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POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 2, 2015 Page 9 * Thoughts by Dan (Continued from Page 6) black cat became solidified :in his role as the archrival. Jerry also found his own .army with his little nephew Nibbles {also called Tufty) and his voracious appetite and a downhearted duckling. There were also a series of one shot wonders llke the woodpecker family in Hatch Up Your Trouble, the home- sick lion of Jerry and the Lion, and Jerry's Uncle Pecos from Pecos Pest. Certain things in the Tom & Jerry series remained constant. The duo never spoke (except as gag punc- tuations when Tom would imitate Charles Boyer). All gags were visual based and the genius of Tom & Jerry is how much personality Hanna and Barbera were able to infuse in those two with virtually no dialogue. Humans were hardly ever seen from above the waist and were little more than peripheral contributors to the storyline. Unlike most other cartoons of the war years, no political carica- tures appeared save one time Jerry painted a Hitler moustache on a picture of Tom early on in the series. But the most crucial thing that Hanna and Barbera did to ensure the timeless and universal appeal of Tom & Jerry is make their relation- ship far more complex than a simple cat and mouse rou- tine. Jerry, first of all, was never guaranteed a victory. He got away as far as his wit would take him but, his cockiness occasionally turned the tables and Tom got the upper hand. Finally, with Sylvester and Tweety and :then the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote the chase was motivated simply by predation. Tom occasionally thought of Jerry as fodder, but more often it was simply to guard the house, end an annoyance, or simply responding to provocation. Such a complicated relation- ship sometimes, though not often, led to a partnership in which they temporarily forgot their rivalry. In those moments, no matter, how rare, a certain affection between the two was appar- ent. Certainly, neither one could exist without the stimulation from the other. And the millions of fans around the world would never take anything less than the most famous cat and mouse in history together. Greater Boston's Affordable Private Cemete00 TraditionaLBurial Plot (for 2) Starting at $1600 - Effective March 1, 2014 ST. MICHAEL C00TEi00Y0000kTM00kT 5oo Camerburv Street The Resf,ecc/d W; Boston. MA 02131 617.524.1036 Serving, the Italian Community www.stmichaelcemetery.com for Ov loo Years: BANQUET HALL CELEBRATING 20 YEARS 1994 - 2014 THANKS TO OUR LOYAL CUSTOMERS For over the the past 20 years Spinelli's Banquet Hall has had the pleasure to serve our customers and help them celebrate Wedding Receptions, Ouinceniera, Showers, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Meetings. We thank you for the opportunity to serve you and to help you and your family create memories that last a lifetime. The Roberto Family 280 BENNINGTON STREET, EAST BOSTON, MA Telephone: 617-567-4499 www.spinellis.com , : " -  with Christian A. Guarino Patriots Fall to BillS, Await Playoffs on January 10 th With the top seed in the AFC playoffs wrapped up thanks to a Denver Bron- cos loss in Cincinnati last Monday night, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots had nothing further to prove in the 2014 regular season. 9 Despite a league best 35 straight wins at home versus AFC foes (16 overall) and the fact that Buffalo had not defeated them at Gillette Stadium (0-12), ever, the lone goal heading into their regular season finale versus the Buffalo Bills was to stay healthy. The outcome: The Patriots emerged virtu- ally unscathed, and the 9-7 Bills f'mally won a game at Gillette. But even with their 17-9 victory, Buffalo would be wise to not get used to this new found success. *We always hate losing." said Brady. The game was a glorified pre-season game as Belichick elected to keep Tom Brady's two favorite toys, tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman, off the ative roster. With linemen Sebastian Vollmer and Dan Connolly also out of com- mission, it was a bit surprising to see the Patriots play Brady the entire first half. Despite his presence, in which he failed to throw a touchdown pass, as they have been for over a month, the Patriots offense was completely out of synch."This game was an opportunity for us to give some guys that haven't had a lot of playing time an opportu- nity to play a little bit," Belichick said. "You never know how that's going to turn out in the games ahead: who we'll need orwhen we'll need them. So, get them a little game experience, and we also obviously competed agnst a good team." , The second half saw rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo get first team reps (if' you can label them that), completing 10 of 17 passes for 90 yards 17 but showing an ability to keep plays alive with his legs. Garoppolo looked poised in the pocket despite being sacked three times. "Plenty of room for improvement," Garoppolo said after the game. "There were some good things, some bad things, things to learn from, and it will only help me going forward." By the time Garoppolo entered the game, the Patriots were without three offensive linemen as left tackle Nate Solder left the game in the second quarter with what appeared to be a right knee injury. "I thought Jimmy competed well," said Belichick. "He was under some pressure. Some of the opportunities where he had to make plays, he made them. There are defi- nitely some positive things there. There are also some things to learn from and build on." Next up for the Patriots is a divisional round playoff matchup versus either the Bengals, Colts or Ravens on Saturday, Janu- ary 10 th at 4:35 pm. With two weeks to pre- pare, the Patriots will need to find some remedy for whatever it is that's ailing the offense. "All the records (regular season), those are gone and the teams that play the best advance. So hopefully we're at the best and most healthiest we can most possibly be in two weeks and we've got to go out there and let it rip. I'm excited for this time of year. It's a great opportunity for us. This is what we play for." 2014 REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS The Patriots finished the 2014 regular season in the top-10 of points 'per game scored and allowed. Scoring an average of 29.25 points per game, good for fourth, while allowing 19.56, ranking as the eighth stin- giest defense. In the all important category of turnover differential, the Patriots finished Tied for 2rid with the Houston Texans However their 13 Giveaways tied with the Green Bay Packers for the fewest in the NFL. The Patriots also finished in the top-10 in terms of Red Zone (within the 20-yard line) for both offense Ninth (39 of 67) and Defense 6th (22 of 46) (These stats are based on red-zone Touch- down percentage) BRADY RESTRUCTURES CONTRACT With key players set to hit free agency at the end of the 2014-15 season, the Patriots received some cap relief from Quarterback Tom Brady. On Monday, Brady agreed to re- structure his contract giving the team an added $24 million to re-sign players like Safety Devin McCourty among others. This move instantly improves the likeli- hood of Cornerback Darrelle Revis return- ing to the team past this season. Revis is on a 2-year, $32 million deal that will bring a cap hit of $25 million in 2015. That's just not going to happen. With Brady reworking his deal, the team now has the ammuni- tion to rework the Revis deal, adding some years and bringing that cap number down in 2015. JETS TAMPERING Mondays firing of New York Jetshead coach Rex' Ryan by team owner Woody Johnson came as no surprise. What was shocking was the continued ignorance of that organization. In an effort to perhaps inject some hope into a hopeless situation, Johnson remarked that former Jet, Darrelle Revis, currently under contract with the Patriots would be welcomed to return to his organization, stating "Darrelle's a great player. I'd love for Darrelle to come back." Problem is that according to NFL rules, this constitutes tampering with a player signed to another organization. (See rule below) J'm  Auy public or pme statemast of intere quaBfied or umlmlified, in another cinb's player to thut player's aSmt or re0cesetve, or to a maber of the news media, is a violation of his Aafi-T Policy. (Exampla of a prohibitl comment: "He's as excellent play, and we'd vet)" much like to have him if he were available, but asuther club holds his rights.") In addition, speculation by a club owner, ecufiv or employe on whether a player under contract to a second club may play for a third club in the future may negatively impact the relationship bemeen the player and the club ctmy holding his fights. If comments are found to have adversely affected that relationship, a finding of rumpling a result. All clubs should be agxe that impcoper disclosure of confidential trade d/scussions th asother club may be a iolation of this section on prohibited public statements. Johnson later backtracked stating that he contacted Patriots owner Robert Kraft to clarify his comments. Despite the call, it doesn't sound as though Patriot coach Bill Belichick:is accepting the explanation. In an interview with Boston sports station WEEI, Belichick said "I would think that the league would look into those comments." NFL WILD CARD ROUND PREDICTIONS Panthers over Cardinals Saturday, January 3 rd, 4:35 p.m. Two of the best defenses in the league. Only difference is that one team has a legitimate quarterback and the other doesn't. Steelers over Ravens Saturday, danuanj 3 ,a, 8:15 p.m. Steelers running back LeVeon Bell's in- jury situation is a major factor, but I like the Steelers mainly because they're at home. Colts over Bengals Sunday, January 4 th , 1:05 p.m. With that defense, I'd love to pick the Bengals, but they need to prove they can win an important game on the road. Cowboys over Lions Sunday, January 4 th , 4:40 p.m. Things feel different than in years past for the Cowboys. They are this years hot team entering the playoffs. Romo to Bryant is lethal and like the Bengals, I don't trust the Lions to win on the road.