinal, underdog Northeast threw some strong low-post defense against a lethargic Clearwater squad early, then rode effective offensive energ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Nikita Kucherov’s trick shot sends Lightning past Capitals

Nikita Kucherov’s trick shot sends Lightning past Capitals

WASHINGTON — There was some lighthearted debate in the Lightning dressing room Tuesday night about whether the latest dazzling breakaway move by Nikita Kucherov was a deliberate fake or a slip off the stick.Some teammates playfully gave the All...
Updated: 6 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Feb. 20

Tuesday’s scoreboardSoftballAdmiral Farragut 17, St. Petersburg Cath. 0BaseballGulf Coast HEAT 9, Canterbury 4Calvary Chr. 6, Lakeland Chr. 1
Updated: 6 hours ago

Girls basketball: Tampa Bay Tech pulls away late

TAMPA — When Jalyn Spurlin played for Brandon High her first two seasons, she felt "like I had to be everything; everything was on me."Since transferring to Tampa Bay Tech, a team with seven seniors, including Division I-A-bound Janae...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballGeorgia at South Carolina6:30 p.m.SECXavier at Georgetown6:30 p.m.FS1North Carolina at Syracuse7 p.m.ESPNGeorgia Tech at Virginia7 p.m.ESPN2Texas Tech at Oklahoma State7 p.m.ESPNUSMU at East Carolina7 p.m.ESPNewsClemson at Virg...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Girls basketball: Kaliah Henderson propels Robinson

TAMPA — As the post-game celebration subsided, Robinson junior Kaliah Henderson found a secluded spot on the emptied stands to relax, and perhaps reflect, after going non-stop for the Knights in Tuesday's Class 6A region semifinal.Told she had ...
Updated: 7 hours ago