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Ego-less Patriots figure it out in time to hit frames & # 39; throwback & # 39; Super Bowl – ProFootballTalk

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ATLANTA – Ten minutes back in Super Bowl LIII. (Or as John Legend called it, Super Bore .) Rams 3, Pats 3. New England had managed a field goal in 10 possessions. On the sidelines of New England, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had seen enough. He gathered his offensive players around him and explained that he was playing at the game table for a short time in the NFL Championship.

Patriot's tight end Dwayne Allen told me the story of 2 this morning at the patriotic team party in the Atlanta Hyatt Regency, which is trying to be heard over the Snoop Dogg concert jumping into a nearby ballroom. "One of the things Bill Belichick preaches," Allen said to me, "is he willing for a smart, hard, disciplined, selfless football team that performs well under pressure. And that is what we did tonight." [19659003] Rams' defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, had matched McDaniels & # 39; calls all night. For the most part, the Patriots could not do anything against the Los Angeles sub-defense. Because the Rams front was so formidable with arrow pushers Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, they could afford to play one or two extra men in the back and restrict Tom Brady's passing options with three strong corners. So McDaniels told his men that they would just jumbo who would force Phillips out of his sub-packages and put linebackers on receivers, the patriots who were trusted could beat them.

McDaniels would only keep a small player on the court-Julian Edelman. And in the next series he played two tight ends (the easily used Allen and Rob Gronkowki), a fullback (James Devlin), a big back (Rex Burkhead) and Edelman.

"It was a pretty amazing thing," said Allen, one of the recipients of McDaniels' invention. "Hats off to Rams. They really knew us. They played us well. But football is all about adjustments in the game. Josh told us on the sidelines: "We haven't practiced everything on this game and I'm aware of it, but it goes into my head and that's something I think we should do." "

On average, Patriots had 4.9 yards per game in the first 50 minutes of the game, and on this drive they averaged 13.8. New England played what it considered athletic offense and it worked. hit linebacker Samson Ebukam on the right flank at 18 on the first down and then hit Edelman on linebacker Cory Littleton for 13, then Burkhead on the left flat for seven, then Gronkowski between Littleton and Mark Barron down to the left for 29. Sony Michel subbed in to a two-yard touchdown round Five players, 69 meters, TD Pats, 10-3

In the lowest scoring game in Super Bowl history, New England passed the surprisingly toothless Rams-the second highest scoring in football years – for their sixth title in the age of 18. Pats 13, Rams 3. Then Bill Belichick praised McDaniels as much as I had heard him praise any of his coaches. Belichick called McDaniels changes a "real key bomb" and said McDaniels "made one good fit "and called his play-calling" excellent as usual. "

With this victory, Belichick and the Patriots tied the Steelers for the most Super Bowl titles-six. Brady played for him a mediocre game. But he was quite rushing after the game, thrilled that the patriots' defense played a steel curtain sort of game (first eight Ram possession: eight points). People who saw him early in the morning at the party – I did not say that he was exceptionally excited and pumped because, as a teammate said, "he loves a team win and could not give as statistics."

"This game," said Allen, competing with your Snoop Dogg, "is the difference between New England Patriots and 31 other teams in the National Football League. We find out and we have no ego when we have to change things. "

This was a wonderful game for the patriotic heritage. They had won (and lost) Super Bowls mostly with bludgeoning offensive performances. Never had the defense and special teams shown the offense. Never of course to Sunday. "A throwback game," said Richard Seymour. I saw the mountainous defensive tackle of the early dynasty at the party this morning. New England forced Rams-NFC's highest scoring team-to-points into their first eight series. L.A. had not tracked eight times in any of coach Sean McVay's first 35 games at the top of Rams.

Credit will go to Belichick as it should for the clever, hard, disciplined and selfless team that he preaches. The football world has been beaten in the face of genius by the young McVay, who is 33, half of Belichick's age. But he was just another speedbump for Belichick Patriots Sunday, and McVay's quarterback, once a strong MVP candidate this season, was pitiful for most of Rams' 260 total farm day. Belichick certainly belongs to Mount Rushmore by all-time coaches. He can sit over the mountain before he finishes – and he shows no signs of being out of his 19th season as a Patriot's trainer. With 292 careers running season and after season victories, Belichick 56 wins away from becoming the winning coach ever. He is a young 66, and relatively stress free. From this morning on, I'm surprised if he doesn't train five years, probably long enough to pass Don Shula's 347 victories.

The great leader coaches his assistants, and Belichick has done so. Outgoing defensive play caller Brian Flores orchestrated a good game against Goff, confusing him through the game and pushing through multiple lines than Rams expected to see. Flores will be named coach of the Miami Dolphins today, so Belichick will have to break into a new chief of defense. (Smart money is on Greg Schiano, the former Bucs and Rutgers coach and a Belichick's trusted). But don't expect the patriots to change much of what they do. On both sides of the ball is every game, the game planes snowflakes. Always different.

Tom Brady. (Getty Images)

That's one reason why McDaniels wasn't worried for half an hour when the patriots stumbled on a 3-0 lead halfway through. In the closet after the game, McDaniels went to the board to talk to his team and he drew the number "44". It was how many games the Patriots ran in the first half – and how many plays Rams D was on the field. "It must count for something," McDaniels told his players. "It's going to pay off in the second half."

Maybe it did. When New England changed its offensive approach to a heavy look by 10 minutes, the patriots went 69 yards to a TD and 72 yards to a field goal on their next two drives. On New England's 61. snap of the game, Sony Michel took over the right tackle for 26 yards. The 64th Rex Burkhead race behind the left tackle to 26. It was ballgame.

This is the team, of course, that America loves to deceive. But I think if America hung around in the closet, it would like this edition of the patriots. About the Patriots last week, coaches and players talked about selflessness – even among the stars like Rob Gronkowski and Edelman and Dont & apos; s Hightower and Devin McCourty and Stephon Gilmore – who exceeded previous former championships in Foxboro. "It's not easy to be a patriot," Gilmore said last night. "It's a mud every day. Even when we win games, it feels like we sometimes lose because it's hard. We want to be perfect and sometimes we're not. But it's worth it. Everything is worth it. "

After the game, I spent a few minutes with Robert Kraft in the utmost teaching room in Patriots' lockers. Power, impeccable in a three-piece blue suit, became bustling, spoke out after his 10th Super Bowl appearance in his quarter-century owner. "I want to get out of this suit," he said.

But first, the Bostonian, who had Patriots season tickets as a child, put this team in perspective.

"Well," he said, "this team is a different team from any of the others we've been with. It has some sense of character and maturity about what I never remember. And I saw it The last two weeks in this closet. There was a quiet air of trust. They worked hard. There was a good setting. I don't think we had most Pro Bowl players. In fact, how many did we have? did in the defense today was incredible. Just going back to the start of the season with all the turmoil and excitement and then we started what 2-3? (It was 2-2.) And then we came to December and we lost Two matches in a row that we usually do not, and because of that we did not have the advantage of the home market through the playoffs and we had to go to the championship for a place we were badly beaten the last time we played there. the best young team in the whole football. And our guys found a way to get the job done. And then today, the same.

"I crush myself because you know that I'm still a fan. Especially when I sit in my box I think as a fan and think back to being in the stands and dreaming to own the team. "

I said," You're a New Englander. You love the local sports teams. So how about nine Super Bowls in 18 seasons, unheard of in NFL history, compared to the big franchises in Boston's history? "

" I'll let you rate it, "he said." The only one I really remember growing up was Celtics, and I was a big fan. They are truly sustained success. I don't know how many teams were in the NBA. They had nowhere near the 32 teams we had. "

He was about to speak out now, but he had one last thing for me:

" Honestly, I don't think what our team and Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have done will be repeated at the age of pay. "

Back in the wardrobe, a mountain man, completely used, was oriented by patriot president Stacey James at his closet. Julian Edelman, an opportunity quarterback at Kent State a decade ago, joined the pantheon of all-time greats by beating in a Super Bowl MVP performance, Ten catches, 141 meters, and for one time had the only weapon New England, James explained how his life was changing – starting with the MVP press conference Monday morning without sleep.

Julian Edelman. (Getty Images)

No feelings from Edelman. He said to the fellow of companion Matthew Slater: "Dude, we held them without a touchdown."

Then Edelman ended up getting dressed before entering Atlanta at night , he said: "Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championship. This was a sign of a good team today. "

One of the greatest ever, and no one puts much of an argument any more if you call the patriots the best persistent franchise in league history.

Moral of the story for the ottoman's 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame class: We are finally see how the game of this new century is being played In the last three classes, Hall's 48 selectors (I am one) have selected six defensive backpacks (safaris Kenny Easley, Brian Dawkins, Ed Reed, Johnny Robinson and Ty Law corners and Champ Bailey), who have played in the modern era, which we define as after 1960. In the previous four classes, only one DB (Aeneas Williams) was enveloped. It's progress … and I thought Denver Safety Steve Atwater had a crooked shot to do so after our discussions in the 7-hour 41-minute meeting on Saturday in downtown Atlanta.

This is the first time in the Hall story that a class has included four men who only played the defensive backfield I do saw Williams, class 2014, Sunday morning at my hotel and asked him about his reaction to the DB heavy class in 2019. "You mean, besides jumping up and down, celebrate?" He said. "I love it. It shows the recognition of what a difficult task it is to play on the defensive backfield and how important it is to win in modern football."

Speaking of difficult tasks, this year's election process was brutal. I thought at least 13 of the 15 modern era candidates were excellent candidates. Takeaways from a long and rewarding day in the atmosphere of the Georgia World Congress Center:

• The offensive line logjam was busted. As a group, I got the sense that we entered the room and tried to enter at least one of the four deserving offensive lineman (Tony Boselli, Alan Faneca, Steve Hutchinson, Kevin Mawae), and I hoped that they would not all cannibalize each other. Mawae did it – confirming the respect that the committee has for all ten-year-old players; He was the first-class all-decade center for the 2000s, and each of the previous four first-team all-decades centers had previously been chosen. One ironman, he played every game in 12 of his 16 seasons, and he was a Pro Bowler of 37 and 38. I think Boselli will do so, despite only playing 97 games (the recent inductees Kenny Easley and Terrell Davis played fewer) and I also think it's a matter of time for Faneca and Hutchinson. No zits on their records.

Tony Gonzalez. (NFL Photo Library / Getty Images)

• Just a guess, but I think the law edged Atwater. Both players have the Hall of Fame résumés. I feel for Atwater, who failed in his 15th year of eligibility, but had great support in the room. It was the fifth year of the law, and I think his big play in big games in the early patriotic dynasty (his 47-yard pick-six in the first New England Super Bowl victory over St. Louis and his three interceptions of Peyton Manning in the AFC title game before the second Super Bowl victory) propelled him. We are not thrilled to vote count, but I testify Atwater was pretty close to the law.

• Tony Gonzalez and Ed Reed were as suspects easy. Combined talk time for Reed and Gonzalez: eight minutes.

• Rick Gosselin is a great striker in progress with defensive players. You may not know Gosselin, a prolonged sports columnist, NFL writer and Hall of Fame voter based in Dallas. But for years he has kept demanding statistics on the hall, and he has resented the imbalance between crime and defense in Canton. He was thrilled on Saturday night that the defensive number of modern-era candidates now has cribs up over 40 percent. (There have been 236 players in the modern era, 138 on offensive, 95 on defense and three on special teams … who continue to shrink the offensive edge. Now it's 58.5 percent offense and 40.2 percent defense. That includes 30 defensive Back and 27 wide recipients, Kudos to Gosselin to hang on to this and make us remember when we vote, we can't discuss outside the room what is said inside the room, but enough to say that Gosselin was amazing In case of senior candidate Johnny Robinson-who became only the third AFL era defensive back to do Hall.

• Love party to Gil Brandt. I wasn't positive Brandt would do it as a contributing subcommittee nominated, he did not compete against the 15 modern era candidates, but rather needed a mere 80 percent of the room (at least 38 of the 48 voters) to say yes to him to do so. there and listened to Brandt's discussion rne: "I wish someone was recording this and could play it for Brandt just to realize what impact he has on so many aspects of football. "For me, Brandt has excited 75 percent of NFL's 99-year history: He got his first football job, a part-time scouting job with Rams, in 1955 at the request of Ram's star Elroy" Crazy Legs "Hirsch, who knew Brandt Common acquaintances in their Wisconsin home area Hirsch was a first round of NFL pick in 1945, a Hall of Famer who got Brandt to start with scouting / writing / combining-czaring / radio hosting, a career now entering the 64th

Flores. Lots of online inquiries from Tom Flores fans A few things: The two Super Bowl victories are a big plus in his candidacy and could make him become oneshrined one But I think he was hurt by his three-year record in Seattle (14-34) and the perception that he was a caretaker with Raiders took over a team that was 33-11 in the three seasons that preceded him – and did an excellent job directing a ship between Oakland and Los Angeles, but that was not enough , especially with the strong modern era class he competed against. The hall might consider a separate coaching category at a time that could also help Flores.

• My voices. The voting system works this way: We vote yes or no to Senior and Contributor candidates. I voted in favor of Pat Bowlen, Gil Brandt and Johnny Robinson. At the 15 modern era candidates, we first cut to 10 by secret ballot. Then the top 10 is tabulated and we cut to five by secret ballot. Then the top five are tabulated, and we vote yes or no secretly on each of the five, one by one. My cut to 10: Atwater, Bailey, Boselli, Faneca, Gonzalez, Edgerrin James, Law, John Lynch, Mawae, Reed. My cut to five: Atwater, Bailey, Gonzalez, Law, Reed. I voted in favor of all five finalists.

If you've missed out on the TV commercial with all NFL players at the NFL just before the midnight gig last night, here's the story:

The story behind NFL's new marketing manager, Tim Ellis, who came to the league from the video game industry last September:

"When I came aboard, I felt we had to take a new direction of communication. I had the best agencies in the country competing for our business and [full-service ad agency] 72 And Sunny won the company. We said we wanted a big ad to start the NFL's 100th season, and they said they could get it ready for next fall. I said no, it's the Super Bowl spot. We want it for the Super Bowl. [19659003] "Turnaround was incredibly fast. There are almost 50 stars in it and we didn't start contacting people until last December … and we lost it in mid-January. The reason why we could pull it off is that it felt genuine and authentic to the players. The players said, "Whoever puts this together knows football." "

It's a two minute spot. In short: At a black-tie banquet, football, with Roger Goodell on the podium, and the camera pans the room to show Dick Butkus, Joe Green, Ndamukong Suh, Peyton Manning, Orlando Pace Alvin Kamara, Drew Brees, Michael Strahan, Rob Gronkowski, and Brian Urlacher and Ninja, the largest video game influence in the world, serve the (supposedly) best video game player in the NFL, JuJu Smith-Schuster, giving him a double look .. . [19659003] … There is a giant cake in the middle of the living room, a golden football on the top and the crooked Marshawn Lynch (in a Beast Mode sweatsuit), leaning over in his chair to push the taste of the dot and chair goes over and Lynch smashes the cake and the golden football shines to the ground, and Mike Singletary screams "Fumble !!!!" and Singletary and Christian McCaffrey and a few other dives for the ball and it ends up in Joe Montana's hands and Montana bypass Michael Irvin to throw to Jerry Rice, but Deion Sander's intercepts and stiffens in the middle of the ballroom, and Urlacher smashes him into a table that falls together, and Larry Little and Paul Warfield and Larry Csonka (of 72 Dolphins) look admirable, and Kamara and Suh break down but Barry Sanders ends up with the ball and makes a pirouetting move admired by Emmitt Smith, and Peyton Manning ends up with the ball and throws at LaDainian Tomlinson and Ed Reed destroys Tomlinson, and Jim Brown is cool with it and then Baker Mayfield and Tom Brady sit at a side table, chatting and Brady hands Mayfield calls his five Super Bowl and then enters the game, and somehow Terry Bradshaw has the ball and falls back to pass, and Aaron Donald destroys a table to come to Bradshaw and Bradshaw throw it high to Larry Fitzgerald with Jalen Ramsey and Derwin James in the cover, and the ball jumps high and far away …

… And Franco Harris makes an immaculate reception, admired by Joe Greene and Saquon Barkley than is with the ball and he twinkles toes over a table, and Odell Beckham goes out for a passport and Goodell tells Patrick Mahomes (yes he is in it) that Beckham is open and Mayfield does not look to Beckham representing his one hand-end-zone capture against Dallas while landing on a table …

… And this is a very cool moment judge Sarah Thomas eagle-eyes Odell catch, and Judge Ronald Torbert makes "catch is good" signal and Thomas signals and calls "First down!" And then Tony Gonzalez catches a passport, tackled hard by Von Miller, and the viral video youthful game, Sam Gordon, has the ball and Richard Sherman tries to steal it and she cheats and he laterals to Saquon, and he brings a cadre of young stars out of the frame.

All in two minutes.

"I felt in my gut it would be a great commercial and a great way to start our 100 season," said Ellis.

Logistics was fun. , Ellis had some faux banquet rooms with tight shots, built with the same decor as the LA venue. Mayfield flew to Boston and made his piece with Brady there. Mahomes flew to Orlando and made his piece with Wilson there and made a throw that was "caught "on the LA set of Beckham. Extra credit to Brees and Kamara to do their piece in New Orleans a few days after the bitter loss in the NFL title game.

Peyton Manning was booked solid on the days it was lost in LA But he found a way to make it to the set and did his part in 90 minutes.

And so this breakneck commercial happened.

Offensive players of the week

Julian Edelman, broad receiver, New England. He will always be known for his beard, but Sundays ns performance cemented that he is forever remembered as a Super Bowl MVP. In a game dominated by the defense, Edelman stood out as the offensive star. Edelman had 10 catches for 141 yards and was the man Tom Brady turned to almost every time the team needed a first down-eight of his grips to move the chains. Edelman now sits second in the NFL playoff story with 115 postseason receptions, with only Jerry Rice in front of him. Nice company.

Defensive Week Player

Stephon Gilmore, cornerback, New England. From potential goat to whole for 10 minutes. With 12 minutes remaining in a 3-3 game, Jared Goff incompletely threw third and 11 deep in the Ram area … and there was a flag. At the back of the game, away from the action, Gilmore was urged to tackle Brandin Cook's jersey and extend the Ram drive. Fortunately, the sentence did not kill New England. With Pats up 10-3 and Rams running at 4:24 back, Goff went for the gold at a zero flash of New England, Gilmore designated Cooks. Goff threw it, and Gilmore picked it at Pat's 4-yard line, and the patriots could run out of watch. Gilmore played the game in the AFC Championship last season and he also made the biggest game in this game.

Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks. (Getty Images)

Special team player of the week

Johnny Hekker, punter, Rams. It was a dangerous match time for Rams … Within nine minutes left in the third quarter, New England became 3-0, and Hekker dressed for his eighth point by the night already deep in his end zone . The thing came out of hedge foot as a line-drive kind of knuckle, and Julian Edelman let the ball go close to the midfield. Big mistake. It jumped and rolled and rolled more and ended up on the 29th Patriots. The 65-yard point, furthest in the Super Bowl story, was not the most beautiful one – but it got the job done and turned around for an important time when his crime was equal was spoiled.

Week Trainer

Brian Flores, Defense Coordinator, New England. Miami Dolphin's fans had to be giddy to watch their new head coach put on a Sunday clinic in Atlanta. Flores compound one of the best defensive games in Super Bowl history, with his Patriot's defense limiting Ram's misdemeanor to three weak points. Flores had an answer for all offensive wunderkind Sean McVay threw on the patriots. And quarterback Jared Goff's terrible game can be credited to Flores and Patriots' defensive front.

Week's goat

Jared Goff, quarterback, Rams. Picked the worst time to have a clunker of a game. Although Goff was good at a few late drives, he shot Brandin Cooks near the New England finish, down seven, with 4:24 back in the game. Stephon Gilmore picked it up and the patriots were hanging on. If Goff played a C-plus game, Rams would probably have won. But he was a D-player in his career's greatest game, and his line also sounded him, and New England was just good enough to win.


"There is no other way to say it: I was coached tonight."

-Ram's coach Sean McVay.


"It's shocking. We have to go back and look at the tape to see where things really fell apart. It's just embarrassing."

– Rams tackles Andrew Whitworth on the creepy performance of the Rams violation.


"I was Michael Jordan of my position."

-Raven's security Ed Reed, newly elected Pro Pro Hall of Fame, to Ed Werder of Westwood One radio.


"You are the face of the league. You are responsible for getting out and solving problems when they arrive. On Monday or Tuesday after this game, we all deserved a response of some sort It is the responsibility of the Commissioner … and yet we do not hear a peep for 10 days. "

-Saint's quarterback Drew Brees, at" The Dan Patrick Show "on Commissioner Roger Goodell's reticence to discuss the most controversial official decision from his 12-and-a-half year period.


"Football is much like life. It is not always as you planned it. Sometimes you are stopped and you get up and there is the pig element with this game that fascinates us all. "

-Synts coach Sean Payton.


"For all the evil in the world, I see apathy as the most dangerous."

-2018 NFL Man of the Year Chris Long.

Gil Brandt, who was elected Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday after a 63-year history scouting team and running Dallas scouting operation and then covering the NFL and shouting Scouting Combine, desperately wanted a bust in Canton. When I ran into him last week and wanted him lucky on Saturday, I said he should be optimistic about his chances. "That's what Hillary Clinton thought of entering his choice a few years ago," he said. "And see what happened." But when he got the good news on Saturday, he reflected on all the people who reached him and what the game was, and they in it have taught him.

"My feelings have been running the gamut since last night. I didn't know I knew so many people. Mike Nolan [former Niners head coach, and son of former Cowboys assistant Dick Nolan] called to congratulate me. Do you know how I met him? I used to go over to Nolan's house at Christmas and putting his toys together for Christmas. "

" Hang on. "

Brandt had a call on the other line.

"Dak Prescott!" He said. "How are you feeling?" "Yes." "Hey, give me some of the Cambell's Soup money." … "Many thanks for calling."

"That's how it was. It's like Churchill, takes off his bowler and says," Never give up. "It's my life as it has been. I'm so proud of what I've done to contribute to the game. got a message from Bill Belichick last night, maybe a two-minute message telling me how many people I've helped along the way coaches, scouts, players, and how this was a long time, it was nice to hear. when Rick Forzano died this season [former mentor of Belichick] in the playoffs, Bill took a plane out one night to go to the wake, spent an hour with the family and then flew back in. No one knows these things about Bill, but they should.

"I suppose this has been my dream for a long time, but I would also be a good person. I wanted to treat people right. I wanted to help people. When Tex Schramm called me and offered me the job that ran scouting with the cowboys, it was such a good option because teams didn't really scout then. Scouting so was the scout saying to the team: "This dog can hunt." There was plenty of room to succeed, and I think I set up a scout system that was 40 years ahead of time.

"So what I learned most if you are a good person and you are disciplined and you work hard and you are good to people, you can succeed in this business. Discipline is so important because you have to work and you have to make people respect how you work. I think that's what I've been able to do. "

From the home of Pro Football Focus, at The defensive keys in New England to choke Rams Sunday night

  • Jared Goff ] did not have a finish more than 20 feet past the line of scrimmage.
  • Stunts was the key to the patriots. They used them on 18 out of 42 Ram passes players. New England pressede Goff på ni af de 18 stunts.
  • Blitzes var også nøglen til patrioterne. At sende ekstra rushes på 48 procent af L.A. pass spiller, det var Pats 'tredjestørste blitzing spil ud af 19 i år. Det var klart, at de troede, at Goff ville blive generet af dem, og han var.
  • Goff håndterede ikke trykket i denne uge, så godt som han gjorde i NFC-titlen. Goff versus pressure in the NFC title game: 9.1 yards per attempt. Goff versus pressure in the Super Bowl: 3.6 yards per attempt.

In general: Goff will have to prove he can handle the heat. He didn’t do well against it Sunday.

A PFF Elite subscription gives you access to team- and player-performance metrics the pros use: https://join.profootballfocus.com/elite/


The time of discussion for each of the 18 nominees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday:

Gil Brandt: 34 minutes
Ty Law: 27
Tony Boselli: 26
Kevin Mawae: 25
Don Coryell: 23
Pat Bowlen: 19
Tom Flores: 18
Steve Hutchinson: 14
Steve Atwater: 13
John Lynch: 13
Champ Bailey: 11
Edgerrin James: 10
Alan Faneca: 10
Johnny Robinson: 9
Isaac Bruce: 8
Richard Seymour: 8
Tony Gonzalez: 6
Ed Reed: 2


The Denver Broncos are 59 seasons old.

They have had 29 winning seasons.

On Saturday, Champ Bailey became the franchise’s first defensi ve Hall of Famer.[1 9659023]III

The press box announcer in Mercedes Benz Stadium let out what sounded like a lengthy belch with one minute left in the game. His mike was live. Not sure I’ve heard a press box with hundreds on deadline in the Super Bowl laugh that uproariously.

In nine Super Bowls this century, the Patriots have scored three points, total, in first quarters.

In honor of the late Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman, I did something for the first time in my life Sunday evening. In his memory, I clocked the National Anthem. Got Gladys Knight in 1 minute, 59.10 seconds.

(Peter King/NBC Sports)

The NFL remembered him too, as you can see, in the press box … directly in front of The MMQB staff at the game. Fitting. Nice tribute.

Zim died Nov. 1, almost a decade after suffering a series of three strokes in New Jersey.






To comment on the column, or to say anything about anything, you can reach me by email.

Wait a second! Who said you could be reasonable while discussing officiating? From John D.: “I thought the no-call in the Saints-Rams game illustrated how tough it is to get officiating done right. The call on the field was made in real time, so the officials did not have the benefit of slow motion, or the proper angle. But replay would also need to check whether the ball was tipped. But when you look at the line play from behind the quarterback (to see if the ball was tipped) you also see two possible Saints penalties that were not called. Hands to the face on the left, and holding on the right. Would the replay check for all that when it is in view? Could the Rams then challenge no-calls as well? I could see a possible scenario where there were offsetting fouls, with the Saints replaying the down. These plays could be complicated when you start pulling threads.”

Excellent point, John. I addressed it in my officiating section below in No. 4 of 10 Things. I am sure the league, if it ever allowed a challenge of a judgment call, would mandate that the challenge be about one specific thing, so it would not be, as you smartly say, a situation of officials pulling threads and finding another foul or two on the same play.

The fate of Gronk. From Jeffrey F. of Grand Rapids, Mich.: “If Rob Gronkowski does indeed retire, is he a possible Hall of Famer? A probable Hall of Famer? Too hard to say at this point?”

Last year, I saw Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, in Indianapolis at the combine. I told him I wished Gronkowski the best and, in my opinion, if he’d retired then, I felt he had done enough to be a Hall of Famer. So yes, I think Gronkowski would get my vote.

The fate of Belichick. From Kevin M.: “You think this is maybe it for Bill? Few things this week that were out of character: family time at the Saturday walk-through, much more sentimental after the win, saying he’d party with Gronk.”

I doubt it sincerely, Kevin. As I said above, my gut feeling is he’ll coach multiple more years. Coaching, I believe, brings him very little stress, and he loves it, and he’s doesn’t seem to have health problems.

1. I think the performance has to be a crushing one for Goff and a humbling one for McVay. I put a lot more of the blame on Goff, because he’s got to make more plays than he did, and he took some sacks he shouldn’t have and just didn’t respond to the New England pressure as the game went on. But I wouldn’t worry much about either man. Goff had some shaky games down the stretch—Bears, Eagles and Patriots most notably. But he’s got the rare gift to forget when he stinks, like a great cornerback. McVay is too smart to be crushed by this. He won’t say it, but he needs his quarterback to be his general on the field and to make enough plays to keep his team in the game. He could have the best game plan he’d ever choreographed Sunday, but it the quarterback can’t execute it and make more plays, it would be for naught.

2. I think I’d have named a defensive player—either Dont’a Hightower or Stephone Gilmore—the MVP if I had a vote. (I did not.) I thought this was the defense’s day.

3. I thinkregarding the 2019 regular-season opener, the Patriots have no shortage of logical foes. My best guess for the Thursday night lidlifter on Sept. 5 at Gillette Stadium:

• Cleveland at Patriots. This would be my pick, but the NFL may be hesitant to put a team that hasn’t proven it yet in the opener.

• Pittsburgh at Patriots. Drama Queens at the Model Franchise.

• Kansas City at Patriots. Doubt they’d waste this mega-game on opening night. NFL usually saves matchups such as this NFC title game rematch for a big midseason game.

• Dallas at Patriots. America’s (Competitive) Team is another game I wonder if the NFL would waste on opening night.

4. I thinkafter hearing some early discussion about officiating from key people in and around the Super Bowl, I know a few things about officiating, and what is likely to happen between now and the start of the regular season Sept. 5:

a. The eight-man Competition Committee begins meeting in earnest about any new rules to be added at the NFL Scouting Combine beginning Feb. 26 in Indianapolis. There, the committee and league officials (Roger Goodell, Troy Vincent, Al Riveron among them) will discuss agenda officiating items; occasionally, the committee has a good feel for what’s going to pass at the league’s March or May meetings in advance of the season. Not this year. All ideas will be on the table in Indy, but I look for nothing to be decided coming out of there.

b. Having said that, I think the most likely scenario is keeping the current replay and challenge system mostly intact. I don’t sense an appetite for blowing up the current system—at all. I see a new tributary or two of rules changes being possible, but nothing revolutionary.

(Getty Images)

c. Though some in the league, including Denver GM John Elway, have said there’s no way the league can institute a rule for challenging a judgment call like pass interference, I don’t think he’s right. Not only will all ideas be on the table this spring regarding officiating, but, as Adam Schefter reported last week, it’s conceivable that teams could challenge a judgment call, with an as-yet unidentified potentially onerous penalty against a team challenging a judgment call and being wrong.

d. Though Mike Pereira and Mike Florio have eloquently pushed for an extra official in each crew—a proverbial eye-in-the-sky official sitting upstairs and monitoring the game with every replay angle from the network telecast—I think that has very little chance of happening. The NFL already has a team of replay technicians inside the officiating command center in New York monitoring each game, with Riveron and his staff looking over their shoulders and consulting with the officials on the field when necessary. How many cooks do you need in the kitchen? I can’t see any way a press-box official will be added.

e. This piece of knowledge is important: If the league does allow a judgment call to be challenged at any point during a game, the mandate very likely will be limited to only the disputed play a coach is protesting. If you force the replay-reviewer to look at potential fouls on all 22 players on the play, that’s a Pandora’s Box the NFL has no interest in opening, from my reporting.

f. The current sentiment—which could change—is for there to be no increase in the number of coaches’ challenges. Coaches would still be able to ask for a maximum of two reviewed plays per game. That’s one of the reasons the games aren’t likely to be much longer if a new replay rule is added in 2019. A coach is unlikely to challenge a six-yard completion in the second quarter, because he knows he would want to save a challenge for a crucial spot late in the game.

g. One of the details that’s particularly devilish: If plays in the last two minutes of the half or the game continue to be challengeable only by the officiating observer upstairs, would all potential judgment-call fouls be reviewable then? That’s what I mean about how hard this is going to be—the play in New Orleans put so many potentially divisive elements of replay discussion on the table.

h. One NFL person with an interest in this cause told me there’s already a cadre of owners who think replay is too intrusive and won’t want to add more potential mayhem to the game. So several teams are probably going to be knee-jerk in saying, “No changes whatsoever.” That makes the margin for approval tough. What can you get passed? More than one person told me something similar to this: “The biggest challenge will be, ‘What rules change can get 24 votes?’ “

i. There’s a legitimate chance that nothing changes, for that last sentiment alone. The best chance for change, I think, is for a respected voice like Bill Belichick to speak authoritatively on the issue, along with others the decision-makers in the room will respect—Mike Tomlin and Andy Reid, for instance.

5. I think this is my guess for the Aug. 1 Hall of Fame Game: Denver and the New York Jets. Three Hall of Fame enshrinees (Champ Bailey, Pat Bowlen, Kevin Mawae) between the two franchises and two first-year coaches (Vic Fangio and Adam Gase) who likely would want the extra week of camp to better analyze their young players and make roster decisions.

6. I think the vote for the MVP (Patrick Mahomes 41, Drew Brees 9) seemed absolutely spot-on to me. It became obvious in the last few weeks, with the Saints offense falling to earth (19 points per game in the last six weeks) and Mahomes staying hot, that it wasn’t going to be close.

7. I think I like Arizona president Michael Bidwill, and the Fritz Pollard Alliance has done some very good and very important work for the advancement of minority coaches. But for the alliance to give Bidwill an award for integrity and leadership in diversity in a team’s hiring practices is a little tone-deaf (maybe a lot tone-deaf) after a season in which Arizona fired its African-American head coach after one season … replacing Steve Wilks with a white college coach fired at Texas Tech after compiling a sub-.500 record. There will be a good year to honor Michael Bidwill. This was not it.

8. I thinkon the other hand, the Fritz Pollard Alliance did it right in honoring the contributions of longtime Giants trainer Ronnie Barnes, who is selfless, bright, progressive, extremely smart about the human body and an honest man in the business of being the arbiter of when a player can play and when he cannot.

9. I think the best thing I experienced in the 7-hour, 41-minute Hall of Fame selection meeting Saturday was selector Dan Fouts’ intelligent and impassioned nine-minute advocacy for his former coach, Don Coryell, during the debate over Coryell’s worthiness. So impressive, so smart. I said to him afterward how great it was—and a I realized when it was over, I was actually sitting at the edge of my seat. I’m not allowed to be specific about any of his points, or to say anything other that he spoke, but Fouts’ reasoned, thought-out argument for Coryell should be a model for all speakers defending the cases of Hall of Fame finalists.

10. I think these are my other thoughts of the week:

a. Special Section of the Week: The New York Times work on the life and times and Jackie Robinson—his 100th birthday would have been last week—was beautiful.

b. “He made the whole country better.”

c. Great Super Bowl ad by the Washington Post.

d. Plus great narration by Tom Hanks.

e. For the 39th straight year, Rick Gosselin has compiled his ranking of NFL special teams, a tradition established and novice coaches eat up. Guess who’s number one? Clue: Fireman Ed.

f. Coffeenerdness: Man, that’s some grim Marriott coffee in Atlanta.

g. Beernerdness: Thank you, Monday Night Brewery in Atlanta, for giving The MMQB alumni association (me, mostly) a pleasant evening last Monday.

h. RIP, Wade Wilson, one of the nicest men I’ve met covering the NFL.

i. The Knicks are a franchise adrift, as illustrated by the trade of Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas Thursday. That is putting it nicely.

j. The Knicks traded the best player they’ve drafted in this century for cap space.



m. I get the fact that it’s great in modern basketball to have a lot of cap money so you can pay players max contracts. This deal accomplishes that—the Knicks could lure two megastars to the team now. But how is it good for basketball to have so many excellent players leave losing teams? How is it good for multiple teams to tank to try to get high draft choices and, in many cases, put their hopes in signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving when (and if) they enter free agency?

n. There’s only one Durant, one Irving. You can’t split them in sevenths and have them sign with seven teams.

o. I am old enough to remember when Knicks fans begin willing the team stink for two years for a prayer of a chance to sign LeBron James. Why do teams, and fans of those teams, over and over think longshot prayers are worth losing? Why don’t teams like the Knicks draft and develop players, and sign and coach underrated players, to try to build a good team?

p. The media feeds into it. The back page of the New York Post had Zion Williamson, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Knicks uniforms Friday. Even though it’s clearly a dream scenario, after seeing that and listening to talk shows talk about landing two or three of the best players in basketball this summer, I mean, the media and the Knicks are setting up fans for a ginormous fall.

q. We all should have the class and dignity and ethos of Kendall Coyne Schofield.

Brady bludgeons you,
or the D dominates you.
Pick your Pat poison.

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