Saturday Links from Len I

Saturday Links from Len

I have a sense that everything that can possibly be said about the Super Bowl has been said the last couple of weeks. Linking to the same old stories about comparing Brady to Montana and Delhomme to Brady have been done too many times. Play the game already. Before the Super Hype, most people never heard of Mike O

It’s the Friday before the

It’s the Friday before the Super Bowl. Are you ready for some football? Lenny Megliola is. The hype surrounding the SuperBowl has gone on for almost two weeks now, and while the fans are enjoying it all, the writers have for the most part run out of storylines. Mostly what you’re going to read today is more short character profiles and some staff picks. Once again, time limitations are going to prevent me from linking to everything, but I’ll do what I can to point out the best (and worst). Tom Curran gives us a 2003 Year in Review for the Patriots as they have fulfilled their early promise. Michael Felger looks at the Patriots research director, Ernie Adams. Alan Greenberg has a really good piece on Richard Seymour as the Patriots young defensive star prepares for his second Super Bowl and second Pro Bowl. Michael Holley writes about Ty Law, born to be a football player. Dan Shaughnessy says that Bruschi is the Patriots Tedy Ballgame. Dan Pires looks at how the opportunities continue to elude the Patriots’ top assistants. Rich Thompson says Tedy Bruschi is ready to play. Michael Smith looks at the Patriots versatility as one of their biggest strengths, a view held by opponents as well who have to respect the various looks at they’re going to get. Jim Donaldson says if the Pats lose, blame Troy Brown, he lost the video game matchup yesterday. Bill Burt speaks with writer Terry Bannon, who as a 23-year-old got to spend a day with the 24-year-old Belichick watching a game while Belichick scouted it for the Lions in 1976. Tom Curran says that the Patriots receivers are ready for a physical battle of their own. Karen Guregian says that Rod Smart would never be on a Bill Belichick team. Nick Cafardo looks at Tom Brady and Antowain Smith, rarin to go on Sunday. Mike Reiss goes through a day with Jarvis Green. (The headline writer messed up that one, Green isn’t a rookie.) Jon Goode catches up with Mosi Tatupu

Felger’s notebook looks at some mild trash talk between the clubs, and reveals that the Patriots have already decided to bring Ty Law back for next season. Curran’s notebook has Willie McGinest speaking out on the Patriots perceived lack of stars. Bill Griffith says that CBS will be all over the Patriots.

Talk of Jim O’Brien’s resignation from the Celtics continues to dominate the basketball news. Fox Sports Net New England has the links, including one to a story that theorizes that O’Brien resigned because Danny Ainge decided to fire Dick Harter.

Football Outsiders has its Super

Football Outsiders has its Super Bowl Preview article up. I don’t think you’re going to find a more in-depth breakdown of the game and matchups anywhere.

Unfortunately, I do not have

Unfortunately, I do not have the time to do a real version of links this morning. Here’s a quickie.

We need to get Dan Shaughnessy away from the Red Sox a bit more. His column this morning on Bill Belichick and the column he wrote last year for the NY Times is a good one. Kevin Mannix says that defense is the common denominator between the Patriots and Panthers. Tom Curran says that the Carolina offense provides some unique challenges for the Patriots defense. Even though his Globe colleague Ron Borges insists the Patriots 2003 draft class only deserves a C- grade, Michael Smith is very impressed with the standout rookies the Patriots have plugged into their lineup this year. Michael Felger writes about Ted Johnson and his dad. Sean Smith wraps up the 2003 season, game-by-game. Jim Donaldson examines the staying power of Dante Scarnecchia. Mike Reiss says that while the numbers of Tom Brady and Jake Delhomme may not be dazzling, these QB’s are winners. Eric McHugh says that Ted Washington uses his hands more than his bulk while working in the trenches. Steve Buckley writes about the Krafting of a winner. Nick Cafardo looks at the Patriots receiving corps, standing tall. Reiss writes about Belichick revamped. Elsewhere, Ian M Clark says the six Patriots that are making their third SuperBowl appearance with the club are enjoying the experience. Tim Weisberg wonders if the Patriots have the ingredients to create a dynasty. Felger’s notebook has Tedy Bruschi saying that he will play on Sunday.

The Celtics made their debut under interim head coach John Carroll and lost 106-103. The links are at Fox Sports New New England, and there are a number of interest, including Jim O’Brien speaking out and a piece from Jackie MacMullan wondering about Danny Ainge’s vision for the future.

At a little past 4:00

At a little past 4:00 yesterday, Boston.com started reporting the news that Jim O’Brien had resigned as coach of the Celtics. It took a little while for the sports radio stations to catch up, understandable since WEEI was all in Houston, WWZN (the flagship station of the Celtics radio broadcasts) which has been able to break a couple Celtics-related stories this season already, had to be alerted to the news by a caller. Quite the event to happen during SuperBowl week. All the relevant links are at Fox Sports Net New England.

I’m not sure it’s possible to link every single story from the papers this morning. There are that many out there. Yesterday was media day, and the eager writers finally got their chance to speak with the assistant coaches of the Patriots. Michael Felger gives us a little bit of background on several of the Patriot assistants. Jim Donaldson looks at Romeo Crennel, who doesn’t give into the frustration of not being able to land a head coaching job. Bob Ryan talks with Charlie Weis about his disappointment after he thought he “nailed” his interviews. Michael Smith chats with assistant head coach and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. Mike Reiss also has an article on Scarnecchia. Another guy that you don’t hear from too much is Ted Washington. The Pats nose tackle doesn’t enjoy speaking with the media, but had to be out there yesterday. Nick Cafardo has a look at Washington, his views on being in the Super Bowl and why he dislikes reporters so much. Alan Greenberg and Michael Parente and Kevin Mannix also write about big Ted having his say. Lenny Megliola wonders what Bill Parcells is thinking about the Patriots and Bill Belichick now. Tom Curran looks at the Patriots no-name offensive line. Karen Guregian says Tedy Bruschi will likely play on Sunday. Nick Cafardo says that today’s practice will be the big test for Bruschi.

John Tomase says that these Patriots are built to win. Michael Parente says Crennel and Charlie Weis are being hurt by their own team’s success. Bill Burt has a look at Mike Vrabel. Kevin Mannix speaks with an unnamed AFC coach who says the Patriots should beat the Panthers. Jim Donaldson says Tom Jackson was wrong. Del Jones says the Patriots look good on paper. Bob Stern tells us what any New England sports fan knows…the Patriots are the anti-Red Sox. Carolyn Thornton looks at the intensity and drive of Tedy Bruschi. Michael Gee says Tom Brady is uncomfortable with comparisons to Joe Montana. Glen Farley writes about an emotional trip to Houston for Bobby Hamilton. Thornton also looks at the Zoo which is Media Day. Karen Guregian says Tom Brady’s dad knows the difference between his son and Joe Montana. John Powers says that Bob Kraft is taking the time to enjoy this SuperBowl. Howard Bryant looks at the Patriots receivers. Gus Martins writes about the tight ends, who hope to avoid the drops that have plagued them the last few weeks.

Smith’s notebook has Crennel and Weis not worrying about things they cannot control. Parente’s notebook leads with Tedy Bruschi saying he’ll do everything possible to ensure that he can play on Sunday. The ProJo notebook has more from big Ted Washington. Felger’s notebook has Tom Brady ducking the comparisons to Joe Montana.

There may be more links about the Panthers in today’s Boston papers than about the Patriots.

Jim McCabe says that Kris Jenkins might be the best defensive lineman in the game. Tim Weisberg can’t find any Panthers fans around the SouthCoast. Mike Reiss has a look at Panthers Tight Ends coach Dave Magazu, who coached with Boston College prior to moving to Carolina. Dan Shaughnessy loves “He Hate Me”. Somehow that makes a whole lot of sense. Steven Krasner says the Panthers front four will be very tough on the Patriots and Tom Brady. Ron Hobson says that these “running” Panthers have a couple really good receivers as well. Krasner’s notebook says Jermaine Wiggins has no hard feelings towards the Patriots. Joe Burris has a look at Wiggins’ OC in Carolina, former BC coach Dan Henning. Dan Ventura looks at a loyal Pats fan who will be cheering for Jermaine Wiggins.

George Kimball writes about Ricky Proehl, continuing his streak of odd year Super Bowl appearances. Peter May writes about Carolina owner Jerry Richardson. Rich Thompson says Muhsin Muhammad is looking forward to playing the Patriots physical cornerbacks. McCabe’s notebook says all the Panthers are rookies in this game. Dan Ventura says that Steve Smith will have a big role on Sunday. Steve Buckley says Jake Delhomme is Seabiscuit. Kimball’s notebook looks at Ricky Manning Jr.

Bruins tied the Islanders last night, 2-2 on a late goal by P.J. Axelsson. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Stephen Harris have the details. Harris’ notebook looks at the return of the three-point line for the Bruins. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at how Carl Corazzini is dealing with his friends and family since joining the Bruins.

FSNNE has Celtics/Pistons at 7:00. ESPN has NC State/UNC at 7:00 and Kings/Rockets at 9:00. ESPN2 has Flyers/Panthers at 7:00.

A plethora of links today,

A plethora of links today, do try and keep up.

Ron Hobson recounts some Patriots history in Houston, from the early days of the AFL. Kevin Mannix says that the decision to start Eugene Wilson at safety was the turning point in the Patriots season. Tom Curran says the Patriots are well aware of the threat and danger that the Carolina defense poses. Mike Reiss looks at the long road traveled by Bobby Hamilton to Houston. In another interesting Bio of the Patriots head coach, Alan Greenberg says that Bill Belichick is just a Bred Winner. Why does the media complain that he is dull and not a story? I can’t read enough about the guy. Michael Holley looks at Romeo Crennel, passed over for a head coaching job once again. Michael Felger also looks at Crennel and Charlie Weis being bypassed. Dan Ventura says the Patriots players a disappointed for the coaches, but also want to have them back for next year. John Powers writes that Belichick does not tolerate slipups, on or off the field. Another Patriot with Texas ties is David Givens who played high school football within an easy commute of where Reliant Stadium now stands. Michael Smith says Ted Johnson will be a big factor Sunday as a run stopper. Karen Guregian looks at the Patriots young players, soaking in this experience.

Mike Reiss says that Houston is ready and pumped to host the SuperBowl. Eric McHugh has the story of Given’s homecoming. Hector Longo looks at the quarterback destruction left in the wake of the Patriots defense. Michael Parente looks at Troy Brown, who doesn’t take anything granted in his career. Jon Couture looks at the Patriots decade-by-decade. Gus Martins has a look at Eugene Wilson. Mark Farinella writes about experiencing the Super Bowl for the fourth time. He recalls Will McDonough vouching for him in 1986 so that he could simply get into the game. Martins says that Mike Vrabel will get plenty of attention in this game. Tom Mooney looks at how little-used Mike Cloud is preparing for the game. Rich Thompson looks at the amazing rookie class of 2003. A group Ron Borges insisted last Friday on WWZN only deserves a “C-” for a grade. Martins also has a look at rookie center Dan Koppen.

George Kimball looks at the effect that having two members of the team diagnosed with cancer this season has had on the Carolina panthers. Michael Parente has a look at Stephen Davis, unwanted after last season, but having a monster year this season. Jeff Jacobs looks at Panthers linebacker Dan Morgan. Ron Borges looks at an ex-sportswriter turned Panthers GM. Bob Ryan wonders if Jake Delhomme will be the secret weapon for the Panthers. John Altavilla has another look at Delhomme. Joe Burris has a look at Panthers right guard Kevin Donnalley. Altavilla’s notebook looks at receiver Muhsin Muhammad. Kimball’s notebook says that Davis will be a full speed for Sunday. The Globe Panther’s notebook has more on Davis.

Parente’s notebook looks at no more head coaching jobs available for Crennel and Weis. Greenberg’s notebook also looks at that topic. Curran’s notebook says that regardless of the outcome, you’re likely to see some big hits on Sunday. Felger’s notebook reveals that Bill Belichick owns season tickets to the Panthers. Cafardo’s notebook looks at the Raiders hiring Norv Turner.

If you’re in Southern New England and have Cox cable, Andy Smith says don’t plan on watching the game on HDTV. Glen Farley has a profile of Patriots radio voice Gil Santos. Bill Griffith looks at HBO’s documentary on the first Super Bowl, and has Howard Bryant reacting to D&C’s attack on him last week.

Kevin Paul Dupont catches up with rehabbing Bruin Jonathan Girard. Stephen Harris and Nancy Marrapese-Burrell say that Joe Thornton will return to action tonight.

Bob Hohler says reports on the conditioning and health of Pedro Martinez are encouraging. Jeff Horrigan says that Dale Sveum has emerged as the leading candidate for the position of third base coach for the Red Sox.

Celtics links are, as always, at Fox Sports Net New England.

Mark Blaudschun reports on Rick Pitino going on indefinite medical leave.

NESN has Bruins/Islanders at 7:00. ESPN and ESPN2 will have College Hoops. WBZ4 continues its Super Bowl special at 7:00.

Michael Felger has a good

Michael Felger has a good look at Scott Pioli, a guy Bill Belichick calls “one of my best friends”. Jackie MacMullan says that Belichick and Pioli make up a great team. Dan Shaughnessy makes all the comparisons from last time the Patriots were in the Super Bowl to this time. How things have changed. Kevin Mannix says the Patriots know that they have to keep Ty Law. Alan Greenberg says that on the Patriots, no one is above the Law. Mike Reiss gives us assorted thoughts and facts on the Patriots from Houston. Among his thoughts, he wonders what Lawyer Milloy is thinking right now. Eric McHugh says that this Patriots team has eclipsed the squad of 2001. Steve Buckley looks at Tom Brady coping with the increased spotlight this time around. Nick Cafardo says Brady is the big attraction of this game.

Peter May looks at all the Panthers toting camcorders for Super Bowl week. John Altavilla has a look at Jermaine Wiggins returning to the Super Bowl. Jim McCabe looks at Carolina safety Mike Minter. McCabe’s notebook looks at the Panther’s delay in getting into Houston. George Kimball’s notebook looks at Carolina returnman “He Hate Me.”

Mark Arsenault has a look at what the Patriots send off to Houston from Foxboro was like. Michael Smith says the Patriots got chills from the sendoff, and not just because of the weather. Greenberg reports on the Patriots arrival in Houston. Michael Parente and Michael Felger say the Pats were all business as they arrived in Houston. Christopher Price says that the Patriots have moved into the elite class of NFL franchises. Glen Farley also looks at the transformation of the Patriots. Paul Edward Parker says too bad the Patriots can’t take Gillette with them. Michael Corkery says many Patriot players are regulars around Providence. Karen Guregian has a look at Rodney Harrison, expecting his first child. Gus Martins has Willie McGinest speaking about going to his third Super Bowl with the Patriots. Felger looks at a few Patriots facing an uncertain future.

Parente’s notebook has a look at a long-over reunion for Bobby Hamilton in Houston. McHugh’s notebook looks at a Panther that Rosevelt Colvin might want to talk to. Deon Grant had the same type of hip injury that Colvin suffered this season. Farley also has a look at a frustrated Colvin, who wants nothing more than to play in a Super Bowl. Smith’s notebook has Willie McGinest expecting Tedy Bruschi to play. Felger’s notebook says Bruschi’s status is still up in the air.

Stephen Harris says the Bruins are preparing for a playoff push. Ron Indrisano has the Bruins seeking a scoring spark.

Celtics got crushed in the swamps of NJ yesterday. Links at Fox Sports Net New England.

Gordon Edes reports on the Rangers naming A-Rod team captain.

John Molori previews all the local TV and Radio coverage for Super Bowl week.

Sunday Links from Len Let

Sunday Links from Len

Let the hype begin. Super Bowl Sunday is only one week away as the players, media, and celebrities head to Houston. Michael Smith, in his Pats Notebook, tells us the Patriots are heading down to Texas at 1:00 pm today. Smith explains that the Patriots with Super Bowl experience understand what this week is all about and are conveying that to the younger players. Smith also has a feature on Rodney Harrison who is an old school football player raised in an old school fashion by his mother Barbara in Chicago. Michael Holley sees this as one tough business trip for Coach Belichick and the team. He also believes the Panthers are a much better team than the Patriots who won it all two years ago.

Tom Curran said yesterday in his Notebook that Ty Law and his agent both expect Law back in 2004. There may be a restructuring of the contract. But the 2004 salary cap amount is very similar to the 2003 amount. This is a 2005 problem. But Adam Schefter of the Denver Post, like Ron Borges, believes Law will be a free agent this winter. Schefter claims that the Patriots were trying to dump Law during the season too and that the Broncos turned the Patriots down. Schefter also believes that referee Walt Coleman bailed out the Patriots last week with a fortuitous overturn of the ruling on the field that Tom Brady fumbled with just over a minute left in the game. Does Adam even watch the games? That overturn didn’t even resemble anything controversial.

Karen Guregian explains what this game means to ringless veterans like Rodney Harrison, Ted Washington, Christian Fauria, and Tyrone Poole. Kevin Mannix discusses how the Patriots make good use of the both the draft and free agency to build the team.

Jim McCabe, who has been covering the Panthers for the Globe, says the Panthers hit rock bottom in the last regular season game of 2001 in a game at home against the Pats. 21,000 people showed up in Carolina for that game and most were rooting for the Patriots. McCabe has the story of how the Panthers went from 1-15 to the Super Bowl.

It should come as a shock to nobody that Ron Borges uses his NFL Notes column to defend Al Davis who claims he never offered the Raiders head coach position to Sean Payton despite what Payton told the media. Borges insists that Davis is not a liar. Davis may not cooperate with his fellow owners, sue the league, and move his teams multiple times. But Ron Borges seems to always back the guy. Borges also discusses the financial burden owners take on when their teams go the Super Bowl.

Rick Cimini of the NY Daily News has a feature on Belichick’s friendship with Jon Bon Jovi. Bon Jovi, who owns an Arena Football team, claims Belichick got “screwed” in New York because of a misunderstanding. Steve Serby of the Daily News says Adam Vinatieri is Mr. Clutch.

No-name writer Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal is upset that the Super Bowl has two no-name quarterbacks. He wanted Donovan McNabb. Does he actually believe McNabb is better than Tom Brady? The best thing he says about Brady is that doesn’t mess things up (like his hero who threw four picks in a conference championship game). The very same newspaper has another writer taking shots at Tom Brady today. Terrance Moore says “Manning is Manning” but “Brady is just a Brady”. He claims the NFL has problems as result of the parity in the league and New England is an example of what parity brings us. Perhaps the NFL could bring back the old 3rd Place Championship game and the Atlanta writers would be happy. Maybe the Georgia Dome could serve as the permanent home for such a game.

The College basketball season is starting to heat up with some local teams doing well. Recently, a very young BC team saw its RPI on the rise after some quality wins. But they lost a tough 65-62 road game yesterday to a decent West Virginia team. Mike Shalin has the game story. In a battle between the top two schools in New England, PC stunned UConn at Connecticut. Kevin McNamara has the game story . Both teams are headed for March Madness and will meet again in Providence. Bill Reynolds says that it wasn’t just a monster game by Ryan Gomes that beat Connecticut. UConn couldn’t handle the Friars zone either.

Gordon Edes has Baseball Notes today and has the story on Mo Vaughn unofficially calling it quits as Mo plans to spend more time at his home in Easton and less time at his home in New York. Mo hopes to help out the Brockton Rox and spend more time on his hitting school in Stoughton. Tony Massarotti has the Red Sox looking at possibly bringing back Ellis Burks.

The Bruins lost another home game last night. Florida beat the Bruins 2-1. Steve Conroy has the game story.

Bill Griffith has the story of the growth of the Patriots owned media (website and weekly tabloid). Griffith also explains why today’s Celtics game is not being televised locally.

Some Quick Saturday Links from

Some Quick Saturday Links from Len

The Patriots, Panthers, and the media don’t get arrive in Houston until early next week and there’s not much going on right now. Tom Curran has a profile on the ageless Roman Phifer. Karen Guregian reports on the improving health of Tedy Bruschi.

George Kimball reports on a big Panthers rally in Charlotte yesterday. Wooooooooo!!!! Ric Flair even spoke at the rally. Paul Nowell, also reporting on the rally, has the Panthers fans playing the

More reader feedback coming in

More reader feedback coming in on the Howard Bryant incident on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan program:

I agree with the person on your site who wrote in about the D&C attack on Howard Bryant. It was sickening, and completely transparent. Callahan had about a 20% involvement in the part I heard it was mostly all Dennis. Don't get me wrong, Callahan made no attempt to slow Dennis down, he just held back a bit more. I've been listening to their show for a year now, and I have never heard them attack someone with so much venom, especially a fellow journalist! It is tough to be a sports radio fan in RI, all we can listen to is 850 with its distasteful personalities but great guest appearances or amatuer hour on 790 the score with irritating Amy.

Here’s another view:

I heard some of what that emailer mentioned and was sort of flabbergasted. I also wanted to find out what Bryant wrote, I figured it was something about this being a red sox town, blah, blah. This was at about 6:40-6:45 this morning. I think Callahan said something to the effect of, I read Felger and Mannix, they always clue you into something new, but Howard Bryant brings nothing to the table, he's not even worth reading, he just throws in a bunch of 50 cent words, etc., while Dennis said,(not exactly verbatim), "yeah, just throw in a Malcolm X quote."

I really didn't get it, except to confirm in my own mind, what a bunch of vile, sad wretches all 3 of them are. Now it makes perfect sense.

And another:

I have never met Howard Bryant, but I have read his book "Shut Out: A History of Race and Baseball in Boston" and found it EXCELLENT. I NEVER read the Herald's premium on-line columns, but Bryant is one writer I have actually spent 50 cents to buy the newspaper to read, based on on-line teases. He can write.

In general my view of WEEI is this: I listen to it, because I love sports. However, The Big Show is the only listenable show on the station, and only when the right co-hosts are in the studio. After starting on weak-signaled 590, the all-sports format almost died. It was saved in 1995 when American Radio Systems (then its owner) moved the Red Sox from WRKO to WEEI.

Last fall's book coincided with an incredibly intense stretch drive, the playoffs and LCS, Grady's gaffe, the Schilling signing, the A-Rod rumors -- and, finally, an incredible streak by the Patriots. The great ratings book is not because of the "talent" of the morning hosts. (Bryant can write circles around Callahan, and Dennis should just play golf all day long - that's the only thing he cares about.) In retrospect, WEEI should have let Callahan jump to WWZN; he'd be talking to the same hundred listeners that Eddie does all day. Instead, they paid him big money ...

I did not hear today's rant. If after all the e-mails you believe that this was an egregious matter, I would suggest that you provide a link to yesterday's Globe piece on the new general manager of WEEI, Julie Kahn, and her e-mail address. She might be interested in hearing about this reaction.

Finally, here is one from someone who somewhat agreed with D&C, a little more of a controversial view. No, the emailer’s last name wasn’t Limbaugh.

While I agree that today's Bryant column was pretty mundane and didn't call for a scathing attack, I agree with much of what D&C said this AM. Bryant was heralded as a fresh voice on the scene and anointed with a column. He was a guest on most of the WEEI shows and came across as an intellectual. His performance to this point has been terribly disappointing. His Boston Uncommon is remarkably bland. I've come to treat it like a Buckley column- skip through it but rarely does it spark any interest at all.

Whether the to-do about his arrival was because he was the only black (that I'm aware of) sportswriter at the Herald or not, I'm not sure, but I suspect so. I think you could say the local media was desirous of a black sportswriter succeeding at the Herald. It is not often I give kudos to the Globe, but with significantly less fanfare, the Globe has hired two great talents who happen to be black. Michael Smith is a terrific reporter and Michael Holley brings something interesting almost every time out.

A bit of a rant but you posting that email seems to endorse its content and I think it's refreshing that someone called out this fraud Howard Bryant.