Thursday, January 28, 2010

Guess Who's Back

AP Photo/Paul Thomas

Since the horrible accident in October that left Charlie Davies with a lacerated bladder and fractures in his tibia and fibia in his right leg, his left elbow, and facial fractures, United States soccer fans have been asking one question: Who will replace him in the lineup going into the World Cup?

Well a new candidate has emerged and his name is: Charlie Davies.

“That's what's been driving me this whole time,” Davies told’s Ives Galarcep. “I've been looking at Web sites the whole time and they're always saying, 'We need to find a replacement for Charlie. We need to find someone because he's not going to be back.'

“These people don't know," Davies said. "They don't know me, and if they just knew me alone, let alone the determination and will I have now, you guys don't know.”

The Boston College alumnus had become the U.S.’s top option at forward, his speed creating chaos for opposing defenders and opening up space for midfielders Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey.

However after his car accident a day after he helped the Americans qualify for their sixth straight World Cup appearance many wondered if Davies would be able to play ever again, let alone make it back in time for the June spectacle.

But here we are, still more than four months away from the biggest tournament in the world and Davies has been rehabbing at breakneck speed.

Galarcep reports that Davies is jogging and doing agility drills, has gained back 15 pounds that he lost after the accident, has one surgery left, and after a week of recovery will potentially begin training with his club team, FC Sochaux, by the end of February.

Davies has also been rehabbing alongside injured AC Milan and starting U.S. national team defender Oguchi Onyewu and the two have pushed each other and have made incredible progress, as well as keeping each other mentally strong.

The recent timetable shows Davies returning to the pitch in April.

Now, he still has a long way to go. There is the final surgery, and there is always the possibility that setback could occur, much like they have to new U.S. addition midfielder Jermaine Jones, whose stock continue to plummets.

Davies also needs to get in game shape and be prepared for full-contact that the sport offers.

Still, Davies’ determination has gotten him this far ahead in his recovery schedule and it should propel him to finish it out on time. This is fantastic news for the U.S. Soccer players and coaches as well as fans.

Davies gives the Americans an attacking weapon that the team sorely needs. He works his defenders into the ground with a combination of speed and tireless effort.
Davies up top allows Donovan and Dempsey to stay in midfield and leaves plenty of space for the two to be creative. Davies is also very close to fellow young striker Jozy Altidore and the chemistry the two have can only boost Altidore’s confidence. Davies’ talent also will mean opposing defense will not be able to double Altidore, making his job easier.

There’s still a lot of time until the World Cup and Davies’ recovery isn’t finished just yet but there is plenty of reason for the country to be optimistic heading into South Africa.

Friday, January 22, 2010

What Will the Offseason Hold for the New England Patriots?

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

New England Patriots fans were faced with a harsh reality at the hands of a crushing defeat to the Baltimore Ravens: their team just wasn’t good enough.

Sure they had their moments of brilliance during the season, but they also frequently looked far from the team that was a three-time Super Bowl champion this decade, or even the team that went 11-5 without Tom Brady playing an entire game.

And please, don’t even try to say that if Wes Welker played that last game he would’ve made a difference.

That’s why this offseason fans should expect a lot of changes in New England.

The glaring weaknesses the Patriots have are on defense. Watching Ray Rice shred through the Pats in the AFC Wild Card round should’ve made that fact evident.

The first thing the team needs to take care of his hiring a new defensive coordinator.

Dean Pees, who has held the position the past four years, is stepping down.

Bill Belichick has hired in-house for that position that past two times it was open, so it's possible that he would do so again. Defensive line coach Pepper Johnson, a ten-year member of Belichick's staff, would be the best option based on his unit’s play.

The Pats need to get more talented in the secondary.

Safety Brandon Meriweather was the unit's best player and should be fine, and Leigh Bodden had a few moments of brilliance, but it wasn't enough.

The team desperately needs help at the cornerback position, but the free agent pool is thin, and there isn't anyone that would significantly boost the team's performance, so expect to see a corner come out of the draft.

New England could go out and get a safety to complement Meriweather though, with names like Green Bay's Nick Collins, Indianapolis' Antoine Bethea, or New Orleans' Roman Harper available.

The linebacking core is getting old, save for Jerod Mayo, and obviously struggled.

Mayo will be around for a long time to come. Tully Banta-Cain had a breakout season, setting a career-high in sacks with 10, but can he sustain that type of production for another year? Junior Seau, who came out of retirement to help the Patriots, is retiring once more.

And what to do with Adalius Thomas? He has the talent, but was disciplined a few times and did discuss his frustrations with the media. He also just played his tenth season.

There are some good young linebackers available in free agency, but will the Patriots choose to turn to a familiar face and go after 35-year-old Mike Vrabel?

The defensive line was the best unit of the defense, but they too are not without question marks.

Last season the line featured four rookies: Ron Brace, Adrian Gandy, Myron Pryor, and Darryl Richard. Jarvis Green made some comments during training camp that this past season might be his last as a Patriot and he may be interested in signing with his hometown New Orleans Saints.

The biggest question mark though is Vince Wilfork.

Wilfork proved to be an elite nose tackle. However, there were times where he was removed from the game because of injury and did not play in the last three games of the regular season.

Good nose tackles are difficult to find, and with more teams switching to 3-4 base defenses Wilfork is sure to be offered a huge payday much like Albert Haynesworth was last season. The Patriots will most likely franchise him though in order to keep him on the team or command and king's ransom if another team desperately desires his services.

If they lose Green and/or Wilfork, the Patriots will definitely have to go out and sign at least one experienced defensive lineman, and probably should do so anyway just to add some depth to the squad.

There is work to be done on the offensive side of the ball too, just not as extensive.

New England needs to get a wide receiver to fill in for Wes Welker. Julian Edelman played admirably this season but is he a number two receiver?

Tom Brady likes him, so the Pats may be willing to promote him and see what he can do. That still means the Patriots need a productive slot receiver.

Arizona's Steve Breaston would be the ideal candidate. He is capable of being the second or slot receiver and is used to playing alongside elite receivers.

Still, Kansas City's Mark Bradley and the Giants' Domenik Hixon would be cheaper options to seriously consider.

The Patriots could also really use a good running back.

Kevin Faulk is turning 34 and will be a free agent. Sammy Morris continually has injury problems and just finished his tenth season. Fred Taylor just finished his 12th season and spent most of it injured. And Laurence Maroney, while productive at times, was also extremely costly fumbling three times in the red zone.

The Patriots have not had a go-to-back in years. The closest thing they had to one was Corey Dillon, who was past his prime by the time he got to the Patriots.

There are a few options here that could be very intriguing to Pats fans.

Miami's Ronnie Brown could be available. A back with a good combination of size and speed Brown had a 4.4 yards-per-carry average and eight touchdowns. However, he suffered a season-ending injury for the second time in three years. Still, when he plays he is a formidable back who can also run the Wildcat offense, which could be an added bonus. Plus it would take a talented player away from a divisional rival. With the emergence of Ricky Williams combined with Brown's injury history, he may just be expendable to the Dolphins.

Two more interesting options are the Jets' Leon Washington and Chargers' Darren Sproles. Both are lightning quick and seem at times to take on larger roles. Washington, like Brown, would also mean taking talent from a divisional rival. Washington is coming off a season-ending injury as well though.

Another thing to think about is that the Patriots need help in the return game. They weren't that good, and that was even with Wes Welker fielding some kick-offs and punts. That's why Sproles and Washington are very interesting, and why Hixon should be a guy on New England's radar.

This may all seem like a lot of changes, but then again the Patriots were embarrassed on their home field in the playoffs and the management and the city of Boston expect better out of this team.

Realistically the Patriots need to bring in new blood.

Part of the problem is that during the dynasty years they held onto some players for too long and did not do a good enough job of developing younger talent. Now they're left with holes in some areas (corner back and running back) and look old, slow, and tired on defense.

This season was a critical point for the Patriots. The future of the franchise now swings in the balance. This offseason will determine whether the Patriots improve and remain legitimate Super Bowl contenders or if the end of the dynasty has come and the team falls into mediocrity.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Flying High

Think back to week 16 of the NFL season.

The Jets were still alive for the wild card but would have to leapfrog a number of teams in the field of six teams fighting for two spots. They were also squaring up against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts.

Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan joked in a press conference that week that he felt the Colts should sit and rest starters like Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne.

Up by five points in the third quarter, Colts head coach Jim Caldwell did just that, taking out Wayne, Dallas Clark, and Manning and gave rookie Curtis Painter the keys to the offense.

It was like a new driver getting the keys to a Corvette but it was missing two wheels.

Without Manning and Co. in the game the Jets scored 19 unanswered points and won the game 29-15. The victory ended the Colts shot at perfection and put the Jets in control of their own destiny for the playoffs.

The Jets, with a strong history of putting themselves in great position to achieve only to shoot themselves in the foot, have taken care of business.

They put a beat down on the Cincinnati Bengals in week 17 to clinch their playoff berth, going up 27-0 at the half before the Bengals rested their starters. They went to Cincinnati the following week to put another beating on the Bengals in the Wild Card round, and then Sunday held the number two seed and high octane San Diego Chargers to just 14 points and—thanks to three missed field goals from Nate Kaeding—won the game.

Now the Jets have come full circle. They sit one more victory away from reaching the Super Bowl. The team standing in their way: the Indianapolis Colts.

How did this all happen?

A response to that is should people really be surprised?

The majority of people say that football teams win in the playoffs by running the ball and playing tough defense. The New York Jets are ranked first in both categories.

On defense, cornerback Darrelle Revis has emerged as one of if not the best corners in the NFL and has led the Jets to give up the least amount of passing yards as well as the least amount of passing touchdowns in the league.

Revis shutdown elite receivers. He squared off against Houston’s Andre Johnson and Carolina’s Steve Smith as well as matching up twice against New England’s Randy Moss, Buffalo’s Terrell Owens, and Cincinnati’s Chad Ochocinco. None of those players caught more than five passes in a game for more than 35 yards, and they all combined to score only one touchdown (Randy Moss was the only one to accomplish the feat and it was in the second time the two teams met).

He had six interceptions, good for fifth in the league, and returned one of them for a touchdown.

Thomas Jones was the third leading rusher in the regular season in both rushing yards and touchdowns, as well as only fumbling twice the entire season.

In the playoffs Shonn Greene is first in both rushing yard and touchdowns.

The Jets ability to run the ball has also had a fantastic effect on their quarterback, rookie Mark Sanchez.

Nicknamed “Sanchise” Jets fans were in a fervor after starting 3-0 and Sanchez playing at a high level. However, the team then lost six of their next seven games and the rookie from the University of Southern California had thrown an astonishing fourteen interceptions in those losses.

Turnovers will cost you the game and Mark Sanchez’s mistakes proved deadly. In eight wins—he didn’t play in the victory against Tampa Bay—he threw only three interceptions as opposed to the 17 he threw in seven losses.

In the Jets recent run— starting in week 16 against the Colts, one week after losing to the Atlanta Falcons, where Sanchez threw three interceptions, through the game against the Chargers—Sanchez has only thrown one interception. He’s also thrown more than 20 passes in only one of those games. He threw 19 passes against the Colts for 106 yards, 16 for 63 yards against the Bengals the first time around, 15 for 182 in the rematch, and 23 for 100 yards against the Chargers.

The Jets have limited his touches, thus creating fewer opportunities for Sanchez to turn the ball over.

Even with the Jets strong emphasis on the rush, almost bypassing the passing game, Jones, Greene, and Wildcat trigger man Brad Smith have run wild against opposing defenses.

It also helps that the Jets have three Pro-Bowlers on the offensive line—D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Alan Faneca, and Nick Mangold—clearing open gaps for the backs to plow through.

More importantly though is the improved team character of the Jets.

In past seasons the Jets didn’t really have an identity. They would start off well only to fall apart as the season went on. Last year’s signing of Brett Favre only compounded that problem. While he is a talented player, it did the Jets no good to have a player that is the living definition of inconsistent. Favre took his chances but you never knew if it would wind up in a touchdown or an interception. Heck, no one even know if he wanted to play at the end of the season or for what team he really wanted to be a part of.

But in came Rex Ryan.

After 10 seasons as a defensive coach with the Baltimore Ravens, he was given the head coaching position with the Jets. Ryan came in with a very specific vision of how football should be played. He believed first and foremost in a tenacious defense followed by a strong running game.

In the offseason he brought two of his students from Baltimore, linebacker Bart Scott and safety Jim Leonhard. They knew Ryan’s system, had seen it work, and could convince the other players to follow him and believe in him.

He also instilled confidence in his players. While he may talk a lot, he believes in his players and in a press conference after making the playoffs he insisted the Jets were not the underdogs in the playoffs but the favorites. When Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year Ryan took time to argue in support of Darrelle Revis.

The players bought into Ryan’s scheme. They believed everything he said about them. Now they are in the playoffs. They believe in the system, they believe in their coach, and now they believe in themselves, making them extremely dangerous.
Their story is very similar to that of another Ryan coached team—the 2000 Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens relied on a record setting defense and focused heavily on the running game on offense, led by rookie running back Jamal Lewis’ 1,364 yards rushing. They earned a wild card. They had a quarterback, Trent Dilfer, whose main responsibility was just to manage the game and not turn the ball over.

The Jets have an almost identical makeup and their coach was a major part of that Super Bowl winning team.

They have a tall order in front of them. Peyton Manning is the league’s MVP and will be looking to avenge that loss and prove that had the Colts played everyone they would’ve remained undefeated, at least for that week.

The Jets, of course led by Ryan, don’t buy the fact that they only won that game because Manning sat. They are out to prove that they are for real.

Who will prevail is up for debate, but there is definitely one thing you should expect from this game.

Expect Curtis Painter to be handed nothing but the clipboard.

Photo Credits:
Thomas Jones: AP Photo/Mike Groll
Darrelle Revis: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
Mark Sanchez: AP Photo/Denis Poroy

Monday, January 18, 2010

Greatest Moments in Foxboro Stadium History

AP Photo

Take a look back and relive the memories that came from Foxboro Stadium.

The Stadium first opened in August of 1971 and was named Schaefer Stadium. Naming rights were sold to Anheuser-Busch in 1983, who named the stadium Sullivan Stadium in honor of the family that owned the Patriots. Once the Sullivan family sold its majority ownership, the stadium was renamed Foxboro Stadium.

At the turn of the new millenium the stadium was deemed outdated. Gillete Stadium opened in 2002 and Foxboro was knocked down. Today the Patriots Place mall stands where the stadium used to be.

Opening of the stadium

The opening of any stadium is special. No matter how good or bad the team is or what the stadium looks like, having a brand new home is an exciting time. Much like a family moving into a new house, it is the place where—one hopes at least—great memories will be made for many years to come.

After four different “home” field in ten years—Boston University Field, Harvard Stadium, Fenway Park, and Boston College Alumni Stadium—the Patriots had a permanent place to call their own. What was nice about the stadium was that there was no public funding from the city of Foxborogh or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. That was also a problem. Without the public funding, the stadium was built quickly and without many major amenities of luxuries.

Before the first ever game played there, an exhibition match between the Patriots and New York Giants, a “flush-off” – all the toilets were flushed at the same time—was conducted to make sure the plumbing could handle the greatest possible stress.

Beginning of the Holy War

The stadium was also used for Boston College football games.

On September 15, 1975 Boston College hosted Notre Dame. This game started the rivalry between the “Eagles” and “Fighting Irish”. It was dubbed the “Holy War” by the media because it was the matchup of the only two Catholic Universities that compete in Division I-A football. Notre Dame won the first meeting between the two teams 17-3.

Although the schools wouldn’t square off again until 1983 and the rivalry matchup wouldn’t become an annual tradition until 1992, this game was the start of it all.

1978 AFC Divisional Playoffs vs. Houston Oilers

Finishing the season 11-5 and as AFC East Champions the Patriots were rewarded with a bye in the first round of the playoffs. They hosted the Divisional Playoffs against the Houston Oilers, the first ever home playoff game for the franchise.

Head Coach Chuck Fairbanks, who had been suspended the week before for negotiating with the University of Colorado, was reinstated. It might have been a bad move because his players had lost faith and respect for him.

There were no highlights for the Patriots, who lost 31-14, but the game is still a memorable moment because it was the first home playoff game the Patriots earned, certainly a milestone.

12/22/85: Must-win season finale against the Cininnati Bengals

The Patriots were still alive for a spot in the 1985 playoffs but were in a must-win game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

New England rushed the ball for 281 yards and clinched the game just after the two-minute warning when Robert Weathers broke through the line on fourth-and-one for a 42 yard touchdown. The Patriots won the game 11-5 and earned the final wild card spot over the Denver Broncos thanks to the common opponents tiebreaker.

New England would win their first three games in the playoffs before losing to the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl.

1994 World Cup

Hosting a World Cup is an honor for a country as well as for the select cities and stadiums that are chosen to receive games.

In 1994 the U.S. hosted the World Cup and six games were played at Foxboro Stadium. The game with the largest attendance was a 4-0 Argentina win over Greece in a Group D matchup. They hosted a quarter-final matchup between eventual runners-up Italy and Spain. Foxboro Stadium was a part of the most profitable World Cup in the tournament’s history.

Foxboro Stadium was lucky enough to also host five matches in the 1999 Women’s World Cup, including one U.S. group stage match against North Korea.

Concerts and Pink Floyd's final tour

Foxboro Stadium hosted many concerts for some of the world's most popular bands.

Paul McCartney, Elton John, hometown favorites Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, U2, and this year's Super Bowl halftime show band The Who have all played in the stadium.

Foxboro Stadium was also lucky enough to be one of the stops on Pink Floyd's Division Bell Tour, supporting the release of the album with the same name. The tour was the band's last as well as being the last time Pink Floyd performed live until they played at Live 8 in 2005.

1996 AFC Conference Championship vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

It was only the third playoff game the Patriots had ever hosted and first AFC Championship game the team hosted. A win would send New England to the Super Bowl. The opponent was the second-year Jacksonville Jaguars.

New England started their first possession on the four-yard line thanks to Jacksonville’s botched snap on a punt attempt. Curtis Martin scored a one-yard touchdown giving the Patriots the early lead. They would never give it up. The final score was 20-6 and the Patriots were off to face the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl.

Also memorable about the game was a power outage at the stadium just before halftime. Not only was power knocked out at Foxboro Stadium, but most of the surrounding community as well.

9/15/97: Bill Parcells return to Foxboro

Fresh after taking the Patriots to only their second Super Bowl in franchise history in 1996, Head Coach Bill Parcells left the team over disputes with owner Bob Kraft about player personnel decisions. He took the same job with rival New York Jets.

Parcells first return to Foxboro Stadium came in week three on Sunday Night Football. Already starting with a great headline, the game was full of drama.

The lead was tied or changed teams seven times throughout the course of the game. With 16 seconds left, the Jets had a chance to win the game but John Hall's field goal attempt was blocked and the game went to overtime, where Adam Vinatieri successfully kicked a 34-yard attempt to win the game and keep the Patriots undefeated for the time being.

Curtis Martin ran wild for 199 yards and a touchdown.

9/23/01: First game after September 11, 2001/Beginning of the Tom Brady era

It was an emotional time in this country's history.

Twelve days after the terrorist attacks on the United States the Patriots once again squared off against the rival Jets, located near the attacks on the World Trade Center occurred.

In the fourth quarter, Jets linebacker Mo Lewis tackled starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Blood filled Bledsoe's chest and he was hospitalized. Tom Brady finished the game and took over as starter.

While the Patriots lost that game 10-3, fans witnessed the beginning of a new era. Brady went on to win 11 of the 14 games he started that season and led the team to its first Super Bowl victory, and the first of three total.

"Tuck Rule" Game

The final game played in Foxboro Stadium may be its most memorable.

For starters, the 2001 season AFC Divisional Playoff game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders was played in a driving snow storm.

The end of the game was drama at its best.

Trailing 13-10 with less than two minutes to plays the Patriots had the ball. Tom Brady dropped back to pass and seemingly fumbled the ball when hit by Charles Woodson, which the Raiders then recovered, which could have sealed the ball game.

However, the play was reviewed and the referee, Walt Coleman, ruled that Brady’s arm was moving forward and he was in the process of tucking the football back into his body—note that it had not yet been tucked—and therefore the play was an incomplete pass, not a fumble. The rule, as well as the game, is now nicknamed “the tuck rule/game”.

With New England given another chance, Brady drove the Pats into field goal territory and Adam Vinatieri, kicking into the wind and snow, booted a line-drive 45-yard field goal attempt through the uprights to tie the game and send it into overtime. Starting with the ball in overtime, the Patriots drove down the field and Vinatieri produced more magic, making a 23-yard field goal to win the game.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New England Patriots: Boston's Team of the Decade

AP Photo/Tony Guttierez

For the first decade of the new millennium, no sports city was more successful than Boston. The Red Sox and Celtics both won the championship of their respective leagues at least once. However the one team that was truly the cream of the crop was the New England Patriots.

There was a lot of winning going on in the New England region throughout the past ten years, but no team was more successful than the Pats.

The journey to any championship begins in the regular season. No matter how you perform there will always be a regular season to be played and for the fans to judge you on.

The Celtics struggled the most. Starting in the 1999-2000 season through the 2008-2009 season, the C’s had a .524 winning percentage. They only had five winning seasons and went through a stretch of three losing seasons in four years, capped off by the epitome of their “rebuilding phase” with a 24-58 record in the 2006-2007 season. Really, outside of the 2001-2002 season, the Celtics were just an average team, even in their winning years. It wasn’t until the end of the decade that they were a dominating force.

The Red Sox were a bigger hit in the regular season. They did not have a single losing season in the decade and compiled a .568 winning percentage.

Still, only twice did they win their division, more times than not finishing second fiddle to their biggest rivals, the New York Yankees. The one year the Yankees struggled and slid down the standings (2008) giving the Sox a chance to be the best, they were upstaged by perennial cellar dwellers Tampa Bay Rays.

If you cannot be the best team in your own division, in your own sport, how do you expect to be crowned the best team in a city of champions?

The decade started off terribly for the Patriots, who finished the 2000 season with a 5-11 record. The franchise rebounded with an 11-5 record the next season (and a Super Bowl championship) and was from then on expected to be great every single season. They didn’t disappoint.

The 2000 season was the only one that New England finished with a losing record. Only one other year (2002) did they finish with less than 10 wins (9-7). Their crowning achievement was going undefeated in the 2007 regular season. While it is an easier feat in football than it is in basketball and baseball, they were only the second team in the history of the NFL to go through the regular season without losing a single game. Seven times the Patriots also finished as the top team in their division, sending them to the playoffs every time.

No championship can be won without making the postseason. So how did these three competitors fare when it mattered most?

The Celtics made the playoffs six times, once sneaking in with a sub-.500 record. They did enjoy some success though, getting to the conference finals twice and one of those times advancing to the NBA finals. However, two years in a row they were knocked out in the first round by Indiana, one of those times getting swept. They also lost two playoff series as the higher seed, one of which was in the first round against the Pacers in the 2004-2005 season. The Celtics would not reach the playoffs until three more seasons after that devastating loss.

The Red Sox should thank MLB commissioner Bud Selig for their playoff success. Of the six times this decade they made the playoffs, five times was through the Wild Card. Twice they were knocked out by the Yankees and twice they were knocked out in the opening round. However, they also had their own magical moments: coming from behind 3-0 in the series against the Yankees in 2004 to win 4-3 and not only advance to the World Series but also knock out their hated rival as well as winning their first World Series in 86 years.

The Patriots, however, trump all. They have made the playoffs seven times. Before this season’s playoff loss to Baltimore, the Patriots had never been knocked out in the first round nor had they lost a playoff game at home. Four times—that’s more than half of their playoff appearances—they advanced to the Super Bowl.
The ultimate measure of success is championships.

The Celtics have three division championships and one conference championship. They won one NBA championship, their 17th in franchise history.

The Red Sox only won one divisional title, but they won two American League championships. They also won two World Series. The first, in 2004, was their first in 86 years, ending the “Curse of the Bambino” and allowing Red Sox fans to finally “Die in Peace”.

No team brought home more hardware this decade than the Patriots though. They won seven divisional titles and four AFC championships. Most impressive was their three Super Bowl wins.

The Patriots were the first Boston team to win a championship game this decade, and it seemed to set off a series of great events for the entire city.

In a crowded sports scene (Boston College, the Boston Bruins, and the New England Revolution also enjoyed some success this decade, though not as much as the big three) it is tough for one team to stand out, especially when every franchise is performing at such a high caliber.

The Patriots proved to be the class of Boston though. They had the highest regular season winning percentage, the most playoff appearances, the most division and conference championships, and most importantly, the most league championships.

The New England Patriots were Boston’s team of the decade.

Who will they hand off the baton to this decade, if anyone?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

NFL Week 17 Picks

Week 17 anything can happen. Players sit, young guys get a chance to play. But no matter what everyone has something to play for. Maybe no the team itself, but everyone on that field is playing for a paycheck.

Both wildcard spots are open in the AFC. If the Jets and Ravens win, they're in. Will they?

Home team is in all caps, winning team is listed first.

BUFFALO over Indianapolis

Jacksonville over CLEVELAND

Chicago over DETROIT

San Francisco over ST. LOUIS

Pittsburgh over MIAMI


Atlanta over TAMPA BAY

CAROLINA over New Orleans

New England over HOUSTON

Green Bay over ARIZONA

SAN DIEGO over Washington

Tennessee over SEATTLE

Baltimore over OAKLAND

Philadelphia over DALLAS

Kansas City over DENVER

NY JETS over Cincinnati

Last week: 11-5

Season: 138-70