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Patriots 50 Greatest Players #11

Adam Vinatieri #11 – This was a tough one, but it is what it is. While there has been no greater impact player in the three Super Bowl games, it was tough for me to allow a kicker to break the top ten. So that said, I have Adam at #11 on the fifty all time great list with a bit more information than all the others.

Vinatieri was originally recruited to kick for Army and attended West Point for two weeks in 1991 before deciding to return home to South Dakota. He was a four-year letterman at South Dakota State University as a placekicker and punter. He received a tryout for the World League of American Football (later rebranded as NFL Europe), now defunct, and earned a roster position with the Amsterdam Admirals as a placekicker and punter. In that season the Admirals lost the World Bowl III against Frankfurt Galaxy.

Vinatieri is the first kicker ever to play in six Super Bowls and win four Super Bowl rings. In 1996, Vinatieri was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent to be a place kicker. He played in New England for the first 10 years of his NFL career, during which he played in four Super Bowls, winning three. In my opinion one of the greatest field goals in NFL history took place in the 2001 playoffs, during a blizzard against the Oakland Raiders in the final game at Foxboro Stadium, Vinatieri kicked a 45-yard field goal to tie the game 13-13 and send it into overtime. The Patriots won the game on another field goal of 23 yards by Vinatieri. This game is better known as the “Tuck Rule” game. By the time Vinatieri finished his final season with the Patriots in 2005, he had kicked 18 game-winning field goals with less than one minute remaining. His best game of the season came against the St. Louis Rams, against whom he scored 16 points (4 field goals, 4 PATs), and threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Troy Brown on a fake field goal attempt (that pass gives him a career passer rating of 122.9). Vinatieri finished his 10 seasons with the Patriots as the team's all time leading scorer with 1,156 points. The Patriots have not re-issued Vinatieri's #4 since he left the team. Adam left the New England Patriots after the 2005 season when he signed as a free agent with the Indianapolis Colts.

BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS According to a report posted by Albert Breer of the NFL Network, the NFL and players resumed talks today. This is a follow up to the “secret” talks that took place in Chicago last week. It is encouraging for me that it appears that Robert Kraft is part of the contingent of owners that are taking part. Like a lot of others, I also agree that Mr. Kraft has a lot to offer to these proceedings and it was unfortunate he was a part of the talks from the beginning. Breer also reported that the set up of these talks is scheduled to be the same as well, taking place over several days. Commissioner Goodell said in reference to the Chicago meeting, "I think it's fair to say anytime you have dialogue directly, that's going to lead to progress," he told reporters. "I think we need more of that. As you've heard me say many times, I think this is going to be solved through bargaining, not through litigation, so that was a positive sign for us." Let’s keep our fingers crossed!!!!

Patriots 50 Greatest Players #17

Vince Wilfork #17 – He was drafted by the Patriots in the first round (21st overall) in the 2004 Draft. He played college football at Miami. While at Miami, he participated in both football and track and field; he holds the Miami indoor school record in the shot put. He also holds the Florida state high school record in the shot put with a throw of 68 feet. Wilfork is considered to be one of the best nose tackles in the NFL and has been named both to the ProBowl and the All-Pro team in 2007, 2009, and 2010. Wilfork entered the final season of his contract in 2009. Reportedly unhappy with not receiving a contract extension, Wilfork did not attend the team's voluntary organized team activities in the spring, but reported to the team's mandatory sessions later in the summer. In August 2009, he was named to the Patriots' 50th anniversary team. A fan favorite, Vince and his lovely wife Bianca do a tremendous amount of volunteer work in the local community. It was a blessing that he and the team were finally able to come to terms with a new contract.

NFL Players Association News

The NFL Players Association is finalizing plans for a June 28-29 rookie symposium of its own, which it is calling "The Business of Football, Rookie Edition," scheduled for near its Washington, D.C. headquarters. As is the case with the annual event -- traditionally a joint venture between the league and the NFLPA -- all draft picks would be invited, and the classroom schedule will follow the normal agenda closely, right down to taking place during the last few days of June. The NFLPA said it will cover all costs.

NFL Cancels Rookie Symposium

May 24, 2011 - The rookie symposium, which was set to be held for the first time at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on June 26, has been canceled. Though there's still hope the players and owners will come to some sort of agreement so that regular-season games won't be canceled, the symposium is considered the first event removed from the league's 2011 plans.

Patriots 50 Greatest Players #18

Ben Coates #18 – Considered an out-of-nowhere prospect, Coates was picked in the fifth round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the Patriots. In 1994, his breakout year, he caught 96 passes, the most ever for a tight end to that point for 1,174 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. He appeared in his first Pro Bowl and would appear in the next four as well. In 1996 Coates had 62 catches for 682 yards and nine touchdowns; the most dramatic was against the Giants in the final game of the regular season as he caught a twelve-yard pass and bulled through Giants defenders for the game-winning score of a New England win. His efforts helped New England to a championship appearance in Super Bowl XXXI.

Patriots 50 Greatest Players #19

Mike Vrabel #19 – Vrabel was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 1997 draft. He was a backup throughout his career there. He came to the New England Patriots in 2001 and made an immediate impact playing in every game that season, starting in twelve of them. He became the first defensive player to score a touchdown in a playoff since Refrigerator Perry did so against the Patriots in Super Bowl XX. Vabrel was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs’ back on February 27, 2009 along with Matt Cassel for a second round pick in the 2009 draft. He will always be remembered as being one of the key components on the tough defense that won three Super Bowls in four years.

Patriots 50 Greatest Players #21

Nick Buoniconti #21 – Nick played his college ball at Notre Dame. He was their captain in 1961 and was considered too small for the NFL. He was drafted by the Boston Patriots back in 1962 amazingly in the thirteenth round! He is a member of the Patriots All-1960’s team. Nick was traded to the Miami Dolphins in 1969.He is a member of the undefeated Dolphins team of 1972. One of the reasons I can’t rank him higher as a Patriot. He is one of those idiots from that team that break out the champagne every year when no team can end undefeated. In fact, it appears he is the ring leader. That said, he was great Patriot and for that I am rewarding him by being on the list. Nick was named the second Patriots player voted to the Patriots Hall of Fame back in 1992. In 2001 was he was named to the NFL Hall of Fame one of four Patriots honored to be so.

NFL/CBA Let's Get On With It!!!!

    IT'S OVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!After months of no love and nastiness between the Owners and Players, NFL fans finally saw the handshake and heard the words they awaited: "Football is back." I don’t know about you but I for one was getting really sick and tired of the negotiations, of court filings and rulings, of players and owners squabbling over more than $9 billion per year. I am sorry, $9 billion, get a real job. That said, I still can’t wait to cheer, hoot & howler with the best of them once it starts. It is interesting though there was give and take on both sides. Owners will point to victories, of getting a higher percentage of all revenue, one of the central issues -- they get 53 percent, players 47 percent; the old deal was closer to 50-50. There's also a new system that will rein in spending on contracts for first-round draft picks. On the other hand the players will talk to the fact that they persuaded teams to commit to spending nearly all of their salary-cap space in cash and won changes to offseason and in-season practice rules that should make the game safer. And lastly they have to feel good about not going to an 18 game schedule. I for one am extremely happy about that myself. So grab your shirts out of the closet, fire up SIRUS, the NFL Network, and let’s get ready for some FOOOOOOTBALLLLLLL!!!!!! 

NFL/CBA Update

On Thursday U.S. district judge Doty opened the latest court proceedings between the NFL and NFL Players Association by saying he was a “bit disappointed” that neither side had settled its labor dispute. That is an understatement. I would say there are more than a few hundred thousand NFL football fans that might use a little stranger language than that. 

 

On May 12th, it became day 58 of the lockout making it officially the longest work stoppage in league history. It is starting to become of major concern to all with no real sign of relief coming. The previous record came back in 1982 during the players strike. Both sides are awaiting word about whether the NFL lockout will be allowed to remain in place. After being forced to partially lift it for 24 hours last month per the order of federal district judge Susan Nelson, the Eighth Circuit Court in St. Louis granted the NFL an emergency stay that allowed the work stoppage to resume. That appellate court hasn’t issued a further ruling on the stay and may not until a June 3 hearing on the matter in St. Louis. If forced to lift the lockout, NFL teams would begin conducting offseason workouts and personnel moves that are currently barred by the league. It also would likely put the NFL on track for an on-time start to the regular season, but don’t hold your breath. I will be giving updates as things happen over the coming weeks.

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