With Rob Gronkowski’s future uncertain, the Patriots will turn to former Giant Jake Ballard at TE.
Things have funny way of working out in this world. Last June, the Giants tried to sneak their convalescing TE Jake Ballard (knee) through waivers before placing him on season-ending IR. He made it all the way back to the Giants’ facility before he learned he was claimed by the New England Patriots with just minutes to go in the waiver period. He, along with the rest of the people in the building, were confused and angry over the last-minute theatrics by Bill Belichick and Co.
What did they need Ballard for? They already had the league’s best TE corp with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and Ballard was not going to play in 2012. Was this done out of vengeance, stemming from the Super Bowl loss a few months earlier?
That could have been part of it. The real reason was that Belichick knows that even with Gronk and Hernandez, you can never have enough players. He was right.
Gronkowski broke his left forearm in Week 11 last year. He’s had two surgeries on it and now has incurred an infection in the plate which holds the bones together. He will eventually require a third procedure, which could keep him out of action for 12 weeks. Hernandez sustained a high ankle sprain in Week 2 last year, which limited his season to 10 games.
Ballard is walking into a situation where the Patriots will need him to step in almost immediately. He’s still recovering and will start slow, but the Pats expect him to be at full strength for training camp.
From Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald:
Jake Ballard is finally ready to hit the field, but the team is going to take it slow with him when the offseason program begins tomorrow at Gillette Stadium. Ballard tore his ACL in the Giants’ victory against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, and he is recovering nicely. But without the need to get overly aggressive, the Pats are taking the cautious approach.
The first two weeks of the offseason program are strictly limited to conditioning, and the following three weeks are “perfect play” drills, which fill the purpose of instruction and don’t allow the offense and defense to take the field at the same time. If Ballard is limited or even restricted to the sideline, the mental reps will still suffice before the intensity ratchets up in late May for organized team activities.
It’s hard to beat up on the replacement officials since they’re being thrown into a difficult situation. Not our problem. Fans still payed full price last night and advertisers didn’t get a discount.
The game had no bearing in the standings, so we can laugh about the comical ongoings we’ve seen thus far. But as the regular season nears, I fear we may be in for more moments like the one below.
Last night in the second quarter, the officials showed their ineptitude and inexperience during a punt play in which several penalties were called. Only problem was they had no idea what they were, which team they were on and the players who committed them. It took approximately five minutes for them to sort it all out.
Here’s how it looks in the boxscore:
4-7-NYG 20 (6:26) S.Weatherford punts 62 yards to NE 18, Center-Z.DeOssie, downed by NYG-J.Tryon.
Penalty on NYG, Face Mask (15 Yards), declined. PENALTY on NYG-D.Hughes, Illegal Shift, 5 yards, enforced at NYG 20 – No Play. (6:08)
Dante Hughes, who the illegal shift was called on, is never mentioned by the officials. Neither is Isaiah Stanback, who apparently was the player who grabbed a face mask. That penalty was declined by the Pats, another tidbit the ref left out in his explanation.
St. Louis Rams – They traded back twice in this first round. They collected a ransom from the Redskins a month ago for the right to draft RGIII and followed it up by trading the sixth pick for an additional second round pick. They now have 7 combined picks in the first two rounds of this draft and the next. They will theoretically add 7 starters in those two years and already have a franchise QB.
They selected Michael Brockers at 14, which gives them a young fearsome defensive line of Quinn, Long, and Langford. The draft also saw first round caliber offensive lineman and wide receivers fall. The Rams can now select the best guard/tackle available, a tight end, and the best two receivers on the board all in one night.
New England Patriots – The Super Bowl runner-up just got drastically better. They moved up to pick 21 to choose ‘Cuse’s Chandler Jones. They then move up to pick 25 and select Dont’a Hightower of Alabama. Both players are great against the pass from their respective positions, defensive end and linebacker.
It was said that their secondary was the weak link for them defensively, but obviously Belichick believes that the pass rush is more important. Who can blame him for thinking that way? The Giants have beaten them twice with young/questionable secondaries, but monstrous pass rushers. They upgraded two positions with young smart players that will contribute immediately.
Carolina Panthers – The Panthers didn’t have to trade to make a splash in the top 10. They selected the best 4-3 linebacker in the draft, Luke Kuechly from Boston College. Their linebacking corps now consist of Thomas Davis, Jon Beason, and Kuechly; which makes them the most versatile group in the league. Davis and Beason are both returning from injury, but if they are healthy the Panthers defense will catch up to the performance of their offense.
The Patriots lost the Super Bowl sunday night to the New York Giants but you couldn’t tell that from this photo.
Patriots’ players Rob Gronkowski and Matt Light were photographed living it up after the game. Gronk surely looks 100% here if you ask me.
So even though you can find countless videos of Pats fans bawling post game on the internet, it seems as though the players took the defeat in stride.
It’s hard to determine what is more baffling, Rob Gronkowski jumping around on stage with LMFAO or Matt Light deciding to go shirtless in the club?
These guys look like they learned their moves from Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs partied in LIV nightclub last season after winning their first NBA championship. There are definitely some obvious differences between those two situations. Obviously Mr. Kraft wasn’t popping 10 foot bottles of champagne, Mark Cuban style. The Super Bowl itself was in Indy, which doesn’t give off the same atmosphere as South Beach. But the most notable difference is that they didn’t win.
Try to imagine what Matt Light would’ve done if they would have hoisted the Lombardi trophy.
The moral of the story is no matter what happens on the field, the party must go on!
The 2011 NFL season concluded with another television milestone as Super Bowl XLVI on NBC reached a total audience of 166.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched show in U.S. television history according to The Nielsen Company.
The Giants-Patriots championship game topped the previous record of 162.9 million total viewers set last year (Packers-Steelers in Super Bowl XLV) and marks the fifth consecutive record-setting total audience for the Super Bowl. Super Bowls account for the 21 most-watched programs in history in terms of total audience.
The previous Super Bowl between these two teams (Super Bowl XLII 2/3/08) drew 148.3 million viewers.
In addition, a record average of 111.3 million viewers watched Super Bowl XLVI – topping the previous mark of 111 million for Super Bowl XLV.
Four years ago, the New York Giants prevented history.
On Sunday night, they made it.
Just as they did in Super Bowl XLII, the Giants rallied with a last-minute touchdown, scoring the final 12 points to steal Super Bowl XLVI from the New England Patriots, 21-17, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The last time New York did something like that, it was a heavy underdog, stopping New England just 35 seconds short of being the first team to complete a perfect 19-0 season.
This time, the Giants (13-7) became the first team with more than six losses in a season to win a Super Bowl; the first to do so after suffering a four-game losing streak; and the first franchise to win a Super Bowl in four different decades.
The victory, New York’s sixth straight to close the season, put a stamp on a recurring refrain that carried the Giants from the brink of playoff elimination following a disappointing Week 15 home loss to Washington, to their second Super Bowl title in five years, their fourth overall, and their eighth NFL championship.
New England QB Tom Brady said he wanted the ball at the end of the game with a chance to win it. That’s just what he got last night, except he had envisioned a different outcome.
“We got to the 50 (yard line) and just ran out of time,” Brady said after the game. “We threw a hail-mary at the end. I’m not sure how close we were to getting it. Obviously I wish we could have done a little bit more.”
The Giants’ defense stepped up when it counted, but Brady sat at his presser last night lamenting about what could have been. The Patriots left a lot of their game out on the field last night. He felt they did not do enough to beat the Giants – who did just enough to win.
“We just didn’t make enough plays. In the first quarter, we didn’t have the ball a ton,” said the future Hall-of-Famer. “The second quarter, we played a little bit better. Third quarter, we started well and it came down to the fourth quarter. (The Giants) made some plays there at the end. We went out there to win the game. We just didn’t make enough plays.”
No, they didn’t. The most notable missed opportunity was with 4:06 remaining in the 4th quarter. On 2nd-and-11 from the Giants’ 44, Brady spotted his favorite target – WR Wes Welker – wide open in the left flat with room to run. The pass was a bit high and Welker could not reel it in. It is a catch he routinely makes….