By Ray Hamill …
The news created a mini media frenzy this week. Tom Brady is now officially questionable.
At least on the injury report he is.
Exactly what that means for Sunday’s game remains to be seen, but it has been the subject of heated discussion the past couple of days, and for now at least the Patriots are taking an official “we’ll see” approach and giving little away about the golden right hand.
Maybe he tweaked it with the weight of wearing so many rings, or maybe the ever-elegant and graceful Bill Belichick gave it one of his infamous death stares after an incompletion during practice and the poor hand has yet to recover.
Or maybe the news is little more than mind games from a franchise famous for them.
Whatever the reason, it was enough to force Brady to sit out practice on Thursday, and that’s saying at least something.
It also begs the question, how’s that Jimmy Garrapolo trade looking right about now?
Now don’t get me wrong, Brady will probably play on Sunday, and I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest he’ll probably even play well. Potential GOATs have a habit of doing just that in the playoffs, especially when people start to doubt if they’ll play.
But even a hint of an injury for the Golden Boy should be a concern for the the Pats faithful. It would change everything.
Because if Brady can’t go at any stage, the Patriots will have about as much bounce as one of those deflated balls they’ll be forever associated with.
“We’ll see” may not have quite the same impact historically as “the British are coming,” but for New Englanders this week, it should have been just as unsettling and a reminder he won’t be under center for ever.
Which brings us on to Brian Hoyer, or as he’s commonly known these days in Boston, Not Jimmy Garrapolo.
If Brady is unable to go, Belichick will be forced to hand (excuse the pun) the keys of his heavily-favored Ferrari to Hoyer, and no one’s confusing him with the GOATs of the world.
Hoyer must have thought he was easy street to a Super Bowl ring after being picked up by the Pats in November, right after they traded Garropolo to the Niners, who in turn had waived Hoyer.
He went from one of the worst teams in football at the time to the Super Bowl favorites. And all he had to do was hold a clipboard.
For the Pats, however, the deal wasn’t quite as enticing. They lost one of the hottest prospects in the game for a journeyman pro who has had little success anywhere and has been let go by seven teams in nine years, including the Patriots themselves.
To put it in perspective. the lowly Cleveland Browns didn’t think Hoyer was good enough for them.
Word on the Mass Turnpike is that Belichick never wanted to make that trade, seeing the value and potential in Garapolo and knowing that the idea of a quarterback playing into his mid 40s, even one as great as Brady, is simply ludicrous.
But Brady’s pet owner, Robert Kraft, who apparently is nowhere near as sharp as the razors he’s famous for when it comes to making mid-season trades, made the call and shipped out the insurance QB to the grateful Niners all in effort to pamper to the legend’s ego.
For Brady it was all as easy as asking the ref to throw a flag.
The problem now, however, is that if the injury is real and problematic, the Pats may have to turn to their back-up plan, and that back-up plan doesn’t look very intimidating.
As I said, Brady will probably play on Sunday, and probably play well.
Pats fans had better hope so, because there’s a fine line between being the Super Bowl favorites and a team without an inflated snowball’s chance in hell.