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Ten years after last Super Bowl win, it looks like it's Pats' time once again 0

rob gronkowski new england patriots super bowl xlix

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – What was the highlight of the Patriots’ 45-7 AFC Championship win over the Colts Sunday? Was it when the Patriots didn’t need to onside kick at the end of the game? Or when they didn’t need the opposing coach to botch the game? Or when the star quarterback on the other side ran around, because he is perfectly healthy, and still couldn’t beat them?

Perhaps it happened Friday. Practice was over. Patriots owner Robert Kraft stumbled upon a ritual that has grown, week by week, since New England defensive lineman Sealver Siliga introduced it last year. Patriots players of Polynesian descent gather to drink a traditional ceremonial drink made from the kava root.

“There were like 18 of them in the corner,” Kraft said Sunday night, in a locker room atmosphere that felt like a prelude to the real celebration in Arizona in two weeks. “And it was late afternoon. They were just joshing around and having fun. It was really special. I remember saying to Bill [Belichick]: ‘I don’t remember guys just hanging out and doing that on a Friday afternoon,’ which is nice. They enjoy each other’s company and they trust each other...

“There is a special karma with this team that I felt in training camp. I mentioned it to friends.”
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Seahawks, Patriots Championship Wins in Photos 0

  • Gridiron Guru
  • Posted by: Dante A. Ciampaglia
  • January 19, 2015, 10:00 AM

seattle seahawks new england patriots super bowl xlix

Yesterday's NFC and AFC Championship games were both historic — and not just because the Seahawks and Patriots earned a trip to Super Bowl XLIX.

In the first game, Seattle was down 16-0 to the Green Bay Packers at halftime. Going into the fourth quarter, the Packers were up 16-7 before tacking on a field goal to take a 19-7 lead. Seahawks quarterback had an abysmal day up that point, throwing three interceptions and putting up woeful numbers. He tossed another pick with less than six minutes left in the game, which should have sealed the win for Green Bay. But Seattle's D came up big, getting the ball back into the hands of Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch. They put together a 69-yard, 1:43-long touchdown drive to pull Seattle within five. And then on the ensuing onside kick, got the ball back, scored another touchdown, tacked on a two-point conversion, and took the lead, 22-19, with a 1:25 left in the game. The Seahawks scored 15 points in 44 seconds. Green Bay tied it with a field goal late, but in overtime Wilson was perfect and capped off his role reversal from goat to hero with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse. Seattle won, 28-22, and did it by making the biggest comeback in championship game history.

If the NFC title game was a nail-biter, the AFC Championship was a bloodbath. The Indianapolis Colts traveled to New England to face the Patriots, and after stopping the Pats on their first drive the Colts offense was set to take the field. But Josh Cribbs muffed it, losing the ball in the rain or the lights. New England recovered with great field position, and promptly scored. The Patriots added another touchdown before the end of the first quarter, the Colts answered with one of their own, before New England kicked a field goal and went into halftime up 17-7. And then the second half started. New England scored 21 points in the third and scored another TD in the fourth to decimate the Colts, 45-7. That's an impressive way to head into the Super Bowl, and, of course, quarterback Tom Brady was a huge part of it. He threw for 226 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. And while he earned a sixth trip to the dance, he left the AFC title game with another personal record: Most Postseason Passing Yards. Brady now has 7,017, breaking Peyton Manning's previous record of 6,800.

What does that all mean for the Super Bowl? Probably nothing! But both games were a great way appetizer for the main course: Super Bowl XLIX, which will be played in Arizona on February 8. Before we turn our attention to that game, though, let's look back at some of the best moments of the NFL's championship weekend!
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Colts/Pats and Hawks/Pack with a Trip to Super Bowl XLIX is on the Line! 0

  • Gridiron Guru
  • Posted by: Lauren Shute
  • January 16, 2015, 2:30 PM

afc championship nfc championship super bowl xlix

There are only three games left in the 2014 NFL season: the AFC and NFC championships and Super Bowl XLIX. (OK, OK, four if you count the Pro Bowl.) The Patriots host the Colts in the AFC title game, while the Seahawks look to defeat the Packers for a repeat trip to the title game.

Who will punch their tickets to Arizona in Sunday's conference championship games? We think we know!
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Vontae Davis stepping out from the shadow of older brother, Vernon 0

vontae davis indianapolis colts

INDIANAPOLIS -- Vernon Davis is jumping up and down, his baseball-mitt-sized hands waving in the air. It’s 2009, and he’s just months from leading the NFL in receiving touchdowns en route to his first Pro Bowl. But in this moment, none of that matters; his brother Vontae, a cornerback four years his junior, has just been drafted, 25th overall by the Miami Dolphins. Vontae is calm. Vernon is going bananas.

“You’d have probably thought I was getting drafted,” the tight end recalls.

Growing up in Washington, D.C., Vontae was Vernon’s little brother in every sense of the word. As a lanky, 5-foot-11 teen, Vontae reconciled himself to the fact that he’d always be smaller; Vernon, at 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, is “a freak of nature,” the younger Davis says. Then Vernon went off to Maryland, then to the 49ers as 2006’s No. 6 pick, and by the time Vontae headed to Illinois for his freshman season, football knew him as Vernon’s brother.

That changed last December, when Vontae’s phone pinged with a message. “Welcome,” it read. Vontae had just made his first Pro Bowl, and Vontae’s brother couldn’t have been prouder.
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Ohio State Wins First College Football Playoff National Championship! 0

ohio state buckeyes national champions

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Ohio State was done when Braxton Miller got hurt in August.

Ohio State was done when it lost at home to Virginia Tech in September.

Ohio State was done when J.T. Barrett got hurt in November.

A funny thing happened: Every time the Buckeyes looked done, they kept getting better. And in the new era of college football, that was enough to earn a chance to win a championship.

They took advantage of an opportunity they never would have had in the BCS, shrugging off questions about if they belonged among the college football's final four. Cardale Jones, Ezekiel Elliott and the Buckeyes won the first College Football Playoff national championship, upsetting Marcus Mariota and Oregon 42-20 on Monday night.
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The End of the Line for Peyton Manning? 0

peyton manning denver broncos

Peyton Manning’s underwhelming playoff legacy has been largely defined by the phrase "one-and-done." He has endured a mind-boggling nine first-game eliminations in his postseason career, in 14 playoff trips. That’s an NFL record no one would ever care to hold, certainly not a Hall of Fame-bound quarterback who will go down as one of the best to ever play the game.

But in the wake of his latest early exit from the postseason — the Broncos’ stunning 24-13 loss to the No. 4-seeded Indianapolis Colts — one-and-done could take on a whole new level of meaning for No. 18.
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Oregon, Ohio State Earn Spots in National Championship 0

  • Gridiron Guru
  • Posted by: Dante A. Ciampaglia
  • January 2, 2015, 8:45 AM

ohio state oregon ducks college football playoffs

Anything can happen in the playoffs. The San Francisco Giants — a team that squeaked into the second Wild Card spot and went on to dominate its way to winning the 2014 World Series — proved it this past baseball season. And college football found it out first hand in its first experience with a playoff system.

The two College Football Playoff National Championship semifinal games were played yesterday: second-seed Oregon topped third-seed Florida State in the Rose Bowl, 59-20; number-four Ohio State stunned top-ranked Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, 42-35. 

In perfect playoff fashion, neither game really went the way they were supposed to. 
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