|Shannon Sharpe: Tom Brady’s demise with Patriots could come within next two years||02.21.17 at 4:40 pm ET|
Last year, ESPN’s Max Kellerman was the standard-bearer of Tom Brady boogeymen, for proclaiming the Patriots quarterback was “going to be a bum in short order.” This year, it seems like Fox Sports’ Shannon Sharpe is ready to take the mantle from him.
In a segment Tuesday with Skip Bayless on FS1’s Undisputed, which routinely draws fewer viewers than reruns of M*A*S*H during the same time slot, Sharpe said the Patriots should be prepared to face Brady’s decline within the next two years.
“The Patriots should keep Jimmy Garoppolo. And I know Tom Brady has convinced a lot of people –– I read the column that he had in MMQB with Peter King –– that he’s going to play five or six more years. He’s convinced all the Patriots fans, and he’s convinced the guy that sits across from me that he’s going to play five to six more years,” he said. “I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, but I will anyway. He’s not playing five or six more years. OK… he might, but he won’t be in a Patriots uniform, so let’s just leave that. I give him two more years.”
There have been conflicting reports about whether the Patriots will trade Garoppolo this offseason. Peter King and Ed Werder say he’s going to stay in New England, whereas Adam Schefter insists the Patriots will trade him for at least a first- and fourth-round pick. But in Sharpe’s world, Garoppolo’s status with the team shouldn’t even be a question, because he could soon take over for Brady.
“But do you know what happened when Peyton Manning was 37 years old? He threw for 5,467 yards, 55 touchdowns,” he said. “They scored the most points in NFL history, had four different guys with at least 10 touchdowns. And then he followed that up into 38 with 39 [touchdowns] and 15 interceptions, 4,700 yards. And then he stepped off a cliff.”
The Manning comparison is often made when the topic of Brady’s football mortality comes up. But it’s invalid, because warning signs were there for Manning. Late in the 2014 season, his play slipped after he had suffered a quad injury that December. Manning limped to the finish line that year, throwing four touchdown passes and six interceptions with a 79.98 quarterback rating over the final four games. So, his decline in 2015 didn’t come out of nowhere. It started happening the previous year.
Brady. meanwhile, led the AFC in passer-rating last season (112.2) at 39 years old. But Sharpe says that could all change when he’s 40, because, well, he’s 40.
“What you’re not looking at, also, is that the four games he missed – that was four games of licks that he didn’t have to take,” Sharpe said. “And as you get older, you can get the body faster, you can get the body stronger, you can get it to withstand more stress. You can’t make it younger. He’s going to be 40. And as you get older, the licks, the dings, they linger longer.”
In theory, Sharpe is correct. Brady will stop being the best at his position one of these days. But it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon. If Sharpe is going to predict Brady’s demise, he has to prove there are signs of a downturn in performance. Right now, he’s got nothing.
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) February 21, 2017
|Tom Brady’s missing Super Bowl LI jersey is worth $500,000, according to Houston Police||at 12:55 pm ET|
The search continues for Tom Brady’s missing game jersey from Super Bowl LI. In a report, the Houston Police say the piece of memorabilia is valued at $500,000.
It’s been more than two weeks since the Patriots’ historic comeback victory over the Falcons. After the game, Brady handed his jersey to a team employee, who took it into the locker room. Once he arrived to his locker, Brady stuffed it into his bag and went on to socialize with members of his family and teammates. When he returned, the jersey was gone.
Since the locker room was closed to the public during this time, only a finite number of people were allowed to be back there while the theft took place. But that apparently hasn’t made solving the case any easier. The Texas Rangers and NFL security officials continue to work on solving it.
“I hope I get it back,” Brady said on Pro Football Talk Live last week. “If I don’t, I don’t. It’s a jersey. … I put it in my bag because I wanted to keep it. It’s just a nice piece of memorabilia to have, but I’m not sure where they’re [investigators] at with that.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, whose ring from Super Bowl XXXIX was taken by Russian president Vladimir Putin during a 2005 meeting, compared Brady’s missing jersey to the robbery of a “great Chagall or Picasso.” But Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo apparently doesn’t feel that way. In a statement earlier this month, he said his department “won’t be burning the midnight oil worrying about a jersey.”
|Discarding Darrelle Revis was one of Bill Belichick’s best moves||02.17.17 at 4:14 pm ET|
Two years ago, talking heads across the sports radio dial lambasted Bill Belichick for allowing Darrelle Revis to sign with the Jets in free agency. But now, all of the rage seems foolish. Letting Revis walk was one of the best decisions Belichick has ever made.
The latest lowlight for Revis came last weekend, when he may have knocked out two men during an early morning fight in Pittsburgh. According to police, the now-washed up cornerback had an altercation with two men who recognized him and approached him at 2:43 a.m. Sunday. One of them took out a cell phone and started recording Revis, who took the device and threw it onto the street. An unidentified male then came to Revis’ aid. The 22-year-old and 21-year-old victims say they were knocked unconscious shortly thereafter. Their story is corroborated by witnesses.
Revis, 31, is facing charges of robbery, terroristic threats, conspiracy and aggravated assault. His attorney, Blaine Jones, told the NFL Network Thursday Revis wasn’t the aggressor.
Long before last Sunday’s scuffle, Belichick’s decision to discard Revis was vindicated. Some say that happened the moment the Jets signed the veteran corner to a five-year, $70 million deal with $39 million guaranteed –– an obscene contract the Patriots would’ve never forked over.
After showing some signs of regression in 2015, Revis became a liability last season. It started Week 1, when Bengals wideout A.J. Green burned him for 12 catches and 180 yards. His performance didn’t get any better from there. The following week, he was torched by little-known Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin for an 84-yard touchdown pass in prime time on Thursday Night Football. On and on it went.
Tyrod goes DEEEEEEEP.@flashg88dwin beats Revis for an 84 yard TD!
— NFL (@NFL) September 16, 2016
During his lone season with the Patriots, Revis was a lockdown No. 1 corner. Quarterbacks who targeted him in 2014 were 33 of 76 (43.4%) for 523 yards, two touchdowns, four interceptions and a 53.8 rating. That stellar play is a big reason why the Patriots steamrolled their competition in the second half of the year and won Super Bowl XLIX.
Letting Revis leave that offseason was bold, especially because the Patriots replaced him with Malcolm Butler. The undrafted rookie made the game-winning interception in Super Bowl XLIX, but was still relatively untested. But now, two years later, he’s one of the best cornerbacks in the game. Revis, meanwhile, was picked apart all season long in 2016. Quarterbacks who targeted him last season posted a passer-rating north of 100.
For the price of $600,000, Butler vastly outperformed Revis and his $17 million base salary. Beat writers are now calling for the Jets to cut Revis outright, and eat the $6 million they still owe him.
The way Belichick played the Revis situation is a reminder the Patriots’ dynasty is about more than Tom Brady. That kind of deft personnel management –– signing Revis to an one-year, $12 million deal with $20 million team option so he could rebuild his value –– is a big reason why the Patriots have been able to stay on top for 15 years.
Belichick preaches the importance of value. The way he handled Revis embodies his brilliant team building philosophy.
|Interpreting Martellus Bennett: Super Bowl joy, a fond farewell or just Marty being Marty||02.08.17 at 12:49 pm ET|
It’s always difficult interpreting the words of a star athlete at the end of his contract.
Throw in a Super Bowl victory parade, fans screaming and showering them with love, it becomes that much more of a challenge.
Add in the boundless energy, spirit and personality of Martellus Bennett, and the task is just about impossible.
But it’s hard not to wonder if the Patriots dynamic and outspoken tight end was making a farewell address of sorts at the end of Tuesday’s rolling rally, just moments before joining his Super Bowl LI champion teammates at Boston City Hall Plaza for an address to the fans.
“We already knew we had the best fans in the country,” Bennett told reporters as he held his daughter Jett. “Super excited. There was a lot of energy, a lot of love. I’m happy.”
Does he actually believe the comeback happened on Sunday?
“Do I believe it?! [Shoot], I won the Super Bowl. What do you mean I believe it? It happened. I was there,” Bennett said.
What was it like?
“It’s cool. Awesome. It’s amaze-balls,” Bennett said. “I felt like for a couple of hours, [being] with these guys on this team again, one more time we were kings. We were kings for a couple of hours.”
Amaze-balls. Just another part of the lexicon that has made Bennett one of a kind in New England, as Chris Price documented in great detail. Bennett was the star of Super Bowl opening night, carrying on an in-depth conversation with J.B. Smoove about black unicorns and life in general at the Super Bowl.
Then Bennett, who enters free agency for the third time, began to wax very philosophical.
“I’m a champion. You can’t take that from me. I’m a champion today, I’ll be a champion tomorrow,” he said. “I’ll be a champion for the rest of my life. And the 2016 Patriots will always be champions. It’s pretty cool. I had to change my bio: ‘Super Bowl champion, NSA.” It’s pretty awesome. I’m super-excited.”
NSA is an acronym for “no strings attached” and indeed he is once again. But listening to Bennett, this felt different, and not just because he had just earned his first Super Bowl ring. Bennett, who turns 30 on March 10, is in line for likely the last big deal of his career. He has said all along this season that he’s not worried about the money because he’s been smart and diversified in his investments. Still, a lot of teams could come calling, and with Rob Gronkowski’s future clouded by injuries and uncertainty over a contract extension, Bennett is in a position of power.
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|An estimated million fans turn out for Patriots rolling rally, Patriots players soak up the love||02.07.17 at 9:47 pm ET|
An estimated one million people turned out on the streets of Boston on a cold, wet and dreary day to celebrate arguably the greatest championship win in the region’s long and storied legacy of sports.
The traditional duck boat rally started a little after 11 o’clock Tuesday morning, with the first player’s boat carrying the three quarterbacks. Tom Brady was the first to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy as back-ups Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo took turns holding up blue “Roger That” t-shirts.
Brissett and Garoppolo then took turns with the prized trophy captured on Sunday night in overtime in Houston.
The rally took approximately 90 minutes to roll from the Hynes Convention down Boylston Street, onto Boston Common, where it turned left on Tremont Street. The rally then proceed briefly through the financial district before crossing over to Government Center, before ending at Boston City Hall.
On several portions of the rally, fans were lined up 10-to-15 lines deep. The crowd estimated by Boston Police was over a million, challenging the number from the 2004 Red Sox rolling rally and the 2002 Patriots rally that kicked off Boston’s 16-year run of 10 championships.
The music was at heart-pounding levels throughout, helping the fans ignore the cold rain and snow while dancing in the streets. There were numerous signs and t-shirts in the crowd throughout the four-mile route that took jabs and threw insults at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, including multiple “Roger That” references.
Bill Belichick and Brady addressed the crowd at the end at City Hall.
“These players, they’ve worked harder than any team I’ve ever coached,” Belichick told the crowd at City Hall. “They came to work every day and there were no days off.”
The coach then led the crowd in a chant of “NO DAYS OFF.”
“I told you we were going to bring this sucker home, and we brought it home,” Brady said, clutching the Lombardi he showed off during the rally. “Thank you, guys. We do it for you, we do it for us.”
Brady’s 7-year-old son Benjamin stole the show by getting on the deck of the boat the quarterbacks were on and dancing to the music and doing the “The Dab.”
“We’re going to remember this one for the rest of our lives and we know you guys will, too,” Brady said to the fans, who responded with chants of “We want six, we want six.”
|Run to Glory: James White joins pantheon of Patriots Super Bowl legends with game for ages||02.06.17 at 2:24 am ET|
HOUSTON — If it weren’t for Tom Brady rescuing the game – and being Tom Brady again at the end – James White would’ve and could’ve been the MVP of Super Bowl LI.
All the Patriots’ third-year all-purpose back out of Wisconsin did was catch a record 14 passes for 110 yards, run for two touchdowns and catch another while scoring a Super Bowl-record 20 points to lead the Patriots to a 34-28 overtime win. White also finished with 29 yards on six carries.
White’s final run of the night proved to be the final run of the NFL season, a two-yard push for the end zone with 11:02 left in overtime to give the Patriots their fifth Super Bowl title in franchise history. How ironic that the least likely running back in the Patriots backfield heading into the playoffs made the biggest run of the season.
“It was a toss play,” White explained. “Obviously, the line did a great job blocking, Jules [Julian Edelman] did a great job blocking, I just had to run through one guy and find a way to get in there. I saw a crease. You have to find a way to make a play for your team at that point in the game – at the three-yard line, two-yard line, you just have to find a way in.”
What went through his mind when he realized he won the Super Bowl?
“I don’t know. I don’t know what my thought was,” White said. “I was just really excited. That’s what you dream about as a kid. It was an amazing comeback by our team and I’m just proud to be a part of it.”
Now White is up on the pantheon of Patriots Super Bowl heroes with Brady, Adam Vinatieri and Malcolm Butler.
“It was just a great team effort,” White said. “We went into the second half and we knew it was going to be a long second half. If the defense could get stops we could put up points and keep narrowing their lead and we just found a way to get a victory.”
“We knew we had a shot the whole game. As an offense we weren’t playing well. We had some turnovers and were just getting in the game. We were driving the ball – we had like 20 minutes of possession in the first half. We knew we could drive the ball, we just had to stop turning the ball over, and I think that’s what we did in the second half. It hasn’t really set in. Honestly it’s all very surreal right now. It is just a great team victory. You couldn’t even write this script. You could never imagine it. We just went out there and got a great team victory.”
HOUSTON — Even a game for the ages and a place atop the NFL mountain couldn’t break the stoic and business-like demeanor of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
His team had just recorded the biggest comeback victory in the first overtime in Super Bowl history, 34-28, over the Falcons and Belichick took the podium minutes after Tom Brady and was calm, cool and collected as always.
With the win, Belichick became the first coach with five Super Bowl titles, passing Chuck Noll. Does this make the Patriots the greatest team in the modern era?
“No I don’t get into that,” Belichick said. “Rank them wherever.”
But what came through loud and clear was his appreciation of his players who didn’t quit down, 28-3, with eight minutes left in the third quarter.
“The most important thing tonight is the team win,” Belichick said. “I am happy for our team, our players and our organization. Everybody worked so hard for this. The only reason I am here is because of what our players did, what our assistant coaches and coordinators did, but Chuck Knoll is a tremendous coach. A tremendous legacy. I coached against Chuck in his final game. I always admired Chuck and his style. The way his teams played. It is an honor to even be mentioned in the same sentence with Chuck Knoll. Tonight is really about our team. It is not about some record or something like that. It is about what our team accomplished. They deserve to be champions. They earned it tonight.”
Belichick was actually asked if he might consider retiring and leave the game on top.
“Right now, I am thinking about enjoying tonight and this game that we won,” Belichick said.
The Patriots were getting manhandled in the first half. After Robert Alford returned an interception 82 yards for an interception, the Patriots were down, 21-0. They trailed, 21-3 at the half. What did Belichick tell his team?
“What did I tell the guys at halftime? Same thing we told them in the first quarter and the second quarter,” Belichick answered. “Just kept coaching and just kept trying to get better. Find ways to do things that were a little bit more productive.”
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