IRVING, Texas – Tom Brady may have just lost his last opportunity to play at AT&T Stadium.
The NFL announced a four-game suspension for the New England quarterback on Monday, after last week's Wells Report concluded that team employees conspired to deflate in-game footballs, and that Brady was most likely aware of the plot.
The league also announced that it was stripping the Patriots of their first-round draft pick for 2016 and their fourth-round draft pick in 2017. The organization has also reportedly been fined $1 million for the infraction.
This news specifically applies to the Cowboys because the Patriots have a Week 4 bye this season, and they play Dallas in Week 5. The Oct. 11 showdown between Dallas and New England, at AT&T Stadium, will be the Patriots' fourth game of the year – meaning Brady will still be serving his suspension.
Of course, it's entirely possible Brady could appeal the suspension and earn a reduced sentence. The Patriots open the regular season at home against Pittsburgh before playing at Buffalo and home against Jacksonville.
If Brady is in fact suspended for the Week 5 game in Dallas, he may have just lost his only opportunity to play at AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys were still playing in the old Texas Stadium the last time New England came to town, in 2007, and the teams' 2011 meeting was at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
Based on the NFL's scheduling format, the next Cowboys-Patriots game in Texas likely wouldn't be until 2023 – when Brady would presumably be retired.
The Patriots will likely turn toward second-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who they drafted in the second round last season, while Brady serves his suspension.