Weekend Watch – Bye Week for Patriots

This is a weekend to broaden our horizons. Check out some other NFL teams. Watch some postseason baseball. Maybe rake some leaves before what happened to Buffalo this week (Over a foot of snow) happens to us.

The Patriots are in the bye week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your fix of the team, Patriots All Access is on Saturday night at 7:00 and Sunday morning at 10:00 on WCVB channel 5. This week’s edition features the following:

  • An extended one-on-one conversation with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
  • Bill Belichick examines the effectiveness of the Patriots run defense vs Miami on the Belestrator.
  • And with the bye week upon us, Corey Dillon, Rodney Harrison, Tully-Banta-Cain and Bam Childress compete to see who is the best Madden game player on the team.

Keep up with any Patriots news from the weekend on the Patriots Daily Links page.

CBS has the NFL doubleheader this weekend. Here’s the weekly maps to check who will see what game: CBS Early Game, CBS Late Game and Fox Single Game.

Here’s your College Football TV Schedule to plot out your Saturday viewing with. For the Florida/Auburn game Saturday night, ESPN is employing their “Full Circle” coverage. (See Larry Stewart’s column in the Los Angeles Times linked below)

Weekend Viewing Highlights

Friday
Celtics/Cavs Preseason Hoops, 7:30-FSN. Mets/Cardinals NLCS Game 2, FOX-8:05

Saturday
NASCAR, Bank of America 500, Noon-NBC. A’s/Tigers ALCS Game 4, FOX-4:30. Mets/Cardinals NLCS Game 3, FOX-8:05. Bruins/Islanders NESN-7:00,

Sunday
Giants/Falcons, FOX-1:00, Texans/Cowboys, CBS-1:00, Jets/Dolphins CBS-4:15. Raiders/Broncos NBC-8:15, A’s/Tigers ALCS Game 5 (if necessary) FOX-4:40, Mets/Cardinals NLCS Game 4 FOX-8:05.

Full listings can be found in the Globe Weekend Sports Guide.

Notes and Observations

With the Patriots signing Dan Koppen to a new contract extension this week, it gives some members of the media a chance to display how hypocritical they really can be. Check out Michael Felger’s questions to Koppen as chronicled by John Tomase. The question in particular that galls is this one “Why sign early and not maximize value as a free agent? Could you have gotten more on the open market?” Felger is the same one who has been railing on about how the Patriots should’ve “locked up” Deion Branch and Adam Vinatieri and others before their contracts became an issue or they hit free agency. Now that the Patriots have done this with Koppen, locking him up before he hits the market, Felger appears to be questioning why Koppen wouldn’t be smart enough to wait for free agency. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…that’s how things work apparently. What’s more, it appears that the perception from the media is that if a player re-signs with the Patriots, he must be taking a below-market deal. That idea was thrown out there several times on Thursday, with Felger even proclaiming on FSN that the Patriots are lucky that they have players willing to do this. Did Koppen actually take a below-market deal? Mike Reiss was the only one who seemed to try and figure out whether this was actually the case. And are the Patriots “lucky” to have players like this, or do they seek them out?

Congrats to Tony Massarotti who was officially promoted to the position of general columnist at the Boston Herald. He had been tackling sports other than baseball recently and I actually thought his promotion had already happened. It’s good to see a solid guy working his way up at the paper.

As noted by David Scott this morning, the Hartford Courant has switched the roles of David Heuschkel and Jeff Goldberg. Heuschkel will now cover the Lady UConn Huskies basketball team, while Goldberg moves to the Red Sox beat. In the article making the announcement in the paper, Heuschkel notes the demands of covering the Red Sox, and decided it was time to take on a new and different challenge. At almost any other paper moving from an MLB beat to a womens college basketball beat would be a demotion, but with the incredible popularity and success of the UConn women, this is at the very least a sideways move. Goldberg has filled in on the Red Sox beat in the past and done a very credible job. I look forward to reading him on a daily basis next season.

First, Football Outsiders teamed up with FoxSports.com. Now, Cold, Hard Football Facts will be working with MSNBC.com, which will be running a package of Cold, Hard Football Facts content looking at teams playing in NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast each week. The package will include a story related to the game, along with a local recipe and beer from one of the participating cities.

They’ll also be running more CHFF features from time to time. The first feature is here.

I’d like to thank Steve Burton for my best laugh of the week. On Thursday’s Big Show on WEEI, the panel was discussing various “risky” activities that athletes engage in which might make owners nervous and want to prohibit them from doing contractually. Carrying a gun was discussed and someone brought up the Second Amendment – the right to bear arms. So they were attempting to state that athletes have a constitutional right to carry a licensed gun. Burton then very earnestly chimed in regarding Cory Lidle “He had a license to fly a plane – that’s a constitutional right too!!”

Site Announcement

We’re gearing up for the next BSMW Fall Fund Drive, which will take place next month. We’re looking for individuals or businesses that might be interested in donating prizes that can be given away to contributors to the drive. So far we’ve received a few books, as well as gift certificates and cards. The grand prize is going to be a Sling Media Slingbox, which I will be purchasing for the winner of the drawing held at the end of the drive. If you’re interested in donating a prize, please contact me at [email protected].

Now, onto our weekly media links from around the country:

New England

Susan Bickelhaupt reports on CN8’s expansion in the local sports coverage scene, as the cable giant tries to use it’s own station to try and compete with the big guns of local sports coverage. David Scott looks at NESN letting go a pair of anchors, and also examines the growing trend of writers leaving newspaper to go to work for internet sites. John Molori’s Media Blitz looks at New England getting a taste of ESPN’s “The Contender 2″ show with a fight being taped in Providence at the Dunkin Donuts Center. John Howell examines how Cory Lidle’s death has really put the spotlight on his last interview with Mike and the Mad Dog on WFAN. He also looks at some Patriots and NFL ratings in the Connecticut area.

New York

Phil Mushnick says again that you just can’t believe what you hear from TV sports announcers, though you’re expected to take it as gospel. Think the pitch speed readings on TV this postseason have been a bit high? Richard Sandomir examines why that is. Neil Best prepares for more late nights of baseball watching. Earlier this week he also had a piece on Mike Francesa lamenting his final words to Cory Lidle. Andrew Marchand reports on FOX adding Joe Girardi as a pregame analyst for the World Series. Marchand’s Memo of the Week praises ESPN for the Bill Buckner/Mookie Wilson Outside the Lines program last Sunday. Bob Raissman looks at FOX facing some dismal ratings numbers for postseason baseball. Jane McManus reports on sports coming to MTV with a high school football documentary and a highlights show created with a nod to the old ABC “Wide World of Sports.”

More Eastern Columns

Aaron Bracy spent some time in the FOX production truck prior to the Eagles/Cowboys game last Sunday and reports back to us what the experience was like. He has links to Philadelphia writers remembering Cory Lidle in his blog entry for today. Laura Nachman has more media reaction to Lidle’s tragedy this week. Michael Hiestand looks at ABC/ESPN gearing up to take on NASCAR broadcasts again starting next season. The networks also announced that Brent Musburger(!) will serve as the studio hosts for the broadcasts. Hiestand has a couple other interesting items in that column as well. Michael McCarthy says that live, on-site NFL pre-game shows are not leaving themselves enough of a safety net…the potential is there for an ugly incident. Jim Williams looks at the BETJ show “The Christies Committed” starring Doug Christie and wife Jackie. Chris Zelkovich looks at Canadian golf fans losing out as TSN fails to come to an agreement with the Golf Channel.

South

Dave Darling looks at ESPN’s PTI turning five later this month…an eternity for ESPN shows. Jim Sarni leads his extensive column off with FOX promoting the BCS (which they will broadcast) by showing the standings each week in their NFL postgame show. Barry Jackson reports on the rivalry between WQAM and 790 the Ticket getting ugly with a lawsuit between the parent companies of the stations over former Dolphin Troy Stradford breaking a non-compete agreement and switching stations in the course of a month’s time. David Barron reports on Sunday’s Texans/Cowboys game where fans will be able to send messages to servicemen overseas thanks to the radio broadcast being streamed online. He also has some interesting numbers for how NFL teams do ratings-wise in their local markets. Pittsburgh is tops with a 48.2. Barry Horn looks at the curious decision by Texas and Oklahoma to decline the offer to have their game moved to ABC’s prime time Saturday Night Football telecast.

Midwest

Ed Sherman has Ken Harrelson gushing over the idea of Lou Piniella becoming the next manager of the Cubs. Judd Zulgad reports on the latest moves by the Twins in their process of bringing their radio broadcasts in-house. Dan Caesar looks at the Cardinals finally getting in a LCS where they’ll get the lead broadcast team from FOX. Bob Wolfley looks at former Wisconsin coach Barry Alverez joining FOX’s BCS coverage.

West Coast

Larry Stewart looks at ESPN gearing up for another “Full Circle” college football presentation on Saturday with the Florida/Auburn game. He also has a piece on USC’s Brandon Hancock, who had his playing career cut short with an injury in August, but who is getting a jump start on his broadcasting career by landing a role on the team’s radio broadcasts. In that article, Stewart has a Petros Papadakis update. Jay Posner reports on Ted Leitner extending his 27 year run as a Padres broadcaster by a couple more years. John Maffei notes that Matt Vasgersian is drawing a lot of interest around baseball for his services in the TV booth. Joe Davidson has Sacramento Kings announcers Gary Gerould, Jim Kozimor and Grant Napear discussing the proposed downtown arena for the team and the ugly possibility that the franchise could move if the arena doesn’t get built. Jim Carlisle looks at LCS games being pushed to cable on FX, and how next season MLB will have a different look on TV. Michael Lev reports on FOX having troubles with their Fox Box during the USC-Washington game last weekend, and how they scrambled to try and resolve the situation.