Tag Archives: Super Bowl LI

PHOTOS: Chris Long Retires From The NFL

Robert Alvarez
May 21, 2019 at 7:45 pm ET

Over the weekend, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end and former New England Patriot Chris Long formally announced his retirement from football.

Long played 11 seasons in the NFL, eight with the St. Louis Rams, one with the Patriots, and two with the Eagles.

On Instagram Monday, Julian Edelman shared a funny congratulatory message, sharing a locker room photo from 2016 of Long wearing an eerily similar mask of Edelman’s face.

“Going to miss this guy being in the league. He was Great teammate, and even better example of how to be a pro. His ability to be involved with the community is second to none. The father he is and family man he is everything! He made the game more fun. All this said, still my second favorite Long. Love ya bubs and congrats on an amazing career!” Edelman wrote in a caption.


Kyle Van Noy also shared his congratulations.

Speaking with NBC Sports’ Peter King, Long reflected back on his time with the Patriots, mainly head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

“In New England, I learned so much about football. I always thought I was a smart player, even though I never thought about anything but the six inches in front of my face. In New England, I was forced to learn so many schematic concepts. In my career playing football, nobody asked me to do as much as Bill Belichick did. I might be 3-technique, or a linebacker, or a linebacker dropping into coverage more than ever, or playing inside more than ever. I’ll always remember how much I learned watching Bill in practice. He can coach any position as good as any position coach in league. He can walk around the field and stop drills and coach each position—at the highest level. And the quality of the dudes. Solid men. The right kind of people.

Long later went on to say, “Tom Brady blew me away. Who’s the most famous athlete of our generation: Tom Brady? LeBron? Messi? Ronaldo? Serena Williams? Maybe I haven’t been around enough to know how the biggest stars really act. But Brady is a normal guy. When I got there, here comes Tom. ‘Hey Chris, I’m Tom, nice to meet you.’ Well, yeah, I know you’re Tom. A lot of people want to hate him for all the success, and I understand how you can dislike the Patriots, but I cannot understand how you can dislike Tom.”

Long walks away from the NFL with 70.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and 338 tackles and two Super Bowl rings (New England 2016 and Philadelphia 2017).

Malcolm Mitchell Reflects Back On Time With Patriots

Robert Alvarez
February 21, 2019 at 8:50 pm ET

Malcolm Mitchell continues to show love and appreciation for the New England Patriots.

On Twitter this week, Mitchell sent out tweets reflecting back on his short, but memorable time in Foxborough, calling the Patriots one of his “guardian angels”.

The tweets come on the heels of an injury grievance he filed against the Patriots back in September.

Mitchell was cut in August 2018 without an injury designation, so he didn’t receive any of his $630,000 season salary and is seeking full recoupment.

His NFL career started strong, finishing with 401 yards receiving on 32 receptions and four touchdowns in 14 games played in 2016.

Mitchell also had a key role in Super Bowl LI, hauling in six of his seven targets for 70 yards during the historic comeback. Five of those receptions came in the fourth quarter.

His biggest play of the game came on a 12-yard catch that resulted in a first down on third-and-11.

The reception helped set up a touchdown and two-point conversion that trimmed the Patriot deficit to 28-20.

Since his promising rookie season Mitchell has battled knee injuries, including one that sidelined him the entire 2017 season.

His injury history dates back even further to his time at the University of Georgia.

Mitchell tore his ACL in 2013 and suffered another knee injury in 2014.

The Patriots elected to cut ties with Mitchell when it became apparent his knee issues were going to linger into 2018.

“He did everything he could. It’s unfortunate it didn’t work out…I don’t know how he could have put in any more than he did,” head coach Bill Belichick said last August.

ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss caught up with Mitchell in his native Valdosta, GA before Super Bowl LIII.

“I’m still motivated, I’m still encouraged, I’m recovering — the last surgery totaled out to be No. 10, and it takes a little while to come back from it,” Mitchell told ESPN.com. “But I am working my way back. And I’ll be back.”

Despite the legal matters and recovery process, Mitchell still keeps in touch with old teammates and holds no ill feelings towards the franchise that drafted him.

“I still have New England in my heart. I think I always will, Jonathan Jones and I were great friends even before we ended up on the same team. On New Year’s, I texted everyone, from Devin McCourty, to Matthew Slater, to Tom, to Julian [Edelman]. I know Danny [Amendola] isn’t on the team any more, but we still talk. It’s fun. Duron Harmon has been a huge encouragement. So I try to keep those relationships. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be there.”

During his time away from the football field, Mitchell remains active in the community as an advocate for the importance of reading, including an author of multiple children’s books.

With four wide receivers hitting free agency this off season, perhaps the Patriots haven’t seen the last of Malcolm Mitchell.

VIDEO: Georgia Dome Collapse Set To Super Bowl Winning Touchdown

Robert Alvarez
November 21, 2017 at 7:29 pm ET

On Monday, the Atlanta Falcons officially closed the book on their history at the Georgia Dome with a controlled demolition of the facility after 25 seasons of calling it home. In 2017, the franchise moved into “Mercedes-Benz Stadium”, a brand new state of the art facility.

But that isn’t the point of this blog.

A Patriots fan on reddit saw the collapsing stadium as a perfect excuse to bring back memories of Super Bowl LI when the Falcons themselves collapsed after leading 28-3.

So why not set the demolition video to background audio of Joe Buck’s call of James White’s game winning touchdown in overtime? Yes. Perfection.

WARNING: NSFAtlanta Falcons Nation.

Georgia Dome Collapse (w/SB winning TD call) from Patriots

[h/t to r/Patriots Reddit user tallpaleandhandsome]

ICYMI PHOTO: Leftover Super Bowl Confetti Discovered In Houston

Robert Alvarez
August 22, 2017 at 8:14 am ET

The New England Patriots team may be fully “on to 2017” but the cleaning crew at NRG Stadium appeared to be still stuck in February.

Over the weekend before Saturday nights game with the Texans, the Patriots team Twitter account shared the following picture of a sideline phone bank that appeared to contain leftover Super Bowl championship confetti that rained down on the stadium following James White’s winning touchdown.

As of this posting, the Super Bowl was 198 days ago so hopefully the tweet altered the attention of the Texans, and they can have that cleaned up before the season begins because those are likely some dusty phones.

In the meantime, the discovery served as one final reminder to yet another memorable championship moment for the Patriots franchise in the city of Houston. Maybe they can mail the pieces to The Hall at Patriot place?

ICYMI: Robert Kraft Gifts Tom Brady’s Mother A Super Bowl Ring

Robert Alvarez
August 7, 2017 at 9:31 am ET

Tom Brady may now have five Super Bowl rings, but he is no longer the only member of his family to possess one.

In a recent article by ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, it was confirmed that team owner and CEO Robert Kraft surprised Tom’s mother, Galynn Brady, with her very own Super Bowl LI championship ring this offseason.

For most of 2016, Galynn was battling an undisclosed form of cancer that caused her to miss all but one game of the season, that one game was Super Bowl LI. Using his mother as an inspiration, Tom Brady willed the Patriots to one of the most improbable wins in NFL history as Galynn was by her son’s side when the celebratory confetti fell.

“He’s been so supportive of my family and certainly everything my mom went through and knowing first-hand how families deal with it,” Brady told Reiss this past Friday when asked about the move. “He was always asking, ‘How’s mom doing? How is she feeling?’ We didn’t know up until the very end whether she was going to make it to the Super Bowl. She was a big inspiration for me, and [Kraft] knew it. It was a great surprise to all of us when the ring showed up. She deserves it.”

According to a June article by the Boston Globes Christopher Gasper, Galynn finished her cancer treatments back in April.

On Monday, Brady shared an old high school photograph of the two of them together with a heartfelt message.

Massachusetts Farm To Commemorate Tom Brady With Corn Maze

Robert Alvarez
July 18, 2017 at 8:32 pm ET

Later this fall when the New England Patriots return to action to defend their Super Bowl championship, “Sauchuk’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch” in Plympton, Massachusetts planned to honor Tom Brady in a corn maze design revealed on their Facebook page last week.

In an interview with with Boston.com, the owner of Sauchuk Farm, Scott Sauchuk said the inspiration for choosing Brady “was based on the team’s historic Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons earlier this year.”

“He’s the MVP of the Super Bowl with the outstanding comeback that they made and looking forward to doing it again next year,” Sauchuk said. “He sort of exemplifies New England sports.”

“We try to find something that is relevant,” Sauchuk told Boston.com. “We wanted to do something with sports and wanted to do something on it for the past few years. With the Super Bowl, it was a good opportunity.”

According to the story, the maze will open September 16th and run for seven weekends through october 29th.

Posted by Sauchuk's Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch on Thursday, July 13, 2017

VIDEO: Super Bowl LI Reenacted With Lego Blocks

Robert Alvarez
June 13, 2017 at 8:00 am ET

Just when you think you’ve seen every replay of Super Bowl LI in the last five months, another viral video comes along offering a new perspective on the greatest comeback of all time, this time in the form of Lego blocks.

The folks over at Bricksports who have become famous for their recreations of big games through the animation of Lego blocks, condensed all the major plays of Super Bowl LI into this unique video synced to the NFL on FOX broadcast.

Patriots Fans Leave Their Mark In San Francisco With Funny Graffiti

Robert Alvarez
June 5, 2017 at 7:07 pm ET

While the New England Patriots franchise is well “on to 2017”, the fanbase is still celebrating the wild come from behind championship win right through the summer in a variety of fashions.

While we at PatsFans don’t condone vandalism, the following fire emergency box was spotted on a downtown San Francisco street with a minor “enhancement” of sorts to look like the now famous NFL on FOX Super Bowl LI 28-3 score graphic.

(Photo courtesy: @curtwoodward)

Brady Is Now Father Time’s Greatest Adversary

Fred Skott
February 12, 2017 at 11:38 am ET

Eye to eye, father time is staring down 39 year old Thomas Edward Brady. The only undefeated component for those who make a living in professional sport. Every athlete faces it, some sooner than others. The day when he or she knows they can no longer reach the greatest heights of competition and ability God had blessed them with for a career. It’s a spiritual gut check moment that haunts everyone who’s ever competed for anything in any sport. I would appreciate that stare down, it must be one for the ages, maybe the one for all ages, past present and future.

As people we wake up every morning competing with ourselves in the daily grind, to be the best we can be, no matter what it is we do. Athletes give us something to aspire to be in our everyday life. We see certain athletes strive for what we consider perfection, the mountain top of success. A place we believe exists but seems so far away we might as well be standing at the bottom of Mount Everest looking straight up at the mountain top thinking, “I’d love to see the view from up there”, while not really understanding what it would take to make it that far.

We all just want to be inspired, we want to reach a certain serenity of peace within, that gives a sense of accomplishment. Fulfillment in life, that we have done our best and allow for reflection. Which leads me to last Sunday night in Houston, on the grandest stage in all of sports. The pinnacle of competition in North America. The Super Bowl, the place where legends for all time are made and stories of their greatness gets told for generations.

At 39, Brady remains the best in the NFL. (USA TODAY Images)

Down 28-3 with 8 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter against one of the top 10 offenses in modern football history, Tom Brady, father times greatest adversary at the age of 39 took the ball at the Patriots 25 yard line and stared back at the undefeated champion and essentially said “not tonight, I own this stage and it will be remembered forever”. So, with a win probability that reached a low of 0.04 percent, on a 4th and 3 late in the 3rd, Tom Brady went to work and turned in the most mythical finish the game has ever witnessed in a pressure situation most people would run and hide from, finishing his last 5 drives including the historic OT by going 27-34 for 286 yards and 2 td’s while leading the Patriots to a 31-0 furious scoring rally that still feels surreal.

Make no mistake, there is no comparison to this remarkable comeback. The few high stakes games  that enter the conversation would be the Bills in the 1992 Wild Card game over the Houston Oilers, but that comeback took shape out of the gate in the 3rd quarter as the Bills outscored Houston 28-0 that trimmed Houston’s lead to 35-31 as the game moved to the 4th quarter. The Red Sox in 2004 over the Yankees, while they were down 3-0 in the ALCS they got a reset every night to comeback and complete their historic victory. By game 7 everyone knew the Yankees were in trouble. Early in game 7 Johnny Damon’s grand slam shut the door on New York early and left no doubt late.

Just think about this for a moment, the Patriots score a TD to make it 28-9 and then Gostkowski misses the extra point, THEN on the ensuing New England kick-off they were unsuccessful in recovering the onside kick AND they got a 5 yard penalty tacked on to the failed kick by illegally touching the ball before it traveled 10 yards. Account for every obstacle they had to overcome and you can draw no other conclusion: This was the greatest comeback in sports history.  Just the magnitude of the game coupled with the pressure and time element says so. To watch that unfold, as someone who loves sport, I feel honored it happened in my lifetime.

To be inspired, Webster says it’s to fill a person with a suddenness to do something fulfilling. To create a positive feeling in someone and give them the urge to be great. History will look at Tom Brady whether it be in words or film and show greatness, inspired greatness, the ability to overcome any obstacle, no matter how dire the circumstance may be.

As a kid growing up my father told me about Bobby Orr.  I’ve seen the films, listened to the interviews with other legends describing his greatness. I grew up watching Larry Bird and felt the same things I was told about Orr. I’ve passed those stories down to my son, who is watching Tom Brady at the age in which I saw Bird, I tell him everyday how lucky he is that back in the 1950’s his father’s aunt sought out a better life from war torn West Germany and settled in Boston Massachusetts. She would write home about how great it was, then in the early 1960’s my father followed. Lucky and blessed, to be a proud Bostonian, I couldn’t imagine being from  anywhere else. The Greatest Sports Town in America.

Defending the Falcons RBs Will Be a Key to a Patriots Victory

Steve Balestrieri
February 1, 2017 at 7:22 am ET

The Patriots are facing the #1 offense in the NFL in the Atlanta Falcons and have to stop multiple targets of Matt Ryan in order to be successful in Super Bowl LI.

It isn’t just Julio Jones, who will no doubt receive the double teams that the Pats defense has under Bill Belichick saddled on most of the top WRs that they face. Stopping the running back tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman will be just as important if not even more so on Sunday night.

Both backs are dangerous in both the running and passing game and are huge factors in the Falcons success. The Falcons’ top scoring offense excels on first down where the team averages over 6 yards per play. That sets them up for easier success in moving the chains and looking for big plays when they’re already in great position in terms of down and distance.

How do they do it? They disguise their intent as well as anyone, showing run in a tight formation or pass in a spread and use their speed to find holes in the defense. The two have combined for 2482 yards and 24 touchdowns from scrimmage in 2016 in the running and passing games.

They can run between the tackles or break it to the outside and find big yardage if the edge isn’t set. Both are excellent pass receivers out of the backfield and frequently line up as receivers split wide, much like the Patriots do with James White and Dion Lewis.

Both are very fast but Freeman is the shiftier of the two and can make more people miss. Coleman isn’t as elusive but has more speed and once he sees an opening can blast into a gap and be gone.

The Falcons will have probably studied the film the last time the Patriots lost, back in November against the Seahawks. Seattle used RB C.J. Prosise expertly, in both the running game and out of the backfield and he was a major factor in the Seahawks success.

They may also take the approach they used in their big win in Denver where both Coleman and Freeman were nearly unstoppable out of the backfield against Denver’s defense.

How do the Patriots defend against the two? It starts with Alan Branch and Malcom Brown inside. The two big men will have slow things up as they’ve done so effectively all season. If they hold the line at the point of attack, that allows the linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Elandon Roberts to fly up and make plays before the backs get to the second level.

But the players on the edge, Trey Flowers, Chris Long and Jabaal Sheard, must do a great job of setting the edge and not allowing the backs to hit the edge with speed. One thing in the Patriots favor is their tackling ability. The Pats have been one of the surer tackling teams in the NFL this season.

In the passing game, Belichick and Matt Patricia may put linebacker Kyle Van Noy or Shea McClellin in coverage against one of the tandem and may press safety Pat Chung into a coverage role down low. It is going to be an interesting chess match to see how they try to matchup. But first and most importantly they have to stop or at least slow down the running game.

In the four games where Atlanta failed to rush for more than 80 yards, they lost three of them. The Patriots were 8-0 when holding an opponent to 80 yards rushing or less. Nobody has done it to Atlanta lately and they’ve had their way with every defense they’ve faced.

The Patriots may dust off their Super Bowl XXXVI defensive game plan against Marshall Faulk and the Rams “Greatest Show on Turf”. They were very physical and hit the RB every time he came to the line. It threw off the rhythm and allowed the Patriots to hold that high-powered offense in check.

Hit them, be physical and slow their timing down while putting the offense in much less favorable conditions to make first downs is a key recipe for success. It will be a tall order against the most prolific offense in the NFL this season.

We’ll break down all of the key matchups later this week but this will definitely be one of them to watch.

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

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