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Archive for the ‘ Random Stuff ’ Category

Call Off the Zebras

Get ready, because here is another fantastic op-ed entry from Zeus:

 

Call Off the Zebras

 

The collective self-esteem of pro football offenses must be noticeably flagging. Maybe that is why in the NFL’s Brave New World, an offense that fails to convert on third down is not only given a do over, but is also awarded a first down, a bonus five yard improvement in field position, and a pony. Now you can call it defensive holding or illegal contact or any number of other names. But the all too predictable outcome will be interminably long games with scores that more resemble NCAA basketball than professional football and celebrity NFL referees getting more TV face time than Dr. Phil.

 

In a game that features 300 pound linemen savagely trying to beat each other senseless and lightning quick 250 pound linebackers routinely trying to decapitate or otherwise maim equally fast, insanely powerful running backs, it is indeed a strange and ironic twist for the rules to require that pass receivers be allowed to scurry down the field unimpeded by any minute, trivial contact that might imperil a pass completion and the attendant fantasy points.

 

Once again, the fans are on the receiving end of the dubious business judgment and questionable leadership of Commissioner Blockhead, the owners’ $44 million cabana boy. The vehicle for implementing this travesty is the so-called Competition Committee, the corrupt and imbecilic Kangaroo Court that presides over the enforcement of the NFL’s byzantine rule book, a document that makes the Federal Income Tax Code seem like a shining example of fairness, clarity and brevity. (Any discussion of the lamented committee would be remiss if it failed to note the ham-handed efforts of its chairman, Mean Mr. Moustache, a man who has been handsomely and inexplicably rewarded for being so utterly unremarkable.)

 

The abject corruption of the Competition Committee was on full display in 2004 when Bill Polian drove it to embrace the flag football rules that brought the game one step closer to Arena Football. It’s no secret that the remorseless Polian acted not for the good of the game, but in naked self-interest. That Polian’s actions were greedy, cowardly and disgraceful was readily apparent to anyone with the tiniest sense of decency and a double digit IQ.

 

Now, after February’s internationally televised public flogging of the league’s most precious asset, The Gigantic Forehead, the Committee steps once more into the breach. Once again, the good of the game is being publicly sacrificed at the altar of television ratings and revenue growth, the incredibly powerful narcotics that are leading the NFL owners down the path to destruction. But this time, it’s a fool’s errand.

 

As a long time season ticket holder, my message to Football Family Kraft, Commissioner Blockhead and the rest of the Billionaire Boys Club is as follows:

 

I am not paying ($169 per ticket x 6 tickets x 10 games = a hell of a lot of money) to watch guys dressed in white pants, striped shirts and funny hats blow their silly whistles and throw their festive colorful yellow bean bags around the field.

What I am paying ($169 per ticket x 6 tickets x 10 games = a hell of a lot of money) for is to watch Professional Football. Now I can’t say for sure just what it was that was happening on the Gillette Stadium field Friday night, but it most definitely was not Professional Football.

I really don’t want to invest my heart and soul into a game whose outcome depends so much on the capricious and whimsical judgment of some guy named Clete who can make my life miserable simply because it’s easy for him to do so. (Ed. Note – Clete has already done this at least twice that I can think of.) I want the players to play and, to the greatest extent possible, the officials to stay the hell out of the way.

 

I’m hard pressed to figure out who benefits from this. Fans are already complaining loudly. Players and coaches have to be exasperated. And even the officials themselves must be embarrassed having to call lame penalties for such ticky-tack nonsense.

 

The good news is that it’s August and it’s not too late.

 

It’s time to call off the zebras.

 

Thank you once again to Zeus for allowing me to share his unique perspective on the current state of the National Football League.

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats

2014 NFL Calendar and Key Dates for the New England Patriots

2014 New England Patriots Transaction Tracker

 

 

This and That (This Year’s Model)

It gives me great pleasure to once again pass along the latest meanderings of Zeus:

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

This and That (This Year’s Model)

 

1. This Year’s Model – I probably couldn’t pick Blake Bortles – the #3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft – out of a lineup. But pretty much every day, I can turn on the NFL Network and see extensive coverage of the #21 pick – Johnny Manziel – flawlessly executing handoffs without spilling his beer (reassuring his parents that Johnny’s three years at Texas A&M were not a complete waste of his time and someone else’s money). Manziel has officially replaced Tim Tebow as the most overhyped athlete in the football universe and maybe in all of sports.

 

2. Whatever physical decline Tom Brady may have suffered (and there has to be some) is more than offset by his mental approach, his understanding of football in general and of the Patriots’ offense in particular. There are few QBs in the league that could come close to handling the responsibility that Brady bears for New England. His presence allows the Patriot offense to do things other teams wouldn’t dream of trying.

 

3. Revis – Most huge long term contracts in professional sports turn out to be mistakes. However, Darrelle Revis is a risk worth taking. I suspect the Patriots will treat this as they always do – they will set a maximum value as a walkaway number. In this particular case, I expect the max value to be quite high, befitting a Hall of Fame talent. New England’s best chance to keep #24 is a Super Bowl run, which might persuade Mr. Revis that being on television playing football in January and February is more enjoyable than wringing the very last dollar out of the free agent market. However, Patriot fans should prepare themselves for the very real possibility that Revis is every bit the mercenary that he has appeared to be so far in his NFL career.

 

4. Underrated – Old friend Rodney Harrison ruffled a few local feathers recently with his observations about the Patriots’ Super Bowl aspirations past and present. My take is that Rodney was not so much being critical as giving the team and fans a pep talk. For what it’s worth, the numbers suggest that Harrison was underrated as a Patriot. During his tenure in New England (2003-2008), including playoffs, the Patriots were an astounding 63-9 (.875) when Harrison played and a merely very good 26-13 (.667) when he did not. I have long believed the Patriots would have soundly beaten the Colts in the 2006 AFC Championship game were it not for the Bobby Wade/Jeff Fisher cheap shot that knocked Rodney out of the playoffs.

 

5. Great Expectations – The post-game presser last Thursday was the usual Bill Belichick grumpfest. He sat out eleven of his very best players, pretty much tied the hands of the guys who did play and then offered the usual monologue about the need to play and coach better. I’m not being critical of Bill here – quite the contrary. It’s remarkable that his standards never waver. Bill expects even the scrubeenies to play well and holds them accountable to that. It’s one of the reasons he’s so good at what he does. Everyone is expected to do their job, no matter what.

 

6. Jumping to Conclusions I – With teams deep in practice mode, The Sporting Press and many diehard fans are in roster assembly/depth chart frenzy. Where’s the fire? With numerous practices and three preseason games to go, it’s time for players to compete and coaches to experiment. As September draws nearer and rosters shrink, the level of play goes up and competition intensifies. The UDFA who looks like a show horse in August all too often comes back to the pack. Let’s not forget the role that injuries play in shaping the final roster. A perceived surplus can quickly vanish into thin air.

 

7. Jumping to Conclusions II – A week ago, some thought that Jimmy Garappolo didn’t belong in the NFL. The jury is still out on that but Mr. Garappolo’s rapid progress in such a short period of time has given us a sliver of hope for the future. At the same time, many have viewed Ryan Mallet’s performance as lacking. It’s tough to judge a quarterback in preseason. As we saw with Matt Cassel, I don’t think you really know what you’ve got until the player has the benefit of first team reps in practice and a game plan tailored to his strengths and weaknesses. Otherwise, we’re just guessing.

 

8. Practice? – I was at practice on Tuesday with more than 25,000 other football fans. The bleachers were full, the hill was packed and the stadium ramps to the south end zone were filled to the very top of the building.

For practice.

Here’s how far the sport of football has come here in New England. In 1990, a December Saturday afternoon home game against Washington was attended by 22,286. (Lacking anything better to do, I was one of the unfortunate attendees.) The 1969 Boston Patriots played their home games at BC’s Alumni Field, which at the time was a glorified high school field, seating just over 25,000. The average attendance was 21,344 and four of the seven home games drew less than 20,000 fans.

 

9. Public Safety Hazard – The NFL Competition Committee has put my health in jeopardy. I’ve told my wife that if I were to be inflicted with some physical malady during the football season, she should find the most ornery personal injury lawyer in the country and sue Jeff Fisher (lead pipe cinch first ballot Hall of Mediocrity member) for a comfortable living. It’s early yet, but from what little fake football I’ve been able to withstand, this year’s idiotic Point of Emphasis seems intent on eradicating any semblance of pass defense whatsoever. Why bother having defenders at all? In the not too distant future, by rule, defensive backs will be nonagenarians and inanimate objects such as orange safety cones.

 

10. The more I think about it – **** you, Jeff Fisher.

 

Thanks once again Zeus, for allowing me to share your unique perspective on the current state of Patriots Nation and of the NFL.

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats

2014 NFL Calendar and Key Dates for the New England Patriots

2014 New England Patriots Transaction Tracker

 

 

This and That (What I Like About You)

For New Year’s Eve we have a treat: another special guest appearance from Zeus.

Best wishes for a happy new year to everyone!

 

This and That (What I Like About You)

 

1. What I like about the 2013 New England Patriots is how they have taken the coaching of Bill Belichick to heart. They have faced adversity on and off the field. And yet, they have not given in to distractions and they have never, ever made a single excuse. Instead, they study film and practice hard. They focus on what they can control and they prepare, prepare, prepare. And most remarkably, no matter which 46 players dress for the game, when they take the field, they expect to win. How this works out in the tournament is anyone’s guess. But I think the Patriots have the resolve, focus and discipline to at least have a puncher’s chance. One game at a time …

 

2. Tony Dungy may be right when he calls the Broncos the team to beat in the AFC but goes too far when he says that he can’t see anyone in the AFC beating them. St. Tony’s longstanding man-crush on Peyton Manning has blinded him to certain facts obvious to even the most casual observer, most notably that the Broncos have already lost to three of this season’s AFC playoff qualifiers (Indianapolis, New England, San Diego). So Tony, just what is it that makes them unbeatable now?

 

3. The Pressure is Building – Dungy also conveniently ignores Mr. Manning’s well-documented penchant for competing in the postseason with a large bone lodged in his trachea. Manning is attempting to become the first QB to reach the Super Bowl without throwing a single spiral pass since Joe Kapp did it in 1969. The next two weeks of ruminating about past failures, lousy weather and the sorry state of his flaccid noodle-arm will clench Manning’s sphincter so tight that his lips will pucker, rendering his visage gaunt and toothless. While this year’s record-breaking performance has cemented his legacy as a greedy, stat-obsessed glory hog who is also one of the greatest regular season QBs in pro football history, Manning will once again take the field in the playoffs wallowing in a morass of uncertainty and self-doubt.

 

4. How the West was Won – Is it a coincidence that the Broncos are the top seed in the AFC while two other teams from the same division qualified for the tournament? Thank the pathetic NFC East. The Broncos, Chief and Chargers went a combined 11-1 against their so-called opposition from the NFC.

 

5. The NFL Rule Book has gotten overly prescriptive and far too technical to expect the current crew of geriatric part-time officials to enforce all of the rules with any degree of consistency. The idea that any problem, whether it be player safety or a short-term dearth of scoring, can be addressed with yet another arcane rule change, has gotten way out of hand and the byzantine interpretation of existing rules is beyond mind-boggling. Officials, coaches and players do not have a common understanding of what constitutes pass interference. Every week, the outcome of yet another game hinges on the enforcement a some bizarre, obscure, highly technical rule that no one has ever heard of before. When you can no longer shake the feeling that rule enforcement is random, subjective and capricious, the integrity of the game is called into question.

 

6. Hall of Blame – The roots of this go back to Bill Polian’s manipulation of the Competition Committee to change the emphasis and interpretation of pass defense rules. This was done not in the best interests of the great game of professional football, but rather in Polian’s naked self-interest. There’s an especially hot corner in Football Hell for Mr. Polian whose greed and shortsightedness have irreparably damaged the game.

 

7. Billionaire Boys Club – Monday was Decision Day for the captains of industry, the high achieving, brilliant geniuses who guide the fortunes of the NFL. What a freak show:

 

  • Jim Haslam (Cleveland) and the Glazer family (Tampa) did little to dispel the notion that they are petulant, impatient trigger-happy spoiled brats who will stamp their feet and fire everyone in sight if they don’t get their way, right away.
  • The Ford family in Detroit mysteriously awakened from a catatonic stupor to find their talented football team in shambles, something that was apparent to Lion fans years ago.
  • Erectile Dysfunction Icon Woody Johnson affirmed his lifelong commitment to mediocrity.
  • Mr. Daniel Snyder added another notch to his belt, a testament to the fact that that Mr. Daniel Snyder is wholly incapable of establishing a constructive working relationship with a single sentient human being anywhere on God’s green earth.
  • And Jerry Jones – oh, brother, don’t even get me started on Jerry Jones.
  • The fact that such obvious and epic mismanagement has no discernable detrimental effect on these owners’ ability to make huge money is tangible evidence of just how much people love the game of football. It’s a great business. But life needn’t be fair, so while the coaches and players are held accountable for their transgressions, the owners can be monumental screw-ups for life and still end up rolling in cash.

 

8. Tournament Time – 256 regular season games are in the record books. Twelve teams enter the eleven game tournament to determine who gets to hold The Big Parade. It is the most compelling event in sports. The next five weeks are going to fly – I dread the end of the season almost as much as I love the tournament.

 

Here’s wishing everyone a healthy, happy and fulfilling New Year!

 

 

 

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats

2013-14 Calendar: Key Dates for the Patriots and the NFL

2013 New England Patriots Transaction Tracker

Best Sports Bars to Watch the Patriots outside of New England

There are some similar lists floating around on the internet, but I’m finding most are either out of date (include venues that are no longer in operation, such as The Hairy Monk) or include places that simply have the Sunday Ticket and want some free advertising.

To me a genuine out of town sports bar will have the audio for every game played by the team they claim to be a follower of; simply having the Sunday Ticket with one or two muted sets tuned in to the Patriots does not make your establishment a Pats sports bar.

Now if there is a gathering of Pats fans at that pub every week I would consider making an exception and listing your bar here, but I’ll reserve the distinction of a ★ for those places that are truly Pats sports bars deserving of the highest recommendation, displaying the Patriots on the big screen and through the sound system each and every week.

With that in mind, please let me know of any additions (or deletions) that should be made from this list.

 

Arizona
Phoenix – ★ Toso’s Sports Bar & Grill – 2401 W Union Hills Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85027; (602) 896-8676

 

California
Hermosa Beach – Fat Face Fenner’s Fishack – 53 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254; (310) 379-5550

Huntington Beach – The Longboard Restaurant & Pub – 217 Main St, Huntington Beach, CA 92648; (714) 960-1896

Los Angeles – Little Bar Lounge – 757 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036; (323) 937-9210

Oceanside – Hooligan’s – 560 Greenbrier Dr, Ste 105 (between Grace St & Stewart St), Oceanside, CA 92054;
(760) 967-0128

Pasadena – Jake’s of Pasadena – 38 West Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105;  (626) 568-1602

Pasadena – The 35er – 12 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105; (626) 356-9315

San Diego – Miller’s Field – 4465 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109; (858) 483-4143

San Diego – ★ Players Sports Bar – 7061 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, San Diego CA 92111; (858) 277-7060

San Diego – San Diego Brewing Company – 10450 Friars Road, San Diego, CA 92120; (619) 284-2739

San Diego – Fox Sports Grill – One Park Boulevard Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92101; (619) 231-9000

Santa Monica – ★ Sonny McLean’s Irish Pub – 2615 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica CA; (310) 449-1811

San Francisco – The Buccaneer – 2155 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109; (415) 673-8023

San Francisco – ★ The Connecticut Yankee – 100 Connecticut Street, San Francisco CA 94107; (415) 552-4440

San Francisco – The Red Jack Saloon – 131 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; (415) 989-0700

San Francisco – The Pub at Ghirardelli Square – 851 Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94109; (415) 351-0500

Tustin – ★ Auld Dubliner – 2497 Park Avenue, Tustin, CA 92782; (714) 259-1562

Walnut Creek – Crogan’s Bar & Grill – 1387 Locust St Walnut Creek, CA 94596; (925) 933-9102

 

Colorado
Colorado Springs – ★ Fox and Hound – 3101 New Center Point, Colorado Springs, CO 80922; (719) 570-0500

Denver – Blake Street Tavern – 2301 Blake Street, Denver CO; (303) 675-0505

 

Delaware
Wilmington – C.R. Hooligan’s – 1616 Delaware Ave, Wilmington, DE 19806; (302) 652-2255

 

District of Columbia
Washington – ★ Capitol Lounge – 229 Pennsylvania SE, Washington DC, 20003; (202)-547-2098

Washington – Kelly’s Irish Times – 14 F St NW, Washington DC; (202)-543-5433

Washington – Murphy’s of DC – 2609 24th St NW, Washington, DC 20008; (202) 462-7171

 

Florida
Altamonte Springs – Flanagan’s Sports Pub – 924 W State Road 436, Ste 1100, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714; (407) 869-1801

Celebration – ★ Celebration Town Tavern – 721 Front St, Celebration, FL 34747; (407) 566-2526

Daytona Beach – Houligan’s – 1110 W Granada Blvd, Ormond Beach, FL 32174; (386) 673-7878

Delray Beach – ★ Boston’s On The Beach  . 40 S. Ocean Blvd, Delray Beach, FL 33483; (561) 278-3364

Fort Lauderdale – ★ Kelly’s Landing – 1305 SE 17th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316; (954) 760-7009

Fort Myers – Boston Ale N Tale – 3441 Colonial Blvd, Unit 8, Fort Myers, FL 33966; (239) 274-8253

Fort Myers – ★ Buster’s Sports Tavern – 16681 McGregor Blvd, Ste 401, Ft Myers, FL 33908; (239) 466-4144

Fort Myers – ★ Laugh-In Comedy Cafe – 8595 College Pkwy. #300, Ft Myers, FL 33919; (239) 479-5233

Key West – Finnegan’s Wake – 320 Grinnell St, Key West, FL 33040; (305) 293-0222

Key West – ★ The Lazy Gecko – 203 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040; (305) 292-1903

Lauderdale by the Sea – ★ The Village Grille – 4404 El Mar Dr, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, FL 33308; (954) 776-5092

Miami – Hollywood Johnny’s Bar & Grill – 2120 N Dixie Highway, Miami FL; (954) 923-7650

Naples – ★ Boston Beer Garden – 2396 Immokalee Rd Naples, FL 34110; (239) 596-2337

Naples – ★ Foxboro Sports Tavern – 4420 Thomasson Dr, Naples, FL 34112; (239) 530-2337

Port Orange – Boomerangs – 4649 S Clyde Morris Blvd, Port Orange FL 32129; (386) 492-2992

Tampa – ★ Boston’s – 9316 Anderson Rd, Tampa, FL 33614; (813) 901-9590

Tampa – K-D’s – 13949 W Hillsborough Ave, Tampa, FL 33635; (813) 855-7090

 

Georgia
Atlanta – Jocks & Jills – 1 Galleria Parkway, Atlanta GA; (770) 952-8401

 

Illinois
Chicago – Brendan’s Pub – 3169 N. Broadway, Chicago; (773)-929-2929

Chicago – ★ Tripoli Tap – 1147 W. Armitage Avenue, Chicago IL 60614; (773)-477-4400

 

Maryland
Baltimore – Don’t Know? Tavern – 1453 Light St, Baltimore, MD 21230; (410)539-0231

 

Michigan
Burton – Sharky’s Sports Bar – 4050 S Center Rd, Burton, MI 48519; (810) 742-6185

Detroit – 24 Seconds – 3071 W. 12 Mile Road, Detroit MI; (248) 336-0024

 

New York
Blauvelt – Bailey’s Smokehouse – 136 E Erie Street, Blauvelt, NY 10913; (845) 398-1454

NY (Lower Manhattan) – ★ Professor Thom’s Bar & Restaurant – 219 Second Ave (between 13th and 14th); (212) 269-9480

NY (Greenwich Village) – ★ Riviera Cafe & Sports Bar – 225 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014; (212) 929-3250

NY (Theatre District) – The Three Monkeys – 236 W 54th St, New York, NY 10019; (212) 586-2080

NY (Hell’s Kitchen) – Traffic Bar & Restaurant – 701 9th Ave. (Corner 48th), New York, NY 10019; (212) 837-2702

NY (Lower Manhattan) – Standings Bar – 43 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10003; (212) 420-0671

NY (Upper West Side) – The Dead Poet – 450 Amsterdam Ave., New York, NY 10024; (212) 595-5670

Rochester – ★ Mo’s Mulberry Street – 191 Lee Rd, Rochester, NY 14606; (585) 647-3522

 

Nevada
Las Vegas – ★ The Cavalier Lounge – 3850 East Desert Inn Road, Las Vegas NV 89121; (702) 451-6221

 

North Carolina
Raleigh – ★ Backyard Bistro – 1235 Hurricane Alley Way, Raleigh NC 27607; (919) 851-6203

 

Oregon
Portland – Yurs Bar and Grill – 717 NW 16th Avenue, Portland OR 97209; (503) 224-0160

 

Pennsylvania
Philadelphia – Smith’s Restaurant & Bar – 39-41 S 19th St., Philadelphia, PA 19103; (267) 546-2669

 

Texas
Austin – ★ B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub & Restaurant – 204 East 6th Street, Austin, TX 78701; (512) 494-1335

Dallas – ★ McSwiggan’s Irish Pub – 6910 Windhaven Pkwy, The Colony, TX 75056; (972) 820-0688

 

Virginia
Alexandria – ★ Murphy’s Pub – 713 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314; (703) 548-1717

Arlington – Carpool – 4000 Fairfax Drive, Arlington VA 22203; (703)-532-7665

Virginia Beach – Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub – 2914 Pacific Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451; (757) 417-7701

 

Washington
Seattle – ★ Spitfire – 2219 4th Avenue, Seattle WA 98121; (206) 441-7966

Seattle – Owl N’ Thistle – 808 Post Ave, Seattle, WA 98104; (206) 621-7777

 

Any additions or deletions, please let me know and I will edit accordingly.

Thanks!

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats

2013-14 Calendar: Key Dates for the Patriots and the NFL

2013 New England Patriots Transaction Tracker

Turnovers fueling Patriots 2012 season, but can the takeaways continue?

There are a couple of links that I wanted to pass along that some folks may have missed while waiting for the big college football games to kickoff.

 

Jeff Howe analyzed the positive effect of turnovers for the Patriots with his article, Turnovers Pump Attack. The Pats have now scored 109 points on the possession following a turnover, which works out to about ten points per game. It is also worth noting that after the 32 takeaways by the Pats, the offense has had to punt it back on the ensuing drive just eight times.

Consider how much importance Bill Belichick places on turnovers:

“I think (Thursday) night is the Exhibit A on how quickly the game can change. Turnovers are a huge part of the game, and other than points, they’re probably statistically the highest correlation to winning. We had a lot of turnovers earlier in the year and we didn’t get enough point production out of those turnovers. A lot of times, we’d turn the ball over and end up leaving with not many points. So even though we had a turnover differential advantage, that didn’t really translate into a big point advantage with those turnovers.

“The past few weeks, that number has changed more in our favor where the turnovers have been converted into points and in a lot of cases, touchdowns. We all saw how quickly that a very competitive game (Thursday) night, that was a scoreless tie, a battle back and forth, then all the sudden it’s 35 points up there. But that’s what happens. A big play, a turnover, score, another turnover, another big play and when you get all those yards in one play, whether it’s on a big play or a turnover, then that’s what defines explosive plays.”

 

Tom Curran on the other hand asks Can A Team Count On Turnovers? Frankly it is a valid question – although I totally disagree with the opinion that turnovers are “ephemeral, a product of luck”. I think just like anything else, whether or not you can count on turnovers depends on how well you are at executing what it takes to make it happen, just like a pass, a block, a run or a tackle. The issue is that when you go up against better teams in the playoffs it is more difficult to complete your tasks effectively due to the better level of competition.

One final thought on the matter: considering the performance of not only the Patriots, but other defenses like the Bears, isn’t it about time people stop judging defenses strictly on yards, and give turnovers greater consideration when forming an opinion about a team’s defense?

 

To the people that bring up Tom Brady replacing Drew Bledsoe as a comparison to the 49ers Jim Harbaugh apparently replacing Alex Smith with Colin Kaepernick: the two are not remotely close to being the same situation. Bledsoe was playing poorly and had been for a couple years; Smith just came off a game where he completed 18 of 19 passes. With Bledsoe at QB the Pats were 0-2 and were coming off a 5-11 season; with Smith at QB the 49ers were 6-2 this year and won 14 games last year.

 

Charles Siebert has an excellent article in the New York Times about The Hard Life Of An NFL Long Shot. It is a very detailed, in depth piece on life for a bottom of the roster player, well worth the time it will take you to read it (be prepared: it is lengthy). Considering how many players come and go on the Pats roster it does hit home for fans of the Patriots.

 

So Florida fans were counting on Georgia losing to Georgia Tech, then beating Alabama, while Notre Dame lost to USC and the Gators beat Florida State … oops, Georgia 42, Georgia Tech 10. So much for that idea.

Regardless, today’s game between the Gators and ‘Noles should be another in a long list of classic battles between these two schools. Nice to see both of them being in the Top Ten for their annual meeting.

 

Conference realignments in college football have delved into the surreal, bordering on absurd. The Big Ten has twelve teams, soon to be fourteen. The Big Twelve is the reverse, with ten teams; soon defections will drop that to eight teams and they can be known as the Big Eight … which is what they used to call themselves. The Big East has a team in Idaho, and Colorado is nowhere near the Pacific Ocean.

So why don’t the conferences change their names? Please don’t say tradition, because there is nothing traditional about these leagues.

Conference commissioners are all 21st century (i.e., all bout the money) when it comes to these realignments, but stuck in century old thinking when it comes to what they call themselves. AT&T became Comcast, GTE became Verizon, Cabletron became Enterasys, Lucent became Avaya … if fans are going to be stuck with these megaconfernces, how about giving us new names for them?

Personally I prefer the idea that a high school or college league or conference was smaller, about 8 or 10 teams: everybody played each other once in football, twice in all other sports each year. Winner goes on to play other league/conference champions. Those days are gone forever though.

 

Every NFL team has that one WTF game where they just come out flat and play awful, no matter how good that team is. Seems to me that the Denver Broncos are way overdue for that game, aren’t they?

 

I thought the post-race celebration that Brad Keselowski had after winning NASCAR’s Sprint Cup was amazing. It was so genuine, I can’t imagine anybody complaining that he admitted that he had a little buzz going as he drank a few of his sponsor’s Miller Lite beverages from a ridiculously oversized mug. In just his third full year on the circuit he went head-to-head against the guy who when all is said and done will go down as the best stock car racer ever, Jimmie Johnson – and won.

I also found it interesting to find out after the fact that he received words of encouragement before the race from an unlikely source: Baltimore Ravens‘ linebacker Ray Lewis, saying that Lewis gave him ‘an awesome speech’ that was very powerful and inspirational.

 

 

 

This Day In Patriots History

 

November 24, 1968:
Miami Dolphins 34, Boston Patriots 10 at Fenway Park

The Pats took an early lead but Miami broke the game open in the 4th quarter. The Patriots drove inside the Dolphins ten yard line but settled for a short field goal by Gino Cappelletti; when they got the ball back rookie Aaron Marsh scored on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Tom Sherman, and the Pats led 10-0 after one quarter. In the 2nd quarter Larry Csonka scored on 9-yard pass from Bob Griese and the Dolphins added two field goals to head into halftime with a 13-10 lead.

Another short Griese TD pass put Miami up 20-10 after three quarters. The Pats appeared to be about to close the gap when they drove deep into Miami territory, but Dick Anderson intercepted a pass by Sherman and ran it back 96 yards for a touchdown; the 14-point swing effectively ended the game.

 

November 24, 1974:
New England Patriots 27, Baltimore Colts 17 at Memorial Stadium

Jim Plunkett passed for one touchdown and ran for another in a 17-point 2nd quarter, and the Pats cruised from there to improve their record to 7-4 to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Plunkett completed 17 of 26 passes for 194 yards with no interceptions, including a two-yard scoring toss to John Tanner to put the first points of the game on the board in the second quarter. After the Colts scored in the 3rd quarter to cut the lead to 17-10, Mack Herron found the end zone on a one-yard run, and then John Smith‘s second field goal put the game out of reach. The Pats defense came up with the turnovers to stifle Baltimore, including interceptions by Jack Mildren and John Sanders.

 

November 24, 1985:
New York Jets 16, New England Patriots 13 in OT at the Meadowlands

The Pats six-game winning streak came to an end when Pat Leahy kicked his third field goal of the game in overtime.

Steve Grogan, who had taken over for the ineffective Tony Eason after a 2-3 start, suffered a broken leg early in this game. The Jets moved into sole possession of first place with a 9-3 record while the Pats dropped one game behind them at 8-4.

After the Jets opened up a 13-3 lead on an 88-yard pass from Ken O’Brien to Wesley Walker the Pats tied it up in the 4th quarter on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Eason to Cedric Jones, and Tony Franklin‘s second field goal of the game. Craig James rushed for 108 yards on 14 carries and added another 58 yards on six receptions for the Pats; on defense they sacked O’Brien six times, including three sacks by Julius Adams.

 

November 24, 1991:
New England Patriots 16, Buffalo Bills 13 at Foxboro Stadium

On Steve Grogan Fan Appreciation Day the Pats ended a four-game losing streak in which all the losses came in the final minutes, upsetting the heavily favored Bills and handing Buffalo just their second loss of the season.

The Patriots defense was spectacular, intercepting four Jim Kelly passes and also sacking the Bills QB four times. Kelly’s longest completion went for just 14 yards and the Pats blanketed James Lofton, limiting him to just one catch – and then forcing and recovering a fumble on that play.

Buffalo led 10-0 but the Pats came back with a 46-yard field goal by Charlie Baumann and then a 50-yard touchdown from Hugh Millen to Irving Fryar to cut the lead to 10-9 at halftime. A 34-yard pass from Millen to Fryar set up the game-winning score, a two-yard quarterback sneak by Millen with 13:09 left to play.

Millen finished with 263 yards passing and Fryar had six receptions for 134 yards and one touchdown. Fryar was named the AFC Offensive Player Of the Week for his performance in this game.

 

November 24, 1996:
New England Patriots 27, Indianapolis Colts 13

Curtis Martin rushed for 141 yards on a season-high 35 carries as the Pats got their fifth win in six games and improved to 8-4. The victory allowed the Pats to stay within one game of first place Buffalo, while opening up a two-game lead over the third place Colts.

The Patriots dominated the whole game, leading 17-0 before the Colts had made a single first down. Martin had 92 yards rushing by halftime and set a team record with his 16th touchdown of the season.

The Colts were without RDT Tony Siragusa and the Pats made a concerted effort to run at his replacement behind LT Max Lane. The effective running set up play action passes, with Drew Bledsoe throwing touchdown passes to Shawn Jefferson and Terry Glenn to put the Pats up 17-0.

The Patriots were just as productive on defense, holding Marshall Faulk to 25 yards on 10 carries and knocking QB Jim Harbaugh out of the game; the only Colts touchdown came with less than three minutes to play and the Pats up by 21 points.

 

November 24, 2002:
New England Patriots 24, Minnesota Vikings 17

Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes and the Pats recovered three Minnesota fumbles to improve their record to 6-5.

The Patriots jumped out to a 21-0 lead when they scored on each of their first three possessions, ending in Brady TD passes of 9 yards and 1 yard to Christian Fauria and 5 yarder to Troy Brown. For Fauria that was his sixth touchdown of the year, after totaling seven touchdowns in his previous seven years in the NFL combined.

Up by three scores the Pats got the ball again when Richard Seymour recovered a Randy Moss fumble with 2:14 left to play in the half. Unfortunately the Pats could not deliver the knock out punch. Due to a strong wind the Pats went for it on 4th and 10 rather than attempt a field goal, and Brady was sacked at the 39; Minnesota drove down the field and scored to make it 21-7 at halftime.

The wind came in to play again in the 3rd quarter when a Ken Walter punt travelled only 24 yards; the Vikings took advantage of the field position and scored on Daunte Culpepper‘s second touchdown pass to make it 21-14.

Turnabout was fair play though as Minnesota had the wind in their face on their final drive; a long pass from Culpepper to Moss fell short with 25 seconds to play, and on 4th down Culpepper’s next pass sailed wide of his target.

 

 

 

♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯

 

November 24, 1939:
Jim Yester was born in Birmingham; was guitar player and original lead singer for The Association (Windy, Along Comes Mary, Never My Love).

November 24, 1941:
Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn was born in Memphis; was bass player for Booker T & the MGs and also for The Blues Brothers.

November 24, 1941:
Pete Best was born in India; was the original drummer for the Beatles.

November 24, 1991:
Freddie Mercury died; was the lead singer for Queen.

November 24, 1993:
Guitar player Albert Collins died; is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential blues musicians of all time.

 

 

 

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats

 

 

 

 

Week 4 College Football

A look into my crystal ball at some of Saturday’s games.

 

 

Temple (1-1) at Penn State (1-2)
Saturday Sept 22, 3:30 p.m. ET on espn2
Opening Odds: Penn State -9
Current Odds: Penn State -8
Over/Under: Opened at 45; currently 43

Neither offense is very good; the results between these two have gone under in each of the last five meetings. Bill O’Brien finally got his first win and though this may sound crazy, the Nittany Lions could be in for a bit of a letdown facing Temple. The Owls have come close recently, losing to Penn State by just nine points two years ago and four points last year. They’ll be up for this game as they see PSU as a team that has bullied them forever. Even if they don’t score the upset they should at least cover.

Temple +8 (2 units)
Under 43 (1 unit)

 

1-2 Kentucky at 3-0 #14 Florida
Saturday Sept 22, 12:20 p.m. ET on SEC Network
Opening Odds: Florida -23½
Current Odds: Florida -24
Over/Under: Opened at 49; currently 52½
Kentucky was 5-7 last year and returned just eleven starters. Their only win was against an abysmal Kent state team, and Louisville crushed them 32-14, rolling up 466 yards against Kentucky’s defense. The Gators have quieted their critics with road wins at Texas A&M and at Tennessee. They have next week off so it’s not as if they’ll be looking ahead to another game.

Florida -24 (3 units)

 

#10 3-0 Clemson at #4 3-0 Florida State
Saturday Sept. 22 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC
Opening Odds: Florida State -13
Current odds: Florida State -14
Over/Under: Opened at 55½; currently at 56

FSU has finished their exhibition season, and now gets a real game. Even if the competition wasn’t that great, you still have to be impressed by a team that has outscored their opponents 176 to 3. The Seminoles have more speed and athleticism, and will be motivated by the fact that Clemson has won five of the last seven meetings, including last year’s 35-30 game.

Florida State -14 (2 units)

 

#15 3-0 Kansas State at #6 2-0 Oklahoma
Saturday Sept. 22 at 7:50 p.m. ET on Fox
Opening Odds: Oklahoma -14½
Current Odds: Oklahoma -14
Over/Under: Opened at 58½; currently 57½

Kansas State is averaging 46 points per game, and I’m not sold on Oklahoma QB Landry Jones. The Sooners may be a bit over rated; they’re just 2-5 against the spread in their last seven conference games.

Kansas State +14 (1 unit)
Over 57½ (1 unit)

 

 

The rest:

0-2 Army at 2-1 Wake Forest, 12:30
CBS: Wake -7, under 56½

2-1 South Florida at 2-1 Ball State
4:30; Ball St +13, over 59½

0-3 Memphis at 2-1 Duke
6:00, espn3; Memphis +24, under 62½

0-3 Eastern Michigan at #21 2-1 Michigan State
3:30, Big 10; MSU -28½, over 48

1-2 Bowling Green at 2-1 Virginia Tech
Noon, espnU; Va Tech -17, over 47

1-1 Central Michigan at 2-1 Iowa
Noon, Big 10; Iowa -14, over 47

0-2 Alabama-Birmingham at #16 3-0 Ohio State
Noon, Big 10; OSU -36, over 58½

2-1 East Carolina at 1-2 North Carolina
3:30, espnU; UNC -14, under 60

2-1 Maryland at #8 2-0 West Virginia
Noon, FX; WV -25½, over 59

1-2 UTEP at 2-1 Wisconsin
Noon, espn2; Wisconsin -17½, under 48

0-3 UMass at 1-2 Miami OH
Noon, espn3; Miami -23½, over 48½

1-2 Vanderbilt at #5 3-0 Georgia
7:45, espn2; Georgia -13½, over 50

2-1 Utah State at 1-2 Colorado State
7:00; CSU +14½, over 47½

3-0 Rutgers at 1-2 Arkansas
7:00, espnU; Arkansas -8½, over 47½

#22 3-0 Arizona at #3 3-0 Oregon
10:30, espn; Oregon -21½, under 79 (2 units)

1-0 Oregon State at #19 3-0 UCLA
3:30, ABC; UCLA -7, under 52½

2-1 Virginia at #17 2-0 Texas Christian
Noon, espn; TCU -13½, over 51½

1-2 California at #13 2-1 Southern Cal
6:00; Cal +17, under 59

0-3 Colorado at 2-1 Washington State
4:00, FX; Colorado +20½, over 58

#2 3-0 LSU at 1-2 Auburn
7:00, espn; LSU -18½ (2 units), under 51½

2-1 Miami (FL) at 2-1 Georgia Tech
3:00; Miami +14½, over 56½

2-1 UConn at 1-2 Western Michigan
2:00, espn3; WMU +1, over 41½

2-1 Missouri at #7 3-0 South Carolina
3:00, CBS; Missouri +10½, under 52½

#18 2-1 Michigan at #11 3-0 Notre Dame
7:30, NBC; Michigan +6½, under 51

1-2 Syracuse at 3-0 Minnesota
8:00, Big 10; Minnesota +1, under 57½

1-2 New Mexico at 1-2 New Mexico State
8:00, espn3; New Mexico +8½, under 63

1-2 Akron at 2-1 Tennessee
7:30, espn3; Tennessee under 33, under 65½

2-1 Mississippi at 0-2 Tulane
Noon, FSN; Ole’ Miss -15, under 57

2-0 Louisiana Tech at 2-1 Illinois
8:00, Big 10; Illinois -1, over 61½

2-1 Utah at 2-1 Arizona State
10:00; Utah +7½, over 49½

1-1 Air Force at 0-3 UNLV
10:00; UNLV +14½, over 55

2-1 Nevada at 1-1 Hawaii
10:30; Hawaii +10½, over 61

1-2 Florida Atlantic at #1 3-0 Alabama
5:00; FAU +51½, under 58½

0-2 Southern Mississippi at 2-1 Western Kentucky
7:00, espn3; WKU -2, under 52

1-2 Troy at 1-2 North Texas
7:00, espn3; NTU +2, over 55½

#20 3-0 Louisville at 1-2 Florida International
7:00, espn3; Louisville -13½, under 59½

1-2 South Alabama at #23 3-0 Mississippi State
7:00, espn3; Miss St -32½, over 47½

Idaho State at #25 2-1 Nebraska
3:30; Nebraska -45½

 

 

Septmber 21, 1967:
Faith Hill was born.

 

 

 

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats

 

 

 

Happy 4th of July

While July 4th has become a day for fireworks, cookouts and automobile dealership ‘sales’, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on what it really means, and how it should motivate us.

 

When the Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men, they declared freedom from what was by far the most powerful country in the world at that time. We were a huge underdog taking on the most powerful armed forces on the planet. Despite the enormous odds against us we won our freedom, and in so doing gave others the confidence to do the same.

 

Fast forward 236 years (has it really been 36 years since that incredible 200th celebration on the Esplinade with me and 400,000 of my closest friends?) and there are some thoughts that have unfortunately pushed to the side. Let’s not forget why we have our freedom or those that made it possible: from those individuals with their muskets two centuries ago to our fathers and grandfathers who risked or gave their lives in Europe and Japan fifty years ago, to those who volunteer to protect our way of life even today.

 

Yes, our nation is not a perfect one. We need to continue to avoid the impulse to become complacent. We need to continue to monitor our own leaders and be on the watch for abuse of power. There are certain areas in need of improvement. Still, the concept that all men are born equal with inalienable rights is a profound concept that makes this a nation we should all be proud to be a part of and a concept that we continue to admirably live by today.

 

The Fourth of July is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in this great nation. It is an opportunity to give thanks to those before us that made it all possible. It is an opportunity to look within and consider what each and every one of us can do in whatever way to improve our community, and in doing so improve our nation.

 

Please join me in reflecting, remembering and thanking all of those who have served previously and continue to defend or freedoms. Here is to a safe and happy 4th of July to everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats

 

 

 

 

 

Summertime video suggestions for NFL fans

Here are a few video suggestions to help pass the time as we slowly churn our way through the abyss of the quietest time of the year for Pats fans and NFL fans. I’m sure people here have seen most of these already, but perhaps there are a few that you haven’t viewed before, and some others that are well worth watching once again.

 

Specific to the New England Patriots:

Three Games To Glory

Three Games To Glory II

Three Games To Glory III

NFL Films – A Football Life: Bill Belichick

21: The Story Behind the NFL’s Longest Winning Streak

NFL Greatest Games Series: New England Patriots
(note: if you have the 3GTG series, there is not a whole lot more on this set than what you have already seen)

 

 

Hollywood productions, not Pats-specific:

1. Remember the Titans (2000)
The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.

 

2. North Dallas Forty (1979)
A semi-fictional account of life as a professional Football (American-style) player. Loosely based on the Dallas Cowboys team of the early 1970s.

 

3. Brian’s Song (1971)
Based on the real-life relationship between teammates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers and the bond established when Piccolo discovers that he is dying. (Note: do not bother with the remake).

 

4. The Longest Yard (1974)
A sadistic warden asks a former pro quarterback, now serving time in his prison, to put together a team of inmates to take on (and get pummeled by) the guards.

 

5. Rudy (1993)
Rudy has always been told that he was too small to play college football. But he is determined to overcome the odds and fulfill his dream of playing for Notre Dame.

 

6. The Program (1993)
Several players from different backgrounds try to cope with the pressures of playing football at a major university. Each deals with the pressure differently, some turn to drinking, others to drugs, and some to studying.

 

7. The Express (2008)
A drama based on the life of college football hero Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.

 

8. Invincible (2006)
Based on the story of Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender from South Philadelphia who overcame long odds to play for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles in 1976.

 

9. We Are Marshall (2006)
When a plane crash claims the lives of members of the Marshall University football team and some of its fans, the team’s new coach and his surviving players try to keep the football program alive.

 

10. Friday Night Lights (2004)
Based on Buzz Bissinger’s book, which profiled the economically depressed town of Odessa, Texas and their heroic high school football team, The Permian High Panthers.

 

11. Horse Feathers (1932)
Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the new president of Huxley U, hires bumblers Baravelli and Pinky to help his school win the big football game against rival Darwin U.

 

12. The Longest Yard (2005)
Remake of the 1974 film in which prison inmates form a football team to challenge the prison guards.

 

13. Varsity Blues (1999)
When a player’s injury brings a halt to a coach’s 23 year championship stint, it’s time for a new coach and a new school of thought. Winning at all costs is replaced with doing your best and enjoying the game. The results are pretty dramatic.

 

14. Heaven Can Wait (1978)
A Los Angeles Rams quarterback, accidentally taken away from his body by an over-anxious angel before he was supposed to die, comes back to life in the body of a recently-murdered millionaire.

 

15. Everybody’s All-American (1988)
A Louisiana football legend struggles to deal with life’s complexities after his college career is over.

 

16. All The Right Moves (1983)
A high school footballer desperate for a scholarship and his headstrong coach clash in a dying Pennsylvania steel town.

 

17. The Replacements (2000)
During a pro football strike, the owners hire substitute players.

 

18. The Waterboy (1998)
A football team water boy discovers he has a unique tackling ability and becomes a member of the team.

 

19. Wildcats (1986)
Molly is a high school track coach who knows just as much about football as anyone else on the planet. When the football coach’s position becomes vacant, she applies for the job, despite expecting sniggers from fellow staff members and her former husband

 

20. The Last Boy Scout (1991)
A down and out cynical detective teams up with a down and out ex-quarterback to try and solve a murder case involving a pro football team and a politician.

 

21. Knute Rockne All American (1940)
The story of legendary Notre Dame football player and coach Knute Rockne.

 

22. Semi-Tough (1977)
A three-way friendship between two free-spirited professional football players and the owner’s daughter becomes compromised when two of them become romantically involved.

 

23. Jerry Maguire (1996)
When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent with the only athlete who stays with him.

 

24. Any Given Sunday (1999)
A fictional behind the scenes look at the life and death struggles of professional football players and those who lead them.

 

25. Radio (2003)
The story of a high school coach and the developmentally challenged man whom he took under his wing.

 

26. Code Breakers (2005)
In 1951, a cheating scandal rocks West Point academy, as 83 cadets – including the son of the school’s football coach (Glenn) – are implicated and ultimately dismissed.

 

27. School Ties (1992)
A Jewish boy goes to an elite prep school in the 1950’s and hides his religion until a jealous bigot forces it out in the open.

 

28. Gridiron Gang (2006)
Teenagers at a juvenile detention center, under the leadership of their counselor, gain self-esteem by playing football together.

 

29. Jim Thorpe: All-American (1951)
The triumph and tragedy of Native Anerican Jim Thorpe, who, after winning both the pentathlon and decathlon in the same Olympics, is stripped of his medals on a technicality.

 

30. Paper Lion (1968)
Sportswriter George Plimpton poses as a rookie quarterback for the Detroit Lions for a “Sports Illustrated” article.

 

31. Fighting Back (1980)
Making an appearance in the National Football League is a dream for any football player, but for Rocky Bleier it was a dream that bared repeating. When the draft and a war injury wrecked havoc on his body, Rocky’s spirit persevered to keep his dream alive.

 

32. Necessary Roughness (1991)
Due to NCAA sanctions, the Texas State University Fightin’ Armadillos must form a football team from their actual student body, with no scholarships to help, to play their football schedule. With fewer players than most teams, the makeshift team must overcome obstacles that the best teams in the country couldn’t deal with. Using a 34 year old quarterback, a female placekicker and a gang of misfits, Ed “Straight Arrow” Genero must take his team to play the number one Texas Colts.

 

33. Two For The Money (2005)
After suffering a career-ending injury, a former college football star aligns himself with one of the most renowned touts in the sports-gambling business.

 

34. Johnny Be Good (1988)
It’s recruiting time and despite being short and scrawny, Johnny Walker is America’s hottest young football prospect. His dilemma: should he take one of the many offers from college talent scouts or should he attend the local state college with his girlfriend and give up his football career?

 

35. The Blind Side (2009)
The story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family.

 

36. Leatherheads (2008)
In 1925, an enterprising pro football player convinces America’s too-good-to-be-true college football hero to play for his team and keep the league from going under.

 

37. They Call Me Sirr (2001)
Sirr Parker, raised in tough South Central Los Angeles, was abandoned by his junkie mother and raised by his grandmother until Coach Griffin takes him under his wing at Locke High School. Meant to be an inspirational story, the former Texas A&M standout was signed as a 1998 undrafted rookie free agent by the San Diego Chargers and makes the practice squad but was waived and signed by two more teams before he finally switched positions and stuck with the Cincinnati Bengals for the last three games of the 2000 season. He was then released for a very minor violation of team off-season rules regarding place of residence.

 

38. Trouble Along The Way (1953)
Struggling to retain custody of his daughter following his divorce, football coach Steve Williams finds himself embroiled in a recruiting scandal at the tiny Catholic college he is trying to bring back to football respectability.

 

39. The Junction Boys (2002)
Story of Bear Bryant’s first summer as head football coach at Texas A&M. Bear takes his charges out onto the scorched plains and sees who survives.

 

40. The Game Plan (2007)
An NFL quarterback living the bachelor lifestyle discovers that he has a 8-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.

 

41. The Best of Times (1986)
A small-town loser determines to have one more shot at the big time by winning a football game.

 

42. Little Giants (1994)
Misfits form their own opposing team to an elite peewee football team, coached by the elite team coach’s brother.

 

43. The 5th Quarter (2010)
Driven by the tragic and fatal car crash that took the life of his fifteen year old brother Luke, and wearing Luke’s number 5 jersey, Jon Abbate helps to lead the Wake Forest Demon Deacons to the most successful season in school history.

 

44. Lucas (1986)
A socially inept fourteen year old experiences heartbreak for the first time when his two best friends — Cappie, an older-brother figure, and Maggie, the new girl with whom he is in love — fall for each other.

 

45. Quarterback Princess (1983)
The Maida family has moved to Oregon, and daughter Tami wants to play quarterback for the high school football team. There’s just one problem. She’s a girl. With everyone from the coach to her next door neighbor against her, she’s out to prove that not only can she can play football, but she can win the state championship. (Based on a true story).

 

46. Windrunner (1995)
A young man in high school moves with his mother to a town in the U.S. Southwest where his father is serving time in a penitentiary. There, he is discriminated against by his peers because he is the son of a convict; this discrimination includes the football coach keeping him on the bench. He receives special training from the ghost of Jim Thorpe, a Native American football star.

 

47. Hometown Legend (2002)
A teenage drifter finds an opportunity to turn his life around when he joins a high-school football program with a hard-nosed coach.

 

48. Field of Vision (2011)
The topic of bullying is addressed in the 2011 NBC Family Movie Night series presentation, Field of Vision. The film stars Faith Ford, Tony Oller, Philip Casnoff, Alyssa Jordan Shafer and Joe Adler. Although a “football” film at first glance, the movie goes much deeper, ultimately presenting each character a “turning point” moment when they are forced to make a choice between right and wrong. Adler is marvelously understated as the new transfer student being subjected to bullying, while Oller, as his team’s star quarterback, is faced with deciding which is more important: Doing what is right, or ignoring everything for the “promised land,” the state championship.

 

49. Possums (1998)
Will Collier loves his job as radio announcer for the local high school football team, the Nowata Possums. He loves it so much that he continues announcing even after the town decides to cancel the football program. But when his imaginary teams starts to contend for the state championship, he not only must deal with the real state champs, but he must reckon with the hopes and dreams of the people of Nowata as well.

 

50. Second String (2002)
Football coach Chuck Dichter has worked wonders with the Buffalo Bills, and is even confident to crown his career with a Super Bowl victory, but before the play-offs an oyster food-poisoning wipes out his first team for a month. Dan Heller, an insurance salesman and former college quarterback, who was hired -reluctantly, but his wife twisted his arm- just for practice, now has to captain and train a bunch of rookies and old-timers against the hardest adversaries. Dichter decides to sign up triple Super Bowl-winner Tommy Baker in Dan’s place.

 

99. The Fanatics (1999)
Quimby Falls, much like many American small towns, loves football with a passion. When the Buzzard team owner moves the team to another town, a few die-hard fans formulate a drastic plan to bring the team back home.

 

 

 

Any glaring omissions? An egregious error in the order in which these were placed? Let me know your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats

 

 

 

 

Pats Individual Game Tickets Go On Sale July 17

The New England Patriots have announced that individual game tickets for the 2012 season will be placed on sale on Tuesday, July 17 at 10:00 a.m. The team did not announce exactly how many tickets will be made available, but in the past several years these individual game tickets have sold out in a matter of minutes.

 

All tickets will be sold via Ticketmaster, and the only form of payment being accepted will be Visa. Tickets may be purchased either online or by phone at 800-745-3000; there will be no tickets available at Gillette Stadium. The only exception is for wheelchair accessible seating; call 508-384-9191 for more information on those tickets. The team has set a sale limit of four tickets per game.

 

This is the second straight year that individual game tickets have gone on sale in mid July; last year they were placed on sale on Friday July 15. Prior to that the tickets went on sale earlier in the off-season: June 21 in 2010, June 4 in 2009, and on May 16 in 2008. This is pure speculation on my part, but perhaps the reason for the later sale date is to get more fans that are on the fence to renew their season tickets? One would think a business would prefer to have the funds in-house earlier rather than later. Then again in the grand scheme of things the return on investment from having theses funds available for a couple extra months may be minimal for an organization of this size.

 

Once these tickets are sold out that will mean that 2012 will be the 19th consecutive year that the Pats have sold out every game prior to the kickoff of the regular season. The Patriots have sold out every preseason, regular season and postseason game since September 4, 1994. The streak is currently at 193 games and will extend to 203 at the finish of this year’s regular season. The 200th consecutive sellout will be on Sunday November 18 versus the Indianapolis Colts.

 

For a seating map and ticket information check out the team’s web site at Patriots.com/Tickets/Single Game.

 

 

 

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats

 

 

 

 

 

Willie McGinest rips Wes Welker

Breaking news and more to follow; will update when more details unfold.

 

Apparently Willie McGinest just said that “I just don’t like the diva attitude” in regards to Wes Welker and because “prior to the Patriots, this is a guy who played 3 yrs, had 96 receptions, never had a 1,000-yard season” he should be more than happy and grateful with being franchised. McGinest went on to say that “so look, Wes, it’s time to take off the leopard-printed cowboy boots, get off the party tour and get back to work”, opining that he should be in the Pats “mandatory” (?) minicamp.

 

Until more details check out Willie McGinest on twitter, and beat writers such as Nick Underhill that noticed his commentary.