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.
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.
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.
On Wednesday, Mar. 8, the Indianapolis Colts decided they wouldn’t renew Peyton Manning’s five-year, $90 million contract, which included a $28 million signing bonus. So, instead of picking up the remaining four-years on his current deal, the Colts decided to show Manning the door. And now, he’s a free agent quarterback looking for a new home, as well as a fresh start, too.
So, with all this in mind, I thought I’d provide five various organizations that should certainly consider signing the highly touted veteran quarterback.
Miami Dolphins:Since losing out on the Jeff Fisher sweepstakes, Miami hasn’t made too much noise this offseason. First-year head coach Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman are committed to implementing a west coast offense, which Manning has never conducted. However, the former Colts gunslinger does own a home in South Beach, as well as won a Super Bowl at Dolphins Stadium, too, so that could certainly provide some leverage at the negotiating table. Also, the Dolphins offense would excel quite well with him under center, and force Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess and Reggie Bushto step-up their “game.” Manning could be an excellent puzzle piece for a veteran squad, but would a west coast offense be the straw that breaks the camels back? We’ll see!
Denver Broncos: With Tim Tebowbecoming not only the face of Denver’s franchise, but also a cultural icon, then it’s highly doubtful that the Broncos head coach John Fox would make any changes to tarnish his image, right? Think again! Manning seems determined to remain in the AFC, and while executive vice president of football operations John Elway wants to win now, then it’s likely that the Broncos should consider signing him as soon as possible. Elway and Manning are golf buddies, so it’s possible that the former Denver gunslinger could woo the free agent quarterback to the “Mile High” city.
New York Jets: New York has invested time and money in their quarterback, Mark Sanchez, who has led Gang Green to the AFC Championship twice in the past three seasons. However, if New York wants to end their championship drought, then adding Peyton might be necessary.
Arizona Cardinals: Who wouldn’t want to play football in the desert? Wouldn’t you want to join the Cardinals, so you could toss numerous touchdowns to the NFL’s most lucrative receiver, Larry Fitzgerald? Manning would be a great fit for Arizona, who still hasn’t won a Super Bowl. Also, if you acquire Manning, you’d probably get Reggie Wayne, who is a free agent, too.
Happy Hump Day to everyone, and welcome into yet another edition of the Daily Noontime. Let’s kick-start the rest of your morning!
* The Boston Celtics extended their current winning streak to five games on Tuesday evening, as they defeated the Houston Rockets, 97-92 in overtime. Paul Piercepaced the Green and White with 30 points, while Rajon Rondotallied 12 points. Boston will return to the hardwood on Wednesday when they travel to Philadelphia for a 7:00pm tip-off.
* The Boston Bruins earned an important road win, as they defeated the Maple Leafs in Toronto, 5-4. The win snaps a two-game skid, too. The Black and Gold will return to the TD Garden on Thursday when they host the Buffalo Sabres.
* According to numerous reports – Indianapolis Colts quarterbackPeyton Manningwill become an unrestricted free agent. However, where will he end up? We’ll find out soon!
* For the first time since 1946, Harvard University’s men’s basketball team will be headed to the “big dance,” as the Crimson earned an automatic bid on Tuesday when Princeton defeated Penn, 62-52. The March Madness brackets will be released on Sunday, Mar. 11.
Happy Monday everyone, and welcome into yet another great edition of the Daily Noontime! Here are some headlines and news to jumpstart your day!
* Rajon Rondocarried the Boston Celtics on his back Sunday afternoon, as he helped the Green and White defeat the Chicago Bulls at the TD Garden, 95-91. Rondo finished the game with 32 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds, while rookie forward JaJuan Johnsonended with 12 points, four rebounds and two steals. The Celtics have now won 10 of their last 13 games, and will return to the hardwood on Wednesday when they host the Detroit Pistons.
* Boston College and Boston University will meet in the Boston Beanpot championship for the 21st time in the tournament’s history on Monday evening at 7:30pm. Both teams dispatched Harvard University and Northeastern University in the semi-finals last week to punch their ticket to the title match. Also, the Terriers currently lead the series against the Eagles, 12-8.
* Former Boston Red Sox catcher Tony Pena was recently inducted into the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame this past weekend. Pena played 543 games for the Sox between 1990-1993.
* Finally, wide receiver Reggie Waynehas yet to hear from the Indianapolis Colts about a new contract. The unrestricted free agent and 11-year veteran wants to end his career in a Colts uniform, but according to sources, Wayne would be interested in joining the New England Patriots.