If you thought 2007 was an assault of biblical proportions, just wait for this post season!
You have already witnessed his wicked ways thus far this season.
You said he would miss Randy Moss. Well he proved you wrong yet again.
Since Randall Moss committed career suicide, not once but twice this year, Tom Brady has just set two NFL records. He has extended his NFL record to 8 straight games with 2+ TD passes and no interceptions. He also shattered Bernie Kosar’s record with 319 consecutive pass attempts without a pick.
Just another day at the office for #12.
He doesn’t have a “go to” receiver any more, he just goes to the receiver that is open. It looks
working just fine to the tune of 34 touchdowns to only four interceptions.
You say that he is in a “dog fight” with Michael Vick, yes I had to go there, for MVP honors?
But Tom Brady knows that the only MVP award that counts is the one awarded after that little game in February.
Oh and by the way, Brady has thrown 14 more touchdowns than Michael Vick and has started all 15 games. So just give him the MVP, so he can hang his dirty laundry off of it.
Tom Brady has never been more focused or driven in any season including the 2007 almost perfect season. He was visibly upset against the Bills in Buffalo this week. He was only 15 for 27 for 140 yards.
He was incensed.
He was pissed……at himself.
Brady is his own worst critic and he sets the bar so high that he can barely attain it.
This is why Brady is one of the best to every play the quarterback position. He is not even satisfied with passing for three touchdowns and a 28 point lead because he knows that he has to be perfect to give his young team a chance to win.
Tom Brady leads by example and if you don’t like it there is the [expletive] door!
His mission is to destroy the NFL and his reign of terror will not end until his day of reckoning in Dallas.
Anytime the Bruins go to a shootout, you have a similar feeling that Red Sox fans had prior to 2004.
They are going to lose.
Bring back the tie, I say!
I used to hate ties, but the momentum killing of the shootout, makes me appreciate the tie so much more.
The NHL adopted the shootout during the 2005-2006 to settle ties. The novelty was great at the beginning.
Shooter versus goalkeeper for the ultimate showdown.
However, the novelty and excitement have worn off.Granted Gary Bettman and the NHL had to find ways to make the game sexier after the lockout. They got rid of the “trap” and made the game more offensive minded which looked great at the surface.
To settle a game in a shootout doesn’t always give the best team the best chance to win. Sometimes you are better being lucky than good.
The fate of the game is on your goalie and goalie only in the shootout. He doesn’t have his defensemen to rely on to clear puck and save his bacon.
He is a one man band.
These games should be determined by the fate of the team. All six men on the ice should I have role in the outcome of game and the shootout takes that away that chance.
Hey, ties are not the worst thing in the world.
There are such things as “good” ties. If your team is trailing and rallies to tie the game up before regulation expires, that is a moral victory. If you win the game in OT, it’s all gravy.
Of course there are “bad” ties as well, if you are the team that blew that lead in the final minutes of the contest. You won’t feel good about your performance and you must right the wrongs.
However, the shootout still gives you a chance at redemption.
Teams don’t necessarily have to “earn” a win any more.
As all fans of the Black and Gold know, the shootout has been no friend to the Bruins. Since 2005-2006, Boston is 31-37 in 68 contests good for a .456 winning percentage which is in the lower half of the NHL.
The Spoked B even went through a stretch when they lost 7 shootouts in a row.
How is that for a team’s confidence or trying to build momentum in the season? There is no doubt the Bruins were the best in some of those game but at the end of the day, it’s a point and BUT an underserved loss.
Dear NHL, let’s scrap the shootout and have a 10 minute overtime. The fans would enjoy 5 minutes more excitement in the extra session, than three minutes of a blind luck shootout.
Every time I see Zoltan Mesko line up for a punt or Julian Edelman catch a pass, I ask myself why aren’t these numbers retired or at least taken out of circulation?
There is no doubt that former quarterbacks Steve Grogan and Drew Bledsoe have made their impressions on the history of the New England Patriots franchise.
Grogan was the gutsy field general for New England in the 70’s and 80’s.
Bledsoe was the face of the Patriots throughout the 90’s and one of the major factors why the team is not playing in St. Louis today.
The New England Patriots have a team Hall of Fame with the following inductees: Steve Nelson, John Hannah, Andre Tippett, Nick Buoniconti, Gino Cappelletti, Bob Dee, Jim Lee Hunt, Babe Parilli, Mike Haynes, Bruce Armstrong, Ben Coates, Stanley Morgan, and Jim Nance.
And yes Steve Grogan is a member of this esteemed class and deservedly so.
Drew Bledsoe is sure to be inducted to Hall at Patriots Place in the not so distant future as well.
However, their numbers are still in circulation. Why?
Steve Nelson (#57), John Hannah (#73), Bruce Armstrong (#78), Gino Cappelletti (#20), Mike Haynes (#40), Jim Lee Hunt (#79) and Bob Dee (#89) all have had their numbers retired by the Patriots. Andre Tippett’s #56 will be sure to follow with his induction to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2008.
So that leaves 92 uniform numbers available for use right?
Does it cause a numbers crunch to take #11 and #14 off the backs of Edelman and Mesko to give Grogan and Bledsoe the honor they deserve?
Albert Breer of the NFL Network chimed in about the league’s retired uniform numbers game. “Plenty of teams don't retire numbers and some have even un-retired numbers. Just not practical in football. Sometimes, numbers even get passed down like # 88 with the Dallas Cowboys -- Drew Pearson, Michael Irvin, and now Dez Bryant. Perhaps a Ring of Honor or Hall of Fame is the solution.”
Breer also spoke about when Tom Brady hangs up his cleats, “Even with Brady, they may never OFFICIALLY retire it, just go with understanding no one wears number 12.
If the Patriots don’t retire Tom Brady’s number it would be a crime against humanity. There is no other player more worthy of this honor. Three Super Bowl championships equals instant icon status for Tom Terrific in my opinion.
No brainer there
Tom Brady is hands down the best quarterback in franchise history, but Bledsoe and Grogan have also carved their faces in the Mount Rushmore of Patriots’ signal callers.
Entering the 2010 season, Grogan and Bledsoe have finished their careers number two or three in almost every passing category in team history (completions, attempts, yardage and touchdowns passes). Steve Grogan also did it with his feet, rushing for a NFL record 12 touchdowns in 1976 which still stands today. He won 75 games from 1975-1990 which could have been much more if it wasn’t for injuries (and super dud Tony Eason). Grogan played for the ’76, ’78, & ’85 teams that had strong regular seasons, but fell just short in the playoffs.
Grogan is in the Patriots Hall of Fame and has been named to the Patriots All Decade teams for the 70’s & 80’s, but a rookie punter is currently wearing his #14.
Boston sports personality Butch Stearns believes Grogan should have his number retired or at least taken out of circulation, “Grogan’s first. Someone needs to sit Zoltan Mesko down and make him realize how disrespectful he is being.”
48% of respondents of a Boston Sports Then and Now poll believe that Grogan’s number should be retired.
However, Mike Giardi of Comcast SportsNet New England doesn’t agree, “Grogan was never a great QB. Tough, yes. A leader, yes. But one of the best players in franchise history? Nope.”
Now what about Drew Bledsoe?
He was the face of the Patriots franchise in the 1990’s.
Bledsoe was as integral to the resurrection of the Patriots franchise as was Bob Kraft and Bill Parcells. Bledsoe injected excitement and hope back into a team that was flat lining. His impact on the franchise was much more than just statistics; he helped make the team relevant in the region and NFL again.
Bledsoe won 63 games in only eight seasons as the Patriots franchise quarterback. He led the team to the playoffs after a seven year absence and to their second Super Bowl in 1996. However, Bledsoe’s Patriots career was cut short with one jarring hit from Mo Lewis and the emergence of a sixth rounder from Michigan. Up to that point, Drew Bledsoe was the New England Patriots.
And fans need to remember that.
Bob Kraft needs to repay Bledsoe for his service by taking #11 out of circulation. Without Drew, Kraft’s investment would never have become the model franchise it is today. Don’t forget where it all started, Bob.
Arguably Drew Bledsoe had more impact on the Patriots’ franchise than even Tom Brady.
Patriots Feature Columnist, Erik Frenz of Bleacher Report also acknowledges Bledsoe’s importance. “People often talk about how incredible it is that Tom Brady was the 199th overall selection and led the team to greatness. As the number one overall pick, Drew Bledsoe led the Patriots out of some dark times for the team. The difference with Bledsoe is that as the first pick in the draft, the pressure was on for him to produce from day one. Despite inconsistent play at times, you always felt as though the Patriots had a chance to win with Bledsoe under center.”
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald believes Bledsoe was a special breed. “My feeling is, to put the number out of circulation, there really has to be something extra special, something above and beyond about a player. If they've put up ungodly numbers, made Pro Bowls, and took a laughing stock franchise on his back, and turned it around a relatively short order, that's in the realm of something extra special, so I'd say No. 11 should have his number retired based on that.”
Cases have been made for both of these Patriots’ legends. Bledsoe and Grogan are as much part of the brick and mortar of the franchise’s foundation as the magnificent retired seven.
It’s been 20 years since Grogan retired from the only team he ever played for and it’s been 10 years since Bledsoe was traded away from the team he put back on the map.
Bob Kraft, please honor these men by putting #11 and #14 on the pedestal they so deserve. If not by retiring their numbers then perhaps it’s time for a Ring of Honor at Gillette.
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Damon Amendolara believes the Ring of Fame is the right option. “With all the success and great players that have come recently, the Patriots cannot retire everyone's number and need to start transitioning to the Ring of Fame idea. So, with Brady, Bruschi, Law, etc coming down the pike in upcoming years as candidates, you can't retire everyone. The Ring of Fame honors these players (either in the Patriots Hall of Fame or on the facade around Gillette) without making their jersey numbers obsolete for the current team. Plus, I think a facade of Pats greats around the stadium would be terrific. The Chiefs have done it and the Giants and Jets now do it at their stadium and it's awesome. So, I would argue for Bledsoe and Grogan to be inducted into the Ring of Honor, but for no Patriot to ever have his jersey retired again (unless you want to take Brady's #12 out of circulation as a special case when he's done).”
Whatever way you slice it, Bledsoe and Grogan should be honored for their place in Patriots’ history.
What do you think Patriots’ Nation? Let’s get this done!
As went Troy Brown and Wes Welker, as went the Patriots offense.
If the Patriots needed a tough catch, Tom Brady would seek out #80 then and #83 now.
Just as Drew Bledsoe had Ben Coates, Brady has been blessed with two players in his career that seemed to read his mind.
Brady threw it and they caught it.
Simple as that.
Brown and Welker were cut from the same cloth and Brady was their tailor.
They all helped sew up many victories for the New England Patriots franchise over the last 10 years.
Brown and Brady.
Welker and Brady.
They were interchangeable.
Troy Brown and Wes Welker were carbon copies of each other and travelled down very similar paths to the NFL.
Brown was drafted by the Patriots in 1993 during the eighth round and was cut during the season.
Welker went undrafted in 2004 and was signed by the San Diego Chargers. He made the team then he too was cut during the season.
Both players didn’t crack the starting lineup right away and earned playing time on special teams.
They contributed by returning punts with spot duty as wide receiver.
Brown and Welker both clawed and scratched for everything in the early stages of their careers.
There were no handouts and these men are too proud to accept them.
They knew that hard work and the will to compete would pay dividends soon enough.
And they did.
Brown finally cracked the starting lineup as a wide receiver in 2000. Welker’s road was not as long, as he became the third wide out for Miami in 2005.
The difference between great football players and good football players is that great ones exceed expectations and good ones just meet them.
Troy Brown and Wes Welker have proven that good is not good enough.
Troy Brown flourished in the new millennium. As a first time starter in 2000, Brown caught 83 balls for 944 yards and 4 touchdowns from then Patriots quarterback, Drew Bledsoe.
The 2001 season was a magical year for the Patriots and Troy Brown.
However, the beginning of the season was far from memorable.
The attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
The loss of franchise quarterback Drew Bledsoe to serious injury.
The team was able to salvage their season on the shoulder of second year player, Tom Brady and the hands of Troy Brown.
Troy Brown had a team record and career high 101 catches. He also helped the team in their run to an improbable Super Bowl victory.
In the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, Brown ran back a punt for a TD and recovered a blocked field goal which resulted in another score.
He also made an impact in the Super Bowl catching a key 23 yard catch on the final drive of Super Bowl XXXVI. It was a key play in setting up Adam Vinatieri’s game winning 48 yard kick.
Brown came back with 97 catches, 890 yards and 3 touchdowns in the 2002 season. With the emergence of Deion Branch and David Givens, Brown became the #3 receiver in 2003 where he posted 40 grabs for 472 yards.
However, Brown had a knack to come up with huge plays in the most crucial and high pressure situations. He was the leading receiver in the 2003 AFC Championship with 88 yards on 7 catches.
Brown had another impactful performance against Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII. Yet again, he was the target of Tom Brady during the game’s final drive. Brown caught 3 passes for 46 yards which helped set up Vinatieri for his second Super Bowl winning kick in three years.
Troy Brown always performed under pressure and was never fazed by the magnitude of the situation. He just did his job and sometimes the jobs of others.
In 2004, Brown only caught 17 passes but he played defensive back for the injury riddled secondary. He ended up finishing second on the team that year with 3 interceptions. Only true heady football players like Troy Brown could make such a positional transition with such ease.
His contributions on both sides of the ball and leadership on the sidelines helped the Patriots win another Super Bowl title and become the millennium’s first NFL dynasty.
As his physical skills started to diminish, Brown’s mental skills seemed to sharpen. The prime example of this took place during the 2006 AFC divisional playoff game versus the Chargers in San Diego.
The Patriots were down 21-13 with 5 minutes left. Tom Brady uncharacteristically threw an ill advised pass that was intercepted by the Chargers’ Marlon McCree.
Game over right?
The game is never over if you are Troy Brown.
He stripped McCree and the Patriots recovered. They would go on to tie the game and later win to advance to the AFC Championship against the Colts.
Troy Brown signed with the Patriots over the summer of 2007 to become the second longest tenured Patriot behind QB Steve Grogan. He was put on the PUP list due to injury and wouldn’t play his first game until November 27th.
Step in Wes Welker.
After two productive seasons at Miami usually at the expense of the Patriots, Welker was traded to New England for their 2007 second- and seventh-round draft picks.
Belichick saw the true potential in Welker and knew he would flourish with Tom Brady as his quarterback.
The lack of receive talent and depth was a glaring problem in the 2006 season after the departures of Branch and Givens.
Troy Brown was not the wide receiver he once was.
These offensive deficiencies may have cost the Patriots a shot at another title.
Welker and former Raider and Viking, Randy Moss were both acquired prior to the start of the 2007 season.
Welker was a nice little player but could he be a contributor on week by week basis?
Would Moss “dog it” like he did Oakland?
It only took one game for these questions to be answered.
In the notorious Spygate game, Moss made 9 catches for 183 yards and a score. Wes Welker chipped in with 6 grabs for 61 yards and a TD of his own.
The greatest offensive attack in NFL history was born.
New England steamrolled through most of the season and Wes Welker became a force to be reckoned with. With Randy Moss able to stretch the field and demand double coverage, Welker was able to eat teams alive in the middle of the field.
He may not have had the physical size and skills as a Randy Moss, but his grit, tenacity, and the will to compete could match anyone in the league.
Welker’s playing style is something Troy Brown could truly appreciate because he played the game the same way. Ironically, Welker broke Brown’s team record for catches with 112 catches for 1175 yards and 8 scores.
Just like Brown in previous Super Bowls, Welker also shined on the league’s biggest stage. In the 2007 Super Bowl, Welker made 11 catches for 103 yards.
However, both Brown (inactive) and Welker’s hopes for a Super Bowl title and undefeated season were derailed by the likes of Eli Manning, David Tyree, and Plaxico Burress.
The 2007 season would be Troy Browns last as a NFL player, playing his whole career for the Patriots. He retired as one of the most beloved Patriots players and the team’s all time reception leader with 557 catches.
Welker in many ways has carried on Troy Brown’s blue collared style of play. He gets dirty and he always puts team first before himself.
He plays only one way, all out just like gritty predecessor
When Tom Brady needed a big catch he would target Troy Brown, now his security blanket wears #83.
If Brown could pick one player to break his franchise record for catches, there is no doubt he would choose Wes Welker.
Welker, in three seasons (123 catches in 2009 which is the second most in a season all time), has 346 catches.
On his current pace, Welker should break Browns record by the 2011 or 2012 season. He would do accomplish this feat in just 5 years where it took Brown 15 years. Of course, this all depends on how Welker heals from his knee injury and if OTA’s are any indication, he will be just fine.
Brown and Welker are cut from the same blue collar cloth.
They do not take no as an answer and they do not quit.
They play to the last whistle and they put team first.
It’s no coincidence that fans in New England love and adore them.
Brown and Welker may have hailed from South Carolina and Oklahoma respectively but their values are New England values.
Work hard and you will be rewarded.
All New England Patriots fans have been truly rewarded to see Troy Brown and Wes Welker leave it all out on the field.
We honor Bill Russell as the Boston Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month. In the dictionary next to the definition of champion, there should be a picture of Bill Russell.
Before he even entered the NBA, Russell experienced his share of collegiate basketball glory while playing for San Francisco State. Russell was the defensive core of a team that won 55 games in a row.
Russell was a shot blocking machine during his college career. After batting away 13 shots against the NCAA basketball powerhouse UCLA, legendary coach John Wooden said of Russell, “He is the greatest defensive man I've ever seen.”
And defense does indeed win championships in basketball, as SF State won back to back NCAA titles in 1955 and 1956.
Due to his stellar collegiate career, Bill Russell was an easy choice for captain of the US Olympic Men’s Basketball team in 1956. His winning ways continued on the world’s biggest stage. The United States squad would go on to defeat the USSR, 89-55 to capture the gold medal.
Before the age of 22, Bill Russell experienced championship glory three times.
And he was far from done.
The 6’9” center was a top prospect in the 1956 draft. The only question was which NBA franchise would choose this natural born winner.
Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach had Russell on his wish list. However, Boston was a winning NBA franchise and was picking at the wrong end of the draft to acquire a top talent such as Russell.
Red Auerbach never believed in the word, “never”.
Rochester passed on Russell with the first pick due to his $25,000 signing bonus and their need for a shooting guard. The defensive star from SF State fell right into the laps of the St. Louis Hawks with the number two pick overall.
Boston had St. Louis native son, Ed Macauley on their roster and the Hawks wanted the six time All-Star. Macauley had a sick son in Missouri so the trade would be perfect for both sides. Auberach would get a defensive stopper in Russell and the Hawks would get the gifted veteran in Macauley.
After the Celtics threw in prospect Cliff Hagan, the trade was complete. Bill Russell was now a Boston Celtic.
Red got his man. Little did he know it would be one of the important and perhaps most lop sided trades in NBA history.
After his successful Olympic run, Russell was ready to embark on his NBA career. Joining his teammates during the 1956-57 campaign, his first game was against the team that drafted him, the St. Louis Hawks. Russell shut down Hawks star, Bob Pettit and the “Hey, Bill” defense was born.
Anytime one his teammates needed defensive help, they would shout, “Hey, Bill.” Russell would respond to the request and cover his opponent with his defensive blanket. This tactic proved very successful and helped the formerly offensively minded Celtics become a defensive team.
They finished with a 44-28 record and a berth in the post-season. After dispatching the Syracuse Nationals in three straight games, the Celtics reached their first NBA Finals in team history.
Russell would yet again face Bob Pettit and the St. Louis Hawks, but this time it was for the championship. The series would go seven games and game seven would go to double overtime.
The Celtics survived a Pettit last second shot attempt to win their first NBA title with a hard fought grinding win, 125-123.
After a disappointing loss to the Hawks the following season in the Finals, a now healthy Russell was ready to make during the ’58-’59 campaign. He averaged 16.7 points and 23 rebounds per game (blocks were not an official stat as of yet).
The Celtics would win their first championship against the then Minneapolis Lakers for the franchise’s second title in three years.
Wilt Chamberlain became Russell’s biggest rival during the ’59-’60 season. It was a battle of the league’s best offensive player versus the best defensive player. Some called it the “Big Collision”.
“The Battle of the Titans” would meet again in the NBA playoffs. Chamberlain had an offensive explosion, but Boston outlasted the Philadelphia 76ers in six games. The Celtics would meet the Hawks yet again for the championship prevailing in seven games.
Russell was dominate on the boards with 40 rebounds in Game Two (a NBA record) and 32 rebounds in the decisive Game Seven. He came to play when it mattered most.
The Celtics were now a bona fide dynasty with three titles in four years. However, no one could have fathomed what Russell and his teammates would accomplish.
As Russell went so did the Celtics, he would improve every year and the team would do the same in the standings.
Boston would defeat the relocated Los Angeles Lakers in the ’61, ’62, ’63, ’65, ’66 Finals. They also would beat the SF Warriors led by Wilt Chamberlain in ’64. It was no surprise that Russell was dominant during this championship span. He won the league’s MVP in ’61, ’62, ’63, and ’65.
Russell long time mentor and later long time friend, Red Auerbach retired prior to the ’66-’67.The search was now on for his successor. His replacement would always be in his championship shadow.
Well that’s of course unless you hire a nine time NBA champion center. Bill Russell became the first African American head coach in league history. He told the press regarding his hiring, “"I wasn't offered the job because I am a Negro, and I was offered it because Red figured I could do it."
The Celtics championship streak ended that year at eight straight. Wilt Chamberlain and the Sixers were too much for Boston as they won the playoff series four games to one.
Bill Russell experienced his first real loss of his career (he was injured in the ’58 Finals) in 1967. While in the starting lineup, he had won 11 championships on the amateur and professional levels.
Russell went out like all winners do, on top.
He would win two championships versus the Lakers and his last could have been his sweetest.
After six tough and exhausting games, Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke lit a fire under the Celtics by adding "proceedings of Lakers victory ceremony" on the Game Seven leaflets. Russell used this as a sign of disrespect and motivation for his team.
Boston would defeat Los Angeles yet again for their 11th NBA Championship.
Russell’s departure after the ’68-’69 season was quite controversial. He didn’t attend the teams’ championship rally and said he owed the public nothing. He abruptly retired and cut all ties with the franchise. Red Auerbach was quite shocked about the developments.
Time heals all wounds as the Celtics retired Russell’s number in 1972.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975.
Russell is considered one of the best players of his generation and the history of basketball.
He helped to revolutionize defensive play in the NBA and his five league MVP’s justifying his true impact on the game.
He even ran out of fingers and thumbs for his mind boggling 11 championship rings.
Russell was also the foundation of one of most successful dynasties in the history of sport.