Piling On

The tough times continue for Bill Belichick and the Patriots as every reporter in the free world lines up to take their shots at the head coach for his role in the effort to steal signs from the New York Jets.

The papers are full once again this morning with stories and we’ll try to get to as many as we can.

If you need to get talked down off the ledge a little bit, Bill Simmons and Aaron Schatz hash this thing out on ESPN.com, and make some valid points.

Mike Reiss looks at the probe continuing, even as reaction continues to flood in from around the league and nation. John Tomase says yesterday wasn’t a good day to be Belichick. Shalise Manza Young has a look at the apology from Belichick and the reaction within the locker room. Mark Farinella draws comparisons to Richard Nixon and Watergate. (Being one of the few on the beat who can actually remember that scandal, of course.) David Heuschkel has Belichick making his apology and attempting to get down to business.

Jackie MacMullan doesn’t understand why Belichick would need to resort to these tactics. Jim Donaldson wonders why Belichick bothered to apologize, since he clearly didn’t mean it. Chris Kennedy has the league set to punish the Patriots. Rich Garven says that Belichick never specified what he was sorry for. Bill Reynolds says that cheating has always been a part of most sports. Eric McHugh says that the Patriots have some explaining to do.

Albert Breer says that the Patriots players have been put into a tough spot in this situation. Karen Guregian and Christopher L. Gasper report on the Patriots players being focused on the Chargers, not on any scandal involving their head coach and organization. Farinella has the players just spouting the company line yesterday. Michael Parente has more on the players attempting to put all of this to the side as they prepare for the Chargers. Jeff Howe has more on the players take on things. Ian M. Clark says that the players are used to adversity.

Tomase talks to a crisis management professional, who believes he could’ve helped Belichick handle this a little better. Joan Vennochi says that Belichick is now a tarnished brand. Jay Fitzgerald says that this scandal will hurt Belichick’s image and reputation, while Scott Van Voorhis says that it could also damage the image of the Kraft family, who have a lot at stake in this matter. David Abel in the Globe reminds us that the real victims in this are the children. Jessica Heslam has the critics lining up to take their shots at Belichick, including this tidbit:

One smiling, beat reporter sat with his laptop open with a picture of Richard Nixon in the background facing toward the podium where Belichick was speaking, according to a locker room spy.

So was that beat reporter more interested in getting the story, or enjoying revenge on Belichick?

Tomase and Reiss list out some of the reaction from around the league on this matter, as everyone seems to have something to say. Bob Hohler has the Chargers speaking out on the issue as well.

Doesn’t anyone want to talk football?

Bill Barnwell on Patriots Daily has an in-depth look at Chargers back-up running back Michael Turner (who burned the Patriots a couple of years ago, you’ll recall) and whether he might be as good as LaDainian Tomlinson.

Guregian has Norv Turner talking about Randy Moss, who he coached for a season in Oakland. Robert Lee looks at the matchup of Adalius Thomas vs Antonio Gates. Heuschkel says that the Chargers are loaded and will be highly motivated for Sunday.

Guregian’s notebook has Rosevelt Colvin welcoming the venom of the Chargers. The Globe notebook has the dance issue from the January playoff game fading into the background now. Lee’s notebook has Randy Moss still gathering compliments for his performance on Sunday. Garven’s notebook looks at a huge game early in the season between these two teams.

Red Sox
If the fans of Boston ever needed a walk-off home run from David Ortiz, last night was the night. Big Papi delivered, with a two run shot in the bottom of the ninth, and was responsible for all five Red Sox runs last night in a 5-4 walkoff win over the Devil Rays.

Gordon Edes looks at a win badly needed on a night in which the Yankees won their seventh straight game as they prepare to invade Fenway Park Friday night. Rob Bradford has Ortiz once again putting the team on his back for the walk off win. Jeff Goldberg also looks at the clutch win. Joe McDonald has Big Papi bringing it home for the Sox lat night. Garry Brown looks at last inning magic returning to Fenway. Phil O’Neill wraps up the game stories on the walk off.

Steve Buckley says that the walkoff came at a perfect time for the Red Sox. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has Ortiz delivering another one of the moments that he is best known for. Lenny Megliola has Ortiz looking like his old self last night. Alex Speier writes that “Senor Clutch boldly pronounced that he is alive and well.”

Kevin McNamara has the bullpen playing a big role in the win last night. Joe Haggerty has Brandon Moss hoping to get a chance to make an impact this month. Bradford has the Japanese media wishing Daisuke Matsuzaka a happy birthday. Speier says that Clay Buchholz could be the Sox secret weapon down the stretch. I have a look at J.D. Drew‘s disappointing year in the Metro.

Goldberg’s notebook has Manny Ramirez taking batting practice yesterday with an eye towards a possilbe return on Friday night. Edes notebook gets a jump on next season by brining up Terry Francona’s contract status. Bradford’s notebook also looks ahead to next year with a peek at the 2008 schedule. Megliola’s notebook has Mike Lowell sitting out with an illness last night. The Projo notebook has his teammates bailing out Jon Lester last night. O’Neill’s notebook has Jacoby Ellsbury gearing up to face the Yankees.

Other
Marc J. Spears has Doc Rivers looking for help on how to best handle his new superstars. Mark Murphy has Kevin Garnett reaching out to the youngsters who remain on the Celtics roster. Murphy also has Rivers pumped up for his European voyage with his club early next month.

Check in on the Bruins at BruinsLinks.com.