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Posts from the ‘National Football League’ Category

NFL: Detroit Lions make Matthew Stafford the highest paid QB in history.

The Lions quarterback signed a record breaking contract extension on Monday that positioned him to earn a jaw dropping $151.5 million through the 2022 season. The deal will make Stafford the highest paid player in the NFL and will ultimately heap more pressure on the skilled quarterback to lead the Lions to a deep run in the post-season.

Under the contract, Stafford will be guaranteed $60.5 million at signing and $86 million by the beginning of year two. The full amount of $92 million is guaranteed for year three and will keep the franchise quarterback under contract for five years, ensuring that the Lions keep Stafford for the majority of his prime years.

Stafford had a solid statistical year in 2016, recording 4,327 yards while throwing 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on the season. Despite his volume throwing and ability to create plays on offense, the Lions were not a great football team.

Last season saw the Lions fall to another mediocre year at 9-7, unable to make a push in the playoffs. Whether Stafford wants to admit it or not, his new contract will have expectations set through it. The struggling franchise needs a successful season in the near future to justify granting Stafford a max-contract.

While Detroit’s defense needs improvement, their offense should have a breakthrough season. The Lions receivers must make an impact this upcoming season, the talented tandem of Golden Tate and Eric Ebron will be carrying much of the offensive load. Improving the running game is a vital part of success for the Lions who ranked 30th in rushing yards during the 2016 season.

Whether Stafford delivers a great season in Detroit is yet to be determined, the Lions play in a tough division with the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings being their chief competition.

Will Detroit reach the Super Bowl this season? probably not, however that is not the expectation for a franchise that has been devoid of playoff success for the past 20 years. A concrete improvement would be to win a division title and progress to make a run in the playoffs that will engage and excite a Detroit fan base that has been loyal and starving for post-season success.

The Lions will begin their 2017 campaign against the Arizona Cardinals on September 10th at home, visit Ticketmaster.com to book your season opener at Ford Field.

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NFL: how great will Tom Brady be at 40?

Tom Brady will enter the upcoming season with the New England Patriots as a 40-year old quarterback. The position has been unforgiving for the majority of players that have attempted to lead a team at that age.

However, Brady has been shattering the mold of what aging quarterbacks are able to accomplish as their careers advance. Last year the 39-year old advanced to a seventh Super Bowl appearance and a fifth Lombardi trophy.

Not only did ‘Tom Terrific’ excel in the playoffs, his regular season statistics were equally amazing registering 28 Touchdowns, two interceptions and 3,554 yards on the season in which he played a total of 12 games.

The only quarterback to have a decent campaign over the 40-year old mark was NFL legend Warren Moon, who in 1997 was selected to a Pro-Bowl and led the league with 245.2 passing yards per game.

At this juncture in his career, Brady will be competing against his own records so to speak. The ultimate goal will be to lead the Patriots to another Super Bowl, the additions of wide receiver Brandin Cooks and cornerback Stephon Gilmore give the team a boost on offense as well as defense.

Barring any catastrophic injuries, the Patriots should be able to accomplish another 12-14 win season, the AFC East is a relatively weak division that New England will dominate for another season.

The roster is loaded on the offensive side of the football while the defense is more than capable of being an efficient squad. Bill Belichick is still the best coach in the NFL and will give Brady the opportunity to have the best season a 40-year old quarterback has ever had.

If Brady plays at the pace and productivity of last season, that would suffice to prove that he can still perform at the highest level despite his age. However individual statistics will not be the marker for a successful season if the Patriots do not advance to a Super Bowl with the firepower they possess.

The defending champions will have much to prove this upcoming season and Brady will be the first to set the expectations and lead the team with his on field performance, with the Oakland Raiders rising to contention behind their young star Derek Carr and a worthy opponent in the Pittsburgh Steelers and the revamping Denver Broncos.

The tandem of Brady and Belichick is a proven formula, the Patriots are still the favorites to come out of the AFC and contend for a Super Bowl this season.

Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback in NFL history but is he the greatest football player ever?

Super Bowl LI was yet another reminder why Tom Brady is considered by most to be the best quarterback to ever play the game. The Patriots came back from a 28-3 deficit in the third quarter to beat the surging Atlanta Falcons in overtime 34-28.

Coming out of half time the Patriots did not panic and neither did their quarterback. All they needed was a couple of positive plays on defense and the momentum would shift in their favor. Dont’a Hightower gave them that defensive play by strip sacking Matt Ryan on 3rd and 1, giving the Patriots the ball at the 25 yard line.

The fourth quarter is when the Falcons began to falter and New England came to life. Brady responded with two drives to the end zone and achieving two point conversions on each touchdown, which New England needed to tie the game.

James White was huge down the stretch, he set a Super Bowl record for receptions (14) for 110 yards and scored on a run toss that gave the Patriots the overtime win over the Falcons and completed the greatest comeback win in Super Bowl history.

Brady’s performance was one for the ages, he threw for 466 yards which is a single game record in the Super Bowl. His pass completions and attempts (43) of (62) also set a Super Bowl record. He was named the Super Bowl MVP, giving him number four in his career and most all time.

Winning five championships now ties him with NFL hall of famer Charles Haley, and has him superseding Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for most Super Bowl wins for a quarterback. Brady now has ten game winning drives in the post season which is the most all time.

The debate of who is the best quarterback in league history is done. Tom Brady has cemented his legacy and the resume and championships back it up. After this performance on the biggest stage, the narrative switches to whether or not Brady is the greatest football player in the 97 year history of the NFL. When it comes to ranking the top players in league history, there are four players that garner that title:

legends

Jerry Rice (Wide Receiver)

The greatest wide receiver in NFL history. Rice holds the records for most receptions (1,549) as well as receiving yards (22,895). Total touchdowns (208) and most 1,000 yard receiving seasons with (14).

Lawrence Taylor (Line Backer)

L.T was one of the most feared and lauded linebackers ever. He revolutionized what a linebacker does, turning it into a more aggressive and explosive position. He is the only defensive player in history to win a unanimous season MVP. A two time Super Bowl champion with the New York Giants and a 10x Pro Bowler.

Jim Brown (Full Back)

One of the most renowned names in football history, Brown still holds the record of 104.3 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry in his career. He won a championship with the Cleveland Browns and is one of the most influential and beloved figures in American sports.

Joe Montana (Quarterback)

A four time Super Bowl champion with three SB MVP’s and a two time season MVP. Montana holds the record for highest passer rating in the post season at 100. and 127.8 in his four Super Bowl appearances, which is also a standing record.

In no specific order, these hall of fame players all belong on the Mount Rushmore of NFL performers. Obviously, Brady does not compare to these players athletically, he is not the fastest or the strongest nor is he the best thrower of the football.

But Brady is operating at the highest level at the toughest position in football, the quarterback has the bulk of responsibilities on the field. Brady has found a way to keep his body healthy and has improved his mobility and throwing mechanics as he advances in age. His accuracy and pocket presence is second to none, he is able to shift and be alert enough after the snap, giving his receivers time to complete their routes and Brady almost never falters under pressure.

Lawrence Taylor was a physical specimen on defense, Jim brown was power and brunt force, Jerry Rice had lighting bolt speed and talent at the wide receiver position, Montana was a mobile quarterback that could run and throw. However, mind and heart coupled with great mechanics and an accurate arm has Brady on top of the mountain when it comes to championships and accolades.

At the age of 39 he was able to lead the Patriots back from the largest deficit in Super Bowl history against all odds to claim his 5th championship all while missing Rob Gronkowski, who was out with an injury for the second half of the season. Brady is accomplishing all this with relatively mediocre talent around him on offense.

The debate will rage on whether Tom Brady is the best football player ever in the wake of his recent performance, the veteran quarterback will be 40 years of age when the next season begins and has expressed that he wants to play for two to three more years.

The formula is New England is simple, do your job and play unselfish football, no one player is above the team and what the organization wants to achieve. It will be difficult to predict how long Brady will continue playing, but with Bill Belichick at the helm and the system in place, the Patriots will be preparing to make another run to defend their title next season.

Super Bowl LI: All Access interviews from media day and NFL Hall of Famers give their picks

The Super Bowl media week is always chalk full of events with platforms setting up to get exclusive interviews with the biggest stars in the NFL. The media frenzy happens a week before the big game, where players and coaches enjoy meeting out their media obligations as part of the NFL guidelines.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick took to the podium and answered many questions, some football related and a few political. Super Bowl media day also brings a fun element as well, where players answer fans questions; some heartfelt and some humorous.

Brady addresses the media in Houston, Texas ahead of Super Bowl 51.

Bill Belichick is known for his defensive demeanour with the national media. However, during Super Bowl week, Belichick is a bit more affable and welcoming at the Q&A sessions. The Patriots head coach gives some insight on the teams preparation and what they will be enduring during the week. Adding to that, Belichick tells the story of how one Malcolm Butler got on his radar during try outs three years ago.

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn spoke to the media and talked about Falcons practice elements and on his development from defensive coordinator to head coach.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan talk about a variety of football related topics, the MVP candidate expects a great game on Sunday and lauds his teammates for his overall improvement.

Many sports figures are weighing in on who will win the Super Bowl this Sunday. NFL players and retired legends are giving their early picks this week. Hall of Famer and three time Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys; Michael Irvin gives his opinion on the match up.

NFL legend Kurt Warner who won a Super Bowl with the St.Louis Rams was also on the Rich Eisen show and gave his early pick for Super Bowl 51.

The next prediction comes from former head coach Brian Billick, who led the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl trophy in the 2000 season. He currently is an analyst for “NFL total access” and other shows.

The media scrum does not end until Friday night, more podium sessions are coming your way as well as expert picks and daily coverage of interviews. Sports talk shows like Undisputed and the Colin Cowherd show on Fox Sports one; will give their final picks on Friday, as will other shows like ESPN’s First Take and Sports Nation.

Stay tuned throughout the week as the NFL media days are coming to a close. All the build up is definitely a fun experience for everyone involved. The players get some extra exposure and fans get some insight into their favourite players ahead of the championship game.

For more interviews and exclusive content visit www.nfl.com for the latest videos.

Super Bowl LI: Odds favor the New England Patriots by three points over the Atlanta Falcons

Super Bowl LI is set and will take place at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The latest point spread released by odds makers has the New England Patriots favored by three points over the Atlanta Falcons. Not surprising when you consider the advantages that the Patriots have over the Falcons.

Betting lines change throughout the two week build up to the championship game.However, it seems the line spread will continue to favor New England and stay in the realm of three to three and a half points.

Let’s have a look at why New England is being favoured early on:

BILL BELICHICK vs DAN QUINN

This will be the first time these coaches go head to head, the glaring difference between them is experience. Bill Belichick has been to eight Super Bowls in his career. Six with the Patriots and two as defensive coordinator with the New York Giants. Dan Quinn won a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks in 2014, serving as the defensive coordinator under Pete Carroll. This will be his first trip to the Super Bowl as a head coach.

Belichick is widely considered one of the best coaches in NFL history. His preparation and game planning is second to none. His team is always prepared and disciplined on the football field, Belichick is 25-10 in the playoffs as a head coach. Dan Quinn will have the grueling task of game planning for Belichick’s defensive unit, who are playing at their peak.

TOM BRADY vs MATT RYAN

Both quarterbacks are playing at a MVP level this season, Brady might lose the MVP race to Ryan considering he missed the first four games of the season. The Falcons are coming off a convincing win against the Green Bay Packers where Ryan dominated, throwing 392 yards and four touchdowns.

Brady is playing like a man possessed, whether he is motivated by the deflategate scandal or not, he is playing at an all-time great level. Brady has the most wins in playoff history, as well as four Super Bowl rings and three MVP’s for his performances in the championship games.

Ryan is going to his first Super Bowl in his career, he has played in six playoff games and owns a 2-4 record, not to say that will effect his performance but experience matters. Atlanta has the number one scoring offense in the NFL, coupled with star receiver Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu in the slot. Devonte Freeman and Tevin Coleman also pack a punch in the back field and can run the ball when needed.

Brady might not have a receiver the caliber of a Julio Jones, but the Patriots have a system in place. Chris Hogan, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola collectively carry the load on offense. Tight end Martellus Bennett has been battling an ankle injury, but will still be needed in the game.

LeGarrette Blount has been a game changer along with Dion Lewis. Both running backs offer speed and power that will be needed for Brady to keep the Falcons defense on their heels.

PATRIOTS DEFENSE vs FALCONS DEFENSE

New England are ranked number one in scoring defense and Atlanta claim the number one spot in scoring offense. The old adage is that defense wins championships could be the case in this match up. Both offenses could perform at a high level, subsequently, the game could come down to one or two stops near the end.

The Patriots have the better all around defense, and the back field with Malcolm Butler and Ryan Logan, in addition to Pro Bowl safety Devin McCourty patrolling the lanes. Their defensive front is not one that will feast on the quarterback, but they keep him guessing. It is a collective effort by a defense that is extremely disciplined and play to their strengths, they do not play “hero ball” or miss assignments.

The Falcons on the other hand have a young defensive unit with immense talent. Vic Beasley leads the league with 15.5 sacks and Dwight Freeney is a veteran presence on the defense and has been solid this season. The defense proved it’s legitimacy after shutting down the Packers, and Aaron Rodgers.

The build up to Super Bowl LI is always an enjoyable time for fans and pundits. There will be ample material that will capture the imagination of sports radio and talk shows. Stay tuned as we take a deeper look into which players will have the biggest impact in the championship game.

The Vegas insider lists numerous odds that you can check out on their site for further information.

NFL: New England Patriots are headed to Super Bowl LI after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game 36-17. This will be the 7th appearance in the Super Bowl for the Patriots during the Bill Belichick era along with Tom Brady at quarterback.

Tom Brady’s performance was nothing short of spectacular, throwing a franchise playoff best 384 yards with three touchdowns to no interceptions. The Steelers defense had no answer for the Patriots, and Ben Roethlisberger could not get a flow on offense either.

Roethlisberger had a rough night in Foxborough, throwing for 314 yards but could only achieve one touchdown and had one interception, against a New England defense that flustered him the whole game. Coach Belichick’s defense worked on stopping the run, primarily keeping Le’veon Bell in check until he was injured late in the first quarter.

Star wide receiver Antonio Brown had a sub par performance with seven receptions for only 77 yards. Malcolm Butler who was covering Brown for most of the game kept him in check for the most part. The Steelers were ill prepared and were missing assignments on defense. Head coach Mike Tomlin was unable to create a game plan that was threatening to the Patriots in this game.

The Patriots offensive line played efficiently, giving Brady time to get the ball to his targets. Chris Hogan had a breakout game posting 180 yards with 9 receptions and two touchdowns, one of the catches came on a flea flicker that was drawn up perfectly. Julian Edelman caught a key touchdown pass to put the Patriots up 34-9 and seal their fate to the Super Bowl.

The Patriots win was emphatic and simply reaffirmed that they are led by one of the greatest quarterback – coach tandems in sports history. Brady and Belichick have won 24 playoff games together, most in league history. A Super Bowl win would be the perfect ending to Tom Brady’s season, another Lombardi trophy would give him a total of five championships and further cement his legacy as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.

NEXT GAME:

The Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots are set for Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas.

 

Green Bay Packers face the Atlanta Falcons for the NFC title.

 

The Atlanta Falcons will host the Green Bay Packers in the Georgia Dome on Sunday afternoon. Aaron Rodgers and his offense will attempt to go into Atlanta and leave with a ticket straight to Houston for Super Bowl LI. Matt Ryan and the Falcons are looking to make a statement in the playoffs and prove that their amazing season was not a fluke.

This game will in all probability be a shootout between Rodgers and Ryan, it might come down to one offense simply running out of time on the field. The Atlanta Falcons are on a five game winning streak in which Ryan has recorded 14 touchdowns to no interceptions.

Also coming in with a eight game winning streak are the Packers, led by Rodgers, who is playing at an MVP level. Throughout the winning streak, Rodgers has been phenomenal, posting 21 touchdowns to two interceptions, coupled with a passer rating of a 117.9.

Both quarterbacks have the capability to put up numbers on the board. But the defenses of both teams will intend to produce in this game. Green bay’s defense is ranked 21st in points allowed and the Falcons are not any better at 27th in points allowed on the season.

With a chance at advancing to the Super Bowl, the defensive units will be inspired to muster up a performance that could seal their teams fate on Sunday. Clay Matthews will be eager to get some hits on Ryan early in the game. Atlanta’s corner backs will have a tough time covering all of Green bay’s receiver. Even without Jordy Nelson, other key receivers are stepping up with Randall Cobb as well as tight end Jared Cook, who made the game changing catch against the Dallas Cowboys.

Atlanta’s defense will have a tough task slowing down Rodgers, the combination of speed and accuracy could help the young core of Atlanta slow down Rodgers. However, even when running out of the pocket, Rodgers makes throws that not many quarterbacks in NFL history could make.

The game will come down to which team can make a key stop at the end. But if the game is a continuous shootout, the Falcons might wilt under the pressure. The Packers perform in the clutch and have shown it time and again. Mason Crosby can kick it, Aaron Rodgers can throw it.

Game Information

Georgia Dome

 

NFL: New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers clash for a trip to Superbowl LI.

The New England Patriots will look to make a statement on Sunday when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game. New England has home field advantage this time around and are historically great at home during the playoffs in the Brady-Belichick era.

The match up offers many challenges for the Patriots on defense more so than on offense. Tom Brady plays well against the Steelers, especially at home. Brady is 9-2 all-time with 26 touchdowns and three interceptions against Pittsburgh, his MVP caliber season has proven that even without Rob Gronkowski, the offense can put up points against any defense. The schemes and routes that Brady runs are tailored for his player’s and their strengths.

Dion Lewis will be a key contributor this week along with LeGarrette Blount. Both with contrasting styles, Lewis with his quick running and grabbing passes out of the backfield, Blount with his punishing running style. Tight end Martellus Bennett is primed for a break out performance in the playoffs and we could see it this Sunday.

The Steelers defense will have difficulty containing the Patriots offense because they can adapt in so many ways. If the running game is not working, they can let Brady have his way with throwing the ball all over the field, his receivers are formidable with Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola.

The defense is a different story, the statistics show that the Patriots defense is elite. However, the Steelers offense will pose many challenges. Star wide receiver Antonio Brown is a match up nightmare, coupled with Le’veon Bell at running back and how he can control the pace of the game.

Bill Belichick has a history of taking the opponents strengths away from them. The scheme will probably revolve around stopping the Steelers running game and forcing Ben Roethlisberger to use his arm and get his receivers open. Bell is averaging 168.5 rushing yards this postseason. Corner back Malcolm Butler will be the primary cover on Brown throughout the game.

Coach Mike Tomlin will be sure to keep the pressure on Brady and attempt to keep him uncomfortable, depending on how well the Patriots offensive line protect Brady, keeping the pocket clean will be vital for Brady to be able to carve up the Steelers defense.

This AFC title game is shaping up to be a thriller, with star power on both sides, it will be an interesting game. The Patriots are favored, as they should be with how they perform at home and considering what is on the line.

A possible 7th Super Bowl appearance for Brady and a chance at a 5th ring with Bill Belichick at the helm. Pittsburgh will try to derail those plans and prove their championship mettle.

Game Information

Gillette Stadium, 6:40PM, January 22, 2017.