How A “Terrible” Defense Won The AFC Championship

BY: Jess Dempsey

All year, NFL “analysts”, and I use the term lightly because they often give their opinions and truly aren’t analyzing much, have been referring to the New England Patriots defense with a slew of less-than-flattering adjectives (“terrible”, “untalented”, and “slow” being among those). But, when it has really mattered, last week against the Broncos, and this week versus the Ravens, the Patriot’s defense showed up, and they showed up in a big way.

 

Integral, key plays by linebacker Brandon Spikes and cornerback Sterling Moore helped prevent a win for the Baltimore Ravens. Spikes intercepted Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco to turn the momentum back to the Patriots in the fourth quarter. Although Brady would negate that play with an interception of his own, Spikes’ interception lit up the crowd and took precious time off the clock. Another key play maker for the Patriots was Sterling Moore. Moore stripped Baltimore receiver Lee Evans of the ball in the end zone at the last second, preventing what most in the stadium thought was a sure touchdown. The entire place erupted in cheers for the backup cornerback from SMU.

 

” It was just a split-second decision and I’m glad it worked out,” Moore said. “We do that drill everyday in practice, but it was the first time I had to use it in a game, and I just took what I learned from practice into the game.”

 

You can’t talk about the Patriots’ defense without giving major props to tackle Vince Wilfork, who earned shouts of “MVP! MVP!” as his smiling face was shown on the Jumbotron at Gillette Stadium after the win. Wilfork had six tackles, three for a loss, including a key play with little more than three minutes remaining in the third quarter where he dropped Ray Rice for a three-yard loss.

 

Wilfork said that despite what many said, he “never lost faith in [our] defense.”

 

Some will say that Cundiff lost it for the Ravens, missing a 32-yard field goal at the end that would have sent the game into overtime. But, without such a stellar showing by the Patriots’ defense, the Ravens wouldn’t even have needed a field goal because they would have been 7-14 points ahead.

 

Bottom Line: The Patriots defense is an athletic, talented crew, and if they play in the Super Bowl like they’ve played the last two games, they will present quite a problem to Eli Manning and the red-hot Giants.

 

Pro Football Chick will be reporting LIVE from Indianapolis at the Super Bowl. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @JessDempNFL to get updates!!

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My Personal Thoughts on Joe Paterno: By Tom Nappi

According to CBS Joe Paterno died hours ago but according to Fox and ESPN, Joe-Pa is in critical condition due to lung cancer, which was confirmed by his son Scott Paterno. Some will remember Joe Paterno as one of the greatest coaches in NCAA Football history and perhaps he was, but too think that his career and life should be honored because of that is ludicrous! Joe Paterno or otherwise known as Joe-Pa by the Penn Staties, is a man who was one of the many in that twisted place called Happy Valley, Pennsylvania too cover up countless rapes and abuse to little children by former Penn-State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. If you read the grand jury report which you can find online:http://www.freep.com/assets/freep/pdf/C4181508116.PDF you will see that the allegations against Sandusky date back more than 20 years, and you will also find that there were countless cover-ups or people keeping their mouth shut for years, while little children in Jerry Sandusky’s “Second Mile Charity” were getting abused and raped.

If you do not know the story by now, you probably live under a rock but the basis of the story is Mike McQueary who was with the team in 2002 witnessed Jerry Sandusky having anal sex with a little boy in the locker room showers, he told Joe Paterno who told the athletic director Tim Curley who pretty much did nothing with the information. Sandusky was no longer with the team around the time of McQueary’s witness to the incident but still reserved an office on campus for years after and was still bringing children from the “Second Mile Charity” around campus and more than likely doing unspeakable things. Allegations would come out throughout the years, dating all the way back to the late 70’s and be ignored by all figures of authority including local police who stuck 1 investigatoron a child abuse case involving multiple children!

The reason McQueary’s allegations went no further than they did sooner was because everyone from Penn State staff and higher-ups, town officials, local police, school teachers at the elementary school across the street covered the entire thing up and one of those people who took the situation no further to seek justice for the children who were victimized was perhaps the highest figure of all in Happy Valley, 61 year veteran football coach Joe Paterno! The only reason Jerry Sandusky was not revealed or held accountable for his actions sooner is because the entire community of Happy Valley, Pennsylvania is corrupted by their football program. Besides a good portion of Penn State Students who are logical it seems a large number of the authority figures, locals or employees in the Happy Valley-Penn State community are corrupt and need a serious mental check, the fact they even continued their Football season and were entered into a bowl game, MAKES ME SICK! You may argue well that program brings a lot of money into Pennsylvania, well first off that’s why town officials are more than likely corrupted by the football team but most importantly is it worth letting an alleged child rapist run wild and free and not be held accountable for his actions? I repeat, the whole Happy Valley community is corrupt and needs a reality check! (Side Note: Factor out Penn State Students with any comment I make, referring more to authority figures and town locals when questioning the mentality of Happy Valley and Good Luck with your new job Bill O’ Brien, your going to need it!)

I will always view Joe Paterno as a coward, he was the most important and more than likely highest authority figure because of his contributions at Penn State and did the bare minimum too help the children that were being victimized by that monster Jerry Sandusky. As much as I love Football, a human life is far more important than anything so as Joe Paterno nears the final days of his life, dig deep into your soul and morality and then tell me how he should really be remembered and if you think there is a chance Sandusky may be innocent, go to you tube and watch the damn interview he did with Bob Costas, and if you still think so after watching the interview he may be innocent, check yourself into a mental institution!

*KEEP IN MIND THIS ARTICLE IS A PERSONAL OPINION AND DOES NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK*

The Final 4 Who Wins it? Comment your answer!

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 Final 4 of the NFL Season

By: Tom Nappi

It is time for Final 4 action. I was pretty pumped I went 3 and 1 in picks last week, I don’t think anyone saw the 49ers beating the Saints however and if you say otherwise you are lying. Now that Brady and Eli are the best Qb’s left in the playoffs, the Pats have a great shot at the Super Bowl title, but do they have the best shot? Read below to find out.

4) S.F. 49ers – I am not counting out the 49ers against the Giants this week especially considering the way they played against the Saints last week. Alex Smith looked really good, the best he has ever looked (fact not opinion), but I am convinced the Saints are the NFC version of the Patriots, great offense, shaky at best defense. The 49ers have a chance to beat the G-Men but Eli is arguably playing better than anybody right now and the Giants offense looks unstoppable.

3) Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens defense is good in fact one of the best but they are substantially older and the way the Patriots offense is playing is ridiculous and they look unstoppable. I do not think the Ravens matchup well against the 3 headed monster in Gronk, Hernandez and Welker. Ravens have a legit shot to win the game if they get a couple of turn overs and if we find out the miraculous way the Pats defense played last week against the Broncos is a fluke, but I expect Pats to head to Indy.

2) New England Patriots – I hate to do it but I cannot say the Patriots or anyone else for that matter is playing hotter than the Giants right now. I do expect a Pats-Giants rematch in the Super Bowl although I may not pick that way on the Sports Blast because I need to come back in picks but if the Patriots even do half of what they did defensively against Flacco next week, hello Indianapolis!

1) New York Giants – They crush the Falcons and then the G-Men roll over everyones Super Bowl favorite Green Bay in extraordinary fashion shutting down Rodgers and all his weapons. Eli looks to be playing better than he ever has in his career and has a legit shot to surpass his brother Peyton in Super Bowl titles this year.

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP

Patriots – 27 Baltimore – 17

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP

Giants – 24  49ers – 17

Un-biased Super Bowl prediction

New York Giants – 37  New England Patriots – 30

Grades for the eliminated!

By: Tom Nappi

Here is the grades I give the teams eliminated from Super Bowl contention and why!

We are down to the final 8 in the playoffs, 22 teams are on vacation and this article is to show how they did this season overall. I will rank the other 8 teams as the playoffs proceed, obviously you can’t rank the others until they win or go home.

Grade Scale:
A+ = Awesome,
A = Pretty Awesome,
A- = Sweet Season,
B+ = Not too shabby,
B = Not half bad,
B- = Pretty Good,
C+ = Future looks bright,
C = ehhh ok,
C- = Needs improvement,
D+ = Need a lot of improvement,
D = Disappointment,
D- = Just about a failure,
F= Failure and completely awful

NFC EAST
New York Giants – Grade Pending

Philadelphia Eagles (8-8) – They spend massive amounts of money on defense such as the most notable signing CB Namdi Asomugha. They have Vick at QB, who was beat up and terrible most of the year, McCoy at Rb and Maclin and DeSean Jackson at WR. The Eagles were my Super Bowl favorite heading into the year and failed miserably finishing the season .500. No excuse for missing the playoffs.
GRADE – F

Dallas Cowboys (8-8) – Any year the Cowboys finish .500 with the talent they have on both sides of the ball is a failure, especially since they lost the last game of the season to the Giants to miss the playoffs.
GRADE – F

Washington Redskins (5-11) – They started off the year nice but finished as just about everyone expected, no surprises here. However they have spent way too much money for constant failure.
GRADE – D-

NFC North
Green Bay Packers – Grade Pending!

Detroit Lions (10-7) – The Lions made the playoffs but clearly did not have the defense to contain unbelievably good offenses such as the Saints and at times struggled offensively. They certainly fu-filled expectations this year and should be a good team for years to come with the amount of young talent on the roster, next year they will have to play more disciplined.
Grade = B

Chicago Bears (8-8) – Cutler went down, a once good season went to hell as Caleb Hanie sucked. Next year I am sure the Bears will look into a back up. The defense was solid and the play of the O-Line was much improved but they finished 8 and 8.
Grade = C-

Minnesota Vikings (3-13) – Donovan McNabb = Fail. The Vikings were o.k. when McNabb was not playing but had a very rough season finishing 3 and 13.
Grade = F

NFC South
New Orleans Saints – Grade Pending

Atlanta Falcons (10-7) – 3rd year in a row the Falcons were one and done in the playoffs, they were a Super Bowl favorite to start the season in the NFC with the addition of Julio Jones but ended up in the end as the Falcons typically do, losers!
Grade = D-

Carolina Panthers (6-10) – The expectations were not so high in Carolina and there was no reason for them to be but Cam Newton took the Panthers on his back to 6 wins, and the Panthers were competitive in nearly every game. The Panthers will get better and better as they surround Newton with weapons.
Grade = B+

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12) – Bucs were expected to be a competitor for a wild card spot after they had a nice season last year but instead they were a competitor for the number 1 draft pick, Freeman fell into his sophomore slump and 2011 was a disaster for the Bucs.
Grade = F

NFC West
S.F. 49ers – Grade pending, but for the season they had, I think you know the grade I am going to give the 49ers.

Arizona Cardinals (8-8) – Kevin Kolb surprisingly failed, while John Skelton looked good, Cardinals were not expected to do much this year but in a what used to be weak before Jim Hardbaugh came to the 49ers. Cards have a lot of talent and should be a little better next year
Grade = C-

Seattle Seahawks (7-9) – I did not expect much more than what the Seahawks brought to the table, a couple impressive upset and competitive in most games, this is a team that should get better however as they looked good at the end of the season.
Grade = C-

St. Louis Rams (2-14) – What the hell happened to Sam Bradford and the Rams as a whole? After being competitive last year and showing signs of Rams on the rise, you would expect much better than 2 wins!
Grade = F

AFC East
New England Patriots – Grade Pending

New York Jets (8-8) – This is the grade I could not wait to give, Rex Ryan talks, talks, talks but he could not even get the Jets into the post season this year. Oh yeah and Sanchez has not improved what so ever and could be the main hold back for the Jets, besides their cocky attitudes and bad team chemistry.
Grade = F

Miami Dolphins (6-10) – Did not really expect much, overall the Dolphins downgraded their roster this year. They did get better as the season went on however and should continue to get more competitive as long as they make some upgrades.
Grade = C-

Buffalo Bills (6-10) – Bills start off really good and even beat the Patriots once, Fitzpatrick signs a long term contract and they fall apart with injuries, Stevie Johnson antics on the field and their lack of talent showed in the end.
Grade = D

AFC North
Baltimore Ravens – Grade Pending

Pittsburgh Steelers (12-5) – Great season for the Steelers, but they lose to Tebow in the first round because of failure to change defensive scheme at anytime. Regardless of the injuries the Steelers had, you have to win against the Broncos as long as Big Ben can play.
Grade = D-

Cincinnati Bengals (9-7) – They beat 8 teams with below .500 records this year but their schedule is not their fault, they shockingly made the playoffs and although they lost to the Texans in the first round for the Bengals to make the playoffs with their roster and the loss of Carson Palmer is quite impressive.
Grade = A

Cleveland Browns (4-12) – Peyton Hillis showed to be a whiny baby uncompetitive loser this year and the whole Browns season pretty much evolved around the failure of Hillis. The Browns have a lack of talent, especially offensively and you should not expect much for years to come.
Grade = D-

AFC South
Houston Texans – Grade Pending

Tennessee Titans (9-7) – Exceeded my hopes this year, being a competitive team and just barely missing the playoffs. Hasselbeck played pretty well and the Titans have some good momentum heading into next year.
Grade – A-

Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) – I at least expected the Jags to be competitive and they simply were not at all, another terrible season for the Jags and I don’t see the rain stopping anytime soon in Jag Town. This was the year with Peyton Manning out for the Jags to step up.
Grade – D-

Indianapolis Colts (2-14) – O.K. even with Peyton Manning out look at the Colts roster and tell me if they should have enough loses to get the 1st draft pick in 2012. Ridiculous season and the Colts need to wipe out the entire ownership group and whoever has anything to do with scouting and finding back up QB’s. We watched an entire team fail this year because 1 guy was out, regardless of Manning being out the collapse of the Colts this year means the Colts were poorly assembled and are not well coached.
Grade – F

AFC West
Denver Broncos – Grade Pending, but the fact that Tebow beat the Steelers in the first round of the playoffs is unreal, so they will get an A. Year one goes to Felger, if you listen to the Sports Hub you will know what I am talking about.

S.D. Chargers (8-8) – NORV TURNER SUCKS AND SO DOES PETER KING. Way to pick this A-hole team to win the Super Bowl, all the talent in the world and they cannot get over 8 wins, pitiful!
Grade – F

Oakland Raiders (8-8) – Raiders were competitive but uphold their reputation as the most undisciplined team in football. Also with Al Davis passing away who knows what the future of the Raiders is.
Grade – C-

Kansas City Cheifs (7-9) – Cassel went down, collapse insued, Romeo Crennel took over as head coach and restored life in Chief town, look out next year as Crennel is the permanent head coach. NICE MOVE BY THE CHIEFS!
Grade – C+

Why I Don’t Bet: NFL Playoff Rankings 2

By: Tom Nappi

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Well if you read my article, I was wrong about just about everything once again proving why the NFL is the best league on earth and the playoffs are the most fascinating.

 

Here is what I said in my last article that was completely False because I am willing to admit my faults:

 

I ranked Denver 12th in the playoff rankings last week and said this: “Tim Tebow has been revealed for what he truly is, an average Running Back at the Q.B. position, there is no way I can see the Broncos beating the Steelers in the 1st Round therefore they are ranked last.

 

Clearly that statement was False as Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards and had 2 touchdowns including a 80 yard game winning TD pass in the opening seconds of over time too Demaryius Thomas.

 

I ranked Houston 11th in the playoff rankings and said this: The Texans have a good shot to upset the Bengals in the first round but after that, not to much of a chance at anything with T.J. Yates as their starting QB because Schaub is down, but look out next year.”

 

I gave the Texans the benefit of the doubt against the Bengals but T.J. Yates is better than I thought and the Texans defense gives them a legitimate shot to beat the Ravens next Sunday if Flacco plays bad.

 

To Sum up from last week, if you want to see what else I said read the damn article it’s 4 down from this one but I was half right about the Giants but I did say “They are too much of a shaky team to beat good opponents” This is kind of false, the Giants have a shot to beat the Packers next week, especially if Eli plays like he did against the Falcons and Jason Pierre-Paul is his usual self, I am picking Packers but upset alert is officially in affect on this one. The Bengals I was less than half right on but shame on me for crediting a team that is now 0 and 8 against opponents above .500, Bengals cannot beat good teams and will not be even close to a contender next year, this year was a fluke, they beat a bunch of tomato cans and made the playoffs. I think Andy Dalton will eventually be a good QB but the Bengals have a lot of show and tell to do next year in order to make me think differently.

 

Games This Week (My Picks are in Bold):

Sat 4:30pm New Orleans Saints @ S.F. 49ers

Sat 8:00pm Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots

Sun 1:00pm Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens

Sun 4:30pm New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers

 

Without further or do here is playoff week 2 Power Rankings of the Final 8, by the way do not take my advice into consideration while betting, there is a reason I do not bet anymore except on Super Bowl squares, I am damn good at those!!!

 

(#) – Last Week’s ranking

 

8-(5) S.F. 49ers (13-3) – The 49ers have a shot to beat the Saints next week with there amazing defense, but with the way Drew Brees is playing and the Saints are playing overall, don’t count on it, then again remember I am wrong a lot, but so is Peter King!!

 

7-(12) Denver Broncos (9-8) – The Broncos proved how wrong I could be, I know Mendenhall was out and Ben was not 100% but hey that’s football and the Broncos won fair and square. Tim Tebow showed balls this game, pure brass balls as he threw 3-4 passes over 50 yards, 2 of them for touchdowns and showed he can do more than run and throw short slant routes. The dude can throw the long ball and with the Patriots past 2 years of one and done, Tim Tebow has a shot to beat them! I am picking Pats, but Tebow has a shot!

 

6-(11) Houston Texans (11-6) – The Texans proved that their defense is good enough to do it without Schaub. I also have a huge respect for T.J. Yates, the 3rd stringer looked pretty damn good against an average Bengals defense. If Flacco has a bad day Sunday and the Texans are able to produce a couple turnovers, do not count them out.

 

5-(8) New York Giants (10-7) – The Giants have the offense and the defense to upset the Packers and shock the world, they did it to the Patriots in 2007 and they have the skill set to upset the overall Super Bowl favorite this year as well. The Packers have been playing below average lately and with the way this season has gone, who knows what to expect in this matchup of 2 high powered offenses and 2 of the top 5 QB’s this season. Yes I said it Eli is a top 5 QB, I know it sucks!

 

4-(4) Baltimore Ravens (12-4) – The Ravens have a shot to be upset by the Texans this week, I still pick Ravens to win, but Yates is looking good stepping in for Schaub and the Texans defense is outstanding. Big credit goes to Wade Phillips, expect him to be a head coach somewhere once again next season. 

 

3-(2) New Orleans Saints (14-3) – The Saints are playing outstanding and completely trashed the Lions last week, the reason I move them below the Patriots is because I feel the 49ers have a better shot to beat the Saints than the Broncos do to beat the Patriots, it’s that simple but I am picking Saints over 49ers this week.

 

2-(3) New England Patriots (13-3) – Patriots if you let me down against the Broncos and go one and done against this team, you are a disgrace. Losing to Giants, Ravens and Jets back to back to back in the playoffs is forgivable if you end Tebowmania, if you don’t I am just about done with you.

 

1-(1) Green Bay Packers (15-1) – I had a hard time ranking the Packers number 1 this week with the upset bound Giants coming to town, but until someone beats Aaron Rodgers besides a fluky Kyle Orton and the Chiefs in a pointless game, they stay here and are still my Super Bowl favorites this year! 


NFL Post Season Power Rankings: By Tom Nappi

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ITS THAT TIME OF YEAR! Down to 12 teams and we are ready for Wild Card Weekend Next week with a great slate of NFL games. BTW what a last week of the season, every game but 3 games meant something! With that being said the games this week our listed below along with the 12 teams ranked 12 to 1, 1 being the team with the best chance to bring home the Vince Lombardi Trophy!

Sat Jan 7th 4:30pm/et

Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans

Sat Jan 7th 8:00pm/et

Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints

Sun Jan 8th 1:00pm/et

Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants

Sun Jan 8th 4:00pm/et

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos

Byes: New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, S.F. 49ers, Green Bay Packers

POST SEASON POWER RANKINGS

12) Denver Broncos (8-8) – Tim Tebow has been revealed for what he truly is, an average Running Back at the Q.B. position, their is no way I can see the Broncos beating the Steelers in the 1st Round therefore they are ranked last. 

11) Houston Texans (10-6) – The Texans have a good shot to upset the Bengals in the first round but after that, not to much of a chance at anything with T.J. Yates as their starting QB because Schaub is down, but look out next year. 

10) Detroit Lions (10-6) – If the Saints do not make the Lions one and done this week and they pull what they did last year against the Seahawks, I am going to start calling Drew Brees the Lebron of the NFL, this should be an easy Saints win, Stafford and the gang will keep it close, but don’t expect much.

9) Cincinnati Bengals (9-7) – The Bengals have an interesting scenario, they have a Matt Schaubless Texans squad in the first round then could end up with a defenseless Patriots, the Bengals could upset their way to the AFC Championship, but if they make it to New England, I am picking Pats! A great season by the most surprising team of the year in the rookie QB led Bengals.

8) New York Giants (9-7) – I may even pick the Giants to beat the Falcons in the first round, but the Giants are way too much of a shaky team against good opponents to rank them any higher than this.

7) Atlanta Falcons (10-6) – The Falcons have had a questionable year, they started terrible and really turned things arounds especially once Julio Jones got back, beating the Giants will be no easy task however as I think this is an even matchup and both these teams match up well against each other on both sides of the ball.

6) Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) – No one knows how healthy Big Ben actually is and Rashard Mendenhall may have a torn ACL, this could cost the Steelers dearly, I expect them to get past Denver, but to beat New England again this year with those offensive injuries would really take a lot of luck or New England sleeping defensively. 

5) S.F. 49ers (13-3) – The 49ers have arguably the best defense in the league at this current time, but with an unreliable Alex Smith and a very good but stoppable Frank Gore, if they meet a team like the Saints or Giants next round, it could be upset city in San Francisco. Also one other relevant point to make look at the teams that have won Super Bowls the past few years, Packers, Saints, Steelers, Colts, all have great QB’s, Alex Smith is not in that category. 

4) Baltimore Ravens (12-4) – The success of the Ravens will completely bank on what kind of Joe Flacco plays, will it be the kind that throws countless interceptions and miss fires 50% of his passes or will he be sharp and hit his targets, defensively they are fine, but offensively they have many questions with Flacco as their Q.B.

3) New England Patriots (13-3) – The Patriots have the best offense in the A.F.C. and could have an easy road to the Super Bowl with the 1 seed and home field locked up and the fact they may play the Bengals in the first round, but if the Patriots struggle defensively like they have all season and they end up with the Steelers next week, an upset is very possible. 

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2) New Orleans Saints (13-3) – In my opinion, the Saints are the only team besides the Patriots that could keep up scoring wise with the Packers, Drew Brees has played outstanding this year and I will not rule the Saints out of a matchup with Green Bay in the NFC championship pending they don’t lose to someone ridiculous as they did in the playoffs last year to the 8 and 8 Seahawks.

1) Green Bay Packers (15-1) – Matt Flynn threw 6 touchdowns last week and the Green Bay Packer B Squad beat the Detroit Lions who were playing for a higher seed, I can’t wait to see what the A Squad does in the playoffs, repeat more than likely in Cheesehead City!

There you have it folks, these will change next week, enjoy the NFL and read Craig’s article below this one on what the Red Sox need to do as we are only 2 months or so away from Spring Training!


The God Squad: Christianity, Faith and Religion in the NFL By: Jess Dempsey

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Christian. Religious. NFL. If we were playing word association, you’d probably be thinking about Tim Tebow (QB – Broncos) right now. And although the Broncos fourth-quarter miracle-maker quarterback is probably the most outspoken about his faith, you would be hard pressed to watch an NFL game where at least one player does not point to the sky or take a knee after a touchdown to thank God. Christianity is very well represented in the National Football League. What gives? Is the profession conducive to inspiring faith among players? Do players convert each other in the locker room? Is it the abundance of NFL players that hail from the Bible Belt? Or, is God himself rewarding faith with success? I suppose how you answer that question would depend on your own personal beliefs. But, you have to think – why are there so many Christians in the NFL?

Statistics about religion in the NFL are hard to come by. I don’t know every player to call them up and ask about their faith, and many players choose to keep such matters private. Understandable, but for the purposes of this article, then, we’ll have to rely on the players who are outspoken about their religious preferences. You know about Tim Tebow. There’s also Ray Lewis, star linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, who was featured on the cover of a 2006 issue of Sports Illustrated in a story about his Christian faith. Retired Quarterback Kurt Warner (Rams, Giants, Cardinals) was and is an outspoken evangelical Christian. Former corner and return specialist Deion Sanders is another well-known name who counts Jesus as his personal savior. Drew Brees, who only recently broke Dan Marino’s NFL single-season passing record, is also a devout Christian. One player who constantly, it seems, tweets about God and his faith is Cardinals wide receiver Chansi Stuckey. On his Twitter account, Stuckey describes himself as a Christ Ambassador first, Arizona Cardinal second. Matt Hasslebeck (Titans) and Chad Ochocinco (Patriots) also voice their faith via social media outlets. Beloved former Coach and current analyst (and all-around nice guy) Tony Dungy is very outspoken about his faith. As is Steelers star Troy Polamalu. There are hundreds more. Take the time to follow your favorite athlete on Facebook and Twitter, and pay attention to their posts. Most are thanking God after a great game (and praying after a loss.)

There are some who criticize the proud displays of faith, especially those performed on the football field. While a Heisman-winning Quarterback at Florida, Tebow frequently had white Bible verses etched into his eye black. In 2010, a rule known informally as the “Tebow Rule” was instituted by the NCAA that prohibited messages on eye paint. While messages on eye black have been banned by the NFL for a long time, it reasons that unless the display of faith is violent, perverse, offensive or otherwise undermines the sportsmanlike candor or play desired by the NFL, expressions of faith should be allowed in the league. This applies to not only Christians, but Buddhists, Muslims and those of other faiths as well.

Back to our friend Tim Tebow. What he may lack in finesse, he surely makes up for in leadership ability. His coaches love him, his teammates love him, and work harder for him – and the fans, well – his jersey sales speak volumes. The expression of faith should not add to, nor take away from, a player’s talent, integrity and leadership. Do people love Tebow because of his faith? Well, some may. But suffice it to say, most people who love Tebow, love his heart. If that heart is influenced by faith in God, who is to have a problem with that?

Division III College Football Scores

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Framingham State Rams shut out Mass. Maritime 26-0

Scoring Summary (Final) 

2011 Framingham State Football 

Framingham State vs Mass. Maritime (Oct 01, 2011 at Buzzards Bay, Mass.)

Framingham State (3-2,2-0) vs. Mass. Maritime (2-2,0-2)

Date: Oct 01, 2011 • Site: Buzzards Bay, Mass.  • Stadium: Clean Harbors  •  Attendance: 774

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Worcester State remains perfect as they take down Maine Maritime 39-26

Scoring Summary (Final)

                         2011 Worcester State Football

       Maine Maritime vs Worcester State (Oct 01, 2011 at Worcester, MA)

             Maine Maritime (3-1,1-1) vs. Worcester State (5-0,2-0)

Date: Oct 01, 2011  Site: Worcester, MA         Stadium: Coughlin Field

Attendance: 1750

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Westfield State Gets Huge Win against Bridgewater 10-7

Scoring Summary (Final) 

2011 Westfield State Football 

Westfield State vs Bridgewater State (Sep 30, 2011 at Bridgewater, Mass.)

Westfield State (2-3,1-1) vs. Bridgewater State (2-2,0-2)

Date: Sep 30, 2011 • Site: Bridgewater, Mass.  • Stadium: Swenson Field  •  Attendance: 2000

High School Scores Week 4

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The Milford defense shuts down Westborough High School 14-0

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St Johns-Shrewsbury (3-1) – 21  Wachusett (1-3) – 7

Drew Ortone caught a 46-yard touchdown pass and returned an interception 75 yards for another score while Connor Kurtz threw two touchdown passes to lead the host Pioneers past the Mountaineers. Kurtz connected with freshman Taquar Stewart for a 29-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to put St. John’s up, 21-0. Sammy Rivera scored a 5-yard touchdown for Wachusett.

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St. Peter-Marian improves to 3-1 as they knock Algonquin down to 1-3 in an offensive explosion 46-25

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Greater Lawrence (3-1) – 20  Brighton (1-2) – 6

Jonathan Montero’s 33-yard touchdown run broke a scoreless tie in the second quarter, and Christian Rivera’s 45-yard interception return extended the lead for the Reggies. Bengals’ Jonathan Marrero fired a 51-yard TD strike to Damian Robinson in the fourth quarter. Rivera added a 24-yard touchdown run to seal the victory.

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#15 Walpole (4-0) – 41  Milton (0-4) – 3

The Wildcats opened with a 32-yard field goal, but didn’t score again. The Rebels’ Tom Donnellan threw a 54-yard pass to David Thibault, one of Donnellan’s three TDs. He finished with 202 passing yards. Shane Blass carried the ball 13 times for 122 yards and one touchdown.

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Hopkinton (4-0) – 21  Weston – 14

Mike Decina ran for two touchdowns and threw for another to lead the Hillers.

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Auburn High School picks up there 41st win in a row as they shut out Millbury 28-0

Other Scores from around Massachusetts High School Football

Ashland – 0 @ Medway – 48

Natick – 34 @ Newton North – 12

#6 Dennis-Yarmouth – 41  @ Falmouth – 8

#7 Mansfield – 27  @ #17 King Phillip – 26

Franklin – 3  @ North Attleborough – 7

Hull -7 @ East Bridgewater – 28

Carver – 6  @ Cohasset – 49

Holliston – 42 @ Medfield – 14

Dover-Sherborn – 33 @ Bellingham – 20

Haverhill – 14  @ #8 Andover – 24

#19 Billerica – 40 @ #11 Dracut – 14

Woburn – 26  @ Burlington – 34

#12 Catholic Memorial – 42 @ Bishop Guertin – 0

#14 Chelmsford – 42 @ Lawrence – 16

Medford – 6 @ Dedham – 21

Leicester – 18 @ Grafton – 34

Leominster – 56 @ North Middlesex – 20

Millis/Hopedale – 49 @ Marian – 8

Southbridge – 0 @ Northbridge – 24

St. Bernards – 32 @ West Boylston – 22

Worcester North – 14 @ Worcester Tech – 20

Want a specific team covered weekly? Let us know masportsweb@gmail.com

More Scores Available on the Boston Globe Website Boston.Com


Top 10 Music Countdown

Listen to the Top 10 Countdown Everyday at 8 pm/et on MSEN. Too vote simply fill out the song request forum on the homepage, only email and song necessary. You can also facebook MA Sports Web your request or email MAsportsweb@gmail.com

Top 10 Countdown 9/25-10/2 2011
10) The Band Perry – If I Die Young
9) Usher – Without You
8) Foster the People – Pumped up Kicks
7) Nikki Minaj f. Ester Dean – Super bass
6) Rihanna – Cheers (Drink To That)
5) Black Eyed Peas – This Time (Dirty Bit)
4) One Republic – Good Life
3) LMFAO – Rock Party Anthem
2) Adele – Someone Like You
1) Maroon 5 f. Christina Aguilera – Moves Like Jagger