Best Sports Bars to Watch the New England Patriots Outside of Boston

With three Super Bowl titles in the last twelve years, you can guarantee that there are plenty of New England Patriots fans outside of Boston.  Today, we’ll be taking a look at the best and oldest Patriots watch party locations at sports bars across the nation.  Notably, these bars also double as a great place to watch the Red Sox. If your city is not mentioned on this list, you can still locate where to watch the Patriots with other fans in your area by using the search feature on WhereToWatch.com.  Here are five of our favorite Patriots watch party locations across the country:

5. B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub & Restaurant – Austin, Texas

B.D. Riley’s in Austin is self described as a “home away from home” for Patriots fans in Texas.  Pats fans have been meeting here for twelve years, and they often have more than twenty-five New England fans for each game.  Not only does B.D. Riley’s guarantee that each and every Patriots game will be televised, they also have drink specials and often hold gameday give-aways.  There’s no doubt that these guys are serious about their Pats, they even have a newsletter and an entire page of their website dedicated to the Austin Patriots Fan Club!

4.  Sonny McLean’s Irish Pub – Santa Monica, California

Sonny McLean’s is a west coast bar with a New England vibe. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think you’re actually in Boston. As they say here, “Who says you’re 3000 miles away?”

Are we in Foxborough? Nope, Sonny McLean’s is an Irish pub located in Santa Monica, California and owned by Jim and Fran Conners, two transplanted Bostonians.  Sonny Mc’s is always packed with Patriots fans and they serve clam chowder and lobster rolls during the games.  For the 1:00 PM (Eastern) games, you can find fans there as early as 9:30 (Central) in the morning!  So if the Pats have an early game, don’t worry about breakfast, just grab a pint and watch the game with a bunch of displaced New England fans.

3.  Toso’s Sports Bar & Grill – Phoenix, Arizona

The Patriots Fan Club of Arizona has been getting together for over 15 years and they do it at Toso’s in North Phoenix.  The Pats fans that gather here are loud, proud, and most importantly organized.  With a group that boasts over 700 members, they have weekly raffles and Pats gear giveaways for members.  According to their website, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his wife have even made it to one of their gatherings.  Talk about some true Patriots klout!

2. Professor Thom’s Bar & Restaurant – New York, NY

Professor Thom’s is a great Patriots bar in New York city.  It has a 41-foot bar, a large selection of draft beers, a second floor lounge with a private screening room, 17 flat-screen televisions, and a High-Definition Projector that only shows the Patriots during the games.  Professor Thom’s Boston affiliation is well known throughout New York and when the Pats are playing, this place packs out.  Just check out this video filmed at Thom’s about rooting for a team in enemy territory. Classic. As you can see, Professor Thom’s is also a great place in New York to watch Red Sox and Celtics games (as well as University of Michigan football).

1. Murphy’s Pub Alexandria – Alexandria, Virginia

Since the early 90′s, Patriots fans around the Washington D.C. area have been heading to Murphy’s to watch the Patriots play.  They describe the Patriots fans that frequent the bar as the “most die hard, energetic crew of fans that a football team could ever ask for.”

Just part of the fans that gather at Murphy’s in Alexandria, Virginia during Patriots games. (Photo via PatsFans4Ever.com)

Patriots watch parties are generally held on Murphy’s second floor, which features a large projector screen that everyone can see, even when it’s packed with Pats fans.  And you can guarantee that they’ll always have the sound of the game, even when the Redskins are playing.  They also have numerous food and drink specials for Pats fans while the games are on.  The good people at Murphy’s said to show up early on game day because Pats fans pack this place out quickly.  No matter what time the Patriots play, Murphy’s will be open one to two hours before game time to allow for a little “indoor tailgating.”

Honorable Mention: Connecticut Yankee - San Francisco, California

Who would’ve ever thought that a bar named the “Yankee” would be a Patriots and Red Sox bar?  That’s exactly what we have in this divey-type bar located in San Francisco.  They even have menu items named after famous (or infamous) Sox, Celtics, and Patriots players, such as the Bill Buckner (roasted turkey) or the Bill Russell (a twist on the classic “hero” sandwich). I see what you did there.

By: Todd Davis
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Should your favorite sports bar be on this list? Know of an epic watch party for the Patriots or another team that’s worth talking about? Let us know about it! info@WhereToWatch.com. (Thanks to Mike Reiss for his original work on this topic.)

Top 10 NFL Running Backs of All Time

With the NFL season less than a week away, players are chomping at the bit to get after it with someone else other than their practice squad.  Fans, (myself included) are ready to see some great Sunday afternoon smash-mouth football.  All thirty-two NFL teams would love to have a great running game, and the reality is, that it all comes down to the quality of your back.  Today, we’re seeing a lot more of the “two back” system, because the reality is, every team doesn’t have a back with all of the qualities of a three-down back such as Arian Foster or Ray Rice.  In honor of the retired greats who have made the running back position so popular, here are my top ten NFL running backs of all time. (*Note: only backs that have played an entire career and are currently retired are in this list).  
 

“The Bus” ran over opponents for 13 seasons and ended his career with a Super Bowl win in his hometown of Detroit.

#10- Jerome Bettis (1993-2005- Rams/Steelers)
“The Bus” is probably the largest running back in NFL history to have the most success.  For thirteen seasons, he used his great footwork and power running to rush for 13,662 yards and 91 rushing touchdowns for the Rams and Steelers.  He ended his career in storybook fashion, by winning Super Bowl XL in his hometown of Detroit. 
 
#9- Tony Dorsett (1977-1988- Cowboys/Broncos)
During Dorsett’s twelve year career he rushed for 1,000 or more yards eight times with his best effort coming in 1981 when he rushed for 1,646 yards.  For his career he rushed for 12,739 yards and 77 rushing touchdowns.  He holds the NFL record for longest run from scrimmage at ninety-nine yards against the Vikings on Monday Night Football in 1983.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994.
 
#8- Eric Dickerson (1983-1993- Rams/Colts/ Raiders/ Falcons)
During Dickerson’s eleven seasons, he rushed for 13,259 yards and 90 rushing touchdowns.  He made six Pro Bowls from 1983-1988 and was a four time NFL rushing champion between 1983-1988.  During his first year of eligibility in 1999, Dickerson was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  He still has the single season rushing record in the NFL during the 1984 season at 2,105 yards.  
 
#7- Curtis Martin (1995-2005- Patriots/Jets)
During Martin’s eleven seasons in the NFL, he rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of them up to his final year.  His 14,101 rushing yards is fourth most all-time in NFL History.  He was a five time Pro Bowler between 1995-2004, and became the oldest leading rusher in a single season at thirty-one years of age in 2004 with 1,697 yards.  He was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past August.
 
#6- O.J. Simpson (1969-1979- Bills/49ers)
O.J Simpson’s five 1,000 yard rushing seasons and six Pro Bowl selections were just some of the highlights of his eleven year pro career.  In 1973, he became the first pro player to rush for over 2,000 yards in a single season by gaining 2,003 yards.  From 1972-1976 Simpson won the NFL rushing title four times.  For his career Simpson  gained 11,236 yards and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1985.  Simpson’s legal issues have highlighted his post football life, highlighted by his acquittal in the 1994 murder of his late ex-wife and her boyfriend.
 
#5- LaDainian Tomlinson (2001-2011- Chargers/Jets)
“LT” holds numerous records that he established during his eleven year pro career.  His 13,684 rushing yards ranks fifth all-time.  He holds NFL records for total touchdowns in a single season (31), rushing touchdowns in a single season (28) and most points scored in a single season at 186.  There are plenty more to list, so hit up NFL.com’s stat link, and LT’s more specific career records can blow you away.  He led the NFL in rushing twice and made the Pro Bowl five times between 2002-2007.  On June 18th, 2012, LT signed a ceremonial contract with Chargers to retire with the team he played the majority of his career with.
 

Smith’s 18,355 yards is the set standard for today’s running backs to aim for someday in their careers.

#4- Emmitt Smith (1990-2004- Cowboys/Cardinals)
Smith is the NFL’s all-time rushing leader with an astounding 18,355 yards.  He also holds the NFL record for career rushing touchdowns at 164.  Smith’s longevity at playing fifteen seasons helped him break Walter Payton’s previous record.  Smith’s rushing style wasn’t flashing, but his field vision to follow blockers, leg strength, and stamina made him hard to stop on the field.  For his career, Smith had eight Pro Bowl selections and four NFL rushing titles.  He was selected to the Hall of Fame in 2010.
 
#3- Walter Payton (1975-1987- Bears)
“Sweetness” is the NFL’s longest holder of having the most career rushing yards.  Payton rushed for 16,726 yards, taking the record from Jim Brown in 1984, and held it until 2002 when Emmit Smith broke it.  He was the 1977 NFL MVP, and also was a nine time Pro Bowl selection between 1976-1986.  In February of 1999, Payton died from complications of the bile duct cancer that he had.
 
#2- Barry Sanders (1989-1998- Lions)
Sanders retired ranked second on the NFL’s all-time rushing list behind Walter Payton with 15,269 yards.  Growing up a Lions fan, I may be a bit biased, but if Sanders would have played five more season, like Emmit Smith did, there is no doubt I feel that he would have the all-time record for total rushing yards.  Like Jim Brown, Sanders was a Pro Bowler all ten seasons he played in.  He also led the league in rushing four times between 1990-1997.
 

Brown played in 26 fewer games compared to today’s running backs who play in 16 games per season, but still managed 12,312 yards in 9 seasons.

#1- Jim Brown (1957-1965- Browns)
Jim Brown’s 12,312 yards is ranked ninth all-time.  When Brown retired in 1965, he was still on the top of his game rushing for 1,544 yards, the second most of his career.  The most amazing figure of Brown’s statistics, is that he only played in twelve game seasons between 1957-1960.  The NFL season then expanded to fourteen games for the remainder of his career.  Based on those numbers, Brown missed out on twenty-six games compared to later running backs who had sixteen game seasons. That is almost two seasons of rushing yards that could have been added to his numbers.  Brown was a Pro Bowler every season during his nine year career, and led the league in rushing eight times.

By: Craig Emmert

Football… Finally!

It’s finally that time of year again!  The time of year when all weekend we get truly rewarded for the hard five days we put in on the job all week.  The NFL pre-season already has one game under its belt and all others will have their first game starting this Thursday through Monday.  High school football starts in the next three weeks and college football starts the week before the NFL regular season begins.  There is not a more anticipated time of year than right now for sports fans.  I am ready for some new excitement in the world of sports (no hard feelings to baseball fans) and football does this better than any other sport.  I’m glad the Olympics are going on right now, which will help calm my anxiousness over the coming NFL and college seasons.  Here is a quick look at what we have to look forward to this coming football season at the college and NFL level.

Alabama and LSU, two SEC foes, are the top-ranked teams in college football. The SEC has a stranglehold on the National Championship, winning (at least a share of) the last six national FBS titles.

At the collegiate level, LSU and Alabama both topped the first USA Today pre-season poll with the Tigers, last year’s BCS runner-up getting the number one edge over Alabama.  The two teams play on November third and it should be a great showdown late in the season.  Alabama opens with Michigan September 1st at Texas stadium which should be a good test for Alabama early.  The Crimson Tide also play at Arkansas September 15th which could be their toughest road game of the year early on before they travel to Baton Rouge in November.  LSU has a much favorable schedule before their date with Alabama, but has a tough road test on the final game of the regular season at Arkansas.  The SEC has been the nation’s toughest football conference and it won’t change this season with five teams in the pre-season top ten.  The conference also has had the last six BCS National Champions. 

USC has been the consensus favorite by most to make it to the BCS National Championship game who is coming off a couple of probation years.  Their toughest test will be on October 3rd when they travel to Utah to play the Utes in primetime.  My dark horse this season is the Florida State Seminoles, who start off with an easy schedule with four straight home games, opening with Murray State & Savannah State.  I pick them to beat Clemson on September 22nd, before hitting the road.  Their big test will be on October 20th when they play at Miami and two weeks later play at Virginia Tech.  If they weather through those storms, they may be in the hunt for the BCS title game. 

Two other teams to keep an eye on are Oklahoma and Michigan.  If the Sooners can come in undefeated on November 17th when they play at W. Virginia and similarly when they face TCU in the season finale December 1st, they could also be in the hunt.  Michigan has to pull the opening game upset against Alabama and prove to all that the Big Ten can play with the big boys of the SEC.  They also play at Notre Dame and at Nebraska on October 27th.

From the NFL side of things, there are lots of intriguing story lines entering the 2012 season.  How will the two-quarterback system work in New York with Sanchez and Tebow?  Will the Detroit Lions make a return trip to the post-season and improve on last season’s 10-6 mark?  Will the Saints survive without Sean Payton for the entire season?  Most importantly, who will make it to New Orleans for the Super Bowl this season? 

Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow are certainly creating a stir in New York even though both quarterbacks are widely regarded as mediocre at their position.

The Sanchez-Tebow QB controversy will play itself out and Sanchez will get the starting nod, with Tebow coming in for Wildcat plays and the occasional snap or two.  If Sanchez starts to struggle, don’t look for Rex Ryan to give him a long leash before he lets Tebow loose.  Although the Detroit Lions had a great 2011 campaign, the new Bad Boys of the NFL will take a step back I believe in 2012.  I look for them to finish at 8-8 and just miss the post-season.  Growing up a Detroit fan, I have learned to not get too attached to success, because disappointment is soon to follow. 

The Saints will still have a successful season because, even though they do not have their leader on the sidelines, they still have the heart and soul of their team in the huddle with Drew Brees.  I look for the Saints to win the NFC South and challenge to make it back home for the Super Bowl in February.  My NFL final four goes to New England and Houston in the AFC with Green Bay and New Orleans making it in the NFC.  I won’t pick a winner, but it will be fun to watch these teams fight it our all season long.

The upcoming football season will be exciting to watch on all levels.  The story lines that will be created throughout the season will only glue us more to the action as fans.  Football is back… finally.

By: Craig Emmert

Taking the Power Back: Vilma’s Defamation Lawsuit Provides Players with Glimmer of Hope

Recently, I wrote that the personal defamation lawsuit that New Orleans Saints’ Linebacker Johnathon Vilma filed against Roger Goodell would make Goodell think twice before issuing penalties to players with little or no evidence. Now, it seems as if Goodell is waving the white towel.  Recently, we learned that the settlement offer on the table to Vilma is to drop the lawsuit and, in return, Goodell would reduce Vilma’s season-long suspension to eight games.  In terms of salary, that’s a $2.465 million offer, one that Vilma would be crazy to turn down.

As I discussed before, Vilma does not have much of a chance of winning his defamation suit against Goodell.  For starters, Vilma has the burden to prove that Goodell not only said things about him in the bounty scandal that injured his reputation, but because Vilma qualifies as a public figure, he must prove that Goodell made those statements with malice, which means an “intent to injure.”  Even if Vilma did somehow meet this extremely high burden, Goodell could still use the number one defense in defamation suits: the truth.  It’s not a defamatory statement if it’s true. 

In all likelihood, the entire point of Vilma’s original lawsuit was to gain access to all of the bounty evidence that Goodell and the NFL had through the liberal federal evidence rules.  Causing Goodell a headache by suing him personally?  Well, that was just a bonus.  Now it seems that the lawsuit has caused the NFL to rethink it’s suspension of Vilma, offering to cut the suspension in half.  This either means that 1) the NFL and Goodell don’t want the bad publicity and headache of dealing with a lawsuit, or 2) they don’t have as much bounty evidence as they led everyone to believe and want out.

It’s probably a combination of both, but there’s no way that Vilma doesn’t make some sort of deal at this point.  Either way, it indicates that the NFL wants this thing over. Bad. It’s essentially admitting that they acted too severely and, frankly, opens the NFL and Goodell up to be sued on a more regular basis.  Possibly even instantly since there are three other players who are essentially in the same position as Vilma in regards to defaming their character. Because of this, I could see Goodell and the NFL only committing to a “global” settlement, that would also reduce the all four players suspensions slightly, in order to prevent the inevitable litigation from the other three suspended players.

From Vilma’s perspective, the only reason to pursue the lawsuit is to obtain the defamation evidence or lack thereof, which really won’t do him any good in the end.  The litigation will take over a year and by then, the suspension will be fully served.  Further, courts are reluctant to interfere with the inner workings of disciplinary methods that two sides have agreed upon (the CBA) within organizations. 

The point here is that Vilma sued Goodell personally and benefited.  His lawsuit had merit, but it was not a winning case.  Yet, at this point it is apparent that he’ll have his suspension cut in half and gain over $2.4 million.  Although suing Goodell won’t be the norm after a suspension is handed down, it is definitely one tactic that the players know can work in the future if the right circumstances appear.

Lu’s Locks – NFC and AFC Championship Edition

Well, we are down to the NFL’s final four. The only remaining surprise to me is the 49ers.  I had them falling to the more playoff-experienced Saints last week (and they nearly did–what a game).

I’ve been wrong on these guys before, but I have the 49ers going down again. The Giants could be the hottest team in the NFL right now (albeit, there are only four teams). They are very complete on both sides of the ball.  Assuming Eli stays healthy, this is the LOCK OF THE WEEKEND. Take the Giants -2.5.

The only other team that could be hotter than the Giants are the Patriots (I think they just scored again as I’m writing this). Also, out of all the winning teams last week, the Ravens looked the least impressive. They were lucky to have payed at home against the Texans. I think they would’ve lost to a team with just a bit more talent than Houston.

The Ravens are also having internal issues between the offense and defense. My momma told me to never bet on a team with problems inside their own locker room, and I’m not starting this week. Take the Patriots to cover 7.  That’ll do it for this week.  Good luck!

By: Luis Diz