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.
The New England Patriots under head coach Bill Belichick, don’t lose in the postseason in Foxborough. This record has a chance to be broken when Belichick meets up against his old nemesis, Tom Coughlin.
Teams, coaches, and players try to outsmart Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. This won’t be one of those games. Doug Marrone and Coughlin believe in beating you with talent, playing simple, but effective smash mouth football.
The game will hinge, not on quarterback Blake Bortles, but on Jacksonville’s front five: defensive end Calais Campbell, outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue, defensive tackles Malik Jackson, and Marcell Dareus and OLB Dante Fowler. Brady will run if he has to, he will rush a yard or two on a QB sneak, but mostly he stays in the pocket and it’s up to those men listed above to push the pocket, snap after snap. Then hit him. And again. #Sacksonville doesn’t even need to sack him, just abuse him.
Hopes were high for the Tennessee Titans. They were relishing the “underdog” role against the number one seed New England Patriots and were confident after getting an upset victory last week against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Titans players were quoted in the press saying “it’s our time”. They were confident in their quarterback, Marcus Mariota, insinuating that the Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady might be past his prime and due for a fall from the NFL throne.
At the beginning of the game, it looked like the Titans had a good chance to beat the Patriots; the Titans were first to score late in the first quarter when Mariota threw a 15-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Corey Davis for a touchdown. It was Davis’ first NFL touchdown, a one-handed catch that got the Titans on the board and it felt like a breakthrough for the Titans first-round draft pick. Finally, during a playoff game, Davis made a big play. The glee didn’t last for long as the Patriots were able to score on their next possession and even the score.
Throughout the past two weeks, there has been a lot of rumblings in the press and on social media about head coach Mike Mularkey’s job security. The Tennessee Titans lost three games in a row. Most of the wins this year have been determined to be “ugly wins” and most of the games have been low scoring or “boring”.
When the press asked Mularkey if he felt that he was close to losing his job if he didn’t make the playoffs, he responded: “I haven’t had support to say I was (secure). I just assumed the worst”. The press conference video of this exchange was heartbreaking, Mularkey was quite emotional when questioned about his job security. Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk has addressed the situation with this statement:
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.