Apparently Monday Morning Quarterback has been counting down the top 100 most important people for the 2016 season, looking at players, coaches, owners, executives, and others. There are many members of the past and present New England Patriots and from the greater Boston area that have made the list.
It’s almost like the NFL revolves around the New England region.
Obnoxious, sure, but not untrue. The most interesting storyline so far this year is how Jimmy Garoppolo will play in place of suspended quarterback Tom Brady, who was at the center of the most popular storyline of last season.
Bill Belichick is the greatest coach in the game, while a few Bostonians are stepping up to shape the media and science worlds that covers the game.
I’ve compiled the Boston-specific persons on the list with the top quote and a link to each story. Click each name to read more.
#91 former Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss
“Moss is an interesting, provocative thinker and can have a long career in broadcasting if he wants one.”
#85 former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien
“Now, in his third year as Texans head coach and finally having what he hopes is a franchise quarterback, Bill O’Brien has the chance to prove what he can do when firing at full capacity.”
#84 Boston College graduate linebacker Luke Kuechly
“Will the 2015 Panthers ultimately be remembered as a flash in the pan?...That all depends on how the team does in 2016. In order for the defense to maintain its level of dominance, Kuechly, its captain and most dynamic player, must continue building on his excellence.”
#75 Patriots president Jonathan Kraft
“Last year, the league exclusively live-streamed a game (on Yahoo!) for the first time in its history. This year, Thursday night games will be simulcast on Twitter. And much of this innovation falls under the younger Kraft’s purview.”
The above quote is attributed to Jonathan Kraft on the site...did he write that himself?!
#71 Boston College graduate quarterback Matt Ryan
“Ryan spent time this offseason working on his throwing motion with former major league pitcher Tom House, now a throwing coach for quarterbacks. The Falcons haven’t been to the playoffs since the end of the 2012 season; Ryan shoulders the responsibility of getting them back there.”
#68 The Ringer founder Bill Simmons
“His platform having changed from ESPN to HBO, the broadcaster and media entrepreneur will be among the loudest voices while Tom Brady serves his four-game suspension for Deflategate. Simmons is the most visible Patriots honk among media members and has long been a thorn in the side of Roger Goodell.”
#57 Professor of Neurology at Boston University Robert Stern
“Robert Stern, the director of clinical research at Boston University’s CTE Center, is working to find a way to diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy—the neurodegenerative disease found in the brains of dozens of deceased football players—in patients who are still living.”
#55 Monday Night Football host Sean McDonough
“One of the most professional game-callers in sports broadcasting, ESPN elevated Sean McDonough to play-by-play duties for Monday Night Football when Mike Tirico left for NBC.”
McDonough is the son of former Boston Globe legend Will McDonough.
#53 Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski
“Aside from Tom Brady, Gronk is the driving force in a Patriots offense that is perennially prolific despite a dearth of high quality wideouts, running backs and linemen. Gronkowski’s greatest (and most underappreciated) value is his versatility.”
#47 Patriots owner Robert Kraft
“Kraft remains an influential force in league circles (he’s on the media, finance and NFL Network committees, and part of the NFL Management Council Executive Committee) and a confidant of the commissioner’s (evidenced by his inclusion on chairmen’s committee, recently formed to advise Goodell).”
#24 Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo
“One game down—a magical win in Arizona—and three to go before Garoppolo returns to understudy status. And for the young QB, there could be a pot of gold waiting for him on the other side of this rainbow.”
#7 Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
“In 21 years as a head coach, Bill Belichick has never spent a higher draft pick on a QB than he did on Jimmy Garoppolo, and now he gets a four-game look at what he has in real circumstances and, perhaps, further burnish his legacy.”
#1 Patriots quarterback Tom Brady
“This dude is gonna be more motivated than he’s ever been,” says Donté Stallworth, who did two tours as a Patriots receiver. “He won’t say it, but I know he has a fire burning now. It’s gonna be like Game of Thrones.”
“Go back and look at any game we lost where the team didn’t play well—and there aren’t many of them—and see how he came back after people wrote the team off,” says Troy Brown, who caught passes from Brady for eight years. “Just look at that next game, and multiply that by four or five.”
“It’s bigger than beating the Browns,” says Rodney Harrison, his teammate for a half-dozen seasons. “It’s sending a message to the league.”
If you read just one of these sections, read the one on Brady. Do it. Click here for the full list.