Noonan: On Sunday, The Patriots Will ‘Ignore The Noise’ Against Seattle

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (left) and quarter Tom Brady (right) will look to capture their fourth Super Bowl on Sunday. (Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (left) and quarter Tom Brady (right) will look to capture their fourth Super Bowl on Sunday. (Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)

By Matt Noonan 

It’s finally Sunday.

One more game remains on the 2014 NFL Schedule: Super Bowl XLIX.

New England versus Seattle, clam chowder and great seafood versus Starbucks and the artists. Bill Belichick against Pete ‘How ‘Bout Our Defense’ Carroll, Tom Brady versus Russell Wilson, and East Coast versus West Coast.

The list goes on and on, but this Super Bowl has a different meaning. Instead of two teams competing for the ultimate prize – the Vince Lombardi Trophy (Yes, I used Lombardi’s first name) – this game is about the Patriots against the World.

Everyone wants to see the Patriots crumble, especially against a defense – The Legion of Boom – that is prepared to burst through the line of scrimmage on each snap. Fans want to see New England – a team that has been under scrutiny for the past two weeks because of “Deflate Gate” – lose.

Enough, people!

This is the NFL, the most popular sport in the North America, and instead of getting excited about two great teams competing for a championship, we’ve been wrapped up in Deflate Gate, as well as pondering the question: Is Tom Brady a cheater?

Belichick’s mantra has always been to ignore the noise, and you can bet New England did that this week while preparing for their final test. Say what you want – go ahead, are they cheaters? – but the Patriots first faced adversity when they finished the month of September with an excruciating loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Tom Brady and the Patriots were "done" after ending September with a 41-14 setback. (Photo Credit: The Big Lead/USA Today Sports).
Tom Brady and the Patriots were “done” after ending September with a 41-14 setback. (Photo Credit: The Big Lead/USA Today Sports)

Against Kansas City, Brady completed 14 of 23 passes for 159 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Brandon LaFell hauled in six catches for 119 yards, including one touchdown reception, while the defense allowed 26 first downs 443 yards.

Yep, the Patriots were done after this game. At 2-2, the “experts” said it was time for Brady to take a seat and make way for Jimmy Garoppolo.

Yet, as I stated above, the Patriots ignored the noise, turned their attention to their week five opponent: Cincinnati Bengals. And in a span of six days, the Patriots went from non-contenders to contenders, blowing out their opponent by a score of 43-17.

Following their win, New England rattled off seven straight wins, including victories against Denver, Indianapolis and San Diego. They finished atop the AFC East again – surprise, surprise! – and claimed home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Still think the Patriots should have folded following their 2-2 start?

In the postseason, they earned impressive wins against Baltimore (35-31) and Indianapolis (45-7). Their win against the Ravens featured a formation that continues to baffle John Harbaugh – Baltimore’s head coach – but again, did that faze these Pats?

The answer: nope!

Say all you want about Belichick, who was punished for SpyGate in 2007, but the man knows the game of football. He knows how to coach a team, which is ready and prepared to compete against the Seahawks, who humiliated Peyton Manning and the Broncos literally one year ago.

So, while you may think that Deflate Gate or SpyGate or any sort-of-gate is going to bring down these Patriots, think again.

Tonight, we could see history play out in Arizona as Brady and Belichick look to capture their fourth Super Bowl crown since the 2001 season. Sure, it is the same playing field that saw these Patriots conclude their almost perfect season to the New York Giants, but this team is clearly different from the 18-1 squad.

My prediction: I like the Patriots against the Seahawks. It will be close, but New England will squeak past Seattle, claiming their fourth Lombardi trophy, setting up an interesting handshake between Patriots owner Robert Kraft and the Commissioner of the NFL Roger Goodell.

Again, say what you want – call them cheaters or benders-of-the-rules, but these Patriots will ignore the noise and figure out a way to conclude a controversial season with some hardware.

Mass. College Football: Harvard’s Brate Signs Free Agent Contract With Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Courtesy of the Harvard University Athletics Communication Office, here’s today’s release about Cameron Brate, who has signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League:

TAMPA BAY, Fla. – Former Harvard football standout Cameron Brate has signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League, the franchise announced Wednesday afternoon.

A tight end from Naperville, Ill, Brate leaves his name in Cambridge after concluding his four-year stint with the Crimson as fourth in program history with 18 touchdowns. He graduates 12th in Harvard’s record book with 91 career catches and ninth with 1,381 receiving yards. Brate, who appeared in 28 games throughout his career, also helped the Crimson capture two Ivy League titles.

As a senior, Brate was unanimously selected to the All-Ivy League first team for the second straight season after making 25 catches for 403 yards and five TDs. A semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, given to the best scholar-athlete in the nation, Brate caught three passes for 91 yards in Harvard’s 34-7 win over Yale in The Game to earn a spot on the College Football Performance Awards Honor Roll for the third time. He also earned recognition on the FCS All-New England team and the Beyond Sports Network All-America honorable mention team.

Mass. College Football: Nine Harvard Scholar-Athletes Tabbed To NFF Hampshire Honor Society


Courtesy of the Harvard University Athletic Communication office, here’s yesterday’s release about nine Scholar-Athletes that were selected to the NFF Hampshire Honor Society:

DALLAS, Texas – The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced the members of the 2014  NFF Hampshire Honor Society, which is comprised of college football players from all divisions of play who each maintained a 3.2 GPA or better. Harvard y was well-represented as nine Crimson players earned recognition.

Harvard seniors Andrew Berg, Joshua Boyd, Cameron Brate, Danny Frate, Reynaldo Kirton, David Mothander, Nnamdi Obukwelu, Michael Pruneau and Austin Taylor garnered nods.

“We continue to raise the bar each year for the number of student-athletes who qualify for membership in the Hampshire Honor Society,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “The Hampshire Honor Society plays an important role in highlighting that college football players clearly play a leadership role in the classroom as well as on the playing field. We congratulate each of these young men for their commitment to excellence.”

The NFF Hampshire Honor Society capitalizes on the NFF’s current National Scholar-Athlete program greatly expanding the number of scholar-athletes the NFF can recognize each year. The program further strengthens the organization’s leadership role in encouraging academic performance by the student-athletes who play football at the more than 700 college and universities with football programs nationwide. The initiative has honored 4,927 student-athletes since its inception, and the program has experienced growth every year in either members or school participation since its launch in 2007. The 2014 class of 838 players represents a new high water mark for members, eclipsing the old record mark by 117 student-athletes.

“We have honored more than 4,900 student-athletes in the last eight years thanks to Jon Hanson’s generosity,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, “We are grateful for his passionate belief in the scholar-athlete ideal, and the Hampshire Honor Society allows us to showcase the names of tomorrow’s leaders while inspiring future generations to follow in their footsteps.”

Qualifications for membership in the NFF Hampshire Honor Society include:

Being a starter or a significant contributor in one’s last year of eligibility (or a senior who has declared for the NFL Draft)  at an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III or an NAIA college or university;

  • Achieving a 3.2 cumulative grade point average throughout entire course of undergraduate study; and
  • Meeting all NCAA-mandated progress towards degree requirements.

The Hampshire Honor Society represents a powerful component in the organization’s rich history as an innovator in promoting the scholar-athlete ideal. Launched in 1959 with a donation from Hall of Fame coach Earl “Red” Blaik, the NFF’s National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, became the first initiative in history to grant postgraduate scholarships based on a player’s combined academic success, football performance and community leadership. And, since its inception, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program has awarded $10.4 million to 787 top scholars and community leaders.

Currently, the NFF distributes more than $300,000 a year at the national level through the program to 16 individuals. Each winner of a National Scholar-Athlete Award receives an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship. Additionally, the William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth and hosted at the New York Athletic Club, is given to one member of each year’s class as the absolute best. The winner of the Campbell Trophy, claimed by All-American guard John Urschel (Penn State) in 2013, receives a total scholarship of $25,000 and a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy. Through, its chapter network, the NFF also awards an additional $1.3 million to local high school student-athletes, bringing the NFF’s annual scholarship distribution total to more than $1.6 million.

Mass. College Football: Springfield Represented In Super Bowl XLVIII In a Variety of Ways


Courtesy of the Springfield College sports information department, below is this afternoon’s release about three alums that’ll be represented in the Super Bowl on Sunday:

Three Springfield College alums will be representing the Pride on Sunday at Super Bowl XLVIII. (Photo Credit: Springfield College Athletics)
Three Springfield College alums will be representing the Pride on Sunday at Super Bowl XLVIII. (Photo Credit: Springfield College Athletics)

Springfield, Mass. – January 27, 2014 – When Super Bowl XLVIII takes place this Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J., there will be several Springfield College alums who will be involved, whether it be on the field, in the stadium, or in the television studio.

Dave Magazu ‘80 is in his third season as the Denver Broncos offensive line coach —a position in which he owns six years of NFL experience and 29 years overall. Denver’s offense has put together a record-setting year thanks to the efforts of quarterback Peyton Manning, as the Broncos set new NFL records for offensive points in a season, passing touchdowns, and passing yards gained. Under Magazu’s watch, the offensive line has allowed the fewest sacks (20) and the third-fewest quarterback hurries (54) among the 32 NFL teams. Magazu earned a degree in Physical Education and was a four-year starter as a defensive tackle and a member of both the 1976 and 1978 teams that allowed the fewest points (128) in the past 45 years of Springfield College football program.

Jessamyn McIntyre ‘04 has a multitude of media roles dealing directly with the Seattle Seahawks. In addition to being an Executive Producer at 710 ESPN Seattle, McIntyre is a co-host of the Fone Zone at Northwest Cable News. The ‘Fone Zone’ is a popular Seahawks post-game call-in show and airs directly after the Seahawks network broadcast. McIntyre graduated with a degree in Communications/Sports Journalism and was a four-year member of the women’s volleyball program at Springfield College.

Ron VanDeVeen ’89 is the current Senior Vice President of Events for MetLife Stadium, which is set to host the first-ever Super Bowl in the New York metropolitan area. VanDeVeen graduated from Springfield with a degree in Business.

Mass. College Football: Local Colleges Represented In NFC Training Camps


As noted in an earlier post, the NFL 2013 season is slowly underway, (training camp, wahoo!) and similar to our list of AFC players, here are the former Boston College Eagles, Harvard Crimson and Massachusetts Minutemen that’ll be competing in various NFC training camps.  

NFC East

Alex Albright (LB/Boston College) Dallas Cowboys

Mackenzy Bernadeau (G/Bentley University) Dallas Cowboys

Ron Brace (DT/Boston College) Washington Redskins

Michael Cox (RB/Massachusetts) New York Giants

Victor Cruz (WR/Massachusetts) New York Giants

Mark Herzlich (LB/Boston College) New York Giants

Jeremy Horne (WR/Massachusetts) New York Giants

Emil Igwenagu (FB/Massachusetts) Philadelphia Eagles

Mathias Kiwanuka (LB/Boston College) New York Giants

Ifeanyi Momah (WR/Boston College) Philadelphia Eagles

Chris Snee (G/Boston College) New York Giants

Matt Tennant (C/Boston College) Philadelphia Eagles

Jeremy Trueblood (T/Boston College) Washington Redskins


NFC North

Robert Francois (LB/Boston College) Green Bay Packers

Kevin Murphy (T/Harvard) Minnesota Vikings

B.J. Raji (DT/Boston College) Green Bay Packers


NFC South

Nick Clancy (LB/Boston College) Atlanta Falcons

Luke Kuechly (LB/Boston College) Carolina Panthers

Matt Ryan (QB/Boston College) Atlanta Falcons


NFC West

Will Blackmon (CB/Boston College) Seattle Seahawks

Jo-Lonn Dunbar (LB/Boston College) St. Louis Rams

Mass. College Football: Local Colleges Represented In AFC Training Camps


With the 2013 NFL season slowly underway, (training camp!) we’ve decided to provide a list of the various players with local ties that’ll be competing for positions.

In this particular blog post, we profile the AFC, which features a variety of former Boston College Eagles, Harvard Crimson and Massachusetts Minutemen.

AFC East

Vladimir Ducasse (OL/ Massachusetts) New York Jets

Donnie Fletcher (CB/ Boston College) New York Jets

Antonio Garay (DL/Boston College) New York Jets

John Griffin (RB/Massachusetts) New York Jets

Chris Pantale (TE/ Boston College) New York Jets

Ryan Quigley (P/ Boston College) New York Jets

Josh Samuda (Offensive Lineman/Massachusetts) Miami Dolphins

Jason Vega (Defensive Lineman/Northeastern University) New England Patriots


AFC North

Desmond Bryant (DT/Harvard) Cleveland Browns

James Ihedigbo (SS/Massachusetts) Baltimore Ravens

Kyle Juszczyk (FB/Harvard) Baltimore Ravens

Jeromy Miles (S/Massachusetts) Cincinnati Bengals


AFC South

Jeremy Cain (LS/Massachusetts) Jacksonville Jaguars

Anthony Castonzo (T/Boston College) Indianapolis Colts

Gosder Cherilus (T/Boston College) Indianapolis Colts

Emmett Cleary (T/Boston College) Indianapolis Colts

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB/Harvard) Tennessee Titans

Matt Hasselbeck (QB/Boston College) Indianapolis Colts

Stephane Milhim (G/Massachusetts) Jacksonville Jaguars


AFC West

Dan Koppen (C/Boston College) Denver Broncos

Damik Scafe (DE/Boston College) San Diego Chargers

John Wetzel (T/Boston College) Oakland Raiders 

Mass. College Football: Assumption’s Simonson Named As Preseason All-American


Courtesy of the Assumption College sports information department, here’s this morning’s release about tight end Scott Simonson, who has been named as a Beyond Sports Network Third Team Preseason All-American:

Worcester, Mass. (July 11) — Senior tight end Scott Simonson (Red Bank, N.J./Middletown South) has been named as a Beyond Sports Network (BSN) Third Team Preseason All-American.

Simonson, a Don Hansen’s Football Gazette Second Team All-American and Daktronics First Team All-Region selection in 2012, is coming off a 36-reception, 558-yard season that included a team-high six receiving touchdowns. A Northeast-10 Second Team All-Conference honoree, Simonson was also a Worcester Area First Team All-Star, a Don Hansen’s Football Gazette Super Region I First Team All-Region honoree and a two-time selection to the Northeast-10 Conference Weekly Honor Roll.

He has also drawn the attention of National Football League (NFL) scouts as the Arizona Cardinals and Washington Redskins have both conducted on-campus workouts with the 6-5, 240-pound senior.

The Hounds open the 2013 season on Saturday, September 7th as the team travels to Smithfield, R.I. to take on FCS Division I foe Bryant University at Bulldog Stadium. Assumption opens its home schedule on Friday, September 20th as the Hounds host Stonehill College for a 7 p.m. start.