Nick Foles

Five Patriots plays among Top 30 on NFL 100 list

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Five Patriots plays among Top 30 on NFL 100 list

Last week, the NFL released all but the Top 30 of its 100 greatest plays as part of its 100th-anniversary celebration. Seven plays involving the Patriots cracked that list.

This week, it was a countdown of plays 30 to 1 and the Pats found themselves well-represented again. 

The list was selected by a panel of 50 voters (the same panel that votes for the NFL Awards and the All-Pro team), including our own Tom E. Curran, who listed his Top 20 plays earlier this summer, here. Voters were given a ballot of 100 plays and asked to rank 50.

The rest of the countdowns on NFL Network continue next week with Greatest Games (Sept. 27 & Oct. 4), Characters (Oct. 11 & Oct. 18), Game-Changers (Oct. 25 & Nov. 1) and Teams (Nov. 8 & Nov. 15).

The No. 1 play was Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception" touchdown in the Pittsburgh Steelers' December 1972 playoff victory over the Oakland Raiders.



Benintendi ALCS Game 4 catch is AP's play of the year

USA TODAY Sports photo

Benintendi ALCS Game 4 catch is AP's play of the year

There may have been better catches, but it'd be hard to find a better and bigger one - given the stakes - than Andrew Benintendi's diving grab in Houston to end the Red Sox's 8-6 victory over the Astros in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. 

The catch of Alex Bregman's bases-loaded liner to left field gave the Sox a 3-1 series lead and is the Associated Press Play of the Year for 2018. 

Here's the AP description:

1. A dive into Red Sox lore

Andrew Benintendi may never make a better catch. The left fielder for the Boston Red Sox made a diving grab to end Game 4 of the AL Championship Series, a huge play on his team's run to the World Series title. Boston led 8-6 in Game 4, up 2-1 in the series, but the bases were loaded in Houston and the crowd at Minute Maid Park was roaring. Alex Bregman hit a liner that was sinking fast, and if it had gotten past Benintendi the Astros would have likely scored three runs to win. But Benintendi dove perfectly, snared the ball just above the grass and the rest is now Red Sox lore — as well as the play of the year.

The Sox, of course, would go on to win Game 5 to wrap up the series and head to the World Series, where they also won in five games over the L.A. Dodgers. That also included a spectacular Benintendi catch in Game 2.  

In fact, AP's Top 3 plays of 2018 had New England connections. But the other two were not so good for the locals.

No. 2 was actually two plays, both shots by Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale: The buzzer-beater that knocked UConn out of the NCAA women's basketball tournament in the national semifinals and her go-ahead hoop two nights later in the final against Mississippi State. 

No. 3 was also two plays, both in which the Patriots were victimized: The Eagles' "Philly Special" touchdown catch by quarterback Nick Foles in Super Bowl 52, and the Dolphins' "Miami Miracle" last-second lateral TD scored by Kenyan Drake that beat the Pats on Dec. 9. 

Ouch. Those still smart.

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Brady on Foles handshake: 'Never my intention' to be a bad sport

Brady on Foles handshake: 'Never my intention' to be a bad sport

FOXBORO -- Before Thursday's preseason game with the Eagles, Tom Brady did something he very rarely does. 

He took the field early. He didn't yet have his pads on. His arrival wasn't accompanied by Jay-Z's "Public Service Announcement." He chatted for a few minutes with Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. Brady then threw a handful of passes to Eric Decker before heading back into the locker room.


What was that about? Hard to say. Brady chose not to answer that part of a two-part question he fielded after beating Philly, 37-28. But it might've been because of rumblings he'd heard about him being a sore loser. 

In Philadelphia, part of the allure of the preseason rematch of Super Bowl LII was that it gave Brady an opportunity to shake the hand of the quarterback that beat him back in February. Brady hadn't tracked down Foles at the end of that Minnesota night. And people remembered. 

Television stations discussed it before the game. (I joined NBC Sports Philadelphia pregame and put the odds at less than 5 percent that Brady and Foles would shake. So mark it down. My first-ever incorrect prediction. It was bound to happen eventually.) Beat writers wrote about it before the game

This had become a thing. And Brady couldn't ignore the noise. 

Was he aware that there was a section of the country wondering whether or not he'd shake hands with Foles, I asked him? 

"I did hear that," Brady said. "I know that was kind of made up to me because that was never my intention. I wouldn't, you know, be a bad sport. 

"I have a lot of respect for Nick and Carson, all those quarterbacks and the way they played. They're a great team. I know how hard it is to win that last game. They did it. Congrats to them. But we're onto 2018. We've got our goal ahead of us. We're going to try to go on and put together a great year."

After Thursday's game, Brady jogged to midfield to meet a trio of Eagles. First, he shook with safety Malcolm Jenkins, who knocked his fastest receiver from the Super Bowl with a hellacious (and legal) hit. 

Then Brady found Foles, clasped his hand and hugged him. The two spoke briefly, cameras all around, before they went their separate ways. 

After that, Brady met with Michael Bennett -- his most imposing competitor in Super Bowl XLIX and the brother of Brady's former teammate Martellus Bennett -- and they chatted before Brady finally headed inside. 

Three Eagles faces. Three pleasant interactions. Three shots at putting to bed a storyline that Brady clearly didn't appreciate -- cringe-worthy as it may have been. Seems like it worked.