Black Friday

David Scott attempts to figure out why he was asked to appear on Entercom-owned WRKO this morning, and then just as quickly, told it wasn’t going to happen after all.

A few notes from the morning papers today:

It seems that Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and the Globe just figured out that December 29th’s Patriots-Giants game, slated for NFL Network, is not going to be available to Patriots fans who don’t have NFLN on their cable/satellite package or who don’t live in range of WCVB channel 5. The column paints the NFL as the bad guys, and ends with the hope that the league will “do the right thing.”

Michael Felger offers evidence that the Patriots are doing things differently this season than they have in the past when it comes to late-game scores in blowouts.

Christopher L. Gasper and Karen Guregian each file nice pieces on Patriots third year safety James Sanders, who has emerged this season as a difference maker in the secondary.

Hector Longo says that the Patriots had better be prepared for more Pro Bowl snubs this year.

There’s a doubleheader at the Garden today, as the Bruins take on the Islanders in their traditional noon game on the day after Thanksgiving, and the Celtics welcome Kobe Bryant and the Lakers tonight.

Marc J. Spears and Mark Murphy look at the ancient Celtics/Lakers rivalry getting some new juice this season with the Celtics return to contender status.

Over on the Boston Metro webpage, I’ve got a look at another feature that has been brought back with the Celtics new status – The Return of the Sixth (man).

A few media columns from this week:

In the Washington Post, Leonard Shapiro examines the increasing trend of sportswriters leaving publications for television and internet gigs. He credits the late Will McDonough as being one of the pioneers in this.

Michael Hiestand looks over the gamut of offerings available on ESPN360.

Tom Hoffarth offers an extensive list of lowlights from the year in sports media.

Dave Darling looks at backhanded compliments often used by sportscasters while calling games.

The limited reach of the NFL Network is also the subject of columns by Jay Posner, Barry Jackson and David Barron.

Neil Best checks out the new NHL Network instead.

Counting Down ’till Turkey Time

If the AFC Playoffs Began Today; Week Twelve is posted on Patriots Daily today.

Also check out John Molori’s exclusive interview with Bryant Gumbel.

Apparently Peter King has realized that he might need access to Bill Belichick and the Patriots sometime during this historic season. There can be no other reason for his column yesterday, titled Belichick deserves better.

King, as you recall, was one of those leading the charge in the whole Spygate scandal and was highly critical of the Patriots coach during that affair, saying that this incident wasn’t going to go away. Perhaps King realizes he is in danger of getting shut out by the Patriots the rest of the way unless he attempts to play nice. Or, maybe since all of the national media has turned against the Patriots, King has figured out that now he can stand out by defending them. These things all work in cycles…

Today on WEEI, King said that he still thinks the Ravens can beat the Patriots. Even if the Ravens’ defense is inspired that night, how is their offense, which has been anemic, going to score enough points to win?

Jason Whitlock says that Randy Moss has been more valuable than Tom Brady this season.

DJ Gallo predicts what advice the Patriots coaches will have for Charlie Weis when he talks to them after the season about what he can do better at Notre Dame.

Mark Starr in Newsweek says that there are plenty of reasons for the Patriots to keep running up the score.

Bill Burt says that the Patriots greatness shouldn’t be confused with a lack of sportsmanship.

Seth Wickersham checks out the old and new versions of Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, and tries to determine which is better.

Michael Silver has his weekly 32 Questions NFL power rankings.

Bill Simmons has the Western Conference part of his retroactive NBA preview.

It appears that Daisuke Matsuzaka didn’t bring in as many Japanese endorsements as the Red Sox thought he would in his first season in Boston.

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Features to watch during tomorrow’s NFL Programming:

FOX (Packers/Lions – game starts at 12:30)

  • Pregame tribute to America’s Armed Services.
  • Pam Oliver talks to recently reinstated Green Bay Packer Koren Robinson about his lifelong battle with alcoholism and his inspirational road back to the NFL.
  • Legendary athletes in every sport, including Wayne Gretzky, Jack Nicklaus and Roger Staubach, pay tribute to future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre.
  • NFL on FOX Galloping Gobbler Award.

CBS (Jets/Cowboys – game starts at 4:15)

  • Thomas Jones of the Jets going up against his brother, Julius Jones of the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Ravens fan Katy Marchman, a 9-year old girl who suffers from Angelman Syndrome.
  • Grammy Award-winning recording artists Ashanti will sing the national anthem, while Kelly Clarkson will perform at halftime.

NFL Network (Colts/Falcons – game starts at 8:15)

  • U.S. Army “Team Leaders.”
  • A look at the special relationship between Colts head coach Tony Dungy and Mark Lemke, a truck driver from Shelton, Iowa who tragically lost his son.
  • Adam Schefter goes “Around the League.”

Keeping up with High School football tomorrow? Check in with the Boston.com High School Sports Blog or the Herald’s High School Insider.

Rask Impressive in Debut

David Scott offers up his Turkeys of Boston Sports Media for 2007.

Bruins rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask made his first NHL start a successful one last night, as the Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs in Toronto, 4-2.

Fluto Shinzawa notes that Rask was drafted by Toronto, (traded to the Bruins for Andrew Raycroft) and says he didn’t look rattled at all during his debut. Stephen Harris says that someday we might look back at last night as a key moment in Bruins history.

Harris’ notebook has Rask enjoying his win over the team that drafted him. Shinzawa’s notebook has coach Julien flipping the right switches leading into last night’s win.

Patriots

Mike Reiss notes that if a comparison can be made to this Patriots offense, it is the 1998 Minnesota Vikings, who interestingly enough, also had Randy Moss. John Tomase has John Madden praising the Patriots, and specifically Bill Belichick, for keeping his team focused and motivated each week out. Jim Donaldson says that Joe Montana’s 49ers have set the bar for Tom Brady and the Patriots. Christopher Price has more on Madden’s comments about the Patriots.

Reiss mentioned it in his mailbag yesterday, and today Niner Watch, Week Twelve is posted on Patriots Daily.

I thought it ironic that the Herald has a piece touting Bill Belichick’s motivational techniques. Just a couple of weeks ago, on November 2nd, Mike Felger on his radio show (along with Patriots Football Weekly Andy Hart and Tom Casale) said that Belichick as a motivator is “a disaster” and that he is “weird, terrible, awkward” and that players only play for him because of his game plans. By the way, Al Groh was not the Patriots defensive coordinator in 2001 – he was the head coach of Virginia by that time.

Tomase also has a very good Tale of the Tape look back at the Bills game. However, in the post Madden, Tiki on the Pats, the blog states that the Patriots will be the first team since the 2001 Ravens to play two straight games in prime time. Last year’s Broncos played three straight prime time games, First on Sunday Night Football against the Patriots, then on Monday Night Football vs. Baltimore and finally on Sunday Night Fottball against Oakland. There was a bye week in there, but the team played three straight prime time games. Eric McHugh has a Patriots report card from the Buffalo game. Lenny Megliola notes that Pro Football is supposed to be hard, but the Patriots make it look like child’s play.

Reiss’s notebook observes that the Patriots will be playing their first “hat and t-shirt” game of the season on Sunday night against the Eagles, as they can clinch the AFC East with a win. Glen Farley’s notebook has the Patriots Hall of Fame getting closer to completion.

Celtics

Peter May has fans, media and even other teams around the NBA now taking notice of the Celtics, and even using them as a measuring stick. Steve Bulpett notes that the Magic were able to expose the Celtics a little bit, and other teams will be quick to try and copy them. Scott Souza says that the Celtics will be doing their best to try and learn from their mistakes in the Magic game.

Bulpett’s notebook has the Celtics going back to basics at yesterday’s practice, hoping to return to their winning ways tonight against Golden State.

Red Sox/Mike Lowell

Michael Silverman notes that “Comfort level, not the bottom line, was the deciding factor for Mike Lowell” in his return to the Red Sox. Nick Cafardo says that “Thirty seven and a half million was enough for Mike Lowell.” Jeff Goldberg says that Lowell showed that he is not just all about the money, and speculated that Terry Francona could be next for a new contract from the Red Sox. Joe McDonald has Lowell’s decision trumpeted by all.

Mike Fine notes that Boston has become a destination for athletes of all sports.