New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady likely will get through the 2015 season without the threat of being suspended in the "Deflategate" controversy.
A federal appeals court on Tuesday granted a request by the NFL and the NFL Players Association to expedite a hearing on the league's appeal of the September ruling in a lower court that overturned Brady's four-game suspension.
The NFL's opening brief in its appeal is scheduled for Oct. 26. Then Brady, his attorneys and the NFLPA will have until Dec. 7 to respond. After that, the NFL will get a chance to offer a final reply by Dec. 21.
The appeal of the court's decision will be scheduled for as early as the week of Feb. 1, 2016.
The wild-card playoff games begin Jan. 9, 2016, The AFC and NFC championship games are Jan. 24 and the Super Bowl is Feb. 7.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman reversed the NFL's decision to suspend Brady in early September. Brady was suspended for the first four games of the season and the Super Bowl champion Patriots were penalized $1 million and two draft picks after a league investigation determined footballs were improperly deflated for the AFC championship game in January against the Indianapolis Colts.
After Brady initially appealed to the NFL and the penalties were upheld by commissioner Roger Goodell, Brady took his appeal to federal court and won.
With Brady at quarterback, the Patriots have gone 3-0 to start the season.