By Shaun Morash
The “Evil Empire” is back in the big dance. For the 7th time under Bill Belichick we as fans will have to endure Boston fans alike acting like it is their birth right to be in this game. Truth be told, you cannot hate on the Patriots franchise because they have been so good for so long. They found a head coach who would become a legend and drafted a quarterback late that too became a legend. Basically, any team could have had either of these guys, but like anything in the NFL it is a crap shoot.
The real reason the Patriots are despised nationwide isn’t because of the success, it’s because of the ignorance surrounding the success. Just because you are a fan of a team doesn’t mean you have to be an excuse machine when your team has done as much wrong as the Patriots. Spygate? We have an excuse for that. Deflategate? Just blame the overweight ball-boy we have.
Tom Brady cheated, whether it was a big deal or small deal is the debate, but he did cheat. If not, why would a PSI rule exist? He also destroyed his cell phone, I don’t care how many naked pictures you have on your phone, if you did nothing wrong pertaining to what you are asked to surrender you cell phone for you surrender it. Yet Patriots fans can’t see this somehow. It is truly an amazing bubble we live in.
My message to Patriots fans is simple, you have been ignorant for far too long towards the non-Patriots fan. Do yourselves a favor and don’t be ignorant to enjoying this game, because the wheels are falling off that Brady Bus soon as his age gets higher in number. I think I speak for approximately 47 of the 50 states in America when I say, please let this be the last Patriots Super Bowl for a long time, at least for everyone’s sanity.
Five Yard Gain
5- The Falcons offense put on the best display I have seen in an NFC Championship game since the 2000 Giants 41-0 drubbing of the Vikings. The one thing that sticks out the most is how much time Matt Ryan has in the pocket. There was hype around the Cowboys and Raiders offensive lines all year, the Falcons offensive line can play to the level of each of those units without the fanfare.
4- The Packers need to stop relying on the magic of Aaron Rodgers and start constructing a deep, monster football team. He has receivers, a decent line, but no true run game and a defense that looks prettier on paper than it actually is.
3- I am not buying that Ben Roethlisberger is retiring this off season. However, I am buying that 2017 may be it for him. It is apparent he loves the “old Steelers,” more than these Steelers. He takes nearly as many big hits as Andrew Luck, with a body that is 10 years older. He has nothing left to prove and I would applaud him stepping away. I hope the threat of him stepping away was a large enough wake up call for Antonio Brown to cut his antics next year.
2- Muhamad Sanu may go down as the best free agency signing from 2016. If the Falcons do hoist the Lombardi his presence will be a big reason why. This was also be just another notch in the belt of free agency being a proven entity in building team’s, or at the very least putting them over the top in the modern NFL. The Broncos last season don’t sniff the playoffs let alone win a Super Bowl without big signings. These Falcons would feel the same way, even with tremendous drafting the past few seasons. You need to do both things well, not just one.
1- Jason Pierre-Paul is looking for “Olivier Vernon Money.” He said so this week and called out Giants fans who via social media begged the Giants not to pay him that. JPP has been a changed man, a humble player, who rose again to an elite level before suffering an injury that ended his season. The truth about JPP is as dominant as he looked again, he is still essentially a 1 handed player who has played 16 games just once in his career. While he deserves to be paid, he should be realistically looking at the pay day Jamie Collins just received and not the one Vernon received last year.
Patriots -3 vs Falcons. Bill Belichick is a super genius. We can over analyze this game all we want, but for me a game this closely matched comes down to one thing: Bill Belichick has not 1, but 2 weeks to prepare for Dan Quinn.
Each of these team’s has allowed the same exact amount of points in total vs common opponents. Each team has an elite quarterback who is distributing the ball to at least 5 very talented targets. The Patriots have the better defense, but not by a wide margin.
Dan Quinn has a real opportunity to put himself on the map as one of the league’s great coaches if he can knock off Belichick in this spot, but I cannot put money in this spot on him doing it. Also this specific post season has been nothing but disappointing games, allowing everyone to have the lazy narrative ,” well the Super Bowl will probably be a good game then!” I feel like this game will follow in the same trend as these playoffs have, disappointment all around, even your nachos will likely be soggy. Give the Patriots 38- Falcons 23.
Football Food of the Week
Large Chicken Roll: A Super Bowl has several “must” items. Wings, a giant hero or grinder, chips, dip, taco dip. However, add one more creative item to the mix with a large chicken roll.
Purchase pizza dough, flour, chicken breast, shredded mozzarella, and marinara sauce. Fry up the chicken breast, ala chicken cutlet style. Slice the cutlets into strips. Put flour down on your counter and stretch pizza dough over the flour. Proceed to put the chicken cutlet strips end to end on the dough. Sprinkle the cheese and glob sauce evenly over the chicken strips. Fold the dough over the top pinching it closed. Essentially the chicken, cheese, and sauce will be stuffed inside of a cylinder of dough. Bake on 350 degrees for approximately 15-18 minutes. Slice the cooked product into finger sandwich sized rolls and serve.
Hope you enjoy these, and I hope you have enjoyed all of the treats I have recommended this season.
Thanks for reading; you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MrazCBS.