If the Patriots showdown with the Ravens Sunday night comes down to kicking, it'll be the guy Bill Belichick called "the best kicker in the history of the league" on one side and a guy who Belichick thought earlier this week had last been playing in "the World League or whatever it is."
In talking to reporters this week, Belichick called the Ravens' Justin Tucker the best kicker in NFL history.
“He’s the best kicker in the history of the league, right?” Belichick said from the podium this week. “I mean, yeah. We were fortunate enough to block one against him the last time we played him, but it’s not easy.”
Tucker did beat Belichick and the Pats with a field goal in 2012. Although many wonder - including Belichick vociferously at the time - if that kick was really good. Watch it here (LINK).
In any event, that's high praise coming from a coach who's only employed, on a regular basis, two kickers in his 20 years with the Patriots - Stephen Gostkowski and Adam Vinatier, who might give Tucker some competition in the best-kicker-ever category.
Statistically, Tucker is the most accurate kicker in NFL history. His career 90.681 field goal percentage (253-for-279) is the only one over 90. He's 16-for-16 this season and has tied for the NFL record for most 50-plus yarders in a game (three) and a season (10), both in 2016, and has a 61-yarder (in a dome) on his resume.
And Folk? Signed by the Patriots this week after they cut Mike Nugent, who replaced the injured Gostkowski for four games, Folk last kicked in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for four games in 2017 and his last pro experience wasn't the "World League" but this past spring in the short-lived Alliance of American Football for something called the Atlanta Legends.
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The people's court is now in session. The topic of debate: Who made who, Bill Belichick or Tom Brady?
The two New England Patriots greats will always be inextricably linked for the success they've had in creating the Patriots dynasty. Together, the duo has won six Super Bowl titles and has overseen the most dominant two-decade stretch in NFL history.
Still, the question of who is chiefly responsible for the team's success has long been a debate among the New England faithful. And this week, Shanda, Cerrone, and Leroy take a deeper dive into the case for both sides on the latest episode of "That 617 Life Podcast".
Cerrone kicks off the "trial" by defending Brady, arguing that his on-field play and his arrival to the team snapped the Patriots out of the funk that they were in for most of the early part of their franchise's existence.
[The Patriots] were the team that nobody wanted to use in TecmoBowl. Now, for everybody in America, you're cheating if you use Tom Brady in Madden.
Furthermore, from Cerrone:
There's teams in the NFL over the past 20 years that still haven't defeated Tom Brady. Still, over 20 seasons. There are organizations and fan bases that still have not seen a victory in front of Tom Brady.
As for the case for Belichick, Leroy laid out a simple case for Belichick and called him "possibly the greatest coach in sports history."
Hear more of the trial and thoughts on the latest Boston sports stories on the latest episode of the "That 617 Life Podcast", which drops every Friday as part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.
It's no longer a mystery who will kick for the New England Patriots vs. the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
The Patriots are expected to officially re-sign Nick Folk on Saturday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Folk was released by the team and replaced with Kai Forbath prior to last week's game vs. the Houston Texans after undergoing an appendectomy.