Patriots

Why new NFL playoff format could help Patriots in 2020 season

Why new NFL playoff format could help Patriots in 2020 season

NFL teams officially voted Tuesday to expand the playoffs by two teams beginning with the 2020 season.

This change brings the total number of teams earning playoff berths in each conference from six to seven. Therefore, 14 of the league's 32 teams will participate in the postseason, which should create December football excitement for more teams than normal.

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Here's a quick look at the important changes being made (via the league's press release):

—Two additional Wild Card teams – one each in the American and National Football Conferences – will qualify for the playoffs. The No. 1 seed in each conference will receive a bye in the Wild Card round. The remaining division champions in each conference with the best records will be seeded 2, 3, and 4, followed by the next three teams per conference with the best records seeded 5, 6, and 7. 

—AFC and NFC Wild Card games will feature the 2 seed hosting the 7 seed, the 3 seed hosting the 6 seed and the 4 seed hosting the 5 seed. 

—Wild Card Weekend for the 2020 season will consist of three games on Saturday, January 9, and three games on Sunday, January 10, 2021. 

These are welcomed changes for the New England Patriots as they attempt to return to the playoffs in their first full season without Tom Brady starting at quarterback since 2001. Brady left the Patriots in free agency to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leaving 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham as the likely starter for the 2020 season.

The Patriots should still be among the playoff contenders in the AFC without Brady, and the addition of a third wild-card team is definitely helpful in that regard. They have not missed the playoffs since 2008, when Brady suffered a torn ACL in the season opener. A 9-7 record would've been good enough to make the playoffs last season under the new seeding format. The Patriots should be able to go 9-7 with Stidham at the helm.

Winning the AFC East remains very important because it guarantees at least one home playoff game. Earning the No. 1 seed is even more vital because it's now the only position that earns a first-round bye. All six of the Patriots' Super Bowl titles came when they had a playoff bye.

Want Tom Brady's old car? QB is selling tricked-out Cadillac Escalade

Want Tom Brady's old car? QB is selling tricked-out Cadillac Escalade

Tom Brady really is intent on starting a new life in Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers quarterback already parted ways with his Brookline, Mass., home after leaving the New England Patriots in free agency. Now, Brady is putting his car up for sale.

This isn't just any car, of course: Brady is selling his 2017 stretched Cadillac Escalade ESV, which was custom-designed by Becker Automotive Design and cost the QB a cool $350,000.

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What does $350,000 get you in a car? Well, it's 20 feet long, and the inside essentially feels like a stretch limousine, with two "6-way electric reclining VIP seats with electric leg rests," two "aviation style folding tables hand veneered in a burl wood finish" and two television screens: one a 32-inch HD LCD screen and the other a 12-inch rear screen.

Here's a video "tour" of Brady's ride, because that's a thing:

 

In fact, the ex-Patriots QB loved his car so much that he even made a statement about it, claiming it actually helped boost his productivity.

"Parting ways with my Becker ESV won’t be easy," Brady said, via Becker's website. "From day one it became my sanctuary from the outside noise. I took pride in picking out all the customizations of the ESV; from the trim of the seats to the color of the rug.

"With such limited time in my busy schedule the ESV gave me those extra minutes to study my play book, make phone calls and be with my family. Immediately my productivity went up and my stress came down. I hope the next owner will take great care of her; she will always be a part of the Brady family."

There you have it: Patriots fans have a 2017 Escalade in part to thank for the team's Super Bowl LIII victory.

The Cadillac is currently going for $300,000, so if Patriots QB Jarrett Stidham wants to spend half of his rookie signing bonus, the wheels are all his.

Tom Brady recaps 'The Match' with jokes about concussions, ripped pants

Tom Brady recaps 'The Match' with jokes about concussions, ripped pants

There's a good chance Tom Brady had a more eventful Sunday than you.

With much of America hunkered down to ride out the coronavirus pandemic, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback joined Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods on a Florida golf course to play in "The Match," a rain-soaked golf round for charity.

Brady had an up-and-down day: He sunk an incredible shot for birdie and helped raise millions of dollars for COVID-19 relief but also ripped his pants and otherwise played some pretty poor golf as he and Mickelson lost to Manning and Woods.

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So, what did Brady take away from the whole thing? The ex-New England Patriots QB shared some lessons learned Wednesday on Instagram:

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I learned a few lessons from this past weekend’s golf tournament with @philmickelson @tigerwoods and #Peyton...I had a lot of fun and grateful to be part of an event that raised a lot of money for Covid relief: 1. Amazing what happens when groups of people come together for the common good. 2. Peyton is still as clutch as ever. 💯 3. I did not escape the inclement weather...heavy stuff...ALL DAY. 4. I shouldn’t wear the same pants to golf that I wear to church. 🤬 5. As great as @philmickelson is as a golfer, he is a better man, coach and teammate and potentially has the best calves on the PGA Tour. 6. I really enjoy golf...at halftime of football games we get checked for concussions, in golf, you get refreshments. 7. It was nice to be the young guy again. 👍🏼 8. @tigerwoods was a great host and champion, and I was especially thankful he missed that putt on the 7th hole...had he made it, I would have just went home. 😂 9. I’m sticking to my day job 🏈

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

Brady begrudgingly showed Manning some respect after the ex-Colts and Broncos QB made some key shots late in "The Match" and made the obligatory joke about his wardrobe malfunction.

Brady also made a passing reference to concussions -- "I really enjoy golf...at halftime of football games we get checked for concussions, in golf, you get refreshments" -- which is notable considering he recently admitted he's "definitely had concussions" during his 20-year NFL career.

Brady is still going strong entering his age-43 season, though, and added as his last lesson that he's "sticking to my day job."

So, expect TB12 to get back out on the practice field with his Bucs teammates after his brief foray onto the links.