Poll ranks Patriots as NFL's most 'badass' team

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Poll ranks Patriots as NFL's most 'badass' team

Five-time Super Bowl champions. Seven-time AFC champs. Fourteen-time AFC East champs. Now, Bill Belichick's Patriots have another title.

NFL's most "badass" team.

The Tampa Bay Times polled a panel of 43 NFL writers and asked them for the top three most "badass" teams and players in the NFL.

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The defending Super Bowl champion Patriots came out on top with 29 top-three votes. 

Here's a sampling of the panelists' comments:

"They keep winning in a league designed to discourage dynasties." -Terez A. Paylor, Kansas City Star

"Hands down. They take a three-touchdown lead and keep throwing, and throwing, and don't give a damn what anybody thinks." -Tyler Dunne, Bleacher Report

"For a decade they've been toying with and laughing at the rest of the league. The biggest bullies on the block." — Ralph Vacchiano, SNY

"Behind the glitz and glamour of having the game's greatest quarterback, the Patriots ranked among the league's top 10 scoring defenses each of the past five seasons, including No. 1 in 2016." — Ryan Wood, Green Bay Press-Gazette

The most badass player? Veteran Steelers linebacker James Harrison. The highest-ranked Patriot on the list? Tom Brady at No. 6. Rob Gronkowski was tied with Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack at No. 8. Julian Edelman was among the others receiving votes. 

Here are the full rankings: 

MOST BADASS TEAM 

1. Patriots (29 votes)

2. Seahawks (27)

3. Steelers (18)

4. Raiders (9)

5. Ravens (8)

6t. Broncos (6)

6t. Cowboys (6)

8. Bengals (4)

9t. Cardinals (2)

9t. Packers (2)

9t. Panthers (2)

9t. Texans (2)

Also receiving votes: Chiefs, Falcons, Rams, Titans (1 each)

MOST BADASS PLAYER

1. James Harrison, Steelers LB (14 votes)

2t. Marshawn Lynch, Raiders RB (10)

2t. J.J. Watt, Texans DE (10)

4t. Kam Chancellor, Seahawks S (8)

4t. Ndamukong Suh, Dolphins DT (8)

6. Tom Brady, Patriots QB (7)

7. Von Miller, Broncos LB (6)

8t. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots TE (5)

8t. Khalil Mack, Raiders LB (5)

10. Aaron Donald, Rams DT (4)
 

Reports: Giants' Nunez, Mets' Cabrera among Red Sox 3B trade targets

Reports: Giants' Nunez, Mets' Cabrera among Red Sox 3B trade targets

With Todd Frazier off the board, you can add a couple of new names to potential Red Sox third base trade targets.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the "desperately searching" Red Sox "have their eye on" Eduardo Nunez of the Giants. 

Veteran baseball writer Peter Gammons tweeted that Asdrubal Cabrera of the Mets is a target and Jon Heyman of FanRagSports.com reports that Cabrera is one of three Mets infielders the Sox are scouting, along with Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera.

Ex-Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie of the A's, Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison and Padres third baseman Yangervis Solarte are also on Boston's radar, according to Heyman. 

The right-handed hitting Nuñez, 30, was an All-Star for the Twins last season and is hitting .295 with four homers, 26 RBI, and a .727 OPS in 69 games for San Francisco. He was acquired by the Giants at the trade deadline last season. Would the Red Sox go for another Giants third baseman (see Sandoval, Pablo)?

Cabrera, 31, a switch-hitter, has played more shortstop and second base than third in his career. He's hitting .247 with nine homers, 29 RBI and a .734 OPS for the Mets. He hit 23 homers for New York last season. 

To Tony Dungy, Tom Brady is No. 6 on list of modern QBs

To Tony Dungy, Tom Brady is No. 6 on list of modern QBs

Tom Brady is gunning for his sixth Super Bowl title, which makes him the sixth-best quarterback of the modern era, according to ex-Colts coach Tony Dungy.

Huh? 

Dungy was part of a panel assembled by ESPN's Mike Sando to compile a "GOAT Index", i.e., a ranking of the best QBs since 1978.

Why '78? That's when the NFL changed rules to open up the passing game. 

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The 10-member panel was made up of ex-head coaches Dungy, Pete Carroll, Mike Holmgren, Ray Rhodes, Wade Phillips, Mike Shanahan, Al Saunders and Norv Turner, along with ex-assistant Howard Mudd and former GM and executive Mike Reinfeldt. 

Nine members listed Brady at No. 1 or 2. Dungy had him sixth, in part because he owed TB12's success to his coach and in part because Brady isn't fleet of foot.

"I don't think Bill Belichick would be Bill Belichick without Tom Brady, and Brady would not have the same success without Belichick and the way they have put that team together," Dungy told Sando. "But the one common thread through 15 years was Brady. When they had him, they won big -- won championships. The quarterback has so much to do with it."

Dungy didn't have Peyton Manning, his QB when he coached the Colts from 2002-08, as No. 1. In fact, Dungy has previously admitted that Brady has had the better career than Manning. 

"The one No. 1 vote Manning received came from a panelist with no ties to him," Sando wrote, which rules out Dungy and Mudd, the ex-Colts offensive line coach. The running ability of John Elway, Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers helped put them in Dungy's top three.

Here's the consensus ranking of the panel:

1. Tom Brady
2. Peyton Manning
3. Joe Montana 
4. John Elway
5. Aaron Rodgers 
T-6. Dan Marino 
T-6. Brett Favre 
8. Steve Young 
9. Drew Brees 
10. Dan Fouts