Why You Should Like The Patriots

In case you haven’t heard, the Patriots are in the Super Bowl, again. This is the ninth time in franchise history that they have reached the big game, which is an NFL record. It’s also the seventh time New England has reached football’s biggest game in the Tom Brady era, the first appearance coming in 2001. Now, if you’re not a Pats fan, chances are that you hate the team. Whether its because of Brady, the sleeveless head coach, the annoying accents that the fans have, or frankly that they’re good, mostly everyone has a reason to hate the Patriots. However, I consider myself a fan, not my top team, but they’re an organization that deserves respect, and here are some reasons why.

 

1.Tom Brady

When the dust settles, and the snow melts in Massachusetts, Brady, at the end of his career, may hold every passing record in the NFL, and could be regarded as the greatest quarterback ever to play the game. You could make the case right now that he’s the greatest, based on one thing, winning. Many make the case that Joe Montana is the greatest ever to play the position, because he won, and won a lot. Brady is a lot like Montana in some cases, joining a struggling franchise, not a high draft pick, and doing nothing but winning. Montana is the proud winner of 4 Super Bowls, and Brady has the opportunity to surpass that mark this upcoming game, which could be his fifth championship. Another reason to root for Brady, is because for most of his career, he hasn’t been blessed with the best receivers. He had two good years with Randy Moss, Wes Welker for several years, and Rob Gronkowski whenever he’s healthy. Besides that, he’s thrown touchdowns in Super Bowls to people like David Patten, David Givens and Deion Branch. Last reason why I love Brady, is because he literally resurrected a franchise. The 2001 season, when Brady took over the starting position due to a Drew Bledsoe injury, will always go down as the turning point in the Patriots history.

 

2.Gronk

Yes, I know that Rob Gronkowski is injured and won’t even be playing in this years Super Bowl, but come on, its Gronk! I will go down on record, that I am one of the biggest Gronk fans around. Whether its his interviews, his play on the field, or off the field, you can’t help but love the guy. When healthy, he is the best tight end in the game, period. If he were healthy all the time, he would be the greatest at that position in history. All he does is catch touchdowns, spike the ball into Boston, drive guys into the sidelines on a blocking assignment, and tells Spanish reporters “yo soy fiesta.” If you haven’t fallen in love with the bro, go watch the E:60 on him.

 

3.Screw the NFL

Everyone knows the famous Deflategate scandal, in the 2015 AFC championship, that resulted in a 4 game suspension for Tom Brady in the early parts of the 2016 season. Brady and the rest of the team, has the opportunity to stick a Super Bowl win in the face of Roger Goodell.  The whole league hates the Pats, no surprise there. If you need further evidence of that, just go watch Mike Tomlin’s words about them in the Facebook live video. Now is the Patriots chance, to win one more, for them.

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Trouble in K Ville

The Duke Blue Devils did something on Monday night that hadn’t happened since 1995, lose to NC State at home.

Coming into the game, Duke was 3-3 in conference play, and without the heart and soul of the program, head coach Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils held a 12 point lead in the first half, and also were up by nine with six minutes to go, but lost the lead late in the game. Duke also had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but turned the ball over, resulting in the loss.

Duke was led by Luke Kennard, who had 20 points for the Blue Devils. Its no surprise that Duke’s lead faltered away in the second half, they shot 38 percent after halftime. NC State was carried by freshman Dennis Smith Jr. who dropped 32 points, in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The loss dropped Duke’s record to 3-4 in ACC play, with a road trip coming up, including a visit to Notre Dame, to take on the 14th ranked Fighting Irish. If there was ever a gut check time for Duke, this is it, not to mention, the game against arch-rival North Carolina looms in the distance, with the Tar Heels visiting Chapel Hill on February 9th. It seemed that Duke was back on the right track, after a big come from behind win against Miami on Saturday, but fell back with this loss to the Wolfpack.

Duke came into the season, ranked No.1 in the preseason top 25 poll, but almost nothing has gone according to plan since then. Whether it be Coach K not there, or the on-going drama with Grayson Allen, something has to change in K Ville. With the loss, the Blue Devils dropped to number 19 in the polls, which has people wondering, are we going to see the real Duke at any point the rest of the season?

 

Why We Love Our Cowboys

The kick by Mason Crosby went up, and just as soon as you can say Troy Aikman, the season was over for the Dallas Cowboys. A season, and a postseason, that had so much potential, was over in a matter of seconds. The great memories, from defeating Green Bay earlier in the season, to a dramatic win in Minnesota, all gone.

People have asked me several times, that why, after all these years, why I’ve stuck around with the Dallas Cowboys. From Tony Romo, to Jerry Jones, I believe that no NFL fan receives as much grief about his team, than Cowboy fans. On some occasions, people ponder as to why I care so much about the Cowboys, about sports really. I have but one answer to their question, because it matters.

To my earliest childhood memories, I can remember the Dallas Cowboys being a big part of my family’s life. I can still recall times when my father would throw me passes, and I would run routes like I was Michael Irvin, or as I was running, I’d put my number one finger like Emmitt Smith. The first Cowboys game I can actually remember watching, was when Dallas beat the Giants in overtime in 2003, I was 8. My first tears shed for the Cowboys, was when they lost to the Panthers in the 2003 playoffs.

The thing about the Cowboys, is that they connect generations, and bring families closer together. One of the greatest memories I have with my father, is watching our beloved Dallas Cowboys play on Thanksgiving. My father instilled in me, a hatred for the Eagles, Giants, Redskins and 49ers, that will never leave. Its not just a game, when the team with the star on their helmet, and the white jerseys, come running out onto the field in North Texas, its memories. In the Thomas family, when the Cowboys win, we all win.

This year, unfortunately, was not out year, and it may not be our year for several more. However, no matter what, my love for America’s Team, will never falter. With a young team, the future looks as bright as a sunset in Dallas.

 

 

Cowboys Playoff Memories #1

When you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan, playoff appearances nowadays are a dime a dozen. It seems, that whenever they make it to the postseason, the week before the game, us Cowboy fans love to relive great playoff games of years past. Too bad for me, I either haven’t been alive for the glory years, or I wasn’t old enough to appreciate it. Today, I wanted to explore one of my favorite Dallas playoff games of all time, the 1991 wild-card classic, between the Cowboys and the Chicago Bears. I picked this game, because it was this win, that triggered a dynasty. This was the first playoff victory under Jimmy Johnson, Jerry Jones, and the “triplets”era.

Fans have to understand, that this was a Dallas team, that two years before this game, went 1-15. To think that a team that bad, made such a turnaround that quickly, is remarkable. The 91 team ended the regular season at 11-5, while the Bears won their division, and was trying to make another Super Bowl run, like the one they had in 1985.

An incredible thing to realize about this game, was that it was without Troy Aikman, who was lost to injury. Instead, Steve Beuerlein was under center. Dallas came into the game as underdogs, as they set out to Solider Field, to play a Bears team who was quarterbacked by Jim Harbaugh.

Dallas came out with a hot start, with an Emmitt Smith touchdown in the first quarter, which led to a 10-0 lead after 15 minutes. However, the key to the game, was defense. The Dallas defense stopped the Bears on a 4th and goal from the 2, which set the tone for the entire game. A future Super Bowl MVP also came up big for the Cowboys. Rookie cornerback, Larry Brown, picked off Harbaugh in the redzone to stop another Bears scoring opportunity.

Late in game, down by four, the Bears were driving with an opportunity to win the game, and extend the season. However, the Cowboys, and their future destiny, had other plans. Safety Bill Bates, jumped in front of a pass, and snatched it out of the December sky, and secured a Dallas victory, 17-13. Second year running back Emmitt Smith, became the first person in NFL history to record 100 yards rushing in Soldier Field.

The Cowboys’ season ended the next week in Detroit, but for Dallas their progression, they were only getting started. The Cowboys would go on to win 3 out of the next 4 Super Bowls, establishing one of the greatest dynasties in football history. One of the major turning points for that team, was that upset in Chicago.

The reason why I wanted to write about this game, is because this year’s Dallas team, has the opportunity similar to the 91 team. They have a young squad, and a win would put them in the their first NFC championship game since 1996.

Dolphins With No Chance

Its been 8 years since the Miami Dolphins had reached the playoffs. On that day in 2009, the Dolphins were outmatched by the Ravens and were embarrassed on their home field. Today, Miami traveled to cold Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. The outcome, much of the same.

Without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who had been ruled out due to injury, the Dolphins were left to start Matt Moore, who had not started a playoff game in his career. The first quarter, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown caught two long touchdowns to put Pitt up 14-0, pretty much after that, Miami hopes were dashed. Against a smothering defense, the Dolphins offense turned it over 3 times, two of them being in Steelers territory.

What made the difference in this game, was the comparison between the play of the two running backs. Steelers running back, Le’Veon Bell, set a Steelers franchise record, with 167 rushing yards and two touchdowns, one capping off an 83 yard drive, that took the energy right out of Miami. On the other hand, Jay Agayi for the Dolphins, who had rushed for over 200 yards the last time these two teams met earlier in the season, was held to a lowly 33 yards of rushing.

When it was all said and done, the Terrible Towels were flying high all day, and the Steelers won easily 30-6. As for the Dolphins, the loss marks the end of a magical season, in which they ended the regular season winning 9 out of their last 11 games.Though the defeat means that football is over in Miami until this fall, the sun surely is rising in South Florida, with a young team destined to cause some havoc in the AFC, in the years to come.

Now for Pittsburgh, its on to Kansas City next week, to take on the Chiefs. The Steelers proved earlier this season that they’re able to compete against the Chiefs, handing Kansas City a 30 point loss in October. With the win today, the Steelers moved past the Dallas Cowboys for most playoff wins in NFL history.

 

A Boy’s Dream for Dallas

We all know this life isn’t an easy experience, we will all face challenges that will test our inner strength and push us to our limits. Life gets even harder when you’re a sports fan. For some reason, we find a bond with the teams that we support, and that bond usually lasts our entire life. Whatever season, winning or losing, we are by our team’s side. For me, that bond lies with the Dallas Cowboys, and lucky for me, they’ve had an incredible season.

Since I can remember, even as a little boy, I’ve been a Cowboys fan. It runs in my family, my dad was a Cowboys fan in the 70’s with Captain American Roger Staubach and Tom Landry. He raised me cheering for America’s team, and my boyhood heroes aren’t Staubach or Dorsett, but Aikman, Irvin, and Smith. You can even search through the Thomas family archives, and find Christmas photos of me as a young boy, wearing a Cowboys jersey….for my family Christmas photo. You get the point, it runs in our blood.

However, in my lifetime, the Cowboys have given me joy, but also a great deal of sadness. Their last Super Bowl victory, happened when I was a little over a year old, and since I became a die hard fan, if I can call myself that, they’ve managed just two playoff wins. When I think of the hardest losses I’ve seen as a sports fan, out of all my teams, two games come to mind. The first, was a wild card playoff game in 2006, when Dallas played the Seahawks. Up 20-7 in the second half, it seemed as if the Cowboys would pull off the upset. Well, we know the rest of the story, Seattle stormed back, winning 21-20, with Tony Romo botching the snap of what would be a game winning field goal. The second, occurred the very next year in 2007. After a 13-3 regular season, Dallas hosted the Giants in a divisional round playoff game, and seemed destine to breeze through all the way to the Super Bowl. The Giants had something else in mind, and pulled off their own upset, 21-17, en route to their super bowl run.

Throughout my 22 years of life, I’ve waited a long time for Big D to bring home the Lombardi trophy, and it seems that this year, it may actually happen! That being said, I have a few reasons to believe that this year might be it. In 2007, even though I was a boy, I knew that the team then wasn’t going to win the super bowl, because I knew that if we played the Patriots (who were undefeated at the time), they were gonna run all over us. This team now, there is just something about them. Two rookies leading the team, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, have showed more charisma and confidence for Dallas than anyone I’ve seen in a while. Something they also have, is humility. Now humility, is a characteristic that is not often seen in NFL players, but these guys got it. They have something I call quiet dignity, and its carried them to the number one seed in the NFC.

Us as Cowboys fan, we’ve been here before, plenty of times actually. It definitely has been a long time since the days of the triplets in the the 90’s, but just like I said in the beginning, win or lose, we will be by their side. So to Dak, Zeke, Dez and the rest of the boys, no pressure or anything.

 

 

 

Start em Young, Raise Em Right

I’ve been pondering the last several weeks, and have come to a glorious, conclusion, how grateful I am that I was raised the way that I was.

First and foremost, I was born into an outstanding family. A father who served our country, wore his Marine uniform with pride, and honors the stars and stripes. He introduced me to my first love, which is the sport of football, by taking me to countless sporting events all around the country. He taught me the impression you can have on someone, by the way you talk, walk, and act. By example, he showed the crucial factor a pinned stripe suit could have, and what a “power tie” is. He installed in me work ethic, and read me books like the Lord of the Rings, and told me stories of people like Patton, Lincoln and Washington. Its because of my father that I feel the way that I do about my country. Through his patriotic attitude, I know that America is the greatest country on earth, and that the Star Spangled Banner and the American flag mean something.

I was raised by the sweetest woman ever to walk the earth. Abraham Lincoln said it best when he exclaimed, “all that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” She taught me how to treat a lady, that holding the door open and dressing sharp still counts to this day, and that shopping at the outlets is always the better way. Through her example, I learned the characteristic of patience and love, and also courage. She told stories about a more simple day, when Reagan was president, gas was cheap, and Aerosmith ruled the music world. Eating at the table with the whole family, family prayers, and spending time with your loved ones, was the meaning of this life. She helped me recognize the gospel of Jesus Christ, and what serving the Lord could do for me.

Now a days, which is a funny expression to use being only 22 years old, these children are raised in a world where hatred is so common, and one cannot turn on the television without hearing of a terrorist attack, or a crazy election. How glad I am, that I can sit back, and recognize the small miracles of life. For instance, the other day I turned my scriptures to the ninth chapter, of the book of Acts. In this story, the man Saul was visited by the Lord, and converted to His gospel. How grateful I am, that we have this opportunity to change from our old and evil ways, to a better life in following the Master.

I come from a family, and a lifestyle, that one of the greatest views on this earth, is a high school football team running out of the tunnel onto a beautifully fresh cut field in front of the hometown teams. I can chuckle at a old John Candy or John Belushi film. I still remember the first time I watched the classics like The Godfather, Christmas Vacation, Rudy, or Saving Private Ryan. To this day I still get chills when the national anthem is sang, and fighter jets fly over a packed stadium on a Saturday afternoon. I recognize a nice pair of LL Bean boots, Brooks Brothers blazer, and khaki pants. I believe a man should address a woman with “yes m’am.” Oh how my face lightens up at the sight of kids playing little league baseball, and saying the Pledge Of Allegiance, and hugging their parents after a close victory. I can sing for you word for word Sweet Home Alabama, Piano Man and Tiny Dancer. When Summer of 69 and Born in the USA comes on the radio, I still blast it and sing along. I understand the reference when I ask my father a question, and he responds with, “roger that ghost rider.”

The point I’m trying to make, is that I love this country, I love the way I was raised, and in this new year of 2017, we can all learn to take a step back, stop arguing, go get some ice cream, watch some baseball, and learn to appreciate this incredible life.