Steve Young said it well on ESPN’s Sunday NFL countdown when he said being a Boston sports fan is a baffling experience. The Red Sox, loaded with talent, can’t get it done for 85 years or whatever, and manage to lose in incredible ways. He can’t understand how the Patriots keep winning games with all the guys out that they have. He says he looks at the films, but still can’t figure it out. He wonders if there could’ve been some way for the Patriots to lend the Red Sox some good karma. I’ll tell you how the Patriots have done it, Steve. Depth. Much of which was acquired during the 2003 draft – a draft that you recall was praised nationally, but panned locally. The Jets were praised for how they “outmaneuvered” the Patriots and landed the stud of the draft in Dewayne Robertson. (For a review of what people were saying about the Patriots draft, click here.) At the time, Eddie Andelman was also on record as calling the Pats draft a “dud”, “absurd” and “in the bottom 20% of the league”. He said that the Jets have “pulled away from the Patriots”. Way to go. Yes, it’s still early and there is a lot of football left to play, as Bill Belichick himself will tell you. The early returns, have been encouraging however, as has the play of six of the rookies who have made contributions to the success of the team.
Michael Felger and Michael Smith look at the Patriots ending their curse in Miami. Tom Curran says there only seems to be one four letter word that offends this team: Can’t. Alan Greenberg and Michael Parente say this one was worth the wait. Kevin Mannix says that the Patriots pulled this one out in spite of the coaching. Ron Borges takes a detailed look at the final play of the game, the 82 yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Troy Brown, over the Dolphins two safeties. George Kimball also looks at the play. Jim Donaldson contradicts himself a few times while saying this team is playing like 2001. Michael Holley looks at how both intense planning (running the 46 defense to try to stop the run) and seize-the-moment opportunism led to victory for the Patriots. Ian M. Clark looks at the Patriots sitting in first, despite all that has gone against them thus far this year. Robert Sens and Parente look at how the Patriots managed to hold Ricky Williams under 100 yards rushing yesterday. Bob Emanuel Jr looks at a rough second half for Dolphins kicker Olindo Mare. Michael Synder looks at the blocked field goal by Richard Seymour, a guy who just seems to make big play after big play. Donaldson looks the day by Tom Brady, who is now 6-0 for his career in overtime games – a mark that Donaldson notes is the best in NFL history. Terry Bradshaw was 5-0 in OT in his career. Greenberg looks at Troy Brown on that final play of the game. Synder has a look at the afternoon by Tyrone Poole, which included the interception which got the ball back to the Patriots for the Brady-to-Brown game winning heroics. Kimball has a pay column on Brady’s OT career and his play in that frame yesterday. The Globe provides a page of Sidelights to the game. Curran has a look at a Dolphin out for revenge the next time these teams hook up. Donaldson says the Marlins gave Seymour and the Patriots a boost yesterday. Smith’s notebook looks at the very strange coin flip, and later on, gives some rationale to why the team released Larry Centers. Curran’s notebook looks at the play of the revamped secondary. Parente’s notebook looks at the misses by Mare.
Fear not, there will be no coverage of the World Series in this space. Add Bill Burt to the growing list of media people who are trying to save Grady. Burt says the season ending loss on Thursday night was entirely the fault of Pedro Martinez, and not Grady. Burt joins Sean McAdam and Tony Massarotti, who were the first to proclaim their allegiance to the embattled Red Sox manager. In the last few days, Gordon Edes (With an entire article of “what ifs” yesterday), Michael Holley, Dan Shaughnessy (He said on ESPN that he hopes Grady is here forever.) and now Burt. What are these people thinking? Well, they’re thinking Grady is a nice man, and they don’t want to see a nice man fired. That’s the bottom line. They’ll try to spin it and say that Grady shouldn’t be judged on just one game, as Alex Speier does today, but no one is doing that. Speier says with fans like those around here, who needs curses? Nice. Tony Massarotti looks at John Henry, who has moved on, both from the loss Thursday night and from his ownership of the Marlins. Dan Shaughnessy says the Sox won’t make any announcements about Grady until after the World Series. Gordon Edes also catches up with Henry who is grateful for the support of the fans. He also talks with Chad Fox, who is glad to be away from the negativity of Boston. Instead of targeting the media, Fox says the fans expect too much.
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Steve Conroy have coverage of the Bruins 4-3 win over Anaheim last night. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at a pair of white knuckle games on the West coast thus far, Conroy’s notebook looks at Nick Boynton getting bailed out of a potentially costly penalty last night.
Steve Bulpett and Shira Springer look at the Celtics trying to put together a rotation. I was at the game in Manchester Saturday night, Vin Baker looked pretty strong out there, a highlight was a thunderous dunk off of a spin move, something we didn’t see all of last year. The venue was very good, and a highlight was of course Larry Bird putting in an appearance and watching his Pacers play. Bird received standing ovations and chants whenever he moved around. It’s only the preseason but Jim O’Brien is already driving me mad. It was a preseason game, and he still couldn’t find any minutes for Kendrick Perkins and Brandon Hunter. In fact, O’Brien didn’t make his first in-game substitution until there was just over three minutes left in the game. The starters played the entire first and third quarters, the second team played all of the second quarter and most of the fourth. Only ten players saw action. I’ll get over it, but I really wanted to see Perkins play. Christopher Price has a look at Tony Delk, trying to impart his well traveled wisdom on the Celtics young point guards.
ABC has Chiefs/Raiders at 9:00.