Tag:New England Patriots
Posted on: February 5, 2012 12:05 pm
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Underwood will get full Super Bowl share

By Josh Katzowitz

While the Patriots release of receiver Tiquan Underwood on Saturday set Twitter on fire -- and in a mostly negative way toward New England and Bill Belichick -- it’s not all bad news for Underwood.

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As ESPN’s Adam Schefter reminds us, the CBA states that a player who was on a team’s roster for eight games for that season is entitled to a full Super Bowl share. That means Underwood will receive $88,000 if New England beats the Giants. If New York wins, Underwood still would take home $44,000. He also can count on receiving a Super Bowl ring if the Patriots win the title.

Underwood was active for six games in the regular season and twice in the postseason, combining for three catches and 30 yards.

Underwood, it should be noted, had a classy response after the news was released, writing on his Twitter account, “This Is Nothing But MOTIVATION.... I Been Thru A LOT...But There Are Ppl In This World w/ More Serious Problems So I Cant Hang The Head....Thank You Lord … Good Luck To The New Enland Organization, The Coaches, & All My Teammates... #PatsNation”

He also texted this to ESPN’s Ed Werder: "I don't want to be a distraction to the game or the New England Patriots.....i will say this, The New England Patriots are a GREAT Organization. I wish them nothing but the best today. This season has been dedicated to Myra Kraft (MHK) Mr Kraft's wife....w/ that being said i hope they pull out the victory in honor of her & because the coaches & players have worked so hard this season for the opportunity to play in Super Bowl 46. Go Pats!!!! #PatsNation"

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Posted on: February 4, 2012 7:50 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 9:58 am
 

Pats release Underwood day before Super Bowl

T. Underwood (AP)

By Josh Katzowitz


INDIANAPOLIS -- While much has been made of Bill Belichick’s seemingly happy mood since the Patriots arrived here for Super Bowl XLVI, at least one of his former players has to be mighty upset with him tonight.
 
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That’d be wide receiver Tiquan Underwood, who was released from the squad about 24 hours (!) before New England faces the Giants at Lucas Oil Stadium. In his place, the Patriots have signed rookie defensive end Alex Silvestro to the active roster.

As the Boston Herald points out, Underwood almost surely would receive a Super Bowl ring if the Patriots win and that the move was not disciplinary.

Speculation has centered on the Patriots perhaps wanting an extra defensive linemen to move into the rotation and that, without Underwood in the lineup, Chad Ochocinco most likely will be active for Sunday’s game.

Underwood’s classy reaction, via Twitter? “This Is Nothing But MOTIVATION.... I Been Thru A LOT...But There Are Ppl In This World w/ More Serious Problems So I Cant Hang The Head....Thank You Lord … Good Luck To The New Enland Organization, The Coaches, & All My Teammates... #PatsNation”

But even though the Giants can't claim Underwood via waivers (they couldn't do so until Monday), I honestly love the idea presented by the New York Post’s Bart Hubbuch, who writes “Giants should ... hire him as a "quality control coach" like Josh McDaniels. I'm serious.”

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Posted on: February 4, 2012 7:14 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 11:28 am
 

Giants.com posts ad declaring Super Bowl champs

You might see the same thing in the Pats locker room. (Giants.com)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- There are hundreds of preparations that go along with the Super Bowl. Hats and t-shirts are made, speeches are written and interstitial ads on websites are created. In the case of Giants.com, that ad was accidentally placed live on the site a touch early. Like, today.

If you visited Giants.com during the day on Saturday, you might have seen this ad, which gave you the option to represent your team strat via social media, shop for championship gear or just continue on to the site.

"It is common practice for both teams to create web pages in advance of the conference championship games and Super Bowl," the NFL said in a statement. "In this case, the hidden URL for the page was inadvertently available for a brief period of time while it was being positioned on the NFL server for possible post tomorrow night."

Fortunately, this is the Internet age and someone snapped up a picture of the mistake. That's precisely what this is -- every team in the Super Bowl would create the same ad (you best believe the Patriots have one ready) but someone at the Giants website turned it live too early.

And now it's going to be a motivational tool for Bill Belichick and a perceived slight at the Patriots.

It's not, but that's how it's going to look.

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Posted on: February 4, 2012 1:22 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 10:19 am
 

Tickets for 2012 London game have been suspended

By Josh Katzowitz

When the Rams signed up to play one London home game each season from 2012-2014, team owner Stan Kroenke called it “a tremendous honor for our franchise, the city of St. Louis and our fans throughout the world” and how “this is a great platform to showcase the city of St. Louis to London and the UK.”

Then, we found out that, by playing in London, the Rams could violate their Edward Jones Dome lease with the city of St. Louis. Now, because the status of the game is unknown, the AP reports that ticket sales have been suspended for the Oct. 28 game between the Rams and Patriots.

NFL UK says it expects ticket sales to resume soon and that the Rams are working to "finalize the technical amendments to the lease required under the terms of the Rams' commitment to London."

But if the Rams can’t figure out a way around the lease issue, that won’t stop the NFL from continuing its international series next season at Wembley Stadium.

“Well, we’re going to play the London games, “commissioner Roger Goodell said at his Friday news conference. “We hope it will be with the Rams and the New England Patriots next year. That’s what we planned. I think it’s great for the community of St. Louis to be able to get that global exposure, but there are issues that obviously are going to have to get resolved.  We know there are discussions going on. We hope that they will get resolved shortly, and once that’s resolved we’ll make decisions from there, but we will be playing in London next year.”

But there’s another issue with the Rams. As the St. Louis Post Dispatch writes, the lease between the team and the city states that if the stadium isn’t considered to be a top-tier stadium -- basically, the league has to believe it’s one of the top eight stadiums in the league -- the team can leave after the 2014 season.

Goodell was asked by a St. Louis reporter if the NFL was committed to keeping a franchise in the city long-term.

“The answer is we want to keep our franchises where they are, so we’d love to have the St. Louis Rams stay in St. Louis,” Goodell said. "There are lease issues that are going through the process, as you know, they were articulated very clearly in the lease. Both parties are engaging in that, and their having that dialogue will allow that process to play out, and at that point in time (it) will be more clear about what the issues are and what we need to do to resolve them.”

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Posted on: February 4, 2012 12:06 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 10:02 am
 

Pats S Ross Ventrone just happy to be here

Ventrone won't play Sunday, but he does a decent Steven Tyler impression. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS -- You couldn’t keep the smile off Ross Ventrone’s face last Tuesday at Media Day. He was taking requests to sing Aerosmith songs, and he was discussing why his long brown hair was a better look than teammate Tiquan Underwood’s fade. Basically, Ventrone was having a blast, and for a guy who’s on the New England practice squad and won’t play in Super Bowl XLVI, the safety drew a decent crowd during the hour of media availability.

Ventrone, you see, is happy just to be here.

He was cut eight times this season. And re-signed to the practice squad eight times. And promoted to the active roster five times. Ventrone can never get comfortable, because by the time he settles into a routine, he’s involved in another transaction.

“I just kept plugging away and working hard,” Ventrone said. “Everything worked out. I’m here, part of the organization. I’m glad things went the way they did.”

Ventrone has played in eight games this season and made a grand total of two tackles. But it’s not bad for a former University of Pittsburgh walk-on who transferred to Villanova and went unselected in the 2010 NFL draft. He spent most of his rookie year on the practice squad, and this season, he’s had a little more impact on his team. You know, when he was actually a member of it and not being released by the Patriots.

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“Honestly, I don’t even think of it like that,” Ventrone said. “I just think that they want me on the team. They want me back. I keep working hard and try not to let that bother me or keep me down at all. I’m a positive person.”

And a funny dude. While mugging for the cameras, he referred to himself as “Rusty Benson 35” (his Twitter handle) and “Mr. Really.” He sang the climax of Aerosmith’s “Dream On” in a decent-enough falsetto. He talked about the last time the Patriots were in the Super Bowl, when he watched from the stands as his brother, Raymond Ventrone (now a Browns defensive back) played for New England and made a big-time special-teams tackle late in the game.

“Being in a similar position as him, it’s cool,” Ross Ventrone said. “We played at the same high school and same college and now we’ve played for the Patriots. It’s cool to walk in the footsteps of your older brother.”

Now, he’s just hoping that his Super Bowl experience turns out differently than the final result of Raymond’s experience.  Not that he’ll have much say about it either way since he’ll be on the sideline dressed in civilian clothes.

“Aw man, I’m just having fun with this,” Ross Ventrone said. “I love this stuff. I love doing all the silly stuff. I’m just trying to take it all in.”

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Posted on: February 4, 2012 10:00 am
Edited on: February 4, 2012 11:18 am
 

CBSSports.com's Super Bowl XLVI predictions


Super Bowl XLVI Preview: Will the Patriots get revenge this time around or will the Giants continue their run to another title?

Gregg Doyel

I've never felt so good about a pick in my life, because I've never seen anything as rock-solid as the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. The Giants have already beaten the Patriots this season, at New England, and they did it despite the unavailability of leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw and 1,000-yard receiver Hakeem Nicks. Plus, the Patriots weren't playing that game with receivers Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater forced to play key roles at defensive back, as will be the case Sunday.  

Forget what Vegas is saying. Everyone else is saying the Patriots will lose ... which is why I feel 100 percent certain that the Patriots will win. When everybody's convinced they're right, I'm convinced they're wrong. History shows people just aren't that smart.

Final score: It'll be a slugfest, but the Patriots will win 42-38.

Mike Freeman

Initially, I thought the Giants would actually beat the Patriots handily. Eli Manning would look at the Patriots defense, lick his chops, and light that defense on fire. Tom Brady would get harassed, an injured Gronk would be controlled, and Wes Welker would have a solid though not dominating day. It was all shaping up to a healthy Giants victory.

Then at the beginning of this week the Giants started chirping. And chirping. And chirping some more. It was a jab-fest for them with the team’s main message being they could get to Tom Brady both physically and mentally.

Normally, as Tom Coughlin would say, talk is cheap but this is Brady who thrives on talk and doubters. I’ve seen it happen with Brady on more than a few occasions. Not to mention the Patriots are on a revenge tour. I think the Giants would have been better served shutting the hell up. I know they are talkers. I know the Giants thrive on emotion and yapping but don’t pull on SuperBrady’s cape.

The Giants will still win but their mouths just turned this game from a comfortable win for them into one of the tightest Super Bowls ever.

Final score: Giants, 28-27

Clark Judge

I’ll take the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, and here’s why: Because they’re more balanced than New England, they’re hot, they’re confident and they have the pass rush to flummox the usually unflappable Tom Brady.

Oh, yeah, they also won their last two vs. the Patriots – including a 24-20 defeat this season.

But it’s that pass rush that convinces me. The Giants can bring pressure with their defensive line, allowing everyone else to drop into coverage, and if you don’t think that will affect Brady you weren’t watching the Giants shred Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Brady struggled in his last two starts vs. New York. He was sacked seven times, hit on countless other occasions and had more turnovers (4) than touchdown passes (3). He also lost both games. That counts for something, and I say it counts for a Giants’ victory.

Final score: Giants, 24-17

Pete Prisco

Quarterback and pass rush.  

That's the key to winning in the NFL these days. Get a great thrower and have a lot of guys to knock down the other team's thrower. The New England Patriots have the great passer in Tom Brady, but they lack the great pass rushers. The New York Giants have a very good passer in Eli Manning, but they have a lot of pass rushers.

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That's why the New York Giants will win Super Bowl XLVI. This time, unlike the last time they played in a Super Bowl, the Giants aren't huge underdogs. What I can't figure out is this: Why they aren't they favored.

The Giants are the better team. 

It's a tribute to Brady that the Patriots are here, but in watching him play the Giants in the past, he isn't the same Brady when he faces that the New York defense. Like I wrote this week, the Giants seem to be in his head. In the Giants' victory this season in Foxboro, Mass., Brady looked ordinary.  

That's the big edge for the Giants. They have the pass rushers. They don't fear Brady. They rattle him. That's why the Giants will beat the Patriots again in a Super Bowl. 

The NFL is all about quarterback and pass rushers -- and the Giants will show on Sunday. 

Final score: Giants, 31-24

Paul Dehner

Forget Gronkowski's ankle. Forget Aaron Hernandez. The defining story line of Super Bowl XLVI will be how the Patriots offensive line handles the intense Giants pass rush. Recent history of all New York's opponents on their postseason run insists that's more of a fleeting wish than a likelihood. The Giants have pounded every quarterback in their way into submission and eventual defeat. Tony Romo was sacked six times, Matt Ryan twice, Aaron Rodgers four times and Alex Smith three. The opponent didn't matter.

Tom Brady's only the next in line. When Brady can't throw, the Pats don't go. The Giants front four is coming and there isn't too much Brady can do about it. Jason Pierre-Paul and the rest of the Giants own the rare ability to disrupt timing -- the ultimate equalizer in the new, pass-happy NFL. They'll do it again on Sunday. That's the reason they'll loft the trophy.

Final score: Giants, 21-17

Alex Raskin

Another scoreless first half — like the one the New England Patriots and New York Giants had back in Week 9 — is improbable, but another defensive battle isn’t. Everyone is rightfully talking about each team’s respective high-powered offense. However, this game will be won on the defensive side of the ball and the Giants are up to the challenge.

New York has forced and recovered five fumbles in the postseason and the secondary has played significantly better since the Week 15 loss to the Washington Redskins. Throw in the Giants’ reliable linebackers and fearsome pass rush, and the advantage swings heavily in favor of the NFC Champions.

The Patriots’ defense intercepts passes and buckles down in the red zone, but the Giants’ big-play offense has a way around that. Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham allow quarterback Eli Manning to throw touchdown passes from anywhere on the field by going over or underneath opposing coverages.

Final score: Giants, 24-16

Will Brinson

It absolutely terrifies me that everyone -- and I mean everyone -- is on the Giants bandwagon. Eighty-five percent of the public money is on the Giants. Almost everyone at CBS is picking the Giants. Everyone outside of Boston is picking the Giants. It makes sense, because New York's front four is going to get pressure on Brady.

The Patriots best offensive weapon, Rob Gronkowski, is going to be limited. And how are the Patriots going to defend Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham? Not with Julian Edelman playing defensive back. Of course, the problem with all this is that the entire world's betting against the combination of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. That's somewhat illogical. Two things are going to make this a very close game: Gronk's ankle forcing him to stay in and block and Vince Wilfork turning into an animal for the second straight game. (Wilfork's my darkhorse for MVP.) In the end, though, it's going to come down to who has the ball last and I think it ends up being Eli.

Final score: Giants, 27-21

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Josh Katzowitz

Seems to me like the buzz this week in Indianapolis is how the Giants will beat the Patriots for the second time this season. And for reasons I’m having a hard time explaining, I don’t think that will happen. Give New England coach Bill Belichick two weeks to figure out how to beat the Giants, and I think he does it.

Obviously, New York has some solid advantages. The Giants front four will provide plenty of issues for the Patriots as they try to keep Tom Brady untouched. Eli Manning shouldn’t have a problem picking on New England’s secondary. And assuming Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski isn’t 100 percent effective, New England’s offense will be a little less versatile.

So, really, the Giants should win.

But I can’t pull the trigger on predicting them to do so. And I don’t know why. Which, I guess, isn’t much of answer why I’m picking the Patriots to win. I just kinda think they will.

Final score: Patriots, 24-22

Ryan Wilson

It's hard to believe that Vegas has had New England as the favorites for nearly two weeks now because almost everybody likes New York. Never mind that Giants have issues in the secondary and Tom Brady is a future Hall of Famer and three-time Super Bowl winner, New York's front four somehow makes up for all that.

Four years ago, the Pats came into this game undefeated and unstoppable. The Giants' pass rush changed all that. And that's what happened this season, in Week 9, when the two teams met. We get the feeling that New England won't be able to protect Brady on Sunday either.

Meanwhile, Eli Manning is playing the best football of his career even without much of a running game behind him. The Patriots' defense has been better in recent weeks but they still struggle in both phases. And that's bad news if Brady isn't his usual self.

Final score: Giants, 24-21

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 7:17 pm
 

The official Super Bowl XLVI injury report

By Josh Katzowitz

On Friday evening, the NFL released the final injury report of the 2011 season.

Here it is in all its glory:

Giants

PROBABLE:RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), WR Hakeem Nicks (shoulder), S Tyler Sash (foot), DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle, knee), CB Corey Webster (hamstring), LB Jacquian Williams (foot)

Patriots

QUESTIONABLE: T Marcus Cannon (ankle), S Patrick Chung (knee), LB Dane Fletcher (thumb), TE Rob Gronkowski (ankle), DT Kyle Love (ankle), G Logan Mankins (knee), LB Rob Ninkovich (hip), LB Brandon Spikes (knee), T Sebastian Vollmer (illness, back, foot), WR Wes Welker (knee), LB Tracy White (abdomen)

PROBABLE: WR Deion Branch (knee), C Dan Connolly (groin), S James Ihedigbo (shoulder), T Matt Light (illness), WR Matt Slater (shoulder)

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 3:54 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 4:01 pm
 

Gronk practices Friday without limp, questionable

Gronk remains quite popular and is questionable for Sunday. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

As the Gronk turns is Indy's second-most popular soap opera, but things are starting to look up for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who practiced on Friday without a limp and is listed as questionable on Friday's injury report.

Alex Marvez, the Patriots pool reporter, writes that Gronk worked out in "gray sneakers" and a  “Yo Soy Fiesta” t-shirt. Bill Belichick was, naturally, a little less specific.

"He practiced yesterday. He didn’t do anything today," Belichick said. “We’ll see where he’s at on Sunday, but hopefully [he’ll play]. I saw no setbacks. He’s still making progress.”

This was New England's final tune-up of the week, as they'll skip any actual practice on Saturday.

“We’ll have meetings and we’ll do some reminders and things like that in our hotel but we’re not going to actually practice,” Belichick said.

Belichick also believes the team, without the extra day of practice, is fully prepared for Sunday's Super Bowl matchup.

"I think we’re ready to go," Belichick said. "We’ve worked hard this week Monday, Wednesday and Thursday in practice, and we had good practices back [in Foxborough, Mass.] last week. We went through some mental-review things out there [Friday]."

One of the more interesting things to come out of Friday's practice was Belichick's participation -- according to Marvez, he literally got down on the ground with his team and worked as an offensive lineman trying to draw coverage teams offsides. 

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com