Tag Archives: New England Patriots

What’s so wrong with a defensive struggle?

I am going to take up the cudgel for the two professional football teams that just played in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history.

The New England Patriots scored 13 points compared to the three points rung up by the Los Angeles Rams.

I’ve been reading social media and other commentary about how “boring” and “stupefying” and “disappointing” the game turned out to be.

Let me stipulate that I didn’t want either team playing for the NFL championship. My favorite among the four teams vying for the Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs, lost to the Patriots in overtime in the AFC championship game. The New Orleans Saints, it can be argued, should have been the NFC rep, but were robbed by a non-call that should have gone against the Rams in that conference’s title game, which the Rams won also in overtime.

When did massive offensive output, though, become the benchmark for on-the-field excellence in these football games? I watched most of the game Sunday night. I watched a lot of sequences when both teams would take three snaps and then punt the ball away. It got to be so repetitive that CBS Sports color analyst Tony Romo joked that the first-half highlight was the Ram punter’s record-setting kick of 65 yards.

However, we all did watch some stellar defensive strategies being played out. Both teams were hitting hard and their tackling was sure-handed. Patriots QB Tom Brady got sacked for the only time during this year’s playoff season. Rams QB Jared Goff was hassled and chased around constantly by New England’s defensive front line.

I didn’t see many defensive mistakes out there. I saw some hard-hitting tackle football.

So what if the teams couldn’t ring up 30 or 40 points apiece? The outcome was in doubt until practically the very end of the game.

There. Having said all that, I am kinda/sorta glad the Patriots won the game, owing only to my longtime affection for the AFC over the NFC. We saw a bit of history made Sunday night, with the Patriots winning the franchise’s sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy.

What is so wrong with that?

Take it away, Tony Romo!

There is, as they say, a first time for everything.

So, for the first time in my life I am looking forward to a major sporting event not so much for the competition on the field, but for the announcing that will come from the broadcast booth.

Yep, it’s true. I have no particular interest in the Super Bowl LIII matchup between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams. I do have an interest in hearing the real-time game analysis by Tony Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback who has become a media superstar.

I was among the millions of Americans who became enthralled with Romo’s expertise while calling the Patriots’ AFC championship game victory over the Kansas City Chiefs a couple of Sundays ago. His energy and enthusiasm were contagious. His knowledge of the game, quite naturally, was stellar.

Moreover, his ability to predict what the Patriots or the Chiefs would do on the next play was utterly astonishing!

I expect fully to hear Romo bring all of that into the booth this coming Sunday when he provides color commentary for the Patriots-Rams showdown. I also heard it said that he makes Jim Nantz, the play-by-play announcer with whom Romo will be teamed for SB LIII, even better at his job.

Let me be clear about something. I have been a longtime AFC supporter. Only one time have I rooted for the NFC team over the AFC team in the Super Bowl. It was in 2010 when the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts.

Yeah, I’ll root quietly for the Pats to beat the Rams. I’ll likely provide golf claps if the Patriots pull off big plays.

But my interest in the big game centers mostly on hearing Tony Romo, who never excited me much as a QB for the so-called “America’s Team.” I say that even though I now live in the heart of Cowboys Country.

But, man, the boy knows how to bring a pro football game to life with his commentary!

Patriots vs. Rams: not the preferred matchup, however . . .

OK, here we go again. The New England Patriots are going to play for their umpteenth Super Bowl championship against the Los Angeles Rams.

This wasn’t the matchup I wanted. I already declared my desire to see the Kansas City Chiefs win the whole thing. They were long overdue for another trip to the Big Game; their latest Super Bowl was in 1970, when they beat — while still representing the former American Football League — the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings 23-7.

I remain a diehard American Football Conference fan, so I’ll root (more or less) for the Patriots against the Rams.

The LA Rams last played in the Super Bowl in 1980 when they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, the St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans in 2000. So the franchise is a recent participant in the big game. So now the Rams, who have returned to La La Land, are back.

I didn’t predict the Chiefs would take it all home. It was merely my stated preference.

However, having said that, I have to declare that the AFC championship game was incredibly well played, given the utterly frigid temperatures the players endured on the field at Arrowhead Stadium.

As for the NFC game, I’ll merely say that the refs stole that game from the New Orleans Saints with that remarkably hideous non-call on pass interference.

They shoulda called the cops.

How ’bout them Chiefs?

OK, here goes my selection for the next National Football League championship.

I am pulling hard for the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Lombardi Trophy at the end of Super Bowl 53 (or is it LIII?).

They play the New England Patriots next weekend for the AFC championship. They’ll play it at Arrowhead Stadium in KC. The NFC championship will be decided between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints; I don’t care about that one, because I have been a long-time AFC fan.

My cheering for the Chiefs stems from the fact that they last played in the Super Bowl in 1970. That was 49 years ago, man!

Those Chiefs defeated the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings 23-7. They manhandled the Purple People Eaters. Their coach was a guy named Hank Stram, who crafted something called the Offense of the 1970s. He was a dapper dresser who strolled the sideline with his plays written on a rolled-up sheet of paper he carried with him.

The KC Chiefs had the misfortune, too, of playing the mighty Green Bay Packers in the very first championship game. The Packers won that game 35-10; it wasn’t even known yet as the Super Bowl.

The Chiefs represented the American Football League against the powerhouse NFL titans from Green Bay. They got thumped, but then in the final game representing the AFL, which merged with the NFL, did their own thumping three years later in Super Bowl IV.

That was too long ago. The Patriots have been to many Super Bowls over the years. They’ve won their share of them, too. Sure, whoever wins the AFC title game must play the NFC winner at the Big Game.

This is the Kansas City Chiefs’ time. At least I hope it is.

You go, Philly Eagles!

Normally, I might be a bit down in the dumps over the result of a Super Bowl contest that ended the way Super Bowl LII did.

You see, I am a fan of the American Football Conference. I root for the AFC team over the National Football Conference team in the big game. I have rolled that way dating back to the original AFL-NFL Championship Game, in 1967, when the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Green Bay Packers.

This year, the Philadelphia Eagles outscored the New England Patriots in a barn-burner.

Why aren’t I saddened by the outcome? The Patriots have won more than their share of Super Bowls. Head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady sought their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy together.

The Eagles had been denied the fruit of victory in their previous two attempts: once by the Oakland Raiders and once by, that’s right, the Patriots.

So it was their turn Sunday to bring home the coveted trophy.

It’s hard to feel too badly for a sports franchise that has won so much for so long.

As for the underdog upsetting the favorites, I return to one of my favorite sayings about such things: That is why they play the game.

Nice ‘problem’ to have, Eagles

How would you like to be the head coach or the general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles?

You have a quarterback, Carson Wentz, who was thought to be the prohibitive favorite to be the National Football League’s most valuable player. Then he gets hurt.

Wentz’s backup, Nick Foles, steps in and leads the team to the Super Bowl. Then, against the odds, the backup throws for three touchdowns and catches another one.

The Eagles win, defeating one of those “teams of destiny,” the New England Patriots, who have a pretty good QB of their own, a guy named Tom Brady.

So … what now?

Wentz will come back from his injury. But what about Foles? What do you with Foles, who won the Super Bowl MVP award while lighting up the stadium with the performance of several lifetimes?

Foles is nowhere the end of his playing career. The young man is a creaky 29 years of age, for crying out loud.

Good luck, Philly, as you ponder how you might cope with this “problem.” Congratulations, too, for one hell of a victory!

Super Bowl: Who gets the cheers?

Oh, the quandary I face.

The Super Bowl will occur next weekend and for the first time in about, oh, 52 years I don’t know for which team I should cheer.

Some members of my family know that I am a fairly dedicated American Football Conference fan. I used to watch the former American Football League games over the NFL back in the very old days. When the AFL merged with the NFL in 1970, I rooted for old AFL teams every time they played the NFL teams. There was a caveat, though: Three NFL teams — the Baltimore Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns — moved to the AFC, so I grudgingly rooted for them as well. Let’s not forget that the leagues met in four Super Bowls prior to their merger, with the AFL teams winning two of those games.

This year I am faced with this problem: The New England (formerly the Boston) Patriots are playing the Philadelphia Eagles. Normally I’d root hard for the Pats, except they’ve so damn many of these Super Bowls I am inclined to send good karma to the Eagles, who’ve never won the big game. The Pats beat them years after my beloved Oakland Raiders smoked the Eagles.

I have tumbled off the AFC bandwagon once, when I cheered for the New Orleans Saints to defeat the Indianapolis Colts. Lo and behold, the Saints won and gave the Big Easy plenty to cheer after the misery those folks had endured from Hurricane Katrina less than five years earlier.

It might take some kind of heart-warming story to make me switch my loyalty to the NFC for Super Bowl LII. Then again, perhaps I will simply tire of hearing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady tell us how great he is.

I mean, c’mon! Would a sixth Super Bowl victory make him even an greater athlete than he already is?

Oh … the humanity!

Good job, FBI, in helping find a shirt

I am a big admirer of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

It does great work on a whole host of serious matters: they include counterterrorism and pursuing those who break federal law.

Seriously, I love the FBI. I watched “The Untouchables” as a kid and cheered for Elliot Ness to catch the bad guys every week.

However, the FBI didn’t need to spend a single one of my tax dollars — or yours, for that matter — to help locate a damn shirt! It happened to the jersey worn by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during that Super Bowl game this past month, the one in which Brady led the Pats to that amazing comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

I get that the shirt is worth a lot of money. I also get that the FBI felt it was justified in assisting in finding it.

Look at this way: Brady is worth a few hundred million bucks; the team for which he plays has even more dough in the bank. They could have paid top dollar to the greatest private investigative firms on the planet to find the shirt.

The FBI, however, got involved.

No thanks. I ain’t cheering this one.

The Patriots ought to reimburse the Treasury for every nickel spent in the hunt for a shirt.

Admitting a big mistake regarding The Big Game

I am in the mood for admitting a mistake.

Last night I made a big one.

I watched much of the first half of the Super Bowl. I watched the Atlanta Falcons run up that big halftime lead over the New England Patriots. I watched Lady Gaga’s knockout halftime show. She wowed me, man!

Then I figured: Well, that’s the ballgame. The Falcons look too good, too fast, too strong, too everything.

I turned in. Went to sleep.

Then I awoke this morning, looked at my I-phone and saw the headline: “Patriots win in epic comeback!”

I am so ashamed. I figure if I say so out loud in this forum that I’ll attract some forgiveness.

Are there others out there?

Now, is New England quarterback Tom Brady “the greatest QB in the history of Planet Earth?” That remains to be debated for as long as people can still remember the likes of, oh, Joe Montana, Roger Staubach, John Elway … to name just three pretty good flingers.

Yes, Brady is a great one. The greatest ever?

Maybe. Then again …

A shout-out to two backup QBs

Tom Brady is basking in the glory tonight. Good for him. He gets to play in Super Bowl LI … that’s No. 51.

But wait a second, OK? The New England Patriots stud quarterback, who won the most valuable player award for tonight’s AFC championship game victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, ought to share the spotlight with a couple of young men who haven’t gotten so much as a mention tonight.

They would be Jimmy Garoppolo (pictured) and Jacoby Brissett.

Who are these fellows? They’re the backup quarterbacks who led the Patriots to a 3-1 start for the NFL season — while Brady was serving a four-game suspension over that infamous “Deflategate” controversy in 2015.

If the Patriots had floundered and flailed at the start of the season, they wouldn’t have been in position to earn home-field advantage in the playoffs, which well could have helped them defeat the Steelers tonight. Suppose, too, they had lost, say, another game or two to start the season. They might have become so dispirited that their fortunes the rest of the way could have turned out quite differently.

But they kept their poise in Brady’s absence. Garoppolo and Brissett held the team together while Brady watched. Then the Big Man returned and picked up where the backups left off.

I will tip my proverbial hat to Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, even if no one else is giving them the props they deserve.