|02.06.12 at 6:00 pm ET|
Tom Brady will turn 35 in August, still a young age in virtually every walk of life.
But not in professional sports. Even at a position like quarterback, a position that receives more protection in the NFL rules than any other, it is impossible to overlook the inherent vulnerability of a football star. One need look no further than the uncertain future facing 35-year-old Peyton Manning, or the fact that Joe Montana won his fourth and final Super Bowl at age 33, to receive a reminder of that fact.
Despite being on the losing end of Super Bowl XLVI, Brady remains near the top of the mountain. He was the NFL MVP for the 2010 season, and while he did not reclaim that honor in 2011, he was still tremendously effective in guiding his team to a 15-4 season.
Even so, Brady is reaching an age where it becomes increasingly unusual for quarterbacks to lead their teams to titles. Of the 92 quarterbacks to start a Super Bowl, just eight (8.7 percent) have been 35 years old or older. No Super Bowl-winning QB has been 35 or older since John Elway became the oldest quarterback to win a championship at age 38 in 1999.
Here is the complete list of quarterbacks who are 35 or older (Brady’s age for the forthcoming 2012 season) and appeared in the Super Bowl:
Kurt Warner (37, 2009 – lost)
Rich Gannon (37, 2003 – lost)
John Elway (38, 1999 – won)
John Elway (37, 1998 – won)
Jim Plunkett (36, 1984 – won)
Roger Staubach (35, 1978 – won)
Frank Tarkenton (36, 1977 – lost)
Johnny Unitas (37, 1971 – won)
Brady remains under contract with the Patriots through the 2014 season, when he’ll be 37 years old. He has made clear a desire to continue playing for several more years, and the consistency of his success to date has been little short of startling. All of that being the case, what do you think the future holds for Brady?
|02.06.12 at 4:45 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots arrived Monday at Gillette Stadium and promptly left, though defensive backs Antwuan Molden and James Ihedigbo were available to the media Monday afternoon.
Much has been made about Wes Welker‘s drop with the Patriots leading and use over four minutes to go in the Super Bowl. Even Tom Brady‘s wife, Gisele Bundchen, ripped the team’s receivers for not being able to hold onto passes. While many likely have that line of thinking, Ihedibgo said none of the Patriots do.
“You can never point fingers at anyone,” Ihedigbo said. “You look at the plays that [Welker]’s made all year long to put us in this position an dhow he played that game, how hard he prepared that game, and across the board. Look, we wanted it just as bad as they did. They just made some key plays there at the end and came out on top, so hats off to them.”
Added Ihedigbo: “You win as a team. You win and lose as a team. We lost to a good football team.”
Ihedigbo just wrapped up his first season as a Patriot. A native of Northampton and a graduate of UMass, the local product said that the 21-17 loss didn’t take any time to sink in.
“It hit us last night,” Ihedigbo said. “It’s a tough loss against a very good opponent. They made some plays there and put them in position to win the game, and they did that.”
While the loss was disheartening for the Pats, Ihedigbo said that the experience of playing the Super Bowl and coming so close to winning has only increased the team’s desire to win.
Said Ihedigbo: “God willing, we can get back, but it definitely makes have that hunger and desire to get back and really bring the Lombardi trophy where it belongs.”
|02.06.12 at 4:07 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday at Gillette Stadium that Josh McDaniels will succeed Bill O’Brien as the team’s offensive coordinator. McDaniels, who held the position with the Patriots from 2006-2008, and after stops in Denver and St. Louis, was brought back as an offensive assistant prior to the playoffs, as the Rams did not intend to keep him.
“Josh,” Belichick said when asked about the position.
O’Brien was hired last month as head coach at Penn State. He had been with the Patriots since 2007.
Now 35, McDaniels first came to the Patriots in 2001 as a personnel assistant. He left following the 2008 season to become the head coach of the Broncos, but was fired midway through his second season on the job. He became the Rams’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last season.
|02.06.12 at 1:33 pm ET|
Giants rookie linebacker Greg Jones proposed to his girlfriend, former Michigan State basketball player Mandy Piechowski, on the field after his team’s victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI Sunday night.
The Star-Ledger caught up with Jones for the romantic story.
“She was bawling,” Jones said of his fiancee’s reaction. “I was like, ‘I don’t know how long she’s going to keep crying.’ ”
During the game, Jones entrusted the engagement ring to teammate Christian Hopkins, a member of the practice squad. Jones said he would have delayed the proposal had the Giants lost.
|02.06.12 at 1:24 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Vegas never stops.
The day after the Patriots suffered a 21-17 loss in Super Bowl XLVI to the Giants, Bovada.lv released their odds for the 2013 Super Bowl, and New England is second on the list at 7/1, trailing only Green Bay, which sits at 6/1. New Orleans is third at 8/1, while Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Houston are all 12/1.
Bovada also released an interesting series of odds on where Peyton Manning will be for Week One of the 2013 regular season. Arizona is the early favorite at 2/1, while Washington is second at 5/2 and Miami is third at 3/1. The New York Jets are 7/2 (fourth), while Indianapolis is at 7/1, fifth overall.
|02.06.12 at 1:03 pm ET|
‘About 15 minutes,’ he said happily at a Monday morning press conference, less than 12 hours after his team beat the Patriots 21-17 to capture Super Bowl XLVI.
While some of the Giants rankled New England with some of their pregame predictions, Coughlin was extremely gracious in victory on Monday, marveling at the consistently close games the Patriots and Giants have played over the last few years.
‘The games are highly competitive. Very, very skilled teams. Outstanding quarterbacks on both teams. Great defense, to be honest with you,’ Coughlin said. ‘The numbers that you look at throughout the course of the year, the New York Giant and New England Patriot defensive teams that didn’t have the numbers, weren’t ranked in the upper echelon of the defensive teams in the league, but how both (defenses) have played in the playoffs, and how we played since the Jet game ‘ just exceptional defensive play.
‘Just highly competitive, highly physical football games that are designed, and established, and work out exactly the way you would want. They are fourth-quarter wins, and both teams are playing exceptionally hard. The New England coaching staff, Bill Belichick, a friend of mine, a guy that I admired for many years, a true Hall-of-Famer, a great football coach. The games are so competitive and so close, and we’re just fortunate to have made the necessary plays late in the game to win.’
|02.06.12 at 12:18 pm ET|
In the immediate aftermath of the Giants‘ 21-17 victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI Sunday night, several major national publications and outlets tried to dissect and figure out what happened at Lucas Oil Stadium, as well as the long-lasting effects of this game moving forward.
Sports Illustrated senior NFL writer Peter King, in his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback piece, wrote that there is no quarterback he would rather have in the final two minutes with the game on the line than Eli Manning.
Wrote King: I still can’t get over that throw from Eli Manning to Mario Manningham. As much as I respect the catch (it will be the greatest of Manningham’s career, no matter how long he plays), I am in awe of the throw. How did Manning make that throw? Why make that throw? Why did he pick the target of the guy with a corner in coverage and a safety flying over to crush Manningham? The 38-yard throw — which began an 88-yard, Super Bowl-winning touchdown drive that Bill Belichick will see in his nightmares — is just one more reason to never, ever question how good Eli Manning is. He will have some crappy games the rest of his career, because two or three times a year he stinks. But I ask you: What quarterback alive do you want with the ball in his hands in the last two minutes of a big game?
Thought so. Eli Manning.
Despite the three Super Bowl rings and the five Super Bowl appearances that Belichick and Tom Brady have amassed in their time together, Mike Freeman of CBS Sports feels that the legacies of both men will suffer as a result of the Patriots’ second loss to the Giants in a Super Bowl.
Wrote Freeman: This was both Brady’s finest moment and his worst. The same could be said for Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Both are among the best in history. Both have forgotten more about their craft than most will ever know but there is no question about the following: their impressive legacies take a hit. A pretty good sized one, too.
There are some already reassessing the Patriots legacy. Noting that the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl since the Spygate scandal, Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison tweeted just minutes after the game: “Told you, cheaters never win!!!!!!!!!”
Brady has been beaten twice now by Eli Manning in the biggest of spots and Belichick has lost to Coughlin the same. That’s not great for legacies. That’s what you call rebuttal material.
With otherwise sterling legacies and reputations now under question, some observers, like Bill Reiter of Fox Sports, wonders whether Sunday night’s loss may have signaled the end of the Patriots’ run as title contenders.