8.25.08 Afternoon

A few quick links for this Monday afternoon:

Tom Brady told Dennis and Callahan that he expects to be ready for the season opener, and wanted to play Saturday night, but it was a coaches decision to hold him out. Mike Reiss reports that Brady and Matt Light were both at practice today.

Peter King has plenty of New England references and items sprinkled among this week’s Monday Morning Quarterback.

Jason Cole had an interesting article this weekend about Tom Brady, and how on many plays, his receivers aren’t even sent on specific routes…a lot of the plays are freelanced.

Albert Breer has an extensive interview with Bill Belichick in the latest print edition of the all new Sporting News. This link is some material that didn’t make it into the article.

Ron Borges says that it’s still a little early to be worried about the Patriots.

Pete Prisco says that Brett Favre makes the AFC East a little more interesting, but the Patriots are still lock to win the division – as long as Tom Brady is standing.

Michael Felger has this week’s Patriots report card.

Jeff Goodman isn’t a fan of the Celtics signing of Darius Miles.

Pink Hat Hell has the recap of Sox Appeal, episode 4.

John Donovan looks at this week’s Red Sox/Yankees series, and the possibility that both teams could miss the postseason this year.

Michael Hiestand analyzes the Olympic ratings.

Sox Go The Distance In Toronto

Jeff Horrigan reports on the Red Sox 6-5 extra inning win over the Blue Jays in Toronto. Amalie Benjamin looks at the importance of the Sox winning their second straight series on the road. Joe McDonald looks at the list of heroes in yesterday’s game for the Sox. Dom Amore says that the Sox had to have this one, “and with the nose of a championship team they sniffed out a path to win it.” Bill Ballou has the Sox feeling this was one they had to get.

Nick Cafardo has the bullpen coming up big for the Red Sox yesterday. John Tomase looks at the Red Sox getting a chance to really bury the Yankees over the next three games. Tomase also looks at Jed Lowrie, who hit the game winning home run yesterday, and is opening eyes with his poise and play for the Red Sox.

Benjamin’s notebook looks at Ellsbury staying in the game after crashing into the fence hard while making a catch in the fourth inning. Horrigan’s notebook has J.D. Drew slow to heal from his back injury and he could be headed for the DL. McDonald’s notebook has more on the impact Lowrie has had with the Sox. Amore’s notebook has Ellsbury too fast for his own well-being. Ballou’s notebook has Ellsbury taking one for the team by remaining in the game.

Patriots

Chris Warner over on Patriots Daily has the post-mortem from Friday night’s stinker against the Eagles.

Christopher L. Gasper has the Patriots needing to find a way to shore up the specials teams coverage units, and fast. Karen Guregian has Vince Wilfork trying to deal with the reputation he has gotten as a dirty player. Stephen Harris says that it won’t be as simple as flipping a switch for the Patriots to straighten out all their problems from this preseason. Robert Lee says that this week will be another full of questions about the status of Tom Brady.

Glen Farley has a look at punter Chris Hanson, who found himself getting a tongue-lashing from coach Bill Belichick during Friday night’s game. David Brown examines the urgency to get things straightened out in the special teams units. Jennifer Toland has more on this phase of the game.

Gasper’s notebook has the Patriots facing yet another short week of preparation this preseason. Lee’s notebook has the Patriots refusing to use injuries and backups as the reason for their poor play this preseason.

Need another example of why Bill Belichick doesn’t discuss injuries with the media? Consider what happened with the Giants over the weekend. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora left the game with an injury to his knee. Following the game, coach Tom Coughlin tells the media that the doctors “discovered no ligament damage through their initial exams.” He also added that “”I’m thinking it’s going to be OK.”

The next day, after a more thorough exam and MRI, it was discovered that there was no ligament damage, however, Umenyiora will still miss the entire season with with torn cartilage in his left knee. Ouch.

It’s not so much that Coughlin did anything wrong in this instance, but imagine the roller coaster ride that Giants fans went on this weekend. They see the injury, fear the worst, are comforted by Coughlin’s words, and then devastated the next day when their Pro Bowl defensive end is out for the season.

In contrast, Belichick would’ve said nothing after the game, other than “The Doctors will take a look at it” and then the news would’ve come out by itself the next day, without the embarrassment of having the previous night’s words (“I’m thinking it’s going to be OK.”) still hanging there in the minds of the fans. It’s why Belichick will often say “I’m not a Doctor.”

Again, it’s no doubt frustrating for the media not to be able to get any injury information from the Patriots, but the upside is that you’re not going to get inaccurate or “guessed” injury information from someone not qualified to talk about them, either.

Misc

Marc J. Spears has the US mens basketball team achieving their goal of returning the gold medal to the US for the first time since 2000. Bob Ryan says that by coming together, the US was able to reach their goal of redemption. Jeff Jacobs says that the US earned their redemption in this Olympics.

John Powers wraps things up with a sport-by-sport look at how the US did over in Beijing. Ryan says that the Chinese put on an Olympics that will be a tough act to follow.

Eric Avidon has the BC football team prepping for the season opener. Steve Conroy has coach Jeff Jagodzinski seeing a familiar foe in the Kent State Golden Flashes, even though the two programs have never played each other.  

Last Olympic-Sized Friday Megalinks Until 2010

Ken from the Fang’s Bites blog with your Friday megalinks once again.

This marks the final weekend of Olympics action and it’s really time for the Games to end. I enjoyed the Games really up until Wednesday when I started to get burned out on the Mary Carillo puff pieces, the tape delay of track & field and stories about Tiki Barber, whether he muttered or didn’t mutter the “c” word during an MSNBC Olympic update show. It’ll all be over by this Sunday and we won’t have to worry about a Summer Olympics until 2012, but we will have to deal with the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, but that’s a ways away.

Of course, the last weekend of the Olympics from Communist China dominate the Weekend Viewing Picks.

Among the action coming up on Saturday are live coverage of gold medal matches in men’s basketball (2:30 a.m. on NBC), boxing (shown between 12:30 a.m. – 5 a.m), men’s marathon (7:30 p.m.), men’s soccer (midnight, CNBC), and baseball (USA/Telemundo, 6 a.m.). Tape delayed coverage on NBC includes the men’s 4 x 400 relay in track (Saturday, primetime) and men’s diving.

Finally on Sunday, NBC delays the Closing Ceremonies for primetime although I’m sure someone will have them streaming live on the internet sometime around 8 a.m. 7NBC in Boston and NBC10 in Providence have the broadcasts.

The Red Sox are up in Canada to take on their AL East nemesis, the Toronto Blue Jays. NESN has tonight’s game at 7, then Saturday and Sunday, the games are on at 1 p.m.

Fox Sports has regional coverage of three games Saturday at 3:55 p.jm. including Tampa Bay at the White Sox. The regional divide, announcing assignments and probable starters can all be seen here. On Sunday, TBS has the Rays-White Sox at 2 p.m., WGN has the Cubs in action against Washington at Wrigley Field at 2:10 p.m. and ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball has the Dodgers taking on the Phillies at 8 p.m.

The Patriots with or without Tom Brady limp into Gillette Stadium to take on the Philadelphia Eagles tonight. WCVB carries the Patriots Television Network broadcast with the venerable Don Criqui and verbose Randy Cross calling the game with Mike Lynch on the sidelines. The game starts at 7:30 tonight.

In other exhibition action, CBS has two games, one tonight which has the battle of Texas, Houston at Dallas at 8. Then on Saturday night, CBS beams Pittsburgh and Minnesota, also at 8. The NFL Network jumps in Sunday night with the Indianapolis Colts hosting Buffalo again at 8.

The Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA finally finishes this weekend. ESPN and ABC combine for coverage. On Saturday, ABC has a championship doubleheader starting with the International Championship between Japan and Mexico which starts at 12:30 p.m. Then the US Championship pits Lake Charles, LA against Waipahu, HI at 3:30 p.m. On Sunday, the 3rd place game is on ESPN at noon followed by the LLWS Championship Game on ABC at 3:30 p.m.

NASCAR heads to Bristol, TN for the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series. Tonight, it’s the Food City 250, Saturday night at 8. On Saturday, it’s primetime again for ESPN as the Sharpie 500 gets underway also at 8 p.m.

Formula 1 racing heads to Valencia, Spain for the European Grand Prix. Speed Channel has coverage of qualifying this Saturday morning at 8, then the actual race, Sunday morning at 7:30.

For golf, the LPGA Tour’s Safeway Classic is covered by ESPN2, Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. The first leg of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup which no one can understand begins with The Barclays. This will mark the end of CBS’ golf coverage for the year. The Barclays gets underway on CBS with 3rd round coverage on Saturday at 3 p.m. On Sunday, final round coverage begins at 2 p.m.

The last tennis tournament before the U.S. Open begins on Monday concludes on Saturday. CBS has the women’s final of the Pilot Pen from New Haven, CT at 1 p.m. ESPN2 has the men’s final at 7 p.m.

And the Travers Stakes, horse racing from Saratoga Springs, New York will be seen on ESPN this Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

Now let’s do your links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand writes that the Olympics will end with a bang on Sunday.

The Sports Business Daily/Journal’s Olympics website reports that NBC’s ratings for Wednesday were below Athens for the comparable night.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell looks at some of the most marketable sports names over the years.

The Sports Media Watch says Michael Phelps’ success has brought swimming more exposure for the next four years. On Wednesday, Awful Announcing had a clip of Usain Bolt’s record breaking 200 meter win before NBC showed the race and SMW talks about how the network used its muscle to have Google shut down AA for a short period. And the blog says NBC had its lowest rated night of the Olympics on Thursday.

John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable reports that the Olympics also dominated NBC Nightly News, more than any other network newscast.

Larry Barrett of Multichannel News says the former “Bachelor”, Jesse Palmer joins ESPN’s Thursday Night college football crew.

Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life Magazine writes that the Beijing Games now ranks second after Lillehammer in 1994 as the most watched Olympics in history. And Toni reports that the only major demographic that’s not into the Olympics are girls aged 12-17.

Clifford Coonan of Variety says the International Olympic Committee is proud to have opened the viewing to online platforms.

Daisy Whitney of TV reports that NBC did not rake in the cash from online ad revenue for its Olympics website.

CBS says the lovely beach volleyball gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh make their first late night appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman on Wednesday. And CBS Sports has announced the announcer pairings for the 2008 NFL season. A good pickup for CBS is Dan Fouts who was with ESPN/ABC for the last ten seasons.

East and Mid-Atlantic

David Scott has some good words for Michael Felger in the first week of operation for the new WEEI.com.

Barbara Matson of the Boston Globe is not happy with NBCOlympics.com.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post writes that the YES Network’s Michael Kay made some strange comments about replay in baseball.

The Post’s Justin Terranova talks with SNY’s Lee Mazzilli about the baseball pennant races. And Justin has five questions for CBS’ Dick Enberg who will be in New York for the U.S. Open.

The spiteful Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News complains about the New York Jets giving favorable treatment regarding Brett Favre to 1050 ESPN Radio and WFAN while slighting beat reporters and cable partner SNY on which Raissman regularly appears and the Daily News is a partner.

Newsday’s Neil Best has CBS being giddy over having Brett Favre and the Jets on their network for most of the NFL season. In his blog, Neil likes Ato Boldon’s commentary on track & field. And Neil has an item on John McEnroe which did not make it into his column.

Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun says NBC wants to ride the Michael Phelps wave for as long as it can.

Tim Lemke from the Washington Times says Gene Upshaw’s death has left the NFL Players Association in limbo.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) Morning News says maybe it’s not a bad thing for the national college football analysts to disrespect Brigham Young University.

Jay Posner from the San Diego Union-Tribune talks about ESPN horse racing analyst Randy Moss (not to be confused with the Patriots’ Randy Moss) picking up work with the NFL Network. Jay says the Sporting News picked the Chargers to win the Super Bowl, but nary a Charger to be on the cover. And Jay has the ratings for San Diego over the last week.

John Maffei of the North County Times feels track & field is getting the short stick on NBC’s Olympics primetime coverage.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News talks with FSN West’s Lindsay Soto who’s doing yeoman’s work for NBC in Communist China. And Tom has more with the lovely Lindsay in his extensive media notes in his blog.

Brent Hunsberger of The Oregonian’s Playbooks & Profits blog says this has not been a good Olympics for Nike.

South

Doug Nye of The State in South Carolina says he’ll have plenty of non-Michael Phelps memories of the Olympics. And Doug says ESPN has set its crew for the South Carolina-NC State game next Thursday.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald doles out his medals to NBC’s announcers for the Olympics.

Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel says NBC did a solid job in broadcasting the Games.

Barry Horn from the Dallas Morning News says NBCOlympics.com has had plenty of visitors during the 17 Days of Glory.

Jeff Caplan of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that long-time Mavericks analyst Bob Ortegel returns to TV after being on radio for a year.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman talks about the NBA possibly streaming live local games to your computer. Here’s Mel’s media notes. And Mel has his weekend viewing picks.

Midwest

George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal does not like a new DVD documentary on the late Ohio State coach Woody Hayes.

Ted Cox of the Chicago Daily Herald says NBC gets a silver medal for its Olympics coverage.

Paul Christian of the Rochester (MN) Post Bulletin says the clock is running out on NBC’s Olympics broadcasts.

Jeffrey Flanagan of the Kansas City Star writes about infamous “Boom Goes the Dynamite” anchor Brian Collins who after his disastrous sportscast has managed to find work in Texas. And Jeffrey writes about a Dan Patrick/Sports Illustrated interview with ex-decathlete Bruce Jenner.

Canada

Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star prefers watching CBC’s live coverage of the Olympics over NBC’s production of taped primetime program.

William Houston from the Toronto Globe and Mail says Ron McLean’s reveal about his mother’s death was poignant and telling.

That’s it. Have a good weekend.