So here's what I want to know today, as Tom Brady gets smacked down by the courts and all of New England curses a world where you can't cheat anymore and then go hide out behind a judge's robes:
What's Jimmy Garoppolo doing?
My guess is celebrating -- quietly, of course, lest he disrupt the Patriots' fabled mind-meld. Maybe a discreet fist pump. Maybe the ghost of a smile. Maybe an earnest "You can count on me, boss" to the Boss, Bill Belichick, while his inner party animal lights a stogie, takes a slug from a magnum of champagne and capers about amid a shower of twinkly confetti.
Jimmy Garoppolo, see, is Tom Brady's backup out there in New England, and, with the appeals court re-instating Brady's four-game sitdown, he wouldn't be human if he didn't see this as history trying to repeat itself. Remember Drew Bledsoe? Remember the injury that elevated his own barely known backup -- a sixth-round pick and former Michigan backup named Tom Brady -- to Next Man Up status?
How'd that work out?
And sure, no one thinks Garoppolo is the next Tom Brady. But what if he comes in and, you know, plays really, really well? What if the Patriots go 4-0 with him under center? How interesting is it going to get when Brady -- who is, after all, pushing 40 years old -- discovers Garoppolo really is capable of producing audible footsteps?
Take it from Drew Bledsoe: This is not an organization over-served with sentiment. And so what happens if Garoppolo plays well, and Brady comes back, and, you know, doesn't play well?
Of course, that's not likely to happen. The Blob would even go so far as to say it won't happen. But the part of us that's a sucker for a good Irwin Allen disaster movie can't help envisioning it. Because who doesn't love a good Irwin Allen disaster movie?
This one's a long way from final production, because even though logic would dictate otherwise, the principals in Deflategate aren't likely to let this go. Brady has gone too far down the road to surrender now, and if he doesn't quit the NFL can't either. Too much blood has been spilled, or least too much ink on legal briefs. And so don't be surprised if Brady, for whom money is never a problem, takes this all the way to the Supreme Court.
Most legal analysts think that would be a fool's errand, because legal precedent is strong that federal judges are loathe to reverse an arbitrator's ruling. And at this point, it's not about whether Brady did or did not have a hand in monkeying with those footballs -- although if you still believe he didn't, you also believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. And it's also not about whether or not Roger Goodell's ruling was fair.
No, sir. The only relevant issue here is whether or not Goodell had the authority to administer that ruling. And he does. The collective bargaining agreement gave him that authority.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Garoppolo waits in the wings, his moment about to come 'round at last.
Paging Irwin Allen. Paging Irwin Allen.