Patriots

Titans GM played key role in rebuilding the current Pats

tennessee-titans-gm-jon-robinson-11018.jpg

Titans GM played key role in rebuilding the current Pats

FOXBORO - "This isn't college. This is the National Football League."

That's Bill Belichick's go-to line whenever he's asked about players on opposing teams who once played for the Patriots. Rather than get into a discussion as to how his experience with that player might help him in the upcoming game -- or how that player might be able to help his new team beat the Patriots -- Belichick pushes past it. 

MORE PATRIOTS:

Happens almost every week, he insists, and he's right. 

This week it goes beyond the roster, though. The Patriots have a handful of former players on the Titans in Logan Ryan, Matt Cassel and Josh Kline, but they also have a former front-office member in Tennessee. 

Titans general manager Jon Robinson cut his teeth with the Patriots as an area scout, then climbed the ladder to eventually become Belichick's director of college scouting. 

One of Robinson's biggest contributions to the Patriots still resonates in New England, and it's one of the reasons the Patriots are the favorites to win the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year. In 2010, Robinson was in charge of college scouting when he became enamored with a mammoth tight end out of the University of Arizona. 

"One of the players that I really liked a lot was Rob Gronkowski," Robinson told Peter Schrager in Robinson's first offseason in Tennessee. 

"We went back and forth on him quite a bit. I put a lot of tapes together of him versus Patrick Chung, [Arizona] played Oregon, and he had a really good game that game...He had a really good game against Patrick that game. 

"We went back and forth on Rob. We were fortunate enough to end up getting him there in the second round. I wouldn't say that I was the one that found him . . . It wasn't like he was a secret, but I felt like he really fit what we wanted to be offensively. Through a lot of work on him, we ended up getting him, and he's more than panned out for sure."

Robinson added: "I thought if the injuries checked out and our medical staff was able to manage him and keep him healthy, he could be a really special player. It's a testament to Rob, too, he really earned everything he's got there."

Schrager's interview with Robinson is a good listen for those interested on how someone can rise from being a linebackers coach at Nicholls State to the GM of a playoff team. Relationships helped (former Patriots front-office man Jason Licht opened the door for Robinson to get his start in New England), as did impressive work on the road (his report on South Carolina defensive end Kalimba Edwards before the 2002 draft wowed then-Patriots personnel chief Scott Pioli). 

Though there are many examples of the ways in which the Patriots benefitted from Robinson's 12 years with the team - they drafted Gronkowski, Chung, Ryan, Sebastian Vollmer, Julian Edelman, Devin McCourty, Nate Solder, Shane Vereen, Marcus Cannon, Chandler Jones, Dont'a Hightower, Nate Ebner, Jamie Collins, and Duron Harmon with Robinson's as director of college scouting - they're hoping he hasn't constructed a Titans roster capable of beating them at Gillette Stadium this weekend. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Patriots vs. Chiefs weather: Latest forecast for AFC Championship Game

usatsi_11989990_133468180_lowres.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Patriots vs. Chiefs weather: Latest forecast for AFC Championship Game

The temperatures at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City for Sunday night's AFC Championship Game between the Chiefs and New England Patriots are expected to be in the 20s, which is actually a bit warmer than some of the projections from earlier in the week.

Here's the latest weather forecast for Patriots-Chiefs:

So, according to the data above, we're probably not going to see the arctic blast or single digit temperatures that were projected on Monday, but it's still going to be quite cold.

The Patriots, of course, are no strangers to playing in cold weather. In fact, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is 24-4 in games where the temperature is below 30 degrees, as it will be Sunday. Brady also is 5-1 in games where the temperature is less than 20 degrees. 

The coldest game of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' career was 27 degrees against the Baltimore Ravens earlier in the season. KC won in dramatic fashion in overtime. Mahomes and the Chiefs played very well in snowy conditions last Saturday during their AFC Divisional Round win over the Indianapolis Colts at home.

The Patriots will be battling the cold and history Sunday. Only two teams in NFL history have won a conference championship game on the road despite having a losing record away from home during the regular season, and no team has won a conference title game on the road since 2012.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device

Rams vs. Saints live stream: Watch NFC Championship Game online

usatsi_11597185_133468180_lowres.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Rams vs. Saints live stream: Watch NFC Championship Game online

The first team to clinch a berth to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta will be the winner of Sunday's NFC Championship Game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams.

These teams were the top two seeds in the NFC playoffs, and the Saints are hoping homefield advantage helps them beat the Rams and clinch their first conference title since 2009. The Rams are in the NFC Championship Game for the first time since moving to Los Angeles and last made the Super Bowl during the 2001 season as the St. Louis Rams.

We could see a rematch of that 2001 Super Bowl if the New England Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs on the road in the AFC Championship Game. It would provide another thrilling chapter in the Boston vs. Los Angeles sports rivalry, and give Rams fans an opportunity for revenge after a crushing Super Bowl XXXVI defeat. A Patriots-Saints Super Bowl would give fans a legendary battle between two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history: Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees. These quarterbacks have never met in the Super Bowl, but have defied the odds by playing at an elite level into their 40s.

The Patriots and Chiefs already will know who they would play in the Super Bowl by the time the AFC title game gets underway at Arrowhead Stadium.

Here's how to watch Saints vs. Rams online.

When: Sunday, Jan. 20 at 3:05 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Live Stream: FOX Sports GO

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device