The punishment the Commissioner of Football imposed on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots – the loss of their 2016 first-round draft pick and the suspension of Tom Brady for the first four games of the season – did not prevent the Patriots from running up a record that guaranteed them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, or from winning Super Bowl 51. As far as I can tell, the effect on the Patriots was:

  1. Their 39-year-old quarterback was four game fresher than each of his playoff opponents.
  2. Jimmy Garopollo is the hottest player on the trade market after having showcased himself during Brady’s absence, while the performance of Jacoby Brissett backing up Garopollo gives the team a high degree of confidence in him as their second-string QB.

Hey, ref, can you check out this sanction? It feels a little soft to me.


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