Tag Archives: New England Patriots

Could Denver Have Screwed Up The Cutler Situation More? Plus, Chris Simms Has His Fingers Crossed!

17 Mar

Talk about making a bad entrance.  New Denver Coach Josh McDaniels certainly couldn’t have started off worse.   He’s in Denver for about two minutes and now his franchise quarterback won’t play for him.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the quarterback he really wanted is out of his reach in Kansas City thanks to some of his old pals in New England.

Welcome to the being a head coach in the NFL, Josh!  First, you get the challenge of having to replace a local legend in two time Super Bowl winning coach Mike Shanahan.  Now, your quarterback who threw for over 4,000 yards last year and isn’t even in his prime yet is bailing on you.

For sure, Jay Cutler is being a big baby.  But, with athletes these days I don’t think you can expect anything different.  Organizations and coaches simply must figure out how to handle them.

The Broncos and McDaniels had every right to listen when people were asking about Cutler’s availability.  Any player is replaceable, especially when the people calling you are offering you Matt Cassel, a quarterback who ran your system last year.  It’s not so much that they listened.  It’s how they handled Cutler after the news got out.

From what I’ve heard/read, it sounds like the new coach and Cutler have had two conversations since Cutler found out about the Broncos not immediately rejecting trade talk involving him.  In at least one of the conversations, McDaniels tried to lay down the law and tell Cutler he was expected to fulfill all his obligations to the organization.  Today, Cutler was a no show for McDaniels’ first team meeting.  Mission: Not Accomplished.

Each time Cutler and McDaniels talk, the situation gets worse and each time both sides come out of the conversation convinced of a different outcome.

I’m not on the phone and I’m not in the room with McDaniels or Cutler.  Maybe Cutler is hyper-sensitive and any new coach would have run into the same problems with him.  Maybe Cutler is still too young and thin skinned to realize how cut throat the NFL really is.  Players are a commodity to be traded at an organization’s whim.  Nothing more, nothing less.

On the other hand, maybe Josh McDaniels is too young and inexperienced to know how to deal with the headache this has all become.  McDaniels may well go on to be a fantastic coach (or not), but somehow I don’t see this situation playing out this way if say had Bill Parcells or some other experienced coach come in to take over for Shanahan.  And at least they would have been able to buy their own beer!  (Cheap shot – McDaniels is 32, which is fully legal to drink in most states…)

Ultimately, it would be a shock to us all if Cutler ends up staying in Denver.  No matter who’s fault this is look for Denver to have a new quarterback soon.

Could this be Chris Simms’ big break?  He’s on the roster and if McDaniels’ could turn Matt Cassel into a pretty good NFL QB maybe he can do the same with Phil’s boy.

Fred Taylor Making Full Court Press For Hall Of Fame!

28 Feb

Eleven year Jacksonville vet Fred Taylor signed with the Patriots yesterday for one reason only.  He wants to get to the Hall of Fame.  Who can blame him?

Taylor has racked up some nice career numbers.  He’s managed multiple 1,000 yard seasons with outstanding yards per carry averages.  Taylor has also been injured a lot which has kept his numbers from being truly eye popping.  Finally, playing for the Jags his whole career hasn’t helped his national profile.

So, now, Taylor’s off to New England.  He’s not looking to be the only guy running the ball.  Taylor is willing to play a role as a part time runner in the Pat’s offense.  What Taylor really wants is a championship.  That’s the key for him.

Taylor knows that with over 11,000 career yards, he’ll be in the Canton discussion.  But, he also knows  he doesn’t have  much time left and can’t boost his career yard totals to a level where he is undeniable for the Hall.

Taylor took the best option he had and that’s to play for New England and try to end his career with a Lombardi Trophy.  Adding a Super Bowl victory to his resume would absolutely give Taylor a better shot at football’s Hall of Fame.

As a guy who despite being a Giants’ fan always liked Taylor, I’d be rooting harder for him if it didn’t mean I’d have to see Belichick win another one.

What The Patriots Loss Teaches Us About The Presidential Election!

24 Sep

In case you’re not a football fan or just blanked out this weekend, the New England Patriots lost their first game in almost TWO years.  Not only did they lose it.  They got routed.

Worse yet, it wasn’t at the hands of the Colts, Chargers or even the Giants (we’ve seen that one already:)

It was at the hands of the lowly Dolphins.  You might remember them.  At the same time as the Pats were looking to match the ’72 Dolphins perfect season, the ’07 version of the Dolphins was looking for some history of their own only it wasn’t the good kind. 

And how did this happen?  Well, for one BIG thing, Tom Brady wasn’t at the helm.  Matt Cassel, who oddly enough hadn’t started a game before this year since high school, stepped in for the injured Brady.  The results weren’t good to say the least.

Anybody get where I’m going here??  Let’s say that America is the Patriots.  And, although many may not agree, let’s say for the sake of argument that John McCain becomes the Tom Brady presidential equivalent.  Sarah Palin fits in nicely as the not ready for prime time understudy.  She is Matt Cassel.

Matt Cassel was thrilled to be part of the Patriots, I’m sure.  He’s worked hard and he’s a good guy, but I’m sure even he never seriously envisioned a situation in which the Pats’ fate would come down to his hands.  And yet… IT HAS.

What if Sarah Palin has to step up like Matt Cassel?  Does America really want to trust our national QB spot to Sarah Palin?  Do we want to end up getting whooped up on like the Pats did this past Sunday?  I’m guessing no.

Let me put this another way.   For the past several weeks, Sarah Palin has been kept largely away from the press and has (we’re told) been busy cramming.

Even Matt Cassel was allowed to take questions when he stepped in for Tom Brady.  And like Sarah Palin, Matt Cassel, I’m sure, crammed his brain out.  We saw the results on Sunday.

Does America at this point deserve a president who needs to cram?

Sure Palin isn’t running for president, but then again the Pats didn’t anticipate Tom Brady being done for the season either.

If he gets elected, I’ll be saying a special prayer for John McCain’s health each night so that Sarah Palin will have more time to cram.

But don’t we need and deserve more?

Palin? Obama? Or Matt Cassel? Who’s Most Ready?

10 Sep

Stepping into a big new job is always stressful.  Sarah Palin, Barack Obama and Matt Cassel are all trying to fill some big shoes, but who is the most ready?  Good question!

Since this blog is focused squarely on politics, sports and (my favorite) nonsense, who better positioned to answer the question than Full Contact? Answer – nobody!  Now, on with the show!

As you likely know Sarah Palin is the GOP’s VP nominee, Barack Obama is the Democrat’s Presidential Nominee and Matt Cassel is filling in for wonder boy QB Tom Brady beginning this Sunday.


Sarah Palin – Hockey Mom, Mayor of a small town in Alaska, Served on Alaska’s Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, Two Years as Governor of Alaska

Barack Obama – The dreaded position of community organizer, one time media darling (prior to Palin), seven years in the Illinois State Senate, Liked the job so much he became a US Senator serving since 2004

Matt Cassel – Starting high school quarterback, back up quarterback at highly regarded USC to two Heisman Trophy Winner that he cheered on, 39 or so pro passes to date with no NFL starts prior to taking over for an injured Brady in game one this season.

The Debate

When looking at all three the question is who’s past will best prepare them for the challenges each will face.  Let’s start with Palin.  Does her time as a small town Alaska Mayor or a Gas Commissioner really prep her in any way shape or form for the VP spot?  Answer, no.  But that’s not all that’s on her resume.  She’s got a whole two years (that’s over 24 months) as governor of one of our sparest states.  Does that make her worthy of VP consideration?  These days, yes.  But the first duty of the VP is to be up to the challenge of replacing the president.

Given that her running mate is 72 years young, a survivor of multiple cancers and five years of torture at the hands of America’s enemies, I believe it’s very fair game to ask if she’s ready for the top job.  So, for the purposes of this comparison, we’ll grade her heavily on that factor and spend our time prayer for John McCain’s continued well being.

What about Barack Obama?  After picking Palin, John McCain doesn’t seem so bothered by his limited political experience anymore.  And it is limited indeed.  Obama has been like a rocket rising through the Democrat ranks surging past people like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden on the way to the nomination.  Setting aside his time as a community organizer, which the GOP convention praised (McCain in fact implored people to become community organizers) and mostly denigrated (Palin), Obama has liked the title senator.  He’s been a state senator for seven years in a very big and influential state and then he moved up to the US Senate four years ago.  Does that qualify him to be president?

Interesting question and always one that I found odd.  Jack Kennedy seemed to do fine with about the same level of experience.  For that matter, George Bush who hasn’t done all that well, didn’t carry a huge resume into the White House either and yet there didn’t seem to be the same obsession with his readiness on the GOP side.  Maybe they realize how that worked out and have learned from it??

The reality is that Barack Obama is about as ready as anyone to be president.  Not only is there his time in the state and US Senate, but the proof is in the pudding.  The man has been at the head of one of the largest and most complicated yet successful campaigns of all time.  If all of that doesn’t add up to a readiness to be president, than I don’t know where the line should be.

Matt Cassel, as mentioned above, hasn’t started a game since high school.  Think about that, the keys to the Patriot’s kingdom are being turned over to a guy who did NOT make the first team in college.  It’s a strange world.  In addition to cheerleading the guys in front of him for four years at powerhouse USC,  Cassel has spent the last three seasons prior to this one cheering on and learning from Tom Brady and Belichick’s NFL coaching staff.  So, unlike both Obama and Palin, Cassel has actually had on the job training since 2005.

And as I said above, the proof is in the pudding.  Last weekend, when Brady went down, Cassel stepped in and delivered.  The Pats, with Cassel at the controls, started the year off as they usually do, with a win.


Cassel.  And this wasn’t even close.  When you add it up, Cassel’s got three years of on the job training and has already showed he could step up when called upon.  As he transitions to the starting role, Cassel will have Bill Belichick in his corner all the way.  Something tells me that Belichick will make sure he’s ready.

Here’s hoping Sarah Palin and Barack Obama have a Bill Belichick in their corner too…

Rams Finally Win Super Bowl XXXVI Six Years Later!

4 Mar

Over six years after their shocking loss to the upstart New England Patriots, the St. Louis Rams may yet win Super Bowl XXXVI.  Rumors of the existence of a New England produced tape of the Rams’ Super Bowl walk through persist.  Now, there are rumors that if that tape does indeed exist, the Rams will sue to try to re-claim their Super Bowl loss.

As far as I’m concerned, good for St. Louis.  If the tape exists and if Team Belichick ordered it and/or had access to it, than New England deserves whatever they get.  Gamesmanship has always been around.  But, New England seems to be trying to take it to the next level.  I’m no NFL head coach, but I’ve heard from NFL head coaches who say a walk through tape would be a pretty valuable thing. 

Let’s for a moment say it exists, this opens up a couple of questions:

1 – Can you really overturn a Super Bowl?  Based on recent experience with track athletes losing their medals because a relay teammate cheated and colleges voiding conference championships, the mind blowing answer may be yes!

2 – What do we end up thinking about the Pats?  While no one can deny the talent of Tom Brady and the heart of many of his teammates, it’s obvious that if the taping story proves true ALL of their accomplishments will be doubted.  When the Jets story broke last year, I remember one Philadelphia Eagle commenting that it was odd that New England seemed to always know when the Eagles where throwing a screen pass.  Odd or incredible coaching and preparation?  If the tape is real, few will believe the later.

3 – What do we end up saying about the Rams? First off, I think we all have to get over the shock that it would make Mike Martz a Super Bowl winning head coach.  After all, Brian Billick can claim that too.  I think it says more about the “greatest show on turf”.  Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and all those great receivers.  It is kind of mind boggling to think how amazing they were on offense and how quickly it all came apart.

With one Super Bowl win on their resume, Warner and crew come off like one hit wonders.  They were truly amazing and fun to watch, but ultimately don’t rank among the top football teams of all time.  Now think of them as two time champions.  Two victories in three years.  It may not be the 70s Steelers, but not many teams can claim to have won two out of three Super Bowls.

Somewhere Dick Vermeil must be crying tears of joy.

Eli Manning Vs. Joe Namath

6 Feb

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First, we had all the ’72 Dolphins versus the Perfect Patriots debate.  Of course, that’s gone pretty much silent now in the stunning aftermath of the Giants’ upset of New England’s finest.

Go to fullsize imageSo, let’s talk about the next great debate.  Manning Vs. Namath.  It wouldn’t be fare to compare the younger Manning one on one to the legendary Broadway Joe at this point in Eli’s career.  But we can compare which signature upset was bigger.

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I think this will be the great debate that divides generations.  If you are like me and 40ish, then you either saw or grew up in the aftermath of the AFL Jets’ shocking victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts.  For us, I think that game will always be (as Saddam Hussein might have said) “the mother of all upsets.”

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Go to fullsize imageIf on the other hand, you are say 30 or younger, then I bet your closest memory or association with that game is Joe Namath embarrassing himself on Monday Night Football’s sidelines a few years back.  For you, this past Sunday brought you the biggest shocker of all time.

So where does the truth lie?  Were the Giants or Jets the bigger underdog?  Here’s my reasoning and I’m trying to be objective despite being 40ish:

Point Spread

Jets were something like 19 point underdogs.

Giants started out being about 12 point dogs.

Edge: Jets – They were dogs by a full touchdown more than the Giants.

Recent Past

Jets had never played Colts.  AFL and NFL didn’t meet up until Super Bowl in those days.

Giants took on New England in the final week of the regular season and more than held their own.  That game jump-started their belief in themselves and their season.

Edge: Jets – Giants knew they could compete against New England.

Deeper Meaning

Go to fullsize imageJets – Upstart Jets prove that the AFL brand of football is on par with the established NFL.  Joe Willie becomes a star, giving us the pantyhose commercial, the movie CC Ryder and of course the MNF incident.  Getting back to football, it leads to the merger of the two leagues and results in the mega-success of today’s NFL.

Giants – Giants prove that “on any given Sunday…”, which we kind of knew already.  What we don’t know yet, is whether this game will prove that Bill Belichick is simply mortal without the help of his videomen.  What we do know now, is that Tom Brady looks awfully ordinary if you pound him over and over.

Edge: Jets – Giants win was shocking but no one doubted they belong in the same league as the Pats.

Three strikes and you’re out.  In some sports anyway…

Verdict:  Biggest Super Bowl Upset is clearly the Jets in Super Bowl III.  It was and will remain the perfect upset.

’72 Dolphins Vs. ’07 Patriots

5 Feb

I can’t believe we had all the debate about the meaning of the Patriots’ season.  How did 18-0 or the never reached 19-0 stack up against what the 17-0 Miami Dolphins accomplished way back in 1972?  The answer was simple.  It simply doesn’t.  It’s an old but very true saying.  You shouldn’t count your chickens before they hatch.  Tom Brady, Giselle and the ever dour Coach Belichick found this out the hard way last night.

18-0 means nothing.  All it means is you are one game away from winning it all.  17-0 has it all over 18-0 because in the Dolphins’ case, there were only 17 games including the all important Super Bowl win on their schedule. 

19-0 would have been a heck of a lot better than 18-1, but it still wouldn’t mean all that much next to the Dolphin’s 17-0.  The best the Pats could have hoped for would be to be endlessly compared to Mercury Morris and company.  Until someone figures out how to travel back in time and add two more games to the Dolphins’ 1972 schedule, the Patriots or any undefeated time can only hope to match but will never eclipse what the Fins did back in those bell bottom days.

And you know, I’m OK with that.

Eli Manning Rocks! And I told you first!

5 Feb

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I realize this is coming out late and is blatantly obvious at this point, but Eli Manning is a heck of a quarterback.  Being a Giants fan, I hope you’ll forgive my getting to the Eli after-party late.  I’ve just spent the last 24 hours in a state of shock and bliss.Still, if you are among the handful of loyal readers of Full Contact, then you know I was telling everybody about this weeks ago.  Here’s the proof:


You’ll notice I didn’t call the Super Bowl,but Eli had clearly begun to win me over. 

 Scrambling out of the Patriots’ clutches to hit Tyree on that miracle helmet catch was the final straw.  I’m a full fledged Eli supporter and room’s getting pretty scare in this club…

Patrick Ewing Is Ruining My Super Bowl!

31 Jan

As a Giants fan, you’d think I’d be loving life lately.  Big Blue’s overachievers have found themselves in the big game up against what might turn out to be the best team ever.  I should be thrilled and counting the seconds until game time.

Well, I am thrilled that my team is in the final two.  But, I’ve barely paid attention to the Super Bowl coverage.  Why?  It’s flat out boring.  How many times can I hear the same generic keys to the game that will allow the Giants or any football team to compete and win the big game? Sure, if they pressure Brady, cause turnovers and play steady offense, they’ve got a chance.  If you’re any kind of football fan, you don’t need anyone telling you that.

And what’s the big fuss over guys predicting their team is going to win?  What should Plaxico Burress be saying “I think we’re gonna get smoked.  All hail New England.”?  Sure, “no comment” might have made more sense.  But let’s face it the day of the dramatic guarantee, the day of Ruth pointing for the fences, Joe Willie guaranteeing an upset of the Colts or even Messier promising victory over the New Jersey Devils is gone.

The guarantee was killed by too many people getting in on the action.  Guarantees should be left to the legends.  Those athletes on whom the game hinges.  Those athletes who have an undying confidence in themselves and the cockiness and skill to pull it all off.

I blame Patrick Ewing.  No doubt the big fella is a tenacious competitor and a true Hall of Famer.  But it was Ewing’s unending stream of unfulfilled promises of victory that doomed Knicks fans everywhere to disappointing off-season after off-season. If you followed the Knicks in the 90s, you KNOW what I’m talking about.

And once the scrubs saw that a true talent like Ewing wasn’t embarrassed to fail to come through on his guarantees, they thought why not me?  It all culminated this year with that no name Pittsburgh Steelers DB who guaranteed victory over New England only to be very personally burned by the Patriots air attack.  Thank you, Tom Brady.

Still, that guy lived to play another day, so I guess we’ll get more guarantees in the future.  All I ask for is only one week between the NFL conference championships and the Super Bowl. 

I guarantee we’d get less hype…