Boston Sports Moves On, Pierce Passes Bird On Celtics Scoring List

While New England continues to try and recover from Sunday, the sports world moves on. Last night at the TD Garden, Paul Pierce passed Larry Bird on the Celtics all-time scoring list, and now sits in second place, behind only John Havlicek.

Speaking of Larry Bird, I found Bill Simmons podcast with the Celtics legend to just be tremendous and just the thing I needed to get my mind off the Patriots. There are all sorts of Celtics/Bird stories, nuggets in there, and it leaves you wanting more.

I heard five minutes of sports talk radio yesterday, and in it, I heard Dan Shaughnessy (On with Gresh and Zo – who have actually been tremendous the last few weeks) suggesting that Bob Kraft might try to strong-arm the league into giving him another “tomato can schedule,” (even though the schedule is done by formula and rotation with no input or say from owners) and happily talking about how the Patriots have now lost the most Super Bowls of any team in the NFL. (Tied with the Bills, Broncos and Vikings, actually.)

That was enough for me. As I said above, I think Gresh and Zo were very good in the last few weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, for the most part they stuck to football, stuck to on-the-field strategy and plays and kept out a lot of the nonsense that other shows want to glob onto at the first chance.

The other show that’s been pretty good the last few weeks was The Big Show. Holley and Ordway also put in solid shows, and I can’t even remember hearing Mike Adams much, if at all. Felger and Massarotti, after spending the entire season killing the team (while picking them to win each week) suddenly jumped on the bandwagon at the end of last week. In retrospect, that should’ve been my first clue that the Patriots were doomed.

Of course, the biggest fraud of the last week is Steve DeOssie, who led a Giants pep rally last week, acting like a high school cheerleader, taking shots at his New England media colleagues and the fans of the Patriots and saying how it he had a “hard time” sometimes living in New England – despite being born here, going to college here, playing two years for the Patriots and working here after his career, most of that on the back of the Patriots and their fans. He tried to explain himself (unapologetically) on the Big Show yesterday – DeOssie on Big Show: ‘I love New England’

But really, if he has such a hard time being here why doesn’t he just move to New York, be near his son, and the franchise he clearly loves and get a job analyzing that team? It’d be a win-win for everyone.

No one is asking him to be a cheerleader for the Patriots, but now everytime you hear him on the radio or see him on TV talking about the Patriots, you’re going to have the impression that it is all fraudulent, and just an act he puts on to appease the audience. You’re going to remember his talk about JPP and OSI and how hard it is for poor Steve to be around the area he grew up in. Even if there is no issue with what DeOssie said, it’s wasn’t the smartest business move for a guy who runs a restaurant and relies in other ways on Patriots fans support.

Then there is Eric Wilbur, who went from defending his absurd column on 98.5 to crying Uncle the next morning. If his goal was publicity, he succeeded in spectacular fashion, gaining TV and radio appearances and mentions in national columns. He’s never struck me as that sort, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, I guess.

OK. Just a few links this morning:

Fateful pass a rare type for Welker – Greg A Bedard tries to figure out whether Welker should’ve caught that pass. He excuses him.

‘Bottom liners’ completely miss the point – Tom E Curran disagrees, saying Welker should’ve caught that ball, and says that the blustering “did you win or did you not” bottom-liners who don’t see sports as a game of nuance and context and believe the Patriots failed and blemished themselves Sunday miss the point. *Slow clap*

Pats in good shape for Bourbon St. trip – Karen Guregian says that things are looking pretty good for a trip to New Orleans next February. Ian R. Rapoport isn’t so optimistic.

Paul Pierce thankful to fans, worthy of passing Green royalty – Steve Bulpett has the Celtics Captain thankful to reach the milestone in front of the Garden faithful. Ben Rohrbach has last night’s opposing coach with some perspective on the achievement. Paul Silas played with John Havlicek, after all.

Faith in Celtics franchise key to Pierce’s success – A. Sherrod Blakely looks at the rarity that is Paul Pierce in today’s NBA.

  • bsmfan

    I defended DeOssie in a previous column because it seemed like John Dennis was getting in his usual high and mighty over him picking the Giants and praising his son's and former team. However, the link here http://thebiglead.com/index.php/2012/02/07/steve-… has some one-liners that make me think otherwise. The video is private/down. If he was genuinely torching NE, I would have some serious reservations. Is there a link to it?

    Also, good piece in SI by Don Banks:

    "The Patriots' list of 2012 opponents looks anything but daunting from this vantage point," Banks writes. "New England has just four games against teams that made the playoffs this season, and only one of those, at Baltimore, is on the road. That rematch of the AFC title game will be an obvious highlight of next season, as will home games against NFC title game loser San Francisco, and a Broncos-at-Patriots rematch of this year's AFC divisional-round playoff showdown in Foxboro.

    "New England draws the NFC West and AFC South in 2012, and only the 49ers and Texans made this season's playoffs from among those eight teams. In addition, the Patriots will be heading back across the pond to face the Rams in London, and that late October matchup ensures New England a nice early November bye, exactly midway through the regular season."
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/don

    And, how could Kraft request a cupcake schedule? 14 of the 16 games are decided by rules already set in place.

    • Thom

      All 16 games are decided by rules set in place. The last two games are played against the team finishing in the same place in the two divisions in the conference a team doesn't play against. 14 of 16 games are decided by rules that do not depend on a team's record.

      • bsmfan

        8 = div
        2 = decided by your seed and the other team's seed (1st in div vs 1st in div)
        4 = rotation of div/conf. We had NFC East last year and now have the NFC West. (Known cycles and there is some website that charts this well)

        The other 2 I thought were "rivalry" games the league dictates.

        Did I get it right?

        • HighWireNickEsasky

          They have 3 division opponents so there are only 6 division games.
          I think this has all been settled and we already know the specific teams. Per Reiss on Jan 2:

          With the Broncos finishing in first place in the AFC West, and the Ravens finishing in first place in the AFC North, the final two opponents on the Patriots' 2012 schedule have been determined.

          Here is how 2012 breaks down:

          Home: 49ers, Bills, Cardinals, Colts, Dolphins, Jets, Texans, Broncos

          Away: Bills, Dolphins, Jaguars, Jets, Rams, Seahawks, Titans, Ravens

        • Guest

          6 = AFC East
          4 = Another AFC Division
          4 = NFC Division
          2 = "Rivalry" games?

  • tedlepcio

    A big thank you to Tom Curran for his coherent recap of the Pats efforts this year and in the Super Bowl. Professional whiners like Borges and front runners like Shaugnessy continue to tarnish the perception of Boston sports fans. Most of us appreciate the fortune we have in Boston with Mr. Kraft and the organization he has built.

    • APimpNamedDaveR

      I'll second this. The Curran piece was outstanding. But I think both Bedard and Curran are correct re: Welker — he should have caught the pass, but he shouldn't have been expected to catch the pass. In other words, it was a very difficult pass to catch, but the kind of pass that a receiver of his caliber should be catching. If that makes sense.

      I don't blame Wes at all. I agree with Curran — the safety was the key play. It changed the tone of the game 150%. If the Pats march down the field on that possession and make it look easy, they put the Giants on their heels and make them get into a playing-from-behind mindset. Instead, the Giants gained confidence and held the ball for almost the entire quarter. Night & day.

  • latetodinner

    I want to touch on Felger and mazz today. About two weeks ago I wrote a few posts suggesting that if I was the Patriots brass I would lean pretty heavily on 98.5 to get these two to stop being negative on my team and to be a little more objective. Unlike some of the posters on here and Bruce I thought that Felger and mazz did a pretty credible job not only during the two weeks leading up to the game (when their agenda clearly changed) but I thought Felger did an excellent job defending Gieselle when the nonsense about her private statements to Bianca were illicitly taped and then post on line to create controversy where there is none. I have no idea if the Krafts, or 98.5 management got to the Dynamic Duo or if they did self scouting and realized they had gone too far but the change was a welcome respite. I also think a lack of their snarkiness as well as the lack of BB can't draft talk in wake of the loss has been refreshing. I wish someone would look into the change in tenor. I think it would make for an interesting investigation/ discussion.

    On a different topic…Tom E Curran proves again today why he is one of the two best football writers in the region. Give that guy more air time. i cannot get enough of him.

    • bsmfan

      Agree here. In the aftermath of Eagan's post and all the other trash written, F+M became the voice of reason in the past 2-3 days I've listened to them–who would have thought?

      Agree on Curran's writing of late. I've also enjoyed Chris Price over at WEEI.com and wish he'd be on the air more.

      Chris Mannix was guest hosting DP show today (thanks to mandb for the heads up) and was great. If a "relief pitcher" host can handle a national show (#1 or #2) with five people, why isn't someone here giving him his own regular show or at least a shot at one? WEEI has him on "fill-in duty" like Dale Arnold..

      • latetodinner

        When Chris Mannix was on with Kerry Byrne as a fill in for D & C this past Dec I wrote that they would make an excellent team/ show to replace Mutt and Merloni. I have no idea why the powers to be at WEEI or at 98.5 continue to not give us one quality show midday. Its not like we are asking for them to upgrade drive or morning. But if midday is a throw away…give us something great there!New Chant: We want GREAT! We want GREAT!

  • Doc Michaels

    Perfectly said Bruce. In the past DeOssie has publicly, but quietly, went about supporting the Giants and his son — and like I said in the other comments, I have no issue with that. The problem is the pep rally and the shots at this area and the team. Doesn't Kraft Sports produce that WBZ Patriots Gameday coverage? Isn't he, in some roundabout way, being paid by the Patriots/WBZ to appear on that show? Taking a few swipes at the region and market that's been so good to him, his broadcast career and his stakehouse is monumentally stupid. I think it's a perfectly valid issue to bring up and he's going to be taking shots, rightly so, for it — not to mention seeing his rep take a beating around here too. Also wouldn't surprise me if, say, Troy Brown or another Pat took DeOssie's place on that show next season.

    Felger & Mazz definitely changed their tune over the last 2 weeks — and I also found Felger to be remarkably balanced when the SB was over. Still I can't take Mazz seriously at all and their change of tone was transparent to me.

    Also, not that I'm complaining, but where was Ron Borges? That was the other good deal, I didn't see him on any post-game coverage. Perhaps the memo was sent out that nobody wanted to see him smiling when the game was over.

  • Tony

    Shaughnessy's ignorant statement about Kraft getting a "cupcake schedule" through his influence with the NFL proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that he should never, EVER be allowed to talk or write about football. He's never liked the sport, and he only "covers" it for the Globe so that he can pull his contrarian, anti-Pats, anti-Kraft act to rile up the fanbase. Anyone who's read any of Shank's baseball books going back to the 80s knows that he's always waxed poetic about baseball and, while doing so, has taken shots at football as being an unsophisticated, "violent" sport that only ignorant hicks who don't hail from the cultured northeast could love. I at least hope that one of those radio hosts corrected Shank and told him that the Pats have no say whatsoever in the makeup of their schedule.

  • Classless

    Ever eat at the Twin River restaurant he pimps out? Dog food.

    Btw, Paul Pierce is amazing. That's no small feat being #2 on the Celtics scoring list. His ticket to the Hall of Fame is punched.

    • latetodinner

      Never eat at Twin River…Wrights Chicken Farm is only 5 minutes down the road! Besides it is not a real casino no matter what their advertising says.

      As for Pierce…he sure plays angry that he was picked 10th. He has grown up a lot from when he was first drafted.

  • Frank

    I’ve always thought that when Steve was just talking football and not being a radio tough guy he was/is very good at breaking down games and match ups. Having said that, I could now careless what this guy thinks. I don’t care if he picks the Giants, he should be rooting for his sons team. But the shots he took at the fans and the area, unforgiveable. I don’t care if he gets fired by WEEI, CSNNE or by WBZ, but I can tell you I’m not listening/watching anything he’s a part of. And eff his overpriced steaks too.

  • Eric

    Actually, all 16 games that the Pats play are determined by a formula.

    The Pats play their AFC East division opponents twice (6 games); they play the AFC South (4 games); they play the NFC West (4 games); and because they finished first in their division in 2011, they play the other two teams that finished first in their respective AFC divisions, namely Baltimore and Denver (Houston also finished first, but no need to schedule twice as the Pats already play the entire AFC South) (2 games). This is what is called a first-place schedule.

    The Jets will play Pittsburgh and San Diego, as both of those teams, like the Jets, finished 2nd in their division. This is obviously a bit unlucky for Sexy Rexy's group, as normally the Steelers and Chargers are first place teams. But not in 2011. Too bad, so sad.

    This is the formula the league uses every year, with the AFC and NFC divisions rotating every 3 years and every 4 years, respectively. Shank is a moron for not recognizing this formula and even more so for suggesting that Bob Kraft has any control over the scheduling.

  • Tom

    First, God bless you Tom E. Curran. Really good, keep-it-in-perspective, stuff there.

    As for DeOssie… I have not been a fan for a long time, so this is very enjoyable for me. Between his zero-sum arguments with callers on radio, his lack of any aptitude on non-football subjects and his giant red dome, I am quite pleased to see him get some flack for this.

    Like Bruce and some commenters have already expressed, his picking the Giants and rooting for his son are non-issues for me. I would lose even more respect for him if he didn't do that.
    That said, the issue for me is the stuff he said about the media and team here in New England. Go on with your Giants rant, but why talk about "struggles" here in NE? Why talk about how the Pats think they're so great with Gronk, Hernandez, Welker and Brady, but JPP and Osi are going to kill them? To me, that means when analyzing the Pats (and making money off them) he is really disingenuous. From now on, we know that to be fact.

  • NutCracker

    Well said Bruce. I agree that 99% of Patriot fans DON'T have a problem with DeOssie rooting for his son or the Giants to win the Super Bowl – he should. I expect Strahan to root for the Giants, Dungey the Colts, Marino/Dolphins, Howie Long/Raiders, etc etc. My problem is with DeOssie trying to separate himself from being a New Englander and mocking Patriot fans. "I'm home when in NY" and "I struggle with being in Boston" or words to that nature is the problem I have with his spiel. He could have said he appreciated the Mara family for helping him with his alcoholism and he's forever indebted and no Boston fan would have a problem with that. But clearly his mission was to let Giant fans know that he's one of them and not associated with NE. That's just being a two-face idiot. Dennis Drinkwater of Giant Glass is a huge Giants fan (named his company after them) but I can't picture him spouting off negative garbage about the Patriot fans. So DeOssie poked a raw nerve and lost all credibility but it'll be interesting to see if CSNNE or WEEI continue to use him as an analyst going forward. I hope not. I wouldn't be surprised to see more of Troy Brown and Ty Law.

  • mandb97

    Right now ESPN's Outside the Lines is doing a show on the Patriots and their loss. The guest are Steve Buckley, Dan Shaughnessy, Mike Barnicle and Mike Reiss. The first thing that went through my mind was the old Sesame Street bit. Sing along if you wish.
    [youtube Sm-zWDaoCtI&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm-zWDaoCtI&feature=related youtube]

    • Lou From Accounting

      I'd sing, but I'm laughing too hard.

  • mandb97

    Bruce, I could not agree with you more on DeOssie. I don't know how anyone can now take him seriously on his Patriots takes. It also makes him come off as being ungrateful. New England has made DeOssie a lot of money. We should all have as hard a time as DeOssie has had.

    Both Tom Curran and Greg Bedard wrote terrific pieces. Curran's Super Bowl wrap up is spot on and wonderful. I agree with everything he says except Wes Welker. Curran's criticism of Welker though is measured and done with class. Sports Radio could take a lesson from Curran. People like the moronic Michael Felger put the whole reason for the loss on Welker. Glenn Ordway, while hosting the Dan Patrick show, inexplicably said the pass was perfect. When Ordway tried to lead Phil Simms into agreeing with him, Sims did not bite and said the throw was too soft and a little high. As Curran says, there were so many reasons why the Patriots lost, the Welker pass was just one of the reasons.

    P.S. I think Brandon Spikes has a chance to be a very special player in the league. I mean all-pro level not the meaningless pro bowl level.

    P.P.S By the way, latetodinner also did a marvelous job pointing out all the issues that cost the Patriots.

    Greg Bedard explains why people like me do not believe Wes Welker deserves all of the blame on the second down throw in the fourth quarter. I think I may have said this earlier. Was the throw by Brady an impossible catch for Welker to make? absolutely not. Was the throw by Brady unnecessarily difficult? Absolutely. The fact that Brady went back shoulder to Welker shows he did not recognize that the Giants were confused before the snap. I have heard Scott Zolak and Glenn Ordway say that if Brady had thrown to Welker's inside shoulder Kenny Phillips would have lit him up. If that is their belief then both need to have their eyes checked by Dr. Melky. Kenny Phillips was about eight yards from Welker when the ball arrived. If Brady put the ball in the right spot, not only is the catch easier but the score is 24-15 and the game maybe over.

  • latetodinner

    In 1996 when the Pats lost I was devastated. Parcells and Kraft had the acrimonious break up. Pete Carroll came to coach. The team was a collection of players that I had time liking personally but as a team I had believed in the Tuna so I believed in them. I knew that when tuna left Carroll was going to mess it up because of how quickly he had lost the Jets locker room in 1994. When the Pats lost in 2007 I as angry. The perfect season gone. They had laid waste to the NFL that year, they were on a mission to prove spygate was nonsense. How they came out with that offensive game plan and didn't adapt until half way through the 3rd quarter has never been explained. I knew they were talented but getting old and with the types of players they were bringing in I was worried they were getting to the end.

    This time…I am oddly optimistic. I know why they lost this game. i think the mistakes are correctible. I think the personnel on defense, especially the DB's will be upgraded. I know they have 6 picks in the first 3 rounds. I know they have $20 mill under the cap. And most of all I think they have coaches who demand excellence. Therefore I am optimistic that they will be back in the playoffs next year. They will be dangerous and I think better. As such I do not even mind listening to the sportstalk and reading the post-mortem articles.

    Ps…thanks mandb for noticing my recap :-)

    • APimpNamedDaveR

      But Pete was pumped! And jacked!

    • mandb97

      No problem, I wish I had the time to comment on it sooner.

    • Classless

      No reason to be "oddly" optimistic. In 2007, they were an old team with a "window closing" feel. Now, they're a very young team set up for contending as long as Brady remains healthy. In a way, this team overachieved and bucked the numbers in a huge way (on defense mostly). The AFC championship was luck at the end. I'm excited to see how this team bounces back next year.

  • bsmfan

    Funny comment this morning:

    @kegsneggs I can't wait for the Boston.com article on why this UNC loss is Tom Brady's fault. https://twitter.com/#!/KegsnEggs/status/167462080

    (Watch the final 2:30 of the Duke/UNC game on ESPN last night and you'll understand. UNC was up by 10 with 2:38 to go. UNC slowly choked away the lead. Doc's son drilled a 3, up by 2, as time expires and stuns the crowd.)

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