Pekka Rinne got to live out every goalie’s dream on Thursday night. With time winding down in the third period of Nashville’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks, Rinne controlled the puck behind his own net and launched it down towards an open net. The rest, as they say, is history.
I’m just going to start this off by saying that this season didn’t end the way I was hoping for, but I’m also not completely surprised how everything turned out. Regardless, it’s time to break down exactly what went wrong for the Patriots leading up to their Wild Card loss to the Tennessee Titans.
It’s no secret that the offense had struggled through most of the season. Luckily, the defense was able to carry them to a 12-4 record and an AFC East title, but that still wasn’t enough to earn a first-round bye. It was the first time that the Patriots have had to play in Wild Card Weekend since the 2009 season, and unfortunately, it ended with the same result.
Well folks, it finally happened. The New England Patriots are back to being the New England Patriots that I know and love. Months of so-called “analysts” saying that this team isn’t good and that Tom Brady has fallen off a cliff, but the Patriots beat the Buffalo Bills to lock up the AFC East title for the 11th consecutive season.
I’ll admit, this season hasn’t felt as easy as the last 11, but I guess that’s what happens when you lose the best tight end to ever play football. Despite that, the Patriots started the year 8-0, and now have a 12-3 record heading into a Week 17 matchup against the Miami Dolphins.
The NFL season starts tonight, yet the biggest story in the league isn’t about a game. Instead, we’re still caught up in this nonsense with Antonio Brown and the Oakland Raiders.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, you’ve heard at least some of these ridiculous stories. But just in case you’ve missed something, I’ll take this all the way back to the beginning to get you caught up.
In a move that many New England Patriots fans were expecting, but could never possibly be prepared for, Rob Gronkowski has officially announced his retirement from the NFL.
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It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine. Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been apart of this 1st class organization. Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be. But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life. It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success. To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next.
After a not-so-successful stint with the Cleveland Browns to begin his NFL career, Johnny Football took his talents north of the border to play in the CFL. It was pretty clear that he didn’t see the CFL as his future career, but rather a stepping stone on his journey to get back to the NFL. One season later, and it looks like Comeback SZN might be over for Manziel.
After sitting out the 2018 season, there were a lot of questions about Le’Veon Bell’s future. His relationship with the Steelers seemed to be deteriorating by the day, and now we know for sure that Pittsburgh will let Bell become an unrestricted free agent.
There was always a chance that the Steelers would franchise tag him for yet another season, but after the emergence of James Conner in 2018 it became clear that the Steelers didn’t need to pay up to get a good running back. However, there’s a long list of teams who would love to add an elite offensive weapon like Bell to their lineup, so let’s take a look at the most likely teams that Bell could sign with.
New York Jets
Apparently, a bunch of NFL executives are already saying the Bell to the Jets is a sure thing. They need a running back, they have the cap space, and bringing in a player who is able to carry an offense the way that Bell can will definitely take some of the pressure off of Sam Darnold as he becomes comfortable in the NFL. The tough part might be convincing Bell to join a team that isn’t very good. Earlier this season a fan tweeted that he should come to the Jets for $60 million, but Bell responded saying that $60 million isn’t enough to come to New York. I mean, you’re basically guaranteed not to make the playoffs and get smoked by the Patriots twice a year. Not exactly an ideal situation.
The Colts are in a similar situation to the Jets. They don’t really have a #1 running back, and giving Andrew Luck another target in addition to TY Hilton immediately improves their chances in the sometimes good, sometimes bad AFC South. Bell has hinted at his interest in joining the Colts, commenting “just imagine” on a post about Luck throwing for at least three touchdown passes in eight straight games. The Colts will have about $120 million in cap space this offseason, so Bell to the Colts is definitely possible. It also helps that the Colts are good and still improving. After a slow start to the year, Andrew Luck got back to his pre-injury form, and they even won a playoff game this year. Bell could turn the Colts into one of the top teams in the AFC.
The Eagles were ready to trade for Bell earlier this season, but no deal could be made until Bell signed his franchise tag which never ended up happening. Now that Bell is going to hit the open market, should the Eagles make a move for him? Jay Ajayi won’t be under contract with them next season, and without Nick Foles on the roster the Eagles have even more cap space to work with. Bell would definitely be a worthwhile addition to a team that is in the middle of their window to contend for a Super Bowl, and could be the missing piece that gets them back to being one of the top teams in the NFC.
This one is a bit more off the board, but it makes a lot of sense the more you think about it. While Bell was sitting early in the season, he was spending his time down in Miami. With Kenyan Drake as the only running back under contract for the 2019 season, the Dolphins could be in a position to make a big splash this offseason. The Dolphins aren’t exactly in a position to be a solid playoff contender anytime soon, and similar to the Jets they’re also going to lose to the Patriots twice a year, so it might take a little bit of extra money to convince Bell to sign, but if he values money over winning, then Bell to Miami seems to make a lot of sense. Another edge that Miami has over New York is the weather. Do you want to deal with snowstorms, or enjoy some sun in Miami all year long? Seems like a no brainer to me.