Patriots/Broncos II On Tap For Divisional Weekend

So it will be the Patriots and Broncos on Saturday night to play for a spot in the AFC Championship Game.

I’m undecided at the moment what path sports radio and TV will take here. Do they talk all week about how there is no way the Patriots can lose this game, while secretly hoping that they in fact DO lose the game, and thus go to a new level in being able to criticize, or do they talk all week about what if the Patriots lose, and what an disaster/indictment that will be on the franchise. Either way, it’s no-lose for them.

You can be assured though, that at least nationally, the Josh McDaniels hiring will be ridiculously over-hyped, even though his presence will have little impact on this week’s preparation or results. The Denver Post insists that Broncos, playoff teams should officially protest Josh McDaniels hire in New England.

All the Pats have to do is hire away Steve Scarnecchia from Syracuse and the whole cheating gang gets back together.

I told you we’d see Tebow again – Hector Longo takes credit for calling this in November. Though at the time, he said it would be in the AFC Championship game.

Tebow, Broncos best possible result for Patriots – Tom E Curran (who called the Broncos upset) says that this worked out for the best for the Patriots. (Didn’t we say that last year too?)  Jonathan Comey says that “the old adage “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it” is officially in play.” Karen Guregian tells us why this is the ideal matchup for the Patriots.

 Wild horses – Greg A Bedard says that the Broncos will be better prepared for a rematch with the Patriots.

Quick-hit thoughts on Pats-Broncos – Mike Reiss offers some thoughts on the matchup.

Critics are misguided, O’Brien making the right move – Michael Muldoon, who has known Bill O’Brien for nearly 30 years, explains why Penn State is a great move for the Andover native.

Phones ring for Patriots brain trust – Here’s a question, if the Patriots SUCK so much at drafting and free agent signings, why are their front office people still in demand around the league?

Filling in has been fulfilling - Julian Benbow has castoffs Sterling Moore and Antwaun Molden finding homes in New England.

Brad Marchand defends self – Stephen Harris has the Bruins winger expecting a suspension, but says his hit was just self-preservation.

Wilcox hopes to overcome early struggles – A. Sherrod Blakley has the Celtics most expensive free agent signing talking about his struggles adjusting to the Celtics. Chris Forsberg has more.

On offense, it’s Garnett’s move – Gary Washburn has Kevin Garnett slow to embrace Doc Rivers urging to get more involved with the offense.

New guy Andrew Bailey ready to roll – Scott Lauber catches up with the new Red Sox closer. More on Bailey from Tim Britton and Brian MacPherson.

  • Winning_

    Why did I even waste my time reading Hector's "Look at Me" article. Save yourself the wasted time. He says, look at me, I'm smart, I predicted this, I'm smarter than all of you. Clearly his concern is more about being awarded brownie points than anything else. Good job Hector "Cleo, don't call me Roberto" Longo! You "called" it!

    BTW, Tony Mazz wanted to chime in about Hector….. "He Sucks"

    • Alex

      "Why did I even waste my time reading Hector's 'Look at Me' article"

      Remember this question the next time you go to click on one of his links or reach for the radio dial between 2 and 6 PM.

  • APimpNamedDaveR

    Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow

    (hold on, just getting warmed up….)

    Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow .

    In conclusion, Tebow.

  • Steve

    The good folks of Denver are ones to talk about cheating – the Denver Post's allegations of cheating by the Patriots pales in comparison to the Broncos being caught cheating twice by violating the salary cap including payments to John Elway. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28

    • bostonsportsmediafan

      Don't even bother with your usual forums, message boards and comment threads. Same stuff. It will never stop.

      Spygate did–and, probably always will–leave an impression that any and every Hoodie win is tainted.

      I understand that this comes with the territory, but with how much the NFL would be looking for and enforcing this, even more with the Pats because of past violations, it's about as lazy and lame five years after. If someone can only defend their argument with this, I think they've dismissed themselves from any descent debate or discussion.

  • Hoss

    Well I guess sports talk radio will be thoroughly unlistenable this week.

  • latetodinner

    All around I have to say it was a pretty embarrassing weekend for both the local and national media. Aside from Tom Curran I do not know of a legitimate Media person who looked at the Pitt/Denver game rationally and saw the problems the very injured Pitt was going to have with Denver. Hector Longo does not count because all he said was Denver will win he had no real argument…he was going against the grain so he could say "look at me". Post Pitt/Denver the national media has been focusing on Denver's win and chances in NE…which they should. However I think the story they are missing is that the Rooney's should be thinking long and hard about firing Mike Tomlin for going with Rothlesberger on one leg instead of playing a healthy Charlie Batch who had them at 3-1 last year while Ben sat out his suspension. Heck I would consider firing Tomlin for losing to the Bronco's, period. And yes before you ask if the Pats lose to them in NE then I would think Kraft would have to take a good long hard look at what BB is doing.

    Locally, the media seemed at a loss as to how to cover the Bruins loss to the Canucks. They seemed more interested in talking about the fighting and suspensions than they were at the lack of discipline the Bruins played with…allowing the Canucks 12 powerplays including a 5 minute major. Vancouver scored all 4 goals on powerplays. Although no one has given me an adequate reason Lucic was run in the first period and why no one on Vancouver was run for a 6 on 1 pile on Thornton (someone had to be on the ice illegally for Vancouver…do the math refs)…Boston still should be playing better penalty killing defense and more in control. The refs lost control early, the coaches did not want to impose any control…it was like they wanted the boys to get it out of their system…it was dumb. The media around here on Sat afternoon, Sunday and in print did not seem to recognize any of this.

    Lastly, the Josh McDaniels returns story is silly. This is America…people leave jobs and get replaced. If the NFL does not want a coach replaced mid season then they should pass a rule that says…if a coach voluntarily leaves a job he can't be replaced until the next year. It would be a dumb rule and it would never pass. The bigger story to me in NE is the return of Spikes and Chung to the NE defense…and how that will change the way NE can play Denver's run game. Maybe someone will talk about that this week in depth.

    • etak

      I did like the Bruins post-game and the SportsHub guys on afterwards (Johnson and Flynn, I think?) Because they did say that basically Marchand wasn't dirty but it wasn't a good hit, and the Bruins were undisciplined. (Though Beers seemed convinced it would be fairly simple to be more disciplined during the playoffs, to which I'm like, "What, just magically?")

      Also: Gresh has in fact been one of the "there is no way the Patriots can lose this game" crew. I am most irritated by him when he is arrogant and blustery, so I'm just thrilled at this. Bleh. (I don't actually know what Zo's saying about it, because he keeps getting overwhelmed by Gresh's bluster. I like Zo better with other people.)

    • Steve

      The media's coverage simply criticizing the Bruins' lack of discipline was not on point. The only news from the NHL has been that Lucic was incorrectly ejected – he was on the ice legally. The NHL has been completely silent on why the third, fourth, fifth and sixth men into the fight against Thornton (that was far worse than roughing) were not ejected from the game when it is my understanding the third man in for fighting is an automatic ejection. All in all a horribly officiated game. It's also nice that in addition to Luongo not playing, Aaron Rome was also "injured" and not ready to play.

  • Atreyu Jones

    "However I think the story they are missing is that the Rooney's should be thinking long and hard about firing Mike Tomlin for…."

    No one is missing this story because there is no story. There is no chance in the world that Tomlin will be fired short of being found in bed with a dead girl or a live boy and only the tiniest percentage of knowledgeable people would think that he should be fired.

    • APimpNamedDaveR

      The gameplan was extremely puzzling — they basically committed so much to stopping the run that the only thing Tebow is fairly good at — hucking the ball way downfield — became a viable offensive option. If you're going to dare Tebow to beat you with his arm, you do what the Pats did: force him into quick, short routes, things which he has been poor at reading and completing. So I was baffled by how the Steelers played.

      But I didn't see anything that would justify firing Tomlin. They made a reasonable call, and got burned. It happens.

      • Classless

        Tomlin? How about the sainted Dick Lebeau with one of his worst game plans ever?

    • latetodinner

      Tomlin oversaw that mess…the fact that anyone thinks he is beyond reproach is just silly. it was a miserable game plan. 11 men in the box to load up on the run while letting Tebow run around, improvise and throw deep. Dumbest game plan since…well since anything Pete Carroll put together in New England. Add to that not going to Charlie Batch when it was clear Rothlisberger could not plant the front foot I think Tomlin and maybe Dick LeBeau have a lot to answer for. Coaches have been fired for less. It is a non story only because of the kid glove treatment Pitt gets from the media. Tebow is hated for loving god while Rothlisberger, a rapist is hailed as a tough guy…why…because he is the Steeler's QB and playing on an injured ankle. There are certainly stories there that the media is just missing.

  • Atreyu Jones

    "However I think the story they are missing is that the Rooney's should be thinking long and hard about firing Mike Tomlin…"

    This isn't a story because there is no chance of it happening. Also, you might be the only one who thinks it should happen.

    • bostonsportsmediafan

      I would think that many people would love to have Tomlin if he were to be freed up, no?

      I get this, "He inherited Cowher's team" — how's that argument working out for Norv in SD?

  • APimpNamedDaveR

    The thing that scares me is that the Pats absolutely could lose this game — and great googly moogly will it be freaking unbearable around here if they do.

    The Broncos are not a great team, but they're not a bad team, either. They're a team that does a few things very well, and does everything else at a league-average level or below. They run the ball very well. If they can do that effectively against the Pats (like they did in the first quarter of the regular season matchup), then they'll force the Pats to start overcommitting on defense (as the Steelers did from the opening kickoff yesterday), which will open up the longball for Tebow. They can put up points with that combination. Meanwhile, they have some good speed rushers on the line, and a solid defensive backfield. The first matchup proved that they can stop the Pats receivers individually, but that they probably can't stop ALL of them in the same play while still putting pressure on Brady. If they can figure that one out, and knock Brady off his rhythm, they can hold the Pats' scoring down. If they can do both those things — they could steal a win. It's not hugely likely, but it's certainly possible.

    Yikes.

    • Doc Michaels

      "Yikes"? Seriously? You're THAT worried? Didn't you see the game 2 weeks ago?

      Putting aside the usual issues, the fact that the Pats:

      1. Scored 40+ on Denver a couple of weeks ago
      2. Did so in Denver
      3. Did so without some defensive players coming back for this game

      Makes Denver winning this game, IMO, not "certainly possible", but very unlikely. Not impossible, but this would be a far, far worse loss than losing to the Ravens or Jets in the last two playoff home disasters.

      I wouldn't lose sleep over it, that's for sure. The line is 14 for a reason.

  • tom

    Lots of time for analysis, but here are a coule of initial thoughts:

    – The first quarter and the remaining 3 qtrs of that Pats/Broncos games were almost complete opposites. If the Pats played a more complete game, they would have won huge. Oh wait, they won by 18? So, I guess, REAL huge.

    -The Pats got run on and over in that 1st qtr…. Brandon Spikes will help out with that. He did not play in that game. Not saying he is Mike Singletary… I'm just sayin'.

    – Brady torched them in that game. He was nearly flawless in the 2nd half and didn't exactly suck in the first half. Broncos have plenty of defensive concerns, themselves.

    – Finally… to me, it looks like a classic "if both teams play well, the Pats win with relative ease" game. Or… "If the Pats play well and Broncos don't, it's a 3-score game". Now, if the Pats play like they have the last 2 playoff games, AND the Broncos play great… hold onto your hats.

  • profootballwalk

    I was changing radio channels in the car today, and accidentally tuned in Felger and Mazz. Felger said something about the Pats being favored big next week, which sent Mazz immediately asking the last time the Pats were favored by that much – THE 2007 SUPER BOWL! And as he said it, he was literally giggling. This was obviously scripted.

    Tell me again how this show is successful. It's like a guy who tells everyone your mom is a skank, and you consider him your best friend and invite hiim over for dinner. I'll never understand it.

    • scott

      How come it is always by chance or accident that someone quotes sports talk? Why not just admit that you listened? I listen to Felger and Mazz even though Tony is unbearable. I change to WEEI where Ordway hasn't learned to listen. I don't even want to call sports talk radio a guilty pleasure because there is not a lot of pleasure. I would love to see the Patriots play well just to hear these hosts spin their thoughts.

      • bostonsportsmediafan

        Good pickup on the point.

        I think most of us are here because we listen, love or hate it. However, the forum becomes a board where some of us sound off in hopes that management might be listening. Other times, it is just to vent. The local programming directors, in their own capacity, can sit here and think we're stupid Internet trolls that will listen no matter what and will continue; or, they could take the roll where they go outside their zone and see what people are talking about in order to make their product better. I like to think that most of us here are articulating thoughts in a constructive way so that there is a hope of someone might someday listen. I don't work in the media industry but it seems that the programming directors on various networks who tend to make it longer than the others do listen to their customers/viewers instead of just doing the same thing.

        Just my take.

    • SteveFromYellowstone

      Because Boston is a sports crazy region and the competition (the Big Show) is absolutely horrific. Its the reason I keep listening to them during Patriots season.

  • mandb97

    First of all with the Bruins, it looks like Brad Marchand has been suspended for five games. I actually agree with it. I think Marchand had been warned about low bridging an opponent. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I saw the item. It might have been on the CBC website. As far as the Bruins as a whole playing undisciplined, I disagree. It looks like referees Don Vanmassenoven and Dan O'Rourke could only count black and gold jerseys during the first period skirmish, which is why Lucic got the boot but the two extra Canucks on the ice got nothing. Burrows only received a roughing minor even though he put his stick in Thornton's face. The whole scrum started as Burrows attempted to put his stick in the skates of Dan Paille as he was going to the bench. Thornton saw it and let Burrows know he did not appreciate it. Some of the other penalties during the game to Peverley, Seguin and Krejci were awful calls. As far as seeing a rematch in the finals, I doubt it. I think Chicago or Detroit will represent the West. Those two played Sunday and it was brilliant hockey.

    P.S. I love the fact that the NHL goes out of their way to explain penalties that deal with suspensions or lack of one. It shows complete transparency. The NFL recently took a page from the NHL and had Ray Anderson explain what is deemed a clean hit and bad hit. MLB and NBA could take a lesson from the NHL, especially the NBA.

    With regards to the Patriots hiring Josh McDaniels, would we be hearing the same whining if Pittsburgh had won? I doubt it. I was particularly disappointed with Bob Ryan who found the hiring morally wrong and the league should not allow it. That is a ridiculous statement and makes Ryan sound like a buffoon. I expect a lot better from him.

    • 02062

      "P.S. I love the fact that the NHL goes out of their way to explain penalties that deal with suspensions or lack of one. It shows complete transparency. "

      That's great, but when is someone from the league going to explain how a team who has a guy get jumped by 6 guys come out of the situation 2 men down.

      Vanmassenoven? Is that Dutch for Joey Crawford?

      • mandb97

        There is no question the on ice missed call during the first period skirmish by the officials was terrible. But there was nothing going on that would have been considered suspendible. Should there have been more penalties on Vancouver? Absolutely.

        I believe Vanmassenoven is the name of one of the three blind mice.

  • Collis Jones

    Not sure either. 98.5's success has only cemented in my mind the fact that all of sports radio will forever be terrible. Looking back I'd rather listen to Ted Sarandis than any thing offered up on the Boston airwaves these days. When listening to Ted you always knew HE was the lunatic. The rare occasions I listen to any of the shows on WEEI or 98.5 it's plainly clear that I am the lunatic for having tuned in.

    Let's face it, sports radio is a ponzi scheme con game that essentially anyone able to string several sentences together can be decent enough at to hold listener's attentions until the next advertising break. Which is the whole point, selling ad space for divorce lawyers, crooked mortgage brokers, coffee chains, and winshield replacement companies.

    Fan created podcasts that are able to develop relationships with their audiences not dependent on treating listeners like dirt are way more interesting and enjoyable over the long haul.

    I'm amazed that anyone could or would willingly listen to Felger and Masserotti more than once. Life's way too short.

    Chung and Spikes changes the defense dramatically as far as I can tell.

  • mandb97

    I have stated recently what a huge disappointment Damon Amendolara has become. He put up this tweet criticizing Bill Cower and Shannon Sharpe.

    "Sharpe & Cowher criticized Tomlin for starting Ben down the stretch, but wouldn't everyone have beat him up for laying down like 09 Colts?"

    How in the world does Amendolara compare the 09 Colts with the 11 Steelers? The Colts were undefeated and pretty healthy. Polian made a conscious decision to stop playing players. The Steelers would have been resting an injured quarterback who, in my opinion, was actually hurting his team by playing. Unlike the Colts, the Steelers were still playing for something. It is the definition of apples and oranges. The Twitterverse crushed him and rightly so. DA is now on par with Mike Adams. I can't think of anything more damning.

  • luther

    DA = buffoon. He is virutally unlistenable, on a par with Meterparel.
    If Tomlin were ever fired there would be 15 teams lining up for his services.
    BB fired if the Pats lose this weekend? Keep smoking crack.
    Marchand got away with it last year, not again this year with Sheriff Shanny on the job.

  • etak

    OK, sure, Satan, whatever, but if you're using Austin 3:16 in /2012/, you are grasping at straws.

    Gresh & Zo: Get more up to date material. Like, I dunno, something from the 21st century?