Troy Brown leads the champs' charge on the Patriots' Hall

643322.jpg

Troy Brown leads the champs' charge on the Patriots' Hall

Troy Brown is the leading edge of a "tsunami of quality" that is about to crash into eligibility for the Patriots Hall of Fame.

The term "tsunami of quality" was blurted out by longtime Patriots reporter Ron Hobson, formerly of the Patriot Ledger, on Tuesday at a meeting to discuss candidates for the 2012 Patriots Hall of Fame class.

Brown is the first of the Super Bowl-winning Patriots to become eligible since he's been out of the league for five seasons. Next year, Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison and Willie McGinest are eligible. Ty Law becomes eligible in 2014 and Mike Vrabel and Lawyer Milloy are eligible in 2015.
It is indeed, a tsunami.

On Tuesday, the 19-member Hall of Fame nomination committee gathered at Tavolino at Patriot Place to discuss the candidates for this year's class.

Each year since 2007, the committee votes for three candidates to be presented as finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame. Fans then vote on the finalists and the winner of that fan vote is the inductee.

Last year, Drew Bledsoe was inducted. The other nominees were Bill Parcells and Houston Antwine, a three-time finalist who dominated as a defensive lineman in the AFL.

Brown's eligibility and the presence of former finalists Parcells and Antwine means there are three likely nominees already in the mix. But a significant amount of time was spent discussing other Patriots greats, including Leon Gray, Irving Fryar, Julius Adams, Raymond Clayborn, Jim Plunkett, Curtis Martin, Mosi Tatupu and Fred Marion.

Coaches Chuck Fairbanks and Mike Holovak were also debated.

Personally, I cast my votes for Brown, Parcells and Antwine.

In the past, I've cast my vote for Leon Gray, a tremendous tackle who played alongside John Hannah to form one of the greatest guard-tackle duos in league history. But there's no real groundswell for Gray aside from myself and a couple of others and I believe Antwine deserves to ultimately get in given his three-time finalist status.

No player epitomized the Patriots' rise to prominence more than Troy Brown, an eighth-round pick who contributed on offense, defense and special teams and was the best football player on the team from 2000 through 2003.

Parcells, despite his messy departure, was there for the first dawn of the Patriots post-Kiam Era and impacted everything with his presence, ability and personality.

Thomas becoming one of the NBA's best in the fourth quarter

celtics_sixers_thomas_032016.jpg

Thomas becoming one of the NBA's best in the fourth quarter

Isaiah Thomas has established himself as one of the NBA’s top players in the fourth quarter of games this season.

“I’d rather play that than any other quarter,” Thomas said.

But there will be times when the game’s flow or head coach Brad Stevens’ gut will tell him to go in a different direction with Thomas’ minutes which is something the two have had conversations about which has helped eliminate any confusion or misunderstandings.

“We’ve had player-coach talks, how he feels and how I feel,” Thomas said. “That’s the relationship we have. We changed it up a little bit (in the win over Sacramento) and I’m just happy we got the win.”

In that game, Thomas was replaced by Terry Rozier with 3:20 to play in the quarter and Boston trailing 66-63. He returned to the floor at the 8:31 mark and the Celtics were down 76-74.

“The key is, there are some times where you feel like those last few minutes of the third quarter will be real important moving forward,” Stevens told reporters prior to tonight’s game. “Especially based on how your team is playing. And you just have to make that decision. You have to make that decision, you take him out early in the third like we did (against Sacramento) and put him back in earlier; or play him through until the two or one-minute mark in the third, and then give him his rest up until the seven or six. Either way, we’ve talked about it like I do with all our guys, especially the guys that are playing and big in the rotation.

Stevens would love to come up with a game plan and stick to it with little to no changes being made.

But the NBA game is unpredictable and his job as the head coach is to make the necessary on-the-fly changes that best position the Celtics for victory.

“Ultimately there will be days that it will be very consistent and there might be a time or two where I’m gonna go with my gut,” Stevens said. “They know that and we’ve talked about it.”

And while Stevens’ decision may not sit well with some, players understand it’s all done to achieve one goal – win. 

“There’s a number of reasons why you make a decision to leave someone in or take someone out,” Stevens said. “Ultimately, we have to figure out game to game, moment to moment, what’s best for our team. That’s what I’m charged with. That doesn’t mean I’m always right. I’m not gonna act like that. Ultimately, those guys know I’m thinking about it all the time.”