INDIANAPOLIS - How can the New England Patriots slow down the New York Giants pass rush?Holding. On Friday night, I ran into Tim Ryan, co-host of "Movin' The Chains" on SIRIUS XM NFL Radio along with Pat Kirwan. As we talked about the Giants pass rush, he started dropping some eye-popping stats. In the two Conference Champioship games, there was one holding penalty called on a pass play. In the entire playoffs - 792 passing attempts and 10 games - there have been nine holding penalties. Four of those were against the Giants, according to Ryan. Referring to the backup quarterbacks for the Patriots and Giants, Ryan asked me, "You think the NFL wants Brian Hoyer and David Carr in the game Sunday?"Bill Belichick has long subscribed to the theory that you "do business as business is being done."And if the NFL has willingly turned a blind eye to holding in these playoffs, why wouldn't the Patriots try to do business that way until they are penalized? Think about past Super Bowls and the number of blatant holds that were let go. If there's one penalty that's allowed to slide, it's holding. The Super Bowl XLVI officials are an all-star crew led by referee John Parry. My friend Mike Sando from ESPN.com did a breakdown of Parry's penalty calls in 2011 prior to the NFC Championship. Parry's crew called 53 holds this season - third-highest in the NFL. You can take a look at where Parry's regular-season crew checked in on all the penalties. Might as well bring this up, too. Parry was the referee in 2007 when the Patriots beat the Colts 24-20 despite a franchise-record 10 penalties for 146 yards against them. I was working for NBCSports.com at the time and, after watching the game a second time, found eightofficiating mistakes that went against New England. The accounting from that game:1. Two officials with an unimpeded view of the play rule Colts receiver Aaron Moorehead in bounds on a first-quarter reception even though his left foot landed entirely out of bounds.
2. A neutral-zone infraction on the Patriots in the first quarter that gave the Colts a first down on third-and-2. Two Patriots flinched at the same time and readjusted while a Colts offensive lineman jumped. It didnt appear either got into the neutral zone.
3. Colts' tight end Dallas Clark hauling down Patriots safety Rodney Harrison in the end zone, preventing a chance at an interception.
4. An inadvertent flag on New England for having offensive lineman Russ Hochstein lined up as an eligible receiver despite the fact the announcement was made before the play that Hochstein was eligible.
5. A 40-yard pass interference penalty on Patriots corner Ellis Hobbs despite his picture-perfect coverage against Reggie Wayne.
6. A defensive holding (or pass interference) non-call on Colts linebacker Gary Brackett as he covered New England running back Kevin Faulk.
7. A phantom offensive pass interference call on Patriots' receiver Randy Moss inside the Colts 10.
8. A block in the back by Colts wide receiver Moorehead on Patriot Rashad Baker during Joseph Addais 73-yard touchdown reception.
So Parry owes the Pats one. Or eight.
NEW ORLEANS -- There will be a significant faction of Celtics Nation who will see DeMarcus Cousins’ trade to New Orleans as a lost opportunity for the C's, who could have offered a much more enticing trade package than the one the Sacramento Kings accepted.
The Kings received nothing even remotely close to a king’s ransom for Cousins, acquiring him in exchange for rookie Buddy Hield, journeyman Langston Galloway and ex-Pelican Tyreke Evans (who has never been the same since his Rookie of the Year season in 2010), along with a protected first-round pick and a future second-round selection.
While the knee-jerk reaction is to focus on why Boston decided to not pursue a trade for Cousins, more important is what the non-decision means for the moment and going forward.
Think about what the Celtics have done in the last three-plus seasons.
They went from being a lottery team to one that has the second-best record in the East. They're holding the potential No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft; at worst, the pick will be in the top four or five. They have three of the most team-friendly contracts (Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder) in the NBA. They have promising prospects overseas as well as in the D-League. And they're led by a coach who has improved his coaching acumen -- and the team’s win total -- every year he's been on the job.
And it's all enveloped by a culture with a high level of selflessness, which has created a locker-room environment that has been more about fighting for each other than fighting one another or others off the court.
Do you really think Cousins’ talent would have trumped the baggage he'd be bringing to the Celtics if they'd acquired him?
For him to have fit in with this team would have required him to make the kind of changes that, frankly, I just don’t see him being capable of making at this point.
On more than one occasion, “not fitting in” with the Celtics culture was given to me as the reason why a Cousins-to-Boston trade never gained any traction with the team’s brass. Or coaching staff, for that matter.
While there's no denying that he's arguably the best center in the NBA, Cousins is a high-risk, high-reward talent that makes sense to pursue if you're a franchise which has nothing to lose by adding him to the mix. Like, say, New Orleans.
The Pelicans are 11th in the Western Conference despite having Anthony Davis, who has been asked to carry the weight of a franchise that has yet to figure out the best combination of talent to surround him with and find success.
The addition of Cousins not only provides Davis some major help, but serves as a reminder of just how desperate the Pelicans are.
While there are mixed reports on whether the package of assets the Kings agreed to was the best they could have received for Cousins, there was no way they were going to get anything close to comparable talent in exchange for him.
And that was solely due to the risk that any team was willing to take on in order to acquire him.
At some point, the Celtics need to take advantage of an opportunity to go all-in for a superstar player. But this was not that time, or that player.
Amica Insurance proudly donates $500 during every Boston Celtics game to Boston Children's Hospital.