Tom Brady decision impacts Eagles by deflating Dallas' edge over NFC East foes

Stephen A.: 'I am surprised that the NFL lost'

First Take's Stephen A. Smith calls into the show from vacation and shares his opinions regarding the nullification of QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension.

PHILADELPHIA -- The Tom Brady decision will not directly affect the Philadelphia Eagles. Brady was always cleared to play when the Eagles visit the New England Patriots in December.

The overturning of Brady’s Deflategate suspension Thursday will have an impact on the Eagles. Brady was originally scheduled to be suspended when the Patriots visit the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 11.

The Patriots are scheduled to play all four NFC East teams in 2015. The Cowboys were the only one of the four that was set to face Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback. In a division that has been decided by a game or two each of the past four seasons, and figures to be tight again this season, that was a major advantage for the Cowboys.

That advantage disappeared Thursday with the judge’s ruling.

Of course, conditions are never exactly the same from game to game. By December, any number of players could be injured, including Brady. The Cowboys could now face Brady in October while the Eagles face Garoppolo in December.

Two years ago, the Eagles beat the Green Bay Packers after Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone. The Cowboys played the Packers a few weeks later, after they were better acclimated to being without their quarterback, and lost, 37-36. The Eagles went on to win the NFC East by one game.

But injuries are a part of the game. Depth and coaching adjustments allow some teams to get by without key players while other teams flounder. That’s different from the league office making a decision that gives one team an advantage over its rivals.

The Cowboys seemed to have an advantage when it came to facing the Patriots without Brady. As of Thursday’s decision, that advantage is gone.