Gov. Baker Paves The Way For Pro Sports To Return To Massachusetts

GilletteSocial

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker provided a glimmer of hope for live sports to return in the coming weeks. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker clearly misses sports – we all know he is a proud supporter of our state’s hometown teams.

So on Friday, Baker announced that the state’s professional teams would be allowed to begin practicing as soon as Saturday, June 6. That is also the same date Massachusetts residents should learn more about the second phase of the state’s reopening plan, which would begin Monday, June 8.

“I know we still aren’t to the point where we’ll have our pro sports teams back playing anything yet,” Baker said during Friday’s press briefing. “The leagues are obviously working hard to host games again. And I think we all hope that at some point, opening practice facilities will help make that happen a little sooner.”

Professional sports have been idle since mid-March when the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) paused their respective seasons due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Since then, both leagues have been working diligently to find a way to restart their seasons safely in “hub cities.”

Major League Baseball (MLB) delayed the start of its 2020 season but continues to be stuck in neutral due to ongoing contract discussions between the players and owners.

Both Major League Soccer (MLS) and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) have announced plans to return to the pitch in the coming weeks, which should excited local New England Revolution fans.

Baker believes live sports would certainly help all of us during this unprecedented time. Additionally, it would be a great outlet for many, who have been consuming older contests these past few weeks, including a 2007 playoff run by the Boston Red Sox on NESN.

“I think for all of us live sports, and especially pro sports would be a great thing to see again because not only will it be a significant milestone for those of us who are fans but it will also send a big signal that we’ve continued to do all the things that we need to do to contain and control the virus,” said Baker.

Willwerth: How Tom Brady Can Help My Buccaneers Win A Super Bowl

tom_brady_patriots

Can Tom Brady lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Super Bowl next February? (PHOTO COURTESY: NBC Sports Boston)

By Brian Willwerth

When Tom Brady announced he was leaving New England and heading to Tampa Bay, it got the attention of everyone around the NFL.  TB was going to TB. We heard variations of that pun all over the place.

So, does this make the Buccaneers an instant Super Bowl contender, to become the first team to ever host the big game in its home stadium?

No. At least, not yet.

What Brady has done is made the Bucs relevant. The national media is talking about Tampa Bay for the first time in forever. The schedule makers gave them a franchise-record five primetime games. And for what it’s worth, the Patriots have the same number of games under the lights even without Brady under center.

But remember: Tampa Bay hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007. And for that to change in 2020, three things need to happen:

  • A running game would help since they haven’t had one in several years.
  • The secondary needs to be much better, though it showed some improvement after getting rid of Vernon Hargreaves, who is currently a member of the Houston Texans (he was released by the team earlier this year, but resigned last month).
  • The offensive line needs to improve dramatically.

Tom Brady alone cannot lead the Bucs to the postseason, though many bandwagon fans feel differently. Everyone remembers all of Jameis Winston’s interceptions last year.  What the stats don’t show, is how often he was running for his life. Brady’s going to be doing a lot of scrambling if the pass protection remains poor.

The anticipation for this season – hopefully with fans in the stadium – is through the roof.  Let’s get it on.

Brady, Buccaneers Ready For Primetime

New York Giants v New England Patriots

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play five primetime games this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: ADAM GLANZMAN/GETTY)

By Brian Willwerth 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2020 schedule came out last night, and fans of the team should get ready to see them a lot in prime time.

Thank you, Tom Brady and company.

The Buccaneers will play a record five-night games this year – yes, that is a franchise record, for those keeping track at home. Of course, some games could be flexed in or out of certain time slots, but for now, Tampa Bay is scheduled to play five games under the lights: on the road against the Chicago Bears, Las Vegas Raiders, and New York Giants, and home games against the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. All five of those games are over a span of seven weeks.

Oh, and we get Brady against Drew Brees in the season-opener in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Brady won his first Super Bowl with the New England Patriots in 2002 in the same building.

Without further delay, here’s the schedule.  Time to start planning some road trips to Florida, everyone!


Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2020 Schedule 

  • Week One (Sept. 13, 2020): Tampa Bay at New Orleans Saints, 4:25 p.m.
  • Week Two (Sept. 20, 2020): Tampa Bay vs. Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
  • Week Three (Sept. 27, 2020): Tampa Bay at Denver Broncos, 4:25 p.m.
  • Week Four (Oct. 4, 2020): Tampa Bay vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m.
  • Week Five (Oct. 8, 2020): Tampa Bay at Chicago Bears, 8:20 p.m.
  • Week Six (Oct. 18, 2020): Tampa Bay vs. Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m.
  • Week Seven (Oct. 25, 2020): Tampa Bay at Las Vegas Raiders, 8:20 p.m.
  • Week Eight (Nov. 2, 2020): Tampa Bay at New York Giants, 8:15 p.m.
  • Week Nine (Nov. 8, 2020): Tampa Bay vs. New Orleans Saints, 8:20 p.m.
  • Week 10 (Nov. 15, 2020): Tampa Bay at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
  • Week 11 (Nov. 23, 2020): Tampa Bay vs. Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m.
  • Week 12 (Nov. 29, 2020): Tampa Bay vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m.
  • Week 13: Bye Week
  • Week 14 (Dec. 13, 2020): Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m.
  • Week 15 (Dec. 20, 2020): Tampa Bay at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.
  • Week 16 (TBD): Tampa Bay at Detroit Lions
  • Week 17 (Jan. 3, 2021): Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.

New England Patriots Begin Their 2020 Campaign Against The Miami Dolphins

vonvagml7jrocoob411m

New England Patriots logo. (PHOTO COURTESY: Patriots.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The post-Tom Brady era will officially begin for the New England Patriots on Sunday, September 13 when they host the Miami Dolphins for a 1 p.m. kick-off.

Miami and New England last met in the opening week of the 2014 season when the Dolphins beat the Patriots, 33-20. New England would rebound the following week before eventually winning their fourth Super Bowl championship in franchise history.

Following their home-opener against the Dolphins, New England will visit the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, September 20 for an 8:20 p.m. kick-off before closing out the first month of the 2020 season at home one week later against the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Patriots will play three games in October, including a 4:25 p.m. contest against the Kansas City Chiefs. New England will then compete in five games in November, including three road games against the Buffalo BillsHouston Texans, and New York Jets before playing four times in December.

New England’s final two contests will be home games against the Bills and Jets. Their final regular-season game against New York will be played on Sunday, January 3 with kick-off scheduled for 1 p.m.

Prior to their initial contest of the 2020 season, the Patriots will play back-to-back preseason games against the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers before hitting the road to compete against the Philadelphia Eagles (week three) and New York Giants (week four).

The 2020 schedule will certainly be a challenging one for New England, which is scheduled to compete against six teams that competed in last season’s postseason, as well as the two teams that squared-off in Super Bowl LIV.


New England Patriots 2020 Schedule 

  • Week One (Sept. 13, 2020): New England vs. Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.
  • Week Two (Sept. 20, 2020): New England at Seattle Seahawks, 8:20 p.m.
  • Week Three (Sept. 27, 2020): New England vs. Las Vegas Raiders, 1 p.m.
  • Week Four (Oct. 4, 2020): New England at Kansas City Cheifs, 4:25 p.m.
  • Week Five (Oct. 11, 2020): New England vs. Denver Broncos, 1 p.m.
  • Week Six: Bye
  • Week Seven (Oct. 25, 2020): New England vs. San Francisco 49ers, 4:25 p.m.
  • Week Eight (Nov. 1, 2020): New England at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.
  • Week Nine (Nov. 9, 2020): New England at New York Jets, 8:15 p.m.
  • Week 10 (Nov. 15, 2020): New England vs. Baltimore Ravens, 8:20 p.m.
  • Week 11 (Nov. 22, 2020): New England at Houston Texans, 1 p.m.
  • Week 12 (Nov. 29, 2020): New England vs. Arizona Cardinals, 1 p.m.
  • Week 13 (Dec. 6, 2020): New England at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m.
  • Week 14  (Dec. 10, 2020): New England at Los Angeles Rams, 8:20 p.m.
  • Week 15 (Dec. 20, 2020): New England at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.
  • Week 16 (Dec. 28, 2020): New England vs. Buffalo Bills, 8:15 p.m.
  • Week 17 (Jan. 3, 2021): New England vs. New York Jets, 1 p.m.

D3 Football Players Sign Undrafted Free Agent Contracts

2293918256_775a69dee6_h

Three NCAA D-III Football players have signed undrafted free agent contracts as of Monday, April 27th afternoon. (PHOTO COURTESY: Anderson Mancini on Visual Hunt / CC BY)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Three NCAA D-III football players have signed undrafted free agent contracts as of mid-to-late Monday afternoon, including University of Redlands defensive back Jeff Hector, who inked his name on a contract last Saturday, April 25 with the Baltimore Ravens.

Hector was named an AFCA First Team All-American and D3football.com All-West Region honoree while securing a spot on the Southern Californa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) last November. The Palos Verdes Peninsula, California guided the Bulldogs to a 9-2 overall record while recording 35.0 total tackles, including two tackles for a loss and one sack to go with two forced fumbles and eight interceptions.

Broc Rutter, who quarterbacked North Central College to a Stagg Bowl victory last December against UW-Whitewater, signed a contract with the San Francisco 49ers.

Rutter, who was the recipient of the Gagliardi Trophy, announced his signing on Twitter this past weekend, telling his fans and followers that he “can’t wait to get to work.”

The Naperville, Illinois native started all 15 contests for the Cardinals and established new single-season program records in passing yards (4,591), passing touchdowns (56), completions (309), passing attempts (435), and passing efficiency (199.9). He was named the Player of the Year by both D3Football.com and College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW).

Berry College wide receiver Mason Kinsey signed with the Tennessee Titans shortly after the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft.

The D3Football.com third-team All-American enjoyed a very successful final season with the Vikings, catching 65 passes for 1,221 yards and 16 touchdowns. Kinsey helped Berry win nine contests and capture the program’s fourth-straight Southern Athletic Association (SAA) championship. Kinsey is currently first in program history in touchdown receptions (50) and receiving yards (3,343), and second in total receptions (203).

Kinsey shared his excitement on Twitter earlier today, saying “Let’s shock the world.”

Saint John’s University‘s Ben Bartch was the only D-III football player to be drafted this past weekend by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth round. Bartch becomes the most recent D-III student-athlete to hear his name called since Hobart‘s Ali Marpet was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.