The attorney for Tom Brady confirmed Monday on Good Morning America that the Patriots quarterback will take the next step in his Deflategate battle with the NFL by appealing for a full appeals court hearing.
Brady had his four-game suspension reinstated by the Second Circuit United States Court of Appeals and faced several options. Either he could go straight to the Supreme Court or he could ask the Second Circuit for an "en banc" hearing (essentially the full panel of judges). Brady plans to file the appeal Monday.
"The facts here are so drastic and so apparent that the court should rehear it," attorney Ted Olson said.
Olson is a recently-added member of the Brady legal team who previously helped argue multiple Bush v. Gore cases and who has a deft touch when it comes to having cases reheard before these panels.
"Our two primary arguments are that the commissioner in the first place conducted an investigation and then the commissioner imposed discipline. Then the commissioner appointed himself as an appellate judge or an arbitrator and then decided something new in the appellate process, abandoning the grounds that were the original basis for the supposed discipline," Olson said. "That's No. 1, and an appellate judge is supposed to look at the record and make a decision on the basis of what happened before. He departed from what happened before. Secondly he ignored important provisions of the CBA about discipline that might be imposed for equipment violations. He departed from that completely and went off the track."
Typically speaking, it is not common for the courts to rehear cases like these en banc.
The one thing Brady has going for him? There's already one judge who sided with the Pats quarterback in the case -- Judge Robert A. Katzmann filed a dissenting opinion that absolutely blasted Roger Goodell when the Brady's suspension was reinstated.
If the Second Circuit agrees to hear the case en banc, it's very likely Deflategate is going to extend into a third offseason, with Brady probably cleared to play via a new stay.
And if the court declines to hear the opinion, we're all headed to the most powerful court in the United States to determine whether or not an NFL quarterback improperly inflated footballs.