MUCH has been made, especially around New York, about the 50th anniversary of the Joe Namath-led Jets who upset the Baltimore Colts and won Super Bowl III. And how that was the one and only title ever won by the J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets. It was also their only trip to the big game.
Well, a year later, the Kansas City Chiefs, who lost the first Super Bowl (it wasn’t even called that then) to the Green Bay Packers, stunned the Minnesota Vikings and won it all.
Sunday night, the Chiefs will try to make their first trip back to the Super Bowl since that Jets-like 1970 upset.
In short, the Chiefs, they of the beautiful uniforms, the long list of outstanding players, the great fans and great stadium, will meet the Patriots in their first trip to the conference final since 1993.
The point? Think about how spoiled the people around here have become, not only with the Pats but also with the Red Sox. Toss in one title each for the Celtics and Bruins, and the Patriots seek New England’s 12th title in THIS century. (Note: this century has a long way to go.)
The Chiefs are playing for the AFC — and their fans are ready.
Andy Reid, their coach, thinks there’s a buzz. “I think there is, yeah,” he said. “I’m not out there so I can’t tell you that, but I’d presume from what I’ve heard. The players and the coaches, the coaches in particular, we end up being in here for most of the time.”
Spotted a neat piece of artwork the other day: a Save The Date card for “Tom Brady’s Retirement Party,” with Boston Sports Desk posting on Facebook: “K.C. fans getting a little out of control ..... It’s going to be interesting....”
A store in Wichita — Brady Nursery — put a line through the name “Brady” and replaced it with “(Patrick) Mahomes.” Temporarily, of course.
This really IS fun.
It’s supposed to be cold Sunday, but apparently not as cold as originally thought. Bill Belichick, asked if he minds playing in the cold, said, “I love to play in a championship game. Schedule it wherever you want. We’ll be there.”
Added Trey Flowers, who said he won’t even wear sleeves: “It’s football. It is what it is. Mind over matter. It’s a state of mind.”
Forget the cold: The Patriots blared loud music at practice this week to try to get the team ready for the K.C. fans.
Last week, Brady and Philip Rivers combined to be the oldest pair of quarterbacks ever to play in a playoff game. This week, Brady and Mahomes combine for the greatest age DIFFERENCE ever between two QBs in a playoff game. Brady is 18 years, one month older than Mahomes.
Will this be a passing of the torch? It says here the torch will be passed ... at some point. Brady will NOT play forever, and we’ve seen young guys come and go while he continues to be great. This could be Mahomes’ next step toward true stardom, but don’t forget about the old guy.
“He’s a great player. He’s a playmaker,” Flowers said of Mahomes. “A guy who definitely can make plays (and) not the typical way as far as planting your feet or pushing him out of the pocket. He’s great out of the pocket. ... He’s great in the pocket. He’s one of the guys that you just have to kind of contain him the best you can and try to out-execute him.”
Another big reliever not only went off the free agent board, but he went to the Yankees, who added Brooklyn native Adam Ottavino, another guy on the Boston radar, to their ridiculous bullpen via a three-year contract Thursday.
Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Zach Britton, Ottavino and Chad Green at the back end. Fairly formidable.
Barnes, Brasier ???.... Not so much.
Meanwhile, Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski plays the waiting game, as speculation continues to grow that Craig Kimbrel will be brought back. The Yankees have loaded up, the Red Sox have not. Kimbrel is the best guy out there. Did the Red Sox wait too long? Do they care? Sounds like they’re ready to move on.
Thursday, Dombrowski said “we lost two guys,” meaning Kimbrel and Joe Kelly (L.A.) are gone. He mentioned Barnes, Brasier, Steven Wright and Tyler Thornburg as potential closers, thus keeping the Red Sox under the $245 million threshold.
Asked about Mookie Betts and another one-year contract, Dombrowski said, “We’d love to keep him here for years to come.”
Meanwhile, the Red Sox are going to the White House Feb. 15 but Manager Alex Cora said Thursday he’s going — as of now, with an “if” slipping in. Chris Smith of MassLive reported Cora “doesn’t like some things that have come out the past couple days about the way things were dealt with Puerto Rico.”
Said Cora: “If I go, I’ll represent Puerto Rico the right way.”
Dombrowski said Thursday Dustin Pedroia “sent me a note ... with him running and he said, ‘You can count on me.’”
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a bit tired of the almost-daily Kyrie Irving soap opera. His frustrations ... yelling at teammates ... saying the young guys aren’t all in (and Jaylen Brown answering back) ... calling LeBron James to apologize ... the talk about whether he’ll return to Boston ...
Kevin Love verified Irving’s claim of the phone call to LeBron, saying he was there. In short, Irving said he realized HE was the problem in Cleveland, ultimately asking the Cavs to separate him from James. Now, Irving is to the Celtics — leadership-wise, anyway — what James was to the Cavaliers: the leader trying to get the younger players to buy in.
Was there an ulterior motive for Irving’s latest comments? Was he trying to patch things up with LeBron to set up a reunion in L.A. next season? Column pal Ken Powtak and others think he might have been doing just that.
I’d say stay tuned but I’m tired of all this nonsense.
David Backes was a healthy scratch Wednesday for the first time since 2006-07. He was back in the lineup Thursday night against the Blues.
“It’s a kick in the (bleep),” Backes said Wednesday, before the Bruins blew a 2-0 lead and lost to the lowly Flyers, “but are you going to sulk and cry, or are you going to take it as a challenge to reset, get your butt going? If this means I sit tonight and I am fresh against my old squad (the Blues) tomorrow, then maybe we’ll find a silver lining there and we can be a big contributor tomorrow night.”
News of the scratch came in an offensive offensive year for Backes. It sparked a memory of The Athletic’s Arpon Basu, who tweeted: Richest UFA deals signed on July 1, 2016: Milan Lucic, 7 yrs, $42m; Kyle Okposo, 7 yrs, $42m; Andrew Ladd, 7 yrs, $38.5m; Loui Eriksson, 6 yrs, $36m; Frans Nielsen, 6 yrs, $31.25m; David Backes, 5 yrs, $30m; Darren Helm, 5 yrs, $19.25m; Troy Brouwer, 4 yrs, $18m
“What a day”
Finally, Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker unveiled his plan for legal sports gambling in Massachusetts. More on it Sunday but know this: It’s coming, and it won’t be long before you can swipe your credit card through the arm of your seat and bet while attending games.