So we have finally made it to the Super Bowl – please breath a sigh of relief, Roger Goodell.
Of course, we need to play the game, which we will tomorrow evening, but like I have over the past few weeks, allow me to share my “two-cents” on the 2020 National Football League (NFL) postseason with a Super Bowl prediction!
Enjoy the game, everyone – tomorrow’s match-up between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be a great contest.
Get ready for Super Bowl Sunday with some insight – and yes, some thoughts and predictions, too – by listening to the Football Friday Podcast with myself, as well as Andrew Pezzelli and Zach Weiss.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This is the match-up the NFL wanted – if it had been Kansas City and the Green Bay Packers that would have worked, too – but Tom Brady versus Patrick Mahomes seems like the ideal way to cap a pandemic season.
Sunday’s meeting will mark the fifth time Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes have tangled on the gridiron since 2018 – Brady won the first two meetings while Mahomes has captured the last two, including one when the current Buccaneers quarterback was under center for the New England Patriots.
Tampa Bay enters the contest with a great deal of momentum. They have scored three-straight postseason wins, but really found their grove at the end of the regular season with a pair of victories against the Atlanta Falcons, along with a statement win against the Detroit Lions.
The Bucs will be the first team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium, and will be the initial team to secure a victory in the ‘big game’ on their own turf.
It will be a bit closer than many may anticipate, but in the end, Tom Brady will lead the Buccaneers on a game-winning touchdown drive to secure his seventh Super Bowl championship. PREDICTION: Tampa Bay 31, Kansas City 27
With 2019 slowly winding down and a new year – and yes, decade, too – upon us, it is time to look back at some of our favorite posts we produced over the past 12 months.
The Way Too Early New England D3 Football Top 20 Poll. I think we were VERY excited for another year of New England D-III football coverage back in June. This season, we introduced our first-ever Top 20 Poll – yes, we had some people dispute and question our rankings, but we certainly got people excited with some early preseason coverage.
The Football Friday Podcasttook off – and we even appeared on iTunes and Spotify, too. Talking New England football was fun this summer and fall. And the best part was the show appeared on iTunes and Spotify, so we were able to let our fans take our show with them and listen to in the car on the way to games. Big props to James Baker for his help and expertise – he is a great co-host for the show!
D3 Players to Watch in Massachusetts and Connecticut. We introduced a new piece of content ahead of the D-III lacrosse season with players to watch posts. And two states that did very well – no surprise, of course – was Massachusetts and Connecticut. We also did ‘Players to Watch‘ in Texas, too.
We produced some high school sports content, including a story about Somerville High School returning to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) postseason for the first time since 2013.
That’s right, it’s time for a Noontime 2017 Rewind as we look back on the past few months of coverage, while slowly looking ahead to what we can expect from the New England Division III Football world in 2018.
It was a great year of coverage and we certainly look forward to doing it again next season, so stay tuned, New England Division III football fans and friends!
Teams of the Year: For starters, we must begin with Husson University, which was led by senior tailback John Smith, who rushed for 31 touchdowns this season and 2,242 yards on 340 carries.
Smith, who was tabbed our Offensive Player of the Year, guided the Eagles to an exciting postseason victory over Springfield College before putting a scare into Delaware Valley in round two – the win over the Pride was the Eagles’ first-ever playoff win.
Despite falling short to the Aggies, the Eagles left a serious impression on us for the upcoming season and will certainly be one of our top teams to watch in 2018.
Springfield College also enjoyed an impressive 2017 campaign, winning 10-straight regular season contests, as well as the first-ever New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown. The Pride scored an exciting opening day win against Western New England, which was followed-up with another impressive victory against Kean (28-8) in week two.
The Pride concluded their season with an impressive 435.2 rushing yards per game, while the defense held opponents to roughly 12 points per game. Senior halfback Jordan Wilcox was one of four nominees for this year’s Gagliardi Trophy.
Trinity College and Williams College are two other schools that deserve this particular honor – the Bantams captured another New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crown this fall, while the Ephs enjoyed a bounce-back season under second-year coach Mark Raymond. The Ephs received a boost from first-year (and NESCAC Rookie of the Year) quarterback Bobby Maimaron, who led the Purple and Gold past Amherst College in the final game of the year – it was an overtime thriller!
Let’s not forget about Curry College or Framingham State – both teams met in the New England Bowl last month and will certainly be teams to watch in 2018. Additionally, we cannot overlook WPI, which won its first-ever postseason game against SUNY Maritime in the New England Bowl, too. The Engineers could certainly be a team that challenges the Pride for the top seed in the NEWMAC last year, so let the countdown to Springfield-WPI begin! Another team to watch in the NEWMAC next season … MIT!
Finally, a tip of the cap is due to Plymouth State, which again enjoyed another winning season – the Panthers captured the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) crown en route to a first-round playoff match-up against Brockport.
The NESCAC Nine Game Schedule was … AWESOME: The nine-game schedule in the NESCAC this season was awesome … seriously, we really enjoyed it!
Every week was must-see, must-follow and must-watch football – everyone had a chance to contend for the crown and a new storyline always unfolded after the final game concluded.
Trinity College may have been the team to beat again this season, but watching Amherst College, Middlebury College and Williams College compete with them for the top spot was extremely exciting. Additionally, let’s not overlook Tufts University and Wesleyan University, which also provided the Bantams with some challenges along the way to another league crown, too.
Outside the race for the crown, it was awesome to see the Maine triangle (Bates College, Bowdoin College and Colby College) continue their CBB rivalry.
We are really excited to see what happens next year, but all in all, the nine-game schedule was awesome!
The Football Friday Podcast: As sports media evolves, so does Noontime Sports and it seems like our weekly – and yes, sometimes bi-weekly – podcast on New England Division III football worked, so thank you all for tuning in/listening to our various conversations with coaches, student-athletes and media members.
We’ll continue it again next season, but certainly open to additional ideas or thoughts – maybe we should do a special segment like a ‘lightening round?’ Luckily, we have time to figure out some additional content ideas before a new season kicks-off, so keep your eyes out for season two of Football Friday, which will most likely begin next August.
ESPN D3 Coverage … MORE PLEASE:It was great to see the Coast Guard-Merchant Marine game streamed on ESPN3 last month – we need to see more games like this one on the four-letter network next year and beyond. Perhaps we could see more Division III (and some Division II games, too) on a new streaming service/platform, which ESPN plans to roll out next year? It is possible, so let’s see what happens, but that would be a great place for fans to go to watch and stream games.
Closing Thoughts: It was a great season – seriously, it was a tremendous year with some great stories and outcomes, which means 2018 should be even more exciting. We’re counting down the days to camp – yep, the clock is ticking in our office – and will look forward to bringing you coverage of New England Division III Football in 2018, so see you all on the gridiron soon!