While the New England Patriots have 15 games remaining in the regular season, they might as well start thinking about 2009. As for the 2008 season – it’s as good as over. Sure, the players and staff and front office won’t admit it, but once the announcement came down today that franchise QB Tom Brady was done for the season, the Pats hopes of another undefeated regular season and possible trip to the Super Bowl faded like morning fog.
Brady is headed for surgery and the Injured Reserve list, this after injuring his left knee after 15 snaps of Sunday’s 17-10 win over the Chiefs. The report on Brady is that he has a torn anterior cruciate ligament. “We feel badly for Tom about the injury,” Belichick said while not confirming the exact injury. “You hate to see anyone go down. No one has worked harder or done more for this team than Tom has.”
As for the AFC East and the Pats, they will be hard pressed to even win the division with Matt Cassel being the starter. At best, the Pats look like a team that can go 8-8, and probably will be on the outside looking in once the NFL’s second season starts in January. That’s just how much of an impact Brady has on a team that last season was one drive away from being a perfect 19-0.
Cassel will get his first start on Sunday as the Pats host the New York Jets. Now suddenly that game looks like quite the challenge. For the Pats, they were hard pressed just to hang on and beat a Chiefs team that most say won’t win more than 5-6 games this whole season. It’s a shame when the league loses one of its best, but now there’s 15 other AFC teams that feel they have a legit shot at playing in Tampa Bay February 1st.