Brett Farve Coming Out of Retirement. AGAIN

by npatano


The Scowl


Aaron Rodgers ’22

Discount Double Check

In an offseason full of changes and surprises, arguably the biggest surprise was when Tom Brady announced via Instagram that he was retiring from the NFL. The 44-year-old, 7-time Super Bowl champion had finally decided to trade in the cleats and shoulder pads for more time with his family at home. 

The retirement, however, was marred with controversy as many fans believed it was “fake” and a “power play” by Brady. Others were upset with the fact that Brady did not acknowledge the New England Patriots, the organization with which Brady spent most of his career, or their fans in his farewell statement.

Well, all the speculation ended this month when Brady announced that he was unretiring and returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady’s retirement, which began with his statements on Feb. 1, lasted a little less than two months. That alone must be a record speed for shortest retirement for an athlete and surely adds another record to the many the greatest quarterback of all time has. 

Photo Courtesy of ClutchPoints

With that said, Brady is still a few retirements shy of Favre’s three, an accomplishment that no doubt will stand for quite some time.

When asked about Brady’s unretirement, Favre told The Scowl, “I’m happy for him. Tom is one of the best and he excels at whatever he does. So, I’m sure he will handle this right, with class, and make it spectacular.” 

When asked what made Brady’s unretirement so great, Favre said, “Everything about it! Clearly this was something Tom had been planning for quite some time. You don’t just do something like this on the fly. The rumors surrounding his retirement, the shortness of it, the game of chicken between him and Bucs’ management. It truly was a work of art.”

Favre has retired quite a few times and even switched teams after coming of retirement before, so he knows a thing or two about the game. “I gotta say man, makes you itch to get back in it,” Favre said. “I’m a bit jealous. I mean, shoot, you had all this offseason drama with Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, and Khalil Mack all switching teams. 

Those are all likely future Hall of Famers, yet all anyone talked about was Tom.” At this point Favre started to seem a bit restless. You could see a competitive fire growing in his eyes. When asked if he had any final remarks or well wishes for Tom Brady, Favre emphatically stated, “Yea, I do. Hold my beer, Tom. I can’t let you just come in here and dominate the retirement game. I’m coming back. I know there are still a few teams that could use an ol’ gunslinger.”

When reached for comment, Wrangler Jeans said they will work with whatever team Favre signs with to create a schedule for filming jeans commercials around his football responsibilities. The Scowl also reached out to Michael Jordan to see if he had any comments, but he was too busy playing Tiger Woods for money at Pebble Beach that he declined to comment.

First Time Winners Celebrate in Super Bowl LVI

by npatano


Professional Sports


By Joe Quirk ’23

Sports Staff

What a game. Super Bowl LVI was this past Sunday, Feb. 13 and really capped off a spectacular NFL regular and postseason. The game was played at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, CA, home to both the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams during the regular season.

Cooper Kupp snagging the game-winning touchdown for LA.
Photo Courtesy of the Manila Times

The Rams were always expected to be here. Head coach Sean McVay is one of the youngest coaches in the NFL and is heralded as an offensive genius. He has taken the Rams to the Super Bowl before, only to lose to the New England Patriots. But he and team general manager Les Snead would not be denied again. They went and got star power. They traded for stars such as quarterback Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions and pass-rusher Von Miller from the Denver Broncos, and signed wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. when he was released from the Cleveland Browns. All of this added to a core that already featured top-tier talents such as Leonard Floyd, Aaron Donald, and Jalen Ramsey on defense and Cooper Kupp, Andrew Whitworth, and Robert Woods on offense.

The Bengals, on the other hand, had a miracle run to get here. Just a few years ago they had the worst record in the NFL and the first overall pick in the draft, selecting Louisiana State University quarterback Joe Burrow. 

Unfortunately, Burrow would suffer significant ligament damage to his knee midway through his rookie campaign and miss the remainder of the season. The Bengals finished last in their division again and used the fifth overall pick in the draft on LSU wide receiver and former teammate of Burrow’s, Ja’Marr Chase. 

The rest of the Bengals group was slowly coming together. They had talented safeties but questionable corners. They had taken some fliers on the defensive and offensive line—only the defensive line panned out. The one undisputed fact was the skill position talent this team had. Chase joined a wide receiver room featuring promising young receivers such as Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd and star running back Joe Mixon.

Both the Rams and the Bengals fought hard to win three games before reaching Super Bowl LVI. The Rams took care of business, winning two of their three games by only three points. The Bengals had some close finishes, including a field-goal in overtime against the defending Super Bowl Champion, the Kansas City Chiefs, to send them to the Super Bowl. 

Now for the game itself; the scoring started early when Beckham Jr., who was resurrecting his career with these playoffs, caught a touchdown over the head of a Bengalscornerback. 

Aaron Donald celebrates with his teammates after stopping the Bengals on 4th & 1, sealing the victory for the Rams.
Photo Courtesy of Sporting News

The Bengals responded, getting rookie kicker Evan McPherson into range for a field goal to make it 7-3 Rams at the end of the first half. It was an exciting first half and looked to be a close game early on. Stafford and the Rams responded as best they could, and Stafford found Kupp for an eleven-yard touchdown in the second quarter. However, a fumbled snap led to a botched point-after-attempt, so the Rams only walked away with six. 

Around this time, star wideout Beckham Jr. suffered a non-contact knee injury. The Bengals wanted to end the half only down three and dialed up a trick play where Mixon found Higgins in the endzone for six. Cincinnati was fired up for the second half, as Burrow hit Higgins for a 75-yard score on the first play. A Stafford interception led to another Bengals field goal. This gave the Bengals a seven-point lead, which was cut into later with a Matt Gay field goal for the Rams. Then, after a scoring drought in the fourth quarter, Stafford found Super Bowl MVP Kupp in the endzone for an 11-yard game winning score. The Rams were victorious, winning 23-20 and capping off a fantastic NFL season. 

Brady vs. Mahomes: The Past Takes on the Future

by Jack Belanger


Professional Sports


by Ryan Carius ’21

Sports Staff

The first NFL season during the COVID-19 pandemic will come to a close on Feb. 7 in Tampa Bay. The main story headed into the matchup is the two quarterbacks under center as Super Bowl LV will feature arguably the two most renowned quarterbacks competing in the league. This competition between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes has more than the Vince Lombardi Trophy on the line.

Patrick Mahomes throws football.
PHOTO COURTESY Of Joe Sargent/Getty IMAGES

Although neither quarterback will admit it, this game is for bragging rights. Brady’s route to the Super Bowl was not easy. After dispatching Taylor Heinicke of the Washington Football Team in the Wild Card matchup, Brady defeated two legends in both Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers to get to the big game. If Brady can complete this run by defeating Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl, it will add yet another impressive accomplishment to his unmatched resume. Although, he certainly has enough on his resume regardless of the outcome of Super Bowl LV.

For Mahomes, facing Brady in the Super Bowl should be enough motivation for the star QB to play his best. However, this game also serves as revenge for the 2019 AFC Championship Game, in which the New England Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime, 37-31.

Mahomes’s rise to stardom has taken a much different path than Brady’s, but ever since starting for the Chiefs in his second season, Mahomes has been one of the best players in the entire NFL. In just his third year as the starting quarterback for the Chiefs, Mahomes is now in his second Super Bowl and is favored to collect his second Lombardi Trophy. Although two Super Bowls would not be enough for Mahomes to compete with Brady’s legacy just yet, the potential is there. Indeed, if Mahomes continues at this pace, it may very well be enough to ask the question: will Mahomes someday replace Brady as the Greatest of All Time?

One day, when Mahomes’s career is over, there will be much comparison between the two quarterbacks’ career statistics. If one measures greatness by career titles, it is hard to imagine supplanting Brady’s six, and potentially soon seven, Super Bowl titles. However, given that Mahomes could win his second title in just three seasons as starting quarterback, he is on pace to pass Brady if he has a successful 20-season career.

It is also worth examining statistics like passer rating, passing yards, or touchdowns in one’s pursuit of naming the GOAT. Although Brady has thrown for the most TDs in NFL history, he is not the number one quarterback in passer rating or passing yards. What makes Tom Brady stand out is his tremendous success during the postseason. Tom Brady is 30-11 in the postseason with a win percentage of 73.1%. He’s also thrown for 73 touchdowns. In comparison, Patrick Mahomes has played in only seven playoff games with a record of six wins and one loss, about a winning percentage of 85%. During that span, he threw 17 TD passes, a number which will surely increase during this Super Bowl and his many playoff games yet to come.

PHOTO COURTESY Of Associated Press

With these impressive numbers in just three postseasons, Mahomes will be compared to Tom Brady throughout the remainder of his career. For this reason, the argument of whether or not Patrick Mahomes will replace Tom Brady as the GOAT is yet to be determined. There are also other factors to consider, such as who had the better coach, better team, and tougher opponents throughout their respective careers. However, if Brady can win this game and prove that his success did not just come from a partnership with Patriots coach Bill Belichick, he will permanently cement himself as a true winner, regardless of what organization he plays for.

On the other hand, what makes Patrick Mahomes so appealing to most football fans is the possibility of him being a generational player that can also compete for the title of the Greatest of All Time at the quarterback position. While it might be nice to believe Mahomes can capture this accolade, it will take a very long and successful career to catch up to Brady, a pursuit which will make the NFL entertaining to watch for years to come.

PCI: Who Will Win Super Bowl LV?

by Jack Belanger


PCI


Providence College Investigates

Kansas City Chiefs

By Joseph Quirk ’23

Sports Staff

Simply put, who will win this season’s Super Bowl should not even be a question. As much as one has to respect Tom Brady and what he has been able to accomplish, this is Patrick Mahomes’s time. Indeed, Brady will be reaching a remarkable 10th Super Bowl, a feat that is hard to even fathom. It is made more impressive when you consider that this is his very first year on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But the debate should be about who is the best team: a debate that Kansas City wins.

Their advantage starts on special teams, a part of the game that is not glamorous, but is important, especially in the playoffs. Ryan Succop is the placekicker for the Bucs, and he is not terrible by any means. But compared to Chiefs’ kicker Harrison Butker, he is severely outmatched. Since entering the league, Butker has been among the league’s best kickers, and has experience kicking in the biggest moments. He has proven to be accurate and powerful, and his kickoff abilities should give the Bucs trouble.

Steve Spagnuolo, the defensive coordinator for the Chiefs, gives the Chiefs another major advantage. Spagnuolo has experience dealing with Brady in the Super Bowl as he led the 2007 New York Giants defense which famously stopped Brady’s Patriots from having a perfect season. His defense now features high-energy and versatile weaponry with the likes of Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu leads a Chiefs’ secondary that is far stronger than their Buccaneers counterparts. This was proven in their last regular season matchup.

It bears mentioning that Tampa Bay has a much better front seven than the Chiefs: Vita Vea, linebacker Devin White, and Pro Bowler Jason-Pierre Paul form a formidable trio for Tampa. However, Kansas City’s tandem of Frank Clark and Chris Jones is also very disruptive and works well with the Chiefs’ stronger secondary.

However, the real reason the Chiefs will win is because their offense is far superior to the Bucs. Although the Buccaneers have a very good duo in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans at receiver, other weapons like Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown are at the tail end of their careers. Meanwhile, the Chiefs feature a stronger and more mobile quarterback, a system that fits its players perfectly, a game-breaking tight end in Travis Kelce, and a trio of speedy wideouts led by Tyreek Hill.

One final point worth noting is Kansas City’s coaching advantage. While both coaches are experienced, Andy Reid proved last season that he may very well be the best coach in the league. All of these factors combined make it all but certain that the Chiefs will be crowned the champions of Super Bowl LV.

Tampa Buccaneers

by Cam Smith ’21

Sports Co-Editor

All eyes will be on star quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady as the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. However, it will be the performances of other players that will ultimately determine the outcome. Specifically, the play of the Tampa Bay defense and Tampa running back Leonard Fournette will propel the Buccaneers to their second Super Bowl victory in franchise history.

The two teams last met in Week 12, when the Chiefs knocked off the Bucs 27-24. Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill torched the Tampa defense to the tune of 269 yards and three touchdowns. Following that embarrassing showing, the Bucs worked hard during their Week 13 bye to address their issues with the deep ball. 

Following the bye week, the Bucs have played 2-man coverage for 18.1% of all defensive possessions, compared to just 4.8% in weeks 1–12. This increase in 2-man coverage will provide a challenge to Hill, as it allows for the cornerbacks to play more aggressively while also protecting against the deep ball with two safeties over the top. So too does it target Mahomes’s potential weakness, as the Kansas City quarterback’s 53.6% completion rate against the 2-man was his lowest rate against any type of pass defense in 2020. 

Tampa’s run defense, on the other hand, is one area that has refused to show any flaws all season. Coming into the Super Bowl, the Bucs have the league’s number one rush defense. In the Week 12 matchup, they limited the Kansas City backs to just 59 yards on 16 rushing attempts.

This trend will likely continue into the Super Bowl matchup, as the Chiefs suffered a brutal loss when left tackle Eric Fisher went down with an Achilles injury in the AFC Championship game. The Chiefs are also expected to be without right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, leaving two gaping holes in the line for the talented Tampa run defenders to take advantage of.

On the other side of the ball, Fournette has flourished since the start of the playoffs following an inconsistent regular season. Coming into the Super Bowl, the Tampa running back leads all players with 313 postseason yards from scrimmage. With a Chiefs defense potentially spread thin defending one of the best receiving corps in the game, Fournette should have plenty of room to continue his dominant run.

Indeed, with Tom Brady at the helm, the Bucs’ offense will remain effective, but it will be the Tampa Bay defense that brings home the trophy. Limiting big plays from perhaps the best offensive trio in the game in Mahomes, Hill, and tight end Travis Kelce will not be easy, but the surging Bucs defense might just have what it takes.

 

NFL Mid-Season Update

by The Cowl Editor


Professional Sports


COVID-19 Outbreaks Lead to Scheduling Fiascos

by Liam Tormey ’22

Sports Staff

It is now a couple weeks into the National Football League (NFL) season, and there have been both surprises and concerns for many teams in the league.

It goes without saying that COVID-19 is going to be the biggest issue this season. Going into Week Four, the Pittsburgh Steelers were supposed to travel to Tennessee to face the Titans, but, due to an outbreak of cases in the Titans camp, the game was rescheduled to Week Seven. The Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game was moved to Week Eight. Both the Steelers and Titans went into Week Four undefeated and have proven to be playoff contenders.

The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots were supposed to face off on Oct. 4 but had to reschedule to a Monday night game after Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19. With Newton in quarantine, Brian Hoyer got the starting job. Hoyer played a terrible first half before being replaced by second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham in the second half of the game.

Photo Courtesy of Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

With both rosters at capacity, the Chiefs and Patriots have been two of the more impressive teams in the league. Surprisingly, the Chiefs are the first team ever to start 4-0 for four consecutive seasons. Their impressive display against the Ravens in Baltimore has many believing they have a good chance to repeat winning the Super Bowl.

For the New England Patriots, Newton looks like he has found his new home. The Patriots hope to get him back for their Week Six matchup against the Denver Broncos, a game that was moved from Week Five following more positive cases in New England. Newton’s arm and his ability to run the ball have added a new dimension to New England’s offense. And with Bill Belichick as the coach, anything is possible for the Patriots this season.

Credit must be given to the other undefeated teams in the American Football Conference (AFC). The Buffalo Bills are the leaders of the AFC East, and quarterback Josh Allen looks ready to lead his team to a successful playoff run. Head coach Sean McDermott has continually given Buffalo a sound defense since coming from the Carolina Panthers as a defensive coordinator.

In the National Football Conference (NFC), the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers are at the top of the list for impressive teams thus far. Russell Wilson, who has never received an MVP vote, has been at the top of his game, proving how he has become one of the best deep-ball throwers in the league. Not many people believed in the Packers before the season started, but Aaron Rodgers has proven the doubters wrong, giving his team one of the best starts to the season.

The Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Texans have been the disappointments of the season. Atlanta blew back-to-back leads against the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears in games they looked certain to win. The Texans have had problems all over the board after trading star receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Both teams have now fired their coaches, Dan Quinn and Bill O’Brien, after winless starts to the season. 

The unpredictability of this football season mirrors the unpredictability of 2020. Although there have been surprises, disappointments, and league-wide challenges, it has been exciting for fans just to have football back on their televisions.

LIFE WITHOUT BRADY

by The Cowl Editor


Professional Sports


The Cam Newton Era has Begun in New England

by Liam Tormey ’22

Sports Staff

A new era is beginning for the New England Patriots. After 20 seasons and six Vince Lombardi Trophies, Tom Brady decided to end his career with the Patriots and sign a two-year, $50 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It is now the post-Tom Brady era in New England.

So, where do the Patriots go from here? Well, for starters, Cam Newton will be the face of the New England offense after he was named the starting quarterback last week. Newton beat out both Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer for the starting job.

The 2015 MVP of the league has had his issues with injuries over the last couple of seasons. Last season, Newton played only the first two games of the season before being placed on injured reserve for the year with a Pedal Lisfranc sprain. After being released from the Carolina Panthers, Newton found a home in New England on a one-year deal. 

The offense will look different this year without Tom Brady behind center, but there are still some familiar faces returning. Newton will be relying on the likes of Sony Michel, Julian Edelman, and N’Keal Harry. After trading for Mohamed Sanu last season for a second-round pick, the Patriots cut him this past week alongside running back Lamar Miller. Behind Edelman and Harry, Damiere Byrd will start the season as the Patriots No. 3 wide receiver.

Photo Courtesy of Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

New England’s starting tight end this year will be Devin Asiasi, who was the Patriots’ pick in the third round at number 91 in this year’s draft class. Asiasi enters the NFL after a successful collegiate career at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2019, Asiasi had 44 receptions, 641 yards, and four touchdowns. After coming out of retirement, Rob Gronkowski, one of the greatest tight ends of all time, was traded alongside a seventh-round pick to meet up with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay for a fourth-round pick. The Patriots took back-to-back tight ends in this year’s draft, selecting Dalton Keene from the University of Virginia Tech in addition to Asiasi. Asiasi and Keene will look to fill the massive void left at the position since the departure of Gronkowski. 

Due to COVID-19, the Patriots have a league-high number of players who have opted out of the 2020-2021 season. Those opt-outs include tackle Marcus Cannon, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, tight end Matt LaCosse, running back Brandon Bolden, fullback Dan Vitale, receiver Marqise Lee, and guard Najee Toran.

On the opposite side of the ball, the Patriots defense will look very different from how it was last year. The Patriots lost Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, and Elandon Roberts to free agency. Each leaves very large shoes to fill on defense. The defensive line will stay mostly intact, however, with Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler, John Simon, and Deatrich Wise Jr. all returning. 

The cornerback spot is still a strong spot for the Patriots. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore will feature alongside Jason McCourty, Devin McCourty, and Adrian Phillips in the secondary. With their second-round selection in this year’s draft, the Patriots added Kyle Dugger at safety. Dugger should be able to fill the hole left by Chung, as the hard-hitting safety dominated Division II football while playing for Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina. 

It is going to be a strange time for New England fans with these new-look Patriots, but with Bill Belichick running the team, and with Newton having something to prove, anything can happen for New England this season.

Indeed, the Patriots started on a strong note this past Sunday against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. The team secured a 21-11 victory behind two rushing touchdowns from Newton. They will look to continue their solid start this Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

PCI: Should NFL Athletes Have More Choice In What They Wear for Cleats?

by The Cowl Editor


PCI


Allow More Freedom

By Cam Smith ’21

Assistant Sports Editor

The NFL, often labeled the “No Fun League,” is notorious for restricting players’ freedom to wear cleats of their choosing. If the league wants to keep up with the times, that needs to change.

Recently, the cleat controversy has centered around Cleveland Browns wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. A week nine game against the Denver Broncos saw the pair sport unauthorized cleats in the first half of the game, before being forced to change at halftime by a league dress code official. If they refused to comply, the duo would have been banned from participating in the second half of the game and would likely have faced further league punishment.

The fact that this can occur is ridiculous on two fronts. The first being the hypocrisy it displays, as the league very much profits off of the individuality of its stars. In Beckham’s case, the league has gone to great lengths to promote him as one of the faces of the game, featuring him and his flashy play style in everything from commercials to award shows.

The league intentionally highlights Beckham as one of the great personalities in the game in an effort to draw viewers in. That is why it is so abhorrent that they then restrict him in the one area where he can creatively express himself on the field.

Secondly, the absurd nature of the rule is amplified by another American  sports league’s recent update on its footwear policy. The NBA changed its dress code rule to allow for sneakers of any color, with designs of the player’s choice. This season, players have already flaunted everything from SpongeBob SquarePants to Minnie Mouse on their basketball sneakers.

“You can learn a little bit more about a guy when you see what he’s putting on his shoe, whether it’s a social campaign or his love for a movie or character or something like that,” said Colleen Garrity, the Vice President of basketball marketing at Excel Sports Management, an agency which represents multiple NBA stars.

Indeed, this increased knowledge of players’ interests has already allowed for greater fan interaction, as fans can now better connect with players they know share similar interests. So too has it added some much needed personality to games sometimes filled with boring and monotonous uniform colors. The NFL has no reason not to follow suit.

Finally, with the advent of items such as social media, players have been given more substance to their public personas beyond simply the uniform and team they play for. Gone are the days of football being just about football, and the cleats the players wear should reflect this.

The NFL must catch up with the changing times.

Keep The Rule

By Scott Jarosz ’21

Sports Staff

Many controversies have risen as of late relating to the National Football League’s strict policies about the gear its players can wear during games, and specifically the cleats the players can wear. The league’s strict policies have earned it the nickname the “No Fun League” in recent years, as players have little freedom in terms of wearing customized cleats during games. 

In some cases, players have donned customized cleats that are designed to support good causes, such as when Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. sported cleats that raised awareness for cancer research back in 2016. 

However, for the most part, giving players freedom to wear whatever they choose welcomes the possibility that players could wear cleats that contain imagery that is inconsistent with the league’s values. These types of unwanted situations would negatively affect the league’s image. This is why the NFL should continue to enforce its relatively strict policies surrounding custom cleats, as doing so helps maintain leaguewide consistency and also prevents players from wearing controversial gear that harms the perception of the league.

Back in 2017, the NFL updated its footwear policy to allow players more freedom in wearing cleats with custom designs. The new policy allowed for players to wear approved cleats with custom designs during team warmups as well as pregame activities. 

However, during games, players would be required to wear cleats that are black, white, or team colors. This policy allowed players to show their true colors during warmups, but also maintain consistency with their uniforms during games. This policy returned to the spotlight on November 3, 2019 when Odell Beckham Jr. wore “The Joker”-themed cleats and Jarvis Landry wore flashy gold cleats during a game. The league informed the players that they would have to change their footwear to adhere to league standards at halftime or else they would be prohibited from participating in the second half. The league’s enforcement of its rules during this situation was fully justified, as the players knowingly acted against the footwear policy. 

The NFL, just like any other work environment, has a dress code that its “employees” must follow or else they will be asked to change. If the league were to make exceptions to this rule, it would face even more criticism. By enforcing its footwear policy, the NFL ensures that it produces a consistent on-field product that is organized and prevents further controversies from arising.

 

Editor’s Corner: Crashing Through Gender Barriers

by The Cowl Editor


Professional Sports


By Meaghan Cahill ’20

Sports Co-Editor

cammi granato NHL’s scout former friar hockey player
Photo Courtesy of NHL.com

Olympic gold medalist and former Providence College Women’s Hockey Team member Cammi Granato ’93 has been hired by the National Hockey League expansion team based in Seattle as the first female pro scout.
Team general manager Ron Francis said, “I know she’s a female pro scout for us, but her resume is why she got the job—not because she’s female.”

However, there is a lot of importance in the fact that Granato is a female.

As one of the handful of women working in the NHL, Granato’s new position signifies that the NHL is beginning to catch up to current times and solve the gender inequality that has had a daunting hold over professional sports for many years. The only difference between the NHL and other leagues is that the MLB, NBA, and NFL have already made attempts to close the gap between the male-to-female workers ratio.

As of 2018, the MLB has over 100 women working in baseball operations (front office and on-field jobs) and the NBA and NFL have hired woman to take on full-time coaching roles. And while it must be noted that no women has been hired as a full-time general manager or head coach, at least there has been acknowledgement from these three leagues that women are capable of working within both the game and with the athletes. 

MLB chief diversity officer Renee Tirado said on the issue, “There’s no sugar-coating this. There’s a lot to do.”

The acknowledgement towards the lack of female presence in professional sports has been lost amongst the NHL it seems, considering that, of the four major pro leagues, they are the only league who has been reluctant to hire women. Of the 31 NHL teams, there is not a single female coach, assistant coach, general manager, or assistant general manager. Even within hockey operations there is a sparse amount of women working. 

With that being said, Granato’s hiring might be an indication that the NHL is finally beginning to realize that they are very far behind not only the MLB, NFL, and NBA, but also society as a whole. In a league where many coaches, GMs, and AGMs are former professional players themselves, Granato’s hiring is opening doors to a vast amount of people—male and female alike—to find jobs in the NHL. Especially for women, Granato’s hiring is proof that outsiders of the NHL can know the game and do beneficial work within it. 

On her new position, the first female Hockey Hall of Fame and United States Hockey Hall of Fame inductee said, “I know the game and I’m confident in that. I’ve been around the game since I could walk. It’s really cool to be able to do it as a job and I’m looking forward to contributing my opinion.” 

Granato’s words and Francis’s comments on her extensive resume being the reason that she got the job demonstrates a solution to what has been the main argument for not hiring women to work for the NHL: that they do not know the game. 

Gender issues aside, until recently it has been extremely difficult for non-NHL experienced players to break into the league. Even AHL coaches struggle to get a promotion. This is all changing. As of 2018, 14 of the 62 head coaches have never played in the NHL; the same goes for 13 of the 62 general managers. 

Sports writer Lauren Kelly writes, “If there is a time for women to break into this area of the industry, it is now.”

Because, as with any sport, one does not need to play the game to know the game.  

PCI: Will the Patriots Go 16-0 This Season?

by The Cowl Editor


PCI


Yes, This Team Has Too Much Talent To Lose

By Jack Belanger ’21

Sports Co-Editor

tom Brady and Julian Edelman New England patriots 16-0 season
Photo Courtesy of Curtis Compton/AP Photo

There is no team hotter right now in the NFL than the New England Patriots. Even though it is early in the season, the Pats have shown hardly any glaring weaknesses on either side of the field. They are already outscoring their opponents 76-3, highlighting the fact that this team will not have to heavily rely on quarterback Tom Brady to carry them through what will be another perfect 16-0 season.

The offense will be more dynamic in how it can attack defenses this season than it has been in past seasons. The Patriots’ top three receivers are Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, and newly acquired Antonio Brown. As long as injuries or off-field issues do not plague these players, Brady will have three guys that have served as the number one option for their teams at one point in their careers.

Even if a team has a strong enough secondary to slow down the passing game, the Patriots have a strong enough backfield in Rex Burkhead and second-year player Sony Michel, who was just 69 yards short of getting 1,000 rushing yards in his rookie season.

On the other side of the field, New England boasts an elite defense that can win games if the offense is having an off day. Just this past week, they intercepted the Miami Dolphins four times, including two that ran back for touchdowns. The McCourty brothers and Stephon Gilmore have yet to allow 300 passing yards in a game, and held pro-bowler Juju Smith-Schuster to only 78 receiving yards in their Sept. 8 game against the Steelers.

As great as this team is, their schedule will also play into their favor. New England only has five games against teams that finished with winning records last year and they have already won in Miami, a typical trap game for them in recent seasons. The AFC East once again looks like it will be a runaway as the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, and Miami Dolphins are all rebuilding with inconsistent quarterbacks. The two toughest games to watch out for will be against the Kansas City Chiefs, who feature reigning league-MVP Patrick Mahomes, and the Baltimore Ravens who are also 2-0 this season behind dynamic quarterback Lamar Jackson.

No matter how good your team is, going 16-0 involves some luck. During their perfect season in 2007, New England had four games decided by single digits, including a three-point win over the New York Giants, the eventual Super Bowl Champions, in the season’s final week. That season, nine players from the team made it to the Associated Press All-Pro teams: six on offense and three on defense. This year the Patriots have a similar balance, and it will other require teams to think outside of the box in order to beat them.

No, Going 16-0 is Harder Than It Seems

By Cam Smith ’21

Sports Assistant Editor

Julian Edelman New England patriots 16-0 season
Photo Courtesy of Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

After an opening night drubbing of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a dominant win in Miami on Sunday, the nation is abuzz with talks of the New England Patriots going undefeated in the 2019 NFL season. The talk is understandable, as the Pats have assembled a team that boasts an absurd amount of talent. They also still have the greatest quarterback of all time at the helm, which certainly helps.

However, even with all this talent, the Patriots will not go undefeated. It is simply too difficult to remain on top of your game for every single quarter of a grueling 16 game season. A missed field goal, a tipped pass, or an untimely fumble can decide a game, and even a team coached by Bill Belichick is not immune to mistakes.

Only two teams in the modern history of the NFL have gone undefeated, showcasing just how difficult it is to pull off. The 1972 Miami Dolphins went 14-0 during the regular season and followed that up with a perfect postseason to capture the Lombardi Trophy. The other team to do it was the 2007 Patriots, who went 16-0 during the regular season before falling to the Eli Manning led New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

The 2019 Patriots certainly have a lot in common with that 2007 team: a star-studded receiving core, a lockdown defense, and a superb quarterback-coach combination. 

Yet, perfection is nearly impossible to duplicate. Even the 2007 Patriots had some close calls, including just a three-point victory over the Giants in week 17 of the season. In week 13, the Baltimore Ravens led 24-17 in the fourth quarter. The Pats required a Jabar Gaffney touchdown with 44 seconds remaining to squeak out a victory.

No one is questioning that there is a possibility that these Patriots can go undefeated, but it is just not statistically probable. Close games went their way in ’07, but the final seconds of games may prove to be different this year.

Consider the week nine matchup against the Ravens as a potential game where the Pats may falter. Second year quarterback Lamar Jackson poses a dynamic threat with his rare mix of blazing speed and arm strength, and M&T Bank Stadium has always proven to be a difficult environment for a road team to come into. The Ravens will also be well-rested coming off their bye week, while the Patriots will be entering their ninth straight week of play.

Overall, there is no doubt that the Patriots are the favorite to win Super Bowl LIV, but to expect a perfect season in addition to a championship is simply asking for too much.

Editor’s Corner

by The Cowl Editor


Professional Sports


Gronk Gone in a Flash, but Not the Patriots

By Jack Belanger ’21

Sports Co-Editor

We all knew it was going to happen eventually; there was no way anyone could expect Rob Gronkowski to play into his 40s like his quarterback. With the number of injuries he was enduring, continuing to play is not worth it. As sad as it is to see Gronkowski’s Hall of Fame career end so quickly, appreciate the fact that he was able to go out a champion while he was still relatively successful on the field.

While I am sure many fans would have loved to see Gronk play for another year, the risk of injury and becoming ineffective on the field would only result in many calling for his retirement. He has not played in more than 14 games in the past three seasons, and that probably would not have changed had he kept playing.

It is amazing how quickly he was able to solidify his spot in the conversation as one of the greatest tight ends of all time. While he will not have big career numbers that stack against others who played much longer than he did, the fact that Gronk only played in nine seasons (seven of which he played more than 10 games) speaks to how much he dominated defenders on the field.

However, Gronk’s Hall of Fame career began and ended while Tom Brady continues to add to his own legacy.

While it may seem Brady and the Patriots’ next challenge going forward is to figure out how to make up for the Gronk-sized hole in the offense, believe it or not, it may not be a challenge at all.

The Patriots have seen their fair share of great receivers come and go during the Brady era, and Bill Belichick and Brady have shown that the offense can adjust. Did the dynasty go away when Randy Moss and Wes Welker left? Nope. In fact, New England was able to make and win three Super Bowls after they both left the team.

The Patriots still have several great receiving options on the roster with Julian Edelman returning for a full season, a great pass-catcher in running back James White, and a promising runner in Sony Michel.

New England also owns three picks in the first two rounds of the NFL draft this season. Do not be surprised if you see Belichick pick up a tight end in the second round. Gronkowski himself was a second-round pick after getting overlooked due to injuries in college. Expect the Pats to look at University of Alabama’s Irv Smith and Texas A&M’s Jace Sternberger as two tight ends who should be available when it comes time for the team to pick.

While it may be the end of one crazy, exciting, and amazing Hall of Fame career, Gronkowski will always be a key piece that helped keep the dynasty alive during this decade that elevated the Patriots’ offense to new levels post-Moss and Welker.