As Super Bowl week rolls on the Patriots continue sitting at home nursing their wounds along with the 29 other teams who are not playing this weekend. I caught former Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri shelling some product on Radio Row at the Super Bowl while on the Felger and Mazz Show on 98.5 the Sports Hub yesterday afternoon, but most interesting were a few comments he made. One, he was “disappointed” when Patriots fans “boo the crap out of me”. With that, I have to agree with him as well.
Vinatieri is one of the most important players in the drama that is the Belichick-Brady Patriots teams of the past decade-and-a-half. The Miracle in the Snow (or Tuck Rule Game as the sore losers call it) was just one of a number of huge kicks that Vinatieri made in his New England career. Vinatieri was negotiating to stay in New England and the team made a mistake in not locking him up long-term before he was a free agent. Vinatieri is a worthy 4th member of the Patriots Mt. Rushmore alongside Belichick, Brady, and Bob Kraft.
The second point made by Vinatieri was regarding the separation from New England. His point was spot on: “ I understand the Patriots’ philosophy — they let players go before they’re used up. That’s their philosophy. But for myself, I had gotten franchised a few times, and I just wanted a multi-year deal. I just wanted what was fair. I wanted a fair market, multi-year deal, and I got that in Indy.”
For Vinatieri, he had to make his best deal and the Patriots philosophy is clear in that they will not be the New York Yankees of the NFL: the team will never have a player under contract for multiple years when he is no longer worth the money for the price of having him under contract when he is. They let Vinatieri walk, let Willie McGinest go, traded Richard Seymour, released Lawyer Milloy, and let Ty Law walk (just to name a few). On one hand, other than Vinatieri (arguably, as Stephen Gostkowski has done pretty well), the team was probably right in each case. But, for fans, it hurts to see players leave and have to stick their jersey in the back of the closet.
Jeff Howe over the Boston Herald in his Blitz Blog is refuting earlier reports that the Patriots were in talks with Arizona over star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Whether true or not, the real story is if the Patriots are in on talks this offseason if (and it is a big “if”) the Cardinals put Fitzgerald on the trading block. Personally, they should jump on any talks, but I highly doubt the Cardinals end up trading him.
A new coach joins the Patriots staff as Brendan Daly is a new defensive assistant. Daly has 8 years of experience in the NFL and specializes as a defensive line coach. He has coached in Minnesota and St. Louis. Good to see some fresh blood on the defensive coaching staff.
Bleacher Report’s Sterling Xie is deep into the draft preparation already and has 6 Late-Round Sleepers Who Would Be Perfect for New England Patriots. Xie makes a great point that New England has a history of uncovering top talent late in the draft with players like Alfonzo Dennard, Julien Edelman, and ol’ what’s-his-name at quarterback. Both Brady and Dennard were major conference college players who dropped in the draft. The advantage of them is that there is more tape of them against top competition. The problem with Edelman and small-school players is the limited tape against quality opponents. It is part of what makes their successes so surprising.
Tom Brady wins the ESPN poll asking players in the NFL which quarterback any team would want in the huddle with two minutes remaining and the Super Bowl on the line. Brady edged out Peyton Manning (seriously?) with 40% of the vote to 26.9%. I would have thought Aaron Rodgers would get more than 10% of the vote. Another “win” for Brady. In a stunning upset, MusketFire.com’s co-editor Cyrus Geller has Big Ben Roethlisberger at #2 in his vote. Me, it’d be Rodgers, Manning (no, not Eli), Roethlisberger, Brees, and then the lesser of the Manning brothers.
Also at MusketFire.com, be sure not to miss featured columnist Adam Burt’s response to Jerry Angelo. The former Bears executive was critical of the Patriots team building this offseason on offense and Adam does a nice job of refuting those points.
Over at Patriots.com, the New England Patriots Cheerleaders are pairing up with the Paradisus Cancun to find the ultimate Patriots couple. It’s not big news, but is an excuse to post a picture of the cheerleaders with the article.