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Super Bowl 53 by the Patriots and the Rams numbers

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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As Super Bowl 53 approaches in Atlanta, the New England Patriots look to continue to make history and the L.A. Rams are obviously looking to make some of their own.

So, we’ve decided to take a quick look numerically at some of the fascinating facts and numbers around the Super Bowl that lay out some things you might be aware of, and other things that you might not.

So, with that in mind let’s start our “count:”

3- the number of consecutive Super Bowls the Patriots have now played in, which is the first time for a team make it three years in a row, since the early 1990s when the Buffalo Bills played in four straight Super Bowls. Obviously, Buffalo never won the big game and New England now has a chance to win for the second time in three years and the third time in five years overall.

9- the number of Super Bowls that Tom Brady will have started, which is obviously a record, and likewise, Bill Belichick has been the head coach for all of those, which is also the head coaching record.

40- that’s the number of years since the Los Angeles Rams played in a Superbowl. Vince Ferragamo quarterbacked L.A. that day against Terry Bradshaw and the Steelers at the Rose Bowl in January of 1980. As you’re probably aware, Rams head coach Sean McVay wasn’t born and neither were any of the players that are on his team in 1980.

1- the number of times the New England Patriots have covered the point spread as a favorite in the Super Bowl. And that is in six previous games, as the favorite. That record includes last year’s outright loss, as the favorite, to Philadelphia. So, their record is 1 – 5 going into this game, as the favored team to win the Superbowl.

5- the number of times the underdog has outright won this game in the last seven Super Bowls. Going back to the Giants upset of the Patriots in 2011 coming forward to Baltimore’s win over San Francisco the following year, the Seahawks victory over favored Denver, then Broncos victory over favored Carolina and finally, the Eagles a year ago, there have been a quintet of teams get it done recently in the biggest game.

So, that bodes well for the Rams, who will go into Sunday as the underdog

2- the number of L.A. Rams that have won a previous Super Bowl and they were actually teammates for that win. Cornerback Aqib Talib and running back C.J. Anderson were part of the Denver Broncos Super Bowl victory three years ago over Carolina.

3 (again)- the number of times previously the Patriots have won the Super Bowl, while wearing white jerseys, which they will wear again this Sunday. There are actually 3-1 overall in the road white, as they lost in the white jerseys last year to the Eagles. However, another factor for the white jerseys? 12 of last 14 Super Bowl winners have been dressed in white.

33- the age of Rams coach Sean McVay, who’s the youngest to ever lead a team in a Super Bowl. And he’s also exactly 33 years younger than Bill Belichick, who’s been involved in 12 previous Super Bowls as a head coach or an assistant with the Patriots and Giants

5- Brady and retired defensive end Charles Haley are the only two players, currently with five Super Bowl rings. And Brady can stand alone, obviously, if his team gets the win Sunday night

0- the number of touchdowns New England has scored in the first quarter of their previous eight Super Bowls with Brady and Belichick. Remarkably, without any first quarter end zone success, they still have gone on to win in five of them.

4.4- the average margin of Victory, win or lose, for the Patriots in their previous 8 Super Bowls in the 2000s. So, don’t look for this one to be a blowout

7 – 0- that’s the Rams record all-time in games officiated by referee John Perry, who will work Super Bowl 53. While the Patriots also have a winning record at 9 – 5 with Parry blowing his whistle, the Rams are perfect. Just file that away in case there are controversial calls late in the game.

And finally,

103.4- That’s the number in millions of people that watch the Super Bowl 52 a year ago. And, that was actually down slightly from the previous year when the Patriots played the Falcons and the game went into a thrilling overtime. The record for viewership is 114.4 million for the Seahawks-Patriots Super Bowl in February of 2015. And the 10 highest rated television shows of all time in U.S. history are the last 10 Super Bowl games. Get ready for lots and lots of eyeballs on it.

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Officials have to stop “blowing” critical calls

Jason Cole

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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Don’t blow the whistle right away.

Let the play continue and sort it out later.

There are several ways to say it. Whether or not you agree with the principle of a ref swallowing his whistle, the NFL has preached the idea of refs waiting to make a call for nearly two decades.

Yet somehow, someway, the officials keep screwing up this simple principle. On Sunday, the latest example may have cost the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a game. It’s at least the sixth time it has happened this season.

While it’s easy to pin much of the blame on Tampa Bay’s offense after three more turnovers from quarterback Jameis Winston and/or on a brutally poor effort on a critical fourth-and-short play, that story is old hat.

The hand-wringing the Glazer Family is going to do over whether to re-sign Winston this offseason is hard to imagine. That decision, however, doesn’t have to come today.

A decision about how to fix officiating is a more pertinent issue for Commissioner Roger Goodell, Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron and the league as a whole. Errors in officiating have been a theme since the non-call in the Rams-Saints NFC Championship Game in January.

Those errors are costing teams vital wins and impacting legacies.

Put it this way: if the Rams don’t make the Super Bowl last season, is the league completely infatuated with Sean McVay as it was on the way to hiring young coaches such as Matt LaFleur, Kliff Kingsbury and Zac Taylor?

But, I digress. I’ll circle back to this point in a moment.

On Sunday, Tennessee was leading 27-23 and got away with an obvious fumble by holder Brett Kern on a fake field goal with 3:45 remaining. Kern tried to convert a fourth-and-2 play, but was quickly stopped by Buccaneers linebacker Devin White (photo above), coughing up the ball while he was still standing.

The Bucs scooped the ball and looked to have an easy touchdown return that would have flipped the lead. Instead, the play was whistled dead and Tampa Bay took over possession still needing a TD.

If you’re Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians, you have to be asking: what the hell is going on here? This was a brutal whistle and completely against the rule of thumb the NFL has preached for years.

In fact, it’s something that the NFL and Riveron have been emphasizing weekly after the officials erred in week two by blowing the whistle and nullifying a potential game changing fumble return the Saints Cameron Jordan, against….you guessed it, the Rams.

So, there was no reason to blow the whistle Sunday. There was simply no need and no gain. The officials weren’t protecting a quarterback or a defenseless player.

The officials just blew it, literally.

This is the type of play that is simply inexcusable for the NFL to tolerate. It is the kind of play the NFL Referees Association also needs to rail against for the sake of all officials. This requires fines and public accountability, such as saying that officials who make these mistakes will miss a game.

Yes, officiating is incredibly difficult and there are few rewards. No one ever talks about good officiating. Good officiating is defined by not noticing it. If a ref does his job well, it’s like a great waiter who goes unnoticed, because people are so happy with the dining experience.

For those who complain about missed calls, such as the two illegal hands to the face penalties against Trey Flowers in the Detroit-Green Bay game two weeks ago, this is more egregious.

Not following directives of the V.P. of Officiating is a whole lot different than making a poor evaluation in a split second, especially when you may be in an odd position with a bad view.

If you are Goodell or Riveron, this is the stuff that makes you pull your hair out. The only hope they have is that somehow Arians won’t file a complaint. The chances of that are about as good as Bill Belichick smiling in a postgame press conference.

If you are Arians – or, more importantly, Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich or defensive coordinator Todd Bowles – this type of call can change the direction of everything you’re trying to accomplish. The rest of the game was marred by game-costing mistakes, from a botched fourth-and-short call to the game-ending interception by Winston.

The ripple of this play is it could further convince the Glazers to move on from Winston at the end of the season rather than stay with him. All the work Arians and Co. have put in with Winston could be wasted.

For Leftwich, the chance to be a head coach is very much wrapped up in his ability to get Winston to be better. If Bowles has a chance to be a head coach again, the bottom line is about winning.

And while there are plenty of criticisms that can be fairly launched at Arians and his staff, the reality is that the NFL needs to take a more serious approach to punishing officials on plays like the botched fumble/no fumble Sunday in Nashville.

There are too many people with too much at stake.

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Florida Attorney General files appeal in Robert Kraft case

Florida Football Insiders

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
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The Florida Attorney General has appealed a lower court ruling throwing out the video in New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft solicitation of prostitution case from Palm Beach this past January.

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office just beat the Tuesday night October 1st deadline to file with Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals on the previous lower court ruling.

The 50 page legal brief concludes that authorities in Palm Beach County were within their right to obtain video surveillance of Kraft and numerous others having sex acts performed on them during a five day period in January at the “Orchids of Asia” Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.

Kraft, the 78 year old owner of the Patriots, was allegedly captured on video on back-to-back days engaging in the illegal sex acts.

The Boston Globe obtained the legal brief which quoted Moody’s office,

“Based on video captured by surveillance cameras police installed in the Spa pursuant to a warrant, Mr. Kraft’s guilt is a virtual certainty.”

Kraft lawyers were not available for comment on the appeal to the paper Wednesday morning.

Kraft’s defense team won the key ruling to suppress the video for his case with circuit Judge Robert Hanser. In May Hanser agreed that the so-called “Sneak-and-Peek warrant” that the police officials obtained did not take enough precautions to protect the privacy of those who were going into the massage parlor and receiving legitimate massages.

The five-day surveillance netted charges against 25 men on solicitation of prostitution and lewd and lascivious conduct. Numerous ones of them have already plead guilty.

Kraft, who has a home in Palm Beach, was in the day spa just hours before he flew to Kansas City for the Patriots overtime AFC Championship Game win against the Chiefs that put them into Super Bowl 53.

The legal brief asserts that Kraft was not entitled to argue to the court about the rights of all of the defendants or anyone else that was surveilled on the video. Instead, Moody’s office wrote,

“Mr. Kraft lacks standing to vicariously assert the Fourth Amendment rights of third parties … Second, in no event would Mr. Kraft be entitled to total suppression of all video in the case; rather, he would be entitled to suppress only the unlawfully seized videos, a class which would not include the video evidence of his own prostitution offenses.”

In other words, he is only allowed to argue about his own situation and Hanser ruled incorrectly on that point.

Kraft’s side now has 30 days to respond. The appeals court is expected to rule later this winter and if they do so in favor of the Attorney General and the prosecutors, then the video may end up being released to the public even before a trial.

That is because, as we have detailed throughout this process earlier this year, defendants in Florida caught under any type of video surveillance in alleged criminal acts are not exempt from having that video released, even if they have not been tried or convicted.

Numerous local and national media outlets filed with the Palm Beach County Court to have the video released and that case is also still pending because of Hanser’s previous May ruling.

More serious than they likely fine, community service, etc. that Kraft might receive as punishment, is the possible discipline from the NFL under the personal conduct policy.

That could include fines and suspension, but the NFL traditionally waits for legal proceedings to finish first.

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