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:

2002

New England Patriots - 20 (Tom Brady)

St Louis Rams - 17 (Kurt Warner)

2003

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 48 (Brad Johnson)

Oakland Raiders - 21 (Rich Gannon)

2004

New England Patriots - 32 (Tom Brady)

Carolina Panthers - 29 (Jake Delhomme)

2005

New England Patriots - 24 (Tom Brady)

Philadelphia Eagles - 21 (Donovan McNabb)

2006

Pittsburgh Steelers - 21 (Ben Roethlisberger)

Seattle Seahawks - 10 (Matt Hasselbeck)

2007

Indianapolis Colts - 29 (Peyton Manning)

Chicago Bears - 17 (Rex Grossman)

2008

New York Giants - 17 (Eli Manning)

New England Patriots - 14 (Tom Brady)

2009

Pittsburgh Steelers - 27 (Ben Roethlisberger)

Arizona Cardinals - 23 (Kurt Warner)

2010

New Orleans Saints - 31 (Drew Brees)

Indianapolis Colts - 17 (Peyton Manning)

2011

Green Bay Packers - 31 (Aaron Rodgers)

Pittsburgh Steelers - 25 (Ben Roethlisberger)

2012

New York Giants - 21 (Eli Manning)

New England Patriots - 17 (Tom Brady)

2013

Baltimore Ravens - 34 (Joe Flacco)

San Francisco 49ers - 31 (Colin Kaepernick)

2014

Seattle Seahawks - 43 (Russell Wilson)

Denver Broncos - 8 (Peyton Manning)

2015

New England Patriots - 28 (Tom Brady)

Seattle Seahawks - 24 (Russell Wilson)

2016

Denver Broncos - 24 (Peyton Manning)

Carolina Panthers - 10 (Cam Newton)

2017

New England Patriots - 34 (Tom Brady)

Atlanta Falcons - 28 (Matt Ryan)

2018

Philadelphia Eagles - 41 (Nick Foles)

New England Patriots - 33 (Tom Brady)

2019

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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Houston can win series on Sunday

Timely hitting helps Astros edge out D-backs to even series

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Astros had two losses over the last 24 hours; one a game against the Diamondbacks in the series opener on Friday night, the other the news that their recovering ace, Justin Verlander, announced Saturday afternoon that he is opting to undergo Tommy John surgery. The decision and surgery will likely sideline Verlander through 2021 when his current contract with Houston ends.

With that, the Astros headwinds continued to increase, meaning a win to even the series with Arizona on Saturday would be a much-needed pick-me-up. Here's how they did:

Final Score: Astros 3, Diamondbacks 2.

Record: 26-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Enoli Paredes (3-2, 2.84 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luke Weaver (1-8, 6.51 ERA).

D-backs score two on Javier who is pulled early

Kole Calhoun, who drove in four runs, including a home run in Friday's game, would start the scoring on Saturday with a solo home run off of Cristian Javier in the top of the second, giving Arizona an early 1-0 lead. Javier allowed another run in the top of the third, giving up a leadoff single that would move to third on a groundout then score on a sac fly, doubling the lead to 2-0.

Javier finished the third and tossed a 1-2-3 fourth, but whether it be due to a pre-determined pitch count or other situation, he would not go any further, ending his night there on just 77 pitches. His final line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 77 P.

Astros grab a lead in the sixth

The Astros were able to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third, getting a leadoff single by Josh Reddick, who would move to third after a walk and fielder's choice before scoring on an RBI-groundout by Jose Altuve, making it 2-1. Enoli Paredes was first out of Houston's bullpen, taking over for Javier in the top of the fifth and retiring six straight batters for two perfect frames.

Houston would get to Luke Weaver in the bottom of the sixth, getting a leadoff single by George Springer, who would score from first on an RBI-double by Altuve to tie the game. Altuve would come around as the go-ahead run later in the inning on an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, knocking Weaver out of the game as the Astros took their first lead of the game, 3-2.

Houston evens the series and moves back up to .500

Josh James was the next reliever for Houston in the top of the seventh, and despite getting into a jam by issuing a one-out walk and hitting the next batter, he was able to get out of it. It was thanks to a great play by Michael Brantley, who started a double play by catching a lineout and throwing a runner out at second to end the inning.

Brooks Raley had the eighth and erased a one-out walk by retiring the next two batters to maintain the one-run lead. After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, the Astros turned to closer Ryan Pressly to get another save and finish the one-run game. Pressly would do so, as Houston would move back up to .500 and even the series 1-1 heading into the rubber game on Sunday.

Up Next: The finale of this series between Houston and Arizona, and Houston's last regular-season home game of 2020, will get underway at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 8.53) ERA will be on the mound for the D-backs, while Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.70 ERA) will start for the Astros.

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