3. Kevin O'Connell: Isn't that the kid who plays "E" on "Entourage"? No. Well, then who the heck is Kevin O'Connell?
That's exactly what you asked about a guy named Matt Cassel at this time last year. O'Connell, a third-round draft pick of the Patriots in '08, is the likely backup to Tom Brady in New England this season. A stud at San Diego State in college, O'Connell saw action in just two games last season, with neither appearance coming in anything resembling a significant situation.
Cassel's gone. So is New England's resident quarterback Svengali Josh McDaniels. Yes, Tom Brady's back. But who's behind him? This Kevin O'Connell kid. I'll be interested to see how the second-year man performs in extensive preseason work this August.
Owning a professional sports franchise is my dream job. (I'm willing to relocate.) Of course, I could never afford my own team. There's a better chance I'll miraculously develop an unhittable slider, or learn to punt.
You obviously must be exceedingly wealthy to become an owner. Did you ever wonder how all these people made all that money? I sure hope you did, because we went and did all this research. Here's a list of eight billionaire owners and how they built their fortunes.
3. Robert Kraft, New England Patriots (NFL)
I'd never really given it much thought, but I'd always assumed Kraft bought the Patriots with big cheese money he'd inherited. But Kraft got his start in the paper business. His wife, Myra, is the daughter of Massachusetts philanthropist Jacob Hiatt. After Kraft finished Harvard Business School, he went to work with his father-in-law's packaging company. In 1972, Kraft founded International Forest Products, which is now part of the Kraft Group – a diversified collection of companies ranging from Gillette Stadium to the New England Revolution (Major League Soccer) to Carmel Container Systems (Israel's largest packaging plant). Kraft is seen as a savior in New England – before he bought the team in 1994, the Pats seemed destined for relocation to St. Louis. Plus he's made them really, really good, winning three Super Bowls this decade.
Another reason I'm so keen on owning a team is the access to foreign heads of state. In 2005, Kraft met Vladimir Putin, who walked off with one of Kraft's Super Bowl rings. Kraft now claims it was a gift, but that might just be what you say when a Russian leader steals your jewelry.
Quarterback rankings: Intangibles make the best leaders
May 14, 2009
Many factors go into grading a quarterback, and every scout places different levels of emphasis on different aspects of the game. Scouts also must consider things that can't be measured: Leadership, the quarterback's role within a system and performance under pressure. All this makes for uncertainty and goes a long way toward explaining why it is so hard to find agreement on players at the NFL's marquee position.
Here are our top 20 quarterbacks:
1. Peyton Manning, Colts. Critics point to the postseason loss to San Diego, but Manning is the reigning MVP and threw for more than 4,000 yards for the ninth time in 11 NFL seasons, tossed 27 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions and completed 66.8 percent of his passes. And he did it all while recovering from offseason knee surgery. He also had to adjust to life without the real Marvin Harrison. Healthy and with nearly the whole supporting cast back, Manning again should be the NFL's top quarterback in 2009.
2. Tom Brady, Patriots. Before that fateful September day when his knee turned the wrong way, Brady was on his way to becoming perhaps the best QB in league history. After missing the rest of the season, he is practicing with a knee brace and ready to battle Manning for the No. 1 spot. Brady never had elite mobility anyway, so as long as the system and the receivers are in place we expect vintage Brady in '09.
Guess he must have missed that the guy he's backing up was a 6th round 199th overall selection in 2000 when he got handed the reigns of the team his second year in 2001...he's no Brady but the team wouldn't put their faith in the kid unless they had a strong belief that he is a capable backup.
05-15-2009 09:13 AM
Re: Pats in the news
These were all very good reads. Thanks for posting.