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Fantasy Focus: New England Patriots

With the start of the NFL Season quickly approaching with teams heading to Training Camp, we will begin to look at teams from a Fantasy Football standpoint.

Coming off a 12-4 season and a trip to the AFC Championship game, the New England Patriots headed into the off-season with a huge question.  Will they resign Wes Welker and if they don’t how do they replace him?  Well back in March the first question was answered and they didn’t. The second part of the question was answered with the signing of Danny Amendola and seemingly moving Aaron Hernandez to the slot, with a hopefully healthy Jake Ballard into his spot on the line.

Rob Gronkowski‘s broken forearm didn’t heal as the Patriots and he would hope, after having multiple surgeries to clear up infections, and then stunning people with a precautionary trip back under the knife to clean up his back.

The biggest shock of the off-season happened in mid June when Aaron Hernandez was being investigated in relation to a homicide and then a week later charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd.

The Patriots have done a good job since in distancing themselves from the former TE that wore #81, and the players are trying to remove the the distraction.  But let’s look at the depth chart and try to help you with your fantasy drafts.

POS FIRST SECOND THIRD OTHER
WR Danny Amendola Michael Jenkins Matthew Slater Kenbrell Thompkins
Quentin Sims
LT Nate Solder Will Svitek Kevin Haslam Elvis Fisher
LG Logan Mankins Nick McDonald Tyronne Green Josh Kline
C Ryan Wendell Nick McDonald
RG Dan Connolly Marcus Cannon Chris McDonald
RT Sebastian Vollmer Marcus Cannon Markus Zusevics R.J. Mattes
TE Rob Gronkowski Michael Hoomanawanui Daniel Fells Jake Ballard
Zach Sudfeld
Brandon Ford
WR Julian Edelman Aaron Dobson Josh Boyce Lavelle Hawkins
Kamar Aiken
Mark Harrison
Perez Ashford
QB Tom Brady Ryan Mallett Tim Tebow
RB Stevan Ridley Brandon Bolden LeGarrette Blount George Winn
RB Shane Vereen Leon Washington James Develin Ben Bartholomew

 courtesy patriots.com

Tom Brady is still a top 3 NFL QB, brain wise.  This season will most likely not prove to be the past 3 years of Brady, fantasy wise.  I believe you can still pencil him in for 3500+ yards, 30 TD’s and less than 8 interceptions. but in saying that most of those will come post October 1st.  Getting Gronkowski healthy hopefully by then, acclimating Amendola to the offense to fill the Welker role.  The questions in the passing game, may be relieved by the emergence of the running game last season.

Stevan Ridley isn’t a 350+ carry back, but he is a guy who should be able to carry rock 250-300 times and score you 10 TD’s and gain you over 1100 yards.  A good 2nd back or 1st in a deeper league.  Shane Vereen proved he could catch the ball on swing routes and you saw that in two memorable catches against the New York Jets in the now infamous “Buttfumble” game and against Houston in the Divisional Round.  If he shows the durability to carry the ball 150+ times and catch 50 passes, the Patriots offense should be fine and in position to win a sort of strengthened AFC East, and make a run into the Playoffs.

When it comes to Rob Gronkowski’s fantasy outlook, it all depends on when he makes his way back onto the field.  With the Patriots first two games coming within 5 days of each other against the Bills and Jets, expect Gronk to be back onto the field anytime after week 3.  If he plays in 12+ games, you can pencil in #87 for 800+ yards and 10+ TD’s.  The Patriots TE’s won’t have the same dynamic effect as it has had since 2010, but with Gronk, Ballard, Hooman, and Daniel Fells. expect the Patriots TE’s as a whole to have 100+ receptions, 1500+ yards and 15 TD’s.

Patriots WR’s since Randy Moss haven’t been down the field threats. The biggest question there is, Can they find a way to replace Wes Welker’s sure hands on 3rd and medium.  If Amendola can produce at 75% of Welker’s production, that’s good for nearly 90 catches and 900 yards.  A healthy Julian Edelman can be counted on for 50 catches and 600 yards.  the Patriots have waited a long time to see if drafting Edelman can prove to be a productive WR.  With the acquisition of Leon Washington, Edelman will not have to handle the kick return duties.  Aaron Dobson and Michael Jenkins are tough to call fantasy wise, because of as you’ve seen in the past, if #12 doesn’t trust throwing them the ball, they won’t see it too often.

Where should you draft the Patriots?

Tom Brady 4th or 5th Round

Stevan Ridley 8th-12th Round

Shane Vereen 16th-20th Round

Rob Gronkowski 10th-14th round

Danny Amendola after the 15th Round

Julian Edelman free agent pickup

Stephen Gostkowski top 5 K

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Gronklash, Does Rob Gronkowski need to grow up?

New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski, who’s play warranted a 6 year, 53 million dollar contract extension last June from the team.  But after his latest no shirt wearing dance party in Las Vegas on Sunday night, the question is now coming up, “Does Rob Gronkowski need to grow up?”  The short answer is yes!  The long answer is off the field yes, on the field the Patriots need Gronk to be Gronk.  The timeline of Rob Gronkowski’s off the field transgressions now include a picture with porn star Bibi Jones with her wearing a Patriots jersey, partying like a crazy college kid at a Patriots post Super Bowl XLVI party, beer bongs during spring break and now this.  Look, I am not trying to deny the kid a good time, BUT with the investment the Patriots made to him, the fact that when the time comes in post Tom Brady New England, Rob Gronkowski is the Patriots biggest star.  He has to show an ability to “Just Say No!”  As a New England Patriots fan, I love the guy, I love what he brings you on the football field, BUT once again, he needs to learn that the Patriots have made an investment on him, and he needs to be ready to be the Superstar, that the Patriots and their fans need him to be.

Now the question is who sits him down and says, Look Rob, we get it you are a big kid and we love that about you, but you need to make better decisions.  Is that guy Robert Kraft? Hell he is signing the checks, Bill Belichick? Tom Brady?  Ding, ding, ding we have a winner.  Brady is one of a small handful of guys on the Patriots that have a Super Bowl Ring.  Brady, in his earlier days owned Boston and still does, needs to sit Gronk down and say, it’s great to go out and have a good time, but giving your boy on stage a DDT, is just not cool.  The Gronk family from their dad Gordie on down to the 5 brothers are a group of over sized kids, but at this point, they need to take a back seat in Rob’s life and let Gronk become the greatest Tight End to ever play the game.

What could help Rob?  Go to California to work with Tom Brady, the same way Julian Edelman did last off-season, and Aaron Hernandez is going this year.  Doing this may help his off the field and come September the Patriots on the field.

12/12/12

Well since this is 12/12/12, I have decided to pay homage and kiss the ass some more of the Greatest # 12 in NFL History, no not Gus Frerotte, Tom Brady.

Some of these moments are no brainers, some you may scratch your head at.  The Super Bowl Wins, The Big Regular Season games, and the defining moments.  The Super Bowl losses also make it because they are what make the man that wears # 12 for the New England Patriots, The MAN.

Top 12 Tom Brady Moments

12. The First Start

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11. Brady breaks Urlacher’s ankles

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10. The Catch

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS TOM BRADY CATCHES PASS

9. Super Bowl XXXVIII

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8. Super Bowl 42 & 46

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7. Welcome Back

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6. Super Bowl 39

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5.  Giselle

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4.  Patriot Games

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3. 16-0, 2007

Tom Brady, Logan Mankins, Russ Hochstein

2. Super Bowl XXXVI

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1. Snow Bowl, January 2002

tuck-rule-game

25 Days of Christmas, December 10

On the 10th day of Brewmas, we make today GRONKMAS DAY!!!!!  Celebrate everyone’s favorite Tight End with these products that well scream “Yo Soy Fiesta”!!!!

GronkCracker Holiday Sweatshirt

gronk-cracker-slide

 

Super G Tee

superGshirt_edi

 

Yo Soy Fiesta Shot Glass

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Yo Soy Fiesta Tee

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Gronk Flip Blanket

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Merry Gronkmas!!!!

 

25 Days of Christmas, December 8

For the 8th day of our Holiday Gift Guide we have selected to  give you a run down of our favorite sports books.  Many of these titles have come through the What’s Brewin in Sports hallways.

Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball by R.A. Dickey

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An English Lit major at the University of Tennessee, Dickey is as articulate and thoughtful as any professional athlete in any sport-and proves it page after page, as he provides fresh and honest insight into baseball and a career unlike any other. Fourteen years ago, Dickey was a heralded No. 1 draft choice of the Texas Rangers, only to have an $810,000 signing bonus, and his lifelong dream, ripped away by an X- ray-and the discovery that he did not have an ulna collateral ligament in his right elbow. Five years ago, he gave up a record six home runs in three innings to the Detroit Tigers-and was effectively consigned to the baseball scrap heap.

Sustained by his profound Christian faith, the love of his wife and children, and a relentless quest for self-awareness and authenticity, the immensely likable Dickey details his transformation from a reckless, risk-taking loner to a grounded, life- affirming big leaguer. He emerged as one of the premier pitchers in the National League in 2010-and the knuckleballing embodiment of the wonders that perseverance and human wisdom can produce. Dickey views his story as one of redemption. Readers will come to see it as something more-a uniquely American story of beating back demons, listening to your heart, and overcoming extraordinary odds.

Paterno by Joe Posnanski

paterno_joe_posnanski_a_pJoe Posnanski’s biography of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno follows in the tradition of works by Richard Ben Cramer on Joe DiMaggio and David Maraniss on Vince Lombardi. Having gained unprecedented access to Paterno, as well as the coach’s personal notes and files, Posnanski spent the last two years of Paterno’s life covering the coach, on (and off) the field and through the scandal that ended Paterno’s legendary career.

 

Joe Posnanski, who in 2012 was named the Best Sportswriter in America by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, was with Paterno and his family as a horrific national scandal unfolded and Paterno was fired. Within three months, Paterno died of lung cancer, a tragic end to a life that was epic, influential, and operatic.

 

Paterno is the fullest description we will ever have of the man’s character and career. In this honest and surprising portrait, Joe Posnanski brings new insight and understanding to one of the most controversial figures in America.

Sports Illustrated Football’s Greatest by Editors of Sports Illustrated

180093340 This is the book to end all arguments-and to start many others. Who’s the greatest quarterback of all time, Joe Montana or Tom Brady? Brett Favre? Who was the most dominate linebacker, Lawrence Taylor or Dick Butkus? Was Deion Sanders better than Ronnie Lott? Are the Packers of Steelers the greatest franchise ever? Sports Illustrated has polled its pro football experts to determine the Top 10 in more than 20 categories. The rankings appear alongside stirring photography and classic stories from SI’s archives.

This is the best of the NFL’s best, or more simply, FOOTBALL’S GREATEST.

100 Things Notre Dame Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die (100 Things…Fans Should Know) by John Heisler

100-Things-Notre-Dame-Fans-Should-Know-Do-Before-They-Die-9781600782541 With traditions, records, and Fighting Irish lore, this lively, detailed book explores the personalities, events, and facts every Notre Dame fan should know. It contains crucial information such as important dates, player nicknames, memorable moments, and outstanding achievements by singular players. This guide to all things Notre Dame covers the game day walk from the Basilica to the Stadium, Joe Montana’s legendary comeback performance in the 1979 Cotton Bowl, and the history of the green jersey tradition.

Soldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West Point by Joe Drape

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The football team at the U.S. Military Academy is not like other college football teams. At other schools, athletes are catered to and coddled at every turn. At West Point, they carry the same arduous load as their fellow cadets, shouldering an Ivy League–caliber education and year-round military training. After graduation they are not going to the NFL but to danger zones halfway around the world. These young men are not just football players, they are soldiers first.

New York Times sportswriter Joe Drape takes us inside the world of Army football, as the Black Knights and their third-year coach, Rich Ellerson, seek to turn around a program that had recently fallen on hard times, with the goal to beat Navy and “sing last” at the Army-Navy game in December. The 2011 season would prove a true test of the players’ mettle and perseverance.

Drawing on his extensive and unfettered access to the players and the coaching staff, Drape introduces us to this special group of young men and their achievements on and off the field. Anchoring the narrative and the team are five key players: quarterback Trent Steelman, the most gifted athlete; linebacker Steve Erzinger, who once questioned his place at West Point but has become a true leader; Andrew Rodriguez, the son of a general and the top scholar-athlete; Max Jenkins, the backup quarterback and the second-in-command of the Corps of Cadets; and Larry Dixon, a talented first-year running back. Together with Coach Ellerson, his staff, and West Point’s officers and instructors, they and their teammates embrace the demands made on them and learn crucial lessons that will resonate throughout their lives—and ours.

Out of the Blue by Victor Cruz, Peter Schrager

174527384 Victor Cruz, the Super Bowl-winning and record-breaking wide receiver, is best known for his explosive plays and salsa touchdown celebrations. While his meteoric rise in the NFL looked like the result of a magical year, it was actually a lifetime in the making.

Raised in Paterson, New Jersey’s gritty Fourth Ward, Cruz overcame numerous setbacks through hard work, perseverance, and the support of his loving family—from his grandmother who gave him his signature dance moves; to his late father, a former firefighter, who introduced him to football and taught him how to play; to his hard-working, single mother who never let him give up in the face of a challenge. They all helped to keep him on the right path, as did his coaches, but Cruz’s journey was never easy. There were family tragedies, academic struggles, injuries, and more. In this inspiring, never-before-seen account, Cruz pays tribute to the people and places that made him the man he is today, recounts his most defining moments, and illustrates how his hardships ultimately unleashed his impenetrable will to win.

Out of the Blue is a candid and moving reflection of an overlooked and undersized athlete with an uncommon last name in American football that was determined to beat the odds and earn his chance to succeed.

Tom Brady vs. the NFL: The Case for Football’s Greatest Quarterback by Sean Glennon

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Showcasing one of professional football’s best players, this book spotlights the life and career of gridiron great Tom Brady. More than just a biography, it relates Brady’s story while also establishing his prominent place in NFL history. By examining his skills and statistics in a variety of categories and comparing him to other great quarterbacks—including Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, Bart Starr, Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach, and more—the guide makes a strong case for Brady as football’s best signal caller. Along the way, his best moments as a Patriot are revisited, from championship seasons and his favorite receivers to his relationship with legendary coach Bill Belichick. With detailed sidebars on Brady’s celebrity status, fashion sense, much-talked-about hair, and supermodel wife, this is a must-have for faithful New England fans and pro football buffs alike.

Total Patriots: The Definitive Encyclopedia of the World-Class Franchise by Bob Hyldburg

531847037214339367_U2ThuQwv_c The New England Patriot s first Super Bowl championship in 2001, followed by dramatic back-to-back Super Bowl victories in 2003 and 2004, marked the culmination of more than 40 years of spirited competition on the gridiron and the arrival of a football dynasty. Along the way, the Patriots have endured their fair share of trials and tribulations and have forged a proud franchise that featured the talents of legends including Babe Parilli, Nick Buoniconti, Jim Nance, Jim Plunkett, John Hannah, Steve Grogan, Sam Cunningham, Russ Francis, Steve Nelson, Stanley Morgan, Andre Tippett, Irving Fryar, Drew Bledsoe, Ty Law, Doug Flutie, Willie McGinest, Adam Vinatieri, Randy Moss, and many others.

Total Patriots: The Definitive Encyclopedia of the World-Class Franchise delves into that rich history with an unparalleled enthusiasm for the statistics and stories that comprise one of the most respected franchises in professional sports. Author Bob Hyldburg s meticulous research uncovered a wealth of never-before published data. From the team s early days in the AFL- when the Boston Patriots were led by Butch Songin, Gino Cappelletti, and Babe Parilli to its dynasty days under the leadership of Tom Brady, Troy Brown, and Tedy Bruschi, this book is the ultimate resource for Patriots fans, football historians, and trivia buffs alike.

This illustrated volume contains profiles of the more than 960 players who have worn the uniform, from Rabih Abdullah to Scott Zolak; season-by-season narratives spanning five decades of Patriots football; a battery of statistics and records; and treasure trove of unforgettable moments, anecdotes, and fun facts. Total Patriots is for anyone who considers him- or herself a die-hard Patriots fan, as well as for anyone who loves the game of football enough to appreciate this franchise s unique place in NFL history.

The Ultimate Reference Book for Every Patriots Fan

Total Patriots is the first and only comprehensive New England Patriots encyclopedia. This impressive volume includes games and players statistics, game-story recaps, player profiles, and dramatic photographs that chronicle this legendary franchise s rich history. Test your knowledge in the trivia chapter, or discover the remarkable achievements of your favorite players.

Bob Hyldburg has created a book for football fanatics to savor and help them recall the most memorable moments in Patriots history in amazing detail. It is sure to be a book that every Patriots fan will enjoy and go back to time and time again to recall a special season, game, player or play. Gino Cappelletti, from his foreword

What makes an Elite QB, Ranking the NFL Quarterbacks

What makes a Quarterback “Elite”?  Ask Eli Manning and Giants fans they will tell you that 2 Super Bowl Wins and MVP Awards do it, ask fans of other teams they’ll give you another answer.  In judging and naming who is “Elite” it really is up to what you treasure and value in a QB and it’s all opinions.

Well here is my opinion and definition of “What makes an “Elite” QB.  To me there can only be one “Elite” QB, the creme de la creme, the best and right now in the NFL that player wears # 12.  No, not Aaron Rodgers, it’s Tom Brady.

Elite QB

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Why is it Tom Brady, 3 Super Bowl wins, 5 trips to the big game, 6 AFC Championship Games (5 wins), 10 Division Championships (most in NFL History).  Stats alone are not what gives Brady the edge in my opinion, they don’t hurt his case but the teams that Brady has played on are what put him in this position.  The New England Patriots team first attitude and Bill Belichick’s mantra of “Do Your Job” and ” next man stops up” has always kept New England in the playoff hunt and perennial Super Bowl hopes.  When you look at the weapons around Brady short of Randy Moss and now Rob Gronkowski, Brady has never had a Hall of Fame cast of weapons around him.  He has the ability to make players better, from Troy Brown to Danny Woodhead.  It’s hard to imagine where the Patriots would be today without the scrawny 6th round pick that was waiting in the wings after Drew Bledsoe’s Patriot career ending injury in Week 2 of the 2001 season.  An even stronger case for Brady is made in Sean Glennon’s book, “Tom Brady vs. The NFL”.

Great QB’s

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Excellent QB’s

Eli Manning, New York Giants

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Matt Schaub, Houston Texans

Ben Roethlisberger*, Pittsburgh Steelers

Very Good QB’s

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

Andy Dalton, Cincinatti Bengals

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

Good QB’s and too early to fully tell

Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Average QB’s

Alex Smith*, San Francisco 49ers

Michael Vick*, Philadelphia Eagles

Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars

Runaway, Runaway if you want to survive it’s time to break free

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams

Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans

Brady Quinn, Kansas City Chiefs

John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals

Remember rating QB’s in the NFL is opinion based and these are my opinions. What’s your list

 

*Currently Injured and not starting

What’s Brewin in Sports Milk Carton Series Is BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK

When I became a fan

The biggest question a sports fan gets asked is why are you a fan of your favorite team. Or at least this should be. Sports fans usually have favorite teams in all the major professional sports and college, and for some there is European Soccer. But who is your favorite team? The team that if they were in the Playoffs your life stops? The team who every time this is the slightest alteration in a hat or jersey, you are at your favorite sporting goods store to buy it. That is what we are asking and telling you, our favorite teams and the answers may surprise you.

George Brew

I became a fan of the New England Patriots early in the 1994 NFL Season.  I was raised a New York Giants fan and to this day my Dad is a Giants season ticket holder and I was a huge fan of Phil Simms ( I still love Phil Simms).  After the 1993 New York Giants season, the Giants parted ways with Phil Simms and as every 11 year old kid does, I didn’t understand the business of the NFL, all I knew was that the Giants had released my favorite player.  At this point, I told my father that I no longer wanted to be a Giants fan, and his words to me were ok, but remember you can’t take it back and please don’t root for the Jets, Eagles or Cowboys and if the Giants play in the Super Bowl or you go to a game with me root for the Giants unless they are playing whatever team you choose.  OK so who do you root for is my thought.  I had heard a lot about Drew Bledsoe, he wore #11, the team wore red, white, and blue, ( which meant I didn’t have to go out and buy a new quarter back hand warmer for when I played touch or tackle football with my friends.  You know the things you think about when you are a kid.  So at this point I decided that I would root for the New England Patriots and it might have been my finest decision as a fan.  The 1994 season saw the Patriots make the playoffs behind Drew Bledsoe and Ben Coates, but ultimately fall to the Cleveland Browns.  The 95 season saw me purchase my first Patriots jersey a Wilson Drew Bledsoe jersey, which I still own to this day.  For Christmas that year, I received a Ben Coates jersey, one of the starter ones, that looked like it could have been an authentic jersey but had screened on numbers and letters, which I wore to the point of the jersey’s numbers fading off.  1996, was the first time that I saw the Patriots play in person a December game against the New York Giants, with the win coming on a late touchdown aided by former Giant David Megget,  I got a home Curtis Martin jersey and an away Drew Bledsoe jersey, as well as a trip to the Super Bowl to take on the Green Bay Packers, the first time in my life a team I rooted for lost the NFL’s biggest prize.  97-2000 were lean years for the Patriots a playoff trip and loss to the Steelers in 97, and then the Parcells purge came and we lost Curtis Martin to the Jets.

The 2000 season, brought promise.  Belichick.  A teacher in grammar school once told me that to really be a fan of a team, you have to go to a home game.  So in 2004, me and my best friend made the pilgrimage on a cold and rainy afternoon in October to see the Patriots take on the New York Jets, the Patriots won that day.  At that point I knew that I was officially a member of  Patriots Nation.  A year later I met Mr. Robert Kraft outside of Giants Stadium before the team took on the New York Jets and he even allowed me the opportunity to try on his Super Bowl ring, which is one of the greatest feelings of my life.  I have made the pilgrimage back to Gillette, a couple more times for games in the past couple of years as well as trips to the Hall at Patriot Place, which have helped me learn more about the team that I love and the region that the team plays in.  The last 12 years have been football nirvana for me.  3 Super Bowl victories, 5 Super Bowl trips, 11 trips to the playoffs, a 16-0 regular season( I was at win number 16)  the coming of age of Tom Brady, I can honestly say, that the New England Patriots have given me more joy as a sports fan that any team that I root for and I want to thank Mr Robert Kraft and Mrs. Myra Hiatt Kraft for purchasing a team in southeastern Massachusetts and guiding them to being the best sports organization in sports, but keeping the team a family.  You can’t pick your family, but can your friends, but in this case the Patriots are a family and at Thanksgiving, I won’t fight it, if I’m asked to sit at the kids table.

Poll Time: Worst Sports Video Songs 1

Ladies and gentlemen, oh god help us all after this but below we present the following.  Here are two videos and we only have one question to ask.  Which video is the WORST SPORTS VIDEO?

 

 

Okay have at it with these two epically bad songs.  Listen and be horrified and yes we are warning you strongly.  If you can last the entire song on both, you are a better person than almost all of us.

Player Safety, Don’t tell the Bears

The NFL Lockout focused on 2 major points this off-season, and those 2 things were money and player health and safety.  While the players and owners have agreed on how to split 9 BILLION dollars, the player’s health and safety clauses leave a lot to be desired.
Concussions, long-term health were the main points of contention, yes, the players long-term health should be first and foremost, concussions as we are learning more and more every day, lead to even more serious conditions later in life.  But the one major issue that has begun to creep up more and more in the National Football League is the conditions of the playing surface in several NFL stadiums has come under fire since the Philadelphia Eagles played in the Vet, which caused the cancellation of a pre season game against the Baltimore Ravens.  Then, we move onto the tray system that Giants Stadium installed.  Yea, I am not touching that one.   Fast forward to the 2006 when the New England Patriots were forced by the NFL to change the field at the 5-year-old Gillette Stadium from grass to Field Turf, after the team lost a game to the Jets which was played on a sub par muddy field.  Heinz Field, Home of the Pittsburgh Steelers routinely by the end of November, is completely chewed up, and has poor foot quality, Houston’s Reliant Stadium which has hosted a Super Bowl, has the worst field in the NFL of all the southern market teams.

Now we get to today,  a day in which the Chicago Bears, were supposed to host a Training Camp practice at Soldier Field for the fans was deemed too treacherous for the players for a practice for the fans.  Hello, pre-season games start NEXT WEEK!  How on earth does a field that hasn’t hosted a game since late January, not pristine and green?  The City of Chicago that owns Soldier Field has offered repeatedly to the Chicago Bears that they would rid the stadium of natural grass and install Field Turf, to only be refused.

The National Football League and the National Football League Players Association has to step in and rewrite the rules on field quality standards.  Out of the 31 National Football League Stadiums,9 are domed stadiums (Arizona is domed but the field retracts and is grass as well as Reliant Stadium chronicled before), 22 are outdoor, 18 of these stadiums are grass fields.  Of the 23 teams that play in open air stadiums, the New York Giants and Jets, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals,and Baltimore Ravens are the only teams to play their home games on Artificial Turf.  The teams that play in the Southern part of the United States, which are optimized for growing and maintaining grass, should still be allowed to play on it, as well as multi use facilities, such as the O.co Coliseum in Oakland and Sun Life Stadium which both host Major League Baseball teams.  With the Florida Marlins moving into their own stadium next season on the site of the famed Miami Orange Bowl, the Dolphins will be able to replace the stadium and have grass grow all year round.  Even Aloha Stadium which hosts the NFL Pro Bowl has elected to use Field Turf.

The stadiums in question are Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI, Soldier Field in Chicago, Lincoln FInancial Field in Philadelphia, FedEx Field in Landover, MD, Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, and Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver.  These buildings fall into bad weather areas that players are put into the most danger of playing on a bad field during the most important parts of the season.

The only course of action that the NFL and NFL Players Association has in this matter is to enact a rule that forces teams to get with the times and help the players out.  In 2009, Wes Welker blew his knee out on a non-contact play in Houston’s Reliant Stadium in Week 17, now what team wants to lose one of their best players going into the playoffs, in a play that should never have happened.

Every year the NFL Players Association holds a survey of the NFL’s playing fields. In 2010, 1,619 active players from the various 32 teams voluntarily participated in the poll, which lasted from September through November.

Now that the votes are in and tallied, listed below are the rankings and results (via the NFLPA official site).

Top 10 Best Artificial Playing Fields

1. Lucas Oil Stadium (Colts)

2. New Meadowlands Stadium (Jets/Giants)

3. Louisiana Superdome (Saints)

4. Qwest Field (Seahawks)

5. Cowboys Stadium (Cowboys)

6. Georgia Dome (Falcons)

7. Gillette Stadium (Patriots)

8. Ford Field (Lions)

9. M&T Bank Stadium (Ravens)

10. Edward Jones Dome (Rams)

Top 10 Best Grass Playing Fields

1. University of Phoenix Stadium (Cardinals)

2. Raymond James Stadium (Buccaneers)

3. Qualcomm Stadium (Chargers)

4. Bank of America Stadium (Panthers)

5. Lambeau Field (Packers)

6. Sun Life Stadium (Dolphins)

7. Reliant Stadium (Texans)

8. Everbank Field (Jaguars)

9. Invesco Field at Mile High (Broncos)

10. LP Field (Titans)

Notes

  • 678 players chose Heinz Field as the worst grass playing field in the NFL.
  • 290 players chose the Metrodome as the worst artificial playing field in the NFL.
  • 788 players chose the University of Phoenix Stadium as the best grass playing field in the NFL.
  • 565 players chose Lucas Oil Stadium as the best artificial playing field in the NFL.
  • 69% of the participating players preferred to play on a grass playing field.
  • Around 90% of the players believe artificial turf causes more soreness and fatigue.
  • 82% of the players said artificial fields are more likely to lead to injuries.

*For full survey results, click here (PDF).*

Thanks to helmet2helmet.net and nflplayers.com for making the survey results easy to find.