Monday, Sept. 8 at 4:30

Tom Brady Out for the Season

Cindy Boren
Washington Post NFL Editor
Monday, September 8, 2008; 4:30 PM

The New England Patriots announced Monday that star quarterback Tom Brady will miss the rest of the NFL season because of a torn knee ligament. Post deputy sports editor Cindy Boren was online Monday, Sept. 8 at 4:30 p.m. ET to take your questions about how the loss of Brady will affect the Patriots, reaction from around the league and what it means for the balance of power in the AFC.

A transcript follows.

Read the latest developments in the Brady story at the's pro football group blog The League.


Cindy Boren: Welcome to the spontaneous, last-minute chat that has erupted about a certain NFL celebri-back who suffered a season-ending injury in the NFL season opener. Frankly, I didn't think Tony Romo appeared to be that badly hurt until I saw the gigantic bandage covering his chin. Hold on...sources are saying that it's Tom Brady who is out for the season. Well, that's different. Let's talk.


New York: Karma is a (expletive), Tom Brady.

You were shameless in running up the score last year, trying to generate hype for yourself at the expense of your opponents, including the Redskins.

Thousand of NFL fans smiled when they heard the news your season was done.

Cindy Boren: Oh, man, how can you be happy that Tom Brady is hurt? He is a great, great quarterback whose presence makes the season so much more intriguing and fun and, yes, annoying when he and his coach go to their cliche-asaurus. Still, I do agree with part of what you're saying. The Patriots weren't exactly gracious winners last year. Part of me wonders if had Brady not been for entire games, he might might not have had the foot problem that hurt him in the Super Bowl. Certainly, Matt Cassel would have had a few reps. And I completely agree about the k-word.


Arlington, Va.: I know you don't wish an injury upon anyone, but as a Bills fan, I suddenly feel the AFC East is now up for grabs. The Bills might not win it, but I think the scales of power have been shifted considerably. The AFC is now wide-open and any of several teams have a shot at it.

Cindy Boren: The AFC, the last few years, has been the more fun conference to watch and the more competitive and now it's REALLY interesting. The Steelers and Colts, traditional powers of late, remain strong and get a boost from the Pats' plight. But teams like Tennessee and Jacksonville and someone out of the AFC West should benefit, too. Miami looked a lot better, too. Not so sure it'll filter down to the Bills or Chiefs, who looked horrendous, though.


DC in the fictional zip code of 35332: So any word on who is going to start? I hear that the Pat's may make a play on Son of Simms. There any truth to that?

Cindy Boren: There's no 35332? No wonder my letters get returned. Reports say that Matt Cassel will be the starter. Bill Belichick denied in his press conference reaching out to either Simms or Tim Rattay. Maybe that means he's eyeing Bledsoe or Flutie.


Philadelphia, Pa.: What can you tell us about the Patriots backup quarterbacks?

Cindy Boren: That they do a damn fine job of holding a clipboard -- they are all-Pro. If you're really smart, that's what you do. You can make a boatload of money doing it and keep your health. Matt Cassel said he hasn't started a game since high school. He's so smart, he watched Carson Palmer and Matt Leinert take all the lumps while he enjoyed himself amid the palm trees at USC. He threw something like 33 passes and I believe he may have had a poster of Todd Collins on the wall of his dorm room.


Tustin, Calif.: Is it wrong of me to revel in delight that having Brady hurt will be the unveiling of Belichick NOT being a genius, but an average coach with an average or below average QB starting now

Cindy Boren: Revel all you like, but remember that the same karma that has bitten Belichick/Brady can turn its teeth to your backside. This is gonna be really fascinating to watch; not too many people thought Belichick was going to do anything with that Brady guy back in September 2001. The Patriots now officially have nothing to lose and that often makes for compelling viewing.


New York City: As a lover of the NY Post, I was ashamed to see their headline "Yahoo, Brady out for the year!"

Cindy Boren: I am an unabashed NY Post fan (unofficial motto: Sixty-four percent of the time, 87 percent of what you read MIGHT be true). But that was a stupid headline. Usually, they're snarky AND clever AND mean. This one was missing the first two components.

P.S. I adore the tabloids (I toiled at the NY Daily News).


Fairfax, VA: Why doesn't the NFL require all players to wear knee braces for all games and practices? At least everybody would be hobbled equally.

Cindy Boren: They'd all walk like the Tin Man and rust in the elements.


Herndon, Va.: What type of impact do you think the return of Kelly will have on the offense.

Also, is it possible that another team will win the AFC East?

Cindy Boren: Hey, Kelly plays for the Redskins! That's not a Patriot question! Who knows? We've seen nothing from him. The kick start the offense needs appears to be more of the playcalling the moment.

I think you have to pick the Jets to win the AFC East now, do you not?


Giselle Bundchen: Is Matt Cassell cute? Because you know, what have you done for me lately Tommy?

Cindy Boren: Careful, Gisele. You don't want to turn into Elaine Benes: "What happened to his face? Tell me, what happened to his face??? ... He's a mimbo, I know that, but he's my mimbo."


Philadelphia: Are you kidding me, a Brady chat line? Lets start this off by asking how many other players were hurt yesterday, hmmmmmm, bet you don't know. And lets lay off the "Hey, but hes a player that means so much to his team" yeah right, and so is every other QB and substantial playmaker in the league. It's football, unfortunate, but this chat should be about the game itself and every team, and not one player, unless this chat will be returning next week to talk about whoever else gets hurt with a season-ender. Why the BIG DEAL?

Cindy Boren: Chill, Phil-ly. The Iggles looked great yesterday and McNabb had a terrific game. Brady getting hurt is a Very Big Deal.


Patuxent River NAS, MD: While I am sorry Tom Brady is gone for the year, most of these teams cause their own problem--they give a ton of money to a superstar QB, pay peanuts for a backup, and then expect the backup to be competent when he gets a chance to play. Whatever happened to the days when teams had two good QBs--remember Kilmer, Theismann, and Jurgensen, anybody?

Of course, this might be the beginning of a great career for Matt Cassell, too. Remember--who had ever heard of Tom Brady before he replaced the injured Drew Bledsoe? Sometimes, an injury like this gives a player a chance to shine. Lou Gehrig and Wally Pipp anybody? Not sure Cassell is the answer, but let's give him a chance.

Cindy Boren: I think you raised and answered your own question.


Not Anonymous: Brady going down reminds me of the scene in "The Wizard of Oz" when the house fell on the Wicked Witch (Patriots) and the little munchkins came out of hiding (AFC East).

Is it safe for us to play now?

Cindy Boren: Revel, Munchkins, revel. Dance til you drop.


Schadenfreu, DE: Between Brady's injury, Manning's injury and all the Jags' injuries in week one, this is scarily paving the NY Favres to go to the Super Bowl.

Cue the "X-Files" music.

Cindy Boren: And don't forget Vince Young's injury....How great a story would that be if Favre got back to the Supe with the Jets? Wow.


Overrated, USA: Tom Brady is overrated as singular player. Great QB yes, but put him on the Raiders or any other sub .500 team, do they get significantly better? No, he would just get railed like those other QBs. You have to give it to New England, they have a great scheme and lots of talent to plug into a great system and well coached. That too often gets overlooked. Great players, are ones who do very well with subpar supporting casts....hmmmmm, Marino.

Cindy Boren: That's always been the eternal question with Belichick and Brady: which one makes the other great? Looks like we're about to find out.


Laplata, Md.: Do you think the Redskins will trade Jason Campbell to the Patriots for cash considerations?

Cindy Boren: Not just yet. The Redskins shouldn't give up on Campbell, but this is his make-or-break season.


oh no! oh my!: so what's the over/under on number of supermodels...wait, I mean number of TDs the Pats will score this year?

Cindy Boren: Supermodels to Pats: See ya, suckers!


Summers, Va.: Doesn't Belichick denying that he is reaching out to Simms and Rattay mean that Belichick is reaching out to Simms and Rattay?

Cindy Boren: Totally.


Fairfax: The karma thing you mentioned will be that Brady will lose his starting job the same way he got it, Cassel will do a great job in the system and NE will continue to win without Tommy Boy. You heard it here first. Do not write these guys off, great system, still loaded with talent..they will still win and then you will all be saying Tom Brady was not the great big 12 the NFL dreamed up.

Cindy Boren: I would not shocked if that's how it plays out. It could well happen. Except for the part about Tom Brady not being great.


NYC: Interesting irony: had Brett Favre been able to suppress his urge a couple more months, he'd be the new quarterback of the otherwise-most talented theam in the NFL.

Cindy Boren: I was saying the same thing yesterday. Although I think Favre is probably happy with his decision.


Baltimore: Is it too early for Buffalo fans to start thinking beyond a potential wild card birth and consider winning the division outright?

Cindy Boren: Yes.


New England: I am ashamed to say that if Manning or Romo or Favre had a season ending injury I wouldn't mind. So I understand how the rest of the league's fans are happy.

That said, every Pats victory this year will be extra sweet.

Cindy Boren: That's big of you, New England. Good luck this fall.


Washington, DC: What is the best case scenario for Brady's return?

Cindy Boren: The Patriots, surprise, still aren't divulging the exact number of ligaments torn. Sources are saying it's the ACL and a couple other sources threw in the MCL as well. He's been a pretty healthy fellow, he's still young. You'd think he'd be smart about the rehab ("Gisele! Spongebath, please!"), so you'd have to put him on the shorter end of the 6-9 month recovery time, I'd think. It's not the catastrophic injury it used to be.


Fantasy FB: Should I trade Randy Moss?

Cindy Boren: No. Although don't expect last year's numbers.


Seattle (But Buc Fan for the record): Brady has never truly amazed me with a bullet pass, but he manages the offense incredibly well, calls good plays and keeps his cool. How well do you think his back-up(s) can do those three aspects? And how well will the coaching staff fill-in the blanks?

Cindy Boren: It all depends on whether Cassel is the Brady of 2001, bugging his second-string teammates for extra reps and begging the offensive coordinator to brainstorm the playbook with him. If so, then the adjustment for the team and for Cassel might not be so bad.


Washington, DC: The answer to your eternal question is neither Belichick nor Brady. It's the O-line that makes the Pats good.

Cindy Boren: And the Vinatieri toe. Do not forget the Vinatieri toe.


Washington, DC: Up until the New Orleans Super Bowl shoot out, the basic formula for Belichick teams was defense first and balanced offense. Seymour is healthy, the linebackers are improved and younger, and they have a couple of bullish running backs in Jordan and Morris. Given the soft schedule, is it a bit to soon to say 9-7?

Cindy Boren:9-7 is possible. But that probably won't get them into the playoffs. What a fall from 18-1.


Boston: You people make me sick, you let jealousy of a game, your teams are not as good at let you talk about a person who is hurt. Tom Brady is a good man and just because he happens to be good at his job should not give any of you cause to cheer and joke of his injury. I hope all the same to those of you who kick someone when they are down!!

Cindy Boren: I feel your pain, Boston. The Sawx make make it better this fall. And there's always the Celtics.


Annandale, VA: Any truth to the rumor that the NFL will be requiring all teams wear a black "12" patch on their jerseys this coming week?

Cindy Boren: That's just plain wrong, Annandale. But funny!


Cindy Boren: I must be moseying along now. Thanks for joining me here at the last minute. I think I'll be back chatting on Mondays, starting next week, if I grease the proper palms. See you soon!


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