By: Bob George/
December 28, 2004

Why was Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy doing pushups at a bowling alley?
Patriots owner Robert Kraft owns no concerns that Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are missing OTAs
New NFL policy lets players who don’t want to stand for anthem stay in locker room
Former Patriots rip NFL’s new anthem policy
Aaron Hernandez fiancée announces she's expecting a baby

John Brodie drops back in the pocket, looks, fires, complete! Touchdown, 49ers! Gene Washington, not to be confused with the Viking who would one day go on to become the assistant principal of the NFL, hauled it in from 36 yards out and the ‘Niners lead, 20-7! Out for the extra point trots Bruce Gossett, a fine kicker for many years for San Francisco. He spent the first six years of his career with the LA Rams, then came to San Francisco in 1970, where he kicked until his retirement in 1974. He gave the 49ers some stability at the kicker position after several inconsistent years from Tommy Davis and others. He was a career 61% field goal kicker, and in his penultimate season with the 49ers hit on 78.8 percent. The straight-on kicker boots it to about the five-yard line.

Drew Bledsoe knew greatness when he saw it. A record three sacks in a Super Bowl by a Green Bay defensive end that Max Lane could not handle at all. Rest in peace, Reggie.

Did the Rams look like a bona fide playoff team to you on Monday night?

Let's see. They were fighting for their playoff lives and rang up only 20 points at home against Eagle second and third string defenders with the kind of offense they have. You decide.

Losing Terrell Owens was bad enough. But Donovan McNabb had really better stay healthy. Just check Koy Detmer's passing stats and see why.

That was a nice face that Jim Mora put on regarding that Atlanta loss on Sunday. It was especially nice of him to not break out in chuckles. If Michael Vick had played, different story.

On the other hand, how do you explain Jacksonville getting blanked at home by Houston? Now that was one hundred percent anguish expressed by Jack Del Rio.

As long as T.O. stays out injured, there still exists the chance that one of those 8-8 or 7-9 teams could sneak into the Super Bowl. We did say "chance”, but a chance does indeed exist.

And if one did? Get rid of Wild Cards? Allow the NFC to select unprotected players from the AFC? More Pepcid for the NFL front office?

Geek of the week: Chad Pennington has a ton of growing up to do.

You're Corey Dillon, you're 81 yards away from 375,000 more dollars. Bill Belichick wants to rest you for (likely) Indianapolis in two weeks, as the game against a 2-13 San Francisco squad is totally meaningless. A few weeks back, the coach put you in so you could get two yards and crack 100 for that game. You say anything to the coach or keep quiet?

Bob Kraft could merely give him the money, then tell him to take two weeks off and to whip the snot out of the Colt front seven. Works for me.

Miami doesn't deserve this finish. But Jim Bates does.

Terry Robiskie doesn't deserve anything he's getting. He needs a decent shot somewhere else, and soon.

Norv Turner need not worry about his job security. Along will come Ricky Williams next year, and the Commitment to Excellence returns along with him.

Never, ever, ever put Shannon Sharpe and Tom Coughlin in the same room.

Buffalo might just make the playoffs, and you honestly have to be happy for them.

Tom Brady said he did not watch the Miami game in preparing for the Jets game. That's surprising. If anything else, he should have watched that Bledsoeian play about a hundred times. Each day.

Terrell Suggs clobbered Ben Roethlisberger as he fired a touchdown pass, and eventually Big Ben had to come out of the game. Wonder if the rest of the league thought of Suggs and said to themselves "Thanks!” We hope not, but you have to wonder.

Tennessee, Miami, Tampa Bay. Three examples of why you should never take prosperity for granted.

Back to school: I'm sorry, but Texas belongs in the Cotton Bowl, not the Rose Bowl.

The Globe is probably mortified that Super Bowl XXXVI was voted the top Boston sports event ever, over the 2004 World Series. So they let the fans select the top Boston sports stories for 2004. To make it really "fair”, they set up three categories, one for the Red Sox, one for all other Boston sports teams, and one for national events. Nothing like a rigged poll to advance your beliefs and agendas.

How mortified are they? Wednesday's Sports Plus show on NESN will have Ron Borges and Nick Cafardo on. They will spend an entire half hour discussing why the fans voted Super Bowl XXXVI number one. One has to wonder why Dan Shaughnessy wasn't invited on the show to tell New England how and what to think.

Here at, we did it the right and proper way. We combined all three. Look for our top ten best Boston sports stories of 2004 later this week in this column.

And we aren't ashamed of it if we see the Patriots looked on more favorably than the Red Sox. This "religious” view of the Red Sox sometimes goes too far.

But we won't mind admitting that some of us are still celebrating that sweet sweep.

Even though the Eagles tripped them up last year, we'd again like to go out on a limb and call the Packers the best bet to upset the Eagles on their way to Jacksonville. Never count out Brett Favre until the final gun goes off.

And this assumes that Vick is either injured or not good enough a field general to take the Falcons far, depending upon what you read or whom you believe.

Is Nick Saban the savior for the Dolphins? No. A decent quarterback and running back, and that team is all set no matter who coaches them.

Too bad it won't be Bates.

A new deal is imminent for Adam Vinatieri (according to a Globe report)? Rank that right up there (or at least close to it) with Jason Varitek. Vinatieri absolutely must retire a Patriot.

Yes, he's a kicker, and Varitek's a captain. But there are kickers and then there is Vinatieri. We knew you'd eventually understand.

Remember him: We mentioned Brodie at the top of the article. The eloquent former 49er quarterback won't ever be confused with Joe Montana, but he toiled for the 49ers from 1957 to 1973 and amassed 31,548 yards of passing and a career rating of 72.3. His best seasons were 1965 and 1970, when he broke the 90 rating point mark in both seasons. He had such targets as Hugh McElhenny, Dave Parks, Gene Washington, Ted Kwalick, and a fella behind him named Ken Willard. He used to light up old Kezar Stadium in San Francisco with many great days. In retirement you often saw him on the golf course or behind an analyst's mike, as he had a nice delivery and always spoke well. Brodie was one of the finer NFL quarterbacks of the 1960s, who could never quite match the successes of Bart Starr or Johnny Unitas but instead left his own special legacy in the City By The Bay.

Someone please tell Dick Vermeil that there's no crying in football, unless you stand on a podium in Canton with your bust behind you.

Or unless you just won a Vince.

Other than that, Dick, quit this weeping.

You take Nicolette Sheridan. I'll take Erica Mari. You'll find out why in the weeks to come.

Nice 2004, Patriots. But the real deal begins in 2005. Not that the players don't know that.