Your Friday Megalinks

Here we go with the Friday megalinks. Of course, there’s the Weekend Viewing Picks which contain the sports viewing for the weekend. Let’s do the links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand and Mike McCarthy debate on whether to move up the start of the World Series considering National League Champions Philadelphia Phillies have to wait for a week to play.

ESPN Ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer talks about too much talking, too many errors and scheduling dilemmas at the Alleged Worldwide Leader.

In today’s Sports Business Daily, John Ourand writes about the dispute between Dish Network and two FSN regional sports networks regarding NHL games.

Terry Lefton of the SBD speaks with an NFL official about the league’s international efforts.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell looks at how Michael Vick is doing in the NFL to date.

The Big Lead explores the latest developments in the Steve Phillips affair.

Robert Littal in Black Sports Online tries to determine a winner in the Deadspin vs. ESPN fight.

Ed Berliner is critical of the media for reporting the Steve Phillips affair.

Jason Whitlock in FoxSports.com has a whimsical look at Steve Phillips and other affairs that have brought down men in sports.

Dan Levy of On The DL speaks with Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio about his acting out against ESPN on Wednesday.

Speaking of Deadspin, the site has a good story from Dashiell Bennett exposing a group trying to out an anti-cable TV lobbying group as one being backed by… cable TV.

SportsbyBrooks has an interesting take on why Deadspin felt the need to take on ESPN.

The Sports Media Watch says NASCAR continues its ratings downfall.

SMW says the NLCS ended on a high note for TBS.

And SMW notes that Fox got good ratings for Game 5 of the ALCS.

Steve Lepore of Puck The Media says NHL Network will begin airing a new pregame show starting Monday.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News says Tennis Channel has a new host for its original “Destination Tennis” show.

HHR Media has round 5 of blog recaps of Blogs with Balls 2.0 in Las Vegas.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe also talks with Deadspin’s Daulerio about pushing the envelope in the wake of the Steve Phillips affair.

Kristine Leahy of WEEI.com has The Five.

Bill Doyle from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette has quotes from Reggie Miller and other members of TNT’s NBA crew about the Celtics and the NBA.

The fearless leader of Boston Sports Media Watch, Bruce Allen, notes that Tom Curran is leaving NBCSports.com and heading to Comcast SportsNet New England’s revamped site.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has some suggestions for TBS and Fox for their MLB postseason broadcasts.

Newsday’s Neil Best feels adding instant replay reviews to MLB is not a good idea.

Neil writes that Fox has brought a low key approach to this year’s American League Championship Series.

Neil also has a couple of peeves from last night’s ALCS Game 5.

Neil weighs in on the Deadspin vs. ESPN fight.

Neil notes that the NFL made its TV debut some 70 years ago.

Neil writes that WNBC-TV is trading places with Mike Francesa’s Sunday night show and the late local news.

I put in a lot of links to Neil today as we’re in the final days of Newsday being free as it goes to a subscription model next week.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post blames the on-air locker room mentality at ESPN for the Steve Phillips affair. That’s a big stretch, Phil.

Liz Sadler and Dan Mangan of the Post find Steve Phillips’ mistress and are quite mean to her.

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News says Tim McCarver was on his game last night. I beg to differ, but Raissman seems to have inexplicable manlove for McCarver.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says last night’s win by the Angels in ALCS Game 5 had to please Fox Sports executives.

Pete hears from TNT’s Doug Collins, Reggie Miller and Chris Webber about the upcoming NBA season.

In the Baltimore-centric Press Box, Dave Hughes from DCRTV writes that only one Charm City sports radio station is picking up listeners while the other three are lagging far behind.

Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner talks with TBS’ Cal Ripken about the upcoming World Series and the Nationals’ manager search.

Jim also recaps the appearance by the General Manager of the inappropriately DC NFL team on his weekly radio show.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press talks with Fox Sports Detroit’s Greg Kelser about the Pistons.

Bob Wolfley from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wants baseball to expand instant replay reviews.

Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business has his weekly winners and losers in sports media and business.

Ed writes that the Chicago Tribune will be revamping its print sports section.

In Chicago Now, Sarah Spain has a good and extensive interview with MLB Walking, Talking Conflict of Interest Bud Selig.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says a local sports radio host might be jumping ship.

Dan writes that the market newcomer in the sports radio wars is expanding on its lead on its more established competitors.

South

Barry Horn from the Dallas Morning News finds it hard to see Texas A&M on TV this season.

Barry lists the Dallas-Fort Worth sports winners of the Lone Star Emmy Awards.

Barry says some Cowboys fans prefer the teaming of Thom Brennaman and Troy Aikman as opposed to Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.

David Barron from the Houston Chronicle says Texas A&M is a hard sell to TV.

In the Daily Oklahoman, Mel Bracht lists his top 10 college football games of the week.

Mel talks with Oklahoma City Thunder voice Matt Pinto who enters his second season of calling games with the team.

Mel also has his weekly notebook.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) News gives love to ESPN’s College Gameday for going to Utah this week.

Jay Posner from the San Diego Union-Tribune just wants baseball to get its calls right.

John Maffei from the North County Times says it wasn’t easy for Fox to move up the start times of World Series games.

Jim Carlisle in the Ventura County Star talks with a couple of NBA analysts about the Lakers.

Jim is not shocked that other markets are beating Los Angeles as far as MLB Postseason ratings are concerned.

Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times says Joe Buck had an up and down night calling Game 5 of the ALCS.

Diane writes that Turner Sports’ focus now shifts to the NBA.

In the Los Angeles Daily News, Tom Hoffarth has Fox’s Joe Buck wanting to give TBS’ Chip Caray a hug.

Tom has his media news and notes.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail says TBS’ MLB crew made the Fox crew sound great in comparison.

William Houston in his Truth & Rumours blog writes that the Maple Leafs coaching job along with the media scrunity can make grown men cry.

That’s it for today.

Patriots Head Out On Business Trip Overseas

The Patriots left on their “business trip” to London yesterday, as they get ready for Sunday’s game in Wembley Stadium against Tampa Bay.

Chris Warner, the Patriots Daily Worry Wart has a few concerns for Sunday. Greg Doyle gives us some First Impressions on the Bucs.

Monique Walker has a look at what went into the preparations for flying the entire team, plus all their equipment, over to London for this weekend’s game. Mike Reiss has the Patriots focused on football this weekend, and not the sights around them. Ian R. Rapoport notes that the Patriots are the most popular NFL team in the United Kingdon, and not just because they have ‘England’ in their name.  Mark Farinella has more on the team’s preparation for their weekend in London. Carolyn Thornton has the Patriots vowing that this trip will be all business. Tedy Bruschi, along with Reiss, also says that this trip is all business for the Patriots.

Jim Donaldson has former Patriots kicker John Smith, who grew up playing soccer in England, serving as the team’s ‘ambassador’ this weekend. Mark Woods has more on Smith’s connections to England and the Patriots.

Dan Duggan looks at Laurence Maroney and BenJarvus Green-Ellis as the new 1-2 punch at running back. Jim Fenton has Maroney ready to take care of business against the Bucs.  Rich Garven examines how the Patriots have used a mixture of veterans and youngsters to remake their secondary. Rich Thompson has rookie long snapper Jake Ingram going his job in anonymity, which is just how it should be. Christopher Price gives us five things to watch for on Sunday afternoon.

Thomas Grillo reports that this trip hasn’t been a big seller among Patriots fans.

The Globe notebook has Laurence Maroney preferring to just stay in the U.S. to play football. Duggan’s notebook has linebacker Rob Ninkovich making his second trip to play in London. The Projo Patriots journal has more on Ninkovich. Fenton’s notebook has the road trip already underway for the Patriots. Farinella’s notebook has Jerod Mayo feeling almost fully recovered from the knee injury suffered in the season opener.

Bruins

Kevin Paul Dupont has the Bruins putting forth another good effort last night, but falling in the shootout to the Flyers. Stephen Harris says that the final outcome seems less relevant then how the Bruins played for 65 minutes last night. Joe Haggerty has a few things we can learn from last night.

Dupont’s notebook says that despite all their injuries, Brendan Shanahan is not likely on the Bruins radar. Harris’ notebook says that the injuries to Milan Lucic and Marc Savard could jeopardize their Olympic hopes.

Misc

Julian Benbow has Doc Rivers pleased with what he’s seen from his club thus far. After being a starter in the postseason, Glen Davis is back to being a reserve. Mark Murphy has a look at the adjustment for Big Baby. Paul Flannery examines five things we learned about the Celtics in the preseason. Bill Doyle has Reggie Miller picking the Celtics to win it all this season.

Bob Ryan is impressed with the LeBron James film “More Than A Game.”

Alex Speier looks at why the Red Sox have no regrets about the J.D. Drew contract. He puts it in a way that I think even Glenn Ordway can understand.

Mike Fine and Amalie Benjamin have Tim Wakefield on the road to recovery, and not thinking retirement.

Chad Finn looks at how the messy Steve Phillips case was made even more salacious by sites like Deadspin.com.

Charity Notices

Here are a couple of sports-related charity items involving the Patriots and Celtics:

The 2nd Annual New England Celebrities Tackle Cancer Gala To benefit the Joe Andruzzi Foundation

November 2, 2009  

MANSFIELD, Massachusetts –  The Joe Andruzzi Foundation will host the 2nd Annual New England Celebrities Tackle Cancer event, to be held on Monday, November 2, 2009, at Christina’s, in Foxboro, Massachusetts. 

The Joe Andruzzi Foundation was established in 2008, to lead the fight to tackle cancer through support of cancer research and provide assistance to cancers institutes, patients and caregivers to help ease the burden cancer treatment places on lives.

After a decade in the NFL, former New England Patriots lineman Joe Andruzzi was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, ending his NFL career in 2007, and forcing him to face his own mortality.  Now, over a year in remission, he and his wife, Jen, are becoming leading spokespersons in the fight against cancer.

“The Joe Andruzzi Foundation is committed to helping others fight the toughest fight of their lives,” said Joe Andruzzi.  “My family and I are grateful for the care that I received and want to help others.  Since we started the Foundation last year, we have met some wonderful families, doctors and researchers who are making a difference in the fight against cancer,” Joe Andruzzi added.

The 2nd Annual New England Celebrities Tackle Cancer event marks the fourth event hosted by the Foundation.  Since its inception, the Foundation has raised $300,000.  

A full roster of Patriots players, both past and present, are expected to attend the event.  This year’s Honorary Committee will include:

  • Tom Brady, New England Patriots
  • Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
  • Kevin Faulk, New England Patriots
  • Stephen Neal, New England Patriots
  • Dan Koppen, New England Patriots
  • Logan Mankins, New England Patriots
  • Matt Light, New England Patriots
  • Nick Kaczur, New England Patriots
  • Vince Wilfork, New England Patriots
  • Wes Welker, New England Patriots

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Tickets-for-Charity® Offers Celtics Fans Premium Seats for All Home Games – at the Same or Better Price They Typically Find Elsewhere – While Benefiting Leading Charities 

 October 22, 2009 – Boston, MA – Tickets-for-Charity® is now offering Boston Celtics fans a new way to access high-demand seats to catch this season’s action at the TD Garden. For the same or better price they typically find elsewhere, Celtics fans can now access fantastic Celtics seats on www.ticketsforcharity.com while benefiting the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and many other leading charities of their choice. 

Tickets-for-Charity first kicked-off its Charitable Sale™ program with the Shamrock Foundation for select ’07 and ’08 playoff games and has since expanded the unique collaboration this year to offer premium lower level seats for all home games at the TD Garden. This season’s Celtics are poised to make a run at another NBA Championship with powerhouse players Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce and new acquisitions Rasheed Wallace and Shelden Williams. Tickets-for-Charity invites fans to visit www.ticketsforcharity.com or call 1-866-567-4576 to find the Celtics seats they want for home games ranging from Opening Night to highly-anticipated match-ups against the Lakers, Cavaliers and Magic. 

In addition to the Boston Celtics, Tickets-for-Charity offers sports and music fans the opportunity to access great seats on www.ticketsforcharity.com to see some of the biggest names in entertainment and sports, from Boston Bruins and Red sox games to John Mayer, Jimmy Buffett and Robin Williams – all while benefiting leading charities, including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Feeding America and many more.

Patriots Set To Take Off To The Old Country

The Patriots will head out to London later today as they get ready for Sunday’s game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Over on Patriots Daily we’re Trading Places with not one, but two Bucs bloggers. Jeremy Gottlieb goes around the league and isn’t impressed with Rex Ryan or the Washington Redskins.

Ron Borges wonders how Adalius Thomas will respond to his benching. For some reason he also feels the need to insult the intelligence of Jonathan Wilhite calling him a guy who “seems unable to tackle a math problem let alone someone with a football.” What’s that all about? Monique Walker has Thomas ready to go if active on Sunday. Karen Guregian says that the anger was just dripping from Thomas yesterday as he answered questions about his benching. Mark Farinella agrees that it wasn’t hard to sense Thomas’ true feelings yesterday. Mike Petraglia has Thomas airing it out yesterday. Glen Farley has Thomas with more questions than answers.

Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots needing someone to step up into the receiver role behind Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Brian MacPherson has the Patriots giving youngsters Brandon Tate and Terrence Nunn the next shot at being the team’s third wideout. Dan Duggan has Tate ready and willing to step up if given the chance. Shalise Manza Young says that Tate’s long wait to get back on the field is finally over. Andy Vogt says that it is time for the Patriots to see what Tate can do. Christopher Price has Tate and Nunn awaiting their chance.

Hector Longo claims that Joey Galloway is just the latest in a long, long list of wide receiver busts put out on the field by the clueless Belichick. Even in an article mostly praising Belichick and the Patriots, Tony Massarotti needs to remind us “Does this mean Belichick is perfect? No, no, no. A thousand times no.”

Jennifer Toland has the Patriots ready to take off on their U.K. voyage. Mike Reiss has the Patriots focused solely on football for this trip. Duggan says that this trip will be all work for the Patriots. The Projo has Gary Guyton an unlikely, humble leader of the Patriots defense. Kerry Byrne looks at why Tom Brady is at his best in the cold.

Rapoport’s notebook has Darius Butler missing practice with an ankle injury yesterday. Walker’s notebook has more on Tate being ready to go. Young’s Patriots journal says that Thomas’ status for Sunday is unknown. Farinella’s notebook has the Patriots essentially holding auditions in practice this week for the third receiver role. Vogt’s notebook has more on Thomas. Farley’s notebook has more on the young receivers. Toland’s notebook has Thomas moving on from his benching.

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa has Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins stepping up for a solid 3-2 win over the Predators. Stephen Harris has the banged-up Bruins delivering last night. Mick Colageo has the Bruins getting back to what had made them a success last year. Jim Fenton has the shorthanded Bruins getting the win.

Kevin Paul Dupont has the Bruins still in need of a health boost. Steve Buckley says that last night’s effort was a good sign for the B’s. Mike Loftus has the Bruins able to piece together a lineup to beat the Predators.

Stephen Harris has Marc Savard the latest Bruin to be placed on the  long-term injury list. Matt Kalman has Steve Begin making his first goal with the Bruins an important one.

Shinzawa’s notebook has more on Savard’s broken foot. Harris’ notebook has new Bruin Daniel Paille contributing an assist in his first game. Loftus’ notebook has Paille happy to get a chance to play.

Misc

Julian Benbow has the Celtics tuning up for their season opener with a win in Ohio over the Cavs. Mark Murphy has a little skirmish breaking out between Sheldon Williams and Mo Williams. Murphy has a look at Leon Powe’s reunion with his former team.

Michael Silverman says that Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman could be a target of the Red Sox. Amalie Benjamin and Peter Abraham have Tim Wakefield going through surgery yesterday.

Bob Ryan looks at why Notre Dame doesn’t want to play Boston College in football anymore.

Book Review – Game Six

Sure, yesterday was a big anniversary in Red Sox history, but today is another one.

What were you doing 34 years ago tonight?

If you can remember that far, (I can’t) no doubt you were engrossed in a little baseball game that was taking place over at Fenway Park. The date was October 21st, 1975  and after a three days of rain delays, the Red Sox were set to play the Cincinnati Reds in game six of the World Series.

It turned out to be perhaps the most memorable game in World Series history, ending on the famous Carlton Fisk home run off the foul pole in the 12th inning which gave the Red Sox the win, and tied the series at three games apiece. Beyond Fisk, there were too many heroes to name – for both sides.

Writer Mark Frost has spent two years reading, digging, exploring and talking to players, managers, broadcasters and spectators from that historic night. He made numerous visits to Fenway Park, to the Hall of Fame, talked with as many people involved as he possibly could in order to weave all their stories together into a story that actually ends up encompassing a hundred years of baseball history within the confines of a single game.

The result is Game Six: Cincinnati, Boston, and the 1975 World Series: The Triumph of America’s Pastime.

At most, I’m what you would call a casual golf fan. However, I had read Frost’s books The Greatest Game Ever Played and The Grand Slam and couldn’t put either one down. So I was particularly enthused when I learned about this book and that it was Frost that had written it.

It doesn’t disappoint. If you read the two books mentioned in the previous paragraph, you are aware of Frost’s attention to detail and gift of narration. They are on full display once again here in this work. With eight Hall of Famers prominent in this game, Frost tells their stories as well as those of sportscasters such as Dick Stockton – you learn for instance that he had quite the rep as a “ladies man” back in the day, and that he got the phone number of future wife Lesley Visser in the press box prior to this game.

It’s not just the stars that get detailed however, the bit players, the network execs, the cameramen, the umpires, groundskeepers, and fans all have the night chronicled from their perspective, along with how they got to that night, and what it all meant for them at that time in their lives.

Asked about his favorite discovery that he unearthed in the course of his research, Frost says:  “Many discoveries: the story of Luis Tiant’s moving reunion with his parents, who’d been caught and left behind in Cuba after Castro came to power; the rise and fall and rise of Bernie Carbo; the remarkable relationship between Sparky Anderson and his quartet of superstar players. This is my favorite era in baseball, because I followed the game much more closely then, and to revisit it through the personal experience of the people involved brought it all back in vivid and memorable ways. Every player in this game has a story, and they are all, in one way or another, remarkable.

The book spends a fair amount of time focusing on what baseball was like before free agency. When asked how the game has changed since then, Frost responds: “Games Six and Seven of the ’75 World Series are the last baseball games played before the advent of free agency. The rules of the game off the field, for better or worse (certainly worse for the players), had remained unchanged for 100 years; within a year that structure had been dynamited, and all of sports — and its increasing obsession with the dollar — hasn’t been the same since. You couldn’t invent a more revealing time capsule to show us where we were in 1975 and where we’ve traveled since.”

It really is a time capsule, giving you the most complete picture you can imagine some 34 years after this game was played. The two golf books mentioned took place in 1913 and 1930 respectively, and Frost made those time periods come to life in living detail. To bring 1975 back, then, is a piece of cake.

If you hadn’t guessed, I really enjoyed this book.

Game Six: Cincinnati, Boston, and the 1975 World Series: The Triumph of America’s Pastime

Patriots Shuffling Linebackers

It’s been an interesting year for the Patriots linebacking corps. Mike Vrabel was traded in the offseason, Derrick Burgess was acquired via trade, Tedy Bruschi retired in preseason. Jerod Mayo was injured in the season opener, leaving Gary Guyton as the main contributor on that unit. Mayo returned, and then Junior Seau was re-signed. On Sunday, Adalius Thomas, a free agent prize of 2007 was left inactive for the game against the Titans, leaving his future with the club up in the air. Then last night, Tully Banta-Cain, re-signed during the offseason, was released, though it appears he may be coming right back.

So what’s next?

Monique Walker writes in the Globe today that the mystery around Thomas didn’t get any clearer yesterday. Bill Burt says that Bill Belichick is serving Thomas (and himself) some humble pie. Karen Guregian says that it was the right move to bench Thomas.

Ian R. Rapoport has Belichick with little to say about the benching of Thomas. Christopher Price has Belichick saying that he believes Thomas will help the team at some point this season. Rich Garven wonders if something might be up on the trade front for the Patriots. Glen Farley looks at another Patriots linebacker, Rob Ninkovich, who will be playing a game in London for the second time in his career.

Only two report cards posted today, there’s Jeremy Gottlieb on Patriots Daily and Ron Borges in the Herald.

Tim Weisberg has Laurence Maroney giving us another glimpse of what he can be.  Robert Lee has Maroney finally turning in the big game we’ve been waiting for. Jeff Howe wonders if Brandon Tate is going to shake up the depth chart at wide receiver. Brian MacPherson has a look at Sebastian Vollmer, who filled in ably for Matt Light on Sunday. Mike Reiss wonders if the Patriots could be interested in Deion Branch.

Rapoport’s notebook also suggests that Banta-Cain may be back. The Globe notebook has no such suggestion. Farley’s notebook says that there will be some new faces on the practice field this week for the Patriots. Lee’s Patriots Journal has more on the benching of Thomas.

Celtics

Steve Bulpett has the “Other Two” Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins assuming a greater role with the Celtics. Frank Dell’Apa says that Marquis Daniels will bring a lot to the second unit for the Celtics.  Jim Fenton has the Celtics closing out the preseason with back-to-back road games the next two nights.

Dan Duggan has the Celtics lauding the benefits of Kinesio wrapping tape.

Gary Washburn has former UMass star Tony Gaffney with a chance to make the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Bruins/Misc

Mike Loftus has the Bruins hoping for a burst of energy from their recent roster shakeup. Rich Thompson has Patrice Bergeron waiting for a new right winger for his line. Brendan Hall says that the trade of Chuck Kobasew wa a result of the Bruins slow start.

Jon Couture says that success in 2010 for the Red Sox depends on how well they do in the trade market this winter.

Sean McAdam has Red Sox coaches Brad Mills and Tim Bogar interviewing for the Houston Astros yesterday. Amalie Benjamin has more on the interviews.

Lenny Megliola has a number of assorted thoughts.

I’d like to send out a “get well soon” to my friend and Patriots Daily co-founder Scott Benson, who is recovering from a heart attack suffered Sunday night. He’s going to be OK, but will be in the hospital for a few days and likely be out of commission for a little while after that. We’ll do our best to keep PD running in the meantime…

If you’d like to send Scott well-wishes, they can be sent to [email protected].

Purcell: Herald To Charge For Online Content

Back in August, I had a post about the Boston Globe planning to charge for online content sometime in the near future.

It looks like the Boston Herald has similar plans.

Purcell: Herald, other papers will soon charge for online content

Earlier this decade, the Herald had a policy where access to columnists and feature writers was the only content that you had to pay for. It didn’t work. As Herald owner and publisher Pat Purcell acknowledges in that article, the paper received many complaints about that policy.   If they put all their content (including sports coverage) under paid subscriptions, I think that sports fans are simply going to go elsewhere for their sports information.

Sites like ESPNBoston.com, WEEI.com and CSNNE.com will see their numbers jump up should the Globe and Herald go the pay route.

Purcell disagrees: “There are people who really love the Herald and will pay for it, the way they pay for cable and satellite radio.”

Would you pay to read the Herald online?

Titan-ic Annihilation By Patriots

Nothing like an 0-5, Southern football team coming into the snow at Gillette to make the Patriots look good, huh?

Tom Brady and the Patriots had a record breaking day at Gillette Stadium, as they set records for points, margin of victory, and TD passes in a 59-0 annihilation of the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium yesterday.

On Patriots Daily, Chris Warner has the Gut Check reactions to yesterday.

Ian R. Rapoport notes that even coach Bill Belichick was in wonderment at what his club had done. Mike Reiss has Tom Brady getting his groove back in the record-setting performance. Michael Vega has the Patriots improving to 11-0 in snow games at Foxborough with the win. Brian MacPherson has the Patriots offense snowballing in the second quarter. Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots celebrating a snow day at Foxborough. Mark Farinella says that it is possible that the Patriots could’ve put on this performance against any opponent. Andy Vogt wonders if the Titans developed a case of chionophobia at kickoff. Jennifer Toland says that it was almost like 2007 all over again. Glen Farley has strange things happening at Gillette yesterday.

Even while the game was going on, I was wondering, 1) is it possible to nitpick and find things to be negative about this game, and 2) which chuckleheads will be the ones doing it? The answer to 1 is a resounding “yes”,  and the answer to 2 is “the usual suspects” with Comcast SportsNet last night focusing on Adalius Thomas being inactive (making it yet another personnel failure by Belichick) and the Patriots starting Butler and Wilhite at the corners instead of Bodden and Springs - another implication that this team has problems - rather than the record-setting win.

Today, Bob Ryan tells us that we shouldn’t get too excited over a 59-0 win, because it came over a winless team in bizarre conditions. Ron Borges, who wouldn’t put into print half the things he says on the air, says that Brady’s record-setting day didn’t come against an NFL team, but that isn’t the QB’s fault. (Must be Belichick’s.) Rich Garven acknowledges the total effort from the Patriots, but says that they need to show more. You could tell from his press conference questions that Jim Donaldson was going to write a story on the Patriots success in the snow, and that’s exactly what he did. Jonathan Comey can’t stop looking at the box score. Christopher Price has the 10 Things We Learned Yesterday.

Christopher L. Gasper says that the rekindling of the Brady-Moss magic was a sight to see. Robert Lee has the Patriots finally able to connect on big plays. Farinella has the offense getting straightened out yesterday. Eric McHugh wonders if this is the start of something great, or just another tease from the ’09 Patriots. Tim Weisberg has the Patriots finally able to channel 2007. Kirk Minihane says that we need to remember this day.

Karen Guregian has Laurence Maroney finally answering the call when opportunity knocked. Monique Walker has Maroney silencing his critics, for one game anyway. Chris Forsberg has Maroney finally breaking through. Farinella has the offense operating well above optimum levels yesterday. Brendan Hall has Sebastian Vollmer looking impressive in filling in for Matt Light.

Walker has rookie Darius Butler playing with a heavy heart after college teammate Jasper Howard was stabbed to death  on the UConn campus hours after the Huskies beat Louisville. Jeff Jacobs looks at a terrible day at UConn. Dan Duggan has Butler playing well dispute the tragedy. Lee has Butler playing with a heavy heart yesterday.

Dan Ventura has the Titans saying they didn’t quit yesterday. Peter Gobis has the Titans not blaming the weather.

Borges lists out the best and worst from yesterday. Ventura and Duggan round up some quotes of the game. Lee provides game analysis. McHugh has who was hot, who was not - I was wondering if reporters would be able to pick anyone who wasn’t “hot” yesterday…I guess they could. The Metro looks at what went right & wrong.

The Globe notebook has a look at Thomas being deemed a healthy scratch yesterday, and a look at some firsts for Patriots rookies and young players. Rapoport’s notebook has more on the Thomas benching. Young’s Patriots journal says that Belichick may not be happy with Thomas. Gobis’ notebook suggests that perhaps Maroney just likes playing in the cold. Vogt’s notebook looks at a day of mourning for Butler. Toland’s notebook has Titan turnovers helping the Patriots cause. Farley’s notebook has more on Butler. Weisberg’s notebook has records falling all over Foxborough yesterday.

A Rainy Friday Megalinks

It’s raining here in Southern New England and with a washout expected for the entire weekend, why not give you the megalinks so you can peruse any time while you look for something to keep you busy.

You can check out the Weekend Viewing Picks for the major sporting events of the weekend and it contains the College Football Viewing Picks, NFL Viewing Picks and primetime viewing picks as well. In addition, you can check the ALCS/NLCS schedule for games over spanning over the next few days.

Let’s do the links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand writes that the networks are going high-tech for their MLB Postseason coverage.

Ben Grossman of Broadcasting & Cable writes that HBO Sports is expanding its 24/7 brand to NASCAR.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News says the League Championship Series is filled with big market teams.

Mike adds that the Chicago Blackhawks set a ratings records on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

Anthony Crupi of Mediaweek reports that out-of-home viewing of the League Division Series for TBS spiked last week.

Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered to talk about the scheduling of MLB Postseason games.

Sports Business Daily has the final sports ratings for the week ending October 11.

Robert Seidman from TV by the Numbers says no matter who’s in this year’s World Series, it’ll draw a much better rating for Fox than last year’s.

Josh Alper from Pro Football Talk says Jacksonville will be blacked out again this week as the Jaguars failed to sell out in time.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell says the new Richmond minor league baseball team did not choose his network’s name submission.

Vanessa Voltolina of FolioMag.com says ESPN The Magazine’s Body issue has boosted ESPN.com Insider subscriptions.

Maury Brown from the Biz of Baseball says the most viewed MLB games on Fox involved either the Red Sox or Yankees.

Chris Byrne of the Eye on Sports Media tries to explain the NFL Broadcast Rules.

The Sports Media Watch says Game 1 of the NLCS got off to a good start on TBS.

Joe Favorito talks how the military is an excellent brand for sports.

TV Technology looks at ESPN’s new Innovation Lab.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe talks with CBS’ Phil Simms who tells Patriots fans to be patient.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette praises MLB and Fox for pushing back the start times of the ALCS.

Mike Anthony of the Hartford Courant discusses ESPNU covering Midnight Madness at 9 schools including UConn tonight.

Neil Best of Newsday talks with Fox’s Tim McCarver about how catchers make for good managers.

Neil has a few more sports media tidbits.

Neil has a classic moment from Celebrity Jeopardy where Kareem Abdul-Jabbar forgets his great line from “Airplane!”

Neil reviews ESPN’s upcoming “30 for 30″ documentary, “Who Killed The USFL?”

Neil has the video of 30 Rock’s “Tennis Night in America”.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post gets on the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson for seeing racism where they see fit.

Bob Raissman from the New York Daily News seems to take glee in the bad weather expected for the first two games of Yankees-Angels ALCS.

Pete Dougherty in the Albany Times Union says a media basketball practice at the University of Albany earlier this week looked rather ugly.

Pete points out that Chip Caray is overmatched calling the NLCS on TBS.

Pete writes that the 1989 Bay Area Earthquake during the World Series helped to establish ESPN’s journalism reputation.

Rick Scarcella of the Reading (PA) Eagle writes that ESPN/ABC football analyst Matt Millen gets a homecoming to Penn State this weekend.

Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com writes in Press Box that the Orioles actually outrate the Nationals in the DC market.

Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner talks with ESPN college basketball analyst Adrian Branch about tonight’s Midnight Madness coverage.

West

Scott D. Pierce from the Deseret (UT) News says the Mountain West’s efforts to bolster its schedule are hurt by its TV contracts with the mtn. and Versus.

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune talks with ESPN’s Jon Gruden who will always have a soft spot for the Stadium formerly known as San Diego Jack Murphy.

John Maffei in the North County Times says Gruden has become a good addition to ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

The Los Angeles Times’ Diane Pucin critiqued TBS’ presentation of NLCS Game 1.

In her regular Friday column, Diane asks baseball announcers to avoid using cliches.

Tom Hoffarth from the Los Angeles Daily News gets the particulars on what TBS is using to air the NLCS.

Tom reports that the Dodgers will have billboards with the updated NLCS score placed throughout SoCal.

Tom looks at the ESPN documentary on the USFL that airs on Tuesday.

Tom has more on the documentary in his extensive media notes.

Tom has Dennis Eckersley’s comments on TBS regarding Randy Wolf not being ready to pinch run during last night’s NLCS Game 1.

Midwest

John Kiesewetter from the Cincinnati Enquirer says Miami’s (OH) hockey team gets some games aired on local cable TV this season.

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says a local minor league hockey team gets a boost by picking up an FM all-sports station.

Fang’s Bites fave Trenni Kusnierek of MLB Network writes a blog post for OnMilwaukee about life on the road.

Bob Wolfley from the Milwuakee Journal Sentinel says the Brewers got lower ratings this season.

Tim Cary from the ChicagoNow blog talks with another Fang’s Bites fave, Charissa Thompson of Big Ten Network and Fox Sports about the injury that is keeping her off the sidelines.

Ed Sherman from Crain’s Chicago Business has his weekly winners and losers in sports business and media.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that Dish Network subscribers in the Gateway City won’t be able to watch almost half of the Blues’ remaining games due to dispute with Fox Sports Midwest.

Dan adds that Joe Buck is grateful over Peyton Manning’s mention of him on NBC last Sunday.

South

Dallas Morning News NHL beat writer Michael Heika says Dish Network is also in a dispute with Fox Sports Southwest over 20 Stars games.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle points out that ESPN has replaced its Big 12 Big Monday announcing crew.

Mel Bracht from the Daily Oklahoman says ESPN’s Lee Corso has for the most part, come back from the stroke that debilitated him earlier this year.

Mel writes about ESPN putting Bob Knight on Big Monday.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail goes inside the CFL on TSN booth.

Chris Zelkovich’s blog at the Toronto Star is misbehaving for me, but the two top stories on the blog are the ones I want you to read.

And that will do it for the megalinks.

Patriots Look To Get Back on Track

As the Patriots prepare to face the 0-5 Titans this Sunday, Chris Warner is still a Worry Wart. Also on Patriots Daily, the Titans Tracker gives us some insight on the struggles of the team thus far.

Ron Borges says that the slow start by Tom Brady is no reason for Patriots fans to panic. Christopher Price talks with Brady’s longtime throwing guru Tom Martinez, who says that Brady’s struggles are repairable. Mike Reiss says that the Patriots are still close to the top of the pack in the AFC. Monique Walker says that Sammy Morris is a jack-of-all-trades at running back for the Patriots.

Ian R. Rapoport has Vince Wilfork saying that his team needs to start playing Patriot football. Jim Fenton has Wilfork focused on improving the defense. Mark Farinella has Wilfork and the defense expecting a challenge on Sunday. Rapoport has Brandon Meriweather saying that he’s going to keep doing what he’s been doing. Buckley has Junior Seau feeling good about his first practice back with the Patriots. Price talks to Clay Matthews, who knows what it is like to be a 40-year-old linebacker.

Steve Buckley notes that the Patriots are wary of the 0-5 Titans, knowing that the team is better than their record indicates. Jennifer Toland says that running back Chris Johnson is a speeding bullet heading towards the Patriots. Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots on high alert in their preparations for the Titans. Tedy Bruschi and Mike Reiss break down the Patriots/Titans matchup on ESPNBoston.

Chad Finn has Phil Simms preaching patience to Patriots fans. Jim Donaldson chats with Pat Patriot about making a comeback. He’s only 10 years older than Junior Seau, after all.

Michael Vega’s notebook has Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton expressing their respect for Junior Seau. Rapoport’s notebook suggests that the Patriots may go back to more 3-4 fronts on defense with Seau back. Young’s Patriots journal has the offense focused on their lack of big plays thus far this season. Toland’s notebook has the defense looking to get off the field quickly against the Titans. Farinella’s notebook has Seau getting his #55 back.

Misc

Julian Benbow and Mark Murphy have second year swingman J.R. Giddens working on trying to be part of the Celtics rotation.

Kevin Paul Dupont has the struggling Bruins hoping to regroup as they head out on the road. Rich Thompson has Michael Ryder hoping to provide a finishing presence to the top line. Mike Loftus has the Bruins hitting Dallas for their first road game. Matt Kalman says that David Krejci’s quick recovery from hip surgery giving him a better shot at the Czech Olympic team. Dupont looks at the internet sensation that 9-year-old Oliver Wahlstrom has become.

Mike Fine says that the Red Sox need to make a decision on what to do with the shortstop position. Bill Doyle has MLB moving back the start times of postseason games.

Mark Blaudschun looks at the reunion between Tom O’Brien and Frank Spaziani when N.C. State comes in to play Boston College tomorrow. Steve Conroy has BC looking to pass the ball tomorrow. Blaudschun’s notebook has Dave Shinskie getting the start tomorrow, but it is uncertain how much he will play in all.