C’mon man, Patriots ain’t no underdogs

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Cut the underdog talk Tom Brady. Please, Patriots, spare us the rap. Nobody buys it.

It’s bad enough you have the best quarterback and coach of all time, and that you’ve been to the Super Bowl nine times since 2002.

“I’m too old,“ Brady told CNN moments after the Patriots knocked off Kansas City in the AFC title game. “We’ve got no skill players. We’ve got no defense. We’ve got nothing.”

Nothing but five Super Bowl rings already.

Does New England understand how Las Vegas odds work? Here’s a simple lesson. That +3 in your column means the Patriots are favored to beat the Rams by three points.

The Rams – with the young coach and quarterback and the inexperienced squad – are clearly the underdogs in Super Bowl LIII.

8-0…or 0-8

Amazingly, the Patriots could just as easily be 8-0 as 0-8  in Super Bowls in the Brady-Belichick era. The Patriots won their first three Super Bowls on field goals, and later added an end-zone interception to beat Seattle and a record-setting 31-point comeback to stun Atlanta in overtime.

On the other side, the Pats came close to beating the Giants twice and the Eagles last year before falling short at the end.

QB Hell

Who’s the best quarterback never to play in a Super Bowl?

Two Charger greats top the list – Hall of Famer Dan Fouts and Philip Rivers, who lost to the Patriots in the divisional round of this year’s playoffs.

Hall of Famer Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham and Archie Manning are also on the list nobody wants to be on.

The best never to win a Super Bowl? That honor goes to Miami’s Dan Marino, whose Dolphins lost to San Francisco in 1985, his second season….and never made it back.

Fellow Hall of Famers Fran Tarkenton and Jim Kelly made the big game multiple times, yet never came out on top.

RICK’S PICK: I’m an NFC guy who would love to see the Rams win. But my head tells me New England, 31-20.


What Are The Odds?

What are the odds? The Giants have played in four Super Bowls, all since 1987. In those games, they have faced two Hall of Fame quarterbacks — John Elway and Jim Kelly — a certain Hall of Famer to-be in Tom Brady, and rag-armed vagabond Trent Farris Dilfer.

Yes that same Trent Dilfer who has played for five teams and thrown more interceptions than touchdowns. The same Trent Dilfer who was recently released by a terrible 49ers team, perhaps signalling the end of a nondescript, 14-year NFL career.

The Giants won three of those four Super Bowls. The one they lost — a 34-7 beating in 2001 — Dilfer was the quarterback for the Ravens. Go figure.

Like I said, what are the odds?


Top Ten All-Time Quarterback List

1. Johnny Unitas (Colts, Chargers, 1956-73)
A three-time champ with Baltimore, nine times an All-Pro, seventh all-time with 290 touchdown passes. Holds the NFL equivalent of Joe Dimaggio’s streak, 47 straight games with a TD pass.

2. Joe Montana (49ers, Chiefs, 1979-94)
Joe Cool, a third-round draft pick out of Notre Dame, won four Super Bowls in nine years with the 49ers in the 80s, 45 playoff touchdown passes, and five passing titles. He was an All-Pro seven times.

3. Brett Favre (Falcons, Packers, 1991-2007)
All-time QB leader in virtually every category, including consecutive games started (253), wins (160), touchdowns (442), completions (5,377) and yardage (61,655). This Packer legend did it all with a certain joie de vivre.

4. Dan Marino (Dolphins, 1983-99)
Lifelong Dolphin set many standards later broken by others. His record 48 TD passes in a single season snapped by Peyton Manning and Brady; Favre broke his career record of 420 TD passes last year.

5. Otto Graham (Browns, 1946-55)
Talk about championship pedigree, Graham played for the league title in each of his 10 years in pro football, four in the AAFC and six in the NFL. A 10-time All-Pro, he won seven league championships.

6. John Elway (Broncos 1983-98)
This gunslinger from the Rockies played in five Super Bowls and won rings in his last two years. Noted for nearly 50 fourth quarter comeback wins, he’s fifth all-time with 300 passing TDs.

7. Roger Staubach (Cowboys, 1969–79)
The sole Heisman Trophy winner on this list (in 1963), this Navy graduate, aka Roger the Dodger, won two Super Bowls and five passing titles, and was named All-Pro five times.

8. Sammy Baugh (Redskins, 1937-52)
Slingin’ Sammy dominated the late 1930s and 1940s, winning six passing titles, two NFL championships, and nine All-Pro berths. And if that wasn’t enough, he could punt too….very well.

9. Bart Starr (Packers 1956-1971)
Starr quarterbacked the great Green Bay dynasty that won three NFL championships and Super Bowls I and II. The leader of Pack scored the winning TD in the Ice Bowl, and won three passing titles.

10. Terry Bradshaw (Steelers 1970-83)
A number one overall pick out of tiny Louisiana Tech, Bradshaw led the Steelers to four Super Bowl wins in a six-year stretch. A three-time All-Pro, his pass helped author the Immaculate Reception in 1972.

Honorable Mention

Fran Tarkenton, Vikings-Giants…third in passing TDs, fifth in yardage
Sid Luckman, Bears…four NFL titles with Bears in the ’40s
Steve Young, 49ers…six passing titles, one Super Bowl


Joe and Eli: Brothers in Arms

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Joe Namath

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Eli Manning

He’s Joe Namath without the llama skin rug, the white shoes and the bravado. Broadway Joe and Easy Eli. Eli Manning plays Richie Cunningham (an older Opie) to Namath’s Fonzie; or Bill Gates to Namath’s Donald Trump. Where Joe squired stewardesses and models around Manhattan every night, Eli stays home and watches Seinfeld reruns with his college sweetheart. From “Hello beautiful” to “Aw shucks.”

But these two guys have more in common than you’d think. Both are New York quarterbacks, first-round draft picks out of the SEC, Namath out of Alabama and Eli from Ole Miss. Both overcame huge Las Vegas odds to become MVPs and lead their teams to stunning upsets in the Super Bowl

Check out these numbers after four years in the league. Namath threw 23 more interceptions and had a lower passing percentage than Manning…but those stats are also products of the times when the two QBs played. Defensive backs had more liberties in the late ’60s than they do today. The games played and touchdown totals are nearly identical, Namath has an edge in passing yards.

Namath 55 G 50.0 Pct. 12,753 YD 78 TD 87 INT
Manning 57 G 54.7 Pct. 11,385 YD 77 TD 64 INT

Makes you wonder, how will Eli’s career play out. Namath played eight more years with Jets and wound up his career in Los Angeles in 1977 with the Rams. He completed just over 50 percent of his passes, throwing for 173 TDs and more than 27,000 yards with 220 interceptions. He was voted to the Hall of Fame in 1985.

Joe Willie never won another Super Bowl — never even came close — but today nearly 40 years after that famous upset of the Colts in Super Bowl III, he’s still revered in sports circles and especially in New York, where he’s got the golden lifetime pass.

The future’s uncertain for Eli, but after four years he’s in mighty good company.