New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady

USA Today Sports

Thinking out loud: Enjoy and appreciate this Patriots team

John Rooke
January 25, 2019 - 10:45 pm

Thinking out loud…while wondering if the Jets’ Jamal Adams watches ‘Jackass’ on TV, or just is a ‘jackass’…

  • Three straight, four out of five.  Embrace the horror, America.  Here is your new, national nightmare, replacing the hated-Yankees as Kings of the Hill.  New England’s “They Just Won’t Die” Patriots.


  • And if you are a Patriots’ fan, wipe that ”I told you so” smirk off your face.  ‘Cuz you didn’t know.  No one did, and that’s the beauty of the 2018 edition.


  • But it’s still fun to watch, and to appreciate what they’ve accomplished.  Revel in it.  This dynastic run of 20-ish years – because it’s probably not over, yet – is unlikely to be repeated in our lifetime(s). 


  • Why?  Three words.  Salary.  Cap.  Era.  These Patriots have spit all over the salary cap.  Figuratively speaking, of course.


  • My buddy “Big E” sez he walked into his neighborhood bar and ordered a drink. After a few, he needs to go to the can.  He doesn’t want anyone to steal his drink, so he puts a sign on it saying, “I spat in this beer, do not drink!”  After a few minutes he came back to discover another sign next to his beer saying, “So did I!”


  • Four more words:  Bill. Belichick. Tom. Brady.  Reasons enough to believe this thing can continue.


  • Provided, of course, Brady still has talent to play with surrounding him.  The upcoming off-season will be volatile.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – change is a’ comin’.


  • Chiefs’ takeaways?  That the Patriots defense limited Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce to 65 total yards, combined.  Where has that ability been all season?


  • Or, maybe Kyle Van Noy-and-Company have been playing us for fools, looking like middling-to-poor replicas of players who have won here previously. 


  • Or, they know the football calendar better than anyone else.  I mean, they’ve turned it on for the postseason.  Better now then never?


  • Brady’s laser-focus has been extraordinary, too.  Apparently, the laser-focus has been ON him, too.  If that had happened here to another team, we’d already be sick of ‘Lasergate’ on the TV and Radio.  But because it’s the Patriots, crickets.


  • Tweet of the Week I, from @PatriotsSBLIII: “Tom Brady has now beaten 4 #1 seeds on the road including: ‘01 Steelers (13-3) ‘04 Steelers (15-1) ‘06 Chargers (14-2) ‘18 Chiefs (12-4) Joe Montana did this once, ‘88 Bears (12-4). Peyton Manning did this never.”


  • Stop with the overtime rule change requests, please?  If your defense could just make ONE stop, we’d have no issues.  Shouldn’t championship-caliber teams play at least a little defense, too?


  • But if you must, here’s how to fix it:  Be more like the college game.  Each team gets one possession, fine.  Play the whole field, not just the red zone.  Outscore the other guy.  Play ‘til you get a winner.  Simple.  You’re welcome.


  • Not for nuthin’, but how do you think that civil suit filed by Saints fans will go against the NFL for the hideously bad no-call against the Rams? 


  • Tweet of the Week II, from @BaxFootballGuru: “Watched "The Godfather, Part II" last night again. The more I thought about it, Michael should have never had Fredo killed. Think I'm going to complain and make Paramount change the outcome.”


  • Here’s how to fix it: Expand replay to include pass interference.  In fact, expand it to allow challenges on ANY call made – but coaches’ keep just two challenges for the game.  If they’re successful on two, they get a 3rd.  Simple.  You’re welcome.


  • Will the Super Bowl be Rob Gronkowski’s last game in the NFL?  Yes, if he insists on a new contract that doesn’t include bonus money. 


  • Does TB12 walk off with a win?  He could, but I’ll say ‘no.’  I really don’t believe he’ll leave the team without an option at quarterback. 


  • Are there any Rams fans out there?  Hello?  Bueller?  More fans in LA watched the AFC game than watched the Rams beating the Saints!


  • Tweet of the Week III, from @Chatham58: “Super-sidebar, I hope there’s an opportunity, a platform, something at the Super Bowl that allows for the folks of St. Louis to scream from the rooftops at NFL corruption. This should be their party. *Isn’t a rematch of ’01 – that idea died when the NFL abandoned StL for that LA cash.”


  • Nah, no one cares.  Only 53.9 million TV viewers of the AFC Championship Game.  That figure tops the other conference title games over the past five years, and is more than ANY World Series, NBA or NHL game.  By far.


  • Send ‘em off.  The pregame rally is at Gillette Sunday beginning at 10 am.  Seems about right – worshiping at the altar of the Kraft Family on a Sunday morning.  Football is a religion, you know.


  • 25 years ago this week, the Kraft Family Rule became a real thing.  Saved the Patriots from moving to St. Louis.  Started what is the greatest dynasty in professional sports.  Thank you seems a little hollow, doesn’t it?


  • But next Sunday, there will be no Chick Fil A available in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.  True to form, they don’t open on Sunday’s, even Super Sunday’s. 


  • Greg Schiano looks poised to move in as the Patriots’ new (or defacto) defensive coordinator for Brian Flores.  Seems right, since he coached about half of the current defense in college at Rutgers.  Or does it just seem like that?


  • Tweet of the Week IV, from @JerryThornton1: “The Patriots are a missed XP in Denver away from being in FIVE straight Super Bowls. People forget that.”


  • What happened to get the Friars a road win for the first time ever at Xavier this week?  Defense.  And good fortune.  The Musketeers shoot mostly blanks at the basket.


  • Real opportunity exists in the next week, however, for the Friars to emerge from an eight-way tie for THIRD (in the loss column) in the Big East.  DePaul Sunday, at Seton Hall, at DePaul next Sunday. 


  • This Sunday’s game with the Blue Demons is a milestone mark, if there ever was one, for a couple of old radio guys.  It will be the 1000th broadcast of my Providence College career with Joe Hassett, in this our 30th season together on the microphones. 


  • That’s #2 in longevity in the league, behind Rich Chvotkin’s 1400 games in 45 seasons at Georgetown…and #2 nationally behind Pitt’s Bill Hillgrove and Dick Groat (44 years) for broadcast pairs.  Hillgrove just this week was named winner of the Woody Durham “Voice of College Sports” award by the National Sports Media Association.


  • Sonar and I have a long way to go.  I have gray hair.  He has white hair.  He’s losing his too, so there’s that.  But Hassett still has his shot.


  • They may have lost in Milwaukee last weekend, but the Friars did get a win for the pocket book.  George and Karen Oliver hosted the team Saturday night before Sunday’s game, and made a $1 million donation for the Ruane Friar Development Center.


  • As mention above, in case you haven’t noticed, the Big East has a big traffic jam in the middle of the standings.  Before this weekend, exactly one-half game separated 3rd place from 10th place, with eight teams holding four losses.  That might be a record, or something.


  • Marquette moves up in the national rankings this week – 12th AP, 11th USA Today.  They’re the class of the league right now, and yet they still trail Villanova in the Big East standings.


  • The Hauser brothers must be the deadliest family-tandem out there.  Sam was Big East Player of the Week, little (but bigger) brother Joey was the Freshman of the Week.  First time that’s ever happened in 40 years of Big East basketball.


  • Think they have any chemistry between them after tearing up the state of Wisconsin in high school?


  • Why are Nova and Marquette above everyone else?  Finishers.  They have ‘em, everyone else is still developing ‘em.


  • TWITBE:  Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard, Creighton’s Ty-Shon Alexander and Xavier analyst and all-time scoring leader Byron Larkin on big guards.  Saturday mornings on 103.7 FM, 1:00 pm ET this week on Sirius 103, XM 201 and Online 965.  Anytime downloading on iTunes, Stitcher or Google Play, and on and


  • Cool deal.  Both PC and URI are offering free tickets this weekend (Sunday) to any Federal Employees affected by the Government shut down. 


  • Rhody’s big win against VCU this week was its’ 3rd straight.  When Fatts Russell scores and takes care of the ball, the Rams are good.  He did both against VCU’s Rams.


  • But URI can’t, as my old high school coach used to tell me, “hit a bull in the ass with a bass fiddle.”  Or hit the “broad-side of a barn with a bale of hay.”


  • Translation:  Southern for “can’t hit the three.”  Simple.  You’re welcome.


  • Brown sputtered a bit in their Ivy debut at Yale last weekend, but the Bears have an early chance for amends Friday night in New Haven.  Brown’s Ivy-best defense against Yale’s Ivy-best offense.  Nothing like measuring yourself against the best, early.


  • Did you see where one-time New York AAU hoop guru Emanuel “Book” Richardson plead guilty to bribery in the FBI/college basketball scandal?  Richardson was accused of accepting $20,000 in bribes and using that money to entice a recruit to attend Arizona.  Yup, he’s going to jail.


  • And, former University of Southern California assistant basketball coach Tony Bland plead guilty earlier this month to accepting $4,100 in cash to steer USC players to certain financial advisers and business managers.  Yup, he’s also going to jail.


  • I’m good with Baseball’s Hall of Fame Class of 2019, although Mike Mussina getting in before a guy like Curt Schilling is a bit of a puzzler.


  • Even more puzzling is how you can vote for a guy like Schill one year, and not vote for him the next over “humanity issues?”  Hey Dan Shaughnessy, stick to sports.  You’ll be safer. 


  • I’ll repeat my thoughts on any Hall voting – the Hall is a history museum.  That includes good and bad.  If they play well enough to be voted in, they deserve to be in.  What they do afterward, or off the field of play (or court, or ice), should make zero difference.


  • What if they cheated to get in, you say?  How do you know, really know, if anyone cheated?  Because of flawed rules and testing in the modern era?  Please.  I know guys who passed drug tests because someone else peed in a jar for them.  Yeah, that’s your proof.


  • Mariano Rivera doesn’t listen to Metallica?  He doesn’t listen to his own all-time, greatest walk-up song, ever? 


  • Who’s in next?  Schilling.  Roger Clemens.  Barry Bonds – even if that one’s a bit hard to swallow.  But there’s little denying his overall career, steroids or not.  Derek Jeter will likely be a first-ballot guy next year, too.


  • Hey, if bad news were stricken from the record books as some chuckleheads want by denying some players entry into a Hall, would WW II ever be mentioned again?  Just sayin.’


  • The Red Sox White House trip was postponed due to the Government shut down.  Before you breathe a sigh of relief, just know that it was probably because there was no one around to supply the fast food buffet.


  • Bye, Drew Pomeranz.  Thanks for playing.  Try actual pitching on your next stop, however.  You might stick around longer.


  • If you missed it, J-E-T-S Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams became a social media sensation when he put a blind-side hit on the Patriots’ “Pat Patriot” mascot this week in Orlando, allegedly all in fun.  MTV’s “Jackass” has long parodied similar stunts on TV and in the movies. 


  • In reality, Pat took it on the chin – he didn’t go to the hospital as initially reported, but he was treated at the scene of the, um, accident.


  • If you’ve ever worn a mascot uniform, you know they’re often bulky and have little-to-no padding.  You also have very little peripheral view, and so Adams’ hit probably came as a bit of a shock to ol’ Pat.  Hey Jamal, I think it would only be appropriate next season, when you come to Gillette, that you wear a clown suit.  That way, we’ll all know you for what you are.


  • To quote a former member of the J-E-T-S, Bart Scott - “can’t wait.”  Way to keep a rivalry alive, dude.  ‘Cuz it sure ain’t happening on the field.  If you had hit like that during the season, maybe your team wouldn’t have been 4-12.  Amiright?


  • @KELLSLUND tweeted at me this week: “I don’t believe in the curse…I don’t believe in the curse...”


  • @KELLSLUND, a Pats fan from Minnesota – in reference (I’ll assume here) to the Patriots landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week…known for its’ past as an historical ‘jinx.’  All I can tell you is, Michael Jordan holds the record for SI cover appearances with 50.  Didn’t seem to jinx him too much, did it?   


  • There are many other examples, sure.  And yes, an SI cover shot has also coincided with a bit of misfortune through the years.  But I’d tell you that because of the way these Patriots are finishing the season – one where few of us (including myself) gave them a chance to get this far – they’ve already beaten back the threat of any cover jinx. 


  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, ...


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