Patriots

Report: Patriots expected to reunite with kicker Nick Folk?

Report: Patriots expected to reunite with kicker Nick Folk?

The Patriots have found a kicker, but he's no stranger to New England. 

The Patriots are expected to re-sign Nick Folk, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. However, Folk, recovering from an appendectomy, will kick today to see if he's healthy enough to kick against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. If Folk feels good, he'll likely sign with the Patriots, if not, then it'll be another week before he returns.

New England released Kai Forbath after the 28-22 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday. Folk was released last week following the appendectomy. 

New England has gone through four kickers this season after having only two (Stephen Gostkowski and Adam Vinatieri) the previous 23 years. Gostkowski (season-ending injury), Mike Nugent, Folk and Forbath have all kicked for the Pats in 2019.

Bill Belichick did try to claim former San Francisco 49ers rookie Chase McLaughlin off waivers, but the Indianapolis Colts claiming McLaughlin foiled his plan. 

When asked about Folk at Friday morning's press conference, Belichick had nothing to add and would neither confirm nor deny the report. 

In three games with the Patriots, Folk, 35, who previously kicked for the Cowboys, Jets and Buccaneers, has made seven of nine field goals and all three extra-point attempts. 

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NFL conference championships see ratings drop without Patriots

NFL conference championships see ratings drop without Patriots

Love 'em or hate 'em, the New England Patriots garner the attention of the masses.

That was evident during last year's AFC Championship game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, when an average crowd of 53.9 million people tuned in to watch the Patriots win in an overtime thriller and advance to Super Bowl 53.

To put that into perspective, this year's late-window matchup between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers drew only 42.7 million viewers, per Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily.

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Of course, much of that discrepancy has to do with Pats-Chiefs being far more competitive than Packers-Niners. Plenty of viewers likely tuned out of the latter matchup when San Francisco led Green Bay 27-0 at halftime.

Even so, it just goes to show how much more attention is paid to the NFL playoffs when Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the rest of New England is involved. This year's AFC Championship featuring the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs marked the first without the Patriots since 2011, and it was the smallest audience (41.1 million) for an AFC title game in 11 years.

In comparison, the early game in 2019 (Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints) averaged roughly 44 million.

The Chiefs and 49ers will meet in Miami for Super Bowl 54. It'll be interesting to see how those ratings compare to last year's Patriots-Rams matchup.

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George Kittle celebrated Super Bowl berth with hilarious Jimmy Garoppolo shirt

George Kittle celebrated Super Bowl berth with hilarious Jimmy Garoppolo shirt

George Kittle had a little fun with his quarterback after the San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers in Sunday night's NFC Championship Game to clinch a berth in Super Bowl LIV.

The All-Pro tight end showed up to his postgame press conference with a custom t-shirt that included a shirtless photo and autograph of 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Check it out in the tweet below:

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Garoppolo was asked by reporters about Kittle's shirt, and he couldn't hold back his laughter.

“I got him earlier in the week with a shirt, showed it to the media and everything, so he had to get me back a little bit," a smiling Garoppolo said, per 95.7 The Game. "I thought it was a nice shirt he had on. Maybe we’ll get them in the team store soon.”

Garoppolo is no stranger to the Super Bowl. He made two Super Bowl appearances with the New England Patriots as Tom Brady's backup, and in two weeks he'll make his first start on that stage.

The 49ers quarterback hasn't had to play at an elite level for his team to reach the Super Bowl, but that should change in Miami on Feb. 2. The AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs have an offense that looks unstoppable right now, so Garoppolo likely will need to play one of his best games as a pro to give San Francisco a strong chance to win its sixth Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.

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