NFL Records and MVP Discussions

As most of you probably know, QB Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints broke Dan Marino’s all-time record for passing yards in an NFL season last night. Brees has thrown for 5,087 yards this year.  He is three yards ahead of Marino’s 1984 total of 5,084 yards and still has one game left to play on Sunday at home against the Panthers. 
Tom Brady is second in the NFL in passing yards this season at 4,897.  Therefore, Brady is only 187 yards behind Marino’s 1984 mark.  It seems likely that the Patriots’ future Hall of Famer will pass Marino in Foxboro on Sunday against the Bills. 
The question is: Is it possible for Brady to pass Brees and hold the NFL’s all-time passing record by the end of New Year’s Day 2012? The answer of course is yes.  Brady would have to throw for at least 191 yards more than Brees on Sunday.  Let’s say that Brees throws for 200 yards and Brady throws for 391 yards.  Both of these statistics are well within the realm of possibility. 
The even bigger question is “Who is the NFL MVP this year?”  We have Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, Brees, and Brady as widely mentioned candidates.  However, don’t we need to also consider Patriots receiver Wes Welker? 
Let’s take a look at where Welker’s season ranks among the best in NFL history.  Wes has made 116 catches this year (31 ahead of Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, who is second in the NFL). Wes’s reception total is NINTH in NFL HISTORY!  He only needs 8 catches against Buffalo to put himself into a clear second place in NFL history (passing Detroit’s Herman Moore’s 1995 total and Wes’ own total from 2009 when he tore his ACL in the last game of the season against Houston). Wes averages 7.7 catches per game this year. 
In case you’re wondering, Welker would need 27 catches to pass Indianapolis’ Marvin Harrison’s 2002 total of 143 receptions.  That feat would be practically impossible.  Brandon Marshall (then playing for the Broncos) holds the NFL record with 21 catches in one game in 2009.  Believe it or not, the Broncos only scored 16 points in that game and lost! Terrell Owens of the 49ers once made 20 catches in a game in 2000.
The biggest question of this entire passage is: Who in the NFL has been more VALUABLE that Wes Welker has been to the Patriots in 2011?

Famous People and Expert Analysis

Originally Published: December 1, 2011

2 more interesting talking points this morning from ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning:
1) Mike “Greenie” Greenberg and I are similar in several ways.  We both attended large national universities in major US cities with significant athletic programs (BC and Northwestern).  We both have a loyal sense of devotion to our home sports teams.  Greenie is a die-hard Jets fan and is not afraid to publically state, despite his national media position, that he is always rooting for the Jets.  He doesn’t seem to enjoy Fantasy Football because frequently his Fantasy players will be competing on Sundays directly against the Jets.  Paraphrasing, Greenie once asked, “How could I pick Tom Brady for my Fantasy team?  He plays the Jets twice every year!” 
Despite our similarities, Greenie revealed a stark contrast on this morning’s program.  He recalled the first time that he crossed paths with Bill Belichick.  It was within the past couple of years at New York City’s Waldorf Astoria.  Greenie started running on a gym treadmill, glanced to one of his sides, and realized that the Future Hall of Fame Patriots coach was exercising on the treadmill next to him while reading a lacrosse book.  Greenie knew that Belichick had played lacrosse at Wesleyan.  However, Greenie, despite his great knowledge of Belichick (former Assistant Head Coach of the Jets), was too nervous to say hello to him.  Greenie, a media star at the time, said he couldn’t think of anything to say of interest to the Super Bowl Championship coach. 
I find this interesting because in the last six months during my travels between Boston and Washington, DC, I have crossed paths and spoken with ALL of the following celebrities:
US Senator John McCain
Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagiabue
US Representative John Tierney (Peabody, MA)
NFL of CBS anchor James Brown
CNN political analyst and former President Clinton aid – Paul Begala
ESPN baseball analyst – Tim Kurkjian
Paul Tagliabue told me he still goes to the Super Bowl every year and knew a lot about the company I work for.
After telling James Brown that I was waiting for my flight to Boston, he asked me if I was a Pats fan.
I think John Tierney got the last seat on the flight I was trying to get on.  He told me to say hi to my Dad. 
Tim Kurkjian had just left Fenway following a late season sweep by Tampa Bay over the Red Sox.  He asked me if Red Sox Nation was getting nervous.  My reply was “You bet!”
2) In a recent interview with Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, it was revealed by Rodgers that during the previous off-season, he reviewed every single pass thrown by 2007 NFL MVP Tom Brady during the Patriots’ undefeated regular season that year.  He said something to the effect of – If you want to be an expert at something, you need to assess all components of an operation.  As we sit here on December 1, Aaron Rodgers’ studies have beared delicious fruit in the 2011 season.  All indications are that Rodgers’ coordinates have been fully locked in for the Green Bay stretch run.  There is reason to believe that one month from today, on January 1, that Rodgers and the Packers will join the 2007 Pats at 16-0.  Then, maybe sometime down the road, a different QB from a different time will watch every pass that Rodgers threw this year.

Pats Didn’t Cover vs. Colts

Originally Published: November 30, 2011

This Sunday afternoon, the Pats host the winless and hapless Colts at Gillette.  UConn’s own Dan Orlovsky (a New Englander himself) gets the start at QB for Indy. 
ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning shared some interested information about the game this morning:
The Pats are favored in Sunday’s game by 21 points.  This is only the tenth time since 1978 that an NFL team has been favored by 20 or more points in any game.  This phenomenon has not occurred since 2007 (the Pats undefeated regular season).  During that record-breaking year, New England was favored by 20 or more points on four different occasions. 
ESPN’s Mike Greenberg pointed out that during those 9 previous NFL games with 20+ point favorites:
     – the favored team won every game outright
     – however, the favored team only covered the high spread twice
Greenberg said that he will take the three touchdowns into Foxboro on Sunday and pick the Colts.  In other words Jen, he thinks that the Pats will win by less than 21 points.  Greenberg says that this is the best bet in Vegas this weekend in any sport. 
I disagree with Greenie. In their past three games, the Pats have pounded the playoff-bound Jets by 21, and crushed the mediocre Chiefs and Eagles by 31 and 18 points, respectively.  Indianapolis is 0-11 and is starting their fourth string QB on Sunday (including Manning).  I’ll give Indy the three touchdowns and take the Pats.

College Football Championship Saturday

Originally Published: December 3, 2011

Happy College Football Championship Saturday Everyone.

On a day when the football titles of the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, and Big Twelve will all be decided, I leave you all with these remarks that Senator John F. Kennedy made at Boston College on February 1, 1953:

“It (football) is a great game – it, as well as all athletics, – means much in binding together all members of a college – in creating a common identity and purpose. Athletics help maintain the interest of the alumni in the life of a college, and without a loyal and interesting alumni a college cannot hope to survive.”

Enjoy the games today and tonight!