Tag: Professional Football
by The Cowl Editor
Gronk Gone in a Flash, but Not the Patriots
By Jack Belanger ’21
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.
Patriots Clinch Super Bowl LIII Over Rams
by The Cowl Editor
PC Campus Celebrates Patriots’ Sixth Title
by Liza Sisk ’19
On Feb. 3, the New England Patriots earned their sixth ring during Super Bowl LIII. The Patriots are now tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins by a single franchise. In an incredibly underwhelming game from an offensive perspective, but possibly one of the most challenging defensive games in Super Bowl history, the Patriots outscored the Los Angeles Rams 13-3.
“We have a lot of great people in the organization. It starts at the top with Robert [Kraft] and his family, he’s given us great support in all the things we need to do to be competitive. Again, we have a great group of players and coaches that work extremely hard to compete the best we can. Happy that things worked out for us this year and we were able to be the best team in football this season,” said Patriots’ Head Coach Bill Belichick to USA Today.
The game was scoreless heading into the second quarter. Perhaps it was inspiration from Belichick or the performance by Maroon 5 and Travis Scott, but the Pats were able to pull off the W in the final quarter. The game was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history, succeeding the Miami Dolphins victory over the Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII. In addition, a record was set by quarterback Tom Brady on Sunday night. He is the first athlete in the NFL to win six Super Bowls and holds the record for most Super Bowl appearances with nine.
Super Bowl LIII also brought a few firsts for the Rams franchise. Johnny Hekker, punter for the Rams, now holds the record for the longest punt in Super Bowl history after kicking 65 yards. Additionally, the Rams’ head coach received a nod as the youngest NFL head coach to make a Super Bowl appearance. Sean McVay is just 33 years old and is the youngest person to become a head coach in the National Football League since 1938.
The Patriots, led by Brady, were able to turn on the heat in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. Two crucial passes from Brady to tight end Rob Gronkowski and a successful drive by Sony Michel led to the first and only touchdown of the game. A field goal by kicker Stephen Gostowski sealed the win.
Following the win, Brady told USA Today, “We couldn’t take our foot off the gas pedal, we were playing a great football team. They’re explosive in all areas. They got the one turnover. They have a great team.”
Wide receiver Julian Edelman earned the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award. Edelman made 10 catches, earning 141 yards during the game. His performance alone accounted for over half of the Patriots’ total receiving yardage, 262. He was the first wide receiver to win the award since Super Bowl XLIII in 2009. After a rocky start to the season, he was able to tally up 74 catches for 850 yards and six touchdowns in 2018. Edelman said,“I wasn’t focused on that (MVP). I was just trying to go out and have a good week of practice and do my job. And sometimes, the cookie crumbles that way.”
Following the win, there was an undeniable buzz in the air at Providence College. The majority of students hailing from New England, it is no surprise that the sixth Super Bowl victory for the franchise brought so much excitement.
“This is the greatest sports dynasty of all time,” said Francis Figueroa ’20. Similar sentiments were shared by other students as Providence College students shipped it up to Boston on Tuesday, February 5 to watch the victory parade.
Gil Santos ‘Voice of the Patriots’ Dies at 80
by The Cowl Editor
By Meaghan Cahill ’20
Gil Santos, inductee of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame, radio play-by-play announcer for the New England Patriots, and member of the Patriots Hall of Fame passed away last weekend on April 19. It was his 80th birthday and 57th wedding anniversary.
Known as the “Voice of the Patriots,” Santos began his renowned career in 1966 as a color commentor for WBZ. He became the official play-by-play announcer in 1971 when the Patriots moved to Foxborough, Massachusetts. He called 744 games in 36 seasons before he announced his retirement in 2009.
In a 2009 interview, Santos recalled that it was Mel Allen announcing the Rose Bowl Game in 1950 that ignited his passion for sports broadcasting. “He said, ‘It’s 80 degrees and sunny here in Pasadena’ and I was thinking ‘Geez, it’s snowing here, it’s 80 degrees there, and this guy’s there to broadcast the game. What a great way to make a living.’”
Santos gave 63 years of his life to the broadcasting business, announcing most notably for the Patriots, but also for teams such as the Boston Celtics, the Providence College Men’s Basketball Team, and the Boston College football team. He also announced at events such as the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Santos described his broadcasting career as “simple. I tell the people where this ball is, who has it, and then what they’re doing with it. Then I let my partner talk.”
His son, Mark Santos, recalled his father’s career as being anything but simple, reflecting on the countless hours of preparation and lack of sleep his father endured. Mark gave a nod to his father, saying, “For a guy who spoke nothing but Portuguese until he was five, he came a long way. [My father] never felt more comfortable than sitting in a press box. That was his calling. He loved calling games.”
Following Santos’ death, of which the cause remains unknown, Patriots owner Robert Kraft released the statement, “For generations of Patriots fans, Gil Santos was and forever will be known as the ‘Voice of the Patriots’. Gil was a legendary broadcaster, who for 36 years passionately described the play-by-play detail of every Patriots game during his career, including many of the most memorable moments in franchise history.”
Gino Cappelletti, the former star Patriots kicker and receiver, partnered with Santos in the booth until his own retirement in 2012; it was a partnership that lead to Santos referring to Cappelletti as “mon ami” (my friend in French) at the beginning of every one of his broadcasts.
Following the announcement of Santos’ death, Cappelletti interviewed with The Boston Globe on his former partner. In the interview, Cappelletti recalled Santos’ enthusiasm with the memory from the 2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII game at the Reliant Stadium, “I’ve got to watch Gil. He gets excited and tends to lean over. If he does that here, he’d better be wearing a parachute.”
In the same interview, Cappelletti stated that Santos was “truly a pro in every sense of the word, always prepared. Gil demands quality and excellence in everything he does in the radio broadcast business.”
Former coworkers of Santos took to remembering him following his death, reminiscing on memories they have of him and the type of man and worker that he was.
Gary LaPierre, Santos’ colleague from WBZ, commented, “There are none better at painting pictures on radio. He’s got a set of pipes and credibility. You never hear anyone bad-mouthing him. He is a straight shooter.”
Santos’ gave his last broadcast on January 20, 2013 at Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots lost the AFC title game to the Baltimore Ravens. Santos had to spend months determinedly completing rehab to make the game after suffering pneumonia and an obstructed pulmonary disease the year before, days after the Patriots loss in Super Bowl XLVI. Against all odds, Santos survived the illnesses, but was only left with movement in his right arm and was unable to feed himself.
In the final years of his life, Santos reflected, “Hey, I’m pretty lucky. I got to do what I wanted to do. Now all I’d like is to be remembered as someone who was good at what he did and was a good guy, too…It’s never been a job with the Patriots. It’s been an honor.”
Many people across New Engand will certainly remember Santos the way he wanted to be remembered and for so much more.
Patriots Mid-Season Review
by The Cowl Editor
By Jack Belanger ’21
With the conclusion of Week 9, the NFL season is officially past the halfway point, and the Patriots are once again in first place in the AFC East at 6-2, though the team has not consistently performed to the expectations coming into the season. Here is a review of the season so far.
The first four games for the defense were rough. The Patriots gave up more than 33 or more points in each of their first four games. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore was the big name signing for the defense this off season and it was expected he would be a lock-down defender along with cornerback Malcolm Butler. So far, however, Gilmore has suffered miscommunications that have led to giving up multiple big plays.
Injuries have also been a big issue for the defense. Gilmore has missed a couple games with a concussion and an ankle injury. Linebacker Shea McClellin was initially on the injured reserve with an undisclosed injury, and now top linebacker Dont’a Hightower is out for the year with a torn pectoral muscle.
Through all the injuries and underperformances, defensive end Trey Flowers has been the MVP for this unit as he is tied for the team lead in sacks with 3.5 and leads the team with tackles for a loss with four. With Hightower out, he and LB Kyle Van Noy are the anchors for the front-seven.
While the defense has improved in the last two games by only giving up a combined 20 points, overall this season the Patriots have given up the most yards per game with 417. The defense seems to be improving, and a favorable upcoming schedule with two of the next three games against weak offenses in Denver and Miami should help this unit make some strides.
While it seems obvious, Tom Brady has been the reason this team is in first place in the division. While he looked mortal in the season opener (267 passing yards, 0 touchdowns), Brady has put his team in a position to win in every other game so far this year. He currently leads the NFL in passing yards with 2,541 and has 16 touchdown passes to only two interceptions.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski, has been healthy this season and has been Brady’s favorite target, leading the team in touchdown catches with five and second on the team in receptions with 34. New pickup Brandin Cooks has given Brady the deep target he has been missing leading the team in receiving yards with 563.
The one cause for concern for the offense is Brady’s protection. Brady has been sacked 21 times already (compared to 15 all of last year) and while Brady has been healthy so far, his 40-year-old body can take only so much punishment by the time the playoffs roll around.
Why the Philadelphia Eagles Will Win Super Bowl LII
by The Cowl Editor
By Eileen Flynn ’20
So far this year, many NFL teams have surprised their fans with unfamiliar performances. The Patriots are no longer in control of the AFC East and the Falcons are sliding down below the Panthers in the NFC South.
However, one team that is not only on its way to winning their division, but in full stride to win Super Bowl LII is the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have acquired an impressive record of 8-1, placing them at the top of all the other NFL teams.
Their one loss of the season was due to the Kansas City Chiefs’ strong defense. After this tough battle in the second week of the season, the Eagles have bounced back, each game coming out stronger and smarter than the last.
It is hard for a team to be successful if they lack a reliable quarterback, luckily for the Eagles, Carson Wentz is even better than reliable.
The recent 34-24 win over the Redskins was due to Wentz’s strength under pressure. Wentz showed his mobility and comfort in and outside the pocket throughout the game. His fourth touchdown pass of the day was made possible due to the escape of a near third-down sack just several plays before. Wentz finished the game 17-of-25 passing for 268 yards. His teammates are not surprised by his clutch performance, instead it is becoming more common than not.
The multitude of outlets Wentz’s teammates provide him with is what makes his offense so intimidating. Four different runners touch the ball almost every game, making the Eagles a tough team to defend. After the offense files off the field, the Eagles send out a dependable defense team. Timmy Jerigan, Fletcher Cox, and Derek Barnett supply relentless pressure on their opponent’s offense.
Although the Eagles have a long way to go before playoffs, the team is on the right track. It has been several years since the Eagles have made a run in the playoffs, however, the 2017 season holds promise for a change in history for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Why the Los Angeles Rams Will Win Super Bowl LII
by The Cowl Editor
By Ethan Ticehurst ’18
After being one of the worst teams in the league for more than a decade, the Los Angeles Rams have emerged as a major threat to the rest of the league this season. With a record of 6-2, they have shown that they are capable of winning. A league-leading average of 32.9 points per game proves that they are capable of winning big too.
The biggest advantage that they have this year is the fact that they were so awful last year. It may seem a bit counter-intuitive, but going from worst to first is actually easier to do in the NFL than in any other professional sports league. Due to the shorter season, NFL teams do not have to play every team in the league every season. The NFL crafts the schedule so that all teams in the same conference that all finished in the same position in their divisions will play each other the next year. Thanks to a bad season last year, the Rams not only have an improved team, they also get to play against some of the worst teams in the league. They will only improve upon their already solid record, picking up a top playoff spot.
Once they are in the playoffs, the Rams have just as of much of a chance as anyone else to make the Super Bowl and to win it. They have a strong offense that puts up over 30 points a game consistently which can carry them through to the end. The Lombardi Trophy will be coming back to the city of Los Angeles this year.
Why the Packers are America’s Team
by The Cowl Editor
by Jack Belanger ’21
I wish I could proclaim the Patriots as “America’s Team,” but most of the country would be quick to disagree. While the Pats have been the best team recently, outside of New England they are probably one of the most disliked teams.
Being “America’s Team” is more than just being the best, you also have to have fans from all around the U.S. root for you at some point, while having a consistently strong home fan-base. The Green Bay Packers edge out the Pats because, unless you are a die-hard Chicago Bears fan, nobody really hates the Pack nor consistently roots for them to lose.
Green Bay fits the bill as “America’s Team” for a variety of reasons that help them edge out all the other 31 teams from the product on the field to the attention off it.
First, the Packers have consistently been one of the best teams on the field in recent years, making the playoffs for the past eight seasons while winning a Super Bowl during that run. Being one of the best teams in the league is key to be a favorite since nobody wants to root for a perennial loser (sorry, Cleveland).
But they also have not had a dynasty where people are hoping they lose. Behind the success is Aaron Rodgers, one of the most exciting players to watch with his ability to pull off a big play when needed.
Off the field, one of the more likeable features about Green Bay is they are publicly owned by many stockholders and are run by a board of directors. This means the team does not have to worry about a single owner who is the face of the franchise (i.e. Jerry Jones and the Cowboys).
Green Bay has one of the strongest fan bases in the league despite being one of the smallest markets. Deflated balls or not, the Packers have not been accused of cheating, leaving no room for people to question their success.
While the greatest quarterback and coach may very well reside in Foxboro, it’s hard to portray anyone in Green Bay as a villain in the league.
Giants Face a Must-Win Week 4
by The Cowl Editor
by Chris McCormack ’18
Just three weeks into the NFL season, we have already seen some shocking storylines. Whether it be Ezekiel Elliott avoiding suspension, the New York Jets winning a game, or the increased number of national anthem protests, it has been an eventful few weeks.
That said, however, the most significant storyline comes from the other team from the Meadowlands, the New York Giants. Coming into the season, the Westgate Sportsbook posted a list of the teams with the most bets to win the Super Bowl. The Giants came in fourth behind the Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers, and their NFC East counterpart the Dallas Cowboys.
Many people liked the Giants’ chances coming into the season, but here we are coming up on week four and they are 0-3. The Giants had the second best defense in the NFL last year and the best in the NFC. With key off-season acquisitions including wide receiver Brandon Marshall, offensive lineman D.J. Fluker, and their first-round draft pick, tight end Evan Engram, many fans had high hopes going into the season.
Those expectations were quickly shot down within the first two weeks where they only scored one touchdown against the Cowboys and Lions combined. Week three came around, and brought the Giants a crucial matchup against their division rival, Philadelphia Eagles.
After an extremely slow start, not scoring a point until the fourth quarter, they were able to crawl back into it and tie the game up at 24. The tie game did not last long as the Eagles’ kicker Jake Elliot kicked a 61-yard field goal as time expired.
The Giants are now 0-3 in their division while the Eagles sit atop the NFC East with a 2-1 record and a 2-0 record in the division. With a 0-3 start for the Giants, the rest of the season does not look promising. According to oddshark.com, there have been 168 teams to start 0-3 since 1980. Of those teams, only five have gone on to make the playoffs.
If the Giants hope to reach the postseason they need to fix important parts of their team. The biggest blunder for this team has been the offensive line. Quarterback Eli Manning has been sacked eight times this season, which ranks 12th worst in the league.
The finger can also be pointed at Eli Manning for some of these issues. Manning has thrown four interceptions which is tied for second most among quarterbacks this season.
The last hiccup the Giants need to figure out is rushing the ball. The Giants rank 30th out of 32 teams in the league in rushing yards with 146 yards. Their best rusher is Orleans Darkwa who comes in with a mere 53 yards over the 3 games. There are many offensive issues that this team must figure out, which is the most surprising part of their season given the additions they made this offseason as well as Eli Manning’s veteran status.
If they are not able to turn this season around, expect the team to turn to the draft and look at many of the quarterback prospects in the 2018 draft class.