Tag:Ryan Wilson
Posted on: February 7, 2012 6:16 pm
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Patriots sign Underwood to futures contract

Underwood is back in New England after the team cut him the day before the Super Bowl. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

By Ryan Wilson

Tiquan Underwood was one of the highlights of Super Bowl Media Day, talking about his high-top fade and even taking time to pay homage to Kid 'n Play. Four days later, the Patriots released the wide receiver to add depth along the defensive line.

Why did head coach Bill Belichick not come to this realization at some point sooner? Most likely, he didn't want to give the Giants an opportunity to sign Underwood. Whatever, the decision was panned (especially since defensive lineman Alex Silvestro, signed to replace Underwood on the roster, didn't see the field Sunday).

There is good news, however: Underwood got a full Super Bowl share (and would've received a ring had New England won), and on Tuesday the Pats re-signed him to a futures contract for 2012.

In this third year out of Rutgers, Underwood managed just three catches for 30 yards in six games last season. There was speculation that he might make the Super Bowl active roster over veteran Chad Ochocinco, who arrived in Foxboro in August and struggled ever since. Ochocinco ended the regular season with 15 catches and a lone touchdown, played just one snap in the playoff win over the Broncos, was inactive a week later against the Ravens, and had one reception for 21 yards against the Giants in the Super Bowl.

If nothing else, karma has repaid Underwood for handling things so well. When his release was announced Saturday, he took to Twitter saying, “This Is Nothing But MOTIVATION … I Been Thru A LOT…But There Are Ppl In This World w/ More Serious Problems So I Cant Hang The Head….Thank You Lord #Blessed . . . Good Luck To The New Enland Organization, The Coaches, & All My Teammates… #PatsNation.”

Added bonus: Gisele wasn't talking about him when she called out the Pats' pass catchers. So there's that.

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 3:34 pm
 

Giants LB proposes to girlfriend on field

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By Ryan Wilson

No idea what would've happened if Tom Brady had completed that pass to Wes Welker with four minutes to go in the game. The Patriots probably would've gone on to win Super Bowl XLVI and Giants rookie linebacker Greg Jones would've had to find a less public venue to propose to his girlfriend.

Lucky for him, Brady and Welker couldn't connect, Eli Manning and Mario Manningham could and New York won its second Super Bowl in four years. And as soon as the celebrations began and the confetti cannons got to work, Jones, who didn't show up on the stat sheet Sunday night, took the field after the final whistle to make it official with girlfriend, Amanda.

“She was bawling,” Jones told the Newark Star-Ledger's Mike Garafolo Monday morning as he and his teammates left the Marriott Downtown to return to New York (and continue the celebration along the way, it turns out). “I was like, ‘I don’t know how long she’s going to keep crying.’”

Jones, a Michigan State product, has known Amanda for three years. Garafolo notes that, via Chris Vannini, Amanda appears to be former Spartans basketball player Mandy Piechowski who know makes her living as a model.

“She definitely knows how I feel," Jones said. "A speech wasn’t even needed." When asked why he wanted to marry Piechowski, Jones said: “Just everything we’ve been through together. She’s been here since Day 1 and she knew me long before everything else.”

If nothing else, we know that models are loyal. Tom Brady can verify that.

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 2:22 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 2:24 pm
 

Boston writer rips Brady, promptly feels backlash

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By Ryan Wilson

Man, let Tom Brady play a poor 20 minutes of football on the biggest stage in sports and the gadflies are there ready to pounce. Never mind that the Patriots quarterback set a Super Bowl completion record earlier in the game, or that a Justin Tuck sack midway through the third quarter changed everything. None of that mattered to the Boston Globe's Eric Wilbur who published a scathing rebuke of Brady's performance literally minutes after his Hail Mary pass fell harmlessly to the turf as time expired.

Giants 21, Patriots 17
A sampling:

"Sorry, Tommy Boy, this one's on you. Your hideous performance led to the Giants' 21-17 Super Bowl title win. How embarrassing for your coach, your teammates, and your fans. … What happened to you?

"What an embarrassment for the Patriots organization and Bob Kraft. So now the Giants have taken Lombardi from you twice, and you haven't looked this bad in a playoff game since...well, two weeks ago against the Ravens. Maybe that moment will actually hit you as you're whittling down water slides in South America looking like Prince Valiant this spring."

Oh boy. So, to recap: Brady, a three-time Super Bowl champ and two-time Super Bowl MVP, and a future first-ballot Hall of Famer is, according to Wilbur, an "embarrassment" and his performance "hideous." We have no idea what Wilbur would do if he was a Jets fan.

But even in a town where expectations for the local sports teams are unreasonably high, there are limits to the criticism. Hours after Wilbur's post was published the backlash began. The Big Lead referred to him as a "Boston-trolling columnist" before dissecting his diatribe sentence by sentence.

ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith wrote that "Brady wasn’t at his best on Sunday, but he wasn’t as terrible as Wilbur thinks. And the suggestion that he doesn’t care is absurd." Smith linked to a piece by Yahoo.com's Dan Wetzel, who recounts an inconsolable Brady sitting at his locker well after the game had ended. And Bruce Allen of BostonMediaWatch.com noted that "Wilbur’s post … reads more like a drunken fan rant than something crafted by a veteran journalist."

Wilbur spoke Monday to 98.5 The Sports Hub.

“I guess because I dared criticize the god of New England," he said via SportsRadioInterview.com. "If he had won that game we would’ve lauded him as the greatest quarterback ever so if he messes up in the game and loses it why can’t he take some of the poison? It seems like fans can’t admit that.”

Asked if, a day later, he still believes what he wrote, Wilbur said, "I still believe it. There were a lot of people saying ‘you know sleep on this and you’re going to look bad in the morning.’ It was a little over-the-top and I admit that but I think that was purposely so just because like I said if he would’ve won the game it would’ve been ‘oh Tom Brady’ so you know what? Let him get a little bit of the criticism.

"I guess that’s what people don’t get," he said. "It was a little over-the-top and purposely so but then again you don’t understand Vancouver writers either so.”

We eagerly await Gisele's response to all this.

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 11:00 am
Edited on: February 6, 2012 11:46 am
 

Super Bowl XLVI through the lens of Twitter

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By Ryan Wilson

A look back at Super Bowl XLVI via the Twitter Machine.


Pregame...

icecube
At the SuperBowl with 2 of my sons. Today is a good day.
2/5/12 4:48 PM
greggdoyelcbs
Biggest ovation during"America the Beautiful"? When the camera showed a room full of U.S. soldiers.
2/5/12 6:17 PM
DonteWhitner
Mark my words! TOM is about to tear their ASS
2/5/12 6:38 PM

After Brady is called for intentional grounding in the end zone leading to a safety...

MikeSilver
For those of you millions who don't watch football except for today: That doesn't happen a whole lot
2/5/12 6:41 PM
CindyBoren
Wow. Intentional grounding for a safety. Wowowowowow. I blame Gisele Bundchen.
2/5/12 6:41 PM
DrSaturday
Nobody throws the ball away for a safety with the poise of Tom Brady.
2/5/12 6:41 PM

Commercials...

keithlaw
M&Ms and LMFAO. Two of the worst things on the planet in one commercial.
2/5/12 6:54 PM
CoxBytes
Not only does #Chevy survive the apocalypse but so does #BarryManilow.
2/5/12 6:58 PM
NotBillWalton
"You sunk my Transformers 4!"
2/5/12 7:03 PM
Mengus22
"Getting your taxes done is like swimming in your own urine." That commercial logic actually makes sense.
2/5/12 7:11 PM
BryanDFischer
Adriana Lima is the leader in the clubhouse for best commercial. For whatever it was.
2/5/12 7:36 PM
ry_hudson
Clint Eastwood just scared everyone into watching the second half.
2/5/12 8:19 PM
AroundTheHorn
Voltron and HeMan in a commercial. Everyone else is playing for second.
2/5/12 9:09 PM

Steve Weatherford's punting exploits...

JustinKutcher
I don't know if I've ever seen a punter as animated as Steve Weatherford... #SBXLVI
2/5/12 7:32 PM

Madonna halftime show instructions...

AP_NFL
Everyone has flashlights for #Madonna halftime show. Crowd told wait for cue, no one listening (@cliffbruntap) #SB46
2/5/12 7:38 PM

Haltime...

SWhyno
Madonna is trying to out-Lady Gaga Lady Gaga.
2/5/12 8:02 PM
OzzieGuillen
Madonna u are the best u are a friking good
2/5/12 8:03 PM
RealSkipBayless
Greatest Super Bowl halftime show EVER.
2/5/12 8:19 PM
MettaWorldPeace
I feel like kissing Madonna Lol
2/5/12 8:21 PM
AARP
RT if you think #Madonna is rockin' it! #SuperBowl
2/5/12 8:12 PM

In-game observations...

jadande
I love the fact Ochocinco contributed to a Super Bowl TD drive...with his grill in
2/5/12 8:29 PM
sbnation
Enter the code, open the safe, take money, make it rain. Aaron Hernandez TD celebration GIF: http://t.co/m4FYgLAj
2/5/12 8:42 PM
richarddeitsch
I look forward to First Take discussing Tim Tebow on Monday.
2/5/12 8:59 PM

On Brady's interception...

heathradio
That was cool of Tom Brady to pay tribute to Brett Favre on that play. #GUNSLINGER
2/5/12 9:04 PM
 

On the Welker drop...

ArashMarkazi
The reaction of the Patriots defense to that incomplete pass by Tom Brady was funnier than any Super Bowl ad today.
2/5/12 9:32 PM

On the Manningham catch...

KegsnEggs
MANNINGHAMHAMHAMHAMHAM
2/5/12 9:33 PM

On Bradshaw's touchdown...

AndyHutchins
FUNNIEST THING EVER
2/5/12 9:43 PM

No review of the ridiculousness would be complete without a final word from James Harrison...

jharrison9292
Told you, cheaters never win!!!!!!!!!
2/5/12 9:53 PM

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 10:13 am
Edited on: February 8, 2012 3:11 pm
 

Gisele can't believe Pats dropped so many passes

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By Ryan Wilson

In general, Tom Brady leads a charmed life. He's an NFL quarterback, three-time Super Bowl champ, UGG spokesman -- and the cherry on top -- he's married to supermodel Gisele Bündchen. Yes, the Patriots fell to the Giants Sunday night in Super Bowl XLVI, and yes Brady was distraught by the outcome, but in the scheme of things, it won't define his career.

Of course, the criticism in the hours after the loss were swift and, well, critical. Brady was accused of a horrible performance even though he started 20 of 24, broke Joe Montana's Super Bowl completion record in the process, then suffered a Justin Tuck sack that changed everything. He finished the night 7 of 17 and a slightly off-target throw to Wes Welker with four minutes to go ultimately proved to be the difference.

Gisele, who was at the game, had to endure jeers and taunts from Giants fans as she left her suite at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“Eli rules!” screamed one fan. “Eli owns your husband!” yelled another.

Gisele's response?

“You (have) to catch the ball when you’re supposed to catch the ball,” she snapped back, according to CBS New York. “My husband cannot (bleeping) throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can’t believe they dropped the ball so many times.”

Welker took full responsibility for not coming down with a Brady throw that was also high and behind him.

"The ball is right there," Welker said when asked if he was looking for it on the other shoulder. "I've just got to make the play. It's a play I've made a thousand times in practice and everything else. It comes to the biggest moment of my life and I don't come up with it. It's discouraging."

Brady, for his part, didn't waver in his support of Welker.

"Wes was running down the field and it looked like they messed the coverage up a little bit and I threw it to him," said Brady. "(Welker) went up to try and make it, as he always does, and we just couldn't connect. He's a hell of a player. I'll keep throwing the ball to him for as long as I possible can. He's a phenomenal player and teammate and I love that guy."

Apparently, a TMZ source says that Brady's teammates are "disappointed" and feel betrayed by Gisele's comments. 

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 12:30 am
Edited on: February 6, 2012 5:35 am
 

Giants Steve Weatherford gets vindication

CB Aaron Ross and P Steve Weatherford celebrate after Weatherford's punt during the first half of Super Bowl XLVI.  (AP Photo/Pat Semansky)
By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Steve Weatherford is old school in that he prefers the directional punt to the end-over-end style that has come into vogue in recent years.

Much like the soccer-style kicker replaced the straight-ahead kicker two decades ago, those punters who could consistently place the ball out of bounds inside the 10-yard line have given way to the new-fangled era of backspin specialists; players who, in theory anyway, can have their punts land at the five and instead of tumbling into the end zone, the ball either bounces straight up or stays in the field of play.

Except that it doesn't always work.

Two years ago, Chris Hanson was the Patriots punter. In a regular-season game against the Ravens, his rugby-style kicks twice bounced into the end zone for touchbacks prompting Bill Belichick to make the following observation: “You hardly see anybody go for the sidelines any more,” he said according to the New York Times' Judy Battista. “Show me a punter who coffin corners. You don’t see it. They don’t do it.”

Be careful what you ask for.

Weatherford, joined the Giants before the 2011 season, a year after one of the all-time great directional punters Jeff Feagles retired. And against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, he put forth a stellar effort.

* His first punt came on the Giants' first drive and it was downed at the Patriots' 6-yard line. On the next snap, Tom Brady was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone and New York led 2-0.

* His next punt, with 10:09 left in the second quarter, went out of the end zone for a touchback, but the Giants' defense held and the Pats go three and out.

Weatherford's third punt went out of bounds at the New England 4 with 4:11 to go in the first half. The Pats ended up scoring a touchdown but it required a 14-play, 96-yard drive.

* The final punt, which came at the 9:31 mark of the fourth quarter, is fair-caught by Wes Welker at the 8-yard line.

Giants 21, Patriots 17
The Patriots led 17-15 at the time and appeared ready to score again. But Tom Brady, perhaps affected by a third-quarter Justin Tuck sack, missed a wide open Welker on what proved to be the game's pivotal play.

Weatherford didn't convert a last-second kick, Vinatieri-style (or perhaps more fitting, Lawrence Tynes-in-the-playoffs-style), but he did do his job. In a game that included a Chase Blackburn interception (!) and a Brady misfire on a wide-open Welker, Weatherford's contributions were critical. Who knows how things play out if he doesn't pinned the Pats deep on his first punt of the game.

And to think, it wasn't long ago that a team had no use for Weatherford. In September, after the Jets chose not to re-sign him, Jets special-teams coach Mike Westhoff said that "there were times that (Weatherford) just didn't do the job."

During Media Day earlier this week, Weatherford fired back: "That wasn't good enough for Mike Westhoff," he said. "I'm playing for a guy now [Tom Quinn] that's got a Super Bowl ring, so that's not a guy I care to talk about. He does a lot of complaining, but recently he hasn't produced much."

Now Quinn has two Super Bowl rings, and Weatherford has his first.

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Posted on: February 5, 2012 11:08 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2012 10:08 pm
 

Brady's play was night and day after Tuck sack

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By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tom Brady's left shoulder had been an issue for most of the season. In fact, he missed practice the Wednesday before the Patriots faced the Ravens in the AFC Conference Championship and went on to play his worst game of the season. He appeared to injure the shoulder again Sunday night in Super Bowl XLVI, after Giants defensive end Justin Tuck sacked him on New England's second drive of the third quarter.

At the time, the Patriots led 17-12 and up to that point Brady looked every bit the future Hall of Famer he is. Earlier in the third quarter, Brady broke Joe Montana's Super Bowl record of 13 straight completions. As colleague Will Brinson noted during the completion streak, Brady was so spectacular that he even managed to get Chad Ochocinco involved.

But after the Tuck sack, Brady looked more like the quarterback who struggled against the Ravens two weeks ago, and the Giants … well, every time he's faced them the going back four years.

Brady's line, pre-Tuck sack: 20 of 24 for 201 yards and two touchdowns. In fact, the pass just prior to Tuck's takedown broke Brady's completion streak and it came 6:12 into the third quarter.

Brady's line, post-Tuck sack: 7 of 17 for 75 and an interception. The pick, arguably the play of the game, came courtesy of linebacker Chase Blackburn, who was a substitute teacher earlier this season before the Giants signed him. Blackburn ran stride for stride with tight end Rob Gronkowski down the middle of the field and actually out-Gronk-ed Gronk to haul in the slightly underthrown pass.

"We were in a defense where I had to carry [Gronkowski] vertical all the way down the field," Blackburn said. [Brady] had a lot of time. I think he busted out of a sack and he just threw it up for grabs. I finally found the ball. I just tried to box him out and go up and get the ball."

Giants 21, Patriots 17
And that's exactly what happened. Blackburn was the beneficiary of Gronkowski's bum ankle, which kept the tight end out of practice early in the week and certainly limited his effectiveness.

But the road to a championship requires more than precise game-planning or flawless execution. A lot of luck is involved too. Four years ago, it was David Tyree's helmet. Sunday night it was Blackburn making the play of his career.

Here's the thing, though: Blackburn's grab would've been nothing more than a sidenote had Brady -- injured left shoulder or not -- been able to complete a pass to a wide open Wes Welker with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter. By that time, the Pats were clinging to a 17-15 lead but driving. Another score and the game likely would have been over and New England would finally have their fourth championship after a six-year drought that included no postseason victories until three weeks ago.

Instead, Brady missed Welker down the seam on a throw he must've completed a hundred times this season, a thousand times in his career.

"Wes was running down the field and it looked like they messed the coverage up a little bit and I threw it to him," said Brady. "(Welker) went up to try and make it, as he always does, and we just couldn't connect. He's a hell of a player. I'll keep throwing the ball to him for as long as I possible can. He's a phenomenal player and teammate and I love that guy."

When New England finally got the ball back, they trailed 21-17 and had to navigate 80 yards in only 57 seconds. If this had been 2004, we'd all be lamenting that the Giants gave Brady too much time to do what he does. But this is 2012, four years removed from Brady succumbing to New York's pass rush on that final, fateful Super Bowl XLII drive. We've seen this movie, we know how it ends: five incomplete passes and a sack sandwiched around two harmless completions, and Brady walks off the field sullen and beaten.

"We could have done a better job in a lot of things," head coach Bill Belichick said afterwards.

But that sentiment holds for the Giants, too (and every team that has ever played a game).  Things may have turned out differently had New England just been luckier.

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Posted on: February 5, 2012 9:05 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 9:09 pm
 

Rams ticket sales for London game to resume

It looks like St. Louis is headed to London after all. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

A day after ticket sales had been postponed for the Rams' regular-season game in London next season against the Patriots because it might violate their Edward Jones Dome lease, the NFL announced Sunday that ticket sales will resume Monday.

"We're going to play the London games," commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday while in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl. "We hope it will be with the Rams and the New England Patriots next year. That's what we planned. ... But there are issues that obviously are going to have to get resolved. We know there are discussions going on. We hope that will get resolved shortly."

More details of the resolution via the Associated Press: the Rams have agreed to give up a home game in each of the next three seasons to play in London. That deal apparently clashed with the team's lease on the Edward Jones Dome, where the Rams play their regular home games.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com