Top Ten Days on the NFL Calendar (From a Fan’s Perspective)

1. Super Bowl

The two best teams in football facing off in the biggest sporting event of the year. Not only is the game itself great, but when play is stopped, you’re either watching hilarious commercials or an amazing musical performance. There is not much that needs to be said about the Super Bowl, only that it is football’s high and holy day.


2. Divisional Weekend

What makes the Divisional Round better than the Championship Round is simple; there are four games instead of two. Some people may ask why the Divisional playoffs are better than Wild Card weekend, and the easy answer to that is the quality of the teams is so much better. The playoff’s weakest four teams have already been eliminated, and now it’s down to the true contenders.


3. Championship Weekend

The incredible joy and heartbreak of Championship weekend is equal to that of the Super Bowl. The quality of these games is easily as good as the Super Bowl because the winning teams get their tickets punched to the Big Game. In recent years the Championship round has provided fans with some intensely exciting games, such as last years Falcons-49er’s matchup, or the previous years Patriots-Ravens thriller.


4. Wild Card Weekend

Hopes are high for all fans coming into Wild Card Weekend. It doesn’t matter how your team performed during the regular season, because an entire year of preparation comes down to one game. Upsets are frequent because of the one-and-done format of the playoffs. A perfect example of that was in 2010-11, when the 7-9 Seahawks upset the heavily favored 11-5 Saints. Anything can happen in the playoffs, especially during Wild Card Weekend.


5. Week 1

Are you ready for some football! The date circled on every football fan’s calendar finally arrives. The entire 16 game season lies ahead, and hopes are high for every team. What happened the previous season doesn’t matter, whether you won the Super Bowl or didn’t make the playoffs. Week 1 is the only time of the season when each team has the same record, and has the same odds of making the playoffs. Hopes are always high during Week 1.


6. Week 17

For some teams, week 17 can be a bore. Teams who have already clinched playoff spots tend to play cautiously, sometimes putting in backup players to prevent injury. There also are the teams who have already been eliminated from playoff contention, and are just competing for pride, and roster spots. However, there still are games which have major implications to the playoff standings. Just last season, Adrian Peterson carried the Minnesota Vikings into the playoffs with his 199 yard rushing performance. That same day, division rivals the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys battled for the division title, and a chance to perform in the playoffs. Although every game may not be an instant classic, week 17 does produce it’s fair share of amazing games.


7. NFL Draft

A wild flower in the barren dessert of the NFL offseason, the NFL Draft gives fans something to be excited about while they agonizingly count down the days until Week 1. Although the draft may not be the most exciting event to the casual fan, it can be entertaining to more devoted fans who are eager to see the new potential stars for their teams. The April draft date is life changing to the players who are selected, having achieved their goal of making it to the NFL. The draft is also a bridge between college football and professional, uniting the two different football worlds.


8. NFL Free Agency Starting Date

Free agency can be pleasing to some fans, whose team acquires a high-profile free agent, but can also be devastating to the team that loses that same player. Not all teams are exceedingly active during free agency, but those that are create a serious amount of buzz among the fan base. For example, the Miami Dolphins signed multiple highly touted free agents this year, such as Mike Wallace, and they have been one of the most talked about teams so far this offseason. Signing the right free agents can make or brake a franchise, and free agency provides something for fans to be excited about, similar to the NFL Draft.


9. Training Camp Opening Day

Although the official starting date to each NFL season is at the beginning of the draft, opening day at training camp seems like the more realistic date. Thousands of diehard fans show up to the first few days of training camp, which are opened to the public, to get a first glimpse of their team.


10. Any Given Sunday

Every Sunday, or Thursday or Monday, when your favorite team is playing is a great day. Whether you’re at the game or watching from home, football is always a great time. Although most people associate Sundays with the Christian religion, there is another religion that is worshipped on the same day. Football. Every week of football proves to be exciting, and you never know what’s going to happen on any given Sunday.


Brandon Lloyd Will Fix the Only Major Hole in the Patriots Offense

ImageAfter having a very quiet offseason so far, it was confirmed Saturday that New England Patriots had signed Brandon Lloyd for a three year, 12 million-dollar contract, according to ESPN. This is definitely a bargain, given that two years ago Brandon Lloyd led the NFL in receiving yards. Pierre Garçon, who is arguably not as good as Lloyd, signed a five year, 42 million-dollar contract with the Washington Redskins. Through out the off-season, Lloyd expressed his desire to sign with the Patriots and be united with his former head coach in Denver, and offensive coordinator in St. Louis, Josh McDaniels. McDaniels was Lloyds head coach in Denver the year Lloyd led the NFL in yards.

This is definitely good news for the Patriots. All though their offense was excellent last year, they lacked a deep threat receiver to spread the field. This made it more difficult for Wes Welker and the Boston TE Party to get open in the middle of the field. Lloyd has good size and athleticism, and will hopefully fix that hole in the offense. The Patriots have had trouble spreading the field ever since Randy Moss was traded part way through the 2010 season. Lloyd has slowly developed into a good deep threat under Josh McDaniels.

It will be exciting to see Lloyd, Welker, Gronkowski, and Hernandez lining up together, with Tom Brady running the offense. It will give the Patriots more freedom to not only run two tight end schemes. I expect to see some of the same things on offense, and a lot of new ones too, because of Lloyd and McDaniels. Lloyd really fixes the only whole in New England’s passing attack. If they could get a more consistent running game, the Patriots offense could become one of the best in NFL history. This move could definitely help the Patriots get back to the Super Bowl, and hopefully win it this time.

*photo from*

The New England Review


I am going to be reviewing the five best Patriots players to play since 2000. This is in honor of the Patriots playing in the Super Bowl this weekend. I chose after the year 2000 for one reason, and that is because that is when the Patriots starting winning Super Bowls. To assess how good the players are, I came up with a rating system. The qualities that I look for in a player are skill, athleticism, clutch play, football smarts, attitude, and most of all, leadership. I took all of these aspects and set a maximum amount of points for each, depending on how important I think each quality is. The maximum skill is 15, athleticism is 12, clutch play is 15, football smarts are 10, attitude is 20, and leadership is 20. Primarily, the reason that attitude and leadership are so high is because to play for the Patriots, you have to play the “Patriots way”, and those are the most important things in embodying the “Patriot way”. To decide whom the five players would be, I chose six players who I thought would make the cut. Those players were Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Troy Brown, Teddy Bruschi, Vince Wilfork, and Rob Gronkowski. Only five of them can be the best Patriots players to play since 2000, but I was surprised to see who didn’t make it.

First off, the fifth best player on the Patriots since 2000 is Troy Brown. He was an excellent athlete, and had an excellent attitude on and off the field. Also, Brown was an excellent leader, and he was selected to be an honorary captain for the Patriots this postseason. Brown’s incredible athleticism allowed him to play both offense and defense in the same game. He was extremely versatile. Brown received an 11/15 in skill, 12/12 in athleticism, 12/15 in clutch play, 8/10 in football smarts, 17/20 in attitude, and 16/20 in leadership for a total of 76/92. It was always a pleasure to watch Troy Brown with his incredible speed that gave him a tendency to break of for big plays. He was one of the most versatile Patriots ever.

Next, the fourth best player on the Patriot since 2000 is Rob Gronkowski. Gronk, as fans like to call him, is a second year tight end for the Patriots. Both of his first two seasons have been memorable, tying the record for touchdowns by a tight end in his rookie season, and setting the records for both touchdowns and yards for a tight end in a season this year. Gronkowski’s combination of size and speed give him a huge advantage over smaller defensive backs. Quite suddenly, Gronkowski has developed into one of the best tight ends ever. Gronkowski got 14/15 in skill, 11/12 in athleticism, 12/15 in clutch play, 8/10 in football smarts, 17/20 in attitude, and 15/20 in leadership for a total of 77/92. In the future, Gronkowski’s score could be even higher, but he is so young that nobody knows what he is fully capable of, as well as how good of a leader he is.

Next, the third best Patriots player since 2000 is Vince Wilfork. “Big Vince” is a legitimate force of nature. He weighs in excess of 300 pounds, but still runs a 5.08 40-yard dash, according to He is one of the best run stuffers in the league because he clogs up the middle with his size. Wilfork is also an excellent leader. He has grown well into the leadership position given to him. Wilfork has led the maligned Patriots defense through this season with a little dignity. He is a great example of the “Patriot way”. Wilfork got a 13/15 in skill, 10/12 in athleticism, 12/15 in clutch play, 8/10 in smart, 18/20 in attitude, and 19/20 in leadership for a total of 80/92. Wilfork got a high amount of points in every area because he is great at everything he does in football.

At last, the second best player on the Patriots since 2000 is Teddy Bruschi. Bruschi is one of the best linebackers of all time. He was highly aggressive, but also extremely smart. He is probably the best enforcer for making his team play the “Patriot way”. Bruschi did not become famous right away, but slowly climbed up to the top.  Also, he helped lead the outstanding defense of the 2001 season, when the Patriots won their first Super Bowl. Bruschi got a 13/15 in skill, 10/12 in athleticism, 14/15 in clutch play, 10/10 in football smarts, 20/20 in attitude, and 20/20 in leadership for a total of 87/92. Bruschi is legend in the minds of Patriots fans. The fan favorite was one of the biggest pieces to the three Super Bowl titles in 2001, 2003, and 2004. The only bigger piece is the next player I am going to talk about.

Finally, the number one player to play for the Patriots since 2000 is Tom Brady. Brady is almost a surefire future hall of famer, even though he was drafted 199th in the NFL draft. Peyton Manning was drafted 1st. Brady began his career as a third string quarterback for the Patriots, and slowly climbed his way up to back up. When Drew Bledsoe went down in 2001, Brady made the most of his opportunity and led the Patriots to their first Super Bowl victory. Tom Brady surpassed all odds and became one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history because he is so competitive. Also, Tom Brady is aware that if a better quarterback shows up in New England, he will lose his job. This makes him play and practice harder. Tom Brady received a 15/15 in skill, 9/12 in athleticism, 15/15 in clutch, 10/10 in football smarts, 20/20 in attitude, and 20/20 in leadership for a total of 89/92. Tom Brady would have a perfect score if he was a little more athletic, but he makes up for that with his quick decision-making, and excellent pocket awareness. Tom Brady is one of the best football players ever.

Each one of these players is very deserving to be considered the best Patriots players since 2000. All of them are excellent at what they do. It is surprising not to see Randy Moss on this list, given that he is one of the most talented players ever to put on a Patriot uniform. Unfortunately, his attitude and leadership were abysmal, especially his attitude, so he didn’t make the list. All of these other players made the list because they are, or were, extremely talented football players, and embody the “Patriot way”.

The Road to Indianapolis


Some people may say that the New England Patriots lucked out completely, which they did in the end, but this game wasn’t all based on luck. The maligned Patriots defense has been ridiculed all season for being the second worst defese in yards allowed, the defense has stepped up in a major way this post season. The Patriots completely shut down the Denver Broncos in the AFC Divisional Round, allowing only 10 points. The Broncos didn’t have the best offense in the league, though. They rely on a ground and pound offense in a league that likes to air out the ball. The Broncos also didn’t score many points this season, relying on quarterback Tim Tebow’s “miracles” that helped the team come out with a dramatic win in the last few seconds of the game, or overtime. Critics and doubters of the Patriot defense figured that this game was a fluke becasue the Broncos offense was so bad.

Most people figured that the Patriots defense would struggle against an above average Ravens offense, led by Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice. This game would be a serious test to see how good the Patriots defense really is. In the 2009 AFC Wild Card round, the Patriots faced the Ravens. On the first play from scrimmage, Ray Rice slipped thorugh a hole in the defense and gashed the secondary with his blistering speed for an 81 yard touchdown. The game finished 33-14. Geuss who won?

Now in 2012, the Patriots faced the Ravens in the AFC Championship game. Winner gets to go to the Super Bowl, and the loser has to go home. Tom Brady and the Patriots potent offense struggled throughout the whole game. Even when Brandon Spikes intercepted Joe Flacco in the fouth quarter, Tom Brady through a pick on the next play. Two interceptions is not a typical Tom Brady day, and let’s pray that that doesn’t happen in the Super Bowl. The maligned defense was the Patriots savior, coming up with huge plays late in the game. One was the Brandon Spikes interception. Another, and probably the most important play of the whole season, was when Sterling Moore stripped Lee Evans of the sure touchdown that would have given the Ravens the lead with less than a minute left. Nobody had ever heard of Sterling Moore before, who started his season on the practice squad of the Oakland Raiders. Then, with about 15 seconds left in the game, the Patriots got a stroke of luck. The Ravens decided to kick the field goal to tie the game with a few seconds left. The ball was snapped to the holder, who quickly turned the ball 140 degrees and placed it on the ground. The Ravens kicker, Billy Cundiff, approached the ball with the intentions to send this game into overtime. His foot accelerated foward and smashed the ball up. For a second, it looked like it would be good, but suddenly it began to spin quickly a was spun wide to the left of the goal post. The stadium errupted with cheers and the Patriots players ran onto the field. The only thing the Ravens legendary linebacker, Ray Lewis, could do was look in utter shock as his team missed out on the opprotunity to go to the Super Bowl. I think that Owner Robert Kraft’s late wife Myra pushed that kick left. The season was dedicated to her, and after Ben Jarvis Green Ellis scored a touchdown earlier in the game, he passionately pointed to the Myra’s initials MHK on his jersey. Now, the Patriots are in Indianapolis, preparing to take on the Giants in the biggest sporting event of the year. The Super Bowl.

*Photo from*

The Patriots Are Going to the Super Bowl!

ImageWow. The New England Patriots are headed to Indianapolis to play in the Super Bowl. It was most definitely not a pretty game. Tom Brady was not playing at his best, throwing two picks. This was a defensive game, and all though the Patriots defense gave up a lot of big plays, they came through with a few clutch plays at the end. I feel badly for the Ravens  kicker, Billy Cundiff, who missed the game tying field goal with 11 seconds left, but, it happens to all of us, and it sealed the Patriots victory. I can’t describe how happy I am right now. Tom Brady was right in his speech, he “sucked pretty bad”, but we still came out with the win.  I am confident that he will perform well in the Super Bowl. Like I said in my keys to the game, Vince Wilfork had a great game with six tackles and one sack. The most important play of the game was when Lee Evans caught a pass from Joe Flacco in the end zone, but Sterling Moore stripped him. Also Sterling more made a nice pass block a moment later. I am excited to see who the Patriots are playing next after the 49er’s-Giants game.

*Picture from*

Red Sox Trade Marco Scutaro


Yesterday, the Red Sox made some progress in their pursuit to create a better starting rotation. The Sox traded shortstop Marco Scutaro to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for pitcher Clayton Mortenson. This is the second shortstop the Red Sox have traded this off-season. The other one was Jed Lowrie. This means that Mike Aviles and Nick Punto will most likely be playing shortstop this season. The main point of this trade wasn’t to acquire Mortenson, but it was to trade away Scutaro to free up salary cap room. The Sox freed up approximately $6MM, according MLB TradeRumors. With new freedom with the salary cap, the Red Sox can intensify their pursuit of Roy Oswalt, arguably the best available starting pitcher in free agency at this time. Yesterday, the Red Sox also avoided arbitration with Daniel Bard, who will most likely be converting to starter this year. The Red Sox signed him to a one-year, $1.6125MM contract. Last season he pitched 2.88 ERA, according to MLB TradeRumors. There still are some question marks on the Red Sox rotation, said GM Ben Cherington, but these moves will help remove some of them.