Biggest “What Ifs” Of The Pats Dynasty

As we all know, the Patriots are headed to their eighth Super Bowl since 2001 this next weekend. The Patriots run of dominance, 14 playoff appearances in 16 seasons, eight Super Bowl appearances, seven consecutive trips to the AFC championship game, and overall five championships.

Its been an incredible run, filled with unforgettable plays that helped fuel New England’s continuing onslaught on the NFL. However, certain plays have occurred in the last 16 seasons that almost cost the Patriots a crucial game.

5. John Kasay Out of Bounds kick in Super Bowl 38: One of the most memorable games in Super Bowl history featured the 14-2 Patriots and the upstart Carolina Panthers.
The Pats had won their first Lombardi Trophy two years before, and were the obvious favorites. However, what started out as a defensive struggle, turned into an offensive shootout. The Panthers tied the game with a Ricky Proehl touchdown with just over a minute left, and it seemed that the game could possibly go into overtime.
Painfully for Panthers fan however, kicker John Kasay on the ensuing kickoff booted it out of bounds, giving New England the ball on their own 40-yard line. If Kasay gives a regular kickoff, the Patriots have the ball at the 20, possibly the 25-yard line. With the great possession from Kasay’s kick, Brady drove them quickly down the field, setting up for a 38-yard field goal to win.
If that Patriots don’t have that possession, its possible that Belichick plays conservatively and runs the ball and gets to overtime. The Panthers had won a playoff game three weeks before in the divisional round.

4. Reggie Wayne’s near fumble in 2006 AFC Championship: Twice before in playoff matchups, Tom Brady and the Pats got the best of the Colts and Peyton Manning.

Then in 2006, New England visited Indianapolis, and looked like they were on their way to another Super Bowl appearance, up 21-3 at one point. The Colts stormed back in the second half, and down 34-31 with just over two minutes to go, Manning was leading his high powered offense down to win the game. The final play before the two-minute warning, Manning hit receiver Reggie Wayne down the middle. Spinning his way towards the 20-yard line, Wayne lost control of the ball for a split second as it lofted into the air. However, none of the five Patriot defenders near Wayne and the ball could snag it before Reggie caught it back.

A minute later, the Colts scored the go-ahead touchdown, ultimately winning 38-34, dethroning the Patriots, on their way to a Super Bowl victory. If any of those Patriots are able to knock out that ball and recover, there is obviously a high chance that New England wins that game. If the Patriots win that game, the Super Bowl against the Rex Grossman led Bears seem like a cakewalk, and New England easily captures another championship.

3. Malcolm Butler interception in Super Bowl 49: We all know this game, and how it played out. Two very evenly matched teams meet in the Super Bowl, as the Pats lined up to play the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Down to 26 seconds to go, Patriots up 28-24, Seattle has the ball on the New England 1-yard line.

Instead of running the ball, Pete Carroll decides to throw it, and Malcolm Butler picks off Russell Wilson at the goal line, and New England wins it fourth championship. However, its only second and goal, and Seattle still has a timeout left, so the Seahawks very well could’ve scored with running Marshawn Lynch. Lynch, 22 out of 24 times in that game gained at least one yard or more, and New England had the 5th worst run defense in the league. If Seattle does run it, most likely Lynch scores with just over 20 seconds left, and the Seahawks win the Super Bowl for the second straight year, and the Patriots are still at three championships.

2. Belichick sticking with Brady over Drew Bledsoe: In week two of the 2001 season, Drew Bledsoe, then the starter for the Patriots, took a hit on the sideline against the Jets that ultimately thrusted second-year quarterback Tom Brady into the starting job.

Brady played well, winning five of his first 10 starts, and the Patriots sat at 5-5 passed the mid-way point of the season. At that time, Bledsoe was cleared to play. Though it may have been the popular vote to go back to Bledsoe, Bill Belichick stuck with the young Brady. The result? The Patriots didn’t lose again that 2001 season, eventually capturing their first ever championship, and the Patriots haven’t looked back since.

However, would that same success have followed if Bledsoe had been named the starter again? Drew had led the Patriots to four playoff appearances in his time there, including a Super Bowl appearance in 1996. Though, its hard to say that he would’ve attained the same success that Brady has had since 2001.

1. The Tuck Rule: That very same year, 2001, the Patriots hosted the Jon Gruden led Raiders in a divisional round playoff game. The Raiders are up 13-10 in the fourth quarter, and Brady is leading to a potential game-tying field goal. Pats are 1st and 10, on the Oakland 42, with 1:50 to go. Brady is hit on a corner blitz from Charles Woodson, ball comes out, and Oakland recovers. Though the Raiders think they have won the game, the officials overturn the call, and rule it as an incomplete. Several plays later, the Patriots tie the game with a field goal, and go on to win in overtime. If the Patriots lose that game, obviously they don’t win the Super Bowl that season, but what about future Super Bowls? Do the Patriots have that same swagger for their 2003 and 2004 runs? Are we even talking about New England as a dynasty?

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Reverse Engineer Post/ BK Ad

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I picked this ad because it really caught my eye for several reasons. The first, was because of the flames above the store. The fire really caught my eye and drew me in. Then, the next thing, and one that I circled, was the actual logo of Burger King. Its such a recognizable brand, and it looked very clear when the flames were above. Third, were the pictures of the food near the bottom. There are flames around it on both sides, and you can perfectly see that they’re trying to get people to see their food.

Bonds And The Rocket Missing Out On HOF Once Again

One man is the all-time leader in home runs for Major League Baseball, and a seven time MVP of the league. The other, a 7-time Cy Young winner, over 4,000 strikeouts and 354 wins. Earlier this week, these two giants of the game, were again passed up for entrance into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, two of the iconic players in baseball, for not just my childhood, but for the 115 year existence of the MLB. Every January for the past several years, its been the same conversation, will these two famed players get the recognition they rightfully deserve, and be inducted. Earlier this week, they were cut short once again.

In the 2018 voting, the two gathered the highest percentage they ever have, both with over 50%, yet it was Chipper Jones, Trever Hoffman, Jim Thome and Vladimir Guerrero who will enter Cooperstown as inductees this year.

To be completely honest, you’ve heard the stats for both of these players, and it speaks for itself. So now, with four more years of eligibility left to vote, its time for the voters of the Hall of Fame to swallow their pride, and get them in.

Its no secret that the two’s usage of steroids is the argument against them, and the reason that the writers have against letting them in the exclusive fraternity of baseball players.  However, there are several reasons why that argument for Clemens and Bonds could be wrongfully altered.

In the pre-BALCO era, Bonds was masterful already, a three-time all star, and one of the top players in baseball. In 1996, Bonds one of just four players in MLB history to hit 40 home runs as well as 40 stolen bases.

You could make the same argument for The Rocket. In 1986, Clemens was given the Cy Young award as well as being named AL MVP. Before even turning 30, Clemens was a three-time Cy Young award winner, as well as capturing the ERA title four times.

There are several players who are members of the Hall of Fame, who were suspected of steroid use. Jose Canseco said in his book that he showed Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez how to inject steroids. Jeff Bagwell has been questioned, due to the fact that he hit six home runs in two minor-league seasons, and 449 with the Astros in 14 seasons. Tim Raines, though not in the steroid conversation, was a well-known user of cocaine, often carrying it in his back pocket during games.

So why are those players, with far less career achievements, inducted into the most prestigious location for Major Leaguers, before two of the greatest players of our generation? Perhaps Peter Gammons, member of BBWWA since 1972 said it best, “I judge players by their eras and who they played against, Clemens and Bonds, they were the best pitcher, player of their eras. And while I wrestled with it, I just decided that how do I know who did and who didn’t? … I finally just decided, you know what, they’re so great that they should be in the Hall of Fame because it’s a museum of baseball history.” (Gammons told USA Today)

With the rise of their voting percentage in the last few years, there still is a good chance we will one day see these legends take their place among the greatest ever to play.

 

 

What The Patriots Dynasty Could Have Been

News flash, the Patriots are going to the Super Bowl once again. Though you may act surprised and mad on Twitter, you knew this was coming. You knew that Tom Brady was going to drive down the field and take the lead, you knew the Pats would somehow win that game.

As a Brady and Gronk fan, I love it. Once the Cowboys are eliminated from playoff contention, or choke in the divisional round, I root for the Pats. Call me a bandwagon I don’t care, I’ve loved Gronk ever since he was drafted, and I’ve always been a Brady guy since I saw him play in 2003.

Ever since 2001, the Patriots have torn the NFL and its competition to shreds. This will be their eighth super bowl appearance since 01, they’ve won five already, they just appeared in their seventh consecutive AFC championship game. The stats are insane, especially in this day of salary cap and free agency.

However, there have been times since 2001 where Brady and company, get this, could have won even more Super Bowls, or at least appeared in more. As I mentioned, seven straight AFC championship appearances. Four times since 01 they have appeared in the AFC championship game and lost, and twice they’ve lost in the Super Bowl.

  1. 2006 AFC Championship game vs Colts. This game must burn in the back of Tom Brady’s brain. Prior to this matchup, the Patriots had defeated Peyton Manning’s Colts twice in the playoffs, en route to New England Super Bowl victories. This game started off like it was going to be a Patriots blowout. They were up 21-3 at one point, and 21-6 at the half. However, the tide in this rivalry turned to the Colts, as Manning engineered a comeback, ultimately dethroning the Pats 38-34. If the Patriots win that game, they win the Super Bowl that year. Ain’t no way Rex Grossman defeats Tom Brady, NO CHANCE.
  2. 2007 Super Bowl vs Giants. I’m going to keep this one short, because you can’t say too much. The Patriots were obviously undefeated going in to this game, and in my opinion, even with the loss, are one of the top 3 teams of all time. Brady, ahead of the highest scoring offense in league history, manages only 14 points against the Giants. If it wasn’t for a miracle catch by David Tyree (whats he up to now?) we’re not even having this conversation. Giants win 17-14.
  3. Very much like the 2007 meeting, the Patriots were the better team in this game. I truly believe, just like the 2007 matchup, if these two teams met 10 times, the Pats win seven of those games. However, they only met once, and because of Mario Manningham (whats he up to?) the Giants spoil it again.
  4. 2012/2013/2015 AFC Championship vs Ravens/Broncos. At home against the Ravens, who ended up winning the Super Bowl, Baltimore came in and shocked everyone, myself included. I love Ray Lewis, love Ed Reed, but the Pats very easily could’ve won the game. They were up at half, and at home, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. In 2013, Peyton Manning outperformed Brady fair and square. 2015 was heartbreaking, as Brady was intercepted at the goal line during an attempt to tie the game.

So Patriot haters, consider yourselves very lucky that these games, the ball didn’t bounce in favor the Belichick way.

Why We Need Sports In Our Lives

Recently, a friend of mine was skiing at a popular resort in Utah, and struck up a conversation with a man beside him on the ski lift. The man beside my friend told him he was from Boston, and was checking out the “film” at the Sundance Film Festival. My friend, who is an avid baseball fan, inquired about the mans sports interests, though to his surprise, the man didn’t care about sports, and expressed his disinterest in the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

To be completely honest, after hearing that story, my friend and I shared a laugh at his expense. Not only does this man live in one of the most sports crazed towns in America, he doesn’t have an interest in sports in general. How does one survive without sports?

This post will portray me as some stereotypical American who loves his sports, and spoiler alert, I totally am. My friends and I regularly have conversations which just end with, “holy crap I love football so much.”

Later in that same day of my friends skiing experience, my other friend, who is a Vikings fan shared his feelings about the Minnesota-New Orleans dramatic game the week before. My friend described the walk-off touchdown as one of the happiest moments of his life.

Though some who just don’t understand sports may think that the statement may sound a little crazy, I can back him up. Besides seeing my family and friends for the first time after two years on a church mission, I can truthfully say that Ray Allen’s 3-point shot against the Spurs in the 2013 Finals, or when the Heat defeated the Mavericks in the 2006 Finals rank as two of the happiest moments of my life.

Sports, although the reason behind some of life’s hardest moments, have the ability to raise up thousands. Think back to 2001, and after the events of 9/11, what helped America to gain back strength and unity? Watching the World Series together that fall. What unified the city of Boston after the horrific events at the Boston Marathon in 2013, the Bruins capturing the Stanley Cup. And finally, it was the Saints that helped citizens of New Orleans find happiness in live following Hurricane Katrina.

Perfect example was today. The city of Philadelphia is home to some of the most rabid and crazed sports fans as anywhere in the world. Eagles fans in particular, are known for their craziness. To see how happy they were once their beloved Eagles booked a trip to the Super Bowl on Sunday, brought this football fan great joy. I’M A COWBOYS FAN AND I FELT JOY FOR EAGLES FANS.

Times change, you grow up, friends drift apart, these things happen. One thing that stays the same however, is that Wrigley Field will be full this spring, basketball will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the state of Alabama will argue between Bama and Auburn.

This is America, and we love many things, such as freedom, liberty, justice, and our sports. So leave us alone, let us have our debates, let us break tables at tailgates, let us sulk in our dark rooms after a loss. This is our fabric, this is us.

You’re Glad The Jags Lost

After the Patriots defeated the Jaguars today, to claim their 8th AFC championship under Belichick and Tom Brady, it was interesting to see some of the posts on social media relating to the game. Yes I understand that many people hate the Patriots and don’t want to see them in the Super Bowl again. However, I’m here to tell you, that you are extremely lucky that you have the Pats and not the Jaguars in the big game this year.

Colin Cowherd the other day, gave a very interesting take on this subject the other day. “When you wake up Monday morning, you want Jacksonville in the Super Bowl? I want you to think about that because a lot of times in life you do things, then you regret them. Jacksonville against Nick Foles. Two weeks of talk, that’s– that’s turning you on. Do you also go and watch the worst movie available at the theater?”

Unless you’re a Jaguars fan, or a fan of bad football in general, there is no way that you would want to see the Jaguars over the Patriots in the Super Bowl, seeing Blake Bortles instead of Tom Brady under center.

Sports ratings are driven by dynasties. The Bills-Jaguars wild card game two weeks ago drew the lowest ratings and was the least-watched Sunday Wild Card game since Ravens-Dolphins in 2009. Though you may think it would be cool to see Blake Bortles and the Jags get the Super Bowl, watching Tom Brady attempt to win his sixth Lombardi trophy will intrigue you even more.

Though a Bortles and Nick Foles showdown seems fun, only because we’re laughing at it, watching the greatest quarterback who ever lived should we something we’re all excited for. You can look back at this time, thinking to yourself that you were a witness to the greatest sports dynasty in history.

So to football fans everywhere, be so glad you’ll not be tuning in to a 10-6 Super Bowl between the Jags and the Eagles. Be so glad Brady is out there, and he will be throwing dimes, and winning another trophy.

 

08 Utes Vs 17 UCF? Utes All The Way

There’s been a lot of talk about the UCF football lately, and how they’re crowning themselves national champions, and how they threw a parade at Disney, and that governor Rick Scott declared them as national champions. That being said, its all crap, and I’ll tell you why. The 2017 UCF team isn’t even the best non-big 5 conference team to do this. Let me tell you a story about the 2008 Utah Utes.

Back in the BCS era, the 2004 Utes, 06 Boise State Broncos, 08 Utes, 09 Broncos, 2010 TCU, all cracked the BCS, went undefeated and won their bowl game against a traditional power school in a big bowl game. However, the 2008 Utes team might be the most impressive of all, and may have been better than this year’s UCF.

Lets compare some of the wins that both schools had during their ride of to perfection.

2008 Utes:

Utah opened up their season with a win in Michigan at the Big House. Though the Wolverines turned out to be dreadful that season, winning in that stadium is never easy. The Utes defeated TCU in November, who at the time was ranked 11th, but ended up 7th. They annihilated BYU, who never left the top 25 all of 2008. The Utes also defeated Oregon State earlier in the season, the only team that beat USC during 2008. And then finally, in the Sugar Bowl, the Utes put a whipping on Alabama. In the first quarter, the Utes led 21-0 over the Tide, and eventually won 31-17. Bama was ranked number 1 was the later part of the season. The Tide had quality wins that season, including a win on the road over 3rd ranked Georgia with Matthew Stafford, and also a win in Death Valley against LSU. The first loss for Alabama that season came in the SEC championship, against the future national champion Florida Gators.

2017 UCF:

The Knights played zero ranked teams over the course of the regular season, and then in the conference championship, it took them two overtimes to defeat 20th ranked Memphis. In the Peach Bowl, UCF held off 7th ranked Auburn on the final drive to preserve a 34-27 victory. You could definitely argue the 17 Tigers and the 08 Crimson Tide, though Auburn was never ranked number one, and didn’t have a quality road win over a ranked team.

Analysis:

Utah had a far tougher schedule, playing three ranked teams , and then a fourth team that would be ranked at the end of the season.

Talent wise, its a little bit more difficult to compare, because you can look at some of the 08 Utes that have gone on to play in the NFL. Four players from the Utes went in 2009 NFL draft, six in 2010, and two more in 2011.

By the numbers, UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton had a much better campaign that Utes quarterback Brian Johnson had in 08. Milton threw for over 4,000 yards and 37 td’s. While Johnson had 27 touchdowns, not even surpassing 3,000 yards. However, Johnson will be remembered for engineering game winning drives against Oregon State and TCU.

Running game wise it’s a little closer, though UCF again may have edged out the Utes, having two rushers over 500 yards, and a third coming six yards short of that.

Defensive wise, the Utes have the edge. Seven times throughout the season, the Utes allowed less than 20 points, including holding Alabama to 17. UCF held four teams to under 20 points. Utah never gave up more than 30 points, while UCF allowed three teams to cross over 30, including allowing 55 points to Memphis, and 42 to USF.

At the end of the day, I believe that the 08 Utes were a better football team than this years  UCF squad. And what makes it better, is that the Utes didn’t pull all of this crap by declaring themselves the national champions, because they knew that the country would be laughing, like we all are now at UCF.

Three years after 08 in 2011, the Utes moved from the Mountain West to the PAC 12. We’ll see if UCF makes a similar move in the future.