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I don’t know exactly how to put this Patriots fans, but you’re fucked — WE! I mean WE! WE’re fucked. We are fucked. Sorry, I keep forgetting that this whole nightmare is happening in a world that I live and actively participate in, that it’s not some dark unholy carnival being shown on a movie screen.

When I heard that Tom Brady might be missing the first four games of the season, thrusting me into the role of starting quarterback for the New England Patriots, I got that feeling like when you’re a kid and you break a lamp at your friend’s house and no one has seen what happened and you start thinking: If I sneak out of this house before anyone notices what I did then I can avoid this problem by simply running away and not looking back? But as I was packing my bag and searching for a flight to Europe or some other place where football doesn’t exist, Coach Belichick appeared in my doorway with a custom-made house arrest bracelet to put on my ankle. Fleeing was not an option.

The reality of the whole nightmare is starting to come into focus now that mini-camp is beginning and I’m starting to take meaningful snaps in practice. Believe me, it’s not going well. I’m throwing interceptions and tripping on the turf and I even threw a ball so far out of bounds that it hit one of the camera towers, the tower fell down, it hit a water boy and pushed him down and he spilled a big tray full of orange Gatorade onto Coach Belichick. That sounds like a comical scene but trust me, no one was laughing.

I mean, I played college ball at Eastern Illinois, for freak’s sake! We played our games in a darn turf-covered basketball gym. If you need a quarterback who can throw a 20-yard pass without hitting a dangling basketball net, I’m your man! But if you need a quarterback who can read an NFL level defense, scramble away from pass rushers who run a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, and hit a slashing receiver from 20 yards away, then I am the man who will high five Tom Brady after he comes back to the sideline from doing that.

You might be asking, Jimmy-boy, why in the heck are you an NFL quarterback if you don’t want to compete on the biggest stage? Well, just because you’re a priest doesn’t mean you wanna be Pope, does it? Just because you’re a defense attorney doesn’t mean you want to defend O.J. Simpson, right? Just because you’re an ostrich don’t mean you wanna be a giraffe, ya know? I want to be a backup quarterback. You know, carry a clipboard, complete a bunch of easy passes in garbage time, seem weirdly short compared to other players, etc. I was born for that kind of thing. Just look at my name:

JIMMY GAROPPOLO

That is a backup quarterback’s name. A young boy’s first name plus a slightly ethnic, kind of hard to spell last name. Starting QB’s have names like Joe Montana or Jake Dakota or Tom Utah. I wish my name was Tom Utah, but it’s not!

The good thing is that it’s only 4 games that you— I mean we. WE! We will definitely lose. But then Tom is back! We can still make the playoffs if we lose four games. Tom Brady always rises to the occasion and if the occasion calls for him to start the season with a four-loss deficit and still win enough games to make the playoffs then I’m sure he will do that. And who knows, maybe the suspension gets lifted and I can go back to videotaping opposing teams’ defensive coaches’ signals — I MEAN! … Never mind, I stink at this. Patriots, please fire me.

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