Cleat Geeks

Tom Brady…I Love You, but Stop

Tom Brady is the greatest NFL Quarterback of all time. There, I said it; feel free to ridicule me now. It is hard to ignore the facts…there has been no greater Quarterback to walk the face of this Earth. Don’t believe me? Here is a list of the ELEVEN records he currently holds, and I won’t even mention the other SEVEN he has a realistic chance to break before retiring:

  • Regular season wins by a starting Quarterback (196)
  • Division titles (15)
  • Playoff games started (37)
  • Playoff wins (25)
  • Playoff touchdown passes (71)
  • Playoff passing yards (10,226)
  • Super Bowl appearances (8)
  • Super Bowl wins (5)
  • Super Bowl MVPs (4)
  • Super Bowl touchdown passes (18)
  • Super Bowl passing yards (2,576)
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Photo by; NESN.com

But this article isn’t about praising Brady for his greatness; at this point I think most people are well aware of his abilities.  On Monday, Tom held his regularly scheduled “Patriots Monday” interview on WEEI’s The Kirk and Callahan Show. This is a paid weekly appearance that happens throughout the football season, and something that he has done for many years. This interview ended a bit early, however, when Tom Brady hung up after a line of questioning from host Kirk Minihane about controversial Trainer Alex Guerrero. Here is the exchange:

Kirk: “What changed in him not being on the team plane last year and this year? Was that just communication back and forth, or was that an understanding of other things?  What led that to being able to happen this year?”

Tom: “Yeah, I am not getting into all that.”

Kirk: “OK, when I ran into him at the Super Bowl last year in Minneapolis, I remember talking to him at the time – when I talked to him there, he had said in his opinion that all this stuff had been overblown, and he and [Bill] Belichick had a pretty good relationship even then. Would you say that is true?”

Tom: “I said I don’t want to get into it. Everyone knows, it is well-documented the work he and I do together.”

Kirk: “I understand that. I am just trying to figure out because I saw the reports this weekend that he’s traveling with the team.  Was he on the sideline Friday?”

Tom: “Yeah.  All right, guys. Have a great day. I’ll talk to you later.”

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Photo by; The Boston Globe

This is not the first Brady interview on The Kirk and Callahan Show that has been cut short. Last season radio personality Alex Reimer called Brady’s child a “pissant”, which caused him to hang up on his next interview with the station. I could completely understand where Tom was coming from in his decision there, and in my opinion Reimer crossed the line bringing someone’s kids into the conversation. This time, however, Brady is in the wrong.

Like it or not, the Alex Guerrero storyline is not going away. By refusing to discuss the issue, Tom Brady is just blowing it up even further. If he would have simply answered the questions they could have moved on and talked about something that really matters, like the team on the field. While I think the Guerrero issue is overblown and not as important as other storylines (like who is even actually left on this roster for Brady to throw the ball to), it was a valid line of questioning from Minihane.

Just answer the questions Tom, keep it short and sweet, and let’s move on to the product on the field. Please stop making this a bigger deal than it has to be, stop drawing more attention to it by ignoring it…it’s not going to go away.  Your fans in New England will always love you, but let’s make this season about winning number six, and not about Alex Guerrero and pliability.  I think this is a plea Patriots fans everywhere can agree on.

Dear Patriots Fan, Move On From the Super Bowl

The New England Patriots have celebrated unprecedented success for almost twenty years. In fact, there has arguably never been a football team with the same level of success over a two decade period. This success is ultimately owed to two people – Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. In fact, the love and devotion toward Coach Belichick have gone so deep that the mantra “In Bill We Trust” has been accepted by many Patriots Fans. While the success of Bill Belichick cannot be questioned, it has come at a price.

Coach Belichick does not like to disclose any information to the media. Anyone covering the Patriots during his reign has no doubt come to expect non-answers and little detail into both his line of thinking, and the team’s direction. This was most famously highlighted by the “We’re on to Cincinnati” press conference after the Patriots 2014 blowout loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Belichick keeps his cards close to his chest, and that has consistently been his track record as a head coach.

Now enter Super Bowl LII, with the Patriots close-fought loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. In what was an offensive showcase, the Patriots fell short in the League’s biggest game to yet another NFC East team. The biggest strategic question mark that came from that game was the benching of Cornerback Malcom Butler. Butler, who was the hero of Super Bowl XLIX, had been the Patriots starting Cornerback since the 2015 season.  For some reason, which is only truly known by Coach Belichick, Butler was benched for the biggest game of the year. Had the New England Patriots won the game, no one would have questioned the decision, but because they fell short, it was the first thing that people pointed to.

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Ever since that game ended, many people have tried asking Bill his reasoning behind the decision. Each and every time people seem baffled and surprised they don’t get an answer, and continue to waste their time and breath by asking again and again. Have you not paid any attention to this team before this year? What has EVER given you reason to believe you would get an answer from Coach Belichick about this? He has never been someone to disclose that type of information, and he never will be. Give up, move on, it is no longer relevant and you are wasting your time.

Look, I understand why you want to know and agree it is a very valid question – but why bother? It is a new season, with new issues, and it just doesn’t matter anymore. Butler’s time with the Patriots has come and gone; now it is time to focus on the here and now. Who will lead this committee in the backfield? What is the solution at wideout with the recent roster changes? Focus on what matters this season, not history that has already been written. From one Patriots fan to another, just move on.

The Patriot Way

When it’s all said and done, the conference championship games will feature four quarterbacks: Blake Bortles, Tom Brady, Case Keenum and Nick Foles. If someone had told you at the beginning of the season those would be the four quarterbacks representing teams to go to the Super Bowl, they’d be pleading insanity in front of a judge. If you truly believe, like most do, that it’s a quarterback-driven league and that they ultimately hold their own teams’ fate in their hands, it’s easy to decide who the favorite should be.Image result for new england patriots

The New England Patriots, for the better part of the last 2 decades, have represented stability more than any franchise, not only in the NFL, but in all of sports. For 9 of the past 12 years, Tom Brady has played with the same offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels. Since day 1 in the NFL, he’s played for coach Bill Belichick under owner Robert Kraft. For the first time in that span, there are rumors of some animosity in New England amongst the coaching staff, ownership and Brady. If you’ve been in a relationship with the same person for 18 years and you haven’t had a disagreement yet, I’d love to know your secret. Now that ESPN has dug up this “secret,” the Patriots are suddenly in turmoil. Tom Brady is going to retire, Bill Belichick is going to leave for the New York Giants head coaching job next year and Josh McDaniels will be heading elsewhere for another opportunity to be a head coach. Let’s pump the brakes on all this a little bit. People love to watch a successful franchise be ripped apart from the inside out. The Patriots are nothing short of a dynasty and currently look like the favorites to win the Super Bowl this year, despite all these reports coming out at the wrong time.

Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft can’t be the easiest guys in the world to please and work for. The Patriot way is something we’ve grown used to, along with all the players on the roster. Rob Gronkowski and Brandin Cooks had a mini touchdown celebration this year and reporters at the post-game press conference tried to get Gronk to elaborate. He was mum when asked about the celebration, saying that it was not planned and that he was not to discuss it any further. The Patriots have been an organization that seems unfazed by just about anything, including these reports. They released a team statement yesterday, amidst all the rumors, that they stand united with a common goal. They’ve been a franchise blessed with the ability to avoid distractions but this one could be different and could cause some problems between players and coaches.

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Tom Brady has earned his place in the Hall of Fame with 5 Super Bowl victories and looks like he could hoist a couple more Lombardi trophies by the time his career is over. I don’t think it’s officially time to panic in Boston yet, but these reports are very detailed and highlight some concerns made by anonymous players and people within the organization. Brady’s longtime trainer, Alex Guerrero, seems to be at the center of the differences among the players and coaches. It was announced earlier this year that he had been banned from Patriots activities and found himself feeling like an outcast. According to reports by ESPN, players felt obligated to choose sides between Guerrero & Brady and the coaches and ownership.

Image result for new england patriotsThe Patriots can make most, if not all, of this go away in early February if they’re able to land another Super Bowl victory. Anything less than that and the consensus will be that the Patriots imploded from within, costing themselves another Super Bowl victory. It’s an unfortunate place to be, but we’ve seen this story before. Last year, Odell Beckham Jr. and some of his teammates decided to head to Miami after claiming a playoff berth and were seen partying on a boat before their playoff match-up with Green Bay. They lost to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the first round of the playoffs while everyone pointed to that as the reason they lost. Tom Brady addressed the situation in front of the media for the first time, claiming that it makes a great story. He said what we all expected him to say, and the Patriots went out and did what they do best—take care of business in the playoffs.

This year has been the strangest year in the NFL that I can ever remember, and for that reason, I wouldn’t count out any of the 4 teams that remain. The fact is, the Patriots have the best quarterback left in the playoffs, the best coach, the most experience, home field advantage in the next round, the best tight end and the best backfield combination. They’ve got too many things going for them. Their franchise seems to be more motivated when their backs are against the wall, whether that be a suspension to their star quarterback or down 25 points in the second half of the Super Bowl. They find ways to win when all hope seems lost. This year, they look like the favorites to win the Super Bowl, but we’ve seen that in years past as well. It would make a great story for the Vikings to win their first Super Bowl in their new, home stadium. It would also make a great story for Tom Brady to come in and ruin everyone’s plans. Again.

Patriots Dominate Falcons in Super Bowl Rematch

New England’s defense showed up in full force for the first time this season against Atlanta’s offense.

After allowing 34 unanswered points to the Patriots in Superbowl LI, it took another three and a half quarters for the Falcons to find the end zone against New England. New England’s defense, which had allowed at least 300 passing yards to every quarterback it had faced this season, was able to hold Matt Ryan at bay giving up just 233 passing yards to the 2016 MVP.

Much like last year’s Super Bowl, it was even through the first quarter, with neither team putting any points on the board. This time, however, it was New England who jumped out to a commanding lead scoring 17 points before halftime and later tacking on two field goals by the time Atlanta finally ended their scoring drought against New England with a garbage time touchdown.

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The New England secondary looked sharper than it had all year, not faltering against tough match-ups with Julio Jones and Mohammed Sanu. The Patriot’s defensive line still shows signs of struggling as they allowed Matt Ryan to scramble effectively for much of the game. Ryan even rushed three times for 37 yards when he was unable to find a receiver downfield thanks to impressive pass coverage by New England.

New England has long since put the embarrassing first half of Super Bowl LI behind them, but Atlanta, playing in front of a stadium packed with flags and signs referencing their blown 28-3 Super Bowl lead, have yet to approach redemption.

Controversial Call Allows Pats to Beat Jets

It appeared the New England Patriots’ defensive woes would be their downfall once again after they allowed the Jets to get out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. The momentum abruptly swung back the other way and Tom Brady and the Patriots responded with 14 of their own by halftime before going on to win 24-17.

The Patriots continue to look mortal, despite walking away with a win Sunday.

 The defining moment of the game came in the fourth quarter on touchdown call that was overruled in the Patriots favor. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who had already caught the Jets’ first touchdown of the day seemed to get himself another. As he was mobbed by three Pats’ defenders while running into the front corer of the end zone he momentarily bobbled the ball before regaining possession as he fell out of bounds. The call on the field was a touchdown, but was overruled since further review revealed he didn’t have possession crossing the goal line and since he fell out of bounds, it was technically a fumble out of the back of the end zone. The resulting call changed from a Jets touchdown to a touchback and New England possession. Jets fans were outraged and Patriots fans were pleasantly surprised.
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The Patriots continue to look mortal, despite walking away with a win Sunday. The defense once again, got the important stop late to seal the victory, but continue to show signs of weakness. For whatever reason, McCown continually targeted the receivers covered by Malcolm Butler, who had one interception on the day. Throwing at one of the top cornerbacks in the league seems like a risky offensive strategy, but the Jets offense picked apart the Patriots defense at the start of the game. McCown ended the day with 354 passing yards and 2 TDs and 2 Int. Brady was held to under 300 passing yards (257) for the first time since the opening game against Kansas City.

Nick Folk is the Patriots MVP Against the Bucs

It’s a miracle! The Patriots defense didn’t completely look like a pile of hot garbage on the field tonight. While hot garbage isn’t exactly a high bar to set, anything is better than their recent games. The D was highlighted by some impressive play by veteran safety, Patrick Chung. The Pats managed to allow just 14 points tonight, which was the first game this season that the defense actually held a team to under 20 points. Chung’s pass breakups aided in the victory, but the true hero for the pats was dressed in all red tonight. Nick Folk, the Buccaneers’ kicker (for now), missed not one, not two, but three field goals tonight. The first field goal attempt came at the end of the first half. Tampa Bay started on their own 27, and were given a free 30 yards by penalties from the patriots. Moving them in position to have Folk miss a 56 yarder. The Bucs fans can’t get to upset, 50 yarders can be hard for some kickers. But apparently 49 yards is hard too, and so is 31, as Folk failed to convert on any of his chances.

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On offense, the Patriots looked a bit un-Patriotlike. Brady managed just one touchdown pass to Hogan in the first quarter. The other points came from Gostowski who went 4 for 4 on field goals. Brady still threw for over 300 yards and the run game picked up another 111 yards.

The game once again came down to the wire, the Pats defense failed to get a stop on the final drive until it mattered, allowing Winston to march down the field to the 20 before finally breaking up his final pass to secure the win. The defense hasn’t answered all the questions yet, but it appears they are trending upward for the first time this season. The Gronk-less offense looked lackluster, but was good enough to beat the Bucs tonight. New England can’t count on the opposing kicker to completely blow the game every week, so improvements still need to be made on both sides of the ball.

Defensive Woes & Errant Throws Are Patriots Downfall

It has been clear since the Chiefs’ 42-27 drubbing of the Patriots to kickoff the season that New England’s defense would be their Achilles heel this season. They bounced back well in a week 2 victory over the Saints and future hall of fame quarterback, Drew Brees, but proceeded to allow rookie Texans QB, Deshaun Watson, to run and throw the ball for a total of 342 yards and allowed 33 points. Only a late drive at the end of the 4th quarter by comeback king Tom Brady prevented a loss against the Texans. The Patriots managed to eke out a victory last week, but couldn’t do it again this week against the Panthers.Image result for Malcolm Butler Damien Byrd

The entire first half was a back and forth between New England and Carolina as the exchanged the ball and scores several times until the score line was one point in the Panthers favor at halftime. New England opened up the scoring with a field goal, which Caroline quickly matched. The Patriots punted on their next drive, but Newton turned the ball back over by underthrowing the ball to a double covered Damien Byrd and into the hands of Malcolm Butler. The proceeding drive ended with Brady finding Chris Hogan in the back of the end zone for the first touchdown of the day. After a few plays by the Panthers, New England’s first defensive meltdown was witnessed when a screen pass to Panthers’ running back, Fozzy Whitaker allowed him to run, untouched, 20 yards for a touchdown. The Patriots response was underwhelming as Brady was sacked after New England received the ball back. A long pass to Gronk down the sideline saw them gain 43 yards, but it amounted to little. On the next play Brady dumped to ball of to James White for a loss of 2. His next throw was nearly intercepted at the goal line and the following was a low throw to Hogan for an incompletion and they had to settle for a 35 yard FG.

New England’s defense took the field again and was utterly exposed by Cam Newton. After a reception by Devin Funchess and a run by Christian McCaffrey, Newton found a wide open Kelvin Benjamin for a 43 yard gain. Benjamin’s route had him run across the field and no New England defensive back stayed with him or picked him up. On the next play Devin Funchess was the one left completely unmarked once he moved across the line of scrimmage prior to the snap. Newton easily found him in the end zone to go up 17-13. All New England could do was manage another field goal before they went into the locker room at the half down 17-16.

Image result for graham ganoThe third quarter was all Carolina as Newton continued to pick apart the Patriots defense. After the first drive resulted in a punt, Newton looked like his superman self of years passed recording a touchdown pass on the next two drives to put the Panthers up 30-16 in front of a stunned New England crowd at Gillette Stadium. The faith in our lord and savior, Tom Brady, remained and Brady took over the offense, attempting to inject some life into the team. After a couple run plays brought New England to a 4th and 2, they decided to go for it and converted on a 13 yard pass to Gronk. It was the first successful 4th down conversion for the Patriots this season after failing on two other attempts. Brady connected with an open Dorsett for 19 yards down the sideline and then handed the ball off to Dion Lewis for the touchdown. For a few shining moments, New England’s defense looked good as they came in clutch to force their first 3 and out of the day including a sack. The Patriots started their final drive at half field and Brady connected with some of his favorite targets, Cooks and Gronk and Amendola, who got hit by a truck but still managed to hold onto the ball to get a first down. Brady sent another ball to Cooks for a four yard gain before being forced, once again into a fourth down situation. New England elected to go for it, once again, and a calm, cool, and collected Brady found Amendola for the touchdown after the o-line managed to hold off the defense for what seemed like an eternity. Unfortunately, too much time was left on the clock for the Panthers and the defense couldn’t hold them back for long enough. The Carolina run game got them into field goal range and Graham Gano kicked a 48 yard dagger in the hearts of New England Fans.

The Patriots fell to 2-2 for the first time since 2015, but we all remember how that season ended.

Tom Brady Delivers in the Clutch Once Again

On a warm Sunday afternoon in Foxborough it looked like the Patriots were going to lose their second game of the 2017 NFL season. Then Tom Brady worked his fourth quarter magic.

The New England offense looked hot from the jump as Brady connected with Brandin Cooks for a 44-yard highlight reel pass and then found Rob Gronkowski in the end-zone moments later to open up the scoring. The Texans got on the board with a field goal and proceeded to take the lead at the end of the first quarter when Deshaun Watson connected with Bruce Ellington over the middle.

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A vastly underthrown ball by Watson was intercepted and ran all the way back to Houston’s 10 yard line. The first interception since Gilmore became a patriot set Brady up for success and a criminally negligent Texan’s defense allowed him to find a wide-open Hogan for his second passing touchdown of the day. Another field goal brought the Texans back within one point of the Patriots. New England only briefly took back over on offense as Jadeveon Clowney recovered a strip fumble and ran it in for a touchdown. The shootout continued when Brady connected, once again, with an unmarked Hogan who only needed to beat one defender to run the ball into the end zone. New England extended the lead to 28-20 as Brady launched a touchdown pass over the middle to Cooks, his third of the day.

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Another Texans TD and a pair of field goals put the Texans back up 33-28. Needing a touchdown and trailing by five points with 2:24 left in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady took over on his own 25-yard line. He proceeded to do what he does best and marched his team down the field connecting with all his favorite targets, Cooks, Gronk, and Amendola. Patriot’s fans lives flashed before their eyes as Brady nearly surrendered a game-ending interception which was bobbled and dropped by the Texans safety as he went to the ground. Brady capitalized on the second chance he was given and found Cooks in the end-zone on a 25 yard pass. Cooks made an acrobatic catch on his tip-toes to win the game for the Patriots. It was his fifth reception and second touchdown of the day, totaling 138 receiving yards. Brady tossed for 378 yards and five touchdowns on 25 of 35 passing. Deshaun Watson spent most of the afternoon eluding the Patriots pass rush, but his 301 passing yards and two touchdowns were not enough to topple Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

The fourth quarter comeback was the 40th of Brady’s career, second only to Peyton Manning all-time (45).

Tom Brady Honors A Fallen Soldier

Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL, Kyle Milliken. Milliken was a Maine native and former UConn track athlete who was killed in Somalia on May 5th.

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken, his wife and his 2 children lived in Virginia Beach, Va. He got to meet Tom Brady when himself and other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. Not only did he get to meet Brady, but Brady posed for pictures as well.
At Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady’s video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.
Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004. He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the “Black Hawk Down” battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. He was 38.
In a statement to the Boston Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.
“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”
On a personal note, I like reporting about the good side of athletes. I think all of the negative that we hear about people in general  is overwhelming and could probably at least be evened out by positive. Do I now love Tom Brady and think that he is not a rule bender? No. But what I do think is that most human beings have good in them, and they do good things, but it never gets reported on because negative stories ALWAYS get more attention than positive stories. Brady did something wonderful here, he should get recognized for both his missteps and his positive leaps.
Parts of this article were written by Bill Speros of the Boston Herald.

Aaron Hernandez Found Dead In Prison Cell

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was discovered hanged in his cell by a corrections officer early Wednesday morning, according to a statement from Christopher M. Fallon, assistant deputy commissioner of communications for the state Department of Correction. It is unofficially being described as a suicide, but remember this story is breaking, and is only a few hours old. Hernandez hanged himself with a bed sheet attached to his cell window, authorities said. He had also attempted to block the door from the inside by jamming the door with various items.

Hernandez’s body was found at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley Massachusetts at approximately 3:05 a.m.

Officers attempted life-saving techniques and transported him from the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley to a local hospital, but he was declared dead about an hour later.

This is an overhead photo of the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley Massachusetts.

Hernandez, had been found not guilty last Friday of a 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston with the exception of a gun charge. However, he was already spending a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a 2015 first-degree murder conviction in the death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who had been dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée. Hernandez was in the process of appealing that verdict.

He was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m. by a physician at the hospital.

This is a very sad ending to a very sad story. Hernandez seemingly had it all as a member of one of the most successful football franchises in recent memory, the New England Patriots. He was only 27 years of age. Hernandez leaves behind his fiance Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, a daughter Avielle Janelle Jenkins-Hernandez, his mother Terri Valentine-Hernandez, and an older brother D.J. Hernandez.

Let me be clear here, I am not saying we should celebrate Hernandez in his death. He was a convicted felon. He was associated with several other crimes in his young life as well. He was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. He was not a good person by all accounts, he made some questionable life choices, but he also leaves behind family and friends who will mourn his death.

It is ironic that this tragedy happened on the day when those same New England Patriots will be celebrating the Super Bowl title they won at the White House. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots handle this tragedy.

We here at cleatgeeks will keep our fans updated, and are in remorse for the family and friends of Aaron Hernandez.

 

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