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Tom Brady: The best, or part of the system?

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Robert Burack
Sports Editor/Webmaster

After one of the most memorable Super Bowls in recent memory, the storylines and “hot takes” are in full swing. The one question that is blowing up sports media today may not stop anytime soon: Is Tom Brady the greatest quarterback of all-time?
The answer is simple: No, no, no!
Brady now has a ring for his thumb and he is clearly a great player. However, he fell into what now looks to be the greatest system ever.
Let’s break down Brady’s record five Super Bowl victories.
In the first one his team – yes, he actually has a team – won 20-17 over the St. Louis Rams. While everyone is quick to credit Brady for this victory, it was actually his defense that was the leading factor.
After all, his coach, Bill Belichick, is known as the best defensive coach ever. In the game, the so-called “G.O.A.T.” failed to even eclipse 200-yards.
There is a case to be made that Brady’s most memorable play in this game was a spike; he spiked the ball with seven seconds left, to set up a game-winning Adam Vinatieri field goal.
Now, on to Brady’s second Super Bowl. This time around, Brady put up much better numbers. But so did everyone!
In an offensive-based game, Brady was extremely fortunate to get help from his entire team, including 137-yards rushing from his backs.
This game, like the first, was won on an Adam Vinatieri field goal.
In his third Super Bowl, Brady wasn’t even the Super Bowl MVP. It was in WR Deion Branch.
What does all this mean?
Much like Vinatieri and Branch, he was just another good player on a great team. Take nothing away from Brady, but those first three rings were a complete team effort.
This begs the question: What quarterback couldn’t do this?
Now, on to Brady’s fourth Super Bowl, which he only reached after losing two Super Bowls in the interim. (In one of these lost games, his high-powered offense put up 14 points total).
Everyone here knows the story. If it wasn’t for what most would call the dumbest play call in Super Bowl history, the Seahawks would have handed Brady his third Super Bowl loss.
Just recently, though Brady won his fifth ring, his team was down 28-3. All the hype is about how he came back from being down 25.
What about being down 25 in the biggest game of the year? What about failing to score a touchdown in the first half? What about his pick-6 that put them down 21-0?
Fox Sports radio host Clay Travis referred to Atlanta blowing the game, calling it, “the biggest choke job in sports history.”
If not for the Falcons failing to avoid negative plays later in the game, they would be champions. A later holding call put Atlanta out of field goal range.
Tom Brady is one of the greatest to ever play, but he also is one of the luckiest. If it wasn’t for a play call and a hold, he would have had four Super Bowl losses.
Another thing to look at is what Brady’s team does in his absence. In the year Brady was forced to miss the entire season, the team went 11-5.
For those who do not know, 11-5 would have made the playoffs in the vast majority of years. When Brady’s arch rival Peyton Manning was out for the year, Manning’s team went 2-14.
This year, Brady was suspended for the first four game of the season. Their record in that time was 3-1. They also used two different quarterbacks.
Both teams played far better than most would have when put in that situation. In fact, Jimmy Garoppolo was so impressive that ESPN is reporting the Cleveland Browns may trade the first overall pick for him.
Matt Cassel – who replaced Brady and went 11-5 – also cashed in and became a starter in Kansas City. His record there was 19-28.
Brady isn’t so great without the system.
Despite Brady’s ability one area, he does not match up against the other all-time greats. His arm fails in comparison in other quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers, Dan Marino, John Elway, Dan Fouts, and Drew Brees. None of them, however, had this system.
Based on pure talent, Aaron Rodgers blows all of the completion off the field. He also holds the highest passer rating in NFL history at 104.1
Coming into the NFC Championship Game, Rodgers took one of the worst defensive teams in the league, with a running back that is not even a running back 60 minutes away from the Super Bowl.
Tom Brady will go down as one of the best to ever lace them up, but before deciding he’s number one, imagine him and other all-time quarterbacks trading places…
Picture Manning with Belichick, Rodgers with Belichick, and Brady with a bad defense…

The Super Bowl is set

super-bowl-51-logo-240px-superbowllilogoRobert Burack
Sports Editor/Webmaster

After a season filled with scandals, injuries, suspensions, blow-outs and thrillers, it is now down to two teams.
On Sunday, Feb. 5, the New England Patriots will take on the Atlanta Falcons.
One team is centered around a quarterback/coach combo looking to close the discussion on who really is the greatest. Another team is riding high with an offense that looks to be nearly unstoppable.
That quarterback/coach combo of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will be starting a record-setting seventh appearance. Though they earned four victories in the big game, there could be a case made that their two Super Bowl losses haunt them to this day.
Both of those losses came at the hands of the New York Giants. Both were a result of two unbelievable catches. As some would say, “the ball was caught in the receiver’s face mask.”
Earlier this year, Brady was suspended for four games after the league’s commissioner found him guilty in the never lasting “Deflategate.”
With the chance to have that same commissioner hand him the prized Lombardi Trophy, the guy known as “Psycho Tom” for his insanely intense drive may be more determined than ever.
They will be without Brady’s top target, Rob Gronkowski, however. They have not had Gronkowski for much of the second half of the season, but they still managed to have the best record in the league at 14-2.
In two postseason games, the Patriots were not ever in much danger of heading home, except when Houston played stout defense in the first half. In the AFC Championship game, the Brady-led squad looked unstoppable, dominating the Steelers in all three phases of the game.
Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick is known as a “defensive ace,” the one coach who can game plan and take out the top player on any team, anywhere, anytime. ESPN’s Max Kellerman calls him the “first coming,” saying his legacy will never be touched.
Belichick may face his greatest test yet, as he takes on the juggernaut of an offense led by MVP-frontrunner Matt Ryan.
Ryan is playing the best of his career, but he is not alone. He is surrounded by some of the best-skilled players in the league. His wide receiver, unlike other top wideouts, is not spending his off days on a boat in Miami. He just balls out on the field.
Julio Jones may be the toughest one-on-one cover in the league today. Belichick is known for doubling players of these standards; however, if he chooses to do so, his defense may get blown out of Houston.
Doubling Jones will only open the field for the other arsenal of weapons at the Falcons’ command, including two of the most versatile running backs in the league, who torment any defense they face.
Atlanta comes in red-hot after dominating their two playoff opponents with 36-20 to the Seattle Seahawks and 44-21 to the Packers, who were led by possibly the best player in the league, Aaron Rodgers.
The Patriots come in with the number-one scoring defense, while the Falcons come in with the number-one scoring offense.
According to Oddshark, the Patriots are currently a three-point favorite for the Super Bowl in Houston.

Obama says goodbye

Robert BurackObama, Chicago, USA - 10 Jan 2017

Sports Editor/Webmaster

bburack16@gmail.com

After eight years of holding the most polarizing job in the world, Barack Obama took center stage to address the nation one last time. The speech took place Wednesday, Jan. 10, from his hometown of Chicago.

“It’s good to be home. My fellow Americans, Michelle and I have been so touched by all the well-wishes we’ve received over the past few weeks. But tonight, it’s my turn to say thanks,” the former president said to start the night.

He went on to discuss the how change can happen, as it can come from ordinary people. He credited the founders of the country for allowing changes and improvements to make the nation a better place.

Looking back at his eight years in office, Obama said he believes that if he had known the outcome ahead of time, he would have been filled with joy. He went on to add, “If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history…”

One of the notable improvements made was the building of bridges with Cuba. As of now the two countries are on the best terms in years.

Another highlight of his presidency was capturing the man he calls “the mastermind of 9/11,” Osama Bin Laden, after the years of anxiety the terrorist caused not only the United States but large parts of the world.

“And secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens – you might have said our sights were set a little too high,” Obama said when looking back at the success of passing the highly controversial Affordable Care Act.

According to a recent poll from Fox News, 50 percent of the country approves of Obamacare. That same poll approved Donald Trump at seven percent less.

As Obama reminisced over his run as president to a highly emotional Chicago attendance, he assured the country that the transfer between him and Trump would be as smooth as possible.

“I committed to President-elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me.” This was done to make sure the country remains as wealthy and powerful as ever.

The former president made it clear he had one focus: “the state of our democracy.” He added, “the idea that for all our outward differences, we are all in this together, that we rise or fall as one.”

Bringing up the point that there have been many scary moments in the history of the country, Obama stated that “There have been moments throughout our history that threatened to rupture that solidarity.” He said the future of protecting this country is on our children, making it all the more important to give them the opportunity to get educated.

Obama was proud to reveal the unemployment rate is near a 10-year low and the cost of healthcare is rising the slowest it has in a massive 50 years.

Obama went on to express how happy he is with the country’s progress, but that there is still a long way to go. In particular, he still has concerns over “the laid-off factory worker; the waitress and healthcare worker who struggle to pay the bills.”

Transitioning to thanking those he loves, he started off with his wife Michelle. “For the past 25 years, you’ve been not only my wife and mother of my children but my best friend.” He thanked her for taking on the role she did, even though she never asked for it. Obama ended his thoughts on her by saying she didn’t only make him proud but “You’ve made the country proud.”

Next up were his daughters. “Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances you have become two amazing young women.” Obama stated that that of all he has done in his life, the thing he is proudest of is being their dad.

Obama moved on to his vice president, “the scrappy kid from Scranton,” Joe Biden who was the former president’s first and best choice as nominee. Obama said it wasn’t just his success as VP, it was that they became like brothers.

As the speech wound down, Obama stated, “My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you.  I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my days that remain.  For now, whether you’re young or young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your president – the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.”

The 44th President of the United Stated ended his speech, telling all Americans the story is yet to be written. “Thank you. God bless you. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.”

The Flawed Committee

Robert Burack
Sports EditorCFB-Playoff-Vertical Signature_RGB

Many Michigan fans are still moaning about the loss to their arch rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes, and are still upset about finishing in 6th place. They, however, are not the only fan base dissatisfied with how the committee ranked their team on Sunday. The new college football playoff system that takes the top four ranked teams remains much, much better than the controversial, scandalous system known as the BCS. However, the new system still remains highly flawed.
The most argued point this year is Penn State being left out and placed 5th and Ohio State making the playoffs while holding down the number three spot in the country. The big outcry is that on Saturday, Oct. 22, Penn State, at home, defeated the Buckeyes. Not only that, but this result led to Penn State making and winning the 2016 Big Ten Championship game. Ohio State stayed home. In defense of OSU, they did finish with an 11-1 record, compared to PSU finishing 11-2. (The additional game was the result of the Big Ten Championship). The PSU supporters say, “we won the head to head” and “we are the big ten champs,” leaving out a brutal lost to Michigan (49-10), who OSU beat, and a loss to a Pitt team that finished twenty-second.
The issue with the committee isn’t that they put OSU in. OSU earned it. OSU beat Michigan and they beat non-conference opponent Oklahoma who finished 7th. Beating the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma is not easy. Not to mention that they had the best loss in the country, to Penn State at Penn State. The committee messed up by putting Clemson in over PSU. Yes, that is right, both Ohio State and Penn State should have made the third annual playoffs.
Let’s break it down. Clemson, the ACC Champions, played a weak schedule. The win over Louisville, who was number three at the time, was impressive, but Louisville showed later on that they were actually not very good. Clemson even struggled against Troy. If NC State didn’t miss a chip-shot field goal, Clemson would have also that game. Pitt beat them, they struggled against Virginia Tech, and they lack any dominate wins. Penn State had some flaws, but they were playing much better down the stretch than Clemson.
Washington went 12-1, are Pac-12 champs, and they should not be in either. College football is the only sport to not let teams get better. The Huskies only lost one game, but it was a huge game against their arch-rival USC. Forget the 26-13 score. USC didn’t just beat them, they embarrassed them. USC – 400 total yards, Washington – 276. USC – 113 yards rushing, Washington – 17. USC looked like the best team beside Alabama going down the stretch. All three of their losses came in the first four weeks. That was then, this is now and they are much better than Washington. Don’t forget, that game was at Washington.
Michigan also has a case to be in the ranking because as they outplayed OSU for three quarters and were victim to some outrageous calls.
The college football honchos need to make one change to settle all this on the field: an eight-team playoff. The best way to do it? Give all five of the conference champions a spot and give three wild cards spots. Do not let this be settled by old college football committee members.