The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has published their latest NFL Advanced Betting Lines. These early odds are posted prior to the following week’s games, including this past Thursday’s game between Pittsburgh and Tennessee. Also known as Look-Ahead lines, they give the adventurous sports fan an opportunity to wager on games up to twelve days away. Early lines offer a short opportunity to get a jump on odds that could be less favorable after Sunday’s games.
The good news is that this the bye weeks are over, and that Thanksgiving Day gives us three games to feast on.
On paper the NFL Week 12 schedule does not offer many close games. Eleven games have a spread of 6½ or more and two games list odds of three points or less. The New England Patriots are the heaviest favorites, at -14½ at home versus Miami. Two other home teams are also double-digit favorites. Chicago is at Philadelphia (-11½) and Green Bay plays at Pittsburgh (-12½) next Sunday night.
Home favorites also have the narrowest odds. The Vikings are at Detroit (-1½) in an important NFC North game, and the Rams (-1½) host New Orleans in one of the late afternoon matchups. The only road favorites are Carolina (at the Jets), Tennessee at Indy, Seattle at San Francisco, and Jacksonville at Arizona.
NFL Week 12 Early Odds
Thanksgiving Day, Thursday Nov 24
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (-1½) 12:30 pm ET on Fox
Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys (-4), 4:30 pm ET on CBS
New York Giants at Washington Redskins (-8½), 8:30 pm ET on NBC
Sunday Nov 26 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-8)
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-14½)
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-7½)
Sunday Nov 26 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles (-11½)
Tampa Bay Bucs at Atlanta Falcons (-9)
Carolina Panthers (-4) at New York Jets
Tennessee Titans (-6½) at Indianapolis Colts
Sunday Nov 26 late afternoon games
Seattle Seahawks (-8½) at San Francisco 49ers, 4:00 pm ET on Fox
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams (-1½), 4:30 pm on CBS
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3½) at Arizona Cardinals, 4:30 pm ET on CBS
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (-6½), 4:30 pm ET on CBS
Prime Time Games, 8:30 pm ET
Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-12½), Sunday November 26 on NBC
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-7½), Monday November 27 on espn
At first glance I like the Vikings (+1½), Rams (-1½), Washington (-8½), Bucs +9 and Packers +12½.
The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has published their latest NFL Advanced Betting Lines. These early odds are posted prior to the following week’s games, including this past Thursday’s game between Seattle and Arizona. Also known as Look-Ahead lines, they give the adventurous sports fan an opportunity to wager on games up to twelve days away. Early lines offer a short opportunity to get a jump on odds that could be less favorable after Sunday’s games.
NFL Week 11 looks like it will have plenty of close games. There are no double-digit favorites, and only one game with a spread of more than seven. Home teams are favored in only half of the 14 scheduled games, and nine games have odds of 3½ or fewer points.
The week kicks off with Tennessee at Pittsburgh in Thursday night. In the early Sunday time slot there is what should be a great game between two NFC division leaders. The Rams are at Minnesota in a battle between two teams that have far exceeded expectations thus far in 2017. The winner will be in good position to head into the playoffs with a first round bye. LA has shown that all they needed was to rid themselves of Jeff Fisher, while the Vikings defense has carried the load after losing RB Dalvin Cook to a torn ACL.
In the late afternoon time slot the Patriots and Raiders renew a rivalry dating back to the inception of the American Football League 57 years ago. Players will face the challenge of the high altitude and smog of Mexico City in the 35th meeting between these two franchises. What’s the over/under on the number of times ‘tuck rule’ is mentioned on television that day? Don’t turn hearing that phrase into a drinking game; too many people will die from alcohol poisoning.
Week 11 wraps up with a pair of good prime time NFC games. On Sunday night the Eagles are at Dallas. Philly has a 2½ game lead heading into the week 10 games, and the Cowboys need a win to keep up for a chance of at least a wild card spot. Then on Monday night Atlanta is at Seattle. The two clubs have represented the NFC in the Super Bowl in three of the last four years. Both have underachieved somewhat this year despite their winning records, but still have enough talent to put together a long winning streak in the second half of the season.
NFL Week 11 Early Odds
Thursday Nov 16 at 8:30 pm ET on NBC
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)
Sunday Nov 19 at 1:00 pm ET on Fox
Detroit Lions (-2½) at Chicago Bears
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins (-3½)
Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings (-3)
Arizona Cardinals (-2) at Houston Texans
Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints (-7)
Sunday Nov 19 at 1:00 pm ET on CBS
Kansas City Chiefs (-9½) at New York Giants
Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Green Bay Packers
Jacksonville Jaguars (-7) at Cleveland Browns
Sunday Nov 19 late afternoon games
Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Chargers (-3), 4:00 pm ET on Fox
Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos (-2½), 4:30 pm ET on CBS
New England Patriots (-6) at Mexico City Raiders, 4:30 pm ET on CBS
Prime Time Games, 8:30 pm ET
Philadelphia Eagles (-1) at Dallas Cowboys, Sunday November 19 on NBC
Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks (-2), Monday November 20 on espn
New York Jets
San Francisco 49ers
I like the Jaguars minus-7 against the Browns based on the numbers above. Another option is a three-point teaser two-game teaser. Bring Houston to plus-5 at home versus Arizona, and the Jags to minus-4 at Cleveland. For less risk (but a lower payoff) make it six points. That would give Houston more than a touchdown (+8) and Jacksonville just a minus-1.
The Patriots will honor the newest member of the franchise’s Hall of Fame today. During a half time ceremony at Gillette Stadium the Pats will hold a ceremony for Raymond Clayborn. The legendary number 26 is coincidentally the 26th person to join the Patriots Hall of Fame.
While I most certainly hoped Clayborn would get the nod this year, I wasn’t expecting it to turn out this way. I was very pleasantly surprised that the voting by Patriot Nation looked beyond recent star players. Thank you to all Patriot fans who did a bit of research that resulted in Clayborn’s induction. Fans could have easily gone along with the more recent memories. Richard Seymour, a future Pro Football Hall of Famer in my opinion, was a finalist. So was Mike Vrabel, a key defender for three championship teams, and one of the most versatile players in NFL history.
Clayborn set the franchise record with 36 career interceptions (since tied by Ty Law). He returned three kickoffs for touchdown his rookie year, averaging 31 yards per return that season. Clayborn became a starter his second season and along with Mike Haynes combined for one of the best cornerback tandems in NFL history.
Don’t take my word on it; consider what the Pro Football Hall of Fame CB had to say on the subject.
“(NFL.com) did a poll of the top cornerback tandems, and they had myself and Lester Hayes at No. 1,” recalled Haynes. “You know what? Myself and Raymond might have been just as good. Really. Raymond Clayborn was a star.”
Clayborn was a three-time First Team All Pro but stats alone do not adequately state his impact. He was part of a core group of players that turned the franchise around from the worst team in the league to one of the NFL’s best. Perhaps if he had a Super Bowl ring – which was earned but stolen away in the Ben Dreith travesty – he and some other players from the late seventies would have been held in higher regard. Clayborn played in a team record 161 consecutive games and was named to the Patriots All-Decade Team for both the 1970s and 1980s.
Congratulations to Raymond Clayborn on this well deserved honor.
Arguably the biggest surprise of Wednesday’s New England Patriots Hall of Fame Nomination Committee meeting was the stalemate among voters between senior candidates Raymond Clayborn (cornerback) and Leon Gray (offensive tackle).
The column goes on to point out how difficult it is for older players such as Clayborn and Gray to gain entrance to the Patriots Hall of Fame, because fan voting inevitably results in younger, more recently retired players winning that popularity contest.
In regards to the ten-person senior committee, a nominee has to receive at least 80% of the votes. Neither side wanting Clayborn or Gray backed down, so neither got enough votes. Fred Marion and Ron Burton were the other nominees.
Reiss has a rather ominous speculation for those of us that have lobbied not only for Clayborn, but for more consideration and genuine opportunity for those that were part of the franchise prior to 2000.
It sparks the question of whether either will break the 80 percent senior threshold in the coming years to earn induction.
Is it time to change the process for Patriots Hall of Fame?
The time has come to at least reconsider the entire process for enshrinement to the Patriots Hall of Fame. It was a nice gesture by Robert Kraft to include fans by having them vote for the three finalists. That process however has proven to be flawed. The most recently retired players are fresh in people’s minds, and garner more votes. Older players don’t stand a chance of recognition.
Maybe the roles should be reversed. Have fans vote for the nominees, with a maximum number on the players and/or coaches from each decade. Then send those nominations to the entire committee to be pared to three finalists. Have the entire committee reconvene and vote on the winner. Make the whole process transparent by making the votes public.
We already waited too long for Houston Antwine, Jim Nance, Julius Adams and Chuck Fairbanks to be honored publicly, before they passed away. Let’s not let that happen again with Raymond Clayborn and other Patriot legends.
Houston Antwine was born on April 11, 1939; he would have been 78 today. He was one of the best players in football history that is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Antwine is also the greatest player in Patriot history that most Pats fans don’t know about.
Antwine played in 142 games over eleven seasons for the Patriots. 270 pounds may not be big by today’s standards, but in 1961 it was. Houston Antwine was a man among boys, constantly commanding double or even triple teams by opposing offenses. He wasn’t just some big slug though; Antwine was extremely athletic, using skills he had acquired as a collegiate wrestling champion. ’Twine was not only strong but also very quick on his feet, and nearly impossible to move out of the middle. He was also a well-rounded, versatile player; not only devastating against the run, but also tenacious on his pass rush, totaling 39 sacks in his career and leading the Pats in sacks three straight years.
“Houston Antwine was the kind of football player you don’t forget if you ever saw him, but he’s the kind few remember today because he did his playing before ESPN highlight shows existed. If they had, ‘Twine would have been a staple because he was everything you wanted in a defensive tackle — Warren Sapp before there was a Warren Sapp, but without the need for volume control.”
Antwine was an AFL All-Star six straight years, and was named to the All-Time All-AFL Team. Now stop and think about that for a moment. If a player that was named to the NFL’s all time team of the decade for say the 1990’s or 2000’s that also went to six consecutive Pro Bowls, would there even be any discussion as to whether or not he should be voted in to the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Probably not. Yet Antwine earned identical honors that just so happened to be at an earlier time. Why was he be penalized for that?
Perhaps the biggest reason is because it took far too long for his own team to honor him. The Pats set up their team Hall of Fame in 1991. John Hannah was the original inductee, in the same year he became the first Patriot enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The following year Nick Buoniconti and Gino Cappelletti got their bust at Patriot Place. Antwine was more deserving these two legends though. Buoniconti is more well known for his championships in Miami rather than his seven seasons with the Patriots. As good as Cappelletti was he was never the league’s premier player at a position the way Antwine was.
Legitimate cases can be made for those three, but not for the next group. In 1993 the Pats’ HoF added three more players from the sixties. Nothing against Bob Dee, Jim Lee Hunt or Babe Parilli, but Houston Antwine was a far more dominant football player. In terms of the Hall of Fame the Patriots were ‘on to the seventies and eighties’ after that, for all intents done with AFL-era players.
Yes, the Patriots eventually did add Antwine to the hall in 2015. Sadly it was four years after he passed away. He deserved to go in twenty-plus years earlier, while he was still alive. So why did that not happen? His play on the field was such that he deserved to be the first player after John Hannah to enter the Patriot Hall of Fame.
Rumor has it that some of the old time writers did not care for him. Maybe he wasn’t friendly enough with the old guard and they held a grudge. He was one of 22 players to boycott the 1965 AFL all star game in New Orleans, where Jim Crow laws and blatant racism still prevailed; maybe that protest against conditions there had something to do with it.
Regardless of the reason, it started a vicious circle. The thought process was that if Antwine’s own team would not honor him, he couldn’t have been good enough for the Pro Football Hall of Fame – who already were showing an obvious bias against consideration for AFL players.
More time passed, and fewer and fewer writers and fans were old enough to remember or appreciate Antwine. The thinking of those nominating and voting for for the Patriot Hall of Fame mirrored that of those voting for enshrinement to Canton. On the rare occasion his name was brought up it was quickly dismissed. The sentiment was that ‘he couldn’t have been that good if all these other old timers are in and he is not’.
Commencing in 2011 a ten-person senior committee was formed. They were scheduled to convene and have the option of adding one Patriot that had been retired for at least 25 years. It seemed like such a no-brainer; Antwine surely would finally be honored in Foxboro. He had already been a finalist three times, futily up against more recent and recognizable players. Incredibly his election still did not happen. Jon Morris was a good guy with a nice career but he was not close to the same level of player as Houston Antwine. Apparently the old time writers refused to let go of whatever grudges they were holding on to.
In December of 2005 Antwine was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The disease was allegedly caused by repeated blows to the head from his playing days, back when concussions were just “dings” and players were expected to just shake it off and keep going. Houston Antwine passed away in December of 2011 at the age of 72, a few months after Morris was inducted to the Pats Hall of Fame. The senior committee must have felt a bit of remorse; they then voted Antwine in the next time they met.
Fan voting for the Patriots Hall of Fame will commence in the next few days. Hopefully Pats fans will carefully consider “forgotten” players such as Raymond Clayborn, and not simply cast their ballot for the most recently retired nominee.
Today in the history of the New England Patriots we celebrate the birthday of the man, the myth, the legend: Ernie Adams. Ernie Adams turns turns 64 on March 31. The Pats’ Football Research Director is Bill Belichick’s trusted right hand man. Though he avoids publicity more than Greta Garbo, Adams is arguably one of the three most important people to the team’s success this millennium. March 31 is also the birth date of former Patriots Jim Colclough and Bam Childress.
Ernie Adams – Patriot Football Research Director
As a youth Ernie Adams’ primary interests were military history and football strategy. ‘Interest’ is actually putting it extremely mildly. As a teen Adams owned a copy of Football Scouting Methods, an obscure book read almost exclusively by a select group professional football scouts. That book was written by one Steve Belichick – Bill Belichick’s father. As fate would have it the two would meet when the younger Belichick enrolled at Phillips Academy. The perfect alliance was born.
Adams enrolled at Northwestern University where he sought a job as a student assistant on the football coaching staff, and his coaching career took off. After graduation he bugged Chuck Fairbanks for a job as an unpaid assistant, and New England’s coach finally relented. He immediately impressed far beyond expectations. After Fairbanks departed for greener pastures, Adams caught on with the New York Giants. Once there he told head coach Ray Perkins there was somebody he needed to hire: Bill Belichick. Adams moved up the ranks and was Bill Parcells’ director of pro personnel from 1982-85. After becoming frustrated with the Giants he left football to become a bonds trader on Wall Street.
Belichick and Adams reunited when BB became Cleveland’s head coach in 1991. Art Modell – who should go down in infamy for firing the two greatest coaches in pro football history – dumped Belichick on his way out of town for Baltimore. Adams was apparently not eager to again work for Bill Parcells, and started his own investment business.
Ernie Adams joins the New England Patriots
Adams joined the Patriots’ staff when Belichick became New England’s head coach in 2000. Adams is known for thinking outside of the box, beyond the scope of traditional football thought. A Rutgers statistics professor once published a study on when teams should go for a two-point conversion. Adams was the only NFL person to contact the professor to follow up on his work. From his viewpoint up above in the coaches box, Adams is one of the few with direct communications to Belichick.
Tom Brady said Adams “knows more about professional football than anyone I ever met.” Brady added “You have to make (the defense) defend the width of the field and the length of the field. Ernie told me, he once told me, ‘Make them defend every blade of grass.’ I think that’s a great thing to do. They’ve got to be able to – that’s how you stress the defense. You can force the ball to all different parts of the field, and they never really know who’s going to get it.”
I highly recommend that everyone read (or re-read) David Halberstam’s Education of a Coach for more insight on Ernie Adams. If you don’t have a copy already you can get one on Amazon for a couple bucks. In the interim, check out these articles; they are well worth the time to read them (despite in some cases the source).
The Quincy native and Boston College grad was an original Patriot and star of the American Football League. He was a late draft pick of Washington in 1959. Colclough did not make the Redskin roster and then played in Canada for one year. Colclough is a member of the Pats’ All-Decade Team of the 1960’s. He caught 283 passes for 5001 yards, averaging 17.7 yards per reception while scoring 39 touchdowns.
An all-time Patriot … has provided Pats fans through the years with some of their greatest thrills … ranks behind only (Lance) Allworth and Dubenion in best all-time AFL average gain with passes caught (17.6) … ranks ninth in top ten of all-time AFL pass receivers.
Jim Colclough was one of the original Patriots, having played with Boston from 1960 through 1968. He was also one of the most productive wide receivers in franchise history, a fact not widely know among some of the later-generation Patriots fans since his playing days came in the early days when pro football was just getting its foothold in New England.
But make no mistake, Jim had some of the best hands in the game.
Jim spent a season in 1965 with the New York Jets where he developed a close friendship with superstar Joe Namath. Later, along with the Bruins Derek Sanderson, they opened a sports bar in Boston’s Park Square called The Bachelors 3.
After football, Jim got a Masters in Education. He was the head coach at Boston State (Div. III) and won the league championship in 1978-79. He also worked in the financial services field and authored a Lotus program eventually bought by New England Life.
Colclough launched his professional career as a defensive back for a season in the Canadian Football League, but returned to his native New England in 1960 when he signed as a receiver with the Boston Patriots of the American Football League. That year, he led the team with 49 receptions for 666 yards and nine touchdowns. For the next nine seasons, he was one of the most productive players in the AFL, compiling 283 career receptions for 5,001 yards and 39 touchdowns. His 17.7-yard average per reception remains third in franchise history and his 39 touchdown receptions currently ranks fourth.
He held the Patriots career record with 5,001 yards receiving until Stanley Morgan eclipsed it in 1983 and he remains one of only five Patriots players to reach the 5,000-yard receiving plateau. His 283 career receptions still ranks seventh in franchise history.
On a side not, for more on Bachelor’s 3 check out the following:
As a basketball player in high school Childress averaged 18 points per game and his team won the state championship. His football team made it to the state semifinals. Childress set school career records for scoring (202 points), touchdowns (33), receiving yards (2,258), touchdown receptions (21), punt returns for a touchdown (seven) and all-purpose yardage (7,103). Childress was named the state of Ohio’s ‘Mr. Football’ in 1999. He began his college football career at Ohio State as a cornerback, then reverted to his role at wide receiver.
The Patriots signed the 5-foot-10-inch, 185-pound Childress as an undrafted rookie in July of 2005. The Pats worked Childress out at both corner and receiver and he spent nearly the full season on the practice squad. Childress was activated for the final 2005 regular season game. In the game most well known for Doug Flutie’s drop kick, Childress saw his first NFL action. He caught three out of four passes thrown his way for 32 yards, with a long of 21. Childress also had five tackles (two solo).
Childress was part of final training camp cuts in 2006. He spent most of the season on the practice squad, activated for the season opener and a week 15 game. He spent all of 2007 on New England’s practice squad and then signed with Philadelphia. The Eagles cut Childress just prior to the start of the 2008 season. He signed on with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders but was once again a final training camp cut. Childress is now back in Ohio, employed as a State Farm insurance agent.
Other notable NFL players born today include: Jimmy Johnson (79), 3/31/1938 – Not as well known as either the coach-turned-broadcaster or race car driver, this Jimmy Johnson was a five-time Pro Bowl, Hall of Fame corner for San Francisco. John Taylor (55), 3/31/1962 – caught Joe Montana’s 10-yard touchdown pass with 34 seconds to play to cap a 20-16 Superbowl comeback victory over Cincinnati. James Jones (33), 3/31/1984 – Packer wide receiver had 14 touchdown receptions in 2012, and had five 50+ reception seasons. Mark Tuinei (3/31/1960-5/6/1999) – Left Tackle won three Superbowls with Dallas. Ed Marinaro, 67 (3/31/1950) – Heisman Trophy runner-up from Cornell is more well known as Officer Joe Coffey on the 80’s television series Hill Street Blues.
Today in New England Patriots history we say happy birthday to Charlie Weis. He was part of the Pats coaching staff for eight seasons. Weis earned three Super Bowl rings as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator for Super Bowls 36, 38 and 39. He won another ring as part of Bill Parcells’ staff when the Giants beat the Bills 20-19 in Super Bowl 25.
After 11 years of high school and college coaching, he joined Bill Parcells’ New York Giant coaching staff in 1990. After three years with the Giants he rejoined Parcells in 1993 in New England. In 1994 as TE coach Ben Coates was an All Pro with career highs of 96 receptions and 1174 yards receiving. The next season as RB coach rookie Curtis Martin rushed for 1487 yards and 14 touchdowns. In 1996 as WR coach rookie Terry Glenn had a career-high 90 receptions, and 1132 yards receiving.
Not a flash in the pan, Weis earned two more rings in Super Bowls 38 and 39. He left New England to become head coach of Notre Dame in 2005. Later he was the OC for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010, OC for the Florida Gators in 2011, and head coach at Kansas from 2012-14. Though he may be bored now that he is no longer working, his family should be set for generations thanks to buyouts.
Dave Chapple – Punter, 1974
Dave Chapple, 70 (3/30/1947)
Chapple was a productive punter and kicker at the University of California at Santa Barbara. In 1966 he kicked ten field goals, which would have been an NCAA record – but Jan Stenerud kicked 13 the same year. Chapple was an All-American and selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1969 draft. A slipped disc delayed his football career and he eventually signed with the Bills in 1971.
The following year Chapple joined the Rams and was named to the Pro Bowl, averaging 44.2 yards per punt. Perhaps even more impressive is that his net average was almost the same, 42.1 yards per punt. In one game at Soldier Field he averaged over 50 yards on his five punts.
Chapple’s punts started losing distance though, perhaps due to the bad back. He went from LA to New England in 1974. With the Patriots he averaged 35.4 yards on 26 punts, and did not play in the league again. In 40 NFL games he averaged 40.2 yards on his 162 punts.
Going back to his youth Chapple was very interested in painting. Over the last 40-plus years he has been an accomplished artist, particularly in oil paintings and sculptures.
In the first year of the Pete Carroll era the Patriots selected Canty with the 29th pick of the 1997 draft. That choice by Bobby Grier, with Bill Parcells no longer over his shoulder, would go down in infamy as one of the worst draft picks in the history of the franchise. Canty seemed to put more effort into his excessive celebrations over insignificant plays than in becoming a productive player. The Pats jettisoned Canty after just two seasons and he was out of the NFL two years later. He later spent four years playing Arena football.
Long was a steady starter on a solid Ram defense for several years. However he missed ten games in 2014 with an ankle injury and four more in 2015 due to a knee injury. Upon his return Jeff Fisher kept William Hayes as his starter, leaving Long as a situational reserve. The Rams had previously restructured Long’s contract which created a cap number of $14 million for 2016. Not surprisingly he was cut as one of several cap saving moves.
Long visited with Dallas, Washington and Atlanta, and then signed a one-year deal for $2 million with the Patriots on March 18, 2016. Having previously cashed in with two large contracts, Long was secure with leaving some money on the table in order to play for a Superbowl contender.
After eight years of wallowing in St. Louis Ram mediocrity, Long finally not only experienced a winning season but also the playoffs and a Superbowl victory. Though it did not show up in the stat sheet Long did have key plays in the improbable comeback victory over Atlanta. On one key play his bull rush over Jake Matthews applied pressure from the right, so Matt Ryan could not turn that way. This was on Dont’a Hightower’s oft-replayed strip sack and fumble recovered by Alan Branch. That play may have been a big reason why Long was able to draw Matthews into a holding penalty on the subsequent drive. That flag resulted in a loss of ten yards and kept Atlanta out of field goal range. It was one of several plays that was the difference between a Superbowl win or loss.
Off the field the Chris Long Foundation’s signature project is The Waterboys. It unites NFL players and fans to raise awareness and funds with a goal to install 32 deep borehole wells in East Africa. Each well costs $45,000 and serves up to 7,500 people.
3/28 12:05 pm update: Long has reportedly signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Reche Caldwell – Patriot WR, 2006
Reche Caldwell, 38 (3/28/1979)
Like many pro athletes, Caldwell excelled in multiple sports as a youth. In high school he threw 77 touchdown passes and also set several school records in baseball. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1998 but opted to play football instead. Caldwell stayed in state and went to the University of Florida. There he played for Steve Spurrier at the end of the Fun-n-Gun era. On offense he played alongside future NFL players such as Rex Grossman, Jabar Gaffney and Earnest Graham.
Caldwell finished his junior year with 65 receptions for 1,059 yards and ten touchdowns. San Diego then selected him in the second round of the 2002 draft, 48th overall. He spent four years with the Chargers, never quite living up to his draft status. Over that span Caldwell had 76 catches for 950 yards and seven touchdowns.
Following the 2005 season Patriot free agent David Givens signed with Tennessee. Troy Brown would soon turn 35. Depth at the wide receiver position needed to be replenished, and the Pats signed UFA Caldwell. At the same time Deion Branch was in the last year of his rookie contract. He held out and was eventually traded after lengthy and bitter negotiations. Rookie Chad Jackson injured his hamstring in training camp. Rather than being a third or fourth option at WR, Caldwell was suddenly by default forced to be the primary receiver.
In that 2006 season Caldwell had 61 receptions (on 101 targets) for 760 yards and four touchdowns. The playoffs started well as he caught 12 of the 15 passes thrown his way over two games, for 130 yards. That included a TD against his old team in a 24-21 victory at San Diego.
2006 AFCCG at Indianapolis
Caldwell was targeted nine times against Indy, catching just four passes. At one point Caldwell muffed a perfectly thrown pass in the corner of the end zone. Then with under ten minutes to go and the score tied, Caldwell was left uncovered on a botched Colt defensive assignment. Brady threw to Caldwell for what should have been an easy catch and an 18 yard waltz into the end zone. Caldwell became overanxious and turned too soon – even though no defender was remotely close to him – and dropped the ball. Two plays later he was unable to catch another pass and the Patriots had to settle for a field goal. The Colts came back to win the AFCCG 38-34. The NFC was weak that year; the winner of that game was the defacto Superbowl champion. It was a huge missed opportunity for the Patriots.
Bill Belichick retooled his offense the following season with the additions of Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Caldwell was cut on September 3, 2007 and spent one final NFL season with Washington. His post-NFL career did not go well.
Caldwell returned to his old Tampa neighborhood and opened up a gambling parlor. His problem was that it was successful, and he never considered that perhaps he should keep a low profile. After the inevitable arrest for bookmaking and running a gambling house, Caldwell posted bond. He kept hanging out with his old crew and saw how popular Ecstasy was at the clubs. Caldwell made the absurdly foolish decision to buy some Molly over the internet as his next business venture. That resulted in a 27-month prison sentence.
The 6’1, 240 lb linebacker went to college at Tennessee-Chattanooga. He was one of the replacement players in 1987 when the NFLPA went on strike. Moore started in all three of those replacement games, with one fumble recovery.
Wagner was with five different teams over nine season in the NFL. With the Browns in 1997 he led the league in number of punts with 97; the following season he led the NFL with four punts blocked. He signed with the Patriots in 1991 but was released after three games. Wagner was averaging a mere 29.1 net yards on his 14 punts.
Doig is a New England native. He was born in Melrose, played hockey at North Reading High School and went to the University of New Hampshire. At UNH he was the ECAC player of the year. Detroit selected Doig in the third round of the 1982 draft, 69th overall. Over three seasons with the Lions he appeared in 34 games with four starts.
The Patriots signed Doig in 1986, after he had not played at all the previous season. He played in five games for the Pats in ’86, and one more in 1987. Doig also appeared in the playoff loss to Denver following the 1986 season. The Pats waived Doig on September 8, 1987.
Doig’s biggest highlight came in the last game played at the Orange Bowl. In the ’86 season finale Doig recovered a fumbled kickoff to give the Patriots the ball at the Miami 24. On the next play Craig James fumbled the ball away, and Tony Eason injured his shoulder making the tackle. Steve Grogan replaced Eason and later threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Stanley Morgan with 44 seconds remaining. That gave the Patriots a 34-27 victory, and the AFC East title.
Lonnie Farmer – Patriot LB, 1964-66
Lonnie Farmer, 77 (3/28/1940)
Farmer played in 31 games over three seasons for the Pats, but his carer was cut short by a knee injury. This is from the 1966 Patriots Media Guide:
This rebel belter from Lookout Mountain, Tenn., enters his third pro season with best prospects ever … lost last season with a knee injury … otherwise would have been a regular … is one of the surest, toughest tacklers on Patriots team … is one of Coach Holovak’s best on the suicide squad … was brought to Boston’s pros by fellow Chattanooga alumnus Charley Long … was Williamson All-American and AP second team All-American in ’63 … has a real taste for action … intense competitor … injury free season could give Lonnie a shot at All-Star honors.
Left to right: defensive tackle Jim Lee Hunt, safety Ron Hall, and linebacker Lonnie Farmer.
Other NFL notables born on March 28 include: Geno Atkins (29), five-time Pro Bowl DT for Cincinnati Bengals. NaVorro Bowman (29), four-time All Pro LB for San Francisco 49ers. Derek Carr (26), two-time Pro Bowl QB for the Oakland Las Vegas Raiders. Jim Turner (76), AFL-AFC kicker for the Jets and Broncos
There is only one March 29 Patriot birthday, so I will insert it here.
Chris Calloway – Patriot WR, 2000
Chris Calloway, 49 (3/29/1968)
Calloway is most well known for seven years with the Giants. He was their leading receiver for four straight years. Calloway had receptions in a team record 47 straight games, and at the time he ranked third in franchise history with 334 receptions. He was originally drafted by Pittsburgh in 1990, but only spent two seasons with the Steelers.
In 1999 theGiants released Calloway, attempting to get younger and also save money. Calloway signed a $4 million contract with Atlanta, which was very big money at that time. He caught only 22 passes and the Falcons let him go after one season.
During training camp in 2000 Bill Belichick axed Vincent Brisby and signed Calloway. By that time though he was 32 and his best days were behind him. Calloway appeared in seven games with two starts for New England. He had only five receptions for 95 yards while with the Patriots. The Pats cut him on October 21, 2000. Calloway finished his NFL career with 386 receptions for 5497 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Other NFL notables born on March 29 include: Earl Campbell (62), Houston Oiler Hall of Fame running back. Ryan Kalil (32), Carolina Panther five time Pro Bowl center. Justin Tuck (34), two time Pro Bowl defensive end.
In 2015 Coleman appeared in twelve games with two starts. He appeared primarily as a nickel back and was on the field for 45% of the defense’s snaps. Coleman finished the season with 17 tackles and five passes defensed. He also had seven tackles in the two playoff games. The following April the Patriots signed the exclusive rights free agent to a one-year, $525,000 contract.
Coleman played a bit more on special teams last year. He participated in 292 snaps over the course of the 2016 season. With the addition of Eric Rowe however, Coleman’s playing time dwindled. He appeared in only three games after the week 10 loss to Seattle and was a healthy inactive for each of the three playoff games. On March 16 Coleman signed his ERFA tender, a one-year deal for $625,000.
David Key, 49 (3/27/1968)
Patriot Safety, 1991
David Bavaro, 50 (3/27/1967)
Patriot LB, 1993-94
The Danvers native is the brother of former Giants TE Mark Bavaro. David Bavaro was the leading tackler at Syracuse, when Dick MacPherson coached the Orange. The Phoenix Cardinals selected Bavaro with the 225th overall pick in the ninth round of the 1990 draft. After splitting time with the Cardinals, Bills and Vikings, the Patriots signed Bavaro in 1993. That season he played in twelve games, which was Bill Parcells first year with the Pats. Bavaro finished with one defensive tackle, six special teams tackles and a fumble recovery. The following year he started five games, with twelve defensive tackles.
With knee injuries taking a toll on his body, Chilton retired in 1993. Over three seasons he appeared in 36 games for the Patriots with 35 starts.
Jerry Patton (3/27/1946-5/20/1983)
Patriot DT, 1975
Patton was named MVP at Saginaw High School in not just football, but also basketball and track. He was then a three-year starter at defensive end at Nebraska. Undrafted, he played semi-pro football in the Continental Football League for two years. In 1971 Patton bucked odds and landed a spot on Minnesota’s roster. He started all but one game over the next three seasons, two with Buffalo and one in Philadelphia. He appeared in the final three games of the 1975 season for Chuck Fairbanks’ Patriots, but did not play in the NFL after that.
Patton then returned to Saginaw where he was active in community affairs. He was a president of the Saginaw Athletic Club, ran a Sickle Cell Celebrity Golf Tournament, organized a Midget Football League, and ran sports clinics at schools and rec centers. After a lengthy illness Patton passed away at the age of 37.
The Duke, Gino Cappelletti is not the only Patriot born on March 26. Kyle Van Noy and Eric Kettani are also among a group of present or former Boston/New England Patriots to be born on this date. Mr. Patriot is such a significant story of the Pats that he deserved his own column. Here is a look at other Patriots born today.
Kyle Van Noy, 26 (3/26/1991)
Patriot OLB, 2016-
Van Noy was a versatile high school athlete who lettered in four sports. His senior year he had ten tackles for a loss, six forced fumbles, 14 sacks and a pick six. Van Noy also caught 35 passes 731 yards and 18 touchdowns. After leading his team to a 14-0 record and state championship he was recruited by more than a dozen colleges, choosing BYU.
At Brigham Young he registered 226 total tackles, 62 tackles for loss, 26 sacks, 17 forced fumbles and seven interceptions. The Detroit Lions drafted him in the second round of the 2014 draft, 40th overall. Things got off to a bad start almost immediately.
Van Noy suffered the first injury of his football career in training camp. After undergoing surgery he missed the first eight games of the season. Upon return he was used sparingly. Van Noy was on the field for a mere 54 defensive snaps the final nine games of the season (including a playoff game) and finished the season with six total tackles.
The writing was on the wall. At the following year’s combine Detroit GM Martin Mayhew had this to say when asked about Van Noy’s future:
“That’s totally up to him. He can have a huge role if he has a great offseason and plays great. If he doesn’t have a great offseason, and doesn’t play great, then his role won’t be as big.”
“I think a lot of times with young players, not him specifically, but they come from a place where they’ve been great players and super stars and then they come into a new team and now they have to work their way up and play special teams and do things they didn’t do in college. Sometimes that’s an adjustment. But really, it’s totally up to him as to how he performs and how he is feeling and all those things.”
A Detroit beat writer speculates that due to injuries to DeAndre Levy and other Lion linebackers, Van Noy was asked to do too much too soon. After seven games with varying roles Van Noy was traded to New England on October 25, 2016. The Patriots gave up virtually nothing for the linebacker. The Pats only had to move down slightly (24 spots) very late in the draft for his services. Detroit received just a sixth round pick (215th overall) in exchange for Van Noy and a seventh rounder (239th overall).
The 5’9″ 240 pound back was one of three players from Navy that the Patriots signed as undrafted free agents in May of 2009. All had to fulfill their military commitments first, and Kettani was activated from the Pats’ Reserve/Military list in May of 2011. He was released as part of the final camp cuts that September, then signed to the practice squad after clearing waivers.
In October he was denied leave from the Navy and had to return to active duty, but the Patriots re-signed him the following spring. Kettani was then cut again at the end of camp in 2012. The Pats added him to the practice squad on September 1, but released him four days later to make room for OL Jeremiah Warren. Kettani later spent time on practice squads with Washington, Kansas City and Jacksonville.
John Cagle, 70 (3/26/1947)
Patriot DE, 1969
Cagle was a first team All-ACC defensive tackle at Clemson in 1968. The Patriots took a flyer on 6’3″ 260 lb lineman, drafting him 344th overall in the 14th round of the 1969 draft. Clive Rush originally planned on converting Cagle to guard or linebacker and he impressed enough to end up on the taxi squad. Half way through the season he was promoted to the active roster and appeared in six games at defensive end. Cable returned for the 1970 training camp, but those six games were the extent of his NFL career.
Bill Murphy, 71 (3/26/1946)
Patriot WR, 1968
Murphy attended Cornell, where he set Ivy League single-season records with 50 receptions for 853 yards and nine touchdowns. He was Cornell’s MVP in 1967, and his 163 yards receiving against Harvard was a school record that stood for 25 years. The Patriots signed Murphy in 1968 as a rookie free agent but he was released in training camp. He joined the the Lowell Giants of the old Atlantic Coast League. With things going south in his final season as head coach, Mike Holovak signed Murphy to the roster.
Although not blessed with blazing speed, Murphy had good moves and sure hands. Murphy played the final six games of the 1968 season for the Patriots, starting five times. He ended up with 18 receptions for 268 yards, averaging 14.9 yards per reception. In week ten he had four receptions for 72 yards at Kansas City, and followed that up the next week with four catches for 74 yards against Miami. Murphy returned the following summer but did not make the 1969 roster.
With his pro football career over Murphy put his Ivy League education to good use. He worked on Wall Street, specializing in commodities futures and later opened his own brokerage firm. In 1998 he co-founded the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, where he is the chairman. That organization was organized to expose, oppose, and litigate against collusion to control the price and supply of gold and related financial instruments. Murphy still works as a financial adviser, specializing in investments in gold and silver.
Jimmy Raye, 71 (3/26/1946)
Offensive Coordinator, 1990
Raye had a very brief NFL career, appearing in two games over two years with the Rams and Eagles. He then spent six years as a college assistant coach. In 1977 he began a 37-year career as an NFL coach. Over that time he changed teams fifteen times with titles ranging from position coach to offensive coordinator to senior offensive assistant.
1990 was the bottom of the abyss in the history of the Patriots. Raye was the OC of a team that went 1-15, distracted by the Lisa Olson scandal.
Incredibly that is not the most embarrassing mark on Raye’s résumé. He is currently a senior adviser to Roger Goodell’s right hand man and mouthpiece, NFL vice president Troy Vincent. How he lives with himself, I do not know.