Somebody’s got a case of the Mondays…

The ultimate week of hype is under way. We’re besieged with articles and once again my impeccable sense of timing strikes again. No real time today to do a proper job with the links. Somehow the biggest project of my working career got scheduled for the last month and a half, and while the major stuff is done, there’s a lot of little things to do over the next few weeks still.

A few highlights from today, Bob Ryan’s article on the Patriots constant striving for group success, and what it really means to a number of them. Alan Greenberg has a piece on Willie McGinest, who has had his career reborn the last couple years. Mike Reiss has a good piece on the bond between Troy Brown and the Kraft family, who call Brown ” the quintessential Patriot.” Jim McCabe has a piece on Patriots great Julius Adams, who find himself having to root for the Eagles this week, as his son Keith is on the Philadelphia squad.

There are dozens of other articles, but if I had to pick four, those would be them. You can access the all sports pages from New England by clicking on the “Newspaper Sports Sections” header to the left. If you want the Philadelphia perspective, you can go to the NFL section of Philly.com

John Molori’s Media Blitz has a look at the local and national on-site coverage of Super Bowl week.

Cheers to Mike Adams, who on WEEI yesterday afternoon called out some of his colleagues in advance for their inevitable complaining about the location of the Super Bowl and their accommodations. A caller wanted to bring up the issue and I had expected him to be quickly dismissed, however Adams took the ball and ran with it, noting that these media people are well compensated, all of their expenses are taken care of and in most cases they have tickets to the greatest sporting event in this country. Packages similar to that for a regular fan would run in the thousands of dollars. For them to complain about any aspect of the week and what’s involved in it for them personally is insulting to their audience.

The BSMW Message board is likely to be smokin’ busy this week. In preparation, the board this weekend was moved to a brand new server. Most users should now be seeing the board on the new server. In the unlikely event it looks like nothing is happening on the board, you may need to renew your IP address with your ISP…to do this, open a command prompt and type Ipconfig /release then hit enter. Then type Ipconfig /renew and hit enter. This may fix your issue. A reminder that this front page and the message board are hosted on different servers. This ensures that if either goes down, the other section is likely “still standing”. The full address for the messageboard is http://www.bostonsportsmedia.net/forum (note the .net)

If you’re interested in joining the message board to get in on the posting action and also receive some hidden BSMW online “extras” the board guidelines for joining can be found here. Please read them all carefully.

The “Respect” Card

Saturday links by Rich ([email protected])

Pats-Eagles
Are we there yet?

But will you respect me in the morning? The media finally got the long sought after

Just The Links…

Alan Greenberg says that the Patriots fear only one thing…losing the Super Bowl. It’s a motivating force for them to succeed. Micheal Felger says that just like three years ago, Mike Vrabel and Willie McGinest will have a big role in this Super Bowl, this time knocking around Brian Westbrook. Dan Shaughnessy has an article on Tom Brady, who plans to cut his hair sometime before the Super Bowl. Slow week for stories, huh? Kevin Mannix also looks at Brady, who is as astounded by his success the last four years as anyone. Nick Tavares compares Brady to other athletes who have climbed out of their sick bed to perform big. Michael Parente looks at the Eagles expressing their admiration for the Patriots quarterback, and how they plan to play against him.

Michael Vega and Shalise Manza Young have a look at Rosevelt Colvin, who is looking forward to being able to participate in the Super Bowl this time around. Ian M Clark looks at the six Patriots that are heading to their fourth Super Bowl together. Steve Buckley (subscription only) looks at how all the Patriots and in this instance Rodney Harrison give the media and opposition no bulletin board material. Buckley laments towards the end of the column:

Some controversy would be nice. Perhaps Belichick could pull a Tuna and put it out there that he's going to slide himself out of his contract and coach another team next year. A watered-down version of this did, indeed, take place earlier in the week when a TV guy intimated that Belichick planned to retire if the Pats beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl.

He doesn’t name Jim Nantz, but notes that the story had no legs. But still, pining away for controversy. I don’t like it. Jim Fennel says that the Patriots may not be talking about T.O., but they’re preparing for him. Chris Kennedy has a very similar article, as does Michael Gee in a subscription only column. Tim Weisberg looks at the Patriots not being respected as far as Pro Bowl selections. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) writes about the issue of Donovan McNabb, Rush Limbaugh and race, a subject that also dominated the Dennis and Callahan radio show this morning. Lenny Megliola says that Adam Vinatieri is the best. Gee, that’s swell.

Felger’s notebook says that February 6th could spell the end of the line for Roman Phifer. Curran’s notebook has Brady uncomfortable with his growing fame. Kennedy’s notebook looks at the Patriots preparations this week. Vega’s notebook says that the Patriots preparations have focused mainly on limiting Donovan McNabb. Parente’s notebook looks at the Pats silence regarding Terrell Owens.

Eagles Stuff

Tom E Curran recalls the rough day that Donovan McNabb had the last time he faced the Patriots in a game that counted in the standings. Jim McCabe looks at the passion for the Eagles in Philadelphia. Chris Snow says that Terrell Owens could be risking a whole lot of money should he take the field on Super Sunday. Nick Cafardo looks at Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, a Massachusetts native, former Patriots season ticket holder, and huge Red Sox fan. Michael Parente has an article on how Jeremiah Trotter finds himself back in Philadelphia and playing a huge role in their success. George Kimball also has a subscription only article on Trotter.

Kimball’s notebook says at least a few of the Eagles are used to playing in Jacksonville. Snow’s notebook looks at Brian Westbrook’s contributions to the Eagles’ success.

You can check out the Philadelphia view of things in the Super Bowl section of Philly.com, which has articles from both daily newspapers in the city.

Doc’s Dilemma

Mark Murphy looks at how Doc Rivers is trying to balance playing the youngsters with playing the veterans. Carolyn Thornton reports on Tony Allen, who will be playing in the rookie game during All Star Weekend. Shira Springer has a brief report on Al Jefferson’s injury. Stan Grossfeld has a feature on streetballers.

Future of the Sox

Gordon Edes looks at how 11 of the Red Sox top prospects were given a special orientation and training course this week. Jeff Horrigan says that Hanley Ramirez and Kelly Shoppach remain hopeful about playing in Boston despite the team signing players who play the same spots as they do to multiyear deals this offseason. Horrigan also has an update on Manny Delcarmen. Johnny Damon was in Providence yesterday and Laura Meade Kirk reports on the reception the Red Sox centerfielder received.

Media

Bill Griffith ponders the future of Bob Neumeier, whose contract with WEEI expires on February 10th. Griffith wonders if something on the national level is in the card for Neumy. David Scott has Sunday Night leftovers; Streetball and even a mention or two of the Red Parrot. Andrew Neff looks at how postseason runs often leave some fans out in the cold when it comes to listening to the play by play calls of the local broadcasters. A problem especially in rural areas such as up in Maine.

17-0

Newsflash: Fred Smerlas makes point that causes Glenn Ordway to stammer momentarily. During yesterday’s Big Show, a couple minutes were spent talking about how only the Patriots are worthy of discussion right now. The Celtics and Boston College were brought up, and Ordway says why WOULD you pay any attention to them? Smerlas said “Well, BC is 16-0″, which caused Ordway, for just the tiniest moment to hesitate and stammer…”Ahh…” and then he moved on to talking about the Patriots again. After last night’s win over Providence, the Boston College men’s basketball team is now 17-0 on the season. Is it worthy of sports radio discussion? Probably not still, unless you’re listening to Ted Nation. The newspapers however, are paying more attention to the Eagles.

Mark Blaudschun, Mike Shalin and Kevin McNamara all have game stories on BC’s 78-75 win at the Dunkin Donuts center in Providence. The columnists are paying attention too, as Bob Ryan has a look at how BC is winning these games, and calls 6-10 freshman Sean Williams “an embryonic Emeka Okafor.” Jim Donaldson gets into the act as well, noting that BC does all the right things down the stretch of games. Shalin also has a quick look at freshman Williams, who caught a Providence shot out of the air last night, astounding his teammates. McNamara’s notebook looks at a big game from Providence junior Donnie McGrath. Shalin’s notebook looks at another big performance from Jared Dudley, who hit the winning shot with 80 seconds left in the game last night.

Your First Place Boston Celtics

Staying on the hoop theme, the Boston Celtics are in first place all to themselves in the Atlantic Division. Given the teams that comprise that division, that’s not all that impressive. What is impressive is last night’s night’s 100-86 win over the Indiana Pacers. Shira Springer, Mark Murphy and Carolyn Thornton have the details of the victory. Steve Bulpett has a look at second year center Kendrick Perkins, who with Mark Blount in foul trouble last night, stepped in and put a body on Jermaine O’Neal, even blocking two of the Pacers center’s shots. Paul Harber looks at Perkins and Raef LaFrentz coming up big last night after rookie Al Jefferson went down with an ankle injury. Mike Fine looks at former Celtics guard Dana Barros, who sometimes still has the itch to play. Barros however has other things to keep him busy these days, including the opening next month of the Dana Barros Sports Complex in Mansfield. Harber looks at Pacers forward Stephen Jackson, who played his first game last night after serving a 30 game suspension for the brawl with the Pistons and their fans in November. Murphy’s notebook looks at the injury to Jefferson. Springer’s notebook has Walter McCarty embracing the idea of a trade to Phoenix.

Dynasty Talk

Oh yeah…the Patriots are playing in the Super Bowl a week from Sunday. Nick Cafardo has Tedy Bruschi saying that the Patriots are not in the dynasty class just yet, an opinion shared by Cafardo on NESN last night. I agree with Nick on this one. I’m wary of the dynasty label. It’s early yet. Just as long as we keep calling them “The Champs”… Cafardo also had a chat on Boston.com yesterday at noon. Alan Greenberg has more from Bruschi, who dynasty or not, sure isn’t tired of winning. Tom E Curran talks to Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, who is a fan of Bill Belichick and what he has accomplished with this Patriots franchise. Kevin Mannix looks at how the Patriots have reloaded and made changes on the fly to their championship squads. Eric McHugh has a good piece on how the Patriots have become more than just “one hit wonders”. Michael Felger refutes Lawyer Milloy’s claims last week on WEEI that the Patriots are a cheap organization. He looks at how the Patriots have achieved “salary balance”. Michael Parente says that Tom Brady’s ability to throw deep could be an early key to the Super Bowl. Buddy Thomas attempts to duplicitously jump onto the Patriots bandwagon. Felger’s notebook has the Patriots preparing for Terrell Owens whether he actually plays or not. Curran’s notebook has Tom Brady’s dad confirming that his son really was sick last Saturday night before the AFC Championship.

Lenny Megliola looks at how Jacksonville is pumped to be hosting the Super Bowl. Karen Guregian says that we need Terrell Owens to add some drama to this Super Bowl. Chris Snow says there is still no definitive answer as to whether Owens will play or not. George Kimball (subscription only) also reports on Owens, who if he does play, it will be against the advice of the doctor that has been treating him. Since we’re on a subscription only column, now is a good time for me to bring up a minor pet peeve of mine. The Herald regularly uses some of their subscription only columnists to fill in on a “beat”, be it the opposing team, as Kimball is today, or even the home team. These reports are still only available to subscribing customers. (of which I am one) However, that doesn’t seem to make much sense, as these reports are not columns, nor are they “premium” content. I understand the Herald wishing to require payment to read their columns. But when a columnist is writing a non-column article, it shouldn’t be lumped in the “premium” section, as Kimball’s is today. Minor point, and it doesn’t even really affect me, but I thought it should be made. Parente’s notebook has more on Owens, and then goes into some Patriots items. Snow’s notebook looks at Eagles tight end LJ Smith, suddenly the starter with the injury to Chad Lewis. Kimball’s notebook (not lumped in the subscription columns) looks at newly signed Eagles tight end Jeff Thomason.

Eyechart Gone

Doug Mientkiewicz was officially traded to the New York Mets yesterday. Gordon Edes notes that now all the players acquired by the Red Sox at the trade deadline last year are gone. Tony Massarotti says that in the end, it was an easy decision for the Red Sox to keep Kevin Millar over Mientkiewicz. David Heuschkel also looks at the reasons the decision to trade Mientkiewicz was made. Sean McAdam and Jeff Horrigan also have reports on the trade. David Borges looks at the success enjoyed by the new rookie orientation program that the Red Sox put into place last year. He also has a few other Red Sox items in the piece.

Quote Box

Yesterday a prominent member of the Boston sports media emailed me to express an objection over a quote that appeared in the random quote generator in the upper left hand corner above. It was not a quote from the emailer. The quote was one of a few featured after the Red Sox lost 19-8 in game three of the ALCS. The emailer was making the point that the quote shouldn’t be featured because no one in the world could’ve said, or did say that the Red Sox were going to come back and win the series. My response to that is that while many of the quotes are placed in there because they are outrageous, or just plain stupid, the quotes after game three remain there because they represent a turning point in not only the series, but Boston sportswriting. They’re noteworthy in that regard. The end of an era. So when one of them is presented to you in the box, it’s not to mock the writer. It’s just a glimpse at the final moments of a past era in Boston Sports History. Over time, some quotes have been removed and replaced with others. Some however need to be preserved as they capture moments and feelings in time.

Tonight

TNT has Pacers/Pistons at 7:00 and Kings/Spurs at 9:30. ESPN has Michigan/Michigan State at 7:00. ESPN2 has Cincinnati/South Florida at 7:00 and DePaul/Memphis at 9:00. NESN has game 7 of the 1986 World Series at 7:00. ESPN Classic Drive Through at 9:00 is the 1979 NCAA championship between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.

Wintry Wednesday

Limited links today as having to leave earlier for work because of the weather has put a cap on my time today. But then again, there really aren’t a whole lot of stories in the local papers today. I think I got most of the major ones. On another note, is it too much to ask for a little balance on the airwaves? Everything is put in black and white terms. Hyperbole is rule number one, whichever way it goes. I can tell you this…I don’t want the on-air personalities of this market representing on a national level the feelings of the average fan of the Patriots. I’m embarrassed by most of them.

Nick Cafardo has a nice piece on the Patriots who are going to their fourth Super Bowl together. Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider has a look at Scott Pioli’s huge role in the Patriots success and ends with the Patriots getting the last laugh on the Steelers once again. To partner with the Pioli article, there is also a piece that breaks down how each player on the Patriots roster arrived here in New England. Dan Shaughnessy gives us a good look at Steve Belichick, father of Bill. Karen Guregian says that winning never gets boring for the Patriots. Chris Kennedy has a look at how the Patriots secondary has changed, and will likely change more with the probably departure of Ty Law. Steve Buckley (subscription only) tells us that these Patriots are giving the younger generation of Boston sports fans tales to tell about the “glory days” when they get older.

In case you missed it, Jim Nantz is speaking out of his hat again. Yesterday on the Tim Brando show on Sporting News Radio, Nantz had the following to say about Bill Belichick:

I have zero knowledge of this, okay, and I know Bill Belichick real well. If he wins the Super Bowl, which I believe he will, why wouldn't he retire? No one has raised that and here's why: you've won three out of four Super Bowls; you have done all you can do when you've won three out of four Super Bowls. You know - and I got into this last night in the broadcast - that is the definition of a modern-day dynasty. I asked him because if you say, hey, is this a dynasty you're building, he won't even answer you. But, I said, 'in your scope, your 30-year history of being around the league, what would you say qualifies as a dynasty, what you've watched?' And what I was doing was getting Bill's definition of a dynasty. The first team he mentioned - the Dallas Cowboys because they had won three well, he didn't say it but I knew it. They had won three out of four. So, if the Cowboys were a dynasty, then, my goodness, Bill has it in his head that this would be, yes, a dynasty. He's going to lose Romeo Crennel, his defensive coordinator. He's going to lose Charlie Weis. He's going to Notre Dame. He's probably going to lose another assistant or two, like a Pepper Johnson may be gone with a Romeo Crennel. You've won three out of four. You now have passed (Vince) Lombardi. You're the winningest coach in the history of the postseason. Go take some time off.

Of course, just the day before, Belichick said in his press conference that he liked his job, and wasn’t “ready to graduate” just yet. But Nantz knows Belichick “real well”. I think this is the very definition of a media member just “throwing it out there”.

Michael Parente takes a look at the Eagles, their roster and what they’ve accomplished. Nick Cafardo has an update on Terrell Owens. Micheal Gee (subscription only) attempts to tell readers of the Herald all they need to know about the Eagles, including comparisons to the Patriots, what their strengths and weaknesses are and some trivia. Jim McCabe looks at the Eagles pulling tight end Jeff Thomason out of retirement for the Super Bowl.

On another note, the following email came into my inbox the other night:

I am a reporter with the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, and I'm coming to the Boston-area this week for some pre-reporting before the Super Bowl. I'm interested in finding fans from your area who are traveling down to Jacksonville for the game. I'm particularly interested in fans who have traveled/will travel to the three recent Super Bowl appearances. I stumbled across your Web site and it looks like you have your finger on the pulse of the Patriots. If you can help me, I would really appreciate it.

If you fit those terms, or know someone who does, who would be willing to speak to this reporter, please send me an email with the contact information (phone # included) and I’ll forward them onto the reporter.

The Celtics finally won a game on the road last night, albeit against the expansion Charlotte Bobcats. Peter May and Steve Bulpett report on the victory. Both May’s notebook and Bulpett’s notebook look at the possibility of Walter McCarty getting dealt to the Suns for a second round draft pick.

Thanks to ESPN Radio 900 in Nashua for a shout out last night. “The Marty and the MuttMan” show which is on weekdays from 5-6 has saved my drive home on a few occasions recently. They have Bob Ryan on the show on a weekly basis, and last week’s visit with Mike Lupica was terrific as well.

FSN has Celtics/Pacers at 7:00. ESPN has Marquette/Louisville at 7:00 and Maryland/Duke at 9:00. ESPN2 has Notre Dame/Villanova at 7:30. NESN has *gulp* Game 6 of the 1986 World Series at 6:00.

Grading day

The hype machine and gimmicks are already starting. We’ve already been prepped to prepare for hearing media people complain about their rooming accommodations, we’ve got Jon Meterparel transparently pretending to believe that the Eagles are going to win this game – not because he really believes that, but just to generate callers and attention. The hosts are already bored and lusting after some controversy. We’ve got our storylines….the last game for this coaching staff together. Will T.O. play? Are the Patriots a dynasty? Boston vs. Philadelphia.

The grades are in. Kevin Mannix hands out a “C” and “C-” to the Running backs and Offensive line respectively. All the rest, with the exception of Special Teams (B-) received an “A”. The ol professor tries to be a bit of a prankster in initially giving Tom Brady a “C”, but then says he’s just kidding and that the QB really gets an “A”. What a cut-up that Mannix is! Michael Parente lists all “A’s” and “B’s” in his version of the report card. Ron Borges meanwhile, doesn’t have a report card, but he takes a look at the play of the Patriots on the nose tackle, specifically rookie Vince Wilfork. An interesting look at the inside play, and complements are handed out to all involved, including Jarvis Green and Ty Warren. I guess maybe Wilfork wasn’t a “makeup” pick for Warren after all. Seriously though, when Borges writes pure football without his bias showing, there’s no one better in town. Mike Reiss tackles the same subject, namely the play of the Patriots defensive line.

Bob Ryan compares Bill Belichick to Red Auerbach, and actually calls and gets the thoughts of the legendary Celtics Patriarch on the head coach of the Patriots. Glenn Ordway picked up on this next theme yesterday afternoon, and Lenny Megliola writes about it today. The premise? These Patriots are more dominating and more popular than the 1980′s Larry Bird led Celtics. Bill Reynolds explores what makes Belichick so successful. Alan Greenberg says that the Patriots coach is at the top of his game, as evidenced by the postseason play of his team. Michael O’Connor looks at Belichick putting the Steelers behind him and getting to work on the Eagles. Michael Parente also looks at Belichick reviewing the Steelers game and looking forward to the Eagles. Michael Felger contemplates that after the Super Bowl, these Patriots will never be the same, as Charlie Weis will be gone and likely Romeo Crennel as well. O’Connor has a brief sidebar of Belichick reflecting on that fact.

Nick Cafardo notes that the last time the Eagles and Patriots played in a meaningful game, it was a new beginning for the Patriots. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says that the last two games for the Patriots point to the Super Bowl being a blowout in their favor. He also looks back to meeting in September 2003 between the clubs, noting how it turned things around for the Patriots. He says the Eagles will be happy to just be in the Super Bowl. Jim Donaldson says that the Patriots don’t ever get sick of winning. Jon Couture looks back at yet another amazing, yet predictable win for the Patriots. Ian M Clark looks at the difference having Deion Branch made to the Patriots offense. Garry Brown says Branch is another one of the versatile Patriots, he can catch and run with the ball. Joe McDonald looks at the worn out Patriots getting ready to prepare for the Eagles. Fluto Shinzawa also looks at the early preparations. Chris Kennedy says that the Patriots always seem to get the last laugh. Jim Fennel says that with a win on Feburary 6th, the Patriots will take their place in history.

Tom E Curran has thoughts and reactions from the losing Pittsburgh locker room, which wasn’t a happy place yesterday. George Kimball (subscription only) also looks back at the hard to take loss for the Steelers.

John Altavilla and Frank Dell’Apa look at Eagles coach Andy Reid.

For articles from the city of brotherly love, you can look at the sports section of Philly.com, which has the articles from both major dailies. In one piece, Phil Sheridan plays the role of Mike Vanderjagt and says the Patriots are ripe for the picking.

Peter May looks at Tony Allen, who has played his way into the starting lineup, providing much needed energy and defense. Steve Bulpett says that Paul Pierce knows he needs to step up and be a leader. Bulpett’s notebook has more on Allen’s stay in the starting lineup.

ESPN has Kentucky/Tennessee at 7:00 and Illinois/Wisconsin at 9:00. ESPN2 has Georgia/Florida at 7:00.

Jacksonville Bound

The Patriots dominated the top rated defense in the NFL yesterday putting up 41 points on Pittsburgh last night in advancing to the Super Bowl for the third time in four years. Couple that with holding the “greatest offensive team of all time” to three points last week and you have as impressive a performance as has been seen perhaps ever in the NFL playoffs. That’s not being a yahoo. That’s the truth. Speaking of yahoos…has anyone seen Merril Hoge?

Let’s get right to the links, there are a ton today. First, the game/lead stories, provided by Nick Cafardo, Michael Felger, Tom E Curran, Alan Greenberg, Michael Parente, Mike Reiss and of course Scott A Benson. Are Super Bowls becoming commonplace events in New England? Dan Shaughnessy says so, but adds that each one is better than the last. Kevin Mannix says that this Patriots dynasty is the greatest of all time. I think I’m still a little uncomfortable with that statement. Should the Patriots happen to lose to the Eagles in two weeks, will that assertion still stand?

Ron Borges looks at “a team made up of hard-nosed, nimble-footed, mentally tough players masterfully led by Bill Belichick”. Borges seems to have come around a bit the last few days in his position, but you can be sure any setback will have Ron back to his cackling self. For the second day in a row he mentions Romeo Crennel possibly taking Eric Mangini with him to Cleveland. Jim Donaldson says the Patriots surprise us not in how good they are, but how much better they are than everyone else. Lenny Megliola looks at our Boston sports nirvana we have going on here. Karen Guregian looks at Tom Brady continuing his hot streak of postseason excellence. Bob Ryan says we already know what will happen in two weeks because the Patriots always play their best games in the biggest games. Jeff Jacobs says that Brady and Belichick are truly the masters of this game. A very good read. Steve Buckley (subscription only) writes about the mastery of Bill Belichick. He mentions in his in-game adjustments, and has Ted Johnson lauding the coach mental acumen. Kevin Paul Dupont looks at how last night’s win put Belichick on a par with Vince Lombardi. Shalize Manza Young has Belichick shunning the praise and limelight. Dan Pires says Belichick and the Patriots were confident even before they took the field. Bill Burt had a pretty extensive piece on Belichick yesterday.

Steve Conroy looks at the huge game turned in by Deion Branch, who had missed the first meeting this season between the Patriots and Steelers. John Powers also looks at the huge game for Branch, who both caught and ran for a TD last night. Alan Greenberg looks at the Patriots Branching out with Deion. Shalize Manza Young also turns in a piece on Branch. Jerry Spar looks at the Patriots other top receiver, David Givens, who also had himself a good night. Jim McCabe looks at Brady, who still found areas he could’ve done better at last night. Rich Thompson has a quick peek at the job turned in by Tedy Bruschi and Ted Johnson last night, the linebacker duo is also part of the group now know as the “Four timers”. Dan Ventura looks at how Ty Warren and Jarvis Green helped fill the void left by the absence of Richard Seymour. Lenny Megliola looks at the Patriots being a model for other teams to follow, from top to bottom. Paul Doyle says a third Super Bowl win would clinch dynasty status for the Patriots.

Conroy also has a piece on a pair of second year DB’s in Eugene Wilson and Asante Samuel, who each came up big last night. Chris Snow looks at their partner and leader in the secondary, Rodney Harrison. Young looks at the youngsters in the secondary coming of age in the playoffs. Thompson also turns in a piece on Dillon, who pulled his weight in the victory over the Steelers. Young also has a quick look at Dillon. Young turned in five articles for the Projo today. Bill Reynolds looks at the Patriots giving us a welcome respite from the cold and snow.

Felger’s notebook mentions Belichick’s pregame speech to his club, something that apparently left quite an impact on them. Cafardo’s notebook looks at how Corey Dillon’s rushing, though not overwhelming, was enough to get the Patriots to another Super Bowl. Curran’s notebook looks at Dillon’s continued transformation into a winner. The Standard-Times notebook says this game was a lot like the last meeting between these clubs, only different.

Steelers Perspective
George Kimball (subscription only) writes that glove or no glove, this was a rough night for young Ben Roethlisberger, who was clearly bedeviled early by the Patriot defense. Mark Blaudschun looks at how rookie mistakes proved the undoing of the Steelers. Jim Donaldson says young Ben is no Tom Brady. He also looks at the Steelers trying to put the loss in perspective. Tom E Curran says that Bill Cowher is going to feel the heat for coming up short in the playoffs again. Jon Couture looks at Pittsburgh fans, disappointed again by the Patriots. Young looks at the Patriots taking away the vaunted running game of the Steelers. Blaudschun’s notebook looks at another tough AFC title game home loss for Bill Cowher.

Check out reaction in Pittsburgh from the Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review.

NFC Title Game
Michael Gee looks at the Eagles finally breaking through in the NFC title game. Frank Dell’Apa covers the game for the Globe. Gee also has a subscription column pretty much on the same subject, how the Eagles avoided the choke. Dell’Apa also has a notebook with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, a Boston native, looking forward to playing the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Media
Bill Griffith wraps up the NFL coverage from yesterday.

The Passion of the C’s?
Steve Bulpett and Peter May (I assume, no name is on the article) have Doc Rivers assessing his team, which seems to be lacking in passion and intensity at times. Bulpett looks at Tony Allen being put in the starting lineup Saturday night, and the rookie responded with 20 points in 27 minutes.

Keepin’ It Real
Mike Shalin looks at the Boston College Eagles setting their sights high. Bob Ryan says that despite being ranked ninth in the country, coach Al Skinner isn’t losing perspective.

Last Chance?
Yesterday, Russ Conway said that the NHL’s last chance to salvage things might be this week.

Tonight
ESPN has Syracuse/Rutgers at 7:00 and Oklahoma/Oklahoma State at 9:00. NESN has game 5 of the 1986 World Series at 7:00.

White Out

Sunday links by ben ([email protected])

Patriots
I find it hard to imagine what today would be like in Foxboro if Doug Brien had actually hit that field goal for the Jets last week. With no place to park, the stadium might not have been half full.

The Boston Globe has seemingly recovered from their November swoon with all hands on deck for this playoff run. And it has been quality (Borges

Less than 48 hours away…

Saturday links by Rich ([email protected]) will be a little shorter than usual due to time constraints.

Pats-Steelers
I can

Mixing it up

You can't feed your family off of Super Bowl rings. --Lawyer Milloy, 01/20/05

The above was said on WEEI yesterday afternoon and is a sad indictment of a player whom I used to admire greatly.

There are many links today, and I’m not going to get to all of them. I’m going to mix things up a little here, and provide some of the highlights of the articles today, along with some other thoughts and commentary from the week. I’ve gotten some feedback that this site should be much more than just bringing links to every story out there to one central location, though that will always be one of the main features here. December and January have been tough months for me time wise, and I haven’t been able to spend as much time doing links as I would like. If anyone is interested in perhaps filling in occasionally for the weekends, let me know. The two guys who help me out there have expressed that it be a bit consuming on the weekends and a break would be in order. It would also help me on days that I might be away…

Ron Borges has a “colorful” article today looking at some color-coded NFL player ratings system used by a few clubs, and what that system says about the matchup of the Steelers and Patriots. This week Ron picks the Patriots to win the Globe staff picks. Question though…it says Ron’s record last week was 4-0. How can that be? He’s admitted that he didn’t make the pick of the Patriots in his name on Friday, and on Sunday, he picked the Colts. How can he be 4-0 last week?

Mike Reiss pays homage to Will McDonough, by doing something that the late Globe sportswriter used to…get some coaches or officials from around the NFL to come on the record and discuss the matchup. Alan Greenberg looks at the matchup against the “throwback” Steelers. Jim Donaldson says this matchup figures to be much different from the last meeting. Ron Hobson looks at the Bill Belichick/Bill Cowher matchup. Hector Longo attempts to dissect the Steelers. Dan Shaughnessy says Bill Belichick must be frustrated that he cannot control the elements. Tim Weisberg says that the Patriots undersized receivers have to play big on Sunday. Chris Kennedy looks at the Patriots special group of linebackers. Pete Thamel in the NY Times has a piece on Stephen Neal with details of how he got into football and specifically to the Patriots. A nice little feature the Globe has added is Inside the Huddle with Steve Nelson.

From Pittsburgh, you can find stories in the Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review.

Bench Blount?

Michael Muldoon says that it is time for Mark Blount to sit and for Kendrick Perkins and Al Jefferson to get the bulk of the playing time. Mike Fine looks at Blount hitting rock bottom. Mark Murphy has a look at Perkins, who has battled through frustration and is now getting his chance to play some more extended minutes. Paul Harber contrasts the rookie years of Al Jefferson and Delonte West. Jim Fenton looks at the awful Atlantic Division, which finds the Celtics tied for the lead at 18-20. Murphy’s notebook looks at Jefferson sitting out practice yesterday because of a sore foot.

Boston College

Yesterday alone I must’ve gotten a dozen emails on one subject alone. The theme of these emails was simple. Where. Are All. The BC. Links? (best said in Ted Sarandis voice.) 15-0 can’t be ignored any longer. Well, it can, but not by me. Of course, I’m pretty much a day late with this, as there’s only a couple links here. Michael Vega and Mike Shalin look at Jared Dudley, who had 36 points Wednesday night in helping BC stay undefeated with a win over Villanova. The sophomore forward has yet to hit the local radar really, but was the subject of an article by Andy Katz on ESPN.com this week. I’ll try to do better on BC hoops going forward and as they keep being successful. Sarandis last night said that he feels BC has a great chance to become the number three team in the area, behind the Red Sox and Patriots. They keep winning, who knows?

Another Snow Job

Damn that Chris Snow. How am I going to be able to continue to ridicule the Globe if he keeps cranking out informative pieces like the one he has today on four of Theo Epstein’s assistants, Jed Hoyer, Peter Woodfork, Galen Carr, and Brian O’Halloran.

Be sure to check out the BSMW Store…many new items just added in the last few days.

Media/WEEI

Yesterday, WEEI let it be known that the reason they trumpet their ratings successes is because none of the “media writers” will do it for them. Bill Griffith does it today, but likely not enough to their liking. I gave my opinion of the on-air “grabass” sessions that the station has been engaging in this week, sessions I found to be nauseating after a few minutes. Response was overwhelmingly positive to what I had to say, with just a couple exceptions. Two people gave the opinion that I have some sort of axe to grind against the station. Not true. I criticize the station because I know how much better it can be. I want it to be. There are already many good things about the station, and perhaps I’m guilty of not always pointing those things out. So here’s a short list of good things about WEEI:

1) D&C get some great guests, and those sessions are usually the highlight of the shows. This morning’s interview with Mike Lupica was outstanding, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

2) Peter Gammons’ appearances on the Big Show. I grew up reading Gammons Sunday Notes column each week in the Globe, and have missed them greatly. Now WEEI basically does a radio version of this feature during the baseball season.

3) Ted Nation, while Teddy is the brunt of jokes from a lot of quarters, I like that he brings on a lot of the lesser known media people in town and you get to hear their opinions. Guys like Chris Price, Paul Perillo, Del Jones, Jeff Goodman, etc.

4) Dale & Neumy usually have an interesting program, they’re not afraid to do some research and tackle subjects that might be a little deeper than the other programs will touch. They’re also usually a bit above to sophomoric high jinks common to his genre.

5) The whiner line. A guilty pleasure. Some of the stuff on there is the funniest stuff you’ll hear anywhere. Some spot-on imitations and parodies that leave me laughing.

There you go, some not-negative things about the station. The criticism will continue from this point forward. Try not to be so thin-skinned, boys. Thanks for the cheap shots this morning too. Glad to see this little internet site can get under the skin of the “highest rated sports radio station in the country”.

There’s a certain level of irony in the air when John Dennis can talk about people who don’t get their facts straight when he’s the one who read an article from TheBrushback.com on the air and thought it was real…who is the “dumbass” (term used by Dennis on the air) there, John?

Jim Baker won’t touch the WEEI numbers, and doesn’t even mention the station at all. No big surprise there. Dave Scott talks about the Globe, Chris Collins and other media items. John Howell looks at Rob Dibble and ESPN parting ways.

Tonight

FSN has Celtics/Nets at 7:30. ESPN has Pacers/Heat at 8:00 and Spurs/Suns at 10:30. On NESN at 6:30, SportsPlus will have Ron Borges, Nick Cafardo, and Tim Fox previewing this Sunday’s game.