Tag Archive | "Football"

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Marquette Club Football brings camaraderie, brotherhood to the field

Posted on 28 April 2010 by Joe Defelice

Many college students reminisce about their high school exploits on the sports field. An amazing catch in the outfield, a perfect jump shot to win the game, making the playoffs in the high school hockey league. But of all things, the most prominent memories are those made on the high school grid iron. Many of these experiences are left to faint recollection as students move on to college, where competition is fierce to earn a spot on the squad. Some universities don’t have varsity teams at all. However, there are those who find a place to play at their school, merely for the love of the game. It’s called club football, and for Sophomore Matthew Rainey it’s his way of continuing his high school passion. Far from all the pressures and politics of Division 1 athletics, right here at Marquette, a young group of students come together a few times a week and perfect their game, testing their mettle against their peers here. The goal? Saturday’s game.

mu footballFor Rainey, it’s all about the love of the game, “I like the camaraderie, and the chance to continue to play the sport I love. I didn’t think I’d get the chance to play football again after high school, I thought it was over. This gives me the chance to continue to play football, and that’s a great feeling.” “The great thing about football is that it’s really a team sport. When one person fails the team fails. If I look over and the guy next to me is struggling, I’m struggling too. You really learn to rely on each other and build that brotherhood.” The team doesn’t just stop at the field either. “We go hang out on the weekends, and everyone of us is a student here,” says Gorham. The best part for some is the relaxed atmosphere. Most players like that they only have to practice twice a week and still get the college experience, while playing football without all the politics.

So, who does our club team play? What’s the season like? The Golden Eagles start practice in August as the school year begins. They practice every day for about two to three weeks to develop cohesion and have a solid base to work from. This also helps knock off the dust and get everyone back in shape for the season. As the school year starts the team scales it back to two days a week to ensure that no one’s studies suffer. Game days vary between Saturday and Sunday depending on the match up that week. Generally when they play Division 3 schools the game is typically Saturday. For conference games against other club teams the games are usually on Sunday. The season spans eight games during the fall semester. The team battles other clubs like Miami Ohio, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and SIU Edwardsville, as well as Division 3 teams like Concordia of Wisconsin and UW Parkside.

Marquette’s Club also plays a short spring season. “The spring is more or less for recruiting purposes and to dust off our game. We get out there and hit some people. It’s a chance to develop our offense with our new players and really a great time to have some fun,” Rainey says. This year the team will cap their spring season with a scrimmage against University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

With recent rumors circulating about the possibility of a D1 football team Gorham doesn’t seem worried that it will affect the club negatively. “The great part about club football is that it’s for the love of the game, the guys we play with now could have easily played on a D3 team no problem and maybe even on a D1 squad. We love football, and we chose to take on the academic challenge at Marquette. It would be cool to have a D1 team but I don’t think that it would detract from the club at all.”

So…where do I sign up? Marquette Club football maintains a web site at www.marquetteclubfootball.com. Here, interested students can find rosters, practice schedules and contact information for players and the officers of the club. If you have any questions about joining, dues, or anything else you can also send an email to   [email protected] and an officer will respond as quickly as possible. Even easier, show up to a practice and talk to one of the staff. Have a friend on the team…that works too. If you love football, then this is the place to play.

by Joe Defelice
[email protected]

Marquette Club Football Team (Photos courtesy of Marquette Football)

Marquette Club Football Team (Photos courtesy of Marquette Football)

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Packers seeing stars: Cowboys bully the Packers in Romo’s homecoming game

Posted on 24 September 2008 by Tim Bucher

After convincing victories over two division rivals, the Green Bay Packers had reason to be flying high. But on Sunday night, the Dallas Cowboys pulled the Packers back to reality, putting together a bruising ground game and upending Green Bay 27-16.

Dallas running back, Marion “the Barbarian” Barber overpowered the Packers, using brute force to run for 142 yards and a touchdown, carrying the Cowboys to victory in front of a national audience.

Barber’s career performance overshadowed the homecoming of teammate Tony Romo, who was making his first start at Lambeau Field. Romo was raised in Burlington, WI and gradated from Burlington High School in 1998.

Romo and the Cowboys’ passing game was almost non-existent in the first half, but the Packers’ lack of offense, big plays and run defense throughout the game proved to be more costly in the end.

The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, who had played almost flawlessly in the first two games of the season, had a mistake-filled evening in front of a record crowd at Lambeau Field.
Despite his 290 yards passing, Rodgers overthrew receivers, was sacked five times, and failed to put together any consistent drives. While he had a couple of noteworthy plays, including a 50 yard bomb to Donald Driver, Rodgers spent most of the evening trying to elude pressure. He was consistently forced out of the pocket and threw prematurely on many occasions.
The Packers set the tone for the evening early in the first-quarter when running back Ryan Grant fumbled the ball deep in Packers’ territory on the second play from scrimmage. The Cowboys recovered and were held to only a field goal, but errant and lackluster plays were to characterize the Packers offense throughout the game.

Dallas rookie running back Felix Jones gave the Cowboys their first touchdown in the second-quarter when he took a handoff up the left side of the field, dodging a Charles Woodson tackle, to go 60 yards for pay dirt.

Barber then gave the Cowboys their second touchdown of the night and a 20-9 lead in the third quarter, plowing over a weary Packer defensive line for a 2 yard score.
Tony Romo blew open the game in the fourth quarter when, on third and 20, he tossed a 52 yard touchdown pass to receiver Miles Austin to put the Cowboys up 27-9.
Rodgers eventually put together a touchdown drive when he dove 2 yards over the goal line in the fourth to bring the Packers within 11, but by then it was too little too late.
The Packers defense was able to shut down all-pro receiver Terrell Owens, who was limited to only two catches for 17 yards. But big plays from other Cowboys plagued the Packers. Especially plays from Cowboy running backs and backup receivers.

When all was said and done, the Cowboys had rushed for 217 yards and an overbearing 453 total yards.

It was the Dallas Cowboys’ (3-0) first win at Lambeau Field in franchise history, previously going 0-5. With their victory over the Pack (2-1) on Sunday, the Cowboys joined the New York Giants as the only two undefeated teams in the NFC.

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy gauged the importance of the game and gave credence to an impressive Dallas team.
“It was a big game, it was a great measuring stick for our football team,” McCarthy said. “And I’ll tell you exactly what I told them, the Dallas Cowboys are farther ahead than we are right now, and that’s the facts, and it’s Week 3. How much farther ahead, we’ll answer that question. We have worked to do.”

If the Packers can correct mistakes and shore up holes in their defense, they could very well be facing the Cowboys again come January.

What’s Next…?

Next week the Packers travel to Tampa Bay to take on a pass-oriented Buccaneers team. Tampa Bay came away victorious Sunday in Chicago, defeating the Bears 27-24 in overtime.
In that game, Bucs’ quarterback Brian Griese threw 67 pass attempts, the fifth most in NFL history. Griese was able to throw for over 400 yards, but also threw 3 costly interceptions.
Tampa Bay, coached by the ever-frightening Jon Gruden, has had a peculiar quarterback controversy brewing the past several weeks.

Going into the season, quarterback Jeff Garcia, the clear-cut starter, was benched after the season opener. As of Sunday, Garcia had been dropped to third-string on the depth-chart and Griese became the de facto starter.

Regardless of the quarterback situation, Tampa Bay has decided to be a pass-heavy team. Running back Warrick Dunn was limited to just 31 rushing yards Sunday and is beginning to show signs of aging, so the Bucs’ (2-1) are looking to the air to produce some offense.

On Sunday, the Packers had both starting safety Nick Collins and starting cornerback Al Harris leave the game due to injury. Monday afternoon, Harris’ agent reported that the cornerback might have suffered a ruptured spleen, which would sideline him for the remainder of the season. Harris is seeking a second opinion, but it is likely that he is lost for the year, a devastating blow to the Packer’s defense.

The Packers other starting safety, Atari Bigby, was injured in Week 2 and did not even suit up against the Cowboys. If the Packers cannot get any players back, they will be scrambling to fill the void left by their defensive backs.

With Harris out, inexperienced back-up Tramon Williams will be the likely candidate to replace him. As for the starting safety positions, Aaron Rouse and Charlie Peprah would be summoned to step in and start if the injuries are of a high level of severity.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Packers should be able to bounce back from their poor performance against Dallas. Tampa Bay surrendered over 400 total yards to a Bears team many would not call “offensively gifted.”

If it turns into any sort of offensive shoot-out, look for Aaron Rodgers to show much more poise than last week and for the Packers talented receivers to step up. But the recent diagnosis of the Packers’ Pro-Bowl cornerback (Harris) may make the game closer than it should be.

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Getting the monkey off his back: Rodgers leads team to victory in Packers’ debut

Posted on 10 September 2008 by Tim Bucher

What was supposed to be a nostalgic night spent reminiscing about the past and paying deference to one of the best NFL quarterbacks of all time, instead became a night spent looking towards the future and more importantly, the present. The Green Bay Packers kicked off its 90th season in franchise history (its 88th in the NFL) by defeating the Minnesota Vikings, 24-19.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had an impressive showing in his first NFL start. Rodgers went 18 for 22, throwing for 178 yards with one passing touchdown to go along with his first NFL rushing touchdown.

Originally, the Monday Night Football opener was slated to be a night in which former Packer quarterback Brett Favre was to be honored and have his jersey and number retired. But a tumultuous summer ensued, one in which Favre came out of retirement after feeling the “itch” to play and the next thing Packer fans knew, Favre had been traded to the New York Jets for a conditional draft pick.

So when Aaron Rodgers took the opening snap Monday night, it marked the first time since Sept. 20, 1992 that a Green Bay quarterback not named Brett Favre started a game.
Quick Favre Update (As if we haven’t heard enough): Sunday in Miami, the exiled Brett Favre extended his win total to 161 games by leading the New York Jets (1-0) over the Miami Dolphins (0-1), 20-14. Favre went 15-for-22 and threw for 194 yards.

In his highly anticipated first drive, Rodgers and the Packers came out a little stagnant. A 3-yard dump off to tight end Donald Lee and an illegal formation penalty, which forced the Packers to punt, were the highlights of the season’s opening drive.

But in the second quarter Rodgers came alive launching a 56-yard bomb down the middle of the field to wide receiver Greg Jennings, who wrestled the ball away from a Vikings defender.
Several plays and penalties later, Rodgers threw for his first passing touchdown of the year. In similar fashion to that of his predecessor, Rodgers rolled left and threw a laser into the hands of blanketed Korey Hall who held on for the score.

The 24-year old Rodgers would have added a 68-yard touchdown to his stat line but it was stand-in guard Tony Moll whose illegal man downfield penalty nullified a laudable throw to receiver Donald Driver.

The Packers did eventually catch a break from the Packers special teams late in the third quarter when cornerback Will Blackmon returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown. Blackman tiptoed up the sidelines then abruptly cut back across the field and into the end zone to bring the score to 17-6 in favor of the Packers.
The Vikings would answer with a 23-yard touchdown pass to bring the score to 17-12 midway through the fourth quarter. Quarterback Tavaris Jackson was able to find a wide-open Sidney Rice on 4th and 1.

With eight minutes remaining and the Packers in need of a sustainable drive, running back Ryan Grant took some pressure off Rodgers by taking the ball 57 yards to the Vikings 3-yard line. That set up an Aaron Rodgers quarterback sneak as he plunged over the goal line to put the Packers up 24-12. A beaming Rodgers spiked the ball with vigor and ran to take his first career Lambeau leap.

An Adrian Peterson run brought the Vikings within five points, who were able to take advantage of a Packer penalty and get the ball back with 1:51 remaining.
The Packers were able to seal the game when safety Atari Bigby intercepted the ball near midfield with about a minute left and the Vikings threatening.
All in all it was a very impressive showing for Aaron Rodgers, a former first round pick. It was his first regular season action since he replaced Brett Favre midway through the team’s game against the Dallas Cowboys last season.

It was that game in which Rogers showed much poise and convinced Packers General Manager Ted Thompson and Head Coach Mike McCarthy that he was ready to step out of Brett Favre’s shadow and into a starting role.

Rodgers also found his way into the NFL record books on Monday night by completing 81.3 percent of his passes, the second highest in NFL history for a quarterback making his first start.

On his very first Lambeau leap, Rodgers called it something he has been “dreaming about for four years.” With performances like the one he put forth on Monday night, he won’t have to wait four years for another opportunity.

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Speed guarantees USC win

Posted on 10 September 2008 by Paul Nadolski

One of the most anticipated games of the year is coming up this weekend when No. 3 Ohio State plays No. 1 University of Southern California in Los Angeles. There are not many instances during a college football season that two top five teams play each other so early in a season without belonging to the same conference.

The last time these two teams played was Sept. 29, 1990 in Columbus, Ohio. The Trojans of USC won that game 35-26, though the game was called with 2:36 left due to thunderstorms.

This game is especially important for the Buckeyes. After resounding loses in the past two national championship games, Ohio State is trying to prove that they can beat big programs from outside their conference, or at least hang with them.

USC is looking to make it to three national titles since the turn of the century. The Trojans moved into the number one spot, hopping Georgia, when they soundly defeated Virginia 52-7 at Charlottesville in the opening week.

Even though USC is replacing four players on the offensive line and have a new starting quarterback in Mark Sanchez, it still seems like they are the favorites in this matchup.

To start out with, the Trojans are playing at home. In the past three seasons, USC is 17-1 (.944) at home, with that lone loss being 24-23 to Stanford last year, which was actually one of the biggest upsets in the Pacific-10 Conference history.

Also, one of the Buckeye’s main offensive weapons, running back Chris Wells, was hurt in their season opener against Youngstown State. Though he has not officially been pulled from the game yet, it appears that the foot injury could keep him on the sidelines.
Even if Ohio State had Wells, they would still be the likely underdogs. Until Ohio State can prove that they have speed like USC, then USC should be the favorite. The reason Ohio State lost to Florida and LSU the past two national championships is because those two teams were faster.
Speed kills in the game of college football, and the Trojans’ defense is one of the fastest. USC’s offensive also has speed, easily seen in their tailback Joe McKnight, who some consider to be the next Reggie Bush.

Hopefully the game will live up to the hype, but if the past two years have proven anything, this could be a game to forget for Buckeye fans.

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Making the best of NFL Draft picks

Posted on 16 April 2008 by Paul Nadolski

April 26 is an important day for football fans: the NFL draft. What does this mean for the two most important teams in the NFL, the Bears and the Packers?

Both teams have needs and have waited until the draft to fill most of them. Let’s first look at the needs of the Packers.

The Packers have eight picks in this year’s draft, with six of them in the first four rounds. They have the 30th, 56th, 60th, 91st, 128th, 135th, 162nd and the 237th picks.

The team needs a cornerback, an offensive tackle, a tight end and now they need a back up quarterback. This draft is loaded with tackles, but is a bit thin in cornerbacks.

With that in mind, the Packers should look into getting one of the better cornerbacks in the draft. Since they have a lower pick in the first round, Leodis McKelvin from Troy and Mike Jenkins from South Florida might already be taken, but if they are available the Packers should take them. Cornerbacks that should be available include Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from Tennessee State and Antoine Cason from Arizona.

Rodgers-Cromartie is the tallest of the cornerbacks at 6 feet 2 inches and he had the fastest 40-yard dash time at 4.29 seconds. His downside is that he did not play in a major conference, so there are questions if he can succeed at the next level. I would think that he would be a good fit for the Packers in the first round.

In the second round the Pack should look into an offensive tackle. Gosder Cherilus, a tackle from Boston College, should still be available at the 56th pick. He would be a good shot of youth into an aging offensive line. At 6 feet 7 inches and 317 pounds, he has the right size, but some question his instincts. He should be a great pick for Green Bay here.

For the rest of the draft, the Packers should look into another cornerback and tackle, and fill the needs of a backup quarterback and a tight end, but if they get Cromartie and Cherilus with their first two picks, they should be looking good.

The Bears have eleven picks in the upcoming draft, with five of them in the first four rounds. They have the 14th, 44th, 70th, 90th, 110th, 142nd, 175th, 222nd, 243rd, 247th and 248th picks.

The Bears also need an offensive tackle, running back, wide receiver and a quarterback (like always). As said before, this draft has plenty of tackles, and with a higher first round choice, the best pick for the Bears is a tackle.

In a move a bit different here for the Bears, they should take Rashard Mendenhall, running back out of Illinois. He has speed and strength, something you would want a first rounder to have.

Mendenhall also has far less mental aspects to worry about than the last Bears first round running back. He would be a great fit in Ron Turner’s offense, especially since Turner recruited him back when he coached the Illini.

The Bears could address their need at tackle in the second round. Sam Baker out of the University of Southern California should still be available in the second round. He has the size that scouts look for, but he lacks some of the footwork. He would still help a really aging Bears line.

The Bears should look for another offensive lineman or quarterback or a wide receiver with their two third picks and their fourth rounder.

The Packers were one win away from the Super Bowl last year and the Bears were there the year before. If their drafts turn out to be good ones, they both could see each other for a third time next season.

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How MU can have a football team

Posted on 13 March 2008 by Paul Nadolski

College football is one the most exciting sports in the nation. Just look at this year, with an upset virtually every week. This got me to thinking, why doesn’t Marquette have a football team?

Marquette decided to cut the football team after the 1960 season since the team had not had a winning season since 1953 and the University was losing money putting the team out on the field.

At the time, the move could have seemed reasonable. Now, though, college football is a major source of income for universities. According to a 2007 report by CNN, only 15 out of 64 teams in the Football Bowl System (FBS) division (formally Division I-A) that went to a bowl game lost money during the 2006-2007 season.

The 2006-2007 season Florida alone made $32.4 million. Now they are in the SEC and are going to fill seats with a winning team; but that is still an extraordinary amount of money.

According to an NCAA news release from 1996, the average profit for a FBS division school in 1995 was $1.2 million, and I would suspect that since then, it has only gone up.

One big question is where would a Marquette team play? You can rule out Valley Fields. Even if they tore it down, it just doesn’t have the land capacity to house a stadium of the size needed, since the casino is next door and isn’t moving anytime soon.

A stadium would have to be built somewhere in Milwaukee or a suburb close by. Just like the basketball games, Marquette could bus students to the stadium. The cost of a stadium that holds around 50,000 to 60,000 should cost around $140 million, unless Marquette wants to have one of the most state-of-the-art stadiums.

To fund the stadium Marquette could make a deal with the state of Wisconsin that could be like the deal made between the University of Minnesota and the taxpayers of Minnesota. The University comes up with 52% of the funds and the state pays the other 48%.

Marquette could get the money from alumni donations, selling the name rights of the stadium, parking fees and putting in an athletic fee in tuition to raise it an additional $50. This was also a strategy used by the University of South Florida, which started their football program in 1997.

USF has gone 24-14 since joining the Big East football conference in 2003. In a matter of eight years the school was in a BCS conference, and 10 years after the team was founded, they were ranked No. 2 at one point during last season. This proves that a team can start from scratch and quickly rise to a great level of play.

The team did have to spend its first four seasons in the Football Championship System (FCS) conference (formally Division II-A) but now is in the FBS. So Marquette could take a similar path, start a team, play a few years in the FCS to get a team started and then move up.

Since Marquette is already in the Big East for basketball, maybe the conference would let us in for football, which would mean that we would already be in a BCS conference. I’m not saying that it would be easy to bring a football team to Marquette, but it is something worth looking into by the University.

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No Playoffs?

Posted on 10 December 2006 by Justin Phillips

With the Packers out of the playoff race and 3 weeks left in the season is there anything for Packer fans to look forward to? Yes. Of course, when any team is out of playoff contention it is always popular to root for a high draft pick. You could turn your attention to dreaming about which favorite college player you’d like to see in the Green and Gold next year, but before you look ahead to next year there are still a few things left to enjoy this season.

First, Brett Favre is only seven touchdown passes away from breaking Dan Marino’s career touchdown passing record. It sure would be nice to see Brett break it before the end of the year so that no offseason craziness could prevent him from breaking it as a Packer.

The second thing to look forward to is the Packers last three games are against divisional foes. It’s always nice to beat a divisional opponent even when the game is meaningless for us. How nice would it be to see the Packers ruin the Bears season by beating them at Soldier Field? With some luck the Pack’s victory would prevent the Bears from securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs. It is always common to see Packer fans with a my favorite team is the Packers, my second favorite team is whoever plays the Bears t-shirt. With the Bears a legitimate Super Bowl contender this year rooting against them takes on added importance. Rooting against the Bears for the remainder of the season could provide ample enjoyment for the true Packer fan.

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The Bowl Championship Series

Posted on 08 November 2006 by Patrick Kurish

With the college football season about 75 percent over, it is that magical time of year once again: bowl season. Who will be playing where? Who will be the BCS’s blunder be this year? All will be answered in due time. For now we can do nothing but speculate, and to be honest, that is probably one of the more entertaining parts of the process.Something new for 2006 is a national championship game to be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Obviously with an added game comes two extra teams to the BCS bowl picture, broadening the field from eight teams to 10. This championship game certainly is an improvement from the BCS bowl format of previous years. Not only is a distinguished national champion crowned, but two more schools will receive major bowl game revenue shares and fans of successful NCAA football programs stand a smaller chance of being snubbed by the demon that is the BCS.

Now for what we have all been waiting for: the projections for the 2006 Bowl Championship Series.

Rose Bowl
Pasadena, Calif.
Ohio State over Cal
Ohio State will drop a late season game against Michigan but will run all over Cal in Pasadena.

Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, Ariz.
Notre Dame over Texas

Notre Dame will be a rare two-loss (USC, Michigan) BCS competitor but will play a tight game against a talented Texas team.

Orange Bowl
Miami, Fla.
Auburn over West Virginia

Auburn will make it out of the SEC on top and will have their way with a weaker West Virginia squad.

Sugar Bowl
New Orleans, La.
USC over Florida

The Trojans will recover well from a heart breaking and championship destroying loss to Oregon State and take the Sugar Bowl for the Pac-10.

BCS Championship
Glendale, Ariz.
Michigan over Louisville

Two underdog teams meet up in an unlikely championship bout in the desert. Although Louisville has played some impressive football, the Wolverines will be too much in the end. Expect the Sears Trophy in Ann Arbor this year.

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The Future of Rivals: Brady vs Manning

Posted on 08 November 2006 by Luke Fuller

Here we are in our 20s, and our generation is still lacking its signature rivalry. Our parents were in their twenties for the epic trilogy between Ali and Frasier as well as the glorious days of Magic and Bird following the 1979 NCAA title game. Sure, we had Sosa-McGwire for a few summers in our youth, but with all the controversy about drugs, it would be sad if that is the sports rivalry we find ourselves incoherently telling to our grandchildren in another 50 years. Fortunately, help is on the way: Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. These two are going to be inducted into Canton someday as two of the greatest to ever take a snap in the NFL. Brady has a shot of surpassing Terry Bradshaw and John Elway in terms of winning championships and games. Manning has a good chance to exceed Dan Marino and Brett Favre in terms of statistical greatness.

But the differences between Brady and Manning will likely continue to fuel the lively debate surrounding these two “rivals.” Is Brady the greatest quarterback of the modern era because of his 3 Superbowl rings in 4 years? Or is it Manning, because of his NFL record forty-nine touchdown passes in a single season? Brady’s critics will claim that surely the Patriots defense and Bill Belichick should be given credit for the Patriots remarkable winning ways. Manning’s detractors will claim the Colts all-star offense featuring Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, Brandon Stokley and until recently, Edgerrin James, has to be credited with much of Manning’s offensive proficiency.

A lot has also been made of the differences between Brady and Manning in terms of NFL pedigree. Brady sat on the bench his first two years at Michigan and was then selected in the sixth round of the NFL draft in 2000 by the Patriots. Brady did not become an NFL starter until Drew Bledsoe was injured in 2001. His path to NFL stardom could not differ more radically from Manning’s. Peyton Manning, along with his brother Eli Manning and his father Archie Manning have all been NFL quarterbacks. Peyton Manning attended Tennessee where he finished second in the Heisman balloting in 1997 and was then selected with the first overall pick by the Colts in 1998.

The hype surrounding Brady and Manning has gained momentum as the two have lead their teams to continued success. Last year’s regular season match up made the cover of Sports Illustrated, and the most recent game between the two was met with anticipation that is normally reserved for the playoffs. In terms of the all-time head-to-head meetings between the two Brady has bested Manning six times out of eight, with Manning getting his only wins in the two most recent meetings.

After watching last Sunday’s game on NBC, it seems clear that right now, Manning is the superior quarterback. Manning finished the game completing 20 of 36 passes for 326 yards with two scores and an interception. Brady on the other hand, completed 20 of 34 passes with four interceptions and no touchdowns.

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Be ready for anything: An NFL mid-season report

Posted on 08 November 2006 by Cassie Kowaleski

Before the season, the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals were popular sleeper picks by the “experts” to be Super Bowl teams this season. They are a combined 3-13 through week nine. Pittsburgh, last year’s Super Bowl champion, is 2-6. Spontaneity is what makes sports exciting, and the NFL’s parity gives it an anything-can-happen atmosphere that has made it the most popular professional league in our country – but also wildly unpredictable. Just this past Sunday the one-win Miami Dolphins shocked the previously undefeated Chicago Bears. It seems like a better idea to bet the sky will be green tomorrow than to bet on any certain team winning the Vince Lombardi trophy. With that in mind, here are some teams to watch.So the Bears lost a game to a crappy team? They still have the best record in the NFC at 7-1. Well, before writing this off, take a closer look. Six of their games were against teams with losing records (we’re talking a combined 14-34). The other two were 4-4 Minnesota and 5-3 Seattle, and the Seahawks were playing without last year’s MVP Shaun Alexander. Rex Grossman needs to show he can win a big game, starting this Sunday.

The 6-2 New York Giants have big names at every skill position on offense, and a solid defense headlined by Pro-Bowlers Michael Strahan and LaVar Arrington. Tiki Barber, currently the NFL’s leading rusher, has already declared his intention to retire at the end of the season. We all saw what this did for the Steelers last year.

It may not even matter who wins the NFC. Glance quickly at the AFC standings and you will find five teams who are 6-2 or better (Indianapolis, Denver, New England, San Diego, Baltimore). With Jacksonville and Kansas City sitting at 5-3 and looking stronger in recent weeks, it’s tough to count them out as well. Yes, the Indianapolis Colts are undefeated again and coming off back-to-back thrilling victories over the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots. They still have to prove they can win in January, however. The San Diego Chargers have arguably the league’s best player in LaDainian Tomlinson and a strong defense. However, they still have to prove Marty Schottenheimer can win in January. The Baltimore Ravens have the top scoring defense in the league, and in this instance it does not mean just preventing other teams from scoring. This defense goes ahead and scores on its own and does so more reliably than some other teams’ offenses. The offense has not looked bad since Brian Billick took over the play-calling duties two weeks ago.

Before we go and hand the trophy to an AFC team, let’s not forget that everyone said an American league team would win the World Series. Remember how that turned out?

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