An Offseason Showdown: Patriots Flag Football

If they made one of these for Patriots vs. Patriots 7 on 7 flag football, I'd win it. No question. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Is it preseason yet?

At this point in the year, I can’t help but feel more than a little drained. While there is enough excitement surrounding Free Agency, The Draft, and the various NFL transactions to keep me going from February through the end of May, by the time June and July comes around, I start to get sick of the offseason hype. I, like every other die-hard Pats fan out there, have spent the last several months reading projection after projection, prediction after prediction, and breaking down every single conceivable question surrounding the 2012 New England Patriots. Who will emerge as the Patriots primary running back? What kind of an impact will the 2012 rookies have? How will Wes Welker’s contract situation play out? Which receivers are going to make the final roster? Will the Pats solve their pass rush woes this year? How will Devin McCourty bounce back after a disappointing 2011 campaign? Can the Patriots become the first team since 1973 to lose the Super Bowl and then win it the following year? What is Tommy B’s hairstyle going to be coming into the season? Thousands of words have been written on these questions over the past few months, including by yours truly, when the answer to all of them can in actuality be summed up in four words: who the hell knows?

I just can’t do it anymore; I’m officially projected out.

Unfortunately, we still have just over two weeks before training camp starts and I can start reading real, actual football news again instead of positional analyses and breakdowns of early season Super Bowl favorites. I suppose I could take a break from football for a while, maybe read a book or get some exercise , but we all know that’s not going to happen. And so, as we enter into the home stretch of the offseason, I’m going to take the only logical step I can think of to get me through the next few weeks: fabricate a somewhat ridiculous Patriots-related football scenario and just run with it.

This is an idea that came to me last week as I was watching the USA Futures earn a thrilling 38-37 victory over the USA Slow Pitch National Team on ESPN. And for the record: you haven't lived until you've watched nationally televised slow pitch softball. But I figured if they are willing to air the ultimate sport for overweight, unathletic men well past their prime, why not televise softball's only slightly more vigorous counterpart?

Why don't they show flag football?

And that got me thinking: If I was a coach looking to put together a squad for a 7 on 7 flag football showdown comprised solely out of members of the 2012 Patriots, which players would I pick for my team?

This is the kind of hot button issue that only the folks at Pats Pulpit can tackle. And since flag football, like most things, is much more fun when you're going up against a worthy opponent, I asked Greg Knopping if he'd be willing to go toe to toe with me and test his managerial prowess. And like the true sucker champion he is, he jumped at the chance.

And so, starting next week, Greg and I are going to be picking sides for two all-Patriot flag football teams. Beginning on Monday, we’ll be going back and forth, picking players for our respective squads in order to decide once and for all who the greatest head coach of a hypothetical flag football game involving only 2012 Patriots of all time really is. We can’t wait any longer for an answer.

In order to keep things fair and avoid what would be an incredibly lopsided victory, Tom Brady is going to play quarterback for both sides. That leaves us each with six slots for players that are going to have to do it all: catch passes, cover receivers, run the ball, pass block, and even provide special teams coverage, all with a belt of festively colored flags cinched around their waists.

I, for one, am really looking forward to giving Greg the business. Old Man Knopping runs a pretty tight ship here at the Pulpit, and it isn’t too often that one of the little guys gets to take a shot at the big boss man. Just because he’s the Managing Editor and I’m a lowly Contributing Writer, he thinks he can slap me around like Nate Solder on Elvis Dumervil during the 2011 AFC Divisional Playoff Game. Well guess, what, Greg? It’s time for me to get mine.

Here’s how it’s going to work: each of us will pick one Patriot per day, along with an explanation as to why we selected that specific player. One team will pick in the morning, the other in the afternoon. Obviously, once one of us has picked a player, he’s off the board for the other team. At the end of the week, we’ll present our teams to the community, and we can debate over which team would win should such a football game ever take place. If there are any tech-savvy Pulpiteers out there that can figure out a way to do some kind of computer simulation, all’s the better.

You may not realize it, Knopping, but I just flipped a coin for first pick, and guess what? You lost. I’ll be right up in your grill with my first round pick on Monday morning. You better start game-planning, Greg, because I’m already inside your head and you know it. The Shane Train is getting ready to leave the station, and the next stop is Victory Lane.

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