Mike Vrabel

That 617 Life Podcast: Patriots' ties to a Pats-less Super Bowl

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

That 617 Life Podcast: Patriots' ties to a Pats-less Super Bowl

The Patriots may have been missing from the NFL's Championship Sunday, but that didn't stop them from being mentioned and having their former personnel play prominent roles in the AFC and NFC Championship Games.

Whether it was former Pats linebacker Mike Vrabel coaching the Tennessee Titans against the Kansas City Chiefs or former New England quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo helping the San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers to reach Super Bowl 54, the Patriots continue to be a talked-about team. 

On the latest edition of the "That 617 Life" podcast, Leroy Irvin, Shanda Foster and Cerrone Battle discussed how the Pats still loomed over the games on Sunday.

"You can not say anything bad about the Patriots because we are always constantly producing talent," Foster said. "I think this is the perfect testament to Bill Belichick."

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Battle said it speaks to the dominance of the Patriots the past two decades that connections to their former players and staff are now all over the league.

"That's what happens when you win," Battle said. "When you win, everybody wants a piece. They want your waterboy. Look at the new head coach of the Giants [Joe Judge, the former Patriots special teams and receivers coach]?... When you're good for 20 years eventually you're going to have your roots all over the league. After years and years of success, I'm not shocked by it."

Irvin and Foster said instead of lamenting a rare NFL Final Four without New England, Pats fans should be grateful.

"I wish Patriot Nation would grow up," Irvin said. "By that I mean I'm tired of seeing on social media people just crying and complaining, 'Oh it's boring without the Patriots.' We've had almost two decades of excellence. We're not there. Get over it."

Said Foster, "I was grateful more than anything. Filled with gratitude. We may never see a run like this again."

In his "Hot Takes and Cold Cuts" segment, Battle says those crowning the Super Bowl 54 opponents as the next dynasties might want to pump the brakes a little. 

"First thing I heard [after the games] is, 'Kansas City they're gonna be around for years and San Francisco they're gonna be around for a long time. They're gonna be contenders forever,' " Battle said. "That was the story all day. 'What is anybody gonna do about these teams next year?' What are they gonna do next year? Not even worry about them. Why? Because this is the Not For Long League. The NFL. Every year, the teams that were hot the year before are never guaranteed to be hot the year after that. Unless you're the Patriots."

The crew also gives their reactions to the new Aaron Hernandez Netflix documentary. It's all in this week's "That 617 Life" podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast network. Click here to listen and subscribe.

 

Mike Vrabel thanks 'good friend' Tom Brady for motivating Titans on Instagram

Mike Vrabel thanks 'good friend' Tom Brady for motivating Titans on Instagram

Turns out Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were all bark and no bite.

The Tennessee Titans upset the Patriots 20-13 in the AFC Wild Card Round, shortly after Brady posted an Instagram video likening his team to "lions" who had to fend off the "hyenas" that were the Titans.

Tennessee used Brady's hype video as bulletin board material and trolled the Patriots QB after sending New England packing.

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Titans head coach Mike Vrabel happily continued that trolling in a recent interview with ESPN's Diana Russini.

"I used to call (my players) street rats," Vrabel said. "And then I woke up before the playoff game against the Patriots and Tom, my good friend Tom Brady, put out a really cool -- Instagram, Facebook, whatever he’s on -- post of him being this lion or something and then these hyenas.

"And I’m like, 'You know what? That’s a great compliment.' Because that’s what we want to be. We want to be hyenas. We want to be street rats that live in the jungle that hunt in packs, as a team."

Vrabel, a former Patriots linebacker, spent eight seasons as Brady's teammate in New England and isn't above trading jabs with the 42-year-old QB.

But Vrabel's latest zinger likely cuts deep for Brady, who is set to enter free agency and has extra time to ponder his future after Tennessee's upset.

The "hyenas," meanwhile, are still on the prowl: The Titans face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.

WATCH: Mike Vrabel warms up for pregame vs. Ravens with pushups

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USA TODAY Sports Images

WATCH: Mike Vrabel warms up for pregame vs. Ravens with pushups

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel is up for a monumental task Saturday night when he rolls into Baltimore to try and knock off the No. 1 seeded Ravens.

The former New England Patriots Pro Bowler went through his pregame routine like he normally does—by getting in a workout. Watch as Vrabel gets his burn with some pushups on the sideline:

The No. 6-seeded Titans did the unthinkable last weekend when they upset the Patriots, in Foxborough, in a Wild Card round matchup. It was the first time one of Bill Belichick's former New England players beat him in the postseason as a head coach.

Against the Ravens, the Titans are a 10-point underdog according to Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

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