1. The New England Patriots became the 5th team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl with three or more starting quarterbacks, according to Football Outsider’s Tom Gower (h/t /r/JudasZala). The Patriots join the 1974 Steelers, 1993 Cowboys, 2002 Buccaneers, and 2005 Steelers thanks to Tom Brady (11-1), Jimmy Garoppolo (2-0), and Jacoby Brissett (1-1).
The Patriots join the 2005 Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger, 12; Tommy Maddox, 2; Charlie Batch, 2) as the only teams in NFL history to win the Super Bowl with three different quarterbacks to start multiple games. The Patriots and the 1974 Steelers (Terry Bradshaw, 5-2; Joe Gilliam, 4-1-1; Terry Hanratty, 1-0) are the only teams in NFL history to win the Super Bowl with three different starting quarterbacks recording a win.
Part of me still wonders if the Patriots would have been better off starting WR Julian Edelman at quarterback in week 4 against the Buffalo Bills because Brissett couldn’t throw the ball due to his hand injury. Ultimately, Edelman came on strong as a receiver down the stretch and exposing to risk at quarterback wouldn’t have been a smart decision.
2. One fact that you’ll see floating around regarding RB James White is that he’s never been a starter dating back to high school. He has been a member of two Super Bowl championship squads with the Patriots, but he was behind RB Shane Vereen in 2014, and behind RB Dion Lewis and RB LeGarrette Blount the past two seasons. Perhaps next year he’ll have a leading role as he showed he could run the ball with surprising power and quickness against the Falcons.
But at the beginning, White was teammates- and housemates- at St. Thomas Aquinas High School with Bengals RB Giovani Bernard, and only started once Bernard suffered a hamstring injury in their senior year. White was also teammates with Colts WR Philip Dorsett, Jaguars OL Brandon Linder, Buccaneers CB Cody Riggs, Panthers S Dezmen Southward, Giants OL Bobby Hart, Rams CB Lamarcus Joyner, Bills CB Marcus Roberson, Jaguars WR Rashad Greene, Chargers EDGE Joey Bosa, and CFL star WR Duron Carter.
That was a stacked high school team and there are probably more names that I’ve missed.
Once White went off to college, he played as a true freshman in 2010 and actually led the Badgers in rushing yards, but was listed behind incumbent starter John Clay and considered a co-back-up with Montee Ball. Ball went on a record-setting clip in 2011 and 2012 as White continued to serve as the team’s back-up running back.
In White’s final year at Wisconsin, he trailed future first round pick RB Melvin Gordon in rushing yards 1,609 to 1,444, which is why people are pushing the whole “White wasn’t a starter” narrative.
But White actually outgained Gordon 1,744 to 1,619 and started 12 of the Badgers’ 13 games. He was a legitimate starter in his final season at Wisconsin and the discussion is pushed in the same way that the “Brady wasn’t a starter in his final year at Michigan” is pushed.
Sure, Michigan tried to cram Drew Henson into the starting line-up and they pulled Brady out of the line-up in favor of Henson. But Brady would start, Henson would play the second quarter, and Brady played the second half in all but two games. Non-traditional, but Brady started all of 1998 and threw 295 attempts to Henson’s 89 in 1999. Brady was a starter in his final year, as was James White.
3. First, some links:
Sights and Sounds from Super Bowl LI: Part One
Sights and Sounds from Super Bowl LI: Part Two
Sights and Sounds from Super Bowl LI: Part Three
All three videos are worth watching and each are two minutes long. I particularly liked watching EDGE Trey Flowers imploring Brady on his final drive, “Come on, Tom. Be great.”
But the best part was Josh McDaniels sitting down with Brady after the pick-six (in the Part One video), and calmly stating, “Alright, the game is not out of reach in that regard. I mean, we move the ball up and down the field, we just got to finish a couple drives here.”
That sort of calm conversation with McDaniels is why the players trust the process and why the Patriots were able to come back. The coaches didn’t think the game was out of reach, and saw a lot of positives despite trailing 21-0.
4. Also shown is the interaction between NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Brady after the game.
“That was awesome,” Goodell said as he approached Brady. “Great football game.”
“Thank you,” Brady replied with a firm handshake.
“Unbelievable football game,” Goodell said as he pulled away.
Brady was courteous. Goodell got the moment over with. But Brady’s wore his feelings on his face after the exchange: Get out of my moment.
5. MMQB’s Peter King has made a bold claim: the New England Patriots are not going to trade back-up QB Jimmy Garoppolo “for any price.”
Going on record now (and it won’t be the first time I’m wrong, as you know): I don’t believe Pats will trade Garoppolo. For any price.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) February 11, 2017
This feels like a case of the Patriots trying to leverage the media to push up Garoppolo’s trade value because it’s silly to think the Patriots wouldn’t accept a top 12 draft pick for Garoppolo. My guess is that teams aren’t biting at the Patriots trade request and New England needs to show they have leverage in the negotiations.
The only way I could see the Patriots retaining Garoppolo would be if the two sides have an extension in mind, where Garoppolo signs a long-term extension to be the back-up to Brady until Brady retires. Perhaps the Patriots have ninja’d Garoppolo’s mind in the same way they’ve convinced offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to stay: they won’t have the same success elsewhere, so why leave?
6. And speaking of keeping McDaniels around, head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady receive most of the credit for the Patriots five Super Bowl titles, but here are some of the other coaches that have been around for all the championships:
Josh McDaniels: 2001 and 2003 Coaching Assistant; 2004 Quarterbacks; 2014 and 2016 Offensive Coordinator
Ivan Fears: 2001 Wide Receivers; 2003-04, 2014 and 2016 Running Backs
Brian Daboll: 2001 Defensive Assistant; 2003-04 Wide Receivers; 2014 and 2016 Tight Ends
Nick Caserio: 2001 Personnel Assistant; 2003 Area Scout; 2004 Director of Pro Personnel; 2014 and 2016 Director of Player Personnel
Nancy Meier: 2001, 2003-04, 2014, and 2016 Director of Scouting Administration
Berj Najarian: 2001, 2003-04 Executive Administrator to the Head Coach; 2014 and 2016 Director of Football and Head Coach Administration
Brian Smith: 2001 and 2003 Coaching Assistant; 2004 Director of Operations; 2014 and 2016 College Scouting Coordinator
Larry Cook: 2001, 2003-04 Director of College Scouting; 2014 and 2016 Scouting Consultant
Ernie Adams: 2001, 2003-04, 2014, and 2016 Football Research Director
Joe Van Allen: 2001, 2003-04, 2014, and 2016 Assistant Athletic Trainer and Director of Rehabilitation
Jimmy Dee: 2001, 2003-04, 2014, and 2016 Video Director
Fernando Neto: 2001, 2003-04, 2014 and 2016 Assistant Video Director
Dante Scarnecchia: 2001, 2003-04, 2016 Offensive Line (Scarnecchia received a ring for his scouting work in 2014 while in retirement)
Jim Whalen: 2003-04, 2014, and 2016 Head Athletic Trainer
Matt Patricia: 2004 Coaching Assistant; 20014 and 2016 Defensive Coordinator
Brian Flores: 2004 Scouting Assistant; 2014 Safeties; 2016 Linebackers
Monti Ossenfort: 2003 Personnel Assistant; 2014 and 2016 Director of College Scouting