Curse Microsoft!

Had my post this morning almost done and a wonderful BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) wiped out the entire entry.

I questioned Michael Felger and Gerry Callahan for criticizing the bottom guys on the Patriots roster while still wanting the team to shell out big money for guys at the top of the roster.

Hector Longo grades out the entire Patriots roster. Alan Greenberg and Shalise Manza Young look at who might be gone and who might be back on the Patriots for next season. Mike Reiss says linebacker is an area that needs an influx of youth and talent for next season.

John Tomase looks at the offense and what needs tweaking on that side of the ball. Albert Breer has more on how the Patriots can help themselves this offseason. Eric McHugh says the Patriots have a bright future but do need some tweaking. Christopher Price takes a final look back at 2006 before looking ahead to next season.

Bob Hohler has a look at Charlie Weis’ malpractice suit for his nearly-fatal gastric bypass in 2002.

Mark Farinella hopes Bill Parcells remains retired this time.

Michael Vega, Jeff Goodman and Lenny Megliola report on Boston College knocking off Florida State on a buzzer beater from Sean Marshall.

Jon Couture notes that the Red Sox don’t have a closer yet, and that’s ok for now.

Shira Springer looks at a small lineup for the Celtics proving to be their best option as of late. Steve Bulpett notes that even though the Celtics are losing games in bunches, the fans are still coming out. Bulpett’s notebook has Wally Szczerbiak and Brian Scalabrine trying to get back into the flow of things.

TV listings and more later…

Oh No, Mr Bill!

I think we might have our theme to fill the slow time on the sports radio airwaves between now and when pitchers and catchers report next month.

Discuss Bill Belichick’s manners.

They might mix in a little Super Bowl talk, or if the Red Sox make a move or the Celtics pull off a major trade that might fill a day or so, but I think we’re going to see a lot of talk about Belichick over the next few weeks. Just shoot me now.

Today we had John Dennis (he of the profanity-riddled, threatening voicemails) lecturing the Patriots coach on decorum. We had Dale Arnold disapproving of the coach with Michael Holley trying to defend him, and then we had The Big Show crew defending the coach.

I actually think the Pro Bowl might get some coverage around here as the media tries to see how Belichick deals with the numerous San Diego Chargers on the AFC roster.

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The AFC and NFC championship games were big winners for CBS and FOX respectively.

From CBS:

CBS Sports’ coverage of the AFC Championship Game featuring the New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Jan. 21 (6:45-10:30 PM, ET), earned an average overnight household rating/share of 28.1/40, up +14% from a 24.6/44, in 2006 for (Pittsburgh-Denver; 3:15-6:15 PM, ET), and up +4% from 2005’s 27.0/38 (New England-Pittsburgh; 6:30-9:45 PM, ET).

From FOX:

FOX Sports concluded its 2006-2007 NFL campaign yesterday (1/21/07) with a bang, posting a 25.1/45 rating/share and an average audience of 43.2 million viewers as the Bears defeated the Saints in the NFC Championship Game, according to fast national figures released this afternoon by Nielsen Media Research.

- With an average audience of 43.2 million viewers, Sunday’s Saints/Bears contest ranks as the most-watched NFC Championship Game in ten years (since 46.3 million tuned in for Panthers vs. Packers in 1997). Nielsen Media Research estimates that just under 75 million people tuned in for at least part of yesterday’s game.

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Bill Simmons laments the Patriots loss in the AFC title game.

Mike Reiss has a season-ending mailbag on Boston.com.

Michael Felger held a chat at the Boston Herald website today. See if you can make heads or tails of it.

Cold Hard Football Facts continues to cheerfully eat crow over Peyton Manning’s performance.

Michael Gee explains the formula to figure out what to expect from Bill Belichick or any NFL coach on any given day.

Neil Best has Boomer Esiason talking about Belichick’s behavior on Sunday.

Peter King weighs in on Bill Parcells’ decision to call it a career.

Bob Raissman says that a return to television is likely in the future for Parcells.

Boston doesn’t have the monopoly on egomaniacal sportswriters. If Pat Burrell is no Joe DiMaggio, then Bill Conlin is certainly no Grantland Rice.

Richard Sandomir notes that Shannon Sharpe is a showman on the air and off.

Dan Caesar examines whether FOX is going to continue Joe Buck in his dual roles of pregame host and top play-by-play man for the future.

John Donovan looks at how MLB’s deal with DirecTV could leave a majority of fans without access to the Extra Innings package.
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ESPN is going all-out with their NASCAR coverage for the upcoming season.

ESPN and ESPN on ABC’s coverage of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series will be the most technologically advanced programming in the history of televised motorsports, according to Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer, remote production.

“ESPN’s presentation of NASCAR will be state of the art at every level of production,” said Drake. ”We have built a production plan that will provide a truly exceptional presentation to our viewers.”

Every ESPN broadcast will be done entirely in High Definition. Other enhancements include HD in-car cameras, grass cam, wall cam, crew cams, pit overhead cams, blimps and multiple robotic cameras at various points around the tracks.

NASCAR Busch Series on ESPN2 will also be carried in HD, and will use the Sportvision technology, which is a series of on-screen pointers with specific information on different cars in real time.

For its NASCAR Countdown studio shows that will precede all NASCAR race telecasts, ESPN will originate from the most technologically-advanced traveling studio ever used in sports television. The studio, which weighs nearly 78,000 pounds and will travel to 26 NASCAR tracks this season, will allow ESPN to bring the look and feel of its Bristol, Conn.,-based studio shows such as SportsCenter and Sunday NFL Countdown to the tracks.

The mobile pit studio will be outfitted with state-of-the-art LED lighting, three robotic HD cameras and a dramatic, contoured, video display fronting the anchor desk. Situated near the pits at every track, the studio will be elevated 14 feet while in use and 30 foot glass windows will give viewers a look at the cars, grandstands and pageantry prior to the race start.

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Tonight

7:00pm, NESN – Florida St @ Boston College
7:00pm, ESPN – Indiana @ Illinois
8:00pm, Versus – NHL Young Stars Game and SuperSkills challenge
9:00pm, NESN – Virginia Tech @ Miami
9:00pm, ESPN – Alabama @ Auburn
10:00pm, Versus – San Diego St @ UNLV

Pats Moving On

And so it begins. With the Patriots 2006 season over, it’s already time to look to next season.

Mike Reiss has an overview of issues facing the team this offseason, with potential free agents, salary cap analysis and roster management. John Tomase has a similar look at holes that need to be filled and holes that might be created by departures. Ian Clark says there are changes looming in Foxboro. Rich Garven says that the Patriots might cut some more of their Super Bowl ties this offseason. Eric McHugh also looks ahead to the offseason. Mike Lowe also ponders what’s next for New England.

Michael Felger has his report card for the AFC Championship game. Ian Clark also has his report card for the game.

Karen Guregian and Reiss each talk with the agent for Asante Samuel, Alonzo Shavers, who does his best diplomat impression on the status of talks between he and the Patriots regarding his client.

Ron Borges has had this column written and shoved his desk drawer for five years now. With Tony Dungy finally in the Super Bowl, he can bring it out and take all the passive-aggressive shots at Bill Belichick that he wants. And you thought Ron might be above that? Ha! A couple samples:

He doesn't sleep in his office, silence his underlings, grouse at the media, close his practices, lie to his players or the public, sulk about losing or equate winning a football game with keeping the free world safe. How did Tony Dungy ever get into the position he's in today?

A little further on in the article:

Important for the country to see that a man can win an athletic contest without becoming a troll, a dictator, or an anti-social misfit. That he can convince his players of the importance of their jobs without trying to convince them that it is Armageddon every Sunday.

If I say directly that Borges is talking about Bill Belichick here, I’m sure to get the angry email from Ron stating that he never said “Belichick.” Ron would probably say that these qualities are not all that uncommon among NFL coaches. But we know who he is actually targeting.This is much similar to his picking the Patriots in the MSNBC article without actually coming out and saying that they’re going to win.

Just another disgrace from Ron Borges on the pages of the Globe sports section. Tony Dungy has got to be proud that he’s got a guy like Borges in his corner.

Steve Buckley joins that disgrace with just a horrid, horrid column in the Herald. I read it, and just went “Huh?!?!” The premise is debunking a nitwit who thinks Reche Caldwell should be compared to Bill Buckner? THAT’S worthy of a column? Along the way, Buckley gets his shot in at Belichick, noting without irony that Belichick could learn a thing or two about losing with dignity from Dungy.

Tony Massarotti wonders how the Patriots even got this far. It was all Belichick and Brady, he concludes. Jim Donaldson says the dynasty is dead. Tom Brady has been to his last Super Bowl. Alan Greenberg appears to take glee in Belichick’s misery following the game. Hector Longo says the Patriots need to give Tom Brady more weapons and not waste another year of his prime.

Albert Breer says that Peyton Manning’s patience and lack of panic helped the Colts come back and win this game. David Brown points to tired legs on the Patriots aging linebackers as a big factor in the game. Michael Parente has the Patriots reflecting on the stunning loss. Christopher Price has Tom Brady still not used to the taste of defeat. Price also has Manning praising the Patriots’ class for how they handled the loss and offered congratulations to the Colts.

Reiss’ notebook has players musing on the late lapses that did them in on Sunday night.

Bob Ryan has the Bears whipping out the respect card to be played over the next two weeks.

Celtics

The Celtics’ losing streak hit eight games, but once again they were at least entertaining as they continue their journey to the draft lottery. The young Celtics put on quite a show last night before falling, 93-89 to the San Antonio Spurs.

Shira Springer notes that despite the loss, we once again saw a glimpse of the Celtics future on display last night. And it wasn’t bad. Steve Bulpett says that the losses are piling up and starting to all look the same – fall behind early, stage a run, fall short in the end. Lenny Megliola has the Spurs extending their streak against the Celtics. Bill Doyle also reports on the game and Tim Duncan’s personal streak of never having lost to the Celtics.

Mark Murphy has Al Jefferson getting praised for his defense last night by Doc Rivers, on a night in which the third year center had 26 points and 14 rebounds against Tim Duncan. Peter May looks at former Celtic Bruce Bowen, now entrenched with the Spurs, where he holds the NBA’s longest current consecutive games streak. Kevin Gray reports on NH native Matt Bonner, working his way back from injury with the Spurs.

Springer’s notebook reports that reinforcements might soon be on the way for the Celtics. Bulpett’s notebook has Paul Pierce shedding the protective boot that he has had to wear for the past several weeks. Doyle’s notebook has former Celtic Eric Williams happy to be with a contender.

Red Sox/Bruins

Jeff Horrigan insists that the J.D. Drew delay is no big deal to the Red Sox.

Steve Conroy looks at youth taking center stage at the NHL All Star game. Fluto Shinzawa has Sidney Crosby taking the league by storm at the age of 19.

Conroy’s notebook has Zdeno Charo just looking to have fun at the game. Shinzawa’s notebook has the league unveiling a new jersey, which is under fire from some players.

David Scott reports on Duke Castiglione finishing up his run at WHDH and heading back to NYC.

TV listings this afternoon….

Coverage Notes

Breaking: The Dallas Morning News reports that Bill Parcells has retired. NFL.com has a statement from Parcells.
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The morning after a season ending playoff loss, the person I really want to hear when I turn on my sports radio station is Lenny Clarke! Boy that guy is a riot!

Now that I think about it, Dan Marino flipping picks and going over to the Patriots side in the CBS pregame was the kiss of death.

Or was it Boomer donning the Belichick hoodie that did it?

No, the Colts simply got the job done. Give them the credit for bouncing back from a 21-3 deficit, and not folding as previous editions of the Colts might’ve done.

Some coverage notes from this morning thus far:

If you can get past the second paragraph shot at the “low cost wide receivers,” Ron Borges wrote a pretty strong column this morning, tipping his keyboard to the Patriots as “one of the gutsiest teams in NFL history.”

Overall, I’ve got to give the coverage nod to the Globe this morning, as the sons of Joe Sullivan (even he chipped in) outperformed the Herald by a wide margin. Looking through the Herald articles, there were none that I found particularly insightful or intriguing. The Globe also has the advantage of the videos of locker room interviews, which are certainly more complete than the little snippets you’ll see on TV. Some of these can give you a real sense of context for a quote that read in an article.

That being said, I can’t believe the Globe sent Bob Ryan to Chicago and left us with Dan Shaughnessy.

Michael Gee chips in on Sullivan writing an on-deadline story while at the same time managing the sports page. He believes this is another sign of the NY Times “baleful” influence on the Globe.

Bill Reynolds tells us that this loss didn’t dim the legacy of these Patriots.

Peter King is giddy that Peyton Manning is heading for the Super Bowl in his Monday Morning Quarterback.

Don Banks says this was the greatest game he’s covered.

Was it the best game ever? Michael Rosenberg on FoxSports.com examines the historical significance of the game.

Pete Prisco looks at Manning getting his vindication. Vic Carucci has more on Manning.

Cold Hard Football Facts looks at Peyton Manning finally winning a big one.

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Glenn Ordway, Right Again. From this space last Thursday:

Overheard on the Big Show today:

Ordway: Dallas Clark scares me more than (Marvin) Harrison

Clark – 6 catches, 137 yards.

Harrison – 4 catches, 41 yards.

I hate it when that happens.

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Both Tom Brady and Michael Holley (who is collaborating with Bruschi on a book.) both mentioned on WEEI this morning that they think that Tedy Bruschi will be back next season, and that his comments last night about taking things year by year were actually nothing new for the Patriots linebacker, who has taken that approach the last few years.

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It seems to be the general consensus in the media that Asante Samuel played his last game in a Patriots uniform last night. That might well be the case. However, his agent Alonzo Shavers is no Jason Chayut, and is considered to be reasonable and pretty easy to work with. I wouldn’t be shocked if Samuel leaves, but at the same time, I think there’s more of a chance that he’s back next season than most seem to believe.

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The CBS broadcast was decent, but lacking in several updates. They didn’t really catch on to how and why Eric Alexander was being used game. They didn’t make mention of the fact that Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk didn’t really see the field much in the second half. In most formations requiring a running back, Laurence Maroney and Heath Evans were used. We had no clue if the former pair were injured or what the deal was.

Colts, Manning, Break Through

The Patriots saw their season come to an end last night as the Indianapolis Colts finally broke through and defeated New England 38-34 in the AFC championship game.

Scott Benson has the wrap on the BSMW Patriots Game Day page.

Boston Globe Patriots Stories.

Boston Herald Patriots Stories.

Providence Journal Patriots Stories.

The Standard Times also has a number of game stories.

Chad Finn has his live blog of the game.

Christopher Price knocks out his 10 Things We Learned Last Night.

I’ll try to review a few more articles over the course of the day and offer thoughts on them and the rest of the Patriots coverage today.

Weekend Watch – Conference Championships

It’s Championship weekend in the NFL, with the NFC and AFC title games slated for Sunday afternoon and evening.

We’ve got you covered on the BSMW Patriots Game Day page, where Sunday will be a busy day with your thoughts on the game being posted. Here’s the plan as posted by Scott during our Roundtable today:

I’d like to try something a little different this Sunday. I’d like to turn a corner of BSMW Patriots Game Day over to you, our reader (or readers, if there’s more than one), so that you can share your thoughts before another memorable Colts-Patriots battle. It’s simple. Just send your pre-game ruminations to me at [email protected] any time before 10 a.m. Sunday, and I’ll gather them together and post them to the site. Give me analysis, a prediction, your longitude and latitude, whatever. Everybody from full-on zombied kool-aid drinkers to loyal Mike Felger listeners are welcome. Do try to keep it as concise as possible (look who’s talking), and give me an identifier (maybe a first name and hometown, say?) so we can immortalize you for posterity. Come on….this will be fun. I’ll look forward to hearing from you, especially you message board lunatics.

So get your thoughts and predictions into Scott ASAP….

You can also check coverage this weekend on the Patriots News Mashup.

View from the Opposition:

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On The Air

This week, a special live edition of Patriots All Access airs Saturday night (1/20) on WCVB-TV at 7PM from Indianapolis. Among the highlights…

  • One-on-One with Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who talks about his game-winning kick, trying to replace Adam Vinatieri, and facing off against Vinatieri’s Colts.
  • Linebacker Don Davis goes into the film room to find out what makes Peyton Manning so effective.
  • 2-time Super Bowl MVP Terry Bradshaw on the similarities, and differences between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
  • Bill Belichick shows on the Belestrator why the Colts defense has improved so much this post-season.

A majority of the local coverage will be on WBZ-TV, here’s the schedule for the station’s Patriots related programming this weekend:

Friday, January 19

7-8PM on WBZ-TV
New England Ford Countdown to GameDay with WBZ-TV Sports Director Bob Lobel in studio with Scott Zolak, Steve DeOssie, and Michael Felger. WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton & David Robichaud will be live from Indy.

9-9:30PM on TV38
A TV38 special right before the “TV38 News at 9:30″…It’s “Pats in the Playoffs” with WBZ-TV’s Lobel in studio and Burton live from Indy.

Sunday, January 21

11:30AM-1PM on WBZ-TV
A special 90-minute edition of NE Ford Patriots GameDay with Lobel in Studio with Zolak and Deossie. Burton, Alice Cook, and Felger will be live in Indy.

6:30 on WBZ-TV
Patriots at Colts

Then on TV38 (right after the game)
New England Ford Patriots 5th Quarter

On Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN, Wendi Nix will have a segment on former Florida Gators Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney, who are reunited in New England and making a difference in Tom Brady’s offense. Nix examines the relationship between the two receivers.

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Weekend Highlights

Friday January 19
7:30pm, FSN – Kings @ Celtics (HD)
7:30pm, NESN – UMass @ UNH (hockey)
8:00pm, ESPN – Pistons @ Timberwolves (HD)
10:30pm, ESPN – Cavs @ Nuggets (HD)

Saturday January 20
Noon, TV38 – Boston College @ Clemson
3:45pm, CBS – Indiana @ UConn
7:00pm, NESN – Senators @ Bruins (HD)
8:00pm, FSN – Celtics @ Wizards

Sunday January 21
1:00pm, ABC – Mavs @ Heat (HD)
3:00pm, FOX – Saints @ Bears (HD)
6:30pm, CBS – Patriots @ Colts (HD)

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Listen to The Big Show’s take on the Ron Borges MSNBC article. (Starts at about 2:20 into the clip)

Bill Simmons comes to the conclusion that he is rooting for the football version of the New York Yankees.

Football Outsiders has their AFC Championship Preview.

WBZ Radio 1030‘s web page has unedited interviews and features on the game as well.

The anti-Borges, Mike Reiss had a Friday chat at Boston.com.

Eric Wilbur has a look at the Colts struggles the second time around and a nice wrapup of views from around the country.

Cold Hard Football Facts has their predictions, and their Chief Troll interviews himself.

ESPN’s Patriots/Colts AFC Championship page.

Do you remember what happened five years ago today? Some in the Bay Area can’t let it go.

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Predictions

Here are the “experts” predictions for Sunday’s Colts/Patriots game:

Sports Illustrated

Don Banks, Colts
Jeffri Chadiha, Colts
Nunyo Demasio, Colts
Peter King, Colts
Michael Silver, Patriots
Dr. Z, Patriots
Tim Layden, Colts

ESPN

Joe Theismann, Patriots
Sean Salisbury, Colts
Merril Hoge, Colts
Ron Jaworski, Colts
Mark Schlereth, Colts
Eric Allen, Patriots
Chris Mortensen, Colts
Mike Golic, Colts

CBS Sportsline

Pete Prisco, Colts
Clark Judge, Colts
Greg Bromberg, Colts
Ron Davis, Colts
Dave Richard, Colts

USA Today

Jarrett Bell, Colts
Nate Davis, Patriots
Tom Pedulla, Patriots
Larry Weisman, Colts
Skip Wood, Patriots
Jeff Zillgitt, Colts

So that’s 26 national experts and the breakdown is that 19 of 26 are in the favor of the Colts.

Is there really any wonder why the Patriots feel they are disrespected? The Colts could well win the game on Sunday. They’re entirely capable of doing it. They’ve beaten the Patriots the last two times these clubs have met. The Colts are three point favorites are home, which basically means Vegas thinks the game is a push. Given how the teams have played as of late, and the playoff history of the two teams, is there any logical reason why 19 of 26 national experts should pick the Colts?

If there is a recurring theme among the predictions, it is this: “It’s Peyton’s time.” That’s expert, reasoned analysis for you.

If the Colts win on Sunday, it will be because they were the better team that day, not because it was “Peyton’s time.”

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National Sports Media Columns

New England

Susan Bickelhaupt has Boomer Esiason talking about Peyton Manning’s legacy, and a few other media notes. John Howell has more from Esiason on Manning and has a look at the ’86 Giants coming in at #13 on NFLN’s countdown of the top Super Bowl teams. John Molori talked to SIRIUS NFL Radio’s Adam Schein about his job and his thoughts on the playoffs. David Scott notes that the Patriots and their fans seem to have jumped the shark when it comes to the national media this week. Bill Doyle talked to Steve DeOssie, who analyzes the Patriots for WEEI and WBZ-TV for his thoughts on this weekend and why he’s turned down national job offers.

New York

Neil Best reports on the up and down moments in the lives of sideline reporters. Phil Mushnick says that new Giants GM Jerry Reese’s first course of action should be to restore some class to the organization. Richard Sandomir and Bob Raissman report on Barclay’s shelling out $400 million for the naming rights to the Nets new arena in Brooklyn. Andrew Marchand has more from Esiason on Manning’s legacy.

More East Coast

Michael Hiestand notes that the matchup isn’t that important for Super Bowl ratings, as the event pretty much stands on its own. He also grades the CBS and FOX broadcast teams. Laura Nachman notes that while the Eagles came up short on the field last week, they were huge winners in the ratings this season. Chris Zelkovich has Rogers Sportsnet trying to deliver a true “arena experience” to viewers in their own living rooms. Aaron Bracy talks to Flyers announcer Jim Jackson about the team’s struggles. He also posts his full one-on-one interview with Jackson on his blog. Jim Williams reports on Hall of Famer Don Sutton joining the Nationals broadcast team. He also remembers TNT racing analyst Benny Parsons, who died of lung cancer this week. Williams remembers Parsons as one of the really good guys in sports.

South

Barry Jackson says that Sunday’s national sports lineup is a winner. Jim Sarni says CBS wins no matter who advances to the Super Bowl on Sunday. David Barron reports that former Boston Globe writer and current Houston Chronicle writer Jerome Solomon will be co-host of a new afternoon drive sports talk show on the ESPN radio affiliate in Houston. Dave Darling has tiny Rollins College gearing up for the spotlight of national TV cameras for the first time ever. He also looks at highlights for the weekend.

Midwest

Ed Sherman has Joe Buck reflecting on his first season of double duty on FOX’s NFL broadcasts. Bob Wolfley has Jim Paschke remembering his call of Juan Nieves’ no-hitter in 1987, and how the “rules” of broadcasting have changed since then. Judd Zulgad has FSN North getting ready for their first ‘Hockey Day Minnesota’ tomorrow. He also reports on Jack Morris joining the Twins radio crew for 40 games next season.

West Coast

Joe Davidson has a look at Mark Kreidler leaving the Sacramento Bee after 15 years “to take on just about every other form of communication there is.” Larry Stewart has Jimmy Johnson feeling good about the Saints this weekend. Jim Carlisle says that the NFL’s ‘flex schedule’ worked out well for everyone. Stewart’s notebook looks at the one year anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s 81 point night. Jay Posner has San Diego sports radio getting ready to move right into Padres talk with the Chargers now out of the playoffs. Tom Hoffarth has Golf Channel getting right into the swing of things with the new year. John Maffei looks at a local TV station taking a gamble on prep football.


Borges Plays Both Ways (Update)

I just received the following email:

[email protected]

to [email protected]

date Jan 19, 2007 1:17 PM

subject your incorrect blog entry

Dear Bruce,
It has come to my attention that you have erroneously claimed todfay that Ipicked the Patriots to defeat the Colts on MSNBC’s website. I have received several e-mails asking about this and informed them, as I am you, that no such pick was ever made. My pick in both the Globe and in several other public forums was, and remains, the Colts in what I believe will be a close
game.
I was asked to write a column on the Patriots’ take on this game and to answer the question of whether or not they were good enough to return to the Super Bowl this year, which they are. So are (or in some cases were) several other teams now on the sidelines as well as the four still playing.
I did as requested and certainly anyone like yourself could make a strong case for New England winning Sunday and advancing to Super Bowl XLI. However, I just re-read the article on MSNBC to see where I might have “picked the Patriots,” as you have written. No where did I do any such thing. That was not a prediction column, as any media analyst like yourself would surely know. Iit was a column in which I was asked to answer how, and if, they could advance and how the two sides felt about it.
While I would agree that the headline was misleading and has since been changed after I spoke with editors out there, for you, a self-proclaimed media watchdog, not to know the writer has nothing to do with the headline on a story calls into question in the simplest way your fitness to criticize the media. Worse, to have read that article and then to claim a prediction was made was beyond misleading. It was false and, as you often do, misread what was written and mislead your constituencyHow does “may make them good enough” become a prediction of their winning the game? how does, “that does not mean it’s a given they can do it again” become a prediction they will win the game? How does “unless they (the Colts) lost to them” become a prediction that they will lose the game? how does, “there are 53 guys in New England (which as I’m sure you know is their roster) who believe” become Ron Borges’ believes?
I assume, as the fair-minded man you purport yourself to be, you will immediately write a retraction of your earlier remarks so that your readers are not mislead by you.
Ron Borges

The MSNBC piece headline for the article below has been changed to reflect the fact that the article is not a prediction, but instead analysis, with no actual prediction being made within the article.

However, the slant of the article is clearly in the favor of the Patriots. The average reader would come away from this piece with the conclusion that the author is picking the Patriots. The original headline reflected that, and while the writer doesn’t compose the headlines, they’re based on the feel of the article. In this case, Borges certainly fooled the headline writer and many others into thinking he was picking the Patriots Sunday. Read the MSNBC article again and see what you think.

However, I’ll retract the statement that Ron Borges picked both sides this week. I was wrong. That’s the bottom line. My bad.

I’m also glad to see that Borges is very concerned about misleading readers.

Actually, my intern was wrong. Yeah.

Listen to The Big Show’s take on the Ron Borges MSNBC article.

Glory Days

We kick things off this morning with the Patriots Game Day Roundtable, as we toss around out thoughts on the Chargers game, the matchups this week, and ends with a special invitation to submit your own thoughts on what is going to happen on Sunday.

Bob Ryan has Bill Belichick talking about his childhood affinity for the Baltimore Colts, his one season with the 30 years ago and why he was only there one year. Mark Farinella also does a good job on this topic. Karen Guregian has a much shorter version of Belichick’s trip down memory lane back to his Colts days. John Tomase looks at Tom Brady’s confidence as the key that allows him to play with such cool and calm in the clutch. David Pevear looks at the humble legend of Tom Brady. Jim Fennell notes that Bill Belichick likes talking about NFL history even while he is making it. Chris Ryan notes that the preparation of Belichick is behind everything the Patriots do.

Ron Borges goes through the matchups for the Patriots and Colts, giving the edge to the Patriots in most areas, however he gives the Colts the edge in special teams solely because of Vinatieri, and calls the coaching matchup “even.” Michael Felger also goes down through the matchups, giving the Colts the edge only in receivers and running backs. Shalise Manza Young looks at the Patriots and Colts offense and how each goes about making their points in a different way. She also focuses in on the receivers of the two clubs, noting the stark contrast. Chris Kennedy says each defense faces a stern test on Sunday. Ron Hobson says that the Patriots must deal with Bob Sanders if they hope to win.

Mike Reiss looks at the importance of Dan Koppen to the Patriots success, as Bill Parcells used to note that without a good center, an entire offense can be held captive.Karen Guregian looks at the job facing Matt Light as he prepares to protect Tom Brady once again from Dwight Freeney this weekend. There’s a lot of back and forth between Light and Rosevelt Colvin in this one as well, as the two talk about their college days together at Purdue. Jim McCabe looks at the college days of Jabar Gaffney, where he made quite and impression and left a legacy at Florida. Mike Rocha has Richard Seymour moving from pupil to mentor in the Patriots locker room in the course of his career.

Mark Blaudschun talks to Rosevelt Colvin about returning to his hometown of Indianapolis this weekend, and how his career has evolved. Kennedy has more on Colvin returning to his roots this weekend. Farinella also reports on Colvin and preparing for his life after football back in Indy. Tom King has still more on Colvin and his Indy background.

Michael Parente has Tom Brady never losing faith in his offense and receivers this season and being rewarded because of it. Christopher Price says that the running backs will tell the tale of this game. Tomase reports on the flu bug that is going around the Patriots locker room this week. Jeff Howe has the Patriots doing their prep work for Peyton Manning. Tomase also says that even though Rodney Harrison attended practice, he didn’t look like a guy who was getting ready to play. Keith Reed notes that Manning may get the attention for his endorsements, but Tom Brady isn’t a slouch in this area either.

Reiss’ notebook has more on Harrison’s return to the practice field. Thomase’s notebook has the Patriots seemingly drawing a favorable official for the game Sunday. Alan Greenberg’s notebook has more on Belichick talking about his childhood admiration for the Colts. Joe McDonald’s notebook has Colvin hoping for some hometown cooking in his return to Indianapolis. Jennifer Toland’s notebook has more on Colvin. Dan Pires’ notebook says a little bit of chatter between the clubs is already starting. Michael Parente’s notebook tells us that Adam Vinatieri is still as clutch as ever. Farinella’s notebook reminds the Patriots that if they win this game, they’ll have to suffer the consequences and talk to the media.

Colts

John Powers has a feature on Adam Vinatieri and what he has brought to the Colts this season, as well as his thoughts on facing his old teammates on Sunday. Alan Greenberg has more on Vinatieri putting his Patriots days in the rear view mirror. Jennifer Toland says Vinatieri could come back to haunt his old mates on Sunday.

Christopher L Gasper has a piece on Colts tight end Dallas Clark, who could be a matchup nightmare for the Patriots this weekend. Clark came into college as a linebacker, but his coach saw a little Marv Cook in him and moved him to tight end. Albert Breer looks at the Colts timing offense, which can be just about impossible to defend on some throws. Steve Buckley gets creative and writes about Peyton Manning’s legacy if he doesn’t beat the Patriots and go to a Super Bowl. OK, maybe not such a creative topic. Jim Fenton also has Manning looking for that last piece to his career. Hank Lowenkron looks at the impact of Bob Sanders on the Colts defense. Tom King has more on Sanders.

Gasper’s notebook examines the edge that the Colts will have Sunday by getting to play at home in the dome. Buckley’s notebook has Bob Sanders and the Colts very careful to show the Patriots proper respect.

Links from Colts Land:

The impeccable timing of the Globe strikes again as the paper uses the Friday before the AFC championship to lecture the Krafts about an incident in the stands at Gillette where a young boy was hurt two weeks ago. Brian McGrory has the lecture.

David Scott notes that the Patriots and fans might’ve jumped the shark nationally this week.

Thursday Wrap – 01.08.07

A reminder – Paul Pierce will be co-hosting Sports Tonight on Fox Sports New England.

In what has to be the quickest recovery from an ACL injury in history, Rodney Harrison was on the practice field today. Harrison is still probably not going to play on Sunday, but the fact that he was out on the practice field today shows that the earlier reports of that season-ending ACL injury were wrong.

Will anyone acknowledge it? Or since the stories were written and statements made with the disclaimer of “reportedly” will that take everyone off the hook?

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Some more details on ESPN Boston’s latest radio numbers. In addition to the .06 overall, The Mike Felger Show had a 1.8 share in Men 25-5, and Mike & Mike in the Morning scored a 1.1 share in Men 25-54.

It may not look impressive, but that’s also not that far off from the difference in WEEI’s ratings between a year ago and now.

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Overheard on the Big Show today:

Ordway: Dallas Clark scares me more than (Marvin) Harrison

Tom Curran: Bob Sanders is a top 10 player in the league.

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Some more fun from The Media Circus, including a pretty long segment on John Clayton’s coverage of the Chargers and Patriots, such as this bit:

One of the first on the scene was ESPN.com’s reporter-turned analyst John Clayton. We shouldn’t have expected Clayton to follow up the game with any quality insight after listening to his pre-game analysis (more at the daily memo), where he claimed that the Patriots were going to bring safety Eugene Wilson into the box to take the run away from the Chargers (hat tip… Andy S.). Considering Eugene Wilson had been out with an injury since October 22nd and on IR since December 4, it was clear that Clayton had brought his A game to San Diego.

Then there’s what he said after the game…

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Tony Dungy talking about Peyton Manning being compared to Tom Brady:

“I don’t know that he’ll be judged against Tom Brady,” Colts coach Tony Dungy said. “But every quarterback will be judged against Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw and Bart Starr and guys who have won Super Bowls.

So did Brady win Super Bowls like Montana, Bradshaw and Starr, or not?

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Ron Borges picks the Patriots on MSNBC. What will he (or the intern) pick in the Globe tomorrow?

Borges also had a fairly entertaining chat on Boston.com today.

Tom E Curran looks at the struggles of the Colts offense thus far in the playoffs.

Charlie Weis says he was invited by the Patriots to sit in the box and help out on Sunday. He declined, citing the fact that he currently coaches a team in Indiana.

Andrew Perloff from SI.com has 10 reasons why the Patriots should be favored.

Adam Schefter explains why Al Davis would be interested in Josh McDaniels as a potential head coach for the Raiders.

Yesterday we served up the link to Michael Ventre’s article on MSNBC where he pleaded for the Patriots not to make the Super Bowl because he’s sick of them and they’re so boring. Interestingly, after last year’s Super Bowl, the Patriots were Ventre’s pick to return to the Super Bowl this season.

Michael David Smith of Football Outsiders says that the Patriots have the equation for success.

Mike Tanier, also of FO, looks at which two teams will advance to the Super Bowl this Sunday.

John Clayton’s First and Goal says history will be made in the Patriots/Colts game.

Patriots/Colts Show Proper Respect

The media was buzzing around the Patriots and Colts yesterday, looking for fresh angles of this continuing rivalry between the two clubs. Here’s the results of their work:

John Tomase says that the Patriots are better equipped to take on the Colts than they were in November. A big part of that is the development of receivers Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney. Mike Reiss says there won’t be any respect issues between these two teams this week, especially between the two quarterbacks. He also has Brady talking about his weekly meetings with Bill Belichick and what takes place in those meetings. David Brown has more on those meetings between the coach and QB on Tuesdays. Karen Guregian has more on the bond between Belichick and Brady. Joe McDonald has Belichick with all nice things to say about the Colts, as the two sides show “unrestrained adulation” towards each other this week.

Mark Farinella has Mike Vrabel talking about the Patriots/Colts rivalry, noting that it is similar to Michigan/Ohio State in a lot of ways. Marc Thaler has a number of pundits proving Gerry Callahan’s claim earlier this week wrong that no one could pick the Colts this weekend. David Brown says that Tom Brady’s excellence in domed stadiums will face its toughest test yet on Sunday. Mike Lowe notes that this is just another big week for the Patriots. Tom King has Richard Seymour looking forward to playing in the AFC Championship game after having had to sit out the last time the Patriots played in this game, against Pittsburgh two years ago.

Jackie MacMullan has a piece on cornerback Ellis Hobbs, one of the younger and less experienced Patriots starters, but not one lacking in confidence. Karen Guregian also has a look at the second year cornerback and the challenges he faces on the field Sunday. Rich Garven examines the impact the Rodney Harrison and Bob Sanders have on their respective teams, and with Harrison likely out and Sanders in on Sunday, what that could mean for the game. Christopher Price has Matt Cassel spending the week playing the part of Peyton Manning in practice. Price also has the Patriots responding to LT’s “class” blast.

Eric McHugh has a report on the pair of Florida Gators that have helped make the Patriots receivers a group to be noticed. Ian Clark has a look at Caldwell and Gaffney coming out of nowhere to form a solid one-two combination for the Patriots. Chris Kennedy has more on the Patriots receivers stepping up their game as the season went on.

Reiss’ notebook has Rodney Harrison being upgraded to doubtful for Sunday’s game. However, the NFL Network reported last night that even with the upgrade, they’ve “learned” that Harrison will not play on Sunday. Tomase’s notebook has Brady saying that the celebration after the Chargers win perhaps went a little too far. McDonald’s notebook looks at the kickers on each side, and has Laurence Maroney picking up a $40,000 dinner tab after the team had it’s annual Rookie Dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Providence. $40,000? I know this is a football team, but wow. Farinella’s notebook looks at the value of Daniel Graham to the Patriots offense. Greenberg’s notebook has more on Harrison. Dan Pires’ notebook has more on the health of Harrison, as does Michael Parente’s notebook.

Colts

Christopher L Gasper has a look at the Colts version of Rodney Harrison – safety Bob Sanders, who makes a huge difference every time he steps onto the field for Indianapolis. Shalise Manza Young has more on the suddenly potent Colts defense. Michael Parente also addresses the Colts change from unbearable to unstoppable in just a few weeks. Alan Greenberg looks at the new, mobile Peyton Manning, who will be a challenge for the Patriots defense to get to. Steve Buckley has Adam Vinatieri taking a position of leadership with the Colts special teams, advising the unit on the need to step up their game.

Albert Breer says that the Colts are a different team inside the RCA Dome, and this game will have a different feel than the ones played at Gillette. Bill Reynolds tabs this as a chance for vindication for Peyton Manning. Jeff Howe reports on the late surge by the Indy defense. John Tomase has Bill Polian getting his whining in early in an article published on the Colts web site.

Gasper’s notebook has the Colts feeling confident going up against Tom Brady. Buckley’s notebook has Dwight Freeney talking about hating the Patriots since his childhood in Connecticut.

Links from Colts Land:

Bill Burt just found out about LaDainian Tomlinson’s comments after the game Sunday. He’s apparently still waiting to hear who the Patriots play this Sunday.

Bill Doyle profiles Steve DeOssie, talking to the former NFL long snapper about his media gigs, and thoughts on the game Sunday.

Boston College

Basketball coach Al Skinner took some strong action last night, dismissing junior starting center Sean Williams and junior reserve forward Akida McLain from the team permanently. Michael Vega has the story in the Globe. (Scott’s Shots had a report on this last night.) Jeff Goodman and Lenny Megliola also report on the dismissals, and what they mean for the players and the team.

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa and Steve Conroy report on the Bruins 6-3 loss to the Sabres last night. Rookie Phil Kessel scored two goals in the loss.

Shinzawa’s notebook and Conroy’s notebook each look at Bobby Allen’s debut for the Bruins. The former has a bit on Hannu Toivonen’s new mask paying tribute to Boston’s four pro sports teams and legends of each.

Celtics/Other

Peter May and Mark Murphy report on Delonte West returning to practice yesterday, giving Doc Rivers 10 players to scrimmage with, meaning the coach didn’t have to suit up again. The Globe also has a piece on Sabastian Telfair’s wardrobe.

Jeff Goldberg talks to Bobby Valentine about the mixed emotions the Japanese have about their stars such as Daisuke Matsuzaka coming to America.

Frank Dell’Apa reports on the sudden death of former Revolution goalkeepers coach David Vanole from a heart attack.