Tom Brady Joins Brad Johnson’s Class

Tom Brady Joins Brad Johnson’s Class

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Tom Brady may have seven rings in hand, but number seven put him in rarified territory. By beating the defending champion Chiefs on Super Sunday, Brady became the second Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback to lift the Lombardi Trophy. The first? Brad Johnson, and yes, I did hear the lightbulb turn on in your head.

The year was 2002 and the Buccaneers’ offense did not light up scoreboards by any means. Ranked 18th overall, 15th in passing, and 27th in rushing, Jon Gruden’s club was not flashy, but they got the job done. This came thanks to their top-ranked defense in the league, led by future Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks.

Tampa Bay’s defense tallied 38 takeaways, with 31 of them being interceptions. With their defense tied for third in takeaways and leading the league in interceptions, the Buccaneers’ offense was the benefactor. Starting on average at his own 33-yard line, Brad Johnson went to work.

When I say went to work, I do not mean Johnson threw 50-yard frozen ropes all over the field. Instead, Johnson was rather meticulous and careful with the football. Even as a quarterback, Johnson did not lead the team in interceptions. Cornerback Brian Kelly took home that crown with eight interceptions, while Johnson only threw six picks the entire season. Let that sink in. Johnson threw fewer interceptions than Kelly grabbed. What’s better is that Brooks was right behind Johnson with five interceptions of his own.

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Quite the opposite of this year’s title-winning team in Tampa, huh? Brady and the Bucs were a 31 points per game freight train with a defense that turned it up a notch in the playoffs. On the other side, Johnson’s Bucs were built around a conservative offense that did not turn the ball over. It was the defense’s job back in 2002 to make the game-changing and explosive plays.

Brady threw 40 touchdowns this regular season, while Johnson threw only 27 touchdowns the entire 2002 season including the playoffs.

As Tampa Bay bounced the 49ers and Eagles in the playoffs en route to Super Bowl XXXVII, Johnson maintained his meticulous mindset. The 34-year old attempted only 98 passes completing 53 of them for 670 yards throughout the playoffs. With a mediocre stat line of three touchdowns and two interceptions heading into Super Sunday, how were Johnson and the Buccaneers’ offense going to keep up with the Oakland Raiders’ attack led by league MVP Rich Gannon?

With their dynamic defense of course! The Buccaneers’ lock-down defense held the 49ers and Eagles to a combined 16 points. This is insane considering the 49ers and Eagles combined for an average of 25 points per game. And the Buccaneers held them to 16 points total in two games.

The Raiders came into Qualcomm Stadium with the NFL’s second-ranked offense averaging 28 points per game. Super Bowl XXXVII was an old fashion battle between a top defense and top offense. And as the saying goes, defense wins championships.

Gannon deservedly won MVP in 2002, throwing for 4,689 yards and 26 touchdowns, while only throwing 10 interceptions. Little did Gannon know he was in for the nightmare of his life against the lights out Buccaneers defense.

Gannon almost outdid his 10 regular season interceptions in 60 minutes by throwing five on football’s biggest stage. Two interceptions by eventual Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson set up Johnson and the Buccaneers to take control of the game. As usual, Johnson methodically marched his team down the field, and he did it more than once.

After fullback Mike Alstott punched it in from two yards out to go up 13-3, Johnson led back-to-back touchdown drives spanning across the half. Going into and coming out of halftime, Johnson possessed the ball for 11 minutes and seven seconds, ending both drives with touchdown passes to Keenan McCardell to extend Tampa Bay’s lead to 27-3. A lead they would never relinquish.
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The Buccaneers’ elite defense closed out their team’s championship run with the final three of Gannon’s interceptions. And they were all pick-sixes.

Immediately following Johnson’s second touchdown pass to McCardell, defensive back Dwight Smith took Gannon’s pass back for a 44-yard score. Do not worry, you will hear Smith’s name again in a moment.

Fast forwarding to the fourth quarter, the Raiders were hanging on for dear life trailing 34-21 with under two minutes remaining. Derrick Brooks cemented the Super Bowl with a 44-yard pick-six of his own. But wait there’s more.

Leading 41-21 in the final seconds, the Buccaneers were bored of 44-yard pick-sixes. So, Dwight Smith decided to take another Gannon pass back down the sideline, this one going for a 50-yard pick-six.

Tampa Bay went on to win Super Bowl XXXVII 48-21 led by that impenetrable defense and a quarterback who just did not make mistakes, Brad Johnson.

He did not put up the stat lines Tom Brady did, but Brad Johnson delivered the title to Tampa Bay. Wins all count the same in football whether you win by seven or 27. The end goal is to win Lombardi Trophy whether you light up the stat sheets or not.

But let’s remember that before Tom Brady partied with the Lombardi in Tampa Bay, Brad Johnson was a man in rarified air. And now Johnson has some elite company.

Is Tom Brady the GOAT?

Is Tom Brady the GOAT?

At Tom Bradys age, you would usually have the saying “as one door closes, another opens.” Well, not in his case. After winning his seventh, yes seventh, career Super Bowl it’s time to ask the question that people don’t want to bring up, but it must be asked. Is Tom Brady the greatest QB in NFL history? A lot of factors can put into play in this conversation.

The first is how good statistically does, he match-up against the argument that of course has always been discussed which is Joe Montana. Well, Brady has more championships then Joe, seven to four, but let’s be realistic, both have done plenty in the big game. Montana is undefeated in his games, in which he dominated every single one, but have won plenty. Brady has lost some tough one sin the process such as twice against the 2007 Giants, the Nick Foles led Eagles going seven and three in the process.

But what about diving deeper into the numbers? Of course Brady is going to lead Montana in every category because he’s played longer. But when I say deeper, I’m talking still doing it at an elite level. Now people will say well look at the Buccaneers, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette, and Antonio Brown, not to mention OJ Howard before he got hurt. You ask is this fair? Look, Brady didn’t really have a choice.

He wanted the 49ers, but they passed. The Chargers didn’t have as deep a roster offensively as Tampa and those were really it for Tom. Teams passed on him. People thought he was done, including myself. Everyone said he’s a system of Bill Belichick and the Patriots. But what if Brady is the system? What if he’s that good where he has his own system? I mean look at the Patriots this past year missing the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. We also dream playoff matchups for Brady. He didn’t play well vs Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, but those guys, and a Matt LaFleur blunder, didn’t play particularly well either. The key is he made the key plays when he had to, even at age 43. That’s right 43 years young.

Patrick Mahomes was overwhelmed in the game. Look, he will be back, but people were wondering if Mahomes would get the torched pass from Brady. And of course Tampa’s defense was extremely dominant, but Brady was unbelievable in the game. I will say this, is he the most athletic skilled QB I’ve ever seen, that belongs to Aaron Rodgers, but what Brady does is have a clutch gene. No mater franchise he’s on he will bring whatever he needs to succeed regardless. That’s why he will go down as the greatest of all time.

New Japan pro wrestling Signs TV Deal With Roku

New Japan pro wrestling Signs TV Deal With Roku

Recently New Japan pro wrestling and Roku made a deal to have a one hour show on a channel starting February 11th. This comes as huge news for Fans of wrestling in the United States, Canada, And The United Kingdom. For the first time ever fans of wrestling will have access to a variety of Content in New Japans own Roku library. This partnership opens the door to many possibilities including New Japan world going on Roku. NJPW will be available on demand for free with Ads. Many Wrestling fans in the United States have been asking for this to happen for a long time. For awhile these fans had no access to NJPW programming. Now that this has changed it will be interesting to see what New Japan adds to this library.
#RunItBack You Say?

#RunItBack You Say?

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Super Bowl LV is upon us, as the Chiefs are looking to win back-to-back titles. With a win on Sunday night, the Chiefs would become the first team to win two straight championships since the Patriots won Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX. To fire up the fanbase, the Chiefs have started the rallying cry on social media #RunItBack. Even these days when I hear #RunItBack, I do not think of the Chiefs or any other team. I think of Devin Hester.

Retired since 2017, some people might not remember just how explosive Hester was returning kicks. Originally drafted as a cornerback out of Miami by the Bears in the 2006 NFL Draft, Hester was in Chicago’s plans to be used as a kick returner right from the start. And boy were the Bears on to something.

In his rookie season, Hester lit the league on fire, returning 47 punts for 600 yards and three touchdowns while averaging 12.8 yards per return. Hester’s brilliance did not stop there, as he brought back 20 kickoffs for 528 yards and two touchdowns with an average of 26.4 yards per return. These numbers are simply on a level of their own. Not only is a stat line of 67 returns for 1,128 yards and five touchdowns ridiculous, Hester averaged first down yardage on each of his punt and kickoff returns. A whole first down gained every time Hester touched the football on punt returns. Two first downs every time Hester touched the football on kickoff returns. Astronomical.

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This elite level of kick returning boded well for the Bears’ offense, who on average started drives on their own 33-yard line throughout the season. An offense led by Rex Grossman and Thomas Jones averaged 26.7 points per game as the Bears finished 13-3 record as the NFC’s top seed with the NFL’s second-ranked offense.

After silencing the Seahawks and Saints in the playoffs, the Bears had a Super Bowl XLI date with Peyton Manning and the Colts in the city where Hester played collegiately: Miami.

Super Bowl XLI was truly a rhapsody in the rain, but the Bears would be singing in the rain early thanks to who else, their rookie returner.

Devin Hester became the first and to date only player in NFL history to return the Super Bowl’s opening kickoff for a touchdown. Hester may have run it back 92 yards, but the Colts ran the Bears out of the stadium from that point on. Indianapolis outscored Chicago 29-10 the rest of the way to capture the Super Bowl XLI title 29-17 and caused Hester’s remarkable rookie campaign to fall one win short of glory.

While Hester never got a chance to follow up his act in the Super Bowl, the dynamic returner kept lighting up the stat sheet. Hester earned his second Pro Bowl nod in as many years in 2007 after compiling 1.585 return yards and six touchdowns between 85 punt and kickoff returns. Numbers like these are simply unimaginable.

As Hester’s career in the Windy City rolled along, so did his punt return game. Hester continued his other-worldly play by averaging 10.25 yards per punt return in his final six years in Chicago. Hester’s six-year average does not do his success justice. In 2010 and 2011, Hester ran it back five total times and averaged 17.1 and 16.2 yards per punt return respectively.

In the kickoff department, Hester averaged 25.9 yards per return in those final six seasons with the Bears. 25.9 yards. That is over one quarter of the football field gained in kickoff returns. Hester’s season high for average yardage came in 2010 with a mind-blowing 35.6 yards per kickoff return. Devin Hester was something extra special in 2010. Too bad the Bears fell short to the rival Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Although third-stringer Caleb Hanie did almost bring the Bears back after starter Jay Cutler went down injured and second-stringer Todd Collins was ineffective.

As the Bears’ success slowed down, Hester wanted to keep speeding along. Prior to the 2014 season, Hester signed with the Falcons. Only three games into his Falcons career, Hester made history again.

Hester’s 62-yard scamper to the house was the 20th kick return touchdown of his career, putting him past Deion Sanders for the most all-time. Hester blew by Sanders’ record just as he did to his opponents on the field.

Not to be forgotten is the success Hester had in that 2014 season. Used primarily as a kickoff specialist, Hester was the deep man 45 times and accumulated 1,128 return yards as a 32-year old.

Sadly, 2014 was the final eye-popping year for Hester, as injuries began to ravage the returner. With his final two seasons split between Atlanta, Baltimore, and Seattle, Hester appeared in only 17 games.

Devin Hester finished his 11-year career as a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro with 3,695 punt return yards which is third all-time. Mixed in with those yards are 14 punt return touchdowns, an NFL record. For kickoff returns, Hester racked up 7,333 yards to put himself in 11th on the all-time list. Hester ran kickoffs back five times and his six total return touchdowns in 2007 is tied for the NFL single-season record.

Now 38 years old, Devin Hester will look for one more run, but not on the field. Eligible for the Hall of Fame next year, Hester is beyond deserving of votes that would run him straight into Canton. And in typical Devin Hester fashion, he will probably blow right by and take it to the Hall with ease.

A Layaway Program For Sports Bettors

A Layaway Program For Sports Bettors

Normally you’re only reading about a layaway program during the holiday season. 

However, heading into this Sunday, the Super Bowl wagering menu stumbled upon a successful (so far anyway) technique for locking in some early wagers for the “Big Game”!

Okay, so maybe not WallStreetBets type rewards but still enough of an effort (a combined unit total of +4166) to be in a rather good spot still four days out from kickoff.

We’ve had a nice run the last 3 weeks on Sports Betting Weekly. That’s probably the best part about doing the show live on WWSRN, having video evidence of the winners. Plus, we’re not only hitting some of our #LiveAction bets but cashing them before the show even ends. This year’s 7th Annual “AFC/NFC Bet Away Weekend” trip to the Westgate for a visit with Jay Kornegay’s crew at the Superbook was another Pandemic cancellation. (Please Note: Sponsorship opportunities for next year’s event are still available) 

It all started last Sunday night. Normally, in a 14-point win, a field goal with 54 seconds left in the game isn’t a big play. Unless you bet Team Totals. Right after the Bills season came to an end, the Aztecs were about to tip off H2 as one of the late West Coast games so rather than placing the last straight bet of what was a long day of wagering, SDSU got added to a parlay. The only other lines out on were for the NCAAB Games on Monday and the early lines for Super Bowl LV. Normally, betting H1 or H2 is easier than wagering on the entire game and you can win twice as many bets. Virginia, technically still the reigning NCAA champion, was playing Monday so that side was added. Since no other game was jumping off the board, we added the 3rd leg to the parlay from the early lines on the Super Bowl with the OV 56.5. (+600)

Monday the first half lines opened up and since those UVA Cavs were on a ticket for the Game, they were added to a play with OV 27.5 H1 of the Chiefs/Bucs game. (+260) There were now tickets with both the H1 and Game OVERS were covered. (Editor’s Note: All the plays will eventually only include the Chiefs and the OVs) The Game line had gone up a point, but they were already in the 3-teamer so why not add a 2-teamer of their own on the Game and another H1 OV 27.5 play. (+270)  

Our “No Football This Weekend” show (available on the BellyUpPodcastNetwork) last Thursday night included a little bankroll bump when we hit live plays from both GMFSportsConsultants and 151SportsInvesting. Nothing better than ending the show with more money than you started. A few minutes after signing, off the Covers scoreboard showed Gonzaga hadn’t covered H1 again. Seemed like playing them again made sense. (They had cashed H2 the Thursday before as well) This time added to the Chief ML for the Game. (+220) That was the first action on the side for this year’s NFL championship game and would be the beginning of an 8-pack of plays that would include a leg with KC! While in the NM/Fresno game, they had combined for only 38 points in H1 so that H2 OV joined a KC H1 ML play (+200) so now both parts of the game were covered with Chiefs ML action.

Fridays are always busy getting the shows and podcasts edited for posting everywhere. Normally the only handicapping that day involves looking for games to hop in real time but the Boise State game was a late start allowing for a little pre-game capping and the OV looked good so H1 was coupled with another H1 OV play for the big game. (+270 ) The BSU Game OV got placed on a ticket with another KC H1 ML play. (+220) This little journey had now become more than just dabbling on the KC ML. Part of playing the ML side is knowing that the Chiefs haven’t covered all that much in the last two months. That 3.5 looks a lot bigger than 3.5 normally does.

Right about now this is becoming fun and an enjoyable little game. After every new play that stayed live to that Sunday, Charles would get a text of the screenshot with a quick note. The fact that he’s currently in Brazil probably caused him some middle of the night cell phone activity.

Saturday morning’s tickets were 100% a result of #BlackHawkWes. You won’t normally see a Sabres Game ML tied to KC Game ML (+160) on this computer. That goes the same for the OV in the Toronto game later that night which fixed to more H1 OV action. (+266) However, these were 2 of the EASIEST wins so far and another reason you’ll hear this on the DC’s show with Dan, Chris and Mikey; “You don’t have to be a great handicapper in every sport. You just need to know someone that is.” Check us out Saturday’s at 9:30pm ET!  

This past Saturday Dan actually ran solo on BellyUpFantasy and he was great as always. Thanks to T-Mobile there was still action to be had while attending a small socially distanced engagement party for a good friend.  Strong starts from another Gonzaga ticket involving H1 and the Chiefs giving 3.5 with the OV (now down to 56) a 3-Teamer worth +630 and the biggest number on any of the plays in this Super Bowl Layover game. SDSU also played well and their H1 was put together with H1 OV 27.5 (+270) Ironically that number on the early Total hadn’t moved in line with that for the Game.

The last 3 plays all came during the rest of the weekend while shopping around for H2 opportunities. (hence the nick name) It was Houston H2 and Game favorite -3.5. (+280) Then UAB H2 with KC -2.5 H1 (which is the 1st ticket giving points H1 but not the last) and Baylor H2 with that same -2.5 point spread. (+260) 

Understand that H2 plays don’t always go this well. You can also have a DD favorite at home down by 4 at the break, giving 7 or 8 for H2 and they end up losing the game by those same DDs. These plays were all straight bets as well. There’s another “Commandment” if you have it in a parlay, you’d better have it straight too!

So, you take what you can get. That’s a decent portfolio of plays as layover selections go! 

The total is 14 plays. A couple 3-teamers with the rest all involving two teams. The average payoff is +298 per ticket. They have a combined odds value of +4166. 

Just like that old saying goes, really does beat a stick in the eye. Hopefully, next week we’ll be talking about Back-to-Back Super Bowl Championships and discussing what a high scoring affair it was.

Then it’ll be Christmas in February.