Tag: Tom Brady

New Patriots Training Camp: Will Cam Newton Win The Starting Job?

Cam Newton enters the New England Patriots’ 2021 training camp as the favorite to start at quarterback. (PHOTO COURTESY: AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)

By Matt Noonan

A brand new season of New England Patriots football is quickly approaching — are you ready for some football?

I am — I have been counting the days, weeks, and months since the Patriots concluded their 2020 campaign with a two-touchdown victory over the New York Jets in January at Gillette Stadium.

Like many, I am excited to see how some of the team’s offseason signings mesh with members of last year’s squad, including quarterback Cam Newton, who will enter the team’s 2021 training camp on Wednesday, July 28 as the favorite to be spotted under center in week one against the Miami Dolphins.

Newton did not have a great 2020 season — I think many know that or are aware of how he performed last fall. But coach Bill Belichick has acquired some solid pieces for the offense over the past few months, including tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Both players should certainly help Newton, as well as the offense, perform even better than they did last season — New England won just seven games in 2020 but had a chance to squeak out a few more victories had things gone their way down the stretch, especially against the Buffalo Bills in New York.

With a full year under his belt, along with some offseason practices (and meetings, of course), Newton enters training camp more prepared than he was last year, however, he certainly will be challenged by Mac Jones, who the Patriots selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft in April.

Like Newton, Jones competed in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) — Jones played at Alabama while Newton competed at Auburn — and should be ready to take the reigns from the league’s most valuable player in 2015.

Jones led the Crimson Tide to a national championship in January — Alabama rolled past Ohio State, 52-24, in the College Football Playoff National Championship contest, which was held in Miami Gardens, Florida — and recorded career-highs in completions (311), passing yards (4,500), and touchdowns (41). And despite seeing limited action in 2018 and 2019, Jones should be able to translate his junior season’s success to the NFL this summer and fall.

Jones certainly has what it takes to challenge Newton for the starting quarterback spot — I am unsure if Jarrett Stidham is ready to slide up the depth chart considering he will begin his team’s camp Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Stidham has competed in eight games since becoming a member of the Patriots organization, including five contests last season. The former Auburn signal-caller completed 22 of 44 passes for a career and season-high 250 yards and two touchdowns. He did, however, throw three interceptions compared to one in 2019.

Numerous talking heads, along with various analysts believe Mac Jones could be the starter in the opening week, but it will all depend on how he handles himself during in-game situations. As Patriots.com’s Mike Dussault explains, “Every throw of 11-on-11 work will be dissected ad nauseam, but the bottom line is whether or not Jones or Stidham do enough to dethrone Newton, and can Newton hold them off by taking significant strides in his second year in the offense.”

For now, my bet is Cam Newton will be the starter in the opening week, but I do think Patriots fans will see Mac Jones under center at some point this fall — maybe against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week four? I am not sure if week four is when Jones will be thrusted into the lineup, but we’ll certainly learn more about his readiness when the Patriots scrimmage the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles later this summer. Those inter-squad practices will help us identify which quarterback(s) is ready to lead the hometown team to hopefully a postseason appearance next January.

Commentary: Adam Vinatieri Is The NFL’s Best Placekicker Of All-Time

Former New England Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY: Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images/ESPN.com)

By Matt Noonan

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will always be synonymous with the New England Patriots, but the same could be said for Adam Vinatieri, who announced his retirement from the National Football League (NFL) yesterday on The Pat McAfee Show

Vinatieri, like Brady and Belichick, helped the Patriots win their first-ever Super Bowl championship against the St. Louis Rams in 2002 — he clinched the win with a last-second field goal weeks after splitting the uprights twice in a snowy postseason affair with the Oakland Raiders. He would win three more championships over the next five years, including one with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007 (the victory marked the first of two titles for quarterback Peyton Manning, who would win his second Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos in 2016). 

The Yankton, South Dakota native has garnered multiple accolades throughout his career, including a trio of First-Team All-Pro honors along with a spot on three historic rosters: New England Patriots 50th Anniversary Team, NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, and NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team. He is currently the league’s all-time scoring leader (2,673 points) and holds numerous kicking records, including the most consecutive field goals made (44).

So, between his accolades and records, along with his four Super Bowl rings, is it fair to say Vinatieri is the best placekicker in NFL History?

My answer: Yes, he is, but some may disagree and say that Morten Andersen (2,544 all-time points) and Gary Anderson (2,434 all-time points) deserve some consideration as the best placekicker in league history.

Neither Andersen nor Anderson has won a Super Bowl, but they both competed for nearly three decades. Vinatieri kicked extra points and field goals for 24 years.

Andersen was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2017 — he is also a member of the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame and ranks second in the league in games played (382). He converted 565 of 709 field-goal attempts and was close to perfect when it came to extra points (849 out of 859 attempts). Andersen kicked for five teams but spent most of his career with the Saints.

Anderson has yet to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame but should hear his name called one of these days especially after tallying 1,343 points with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Four years after he left the Steelers, he enjoyed one of his best seasons with the Minnesota Vikings where he converted every extra point and field goal attempt in the regular season. His streak would conclude in the 1998 NFC Championship Game when he missed a 38-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter. The Atlanta Falcons capitalized on the missed field goal by scoring a game-tying touchdown on the ensuing possession. Morten Andersen would cap the comeback with a game-winning field goal in overtime.

Similar to Andersen, Anderson competed for five teams. He spent most of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1982-1994).

All three kickers enjoyed successful careers, but after a quick stroll down memory lane, I still believe Adam Vinatieri is the best placekicker of all time. Had Morten Andersen won at least one — OK, maybe two Super Bowls, then maybe you could say it is a toss-up. Perhaps he would have earned more postseason honors, as well? But based on statistics and four Super Bowl titles, along with being the all-time scoring leader (as of this afternoon), I think it is fair to say that Vinatieri will always be the NFL’s best placekicker.

Are The Boston Celtics Destined For A Deep Postseason Run?

Can Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics win the franchise’s 18th NBA championship this spring? (PHOTO COURTESY: (AP Photo) 
SOURCE: Marcio Jose Sanchez/ WCVB.com)

By Matt Noonan

Earlier today, I asked a few fans and friends of our site (and social channels) a simple question: are the Boston Celtics capable of a deep postseason run?

And while I don’t think so, many believe the Green and White will either be eliminated in the opening round or sent home in rounds two (or three).

Unfortunately, the Boston Celtics are not equipped for a deep postseason run. And a major reason is their depth, but also their health.

Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker are good players, but they cannot carry the Celtics to 16 postseason victories.

Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, and Daniel Theis could certainly help Boston win a series – perhaps it would be in seven games, not five or six – and the same could be said for Payton Pritchard, who has started twice this season.

Oh, let’s not forget Tristan Thompson, who has been so-so since arriving in Boston ahead of the 2020-21 season. Thompson currently leads the Green and White in rebounds per game (8.2).

Like many Boston sports fans, I am eager to see the Celtics win their 18th banner in franchise history – their 17th championship seems like years ago. Additionally, the 2007-08 team was much different than these current Celtics that lacks depth, as well as some leadership and accountability when needed.

Last night, Boston had a chance to gain some much-needed momentum heading into the final stretch. But unfortunately, a late rally, along with some missed chances allowed the first-place Brooklyn Nets to escape with a 109-104 victory.

Boston should have won last night’s meeting with Brooklyn, especially after taking down the second-best team in the Western Conference: the Phoenix Suns. But instead, I and other so-called “Green-teamers” are wondering if we will have to wait another year (or two or three!) to see this team truly compete for another banner.

As of this late afternoon, the Celtics sit in sixth place with 12 games remaining. They are currently in line to meet the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, a team they have beaten twice this season in three attempts. But as we all know, this potential match-up (or meeting) could change, pending how the next few weeks go.

Boston is slated to compete against five postseason teams over the next few weeks, including the New York Knicks, who have won nine of their last 10 outings. But before Boston worries about slowing down the Orange and Blue, they must find their grove against the Charlotte Hornets, who are currently in position for the NBA‘s play-in tournament.

A win tomorrow afternoon against Charlotte is just what Boston needs – in fact, 12 wins down the stretch would be great, but that is probably unlikely. However, if this Celtics squad can find ways to win games by not squandering opportunities and playing as a team instead of five individuals, then maybe – just maybe this particular group could surprise (or shock?) some of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

It seems like ages ago when we celebrated a Boston sports championship – did one of those wins include quarterback Tom Brady? – so while I don’t believe this team is capable of a deep postseason run, I’ll remain optimistic like I always do for my hometown Celtics.

Noontime’s Super Bowl Prediction

By Matt Noonan

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.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Anchor!


Noontime’s Postseason Record: 9-3

Conference Championship Picks | Divisional Round Picks| Wild Card Picks

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

Daily Noontime: Friday, February 5, 2021

By NoontimeSports.com

Happy Friday, everyone – we made it!

And welcome to the first Friday of February – let’s celebrate.

It’s a BIG weekend for so many of us as the final game of the 2020 National Football League (NFL) is scheduled for Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Can you believe it?

Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will compete in Super Bowl on Sunday, which is one of many subjects – and yes, topics, too – discussed on today’s Football Friday Podcast (listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Anchor).

Alright, let’s kickstart the day with a brand new Daily Noontime – as usual, be well, stay safe, and hold the line, everyone!


Friday’s Headlines for February 5, 2021

Finally, our Black History Month celebration on the men and women that have and continue to make an impact on the sports world continued yesterday with getting to know Paul Robeson, who starred as a defensive end with the Rutgers University football team.