Jimmy Garoppolo will get his chance to lead the New England Patriots after all. The backup passer just had to wait an extra season for Tom Brady's suspension to be reinstated, his subsequent petition for an en banc appeal to be denied and, on Friday, Brady's decision to "no longer proceed in the legal process."
But we wouldn't expect the Patriots to collapse without Brady. While September has historically been the Patriots' toughest month, it's all relative. They have won 72.7 percent of games in September over the last 10 years -- best in the league. This is also the same franchise that went 11-5 with Matt Cassel under center in 2009.
Tough opener: On paper, Garoppolo's first career start looks like the Patriots' most challenging matchup of the season. The Arizona Cardinals have one of the most loaded rosters in the league, especially after trading for New England pass rusher Chandler Jones in the offseason. They are always tough playing at home.
Arizona, coming off a 13-3 season, makes life difficult on opposing quarterbacks and offensive lines with an array of creative blitzes. They only figure to be more aggressive with an entire offseason to prepare against a first-time starter.
Three straight home games: It's rare for an NFL team to get three straight home games, and the Patriots get such a homestand right away in 2016. The trio of games are against two division foes and another AFC playoff team from a year ago: Miami, Houston and Buffalo. The combined record of those three teams from 2015: 23-25.
No matter how the Patriots get there, they would love to escape the first quarter of the season with a 3-1 record.
Garoppolo showcase time: The third-year player will get prime-time placement on the two biggest showcases in the sport: Sunday Night Football on NBC in Week 1 and Thursday Night Football on CBS in Week 3 against Houston.
Someone looking for a bright side in New England would argue that is a perfect way for Garoppolo to raise his potential trade value before entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2017.
Brady's return: After giving up his legal fight, Brady's first game back will be in Cleveland on Oct. 9. If Brady played with an extra edge last year following the deflated ball scandal, Friday's news should only sharpen that edge for the final 12 games of the regular season.