Tag: Ty Law

Revisiting Tom Brady’s Conference Championships

Tom Brady will make his NFC Championship debut this weekend with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (PHOTO COURTESY: Charles Krupa / Associated Press/LA Times)

By Matt Noonan

By now you probably have heard that Tom Brady – yes, the former New England Patriots quarterback – is headed back to the conference championship for the ninth time in the last ten seasons. Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied to beat the New Orleans Saints, 30-20, last night in the NFC Divisional Round to secure a date next Sunday with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

For the most part, Brady’s trips to the conference championship have resulted in trips to the “big game” – that would be the Super Bowl, to be exact – while some have ended in disappointment. But Sunday will mark the veteran signal-caller’s first appearance in the NFC Championship after appearing in 13 AFC title games.

Being a history nerd, as well as a lifelong football fan, I thought we could get ready for this weekend’s big game by revisiting all of Tom Brady’s past appearances in the conference championship round, beginning with his initial appearance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in January 2002.


January 27, 2002: Eight days after leading the Patriots past the Oakland Raiders in what has been dubbed the “snow bowl,” Brady received some help from Drew Bledsoe, who replaced the young quarterback who sustained a sprained ankle late in the second quarter. Bledsoe completed 10 of 21 passes for 102 yards and one touchdown while the defense limited Pittsburgh to just two touchdowns during the final two sessions.

New England would advance to its first Super Bowl since the 1996 season and beat the St. Louis Rams, thanks to a game-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri.

January 18, 2004: Eight days after a dramatic win over the Tennessee Titans, Tom Brady and the Patriots outlasted Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, 24-14.

While Brady tossed one touchdown in the win, it was the New England defense, specifically Ty Law, who highlighted the victory – the unit intercepted Manning four times while recording four sacks.

New England would advance to the Super Bowl and beat the Carolina Panthers.

January 23, 2005: Supposedly, Tom Brady was sick prior to his team’s championship meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he looked pretty good once the game commenced. Brady completed 14 of 21 passes for 207 yards while Corey Dillon led all rushers with 73 yards on 24 carries.

New England would represent the AFC in the Super Bowl two weeks later where they would beat the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 24-21.

January 21, 2007: After scoring back-to-back wins over the New York Jets and San Diego Chargers, the New England Patriots entered the 2006 AFC Championship game with a lot of momentum. However, it slowly disappeared early in the third quarter as Indianapolis erased a 21-6 deficit to beat the Patriots, 38-34.

The Colts limited Tom Brady and the Patriots offense to just 13 points in the second half while Peyton Manning finished the game with 349 passing yards and two touchdowns (one passing and one rushing).

January 20, 2008: Tom Brady played the role of gunslinger in this particular match-up with the San Diego Chargers by completing 22 of 33 passes for 209 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions as the Patriots won their 18th straight contest before falling to the New York Giants two weeks later in the Super Bowl.

January 22, 2012: This was perhaps the most dramatic AFC Championship game for Tom Brady and the Patriots as they somehow edged the Baltimore Ravens, 23-20, thanks to a missed field goal by Billy Cundiff.

Tom Brady rushed for one score in the win, while BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for a game-high 68 yards on 15 carries.

Sadly, the dramatic win was quickly forgotten two weels later when New England lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl for the second time in four seasons.

January 20, 2013: Tom Brady completed 29 of 54 passes for 320 yards and one touchdown – he also threw two interceptions – but it wasn’t enough to send the Patriots past the Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Baltimore erased memories of the 2011 championship meeting with an impressive 28-13 victory, thanks to three touchdown passes from Joe Flacco.

January 19, 2014: For the second-straight season, the Patriots won 13 of 18 contests, but their final outing with the Denver Broncos concluded with a 26-16 setback. Peyton Manning completed 32 of 43 passes for 400 yards and two touchdowns while the Broncos defense limited Tom Brady to just two touchdowns – one through the air, one on the ground.

January 18, 2015: After a dramatic and exciting win over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional Round, the Patriots scored a huge win over the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady tossed three touchdowns in the win while LeGarrette Blount rushed for a game-high 148 yards on 30 carries and three scores.

New England’s defense intercepted Andrew Luck twice – they also limited Dan Herron to 51 rushing yards on 10 carries.

The Patriots returned to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2011 season to beat the Seattle Seahawks, thanks to a late-game interception by Malcolm Butler.

January 24, 2016: Weeks after losing to the Denver Broncos in the regular season, the Orange and Blue scored their second victory of the 2015 season against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Brady was sacked four times and picked-off twice, but he did toss one touchdown against a talented Broncos defense.

Peyton Manning concluded the game 17 of 32 for 176 yards and two touchdowns. He was also sacked three times.

January 22, 2017: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were the better team in this meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brady tossed three touchdowns, including two to Chris Hogan, who concluded the contest with nine grabs on 12 targets for 180 yards.

Two weeks after an impressive win against the Steelers, the Patriots would complete an improbable comeback against the Atlanta Falcons to secure the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl championship.

January 21, 2018: After knocking off the Tennessee Titans eight days earlier, the Patriots scored their second-straight postseason win against a member of the AFC South. New England rallied to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 24-20, thanks to two touchdown passes from Tom Brady to Danny Amendola.

Sadly, the exciting win against the Jaguars would follow with a disappointing setback to the Philadelphia Eagles.

January 20, 2019: Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead highlighted an overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs by combining for 154 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Burkhead clinched the victory in overtime while Tom Brady concluded the contest with 348 passing yards and one touchdowns.

Kansas City did intercept Brady twice while Patrick Mahomes completed 16 of 31 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns. New England would go onto capture their sixth Super Bowl with a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

The New England Patriots Dynasty Began 18 Years Ago Today

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Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-winning field goal in Super Bowl 36, which sparked the beginning of the New England Patriots dynasty. (PHOTO COURTESY: NBC Sports Boston)

By Matt Noonan 

It was 18 years ago on this exact date when the New England Patriots dynasty began with a dramatic 20-17 win over the St. Louis Rams, who are now the Los Angeles Rams.

Adam Vinatieri secured the win with a 48-yard field as time expired, which ignited a celebration by both the players and coaches, as well as the organization’s fanbase that had watched their beloved Patriots lose to the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers in two previous ‘big games.’

New England, which was a heavy underdog to the Rams, secured a 14-3 lead at the break, thanks to a 47-yard pick-six by Ty Law and an eight-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to David Patten.

Vinatieri extended New England’s lead late in the third quarter with a 37-yard field goal before St. Louis quarterback Kurt Warner guided the Rams on a pair of touchdown drives in the final session to tie the game at 17-17 with 1:30 remaining.

On the ensuing possession and game’s final drive, the Patriots drove 53-yards in 1:14 to set-up Vinatieri for his game-winning field.

Before Vinatieri helped the Patriots beat the Rams in Super Bowl 36, he booted a pair of field goals against the Oakland Raiders in the 2001 AFC Division Round, which took place at snowy Foxboro Stadium. Vinatieri’s first kick sent the game to overtime, while his final boot secured the Patriots a spot in the AFC Championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

New England concluded the 2001 season with a 14-5 record – they won 11 regular-season games, including Brady’s first-ever start against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, September 30th, 2001.

Two years after the Patriots beat the Rams, they topped the Carolina Panthers in 2004 before beating the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005. New England would win three more Super Bowls years later in 2015, 2017, and 2019.

Top-10 New England Patriots of the 21st Century

By Andy Lindberg

Who makes the list?

Well my Red Sox top-10 of the 21st century got lit into a few times, which I was happy to see, because it means people are reading and looking at the website.  However it is now my great pleasure to create even more of a fervor with my top-10 Patriots of the 21st century.  The bottom line is, with lists like these when you can only pick ten players, you’re leaving out some great athletes.  That’s the challenge of creating such a list.  No matter who you put on there, people will always desire another player or two who were left off the list.

Honorable Mentions: Corey Dillon, Logan Mankins, and Randy Moss

10 Rodney Harrison: Harrison came to New England and immediately won two rings.  He had 317 tackles from the safety position and brought a mean streak to New England that had opposing receivers quaking.  Harrison shut down Peyton Manning on numerous occasions, including in the playoffs.

9 Kevin Faulk: This is the pick that will probably catch the most heat.  However, Faulk was indispensable for the Patriots in the past 11 years.  While it seems his tenure is done now, he was extraordinarily reliable and executed his role fluently as the 3rd down back and return man.  Faulk is a threat as a runner and coming out of the backfield as a receiver.  In his New England career, he has averaged 4.2 yards per carry.

8 Ty Law: One of the members of the original Law Firm (Law and Lawyer Milloy) Ty Law picked off 16 passes in the five years he played for New England this century, including a pick-six off Rams’ QB Kurt Warner in Super Bowl 36.  Law was the shutdown corner the Patriots missed so much after he left.

7 Asante Samuel: Samuel didn’t leave New England on the best of terms, especially after dropping an interception in Super Bowl 42 against the Giants that would have clinched New England’s fourth title of the decade, but he did win two rings and picked off 22 passes in five years for New England, including 10 in 2006.  Samuel had opposing quarterbacks consistently trying to take advantage of Samuel’s hyper-aggressive play, but were unable to do so.  Here’s to hoping Devin McCourty emerges as the next shut down corner in New England.

6 Vince Wilfork: Big Vince has been with the Patriots for seven years now and has already won one ring, has been to two Super Bowls, and has made three Pro Bowls.  Running up the middle is not a viable option for many teams against New England, as the big fella sits tough.  Wilfork is a cog in the 3-4 system, and is arguably one of the best nose tackles New England has ever had, if not the best.

5 Richard Seymour: What has happened to New England’s pass rush since the trade of Seymour should be answer enough to how important and effective Seymour was for the Patriots.  He spent eight years with New England and won three Super Bowls, as well as racked up 39 sacks for the Patriots, including pressuring the quarterback into poor throws on countless occasions.

4 Matt Light: Light played in four Super Bowls with New England (to this point), while protecting the blind side of one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play professional football.  Given the importance of the pass rush teams have placed on defenses over the past decade, Light’s job became harder and harder with the players he had to guard annually, and he did so in an exceptional manner, making three pro-bowls and one first team all-pro at left tackle.

3 Tedy Bruschi: Bruschi was long a staple of the New England defense, manning the inside of the linebacker corps for 13 years, a long time for any football player, let alone a linebacker.  One of my favorite Bruschi stats was having intercepted four consecutive passes and having brought them all back for touchdowns from 2002 to 2003.  Hardly a sack artist, Bruschi was the epitome of tough.  It seemed like he never made a poor play and rarely missed a tackle, something we see all too much of in today’s NFL, where wrapping up is an afterthought.  If Bruschi got to a ball carrier, that ball carrier was going down.  Bruschi overcame a stroke and a hole in his hear to win the Comeback Player of the Year in 2005 after it looked like his career was over and won three Super Bowls with New England.

2 Willie McGinest: Willie played with the Patriots for six years this century, making his mark with three Super Bowl victories.  He racked up 38.5 sacks from his outside linebacker spot in those six years, and his presence was sorely missed after he left, with New England still unable to rush the passer effectively.

1 Tom Brady: There really should be no argument here.  Brady took New England to three Super Bowl titles in four tries, including beating the 14-point favored “Greatest Show On Turf” in his first year as a starter after replacing the injured Drew Bledsoe in 2001.  Brady is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and holds the record for touchdown passes in a season with an even 50 in 2007.  In his time with New England this century, he has amassed a 111-32 record as a starter with 261 touchdown passes.  Keep in mind that’s all with having missed the entire 2008 season after suffering a catastrophic knee injury in the first quarter of the season opener against Kansas City.  Brady also happens to be a two-time NFL and Super Bowl MVP.  We may never see another quarterback even remotely close to Brady in New England in our lifetimes, so enjoy him while you still can.

Daily Noontime – June 29, 2011

Team USA won their first FIFA 2011 World Cup contest on Tuesday against North Korea!

Happy Hump Day to everyone and welcome to yet another… Daily Noontime! It’s going to be a great day and yes, here’s the headlines and news, so enjoy!

Headlines: 

* Tuesday was technically a better day for Los Angles Dodgers own Frank McCourt.

* With the NFL lockout still going on, San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick has admitted that he’s motivated to succeed.

* It’s official, Ty Law wants to retire with the New England Patriots. He’ll most likely sign a one-day deal and then call it quits.

* The NBA players and owners continue to meet to discuss logistics, as they hope to have a new CBA (collective bargaining agreement) deal in place before Thursday.

* Apparently, some NFL writers and reporters believe the league would be just fine without Terrell Owens.

* Team USA kicked off the 2011 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday with an impressive win against North Korea.

Games to Watch: 

* Los Angles Dodgers at Minnesota (MLB) – 1:10pm eastern 

* Boston at Philadelphia (MLB) – 7:05pm eastern 

* New York Mets at Detroit (MLB) – 7:05pm eastern 

* Pittsburgh at Toronto (MLB) – 7:07pm eastern 

Video of the Day: 

It’s pretty awkward when an artist trips during their concert, right? 


Constructing Boston’s Top-10 Best Athletes in the 21st Century

Tom Brady deserves to be on the Top-10 Boston Athletes of the 21st Century List, Right?

By Matt Noonan 

It began as a list, but now, I’ve decided to write out my thoughts.

The question… name 10 significant Boston athletes in the 21st century, which should be simple, right? I don’t think so.

Looking back on the past 10-years of Boston sports, Bostonians, New Englanders and yes, “Mass-Holes” have been spoiled. We’ve seen all four teams capture at least one, two or three trophies, which again is incredibly special.

Players like Tom Brady, Curt Schilling and Kevin Garnett were instrumental in this entire process, but again, they didn’t win it themselves. They used all their resources, meaning teammates, duh, as well as went above and beyond when needed. Yet, while these three names are the first to top my list, I believe there are others that deserve the same recognition.

Adam Vinatieri helped start the Boston sports championship revolution with his historic kick against the Oakland Raiders at good old Foxborough Stadium during the “Snow Bowl.” He also kicked two significant field goals in Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII, which helped the New England Patriots beat both the St. Louis Rams and Carolina Panthers.

So, surely, Vinatieri should be on the list, right? I mean, seriously, the guy is folklore and certainly someone that should be compared to the great Bobby Orr?

Hmm… I may have gone somewhat too far with that statement, but anyways, let’s continue.

How about David Ortiz? He totally deserves to be on this list, especially after his heroic at-bats against the New York Yankees in ’04 during the ALCS (American League Championship Series). Had Ortiz not connected on Paul Quantrill’s pitch, the Sox would have most likely been swept at Fenway Park, but again, I digress.

Ortiz was a superhero. He was the Gentle Green Giant, but while his “bat powers” helped the Sox offense, players like Schilling, Billy Mueller and Dave Roberts pitched in too. In fact, if Roberts hadn’t stolen second base in Game 4, would the Sox have still won the World Series?

It’s quite possible to believe that all of the so-called “idiots,” ’04 Red Sox could be on this particular list, but I’ll save that for the Noontime Sports baseball guru, Mr. Andy Lindberg.

Hey Andy, what are your thoughts?

There’s other names that also should be recognized, such as, Ray Allen, Dustin Pedroia, Ty Law and yes, Tim Thomas.

Thomas totally deserves to be on the Top-10 list, especially since he was forced to stand on his head during three Game 7’s this past April, May and June. Had Thomas neglected that duty, well, then the Bruins would have not won the Cup.

All in all, this list isn’t easy to construct. There are so many names, faces and players that helped shape, “Title Town USA,” so to limit it to 10 is rather hard. I mean, everyone, that’s right, everyone should be on this list.

So, I’ll put it on our fans to help construct this list. Noontime Sports wants to hear from you, as we slowly decide, who are the 10 biggest Boston sports athletes in the 21st century?

Email us (NoontimeSports@gmail.com), send us a tweet on Twitter (@NoontimeSports) or even, write on our Facebook wall (search “Noontime Sports”).

Our plan is to have this list constructed at the end of July, so, don’t just sit there, but instead, help us put together the ultimate list and yes, you can brag to your friends and say, you were apart of the process!