Tag Archives: new england patriots

Ma-Home Alone

Image result for patrick mahomes

By Ben Kelley

December 11, 2019

Ben is a first-year undergraduate BGSU student from Uniontown, Ohio. He is a sport management major and a journalism minor. His primary interests include professional and collegiate football.

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs played up to the New England Patriots this week, with Mahomes leading his team to a 23-16 victory. However, the game almost resembled a Home Alone movie script rather than an NFL play-calling sheet.

Upon the Chiefs’ arrival in Boston last weekend, a container holding the equipment of thirty-five players went missing. The container was later found in Newark, New Jersey, and delivered to Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts before the game’s 4:30 start time. If the container had not been delivered, over half of the Chiefs’ roster would have been missing their helmets and shoulder pads (Schefter, 2019). Without the proper equipment, the players could not have played. If the players could not play, then the game would have ended in the first forfeit in NFL history (Farrar, 2019).

According to the 2019 NFL Rulebook, “If a team forfeits a game, the opponent will be declared the winner by a score of 2-0, but the points will not be added to the winning team’s record for purposes of offensive production or tie-breakers” (“2019 official playing,” 2019, p. 41). Doug Farrar makes note of this in his article “Chiefs avoid first forfeit in NFL history after equipment is diverted to New Jersey,” but other implications of the would-have-been forfeiture are not discussed by sports media (Farrar, 2019).

Both the win-loss records for the Patriots and Chiefs would have been affected by a forfeiture. The Chiefs victory would not have occurred, and the team’s record would have been 8-5. The Patriots would have gained a victory, and their record would move to 11-2. Playoff spots would not have changed, however, as each teams’ status as division leaders would remain the same. A record of 8-5 would still be good for first place in the AFC West, while the Patriots would have stayed as the AFC East winners with a record of 11-2. (“2019 NFL standings,” 2019).

A forfeiture would have also prevented one of the roughest outings for a refereeing crew this season. Multiple significant calls went against the Patriots, with two would-be touchdowns not being called. On one occasion, safety Devin McCourty punched the football out of Travis Kelce’s hands, and Stephon Gilmore picked up the football and began racing to the end zone. However, the whistles blew before Gilmore reached the end zone, signaling the end of the play.

The Patriots responded on the ensuing drive by scoring a touchdown to make up for Gilmore’s non-touchdown. Patriots’ receiver N’Keal Harry caught a pass, avoided stepping out of bounds, and dove into the end zone for six points. However, a referee blew the whistle when he thought Harry went out, and the play was not ruled a touchdown. Since Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick already had to challenge the referee’s decisions twice in the game, he was out of challenges to use. As such, the play was non-challengeable and since it was not ruled as a scoring play, the referees were not forced to review the play.

However, the referees showed little bias in the grand-scheme of penalty-calling.  Kansas City ended the game with ten penalties for a total of 136 yards against themselves. New England was only called for five penalties, with twenty-five yards against the team (“NFL Matchup,” 2019).

Ironically, the Chiefs shot a video of themselves as the actors from Home Alone two months ago. At least referees and Patriots’ fans alike can get some laughter out of the game.

References

Farrar, D. (2019, December 8). Chiefs avoid first forfeit in NFL history after equipment is diverted to New Jersey. Touchdown Wire. Retrieved from https://touchdownwire.usatoday.com/2019/12/08/chiefs-try-to-avoid-first-forfeit-in-nfl-history-after-equipment-is-diverted-to-new-jersey/

NFL Matchup. (2019, December 8). ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/matchup?gameId=401127930

Schefter, A. (2019, December 8). Chiefs get gear after it’s mistakenly sent to New Jersey. ESPN. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28252143/chiefs-get-gear-mistakenly-sent-new-jersey

2019 NFL standings & team stats. (2019). Pro Football Reference. Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2019/index.htm

2019 Official playing rules of the National Football League. (2019). NFL.com. Retrieved from https://operations.nfl.com/media/3831/2019-playing-rules.pdf

The Patriots Need to Protect Their Jewel(ian)

Image result for julian edelman injury

By Ben Kelley

November 25, 2019

Ben is a first-year undergraduate BGSU student from Uniontown, Ohio. He is a sport management major and a journalism minor. His primary interests include professional and collegiate football.

The New England Patriots are desperate to get some sort of offensive consistency. Despite quarterback Tom Brady’s undisputed ability to throw the football, the Patriots have struggled to get players who can catch the football. The instability has meant that there’s a different set of receivers available to Brady each week, and the instability is seemingly growing.

At the beginning of the season, the Patriots lined up former Pro-Bowlers Antonio Brown, Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas, and Julian Edelman at the wide receiver position. By Halloween, Brown and Gordon were cut, Thomas was traded, Mohamed Sanu was acquired from the Atlanta Falcons, and two undrafted rookie receivers – Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski – were being thrust onto the field. Receiver Philip Dorsett has offered consistency; however, he’s currently nursing a concussion while Sanu faces an ankle injury (Mason, 2019). Olszewski’s season has ended due to injury, and rookie N’Keal Harry was recently thrown into the mix (Cox, 2019). In short, only one wide receiver has been available to Brady each week – Julian Edelman. Edelman has capitalized on the opportunity, with 112 targets, 76 receptions, 809 receiving yards, 4 touchdown catches, one touchdown pass, and 15 passing yards in twelve games (“Julian Edelman,” 2019).

Antonio Brown, on the other hand, has only played one game in 2019. (“Antonio Brown,” 2019). His season has been engulfed with drama-infused antics – including sexual assault charges. The NFL swiftly hit Brown with an investigation, and after his release from New England, NFL teams have avoided signing Brown. However, Brown is showing optimism that the investigation is siding in his favor. On November 19th, Brown posted an apology on social media to the Patriots organization for the drama he brought to the team. By November 21st, rumors started swirling that the Patriots are doing their due diligence on Brown, with the team possibly exploring bringing back a much-needed familiar face (Williams, 2019).

Brown’s possible return is already being labeled as the answer to Tom Brady’s growing frustrations with the offensive struggles. Against the Philadelphia Eagles last week, the Patriots had to rely on field goals, a trick pass from Edelman, and a stout defense to win the game with a  score of 17-10. After the game, Brady kept his press conference short and concise, with the media claiming that the addition of generational talent Antonio Brown would clearly help ease Brady’s frustrations (Brinson, 2019). However, the possible addition of Brown should not be looked at as a move for the sake of Tom Brady. It should be viewed as an addition for the sake of Julian Edelman.

Edelman arguably needs Brown more than Brady does. Edelman is currently on pace for around 100 receptions this season, and at 33 years old, he needs some relief (“Julian Edelman,” 2019). Aside from Edelman’s heavy workload this year, he was also nursing a minor shoulder injury ahead of the Patriot’s contest against the Dallas Cowboys (Mason, 2019). If Edelman suffers a more serious injury, the Patriots would be forced to get creative with moving the ball down the field at a time when the team already struggles with doing so. A deep playoff run without Edelman’s skill set or experience would certainly hurt the Patriots and possibly frustrate Brady even further. Adding in Antonio Brown would help relieve the pressure being put on Edelman and give the Patriots – and the defenses they face – a second receiver to focus on.   

References

Antonio Brown. (2019). Pro Football Reference. Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/B/BrowAn04.htm

Brinson, Will. (2019, November 19). Antonio Brown rumors: Everyone thinks WR coming back to Patriots after Brown apologizes to Robert Kraft. CBS Sports. Retrieved from https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/antonio-brown-rumors-everyone-thinks-wr-coming-back-to-patriots-after-brown-apologizes-to-robert-kraft/

Cox, Z. (2019, November 19). NFL rumors: Patriots plan to place Gunner Olszewski on IR to add Isaiah Wynn. NESN. Retrieved from https://nesn.com/2019/11/nfl-rumors-patriots-expected-to-place-gunner-olszewski-on-ir-to-add-isaiah-wynn/

Julian Edelman. (2019). Pro Football Reference. Retrieved from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/E/EdelJu00.htm

Mason, C. (2019, November 20). Julian Edelman returns to injury report, Phillip Dorsett and Mohamed Sanu didn’t participate in New England Patriots practice. Mass Live. Retrieved from https://www.masslive.com/patriots/2019/11/julian-edelman-returns-to-injury-report-phillip-dorsett-and-mohamed-sanu-didnt-participate-in-new-england-patriots-practice.html

Williams, C. (2019, November 21). Report: Patriots have “kicked the tires” on Antonio Brown. Pro Football Talk. Retrieved from https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/11/21/report-patriots-have-kicked-the-tires-on-antonio-brown/

The Robert Kraft Scandal

By Jessica Rollins

Jessica is a third-year sport management student who minors in marketing and is from Laguna Beach, CA. After college, Jessica aspires to work for a professional sport team in community relations or marketing. Jessica is a fan of the Green Bay Packers and the Los Angeles Rams.

March 14, 2019

On February 22, 2019, the owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, was charged with “two counts of soliciting someone to commit prostitution” (Hanna & Maxouris, 2019, para. 17). Prior to these charges, Kraft was known as a well-rounded business and franchise owner. The community had much trust in Kraft.

Among two-hundred individuals, the 77-year-old billionaire has been linked to a Jupiter, Florida day spa and massage parlor. At the day spa, the Jupiter police claim that Kraft was one of many individuals that were caught under surveillance accepting the “paid acts” (Hanna & Maxouris, 2019). Although Kraft was caught under surveillance twice, the owner could face “up to one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service” (Seifert, 2019, para. 5). Surprisingly, one of the “paid acts” was filmed on the “night before and the morning of [the] AFC championship game” (“Robert Kraft visited,” 2019, para. 1).

Although scandals are standard involving the high-profile team, this story caught many by surprise. When the news broke, social media went into a frenzy. Fans explained how Kraft and the Patriots cannot be trusted. As the scandal develops, many are questioning their loyalty to the New England Patriots. One fan stated, “everybody in their life has done one thing, two things, that they really really would like to get a pass for, me, you, Robert Kraft, doesn’t matter how much money you have, human is human” (Burcham, 2019, para. 7). Another fan wrote, “I would never expect something like that from him…I mean, he has such a high reputation” (Burcham, 2019, para. 5).

Along with the charges, Kraft could face additional punishments from the National Football League. Since NFL owners are subject to the personal conduct policy, the NFL has an important decision to make. The NFL released a statement later that day which stated: “the NFL is aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments” (Hanna & Maxouris, 2019, para. 24). According to ESPN, “the policy covers ‘conduct by anyone in the league that is illegal, violent, dangerous, or irresponsible, puts innocent victims at risk, damages the reputation of others in the game, and undercuts public respect and support for the NFL’” (Seifert, 2019, para. 7).

Under the personal conduct policy, NFL owners should be held to a higher standard. Kraft is the face of the franchise. Owners should be “subject[ed] to more significant discipline when violations … occur” (Seifert, 2019, para. 7). Along with the controversy, many fans wonder if NFL commissioner, Rodger Goodell, will punish one of the “NFL’s most powerful owners” (Seifert, 2019, para. 12). As the story unfolds, the media will cover if the NFL sweeps this scandal under the rug or punishes Kraft for his unlawful actions.

References

Burcham, K. (2019, February 23). ‘Human is human:’ Pats fans react to charges against Robert Kraft. Boston25news. Retrieved from https://www.boston25news.com/news/-human-is-human-pats-fans-react-to-charges-against-robert-kraft/924216340

Hanna, J., & Maxouris, C. (2019, February 23). New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft accused of soliciting sex, police say. CNN.com. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/22/us/robert-kraft-solicitation/index.html

Robert Kraft visited parlor for sex on day of AFC championship game, authorities say. (2019, February 25). Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/sports/nfl/la-sp-robert-kraft-prostitution-charge-20190225-story.html

Seifert, K. (2019, February 25). What charges could mean for Patriots owner Robert Kraft. ESPN.com. Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/26056293/what-solicitation-charges-mean-new-england-patriots-owner-robert-kraft

 

Media Reacts: NFL’s First Month in 6 Years With No Arrests

by Nicholas Muhl

The first month of the 2015 NFL regular season ended this past weekend. The end of September also marked the first month in 6 years that no NFL player has been arrested.

According to Reuters reporter Mike Rosenberg, the NFL has averaged “an arrest per week” since 2009. Rosenberg also reported that this is the first time in 15 years “the NFL went a calendar month during the season without an arrest.” The league has already had 33 total arrests in 2015, most recently San Fransisco 49ers Linebacker Ahmad Brooks who was charged with sexual battery at the end of August.

Alexandra Sifferlin reported the news for TIME and included a link in his article to USA Today’s NFL arrest archive. The archive contains a complete, descriptive account of a total of 805 NFL player arrests records dating back 15 years to January 24, 2000 when Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith was arrested for allegedly beating and choking his wife. It seems paradoxical that 15 years later we continue to see so many similar headlines. Katie Link and Christian Bryant of the Ventura County Star posed this question about the news of an arrest-free month, “should we view this ‘achievement’ as pathetic, or impressive?” On the other hand, the Dispatch Times referred to it as a “mind-blowing milestone.”  

Since 2009 the NFL has been subject to many media and criminal investigations regarding their many player arrests. Most notably is former New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez who was convicted of murder in April. Hernandez and other high profile players like former Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, San Francisco’s Ray MacDonald, Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice, and Viking’s Adrian Peterson have made national headlines and brought up many social issues outside of the sport of football; including rape culture, drug use, animal cruelty, and alcohol and drug abuse. 

The criminal history and violent backgrounds behind many NFL players is not an issue the media has shied away from reporting. However, it is important to note that news of the NFL’s arrest-free month quickly spread on social media, sports blogs and major media conglomerates. This differs from the issue of injuries which I detailed in my article last week, “Protecting the player’s or Protecting the Shield”. Approximately 15 percent of players in the league have experienced an injury this season. While on an individual level this has been heavily reported, injuries and their increasing totals have been a largely avoided issue. However, media and the league did not shy away from making sure (quite literally) that everyone knows it went through an arrest-free month. The NFL and it’s PR department have attempted to put some distance between itself and both the injury and conduct issues the league faces, and will jump at any opportunity they can to make the league look better as it and commissioner Roger Goodell continue to face extreme criticism for the way the league is currently being run. It remains to be seen whether real change is progressing in the league or if this month was merrily a statistical anomaly that further proves the major conduct issues the NFL faces.

Patriots 2015 Campaign: Out for Revenge?

By Josh Roeloffs

Before the Patriots preseason opener, Rob Gronkowski was asked, in response to deflategate, if he thinks Tom Brady is “more motivated and focused because of everything that is going on,” and Gronk laughed it off, making the point that Brady is always focused and motivated regardless of what’s going on.

How many times have you seen or heard the headlines, “Patriots Starting Revenge Tour” or “Patriots will be out to get their Revenge?” Obviously a Patriots’ player would have said that they were out for blood this season. The media wouldn’t just make this into an episode of the Road Runner would they?

When you take a closer look, a Patriots’ player has never even mentioned revenge once in an interview. Just like Gronk was practically asked if this would motivate Brady, he replied like it was obvious. It won’t.

Sure! The Patriots may have a little extra motivation, but is it necessary to label a season as a “season of revenge.” Possibly a more engaging story would be how Tom Brady’s start of the season could lead to an MVP and another deep push in the playoffs for his team; or if the Patriots can win another Super Bowl, how it will affect the Patriots’ relationship with the NFL or the fans.

So far this season, the Patriots have been phenomenal. Heading into their bye week, the Patriots are 3-0 and, first in the league in yards per game, second in the league in points per game, first in pass yards per game, and third in the league in interceptions. Already beating the Steelers, Bills, and Jaguars, the Patriots hope to keep this early momentum going.

Coming out of their bye-week, the Patriots will be facing the Cowboys on October 11th. The Patriots will be looking to improve their record to a perfect 4-0 in the first quarter of the regular season.

As the season comes closer to the mid-way mark and closer to a time in which the Patriots can truly make a statement, Tom Brady was asked about the whole situation by NBC sports, he replied by saying, “I need to be tough enough to overcome controversy.” It’s important when playing for a team as popular and publicized at the Patriots to keep composure like Brady mentions.

At the end of the day, the Patriots are heading into week five unbeaten and ready to play some football and compete at a high level in the NFL.

Nobody Wins: The Aaron Hernandez Trial

By Kaleb Page

April 20, 2015

As I got back to my apartment from class Wednesday afternoon the anticipated verdict in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial was in. After many months of legal debate between the prosecution and defense, the verdict was here.

Hernandez was convicted of first degree murder. A sentence of life in prison without a chance at parole.

Quite the unforeseen ending in what early on seemed like a person with promise of a bright future.

Hernandez, coming out of the University of Florida, was looked at as a potential first round pick and had the upside to be a difference maker for many years to come. However, there were red flags involving drug use and the people that he would be around. This meant that the once first-round talent dropped to the fourth round.

Waiting there was the New England Patriots organization, an organization that could take the risk on bringing in a guy like Hernandez and possibly find a way to shape his life in a positive way.

“Personally, I’ve always had concerns. He’s still finding himself. With the right people around, if he keeps his head straight, he’ll do very well.”Doug Pina, Aaron Hernandez’s high school football coach

That line of thinking seemed to be working as Hernandez grew into a fixture on the Patriots and grew as a better figure on and off the field. His accomplishments, coupled with his maturity, granted him a big contract extension.

The deal was made in 2012, and it was a deal to lock up the budding superstar tight-end. The deal was five-years at $40 million ($16 million guaranteed, $24 million incentives/other). This extension would allow Hernandez to be a Patriot for a long time and focus on being one of the best in the game.

“I just hope I keep going, doing the right things, making the right decisions so I can have a good life, and be there to live a good life with my family.” -Aaron Hernandez’s comments after signing his 5-yr $40 million extension

SI.com’s article broke down that quote further, and it just is bizarre to read that quote and see what the reality is today. Did he do the right things? Did he make the right decisions? Will he be there to live a good life with his family?

Across the board the answer is no.

I think it goes without saying that killing anyone is a horrible thing to do. Especially someone who is only at the age of 27 (Odin Lloyd). Odin Lloyd was a friend to Hernandez, a friend that was killed for what reason? As everyone searches for answers there seems to be none.

Simply a senseless killing that ruined many more lives than that of the defendant (Hernandez) and the deceased (Lloyd).

The list of those who are also essentially sentenced to their own version of life in prison could go on and on. Whether it is the mother of Odin Lloyd who raised her son by herself and held a close bond that made Lloyd tell his mother happy mother’s day and happy father’s day because she represented both figures to him. She is sentenced to a life without seeing or hearing from her son ever again.

It could be said too for the young daughter Hernandez has. A daughter that will really never know who her father is, and once she grows up to the point of where she can comprehend this moment in time; how will she view her father then?

It is sad to see these types of things happen in the world today. No matter if you are a friend/family member of the Hernandez family or a friend/family member of the Lloyd family, there is only one final verdict for all.

Nobody wins.

Aaron Hernandez Sentenced to Life in Prison

By Ellen Chlumecky

April 20, 2015

In the NFL, sometimes crime and domestic violence isn’t exactly solved with the utmost justice. These victims and their families of the lack of justice feel cheated, upset, and permanently scarred whether a small incident or large. However, this might be one of the exceptions. Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was found guilty on Wednesday, April 15th, of first-degree murder in a late-night shooting and was sentence to life in prison. Hernandez was a player who used to hold a $40 million contract and an aspiring career ahead of him. Now all of that is gone because of his tremendous mistake.

Hernandez was announced guilty in the killing of Odin Lloyd. Odin Lloyd was a 27-year-old landscaper and semipro football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée. Lloyd was shot six times in the middle of the night on June 17, 2013. He was shot in a deserted industrial park near Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough. The police accused Hernandez because they found the key of the car that Hernandez had rented in Lloyd’s pocket. The Patriots cut the player who was considered one of the biggest and best up and coming tight ends currently in the NFL. Prosecutors have suggested that Lloyd was killed because he might have known too much about Hernandez’s alleged involvement in a deadly 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston.

He was convicted with a mandatory sentence of life without parole and it automatically triggered an appeal to Massachusetts’ highest court. He was also found guilty on firearms and ammunition charges. The jury deliberated for 36 hours over seven days before rendering its verdict. About 135 witnesses were called to the stand during the nine-week trial. Hernandez was ordered to serve his life sentence at MCI-Cedar Junction in Walpole, Massachusetts.

The District Attorney Thomas Quinn made a point to mention that the fact that Hernandez was a professional athlete meant nothing at the end of the day. Even though the Patriots removed Hernandez from the Patriots they declined to comment on the verdict of his sentence. Brandon Spikes and David Nelson, former teammates of Hernandez, tweeted about the verdict and were surprised at the decision. Spikes made a comment about the justice system, while Nelson mentioned how that wasn’t the person he knew.

Mayor Ken Cocakyne was one of the main people speaking about the sympathy he felt towards the Lloyd family. He stated that it was unfortunate that this had to be someone who young children looked up to and that he crashed their dreams. He stated that no matter who you are, you still have to live within the law and respect others. While I agree, hopefully this type of action can be taken with all crimes committed in the NFL.