What Was More Impressive: the First Half of the Patriots’ Dynasty or the Second?

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Sorry, haters. Patriots won the Super Bowl yet again. Ho hum. The most unprecedented dynasty in the history of professional sports continues, making all of you losers sick. Please tell me how little you even care about football or how this represents evil winning or whatever it is the Deadspins of the world are saying today because they’re sick of their team not winning and have thus decided to paint the Patriots as a legitimately bad entity which is stupid and irresponsible but it’s okay because Tom Brady has a lot of money or something or about how no one actually counted them out or any other stupid hate you have in your heart. Give me all of it. It gives me strength. It gives me life knowing that your entire existence is made worse simply because Bill Belichick is smart enough to keep a roster together for 18 years. Oh, right, I forgot to add in to tell me about how they’re nefarious cheaters. That one definitely holds up if you spend ten seconds doing any research or free thinking whatsoever, you’re right. Whatever. Today isn’t about the sourpusses who are going to throw a party when all this theoretically ends but then realize how much they miss having them around after a few seasons of revolving doors of conference champions. Today is about the people who have been there from the beginning or even for those noble souls who, despite not being Patriots fans, have the brainpower to respect this dynasty. To them, I ask this question: was the first half of the run better, or was the second half better?

I suppose it’s a little disingenuous to divide it into two different periods since there’s really three. First was 2001-2007, where they won two Super Bowls, could have won five, and were unquestionably the best team in the league. Then there’s 2008-2013, where Brady got hurt, they had some weird years where they were kind of lost in the wild, momentarily had a revolutionary offense before another random Giants loss and a….high profile arrest, and were always just on the outside looking in. Then there’s 2014-now, where they’ve now won three Super Bowls and could have won two more in a different dimension. All in all, six Super Bowl victories in nine appearances and would have won two more in 2006 and 2013 if they hadn’t lost on the road in the AFC Championship game. It’s pure absurdity.

Anyway, 2001-2007 or 2014-now? 2001 was the first year I cared about football, so that season means a lot to me, and 2007 was my favorite team ever (too bad they canceled the Super Bowl that year). But the rest of those years are kind of hazy for me. I don’t remember a single thing from 2002 besides the Super Bowl, which did not involve the Patriots. 2003 and 2004 are kind of there, but not really. I have more memories from those episodes of America’s Game than the actual seasons. I don’t know why my brain has abandoned large portions of my adolescence, but it did. You could easily convince me 2005 never happened. The only thing I remember about 2006 is the AFC Championship Game. Reggie Wayne sort of fumbling the ball up into the air was the first time football ever momentarily killed me. Then 2007 gave me the worst night of my life. So from a personal level, this latest run was better and far more memorable. Was it better, though? It’s so hard to compare. Don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Patriots are constantly changing and adapting. Last night certainly reminded me of the old teams’ stifling defense, but I think their offensive prowess kind of gets underrated as the years go on. Their winning percentage is slightly better in this recent era, despite the fact that there’s, you know, an undefeated season mixed into the first one. I’m just gonna say this recent run is better. It’s been more fun and so much more satisfying as the haters run out of ground to stand on. I like grizzled Brady better, anyway. But hey, he kisses his kids on the mouth a little too late in their lives. So at least you’ve got that.

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Patriots Win Super Bowl 53

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What a game. What an all-time classic, unforgettable game. My beloved Patriots, champions of the National Football League once again.

Listen, this one’s a little subdued. When you see six of these, one of them’s gotta bring up the rear, and friends, this was it. The haters will say this game sucked, but we all know that true football dynasties are built on gross beautiful 10-3 defensive struggles. Brady showed up for a drive. Edelman unreal all game. Gronk (maybe) going out on top. Absolutely unreal game from the D. Stephon Gilmore needs to be inducted into the Hall of Fame today. Dont’a Hightower is the best defensive player in Super Bowl history. R.I.P. Brian Flores era. It will be missed.

Whatever, I don’t care. Third title in the last five years, sixth in the last seventeen. What a team, what a run. Appreciate it, folks. We’ll never see it again. How did I ever get so lucky to see this whole thing? I’ll never know. What a life I lead. A champion straight out of the womb.

Super Bowl LIII Picks

Los Angeles Rams v New England Patriots

Super Bowl Sunday. America’s favorite party and the last football game for seven months. A great day if you’re a casual fan or a neutral observer, the longest day of the year if your team is playing. Trust me, I know from experience. Time never moves quite as slowly as it does on Super Bowl day. If you’re not like me and don’t suffer from crippling anxiety about an inconsequential event I have absolutely no control over, you can probably get a lot done during the day. The morning never ends and the afternoon lasts forever. 4:30-6:15 is four separate eternities. And then the game starts, and, if you have a rooting interest, it’s the longest four hours in history. The day is mostly agony, broken only by the cosmic coin flip that is the final result. But, again, that’s only if you’re like me.

If you’re not like me you’re probably going to a party with a bunch of people you either like or are tangentially connected to where you’ll spend a few hours eating food and having rote, boring, uninformed conversations about football and commercials and hear such gems as “Tom Brady’s a cheater,” or “I’m so sick of the Patriots,” or “you know, this should really be the Saints. Did you folks see what happened to them?” Sounds like hell to me. I’ll be in my apartment, alone, breaking down film in real time. That’s what a true expert does. That’s why you’re reading my thoughts on the Super Bowl and not your friend Doug’s. Doug thinks he’s the first person to come up with a Sean McVay coaching tree joke. He’s not, trust me. Super Bowl parties also leave too much to chance, mostly food related. What if you get there and there are no wings? Or no pizza? Or weird chips or a weird dip you don’t want but your friend’s girlfriend made it so you have to try it? Pass. Let me provide my own spread. It’s better that way.

Onto the game itself.

New England Patriots (-3) vs Los Angeles Rams

Did you know these two teams played 17 years ago in the Super Bowl, kicking off the Patriots Dynasty? Bet you didn’t. In a weird way, the roles are kind of reversed this time around. The Patriots as the established powerhouse with the championship pedigree against the young coach-QB combo that has aspirations of something greater. But it’s far from apples to apples. For starters, the Pats are only 3 point favorites as opposed to 14 point favorites (which, game-that-shall-not-be-named notwithstanding, I don’t think will ever happen again in a Super Bowl). There’s also no pressure on the Pats. What’s their penalty for losing? Brady and Belichick are suddenly not the best ever? The key players of the Patriots’ run get nothing out of this game either way. It’s all on the Rams. They’re the ones with the revolutionary coach that will undoubtedly see 31 of his former assistants as head coaches within the next five years. They’re the ones that went all-in on free agency and have the hopes and dreams of every single NFL player who wants both money and success riding on them. They’re the ones who have to carry the flame for the NFL’s entertainment-focused agendas. They’re the ones who, most likely, will be set up as the next team to kind of run the league for a few years if they win. And they very well might win. They have the firepower offensively and the beasts on defense. They won 13 games for a reason. In an alternate reality where the Chiefs won last week, I’d be rooting for the Rams. It’s in the league’s best interest for McVay to win. I like a lot of their players. Love Jared Goff. Aaron Donald is one of the five best NFL players I’ve ever seen. I’ve always been a big Ndamokung Suh guy despite the…antics. Aqib Talib is a former Patriot great. But they’re not going to win. The Pats are too smart, too tough, too experienced. This game is going to come down to the wire. Would you rather be the team with comically clutch quarterback and the coach who’s prepared for everything or the first time coach and QB with the injured kicker? I’ll hang up and listen. Sorry, America. Pats win again.

Just kidding. I’m not sorry.

Pick: Patriots

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NFL: Super Bowl LI-New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons

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Prop Bet Special (via Bovada)

  • Coin Toss- Heads -105
  • National Anthem Over/Under 1:49 (Gladys Knight)- Over -145
  • Will Any Scoring Drive Take Less Time Than Anthem?- Yes -145
  • Over/Under Tony Romo Correct Pre-Play Predictions 7.5- Under -135
  • Aaron Donald QB Hits Over/Under 2.5- Under -135
  • How Many Times Will Ted Rath (Sean McVay’s get-back coach) Be Mentioned O/U 3.5- Under -400
  • O/U Sean McVay’s Age Mentioned 1.5- Over -270
  • O/U Total Net Yards 824.5- Under -140
  • What Color Liquid Dumped On Coach? Orange +450
  • Who Will MVP Mention First in Speech? Teammates +160
  • First Song Performed by Maroon 5? “Moves Like Jagger” +600
  • Predominant Color of Adam Levine’s Shirt? Other Color Than Black EVEN
  • Will Puppy Bowl MVP Be Pure Breed or Mixed? Mixed -800

This Is Arguably the Most Important Week in Human History

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Folks, every so often the planets align and a series of events so monumental, so important to the future of mankind all occur in the span of one seven day stretch. This is one such time. Years from now, historians will look back on January 28th, 2019 through February 3rd, 2019 as the new cutoff point for calendars. This is the new year one. Get used to it.

For starters, tonight is media night for the Super Bowl. Crazy hijinks, wacky questions, Rams players talking about how much they hate the Patriots and that they totally, 100% AREN’T intimidated by them whatsoever. It’s always a great time. This will set the stage for one of the great triumphs in Western History.

Kingdom Hearts III comes out tomorrow. I’ll say that again in case you didn’t hear: Kingdom Hearts III comes out tomorrow. This is simply preposterous to me. I literally cannot believe it. Kingdom Hearts II came out fourteen years ago. 2005! I’m old and washed up and the gap in between the two main titles of one of my favorite game franchises ever has been over half my life. And tomorrow I’m going to be holding a real-life copy of Kingdom Hearts III. I don’t know how I’m going to react yet. There might be tears, I won’t rule it out.

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I’ve been frantically reading Wikipedia entries. I’ve been watching 45-minute plot compilation videos on YouTube. I’ve come as close as any one man can come to fully understanding the Kingdom Hearts storyline. My body is ready. It’s a matter of if my fragile psyche is.

Wednesday I will be playing Kingdom Hearts III all day. I want the history books to know this, too.

I’ll also be working on my next big project, and I assure you, it’s big. Huge, even. Will totally revolutionize what you think a good time really is. I can’t say anything else without risking unveiling Blayze on the Beach before it’s ready. Oops, did I say that out loud? Silly me.

Thursday is my dad’s birthday. Shoutout to my dad.

Friday my Super Bowl picks come out. Obviously a pretty big deal. Special prop bets included.

Saturday is a day of rest and probably the like, third longest day of the year. Super Bowl Saturday is bruuuuuutal. It’s so boring. It takes three lifetimes to end. But there’s always Kingdom Hearts III.

Sunday, needless to say, will rewrite American history. I don’t want to step on my picks too much, but let’s just say a certain coach-QB combo will win their sixth Super Bowl together. Sixth! And there’s going to be some terrible CBS show premiering afterwards. I’ll have more on this day as the week progresses, but it’s gonna be good. Get your spread locked down now. The last thing you want to do is leave shopping until Saturday.

This is totally the last week of eating like crap before I start working out and eating better. For real this time, I swear.

What a week. What a week. I don’t even know if I’ve done it justice with this description. But those of you who know, know. The world is about to change, and it all starts tonight.

NFL Conference Championship Picks

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Here at the end of all things, it’s easy to forget how we got here. Easy to forget the Miami Miracles and the few weeks Khalil Mack was MVP and that the Lions actually played this season and that George Kittle quietly set the record for most receiving yards by a tight end and that the Chiefs-Rams game was supposed to be in Mexico City. It’s easy to forget that everyone (myself included) really did bury the Pats and call them done and question whether they’d even win 10 games and are now covering their tracks and calling the Patriots delusional and stupid for trying to use that narrative in their favor because the national media conversation about the Pats is primarily driven by spite, jealousy, and hatred. It’s easy to forget that the Saints were completely dominated at home by the Cowboys, whom the Rams just beat in a game whose final score belied the true margin of victory. It’s easy to forget that for all the grief the Chiefs’ defense has taken for being one of the worst in history, they’re much stouter at home and have a terrifying pass rush. It’s easy to forget that Sean McVay has spent more time in Sean McVay’s presence than anyone. All these forgotten things help paint the picture of the 2018 NFL season. They make up the background and the small details that make the piece beautiful. But the main subjects in the foreground? They’re about to be painted this weekend. This is Championship Sunday, the most important week of the season.

Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints (-3.5)

It’s just different in the ‘Dome. That’s what they always say, at least. And I think it’s true, at least in this case: home teams have a massive advantage in Conference Championship games (no road team has won a CCG since 2012) and this game is in the Superdome. Pound-for-pound, I think these two rosters are pretty much even. It’s just those few differences that set them apart. The Rams secondary is pretty decent, but if Marcus Peters starts covering Michael Thomas? Uh oh. Aaron Donald is the best player in the league. But if Kamara gets past him and is up against the questionable linebackers? Uh oh. I just can’t see the Rams stopping the Saints. Drew Brees appears to have escaped the weird late-season slump he was in and is back to slinging the ball around at will. Saints defense is good, too. One of the best run defenses in the league, and if they do even a slightly better job at stopping Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson than the Cowboys did it’ll throw off the Rams’ offensive attack. Jared Goff is good. I don’t think he’s at “win the NFC Conference Championship Game singlehandedly” level yet. This has Saints written all over it, and it could get ugly.

Pick: Saints

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New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs (-3)

It’s impossible for me to talk about this game without slipping into Pats Fan mode, so I’m not even going to try to avoid it. Listen, the Pats are winning this game. They just are. And they are underdogs, whether the poopy-pants talking heads and columnists want to admit it or not, and for good reason. The Chiefs were the best team all year. Best offense since the 2013 Broncos. They’ve got the league MVP, the best receiving tight end in the game, and one of the fastest players in league history. They’re at home, and we’ve already established that home teams don’t lose in the Conference Championships. But this arctic blast has to throw everything out of whack. Sure, the cataclysmic weather that was originally scheduled to hit Arrowhead likely won’t occur, but still. Gonna be freezing. Might have some snow. Might be a classic low-possession, low-margin-of-error game that the Patriots feast on. The number will always favor the Chiefs, which is why this isn’t about numbers. It’s about grit. It’s about balls. It’s about the best coach of all time and the best quarterback of all time taking the greatest franchise of all time out for one last ride. Soak it in, folks. These next three weeks could be it.

Pick: Patriots

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NFL Division Round Picks

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Can you feel it, folks? The change in the air? The butterflies in your stomach? The way that time stands still? How much extra beer and pizza and wings you can consume? It’s Winning Time. The Wildcard Round is nice and all, but the Divisional Round is where legends are born. This is where the America’s Game episode really gets going. This is where dreams start to become reality, or, more commonly, where the Patriots crush other teams’ dreams. This is the Divisional Round, and it’s going to be good.

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs (-5)

The two Saturday games may prove quite tricky for the uninformed. It’d be so easy to overreact to last week or to overreact to the overreaction to last week. Which underdog is hot and which just happened to win last week? Which favorite just had a small blip and which one legitimately stinks? The answer to all of these questions (and more) is both. The Colts are red hot. Won 10 of 11. Dragged themselves into the top five in weighted team DVOA. Their defense is built to contain and frustrate explosive offenses, which, believe it or not, is something the Chiefs have. The Colts have living, breathing NFL players at running back and offensive line, which means they can take advantage of the Chiefs putrid run defense and shorten the game. It’s Patrick Mahomes’s first playoff game and Andy Reid is the coach and it’s the Chiefs at home. If the Colts get an early lead there are going to be so many tightly clenched buttholes in Kansas City that they’ll be able to set up a tightly clenched butthole convention (it’s late, okay?). And five points for a home favorite with one of the best offenses in league history is not that much at all. The universe is DYING for everyone to pick the Colts. It’s too perfect. The only thing seemingly favoring the Chiefs is the fact that home playoff teams are 43-21 in the Divisional Round since 2002. The only problem? In that timespan, the Chiefs are 0-2 as a home team in the Divisional Round and haven’t won a home playoff game period since 1993. That’s impossible. It’s just too much, man. Just think about which team you’d want to be backing if everything was going wrong- unflappable Andrew Luck and Frank Reich? Or green Pat Mahomes and good ol’ Andy Reid and decades of Chiefs anti-juju? I would feel pretty dumb for picking the Colts on the road if they didn’t cover. I would never forgive myself if I got caught in the Andy Reid trap again.

Pick: Colts

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Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams (-7)

This is almost a mirror image of the Colts-Chiefs game. High-flying home favorite that, at one point, was threatening to redefine what offense means but has gone cold facing a team tailor-made to go on the road and beat a superior team. The only real difference is that the Colts can keep up offensively. The Cowboys, even against a bad defense, will probably top out at 24 points. I don’t think they keep the Rams under 24 at home. Cowboys D is good, it’s not that good. This is actually kind of a fascinating game for the league office. Are they rooting for the most popular and valuable franchise in North America? Or are they rooting for the future of the league? Because if Boy Wonder Sean McVay goes one and done again? All those recent hires look a little less shiny. I think this is set up too perfectly for an NFC East NFC Championship Game. The universe won’t allow that. Dallas covers, Rams win.

Pick: Cowboys

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Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots (-4)

Close your eyes. I want to envision this scene: Gillette Stadium. It’s freezing cold with blustery winds. Snow everywhere. There’s a football game going on, but it’s hard to really tell. Nothing’s really happened. No offense to speak of either way. It’s a low-possession, high-pressure game. One mistake ends the season. Everything comes down to pure grit and balls and mental toughness. Now imagine Phil Rivers winning that game over Tom Brady. Couldn’t do it? Me neither.

Pick: Patriots

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Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints (-8)

Listen, the Saints are the better team. No one would deny that. But this is out of my hands. There are some takes you want to late on rather than early, and picking against Nick Foles is one of them. I’ll believe the magic is gone when I see it.

Pick: Eagles

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