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Thread: ESPN Homepage article about luck and the Patriots

  1. #1

    ESPN Homepage article about luck and the Patriots

    http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/story/...ife-care-admit

    Bill Belichick's New England Patriots have appeared in five Super Bowls, scoring 107 points while allowing 105 points. The Patriots have won the Super Bowl three times by three points on three occasions, lost by three points on one occasion and lost by four points on Sunday. It would be easy to say New England's nemesis is the Giants -- but Lady Luck has been as big a factor for the most accomplished football team of the 21st century.

    Whenever a football game ends with a margin of less than a touchdown, the contest might have gone either way based on a bounce of the ball. In New England's three Super Bowl victories, the critical bit of luck favored the Patriots. In New England's two Super Bowl loses, the critical bit of luck favored the Giants.

    Consider:

    In the 2002 Super Bowl against the St. Louis Rams, New England was outgained by 160 yards. But Rams quarterback Kurt Warner had an unblocked rusher in his face and short-armed a pass that Ty Law cut in front of and returned for a touchdown. New England went on to a three-point victory.

    In the 2004 Super Bowl against the Carolina Panthers, the Panthers tied the score with 1:08 remaining. But the Panthers' place-kicker honked the kickoff, which went out of bounds. Taking possession on their 40, the Patriots moved into position for the winning field goal just ere the clock struck midnight.

    Midway through the 2005 Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles, New England safety Eugene Wilson went out injured, which sent a rookie into the game. But the Eagles' coaching staff did not realize there was a backup at safety until about five minutes remained. Then the Eagles, who had only one receiver per side most of the second half, lined up with double wides and ran a deep post at the new defender -- touchdown. The Patriots held on to win by three. Had Philadelphia attacked the novice safety earlier, the outcome could have been different.

    In the 2008 Super Bowl versus the Giants, perhaps you have heard about a long catch a Jersey/A player made against his helmet. New England lost by three.

    And with four minutes remaining in Sunday's Super Bowl, Wes Welker, among the most reliable receivers in football annals, dropped a pass that would have put New England in position to ice the game. New England went on to lose by four.

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    In many aspects of life, luck is a bigger factor than we care to admit. We want to think some become rich and others poor based on merit, not luck. We want to think some teams win and others lose because the winner "deserved" laurels. In a 20-point football win, the winner did deserve to win. In games that come down to the final snap, either team might have prevailed: luck calls the ultimate shot. Change a couple bounces of the ball and the best team of the 21st century could be anything from 5-0 to 0-5 in the Super Bowl.

    TMQ praises the "all-unwanted" NFL player who was undrafted or waived or both, yet never gives up. Eleven undrafted free agents started in the Super Bowl, versus 10 first-round draft choices. Undrafted Chase Blackburn made the game's most important play; Blackburn wasn't even on an NFL roster this season until Thanksgiving. Undrafted Victor Cruz from Division I-AA Massachusetts scored a touchdown, undrafted Danny Woodhead from Division II Chadron State scored a touchdown. No first-round draft choice scored a touchdown.

    If not Lady Luck, did the football gods determine Sunday's outcome? Over recent seasons, Tuesday Morning Quarterback has proposed on several occasions that the football gods will punish Bill Belichick until he admits Spygate was cheating, as opposed to maintaining his actions merely were a misunderstanding of league rules. Before Spygate, Belichick's Patriots were 12-2 in the playoffs and 3-0 in the Super Bowl. Since the illegal taping scheme was revealed, they are 4-4 in the postseason and 0-2 in the Super Bowl.

    In mythology, the gods punished a mortal by allowing him to come within view of his goal, then denying him. What has happened in the past two New England Super Bowls since Belichick's illegal taping was revealed? Belichick was denied a perfect season with 35 seconds remaining. Belichick was denied a record-tying fourth ring on the final snap.

    This being the season of Roman numerals, I will state my view in the Roman tongue, with thanks to Josh Rasmussen, a Latin teacher at Bishop Dunne Catholic School in Dallas:

    Caelicoli mortales puniunt, nam eos desidera paene adipisci sinunt; tum demum haec eripiunt. Di pilae calciatae New England Patriots semper punient, dum Bill Belichick se in Spygate fefellisse confiteatur.

    See below for Tuesday Morning Quarterback's annual State Standings. In cultural news, if current trends hold, a decade from now prime-time television will consist entirely of NFL games, singing-and-dancing contests and police "procedurals." TMQ mocks the latter below.

    Stats of the Super Bowl No. 1: In the postseason, the Giants finished 3-0 on the road. All other teams finished 0-9 on the road. Noted by reader Jeffrey Lamarque of Los Angeles.

    Stats of the Super Bowl No. 2: In their first Super Bowl meeting, the Giants held New England to 23 fewer points than its regular-season average. In their second Super Bowl meeting, the Giants held New England to 15 fewer points than its regular-season average.

    Stats of the Super Bowl No. 3: Tom Brady completed 25 of his first 31 pass attempts, then two of his final 10 attempts. Eli Manning completed 25 of his first 34 pass attempts, then five of his final six attempts.

    Stats of the Super Bowl No. 4: Danny Woodhead became the second Chadron State player to appear in the Super Bowl, after Don Beebe, with the Bills and Packers.

    Stats of the Super Bowl No. 5: The Packers and Giants, the last two Super Bowl champions, were a combined 19-13 during the regular season followed by a combined 8-0 in the postseason.

    Stats of the Super Bowl No. 6: New England was plus-17 in turnovers during the regular season, minus-4 during the postseason.

    Stats of the Super Bowl No. 7: The Super Bowl entrants finished with a combined record of just 6-6 against teams that had winning seasons.

    Stats of the Super Bowl No. 8: The Giants won the Super Bowl despite their regular-season leading rusher having fewer rushing yards than Tim Tebow.

    Stats of the Super Bowl No. 9: Eli Manning is 7-0 as a starter on the road in the playoffs, with 12 touchdown passes versus two interceptions.

    Stats of the Super Bowl No. 10: The Giants are 4-0 in the Super Bowl when Bill Belichick is on the sideline. Noted by reader Bill Dowling of Washington, D.C.

    Cheerleader
    New England PatriotsAmanda of the Patriots. Perhaps she can recommend something for hangover to the team's fans.

    Cheerleader of the Super Bowl: Amanda of the Patriots, who according to her team bio is a pharmacist whose career goal is a master's in public health. Do the Patriots use expensive proprietary cheers or low-cost generic cheers?

    Sweet Play of the Super Bowl: New England leading 17-15 on the second snap of the fourth quarter, the Patriots lined up empty backfield, but an odd kind of empty -- only two wide receivers on the field, with two tight ends and a fullback split wide. Tom Brady evaded what seemed like a sure sack by Linval Joseph, then rolled right, reminding everyone of Eli Manning's evasion of a sack to start the helmet catch play in 2008.

    Brady looked deep and saw Rob Gronkowski, with the most touchdowns in the NFL this season, streaking deep with no safety in sight, covered only by undrafted linebacker Chase Blackburn. Watching at Lucas Oil, I thought when Brady escaped the rush and spied Gronkowski, the Patriots were about to make the deciding play. Brady heave-hoed -- just as Jason Pierre-Paul hit him hard. The ball was underthrown, Blackburn intercepted and the momentum swung to the Giants. Sweet.

    Sports pundits and Gisele Bundchen have attributed the Super Bowl result either to Gronkowski playing hurt or receivers letting Brady down. But Gronkowski was plenty open on this play -- the pass was short. Brady also threw a deep-middle interception from about the same spot on the field in the fourth quarter of the AFC title game versus Baltimore.

    Sour Play of the Super Bowl: Giants leading 2-0, the salsa-dancing Victor Cruz fumbled on the New England 9, and the Patriots recovered. But New England had 12 men on the field, negating the play: Jersey/A scored a touchdown on the possession, and went on to win the Super Bowl by four points. Very sour for New England.

    The Patriots were subbing on defense on most Jersey/A snaps, sending in down-and-distance packages of three or four different men. Several times the last Patriot barely got off the field before the Giants' snap. Throughout the contest, with the Giants huddling, New England substituted freely while, with the Patriots going no-huddle until their second-last possession, Jersey/A rarely situation-substituted. Considering Belichick made wholesale defensive personnel changes late in the season -- Gerard Warren, who hasn't started since 2010, even got into the game -- the Patriots often looked confused about defensive substitutions, men running in and running off late. This confusion cost New England a touchdown allowed.

    [+] EnlargeMario Manningham
    Richard Mackson/US PresswireThe play happened directly in front of Belichick, yet he wasted a timeout.

    Sweet 'N' Sour Coaches' Decisions of the Super Bowl: New England leading 17-15, Jersey/A facing second-and-goal on the Flying Elvii 6 with 1:04 remaining and the Patriots down to one timeout, Belichick ordered his charges to stand aside and allow the Giants to score. Ultimately it didn't work, but was unquestionably the correct call. If anything, Belichick should have ordered his defense to allow a touchdown one snap earlier, once the Giants reached the Patriots' 7. This would have conserved a timeout.

    Had the Giants rushed to the 1 and then stopped, New England would have used its final timeout; then Eli Manning would have knelt; then the Giants would have kicked a field goal for the lead, leaving New England perhaps 20 seconds and no timeout to get into field goal range the other way. By deliberately allowing Jersey/A to score, Belichick gave his offense 57 seconds and a timeout to work with. True, in the second case the Patriots needed a touchdown, not a field goal. But any quarterback would rather face the second challenge than the first. And true, the Giants might have missed a short field goal. But deliberately allowing the touchdown was a higher percentage call, and thus a sweet coaching decision. It just didn't work.

    Two minutes before this, Mario Manningham caught his tiptoe pass to move the Giants from their 12 to midfield, setting in motion the fantastic Super Bowl finish. Belichick challenged, though the call on the field clearly was correct. The Lucas Oil crowd roared when the scoreboard showed the replay, no question a completed catch.

    The challenge cost the Patriots a timeout: a timeout they would sorely need when the Giants reached goal-to-go in the endgame. If New England had one more timeout, the situation at the goal line would have been very different, with Jersey/A badly needing a touchdown because a field goal would have followed by ample clock for New England to win with a field goal the other way. Belichick, the Yoda of coaching tactics, on a hopeless challenge threw away a timeout at the endgame of a one-score game. Here's why this is really sour: Manningham made the catch directly in front on Belichick on the New England sideline.

    [+] EnlargeWes Welker
    AP Photo/Thomas E. WitteWhat would have been catch No. 963 clangs to the ground.

    Sour addendum: Everyone has seen the Wes Welker drop deep in in Giants' territory with 4:06 remaining. Had Welker caught the ball -- which he's only done 962 times in the NFL and NCAA -- the outcome likely would have been different. Everyone's seen the subsequent play, on which Deion Branch failed to make a challenging catch that would have given New England a first down in Giants territory. On the next snap, the Patriots punted; Jersey/A drove for the winning score.

    Think about the coaching situation. New England had a two-point lead and faced second-and-11 on the Jersey/A 44 with 4:06, the Giants already down to one timeout. Two straight incompletions stopped the clock, keeping Jersey/A alive. On the downs that became the Welker and Branch incompletions, had New England simply rushed for no gain, Jersey/A would have gotten the ball back on its 12 with one timeout and less than three minutes. Maybe the Giants would have won anyway, but the situation on the Jersey/A sideline would have been more tense. Yes, the New England offense is good at completing passes. But Belichick's disdain for the rush hurt the team in a Super Bowl clock-killer situation. The Giants' defense had its linebackers backed off, expecting pass, on both downs.
    There's much more to the article, but this is the only stuff that I was interested in.

  2. #2
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    What? ESPN has been sucking the deek of the Patriots for the past decade and now all of a sudden they're lucky? I hate ESPN

  3. #3
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    ... got bored in the middle of that ...









    l_j_r

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by lamont_jordan_rules View Post
    ... got bored in the middle of that ...









    l_j_r
    You lasted longer than I did.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFCEastFan View Post
    You lasted longer than I did.
    TWSS

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by JetPotato View Post
    TWSS

  7. #7
    Some of that stuff isn't even luck. How was the pick-6 on Warner luck? Great defensive playcall and outstanding individual defensive play. It's not like the ball took a fluky bounce or something ridiculous happened. I'm also not sure how a Pats safety getting hurt and the Eagles hypothetically failing to attack that was luck either.

    Luck is Kyle Williams fumbling 2 punt returns deep in his territory, one in which it grazed his leg as he was trying to avoid. Luck is recovering 9 of 10 fumbles in the postseason. Yep, you betcha, the Giants got pretty damn lucky this year.

    If you're going to talk about luck, you have to bring up legit examples

  8. #8
    Forget luck.

    Cameras = 3 Sb's
    No more cameras = 2 SB losses


  9. #9
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    I seethe with rage every time I see TMQ's Boss Button on his page. Like it's 1997.

    I think he's just trolling me.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by child please View Post
    Forget luck.

    Cameras = 3 Sb's
    No more cameras = 2 SB losses

    And both SB losses were 1 play from going the other direction. Not sure how cameras change that.

    Did you forget the Pats were 18-0 under "no more cameras"? Give me a break.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by kjmass1 View Post
    And both SB losses were 1 play from going the other direction. Not sure how cameras change that.

    Did you forget the Pats were 18-0 under "no more cameras"? Give me a break.

    I remember they were 18-0 and weren't allowed to tape the giants that final game of the regular season and then promptly lost to them, remember? If they tape the giants and cheated like usual perhaps that SB isn't 1 play in any direction, maybe it's a pats blowout courtesy of the cameras.

    And yes the cheating made a difference otherwise they wouldn't have done it.

    Sorry chowd.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjmass1 View Post
    And both SB losses were 1 play from going the other direction. Not sure how cameras change that.
    You're not sure how even a slight advantage gained could potentially impact a game decided by one play? Really?

    Quote Originally Posted by kjmass1 View Post
    Did you forget the Pats were 18-0 under "no more cameras"? Give me a break.
    18-1.

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=lamont_jordan_rules;4362524]... got bored in the middle of that ...




    Stick to Sportscenter. TMQ is the shyte.

  14. #14
    JetsInsider.com Legend
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    tl;dr

  15. #15
    The better example of luck would have been the tuck rule, but that happened in the AFC playoffs.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by child please View Post
    Forget luck.

    Cameras = 3 Sb's
    No more cameras = 2 SB losses

    Spot on.

  17. #17
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    Definition of "luck": Drafting a mediocre rated Michigan QB named Brady with a compensatory pick at the end of the 6th round. Things don't get luckier than that.

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