CSN to deliver comprehensive Patriots Playoff coverage with "Drive for 5" programming

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CSN to deliver comprehensive Patriots Playoff coverage with "Drive for 5" programming

  • Early Edition, SportsNet Central, Sports Tonight, Sports Sunday, Patriots Wednesday Live, New England Football Night, Quick Slants, and other Patriots shows on CSN to give Viewers in-depth Coverage Throughout Patriots Playoff Run
  • Troy Brown, Dan Koppen, Albert Breer, Tom Curran & Michael Felger to Headline Game Day Coverage Beginning with Patriots-Texans Matchup Saturday, January 14th
  • Pre-Game Live Kicks off at 6PM Saturday; Post-Game Live Immediately Following Game CSNNE.com to Provide Robust, Interactive, Coverage of Patriots Playoff Run

BURLINGTON, MA, January 10, 2017 - The Patriots host the Houston Texans on Saturday at 8:15PM at Gillette Stadium in a Divisional Playoff game, and no local station, regional network or national sports network is providing more coverage dedicated to the game and to the Patriots Playoff run than CSN New England. CSN will feature ongoing coverage of the Patriots in all of the network’s news and opinion programs, Patriots specific programs, and via live pre & post-game shows -- all under the title “Drive for 5”.

“We look forward to extending our robust season-long coverage of the Patriots into the post-season as the team continues their quest for another Super Bowl title,” said Princell Hair, SVP and General Manager, CSN New England. “We are committed to offering Patriots fans a one-stop destination for all of their Patriots Playoffs news, analysis and opinion -- both on TV and online -- from some of the most influential and expert personalities in the marketplace."

CSN’s gameday coverage will be highlighted by Football Day in New England presented by your New England Acura Dealers. For the Patriots-Texans game this Saturday, Pregame Live presented by Ace Ticket will kick off at 6PM and will provide a preview of the upcoming game with an interactive element with live Facebook, Twitter and CSNNE.com fan questions answered throughout the show. Postgame Live presented by Twin River Casino will take an in-depth look back at the game and will also be an interactive platform for fans to weigh in with their thoughts. Michael Felger will host along with expert analysis from Troy Brown, Albert Breer and Dan Koppen, while CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran and Mike Giardi will report from inside Gillette Stadium. CSN will also televise a Halftime Live show both on TV and on CSNNE.com.

Throughout the Patriots Playoff run, each episode of CSN’s nightly studio shows will dedicate time to the upcoming Patriots matchups, including Chevrolet SportsNet Central at 6PM and Arbella Early Edition at 6:30PM which will focus heavily on the Patriots post-season. Town Fair Tire Sports Tonight and 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich and Felger & Mazz will also spend each week previewing the upcoming Patriots game in each of its episodes, and Sports Sunday will dig into each game on Sunday in its aftermath.

All CSN-produced weekly football programs will continue with robust coverage and previews of the upcoming matchup. Patriots Wednesday Live presented by Nissan (Wednesdays @ Noon) will continue to bring viewers exclusive coverage of the team’s mid-week press conference with Patriots Coach Bill Belichick and Quarterback Tom Brady as they prepare for their next matchup. Thursday night’s New England Football Night presented by AT&T will offer Playoff focused episodes of New England Tailgate presented by Town Fair Tire (7PM) and Patriots Football Weekly (7:30PM). Both Monday Night Patriots and Quick Slants presented by Papa Gino’s will take a look back at the prior matchup and break down all the best and worst plays on the Monday following the game.

CSNNE.com will keep fans engaged with up-to-the-minute news, daily video updates, on demand content and preview highlights. CSNNE.com’s “The Pulse” presented by New England Ford, will be the center for any and all social media chatter before, during and after each Playoff game. Halftime Live will also be the only exclusive online local halftime show in the region. Additionally, CSNNE.com will continue to feature both the live “Quick Slants” podcasts with Curran and Phil Perry as well as the “Ex-Pats Podcast” with Giardi, Koppen and Jerod Mayo. Fans are also encouraged to download the CSNNE app for access to real-time updates and Patriots news via push notifications.

CSN’s “Drive for 5” coverage is presented by New England Chevy Dealers.

Brady-Ryan marks rare case of NFL's top two quarterbacks meeting in Super Bowl

Brady-Ryan marks rare case of NFL's top two quarterbacks meeting in Super Bowl

For all the flack that Matt Ryan got heading into this season, he’s been a damn good quarterback. Is his career on the same level as Tom Brady’s? Of course not, but this regular season saw him stand as Brady’s peer, making him an MVP favorite.

One of Ryan’s biggest challengers for that hardware is the same man who stands in the way of him winning his first Super Bowl. Though he missed the first four games of the season due to suspension, Brady finished second in the league in passing yards per game and threw just two picks in 12 games while tossing 28 touchdowns.  

So Super Bowl LI will pin the quarterback with the best numbers overall (Ryan finished two touchdowns behind Aaron Rodgers for the league lead but threw for 516 more yards and had a higher completion percentage) against the quarterback with the best touchdown/interception ratio ever for a single season. 

In other words, this is a Super Bowl that puts what one could argue are the season’s two best quarterbacks each other. That’s pretty rare. 

Going back the last 25 years, there are four candidates for such meetings: Manning vs. Brees in Super Bowl XLIV, Favre and Elway in Super Bowl XXXII (this one is a stretch), Favre and Bledsoe in Super Bowl XXXI and Kelly and Rypien in Super Bowl XXVI.. 

Why haven’t the two best quarterbacks squared off in the Super Bowl more often? Because Brady and Peyton Manning played their entire careers in the same conference, silly. It’s taken other players entering their echelon to even set up such a scenario, and that’s why Brees’ Saints beating Manning’s Colts serves as the only example during Manning or Brady’s career. 

The strong performances of those who dominated the regular season have often carried over into their Super Bowl meetings, but not always. Drew Bledsoe and Jim Kelly (both throwing two touchdowns and four picks in Super Bowl losses) are examples of the wheels falling off in the final game. 

Here’s a breakdown of past occurrences. Note that all four of them saw the winning team score at least 30 points, something the Pats have done just once in Brady's four Super Bowl wins: 

Super Bowl XLIV: Brees vs. Manning

Brees led NFL with 34 touchdowns in regular season; Manning finished tied for second with 33

Final score: Saints 31, Colts 17

Brees: 32/39, 288 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Manning: 31/45, 333 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Brees completed a postseason in which he had no turnovers and did so in a nearly exactly average game for him that season, as e averaged 292.5 yards, 2.26 touchdowns and less than one interception per game in the regular season. The two quarterbacks also combined for just one sack. 
 
Super Bowl XXXII: Favre vs. Elway

Favre led NFL with 35 TDs in regular season, Elway finished second in TD/interception ratio

Final score: Broncos 31, Packers 24

Favre: 25/42, 256 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, fumble lost 
Elway: 12/22, 123 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

Again, this is the forced one because Jeff George (3,917 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, nine interceptions) had the better regular season than Elway (3,635 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, 11 picks). Elway may have been the winning quarterback, but he didn’t have anything to do with the win. Terrell Davis carried the Broncos, playing through a migraine and rushing for 157 yards with three touchdowns en route to Super Bowl MVP honors. 

Super Bowl XXXI: Favre vs. Bledsoe

Favre led NFL with 39 TDs, Bledsoe third with 27

Final Score: Packers 35, Patriots 21

Favre: 14/27, 246 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Bledsoe: 25/48, 253 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT

Both quarterbacks took five sacks in this game. For Bledsoe, it was the most he took all season. The game was the third four-pick performance of his NFL career. 

Super Bowl XXVI: Kelly vs. Rypien

Kelly led NFL with 33 TDs, Rypien second with 28

Final score: Redskins 37, Bills 24

Rypien: 18/33, 292 yards, 2 TD, INT
Kelly: 28/58, 275 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT, fumble lost

Turns out five turnovers (and being sacked four times) is not a recipe for winning the Super Bowl. Kelly’s 58 passes thrown set a Super Bowl record.
 

Dimitroff, Pioli the first Belichick defectors to lead new team to Super Bowl

Dimitroff, Pioli the first Belichick defectors to lead new team to Super Bowl

Working for the Patriots makes you attractive to other teams. Many have left, but Thomas Dimitroff and Scott Pioli are finally showing that major success can be attained in the process. 

Dimitroff and Pioli have built a team in Atlanta that will play for the franchise’s first Super Bowl title on Feb. 5. While many have been hired away from Bill Belichick's Patriots to lead other organizations, Dimitroff is the first of the defectors to get to the Super Bowl on his own. Adding an old friend in Pioli has played a part in that. 

Dimitroff served as New England’s director of college scouting from 2003 through 2007 before becoming Atlanta’s general manager in 2008. He hired Pioli in 2014 as an assistant GM after the longtime Patriots director and vice president of player personnel had a messy stint as the Chiefs’ GM. 

Executives and coaches (even Field Yates; yes, the fair-haired boy from the television) leaving the Patriots for better positions with other organizations has been common, but with the new positions have often come diminished success compared to New England. 

Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Bill O’Brien, Charlie Weis (in his brief return to the NFL in 2010) and Josh McDaniels make up the list of coordinators who have left winning with the Patriots to experience a dropoff without Brady and Belichick. John Robinson (Titans), Jason Licht (Buccaneers) and Bob Quinn (Lions) currently serve as GMs elsewhere, while former Pats secondary coach Joe Collier works with Dimitroff and Pioli as the Falcons’ director of pro personnel. 

It’s only fitting that Dimitroff and Pioli will have to go through Belichick in order to secure a title on their own. Winning without Belichick has proven hard enough for his former colleagues; winning against him will be even harder.