2008 was definitely a long time ago.
The season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs was memorable for all the wrong reasons that year, with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suffering a season-ending knee injury mere moments into the game. ¬†It was hard to imagine coming off of an undefeated regular season, especially with all the pieces still in place to potentially run the table again, that Brady’s season would be cut short so soon. Yet after having not missed a game since taking over in 2001, it was a harsh reminder of how quickly things can change.
It’s been a long time since someone other than Tom Brady has been under center for New England. (USA TODAY Images)
Here we are years later and Brady is coming off of winning his fourth title, which had eluded this team for a decade. This should have been an enjoyable time for both he and the fans here in New England, especially given all the obstacles they overcame during the year to get there. ¬†However, instead of being able to enjoy the accolades that typically accompany a championship win, Brady’s offseason has been shrouded with accusations and an investigation (one in which Ted Wells admitted millions of dollars were spent…which is still mind-boggling) all over how 1 psi was missing from footballs.
As it stands right now Brady’s currently facing a four game suspension over that debacle, although that story still has a long way to play out before we know the outcome. ¬†Hopefully fans¬†will see¬†that number reduced, but if Brady does miss a game, it will end a pretty good streak he’s had going since coming back from his knee injury.
Up until that injury Brady hadn’t missed a game since taking over as the Patriots’ signal caller, and he’s been just as reliable since returning. ¬†Brady is currently ranked fourth in the NFL in consecutive¬†regular season games played among quarterbacks¬†with 96, trailing the Giants’ Eli Manning (167), San Diego’s¬†Philip Rivers (145) and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco (112).
If he’s forced to sit out, that streak obviously comes to an end. ¬†Brady’s a guy who hates not being on the field, but if the NFLPA and his legal team can’t get this overturned, he may not have much of a choice.
Owner Robert Kraft put down his gloves last week against the league but the fight seems to be just getting started for the veteran quarterback. ¬†Brady has been quiet since the investigation and said a couple of weeks ago that he would be saying something “soon” about this mess, although to this point he hasn’t said a word since.
For now we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out, but the numbers are a reminder that it’s been a long time since someone other than Brady has taken a meaningful snap under center for New England. ¬†Whether or not he’ll be out there for sixteen games again in 2015 will likely remain the biggest question in the months ahead.