Coffee's for Closers...and Rings are for Hall of Fame Quarterbacks

NFL Super teams: You need one position - quarterback - to have a legitimate chance

David Silverman, Patriots team website

"There's only a few NBA teams that can actually win a title."

The NBA was buzzing yesterday as news came down that Anthony Davis wanted out of New Orleans. Odds-makers named the Los Angeles Lakers as the favorite to trade for his services.

The mention of pairing a superstar of "The Brow's" caliber with LeBron James, immediately had the masses out to air their usual grievance with "The King." The statement in which I opened the article with, was one of the most repeated I saw all of yesterday.

While the statement is true, I find the timing odd. We are literally days away from Tom Brady playing in his ninth Super Bowl out of the last 18 NFL seasons. When you look at all of the participants in the big game since Brady's first Super Bowl appearance, you'll notice a trend of superstar quarterbacks.

The Super Bowl has become a preconceived notion for anyone watching the game for the last 20 years. For two decades, Brady and Bill Belichick have been in the Super Bowl, on average, every other year. Yet, it's not the moans of the NFL fans that roar the loudest with their outcry of select super powers in their field.

At least in the NBA, superstars like LeBron James have moved around to different markets and brought championships to fans of multiple teams. James won titles in Cleveland and Miami. If "LeBrow" comes to existence then James would have brought the storied Lakers franchise back to life for the first time since the retirement of Kobe Bryant. Signal callers with Hall of Fame potential don't get shipped off in the NFL, unless there's a health concern and the team already has Plan B in place. Peyton Manning & Drew Brees both ended up in a second market but the moves came after injuries. Also, the Chargers had already drafted Philip Rivers and the Colts had the No. 1 pick in the draft to use on Andrew Luck.

Since that first Brady Super Bowl, NFL fans in markets without a future Hall of Fame quarterback had next to zero chance of making the Super Bowl and if you were a fan of an AFC team, then Brady had already secured that spot every other year. What makes it worse for NFL fans is the fact that the team that will play in their ninth Super Bowl in the last 18 years, received their boost from seven years of spying on opponents via video. Roger Goodell destroyed the evidence after viewing it and handed down a penalty that would not setback the franchise.

The Pats were slapped on the wrist with a fine for the coach of $500,000, a fine for the team in the amount of $250,000 and they were forced to forfeit a first round draft pick. During the time the Patriots were busted for cheating, they won their first three Super Bowls in franchise history. After the Patriots were caught, they went 8 years before winning another Super Bowl. They have since gone to four out of the last five.

The New England Patriots were valued at $3.7 billion in 2018. In the United States, only the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees are more valuable sports franchises. That statement won't surprise anyone today, but it would have shocked everyone if you would have predicted their skyrocketing value before their scandal(s).

A franchise that was 0-2 lifetime in the Super Bowl after losses to the famous Chicago Bears and a gunslinger named Brett Favre, went on to do something no one ever thought possible. They did it with a coach that struggled previously in Cleveland and a sixth-round quarterback prospect drafted 199th overall.

I still find it odd that in the era of "put an asterisk on the Rams win vs New Orleans"..."put an asterisk of Barry Bonds' home runs"..."put an asterisk on LeBron's super teams"...that the Patriots reign for the last two decades isn't viewed more as a stain on America's number one sport. More so, how the cries against the dearth of championship caliber teams in a league isn't pointed more directly at the NFL and specifically the New England Patriots.

Super Bowl Participants since 2002:


New England Patriots - 20 (Tom Brady)

St Louis Rams - 17 (Kurt Warner)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 48 (Brad Johnson)

Oakland Raiders - 21 (Rich Gannon)


New England Patriots - 32 (Tom Brady)

Carolina Panthers - 29 (Jake Delhomme)


New England Patriots - 24 (Tom Brady)

Philadelphia Eagles - 21 (Donovan McNabb)


Pittsburgh Steelers - 21 (Ben Roethlisberger)

Seattle Seahawks - 10 (Matt Hasselbeck)


Indianapolis Colts - 29 (Peyton Manning)

Chicago Bears - 17 (Rex Grossman)


New York Giants - 17 (Eli Manning)

New England Patriots - 14 (Tom Brady)


Pittsburgh Steelers - 27 (Ben Roethlisberger)

Arizona Cardinals - 23 (Kurt Warner)


New Orleans Saints - 31 (Drew Brees)

Indianapolis Colts - 17 (Peyton Manning)


Green Bay Packers - 31 (Aaron Rodgers)

Pittsburgh Steelers - 25 (Ben Roethlisberger)


New York Giants - 21 (Eli Manning)

New England Patriots - 17 (Tom Brady)


Baltimore Ravens - 34 (Joe Flacco)

San Francisco 49ers - 31 (Colin Kaepernick)


Seattle Seahawks - 43 (Russell Wilson)

Denver Broncos - 8 (Peyton Manning)


New England Patriots - 28 (Tom Brady)

Seattle Seahawks - 24 (Russell Wilson)


Denver Broncos - 24 (Peyton Manning)

Carolina Panthers - 10 (Cam Newton)


New England Patriots - 34 (Tom Brady)

Atlanta Falcons - 28 (Matt Ryan)


Philadelphia Eagles - 41 (Nick Foles)

New England Patriots - 33 (Tom Brady)


New England Patriots - (Tom Brady)

Los Angeles Rams - (Jared Goff)

AFC QB - Super Bowl Appearances & Record (Since 2002)

Tom Brady 9 games (5-3)

Peyton Manning 4 games (2-2)

Ben Roethlisberger 3 games (2-1)

Joe Flacco 1 game (1-0)

Rich Gannon 1 game (0-1)

NFC QB - Super Bowl Appearances & Record (Since 2002)

Eli Manning 2 games (2-0)

Russell Wilson 2 games (1-1)

Kurt Warner 2 games (0-2)

Drew Brees 1 game (1-0)

Aaron Rodgers 1 game (1-0)

Brad Johnson 1 game (1-0)

Nick Foles 1 game (1-0)

Cam Newton 1 game (0-1)

Matt Ryan 1 game (0-1)

Colin Kaepernick 1 game (0-1)

Donovan McNabb 1 game (0-1)

Jake Delhomme 1 game (0-1)

Rex Grossman 1 game (0-1)

Jared Goff 1 game (0-0)

As you can tell from above, if you have been a fan of an NFL team for the last two decades and didn't have a future Hall of Fame quarterback, then you've just been watching with zero expectation to reach the ultimate prize.

Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger have accounted for every AFC Super Bowl win in the last 17 years with the one exception being Joe Flacco, who had Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata on the defensive side of the ball that season.

On the NFC side, Eli Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers have amassed four of the seven titles won. Russell Wilson, Brad Johnson and Nick Foles make up the other three Super Bowl wins for the NFC since 2002. Wilson is still young; he could move over to the Hall of Fame side of this list in the future but it's way too early as of now.

Recap: If you are a fan of an NFL team without a future Hall of Famer playing quarterback, there is almost no reason for you to believe that your team has Super Bowl aspirations.

Only Nick Foles, Joe Flacco and Brad Johnson have won a Super Bowl in the last 18 years as the starting quarterback and not have a Hall of Fame resume (Wilson - book still being written).

For the majority of my adult life, the Super Bowl has been a foregone conclusion for AFC fans. If an AFC team wanted to win the Super Bowl from 2002-2019, there were four opportunities to get the right guy over the last 20+ years:

The Four Opportunities for AFC Teams

  • 1998 - Draft Peyton Manning #1 overall
  • 2000 - Draft Tom Brady
  • 2004 - Draft Ben Roethlisberger
  • 2012 - Sign Peyton Manning in free agency

Joe Flacco is the one exception to the rule in the last 18 years, as long as you have Ray, Ed, Ngata and Suggs on the defensive side.

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Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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