As a fan reporter, I know and love the game of football, and especially my New England Patriots. Since I was a little girl, my dad and I would talk route running, defensive schemes and offense. For as long as I can remember, NFL football has been a passion, and I’m well-versed in the game and its rules (though some, as almost with everyone, elude me).
But what I’ve never been confident or strong in is the business side of football. I understood free agency, but the concept of a franchise tag and it’s pros and cons, as well as NFL contracts and the salary cap have always been a bit of a grey area for me. So, I decided to find out a little bit about all the numbers involved in team building in the sport of football.
To do that, I had to find someone who really knows about the salary cap. Luckily, Miguel Benzan (@patscap on Twitter), agreed to meet with me and educate me on the salary cap and his thoughts on free agency.
New England fans know what it’s like to lose again. The Tom Bradyled Patriots came up short in their 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on Sunday. Favored by almost everyone in the media and everyone polled, the underdog Philadelphia Eagles, with backup quarterback Nick Foles, outcoached and outplayed the defending Super Bowl champions.
Was I surprised? No. The Eagles had a Cinderella feel to this season. When Carson Wentz got hurt and Foles came in, a lot of people counted them out. They never counted themselves out. It reminded me of another backup who ended up coming in after a season ending injury to the starting quarterback and took his team all the way to the Super Bowl – and won.
For the 8th time in the 16 years that Tom Brady has been a healthy starting quarterback for the New England Patriots with Bill Belichick as his head coach, the New England Patriots are going to the Super Bowl.
Let that sink in. It’s amazing, astonishing, and sounds impossible, but it’s true.
The Patriots beat the #1 passing defense in the AFC Championship game, 24-20 to advance to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis where they will take on the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles after their rout of the Minnesota Vikings.
All week, the media was talking about two things: Jacksonville’s defense and Brady’s injured throwing hand. Despite the 12 stitches at the base of this thumb, Brady was able to engineer his 11th game winning drive to seal the Patriots’ victory.
It’s that time of year again – Christmas is over, New Year’s Eve is approaching, and everyone is anticipating a fresh start and the new year.
For football fans, the playoffs are approaching and the excitement of the possibility of your team going to the Super Bowl is growing. For Patriots fans, dreams of another Lombardi Trophy are dancing in their heads.
But, in true fashion, Coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots are focused on the next game.
Tom Brady. Rob Gronkowski. Even Matt Slater. These are players that have represented the Patriots in the Pro Bowl before – and will again. They’re names people recognize. But this year, a new name and face is representing the Patriots in the Pro Bowl – Fullback James Develin.
A fullback just isn’t heralded much anymore in the National Football League, but the Patriots have made James Develin an important part of the offense. He also happens to be one of my favorite players, and I’m not alone in that.
Once again, the Patriots walked into Miami the odds-on favorite and came out losers. Although the score doesn’t adequately reflect it, it was an ugly Monday Night Football game. One the Patriots lost to the division rival Miami Dolphins 20-27.
It was a game where quarterback Tom Brady didn’t look like Tom Brady. It took 2 1/2 quarters of football before a Patriots wide receiver (Danny Amendola) caught a pass. And New England went 0 for 11 on 3rd down conversions.
Let that sink in, folks…the Patriots could not convert a single third down. The last time the Patriots were that inept at converting on third downs was in 1991. I remember those days – back when the Patriots were really bad – they hadn’t won more than 10 games since 1986 and this particular season, they went 6-10. Does anyone remember head coach Dick MacPherson? Nah…me either.
Division rival Miami Dolphins came to Foxborough Sunday to take on the Patriots. The Patriots, who had won six in a row, were returning from their win over the Raiders in Mexico City. Division games are always difficult. They’re heated and emotional. Even though the Dolphins were without their starting quarterback Jay Cutler, Matt Moore is one of the better back up QBs in the league. All week I heard about Moore’s great connection with wide receiver Kenny Stills. It still wasn’t enough to beat the Patriots.
Thanksgiving is a day for family, food and football – and though I’m thankful for all three, they go hand in hand. I’m a New England Patriots fan, born and raised. And every football season, I’m thankful for my team. But it wasn’t always this way.
The New England Patriots brought three generations of Sarkisians together: my grandfather, my father and me. My grandfather had season tickets for several years before he died in 1994 when the Patriots played at the old Schaefer and then Sullivan Stadium. Although we never got to go to a game together, the 3 of us, we all shared the same love of football and our team. He sold them shortly before he died, but we had suffered 5 losing seasons in a row, and I think he thought it was time. If he’d only had an inkling of the seasons to come, the Kraft Era – the Brady Era.
Denver has always been a daunting place to play a football game unless, of course, you’re the home team. But the Broncos don’t look like the championship caliber team they normally are. There have been lots of changes since Peyton Manning retired and although the defense is pretty much intact, the offense is lacking, especially at the quarterback position.
Still, coming into this game the Broncos were 3-1 at home. Tom Brady’s Patriots have been 3-4 in Denver in the regular season, and an abysmal 0-3 in the playoffs, so this game wasn’t a sure thing for the 6-2 Patriots coming off of their bye week. But the Patriots played well in all three phases of the game and completely dominated the Broncos. At the end of the 4th quarter, Tom Brady was taken out and recently acquired Brian Hoyer subbed in. As the Broncos’ fans filed out of Sports Authority Field, chants of “Brady! Brady! Brady!” could be heard in the celebratory voices of the remaining Patriots’ fans.
Traci McCartney is a mother, grandmother, wife, full-time professional and a sports addict. She is a New Englander transplanted to the California desert, obsessed with the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots.
Growing up, Traci’s father shared his love of sports with her, and through that they forged an unbreakable bond watching basketball, hockey, football and baseball on TV and in person. One of her favorite memories was one year when she went home to Connecticut for Christmas. She and her dad went out and bought a picture in picture TV so that they could watch more than one football game at a time. It drove her mother insane!!
They loved watching football together. She remembers loosing a lot when she was younger. ESPECIALLY losing Super Bowl XX to the Bears. Those were not good memories! But she is very thankful for all the good times now.
This is Traci’s second season covering the Patriots as an official fan reporter.