9.25.06 Afternoon

A few afternoon media links plus a look at some of the weekend TV ratings.

John Molori’s Media Blitz looks at 7NBC still trying to replace Wendi Nix while preparing to launch a new sports segment on the newly acquired channel 56.

Michael Hiestand looks at a huge night for ESPN tonight with the Saints/Falcons game, which marks the return of the NFL to New Orleans and the Superdome. Bob Raissman says that tonight is ESPN’s first big Monday Night moment. David Barron says that ESPN will mix in more serious matter amidst the usual frivolity that is New Orleans.

ESPN and the NFL are giving this game a Super Bowl-like feel. Monday Night Countdown begins at 7:00 and opens with the Goo Goo Dolls performing “Better Days” – which has served as an anthem of recovery for many throughout the Gulf Coast region since the hurricane. U2 and Greenday will also perform during the night, as the two bands have been active with Music Rising – replacing the musical instruments and equipment that were lost during the hurricane. Former President George H. W. Bush is also expected to be a guest on Countdown.

Here are some weekend numbers for the local TV stations:

092506ratings.jpg

Each HH (Household) rating point represents nearly 24,000 households, and the share is the percentage of turned-on sets in the market tuned to that particular program.

The Patriots numbers weren’t quite as high as I had expected them to be, they actually finished with a lower rating than last week’s game against the Jets. The Ryder Cup numbers were higher than I thought they’d be, given how early in the morning they aired.

The October issue of Boston Magazine features an article from John Wolfson on Bill Buckner, who after years of comments that he was being persecuted by Red Sox fans for his 1986 World Series gaffe, has recently been making appearances with Mookie Wilson and cashing in on the 20th anniversary of the event. The feature also comments on some of Buckner’s dealings after baseball:

Buckner, on the other hand, began a lucrative business career, developing 28 acres in the Boise suburb of Meridian into three housing subdivisions. He chose to call these new communities Fenway Park, an odd decision given that Buckner played for seven years with the Chicago Cubs—twice as long as the Red Sox—a team with a fairly well-known ballpark of its own. Considering Buckner’s mistreatment in Boston, you’d think he might have named his developments Wrigley Field instead.

Broncos Run Wild Again

We should’ve known. The Broncos beat the Patriots. Its what they do. Last night was no exception as Denver beat New England 17-7 at Gillette Stadium. While the Patriots will be under heavy scrutiny and fire this week in the papers and on the airwaves, a lot of credit needs to be given to the Broncos. They won the game. The Patriots didn’t simply lose it.

Alan Greenberg claims that this game came down to the Patriots not being willing to pay for the players who would’ve made a difference last night. Mike Reiss has Bill Belichick saying that his club needs to do better in every facet of the game. John Tomase says that the Patriots failed last night among other things to prove that they were not “the most fraudulent 2-0 team in the league.” Shalise Manza Young observes that the Denver jinx is alive and well for the Patriots. Rich Garven looks at the Patriots offense struggling mightily against the Broncos in the loss. Mike Lowe says that the Broncos pounded the Patriots on both sides of the ball last night. David Brown has more on the poor showing in front of a national audience. Chad Finn blogged the game in detail last night.

Michael Felger says that Tom Brady has been hung out to dry by the Patriots. Christopher Price gives us his 10 Things We Learned Last Night. Albert Breer writes that in the past, you could count on the Patriots not beating themselves. That doesn’t seem to be the case any longer. Steve Solloway says that it is too early to pass judgment on this team, but Dan Shaughnessy says that the Patriots truly look like a team in distress. Steve Buckley looks at how the lack of a running game killed the Patriots last night. Jim Donaldson has more on Denver maintaining their dominance over Brady, Belichick and company.

Christopher L. Gasper says that Tom Brady isn’t quite ready to give up on this team and is receivers just yet. Kevin McNamara says that Brady may not be ready to give up, but his frustration is clearly showing. Karen Guregian asserts that with the offense struggling as it has been, the burden falls to the defense to play even better than it did in the Super Bowl winning years. Tony Chamberlain looks at what the Denver defense did to stop the Patriots offense.

Tony Massarotti nails rookie Stephen Gostkowski for having a field goal blocked for the second straight week. Bob Duffy looks at Josh Miller, who had a great night punting, but that’s not a good thing for the Patriots. McDonald says everyone must be wondering this morning why the Patriots let Adam Vinatieri go. But he adds that its early yet.

Dan Ventura looks at Javon Walker burning the Patriots. Peter May asks why can’t we get players like Javon Walker. Yes, he really asked that. McNamara writes that “he playmaker the Patriots half-heartedly chased in the off-season came back to break their hearts last night.” Jennifer Toland has more on Walker burning the Patriots. Breer looks at Doug Gabriel’s fourth quarter (6 catches for 65 yards and a TD) as the lone bright spot in the passing game. Joe McDonald has more on Gabriel getting into the action for the Patriots.

Ventura highlights the play of the game as the 32 yard TD pass from Jake Plummer to Javon Walker in the second quarter. Felger notes that Denver’s blitz really wasn’t evidence last night and they didn’t need it. Joe McDonald provides his game analysis for last night on all sides of the ball. Greenberg has his turning point of the game and other analysis and notes. Tim Weisberg offers up a quick report card for the Patriots last night. Dan Pires had provided five keys to the game yesterday, today he looks at how they turned out.

Lenny Megliola looks at the Patriots going to China next summer for the first-ever NFL action in that country. Michael Parente has more on the announcement of the game. Garven also reports on the Patriots going to China.

Breer notes that tonight’s Saints/Falcons game in New Orleans is being viewed by many as the rebirth of that region after the devastation of last year. Christopher Price looks at five Patriots who will be watching the activities tonight with interest. Randall Gay, Kevin Faulk, Eric Alexander, Marquise Hill and Jarvis Green all have ties to the area and are glad to see football back in New Orleans.

You can check the coverage from Denver in the Rocky Mountain News, Denver Post and Colorado Springs Gazette.

Tomase’s notebook has Corey Dillon missing much of the game with an arm injury. Reiss’ notebook has more on the announcement that the Patriots will play a preseason game with the Seahawks in China next summer. The Projo notebook has more on the first China Bowl next summer. Garven’s notebook examines the Patriots inability to create turnovers in the first three games. The S-T notebook has more on the China game and a number of other items. Lowe’s notebook also reports on the trip to the far east for the Patriots next summer.

The news wasn’t any better for the Red Sox, who dropped a 13-4 clunker to the Blue Jays despite David Ortiz’s 53rd home run of the season.

Gordon Edes looks at a series of gaffes in the field doing the Red Sox in. Jeff Horrigan has a quick look at the game. David Heuschkel has more on the follies in the outfield for the Red Sox yesterday. Phil O’Neill has a look at Ortiz reaching another milestone. David Borges also reports from Toronto.

Horrigan looks at Ortiz tying Babe Ruth’s AL record for home runs on the road. Horrigan’s notebook has Terry Francona saying that the brutal travel schedule that the Red Sox have had this season could’ve contributed to their rash of injuries. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on Ortiz tying the Babe. O’Neill’s notebook says that Francona and Theo Epstein will discuss the coaching staff after the season ends next Sunday.

Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins looking good thus far in the preseason. Stephen Harris says that the good results early make hockey more fun for the Bruins. Harris also has the Bruins counting on Hannu Toivonen as the key to their season.

Jim McCabe and George Kimball have Europe retaining the Ryder Cup with a runaway win this weekend. Bob Ryan says that this was another ugly effort by the Americans. McCabe’s notebook looks at Darren Clarke riding an emotional wave after losing his wife to cancer last month. Kimball’s notebook looks at Scott Verplank scoring a hole-in-one.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. ESPN has Saints/Falcons at 8:30.

Weekend Watch – Playoff Rematch

It’s another big football weekend on television.

The Patriots cap off the weekend with their first appearance on NBC’s new Sunday Night Football. Locally the game will be seen on 7NBC at 8:15 PM.

On Patriots All Access this week, Bill Belichick breaks out the telestrator to show why and how Javon Walker has made an immediate impact to the Broncos offense. They all feature a look at the Belichick/Mike Shanahan coaching matchup, and look at Tom Brady and Tedy Bruschi giving of their time to 3 families for a most worthwhile cause. The show airs Saturday at 7:00PM and is repeated Sunday morning at 10:00.

There’s an interesting article in this week’s edition of Patriots Football Weekly – Dan Heffron of Fairfax Va, saved up enough points with his Patriots Extra Points Visa Card to earn the reward of “Reporter for a Day.” His account of the day that he spent as a media member is quite descriptive, Heffron was given full media access, including parking, a stadium tour, and a seat in the press box. He reports that the press box might not be the neutral area that it is supposed to be, and gives his observations on Steve Burton recording live segments of Fifth Quarter “on the fly.”

The FSN Football hour is strong this week once again. On New England Tailgate, Steve DeOssie and Fred Smerlas do a good job at the telestrator, breaking down the 3-4 vs the 4-3 defense. On Four Downs with Felger, there was again lucid discussion among the panel of Felger, Ron Borges, Russ Francis and Don Banks. The show concluded with Felger talking to Logan Mankins about his incident in the Denver regular season game last season which resulted in his ejection from the game.

WEEI gets things going on Sunday with NFL Sunday at 9:00. ESPN Boston has their Patriots coverage with NFL Countdown from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM with Kevin Winter and Russ Francis. CBS4 has Patriots Game Day at 11:30 AM.

After the game, Patriots 5th Quarter will air on CBS4.

If you can’t get near a TV or Radio on Sunday night, but somehow have an internet connection, you can listen to the WBCN radio play-by-play feed online. Gil and Gino’s call of the game against Denver will be available on WBCN.com…The NFL prohibits it’s radio partners from streaming games on a regular basis; those are only available for a fee at NFL.com….but CBS Radio and the NFL have an agreement that allows each of the teams that are aired on CBS stations (Lions, Bears, Giants, Texans, Falcons, Patriots and Eagles) to make four games per season available for free on the station’s website… last week’s game was streamed, and the others that’ll be available will be the Colts game on November 5th and the Dolphins on December 10th.

The Patriots Game Day blog will once again be busy on Sunday, providing updates before, during and after the Patriots/Broncos game on NBC. You can have the latest stories, columns and blog entries on the Patriots all in one place on the Patriots Daily Links page. Tom Curran’s Blog on NBCSports.com is a good game day resource as well.

You can check the coverage from Denver in the Rocky Mountain News, Denver Post and Colorado Springs Gazette. You can also look at the All Things Broncos blog from the Post.

For the rest of the NFL games on Sunday, we’ve got the weekly coverage maps to show what games will be shown in which areas. Here are the maps for the CBS Singleheader and the FOX 1PM and FOX 4PM games.

Bill Simmons has his week 3 NFL picks. Jim McCabe has his NFL selections for the week, as do Jim Lazar and Double D. For those looking for action, I.M. Bettoroffers up his advice for the weekend.

For the college games, get the listings on the College Football Schedule. Locally, Boston College takes on NC State at 7:00 on ESPN2.

The Red Sox will be in Toronto this weekend. Keep up with the storylines from up north on the Red Sox Daily Links page.

The Ryder Cup can be seen on NBC this weekend, Saturday at 8:00AM and Sunday 7:00AM.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to NECNs Chris Collins, whose father passed away earlier this week…

850 Best in the Country

WEEI took home two Marconi awards last night at The NAB Radio Show in Dallas. The sports station was named as Large Market Station of the Year and the Sports Radio Station of the Year.

Media Columns

New England

Susan Bickelhaupt looks at the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) changing its name to Versus and introducing three new original series to go along with their NHL broadcasts. Andrew Neff reports on Bangor sports radio WZON coming away with three awards from the Maine Association of Broadcasters. He also has more on Versus. David Scott looks at the Globe’s series on racial inequities in the college football coaching ranks and ESPN Boston rebranding itself as ‘Boston’s Football Station.’ John Howell looks at Joe Buck handling his role as both pregame host and main play-by-play an for FOX.

New York

Bob Raissman says that a subway series between the Mets and Yankees is not what FOX or MLB wants, no matter what they say. Phil Mushnick notes that the NFL broadcasts haven’t exactly always been educational to the viewers in the first two weeks of the season. Andrew Marchand reports that Allan Houston is in talks with ESPN about becoming a studio analyst. He also comments on the performances thus far of Charley Casserly and Tony Kornheiser in their TV roles. Marchand’s Memo of Week is to Dick Ebersol, suggesting some improvements for Football Night in America. He also poses five questions to Chris Berman. Who might have the toughest job in the NY sports? Neil Best talks to Patty Parker, who does most of the closed captioning for WFAN’s Mike & and Mad Dog afternoon radio show. Yes, she has to type out what the fast-talking Chris Russo says as he says it.

Mid-Atlantic

Aaron Bracy has legendary Phillies announcer Harry Kalas not planning on calling it quits anytime soon. At age 70, Kalas plans to sign a new contract this offseason for two years with a mutual option for a third. You can get more thoughts from Bracy on his blog, which seems to get updated frequently. Laura Nachman checks in with former ESPN reality series “Dream Job” finalist Brian Startare, who is now working in the industry for real. Bob Smizik reports on the Pirates promoting Greg Brown to co-No. 1 radio announcer alongside Lanny Frattare, who initiated the move and has been with the team since 1976 and long known as the “voice of the Pirates.” Michael Hiestand and Michael McCarthy play point-counterpoint on NFL broadcasts taking their studio shows outdoors on location. Hiestand’s column also has a look at the lack of former team GM’s in the television world. Jim Williams looks at coverage of the Ryder Cup on USA and NBC.

South

Jim Sarni notes that it was great to see Peter Gammons on the airwaves again this week. Barry Jackson isn’t so impressed thus far with NBC’s Football Night in America. He also comments on FOX, CBS and ESPN coverage thus far. Dave Darling says that the US needs to make a strong showing at the Ryder Cup. David Barron looks examines the army that ESPN is moving into New Orleans for this week’s Monday Night Football game between the Saints and Falcons that marks the return of the NFL to the city for the first time since hurricane Katrina. Barron has a blog as well.

Midwest

Judd Zulgad takes to task for numerous mistakes the low-level broadcast crew that FOX sent to cover the Vikings/Panthers game last Sunday. A particular target is analyst Bill Maas. Bob Wolfley has Shannon Sharpe underwhelmed with the Green Bay Packers, lumping them with Tampa Bay, Oakland and Tennessee as the least impressive team in the NFL. Jeffrey Flanagan reports on the controversy caused by Brent Musburger’s on-air comments involving signals used by USC quarterback John David Booty last Saturday night.

West Coast

Larry Stewart has Dan Fouts placing a call to Pete Carroll to ensure that there are no misunderstandings this week such as what took place with Musburger. He also has a look at the Ryder Cup coverage, which starts at 5:00AM Saturday and 4:00AM Sunday Pacific time, Monday Night Football in New Orleans and has a mention about the return of Peter Gammons. Jay Posner looks back at the calls of the crazy Padres-Dodgers game on Monday night. He also has the weekend TV ratings numbers for the San Diego area. Tom Hoffarth has more on the early morning Ryder Cup matches this weekend. John Maffei tells us how last weekend “Musburger again proved why he’s the worst announcer on network television.” Michael Lev has Dan Hicks facing the challenge of getting Ryder Cup viewers in the early mornings. Joe Davidson looks at a busy guy in Sacramento radio – KHTK’s Jason Ross.