Friday, August 28, 2015

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em ... right?

            Since the 2001 season, the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts have squared off a combined 18 times in regular and post-season play. Over that 14-year span the two teams have combined for 12 AFC Championships and five Lombardi trophies, four of which reside in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The illustrious rivalry between the two teams brought us arguably the greatest quarterback battle in league history, pitting Tom Brady against Peyton Manning. The media absolutely ate up the Colts-Pats saga and branded it as one of the most touted rivalries in not only football, but in all of professional sports. Most recently the series took a very interesting turn off of the gridiron, as the Colts are considered the instigators behind the Deflategate fiasco which has now taken the football world by storm. The Colts are reported to have contacted league officials regarding those faulty footballs after they took a 45-7 beating in the AFC Championship Game last season from New England.
            While the Patriots-Colts rivalry has been one full of moving parts and factors, one thing has remained constant through it all; Reggie Wayne is a Patriot-killer. In his 16 contests against New England, Wayne has compiled 1,046 receiving yards on 79 receptions, with five touchdown grabs. Safe to say, Wayne has a decorated statistical history against the Pats.
            On Aug. 24, Wayne “went to the dark side” in the eyes of many Colts fans, as he signed a one-year deal with New England that could be worth up to $3 million dollars. Several reports circulated throughout social media about the Packers being possible suitors for Wayne’s services, as they lost their All-Pro wide out Jordy Nelson for the season after a tragic ACL tear in a preseason contest on Sunday. However in a session with the media, Wayne made his motives behind choosing New England very clear, “I want to win. Point blank”.
       Over his 14-year career Wayne has solidified himself as a surefire Hall-of-Famer with remarkable merit both on and off the field. From 2004 to 2010, Wayne exceeded 1,000+ receiving yards over seven-consecutive seasons. The former All-Pro receiver has also reeled in 82 touchdown catches over his career. Wayne, who is seventh all-time in career receptions, is a six-time pro-bowler and in 2006 hoisted the Lombardi trophy as his Colts won Super Bowl XLI.
            While the resume is incredibly impressive, if you are expecting Wayne to come in and deliver a 1,500 receiving yard campaign, then you may find yourself very disappointed come season’s end. Wayne, 36, will no doubt bring some positives to the New England offense, however expect Wayne’s impact to be one that is vital both on-and-off the playing field. Aside from being one of the greatest receivers of his generation, Wayne is a consummate professional. Expect Wayne to be an excellent example and veteran leader for New England’s receiver corp., which includes a promising talent in Julian Edelman.
At this point in time New England’s quarterbacking scenario is very shaky, at least for the first four contests of this upcoming regular season. However, when Brady does make his eventual return to the New England offense, expect Wayne and the reigning Super Bowl MVP to form a dangerous quarterback-receiver tandem. The fountain of experience shared between the two will surely make them a threatening duo whenever they share the field.
You can bet that both Brady and Wayne have Oct. 18 marked brightly on their calendars. Brady, who will likely be coming off his four-game suspension, will be hungry for vengeance against those snitching Colts and Wayne will square off with his former-employer of 14-seasons on the primetime stage of Sunday Night Football. Game-scheduling at its finest from the NFL.
Entering his fifteenth NFL season, Wayne finds himself in a battle with “Father-time” to clinch his second career Super Bowl trophy. From his rookie campaign till now, Wayne has frequently found himself a victim of New England’s excellence, losing 11 times to the Patriots during his career.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em … right? 

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