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By any measure, this past Divisional Round was one heck of a good weekend of playoff football. Every single game was extremely competitive and filled with late heroics and great plays and just the right amount of weirdness.

Even with all of the ups and downs, Stella and I managed identical 3-1 records. We were both validated in both of our Saturday picks. New England battled their way to a victory against the Chiefs, ending Kansas City's 11-game winning streak in the process. In the later game, we got to watch the wildly entertaining end to the Green Bay/Arizona match-up. Despite the best efforts of Aaron Rodgers and company, the Cardinals won it in overtime thanks to a huge game from Larry Fitzgerald.

Meanwhile, we split the games on Sunday. Stella's belief that Seattle could upset Carolina was mistaken, though not by nearly as much as it looked when the Panthers were up 31-0. Carolina made me sweat more than I anticipated, but they ultimately got me the win. My seemingly poor pick of the Steelers came closer to paying off than I ever would have guessed considering their injury issues. Still, Stella knew that Denver would come through on their home field and the Broncos wound up holding serve and getting the W.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:14

Black Bears football reaches season's end

Early exit doesn't diminish accomplishments

ORONO One of the best seasons in the history of the University of Maine football program has come to an all-too-early end.

Alfond Stadium welcomed its first-ever FCS football playoff game as the Black Bears seeded fifth overall played host to their arch-rival, the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. UNH was the only FCS team to beat UMaine during this magical season one which saw a Black Bears team rise from a preseason conference ranking of eighth all the way to the upper echelon of the FCS.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 13:54

Patriots Progress Report Third Quarter

We're at the three-quarter mark in the 2013 NFL season and it would seem that the New England Patriots have everything firmly under control.

The Pats sit atop the AFC East division with a record of 9-3, having won three of their last four games. Granted, there have been more than a few gnawed cuticles along the way; it seems like New England has made a habit in recent weeks of needing every last available second on the clock in order to eke out victories, but as far as the standings are concerned, wins are wins.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 10:18

Patriots 2013 Draft Review

New England focuses on depth in weak draft

The New England Patriots draft strategy in recent years has involved a lot of wheeling and dealing. Coach Bill Belichick seems to take particular delight in trading down and accumulating more and more future assets. While it certainly makes sense as a long-term strategy, in the short term it can feel a bit frustrating. We want to see the team take shots at top-level players, rather than being content with quantity over quality.

However, in a draft such as this one a draft that is viewed as a relatively weak one at the top the strategy of accumulating value makes a lot of sense. So it should have come as no surprise that New England traded out of the first round; they got a handful of picks from the Minnesota Vikings and fleshed out a draft in which they initially only had a few picks.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 13:04

Summerall remembered as Voice of the NFL'

PLANO, Texas - Veteran sportscaster Pat Summerall was remembered Saturday during a memorial service as 'the voice of the NFL' and a venerated figure who maintained a humble approach despite the praise his broadcast work received for decades.

Thousands gathered Saturday at a Baptist church just north of Dallas to pay tribute to a broadcaster who called some of the most memorable games in NFL history, and also was known for his coverage of Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the Masters golf tournament and other sporting events.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 14:22

Wes Welker walks away

New England says goodbye to fan favorite

One could accuse New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick of being a lot of things. Sentimental is not one of them.

Belichick recently continued a long and storied tradition of unapologetically cutting ties with veteran players, either through trades or outright releases. New England stalwarts and legends such as Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law, Richard Seymour, Randy Moss, Deion Branch and Adam Vinatieri have all been given their walking papers, unceremoniously dismissed despite still being talented and useful players.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 10:21

Breaking down the Big Game

A look ahead at Super Bowl XLVII

The Super Bowl has arrived.

For the 47th time, hundreds of millions of people from around the globe will be focused on the game of football. This year's game will be played in the New Orleans Superdome, where the AFC's Baltimore Ravens and the NFC's San Francisco 49ers will vie to see which team gets to hoist the Lombardi Trophy as the champions of the NFL.

The overriding storyline behind this year's game revolves around the Harbaugh brothers. John and Jim Harbaugh, coaches of the Ravens and 49ers respectively, are the first brothers to coach against each other in the Super Bowl. This has led many in the media to refer to the game as the 'Harbaugh Bowl' or 'Har Bowl' or other variations on that theme.

Published in Cover Story
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 16:28

Wing day is Sunday

Many of us get together with friends and family every Sunday to watch a game. One of the biggest parts of that great feeling is the food (and of course the beer). Football food should be easy to prepare, easy to serve, carefree and easy to eat. Plop these wings in the oven and wait 'til the first commercial before turning them and the next commercial for removing them. Instead of ordering out, make a pile of these Asian-inspired wings for your get together. Wings really are the ultimate sports food, regardless of their style. Marinated in lime, ginger, soy sauce and a bit of maple syrup, these wings have a wonderful citrus flavor with just a hint of spice from the chili sauce.

Published in The Cooking Edge
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 15:37

NFL Playoff Preview: Wild Card

After a grueling four months, the 2012 NFL regular season has come to a close. Of the league's 30 teams, 18 have already packed up and gone home to an offseason likely to be rife with pointed fingers and fired coaches.

But 12 remain. A dozen teams that fought hard all year long just to get to this point, each of whom now has a new goal to hoist the Lombardi Trophy as Super Bowl champions. But it's not going to be easy. It never is.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 15:26

Patriots Progress Report Fourth Quarter

After 17 weeks, the 2012 NFL regular season has finally come to an end. The New England Patriots have once more made their way into the postseason, riding a 12-4 record to the 2-seed in the AFC and a first round bye.

The Patriots finished out the year by winning three of their last four, their only loss coming at the hands of the playoff-bound 49ers. While their win over the Jaguars was lackluster, they looked great in demolishing the Texans and shutting out Miami in the season's last game. The team looks to be in solid shape heading toward the Super Bowl.

Published in Report Card
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