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Super Bowl 2012: What If ... Tom Brady Gets Hurt (Knock On Wood)

It's a dangerous subject to bring up amongst New England Patriots fans. If you want to get someone riled up, then you'll mention it. Talk about it too much and you'll likely be tackled and have your mouth taped shut. So I will be very brief.

What if Tom Brady, the Pats' all-century quarterback, gets hurt in Super Bowl XLVI?

OK, don't shoot. Hold on for a minute. It could happen, so it's worth it to look at the options.

Brady is the Patriots. Plain and simple. Without him, the Patriots take a huge hit. Wait, what's that you say? The Patriots actually did well without the guy? When? Oh, right, Matt Cassel. New England barely missed the playoffs that year.

But Cassel, who is now a starting quarterback on another NFL team, isn't around anymore. Instead, if Brady goes down (again, knock on wood), there are three options, really: Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett and Zoltan Mesko. Yeah ... yeah.

Hoyer is, of course, the top backup to Brady. Hoyer is in the fourth year of his NFL career. In all that time, he has only 27 completions on 43 attempts for 286 yards and one touchdown. This season, he has 22 passing yards on one pass.

As for Mallett, it's likely he may not even be an option. Nor would you want him to be one, really. Mallett was been inactive for a handful of the Patriots' games in the regular season, and putting a rookie in that spotlight isn't optimal.

Then, we have Mesko. Hey, he's the punter, so after Brady and Hoyer, he'd be the next best option. Right? Right?

Let's hope and pray that it doesn't get to that point. Hoyer is a more-than-serviceable backup, one that any team would probably love to have. But that's the thing -- he's a backup. And that's how it should remain.

Again, knock on wood.

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