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New England Patriots News 2-7 and AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
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February 7, 2016 at 5:00 am ET

New England Patriots News 2-7 and AFC East Notes(PHOTO: Steve Balestrieri - PatsFans.com)

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Good morning, here are Sunday’s Patriots news notes and what’s happening around the division.

Brady Takes the High Road: So after spending some time at his alma mater during signing day and lending his support to coach Jim Harbaugh, Tom Brady will indeed be making his way to Santa Clara and is scheduled to appear today as part of the pre-game pomp and ceremony for Super Bowl L.

Commissioner Roger Goodell had sent Brady as well as every SB MVP letters inviting them to be honored prior to the game beginning. Brady was so invited prior to SB XL and did the coin toss between Seattle and Pittsburgh. But after Goodell and the NFL conducted a smear campaign against Brady and tried to ruin his legacy with false information leaks to the press and innuendo during the Deflategate saga, there was cause for doubt that #12 would show.

But Brady decided to indeed show up and be part of the league’s celebration and should get a good ovation from his hometown crowd. Joe Montana will do the coin toss for this season’s Super Bowl in San Francisco. So while Brady is putting on the brave face and attending, Goodell however went out of his way to avoid the Patriots and Brady this season, skipping the traditional opening night game of the season. Something the commissioners have traditionally done at the Super Bowl champs home field.

Good for Brady, representing not only himself but his team and all of his teammates from the four Super Bowl winning teams along with Deion Branch.

Patriots The “Most Hated” Team in America: The Patriots have overtaken the Dallas Cowboys for the dubious distinction as the being the most hated team in America.

Public Policy Polling does an annual survey of NFL fans across the country and asked who is the people’s choice for the least popular team in the land. Dallas which traditionally takes home the prize this time came in second with 20 percent. The most hated team is now New England with 23 percent of America saying they hate the Patriots. No other team got more than 10 percent of the vote.

Tom Brady also had the dubious distinction of being both the most favorite quarterback in the league as well as the least favorite according to fans. Brady garnered 23 percent of the vote as most favorite QB over Peyton Manning (16%), Aaron Rodgers (13%), and Cam Newton (11%).

Brady got even more votes as the least favorite QB with 29 percent of the vote. Tim Tebow who isn’t even in the league finished a distant second with 10 percent and no other NFL QB registered in double digits.

That’s what winning does for you…

Goodell, League still can’t get it straight: Earlier this week, we wrote about Roger Goodell and the entire mess surrounding the PSI levels in footballs. After meticulous record keeping this season of the pregame, half-time and post-game PSI levels in footballs in the official referee’s report, Goodell announced that the league will not release any of the data that the league collected this season.

He changed the league’s focus from that of a research project to, as Goodell described as spot checks. He then touted the NFL’s respect for the “integrity of the game” as he reported no violations this season.

On Friday Goodell side-stepped questions from Tom E. Curran about releasing the data and the Brady situation. But the league’s officiating chief Dean Blandino sounded a different tune in SF stating that the league hasn’t decided HOW they will disseminate the PSI info.

Doesn’t sound like one side knows what the other is doing over at Park Avenue. And it leaves one to wonder if the ‘spot checks’ were damaging to the Patriots case in the Deflategate mess, the league would no doubt be all-to-willing to leak that data out to the media.

Season Ticket Renewals due March 31: The Patriots are sending out renewal notices for the fans who have season tickets that they have until March 31 to keep their tickets for the 2016 season.

According to Patriots.com, for the third consecutive season, the team will utilize variable pricing, creating three separate pricing categories for preseason, premier and marquee games.

While ticket prices have not risen across the board since the 2007 season however, the team will have increase costs of tickets in two of the upper level seating categories this year. Cost increases will be made in the Upper Level Midfield and Upper Level Corner sections on the 300-level, with prices increasing to $105 ($6 increase) and $75 ($10 increase), respectively, per ticket. The prices in the remaining seating categories (81.5 percent of the seats), including all seats on the Lower and Mezzanine levels, remain unchanged.

East Bound and Down, AFC East Notes:
Namath Wants Manning with the Jets:
While most people think that Peyton Manning is done after tonight’s game in Super Bowl L, and he’s rumored to have told friends and family that this is it for him, Joe Namath wants the Jets to bring him in.

“If he’s physically fit and the Broncos don’t want him, I’d give him a good look right out there in New York Jet territory,” Namath said. “How about that? Would you take him on the Jet team if he’s healthy?”

While Manning in a Jets uniform would certainly ratchet up the Jets – Patriots rivalry for the next season, it wouldn’t be a particularly smart decision for the Jets. While neither Ryan Fitzpatrick or Manning is a long-term solution for them, Fitzpatrick actually gives them a better chance of winning in 2016 than Manning does. Anyone who watched him in 2015 can attest to that.

They do need to invest in a long-term solution at QB soon in New York, luckily for Jets fans, Namath isn’t their GM and Mike Maccagnan is.

Former Dolphin QB Earl Morrall Suffered From CTE: The family of former Dolphin and Colt QB Earl Morrall released information this week stating that the 79-year old player who passed away in 2014 had stage-four CTE.

Originally it was released that the former QB had passed away from complications from Parkinsons Disease, but family members told the New York Times this week, that in reality that Morrall had CTE which is the most serious stage of the brain disease caused by the constant jarring of the head during football collisions. It mostly manifests itself through concussions while the players were in the NFL.

Boston University has diagnosed CTE in 90 of 94 former players that they’ve studied. Morrall was a key member of the Miami undefeated season of 1972. After Bob Griese broke his ankle, Morrall quarterbacked the team for nine games until Griese returned for the playoffs. Morrall also QB’d the Colts to a Super Bowl in 1968 when Johnny Unitas got injured.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

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About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at SpecialOperations.com, 1945.com as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)


Tags: 2015 NFL Season Bill Belichick Bob Griese CTE Dean Blandino DeflateGate Denver Broncos Dolphins undefeated season Earl Morrall Joe Montana Joe Namath Johnny Unitas Julian Edelman Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Peyton Manning PSI levels in footballs Rob Gronkowski Roger Goodell Tom Brady

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