Patriots gridiron news: The growing legend of Danny ‘Playoff’ Amendola

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Danny Amendola
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Danny Amendola /

New England Patriots veteran wide receiver Danny Amendola continues to shine in the bright spot light of the playoffs.

Julian Edelman isn’t walking on that field, but don’t worry New England Patriots fans, the defending Super Bowl champions still have a big game performer in Danny Amendola.

He does not put up the kind of numbers Edelman does on a consistent basis, but when Tom Brady needs a key third down or a touchdown, Amendola has come through…especially in the playoffs.

In the team’s 35-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans, Amendola stepped up big time.  Earning the nickname Danny “Playoff” Amendola, the 32-year-old wide receiver recorded 11 catches for 112 yards on 32 targets.  He was simply amazing and his chemistry with Brady was on high display.

Just take a look at this play below:

Following the game, Amendola said he was in position because he knew his quarterback was coming his way.

"“I knew he was coming to me the whole time,” Amendola said.  “We locked eyes early and then I could tell he was thinking about it, so I kept running.  I knew I had a couple yards.  And he looked back again and he let it go.  It ended up working out.”"

In all, Danny Amendola’s performance on Saturday night exemplified the kind of teammate he has been during his time in New England.  He has done whatever the team has asked him to do.  His ability to remain ready when called upon has definitely contributed to his clutch performances.

Related Story: Danny Amendola an ‘uncoverable’ force when healthy

Much deserved praise

Speaking to the media on Monday, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels praised Danny Amendola and all he brings to the team.

"“He’s one of the all-time great teammates, no question about it,” McDaniels said during the conference call. “However big or small you tell him his role is going to be on a week-to-week basis, he embraces that. He prepares really hard. He cares about doing it right. He’s always ready to go, however much you need him or are going to use him, and he’s as competitive as anybody else we have. He plays hard on every single snap and will do anything for the team to help us win. I don’t know that I could give a greater compliment to a player than that. And he always plays big in the big games.”"

The Patriots will need another big game from Amendola when they face a very stout Jacksonville Jaguars defense in the AFC Championship game.

Rob Ninkovich has a message for Patriots haters

Former New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich has grown tired of the haters. With the amount of success the organization has over the past two decades, Ninkovich has encountered his share of hatred from opposing teams fans.

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Let’s face it, most NFL fanatics who are not Patriots fans want the dynasty to crumble.  Labeling the team “cheaters” has been part of that hope for demise.  Even if the accusations of cheating makes no sense.

In an appearance on WEEI’s Dale and Holley with Keefe on Monday, Ninkovich addressed the haters.

"“Well, I mean, I think they’ve been so good for so long they just, people naturally dislike anything that’s really good for a really long time,” Ninkovich said.  “And I don’t know why.  I don’t get it because it’s really hard to be as good, you know, for such a long time consistently as the Patriots have, and it all comes down to how hard they work.  As far as haters stories go, there’s been plenty of stuff that has been said to me, you know like, ‘you guys can’t win without cheating,’ which I think is a big joke because what the hell are you talking about?  No grounds to know what the hell they are talking about, you’re just saying that because most people are idiots.”"

Next: In playoff debut, Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore shuts down Titans and critics

Along with cheating, most haters believe the notion that the New England Patriots have NFL referees in their pocket.  They quickly ignore the fact that the Patriots have been on the end of bad officiating just as much if not more than other teams in the NFL.  That doesn’t fit the narrative, so that fact is easily ignored.