Patriots To Wrap Up 2012 On Sunday

It’s hard to believe, but another NFL regular season winds down this weekend. Another season of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will be in the books. What a run it has been. Why not try to enjoy it while we still have it?

As for Sunday, it seems pretty simple. If the Texans win, I think the Patriots treat this week as their bye. As many key players as possible will be rested. There is simply no chance that Kansas City can beat Denver in Denver on Sunday. The Patriots best chance of a bye rests with the Indianapolis Colts and them being fired up at home against Houston with the return of their head coach from his cancer treatments. I happen to think though, that you’re safe making plans to watch the Patriots next weekend at home on Wild Card Weekend, likely against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Unless of course, they believe the easier game would be Indy, and if  so, you may well see a whole lot of Ryan Mallett on Sunday.

It’s somewhat amusing that the Texans have now made this game “the biggest game in franchise history.

As far as the game being flexed to 4:25 on Sunday, there’s no truth to the Jim Lazar joke that Belichick used leverage to force the league to flex the game.

Get all the Patriots coverage this weekend at PatriotsLinks.com.

Sports Hub No. 1 in fall radio ratings – Chad Finn reported on the fall ratings book yesterday, where 98.5 blew the doors off of WEEI, who fell to 7th place in the ratings, tied with WBUR, which might just make Gerry Callahan’s head explode.

It’s time for changes at WEEI. Unfortunately for them, they are the New York Jets of sports radio at the moment, in salary cap hell, tied into several huge contracts for their “talent.”

Cool off on the ‘hot team’ talk in the NFL – Is it just me, or is there even more of a “flavor of the week” theme this season in the NFL? My SB Nation media column looks at the week-to-week changes in the team to beat.

Networks ratchet up challenges to ESPN – Chad Finn has a very good look at the two latest challenges to ESPN on television – the NBC Sports Network, and the CBS Sports Network, and notes that FOX will likely switch SPEED to Fox Sports 1 later this year.

Fill In Notes

In the battle of the fill-in shows this week, I’ve actually found WEEI’s combo of Pete Sheppard and Kirk Minihane to be the best of the lot, though Bob Beers has been terrific over at 98.5. He’s clearly more than just a former hockey player and current analyst, he’s been able to speak well on all sports. I also knew Sean McAdam was obviously very good on baseball, and always knew his NHL knowledge was top rate, but he really surprised me with his NFL knowledge across the league, not just surface talking points, but deeper issues and analysis. I liked Dan Roche taking on the negativity in Boston sports yesterday, and imploring fans to sit back and enjoy sports a little more.

It’s been a little amusing at WEEI, as they’ve filled the schedule mostly with people they’ve let go or demoted in the last couple of years, with Dale Arnold, Sheppard, Fred Smerlas and Steve DeOssie all getting prominent time.

I’m not sure I understand the reasoning behind bringing Dan Sileo up for the week, unless they actually are thinking of shaking things up and this was a tryout.

  • Winning_Again

    Agreed Bruce, I find it very odd that when WEEI needs “pinch hitters” or “spot starters” they tend to look at talent they pulled off the air. If the talent isn’t good enough to be on the air for large periods of time (Dale) or small periods of time (Steve/Fred) what makes it OK to use that same talent at all. To me, they are too egocentric and full of themselves to truly admit they need radical changes. They’d rather piece-meal aspects of each show, even with something as simple as fill ins.

    I truly enjoy the fact that we get to hear Beers and Goucher in two different spots on TSH. Outside of hockey, its great to hear a new voice and perspective. Whats the worst that could happen? If they stink, just don’t bring them back (what WEEI is doing). There’s plenty of voices in the market to hear from. I did think WEEI did a good job with Neumy and Bedard btw.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same…..

  • JonB

    What else does Jason Wolfe, the Norv Turner of radio program directors, have to do to lose his job? This is the guy who brought you the inexplicable Mike Muttnansky midday contract, put Dale Arnold & Pete Sheppard out to pasture, engineered the forced / awkward / increasingly grating pairing of Ordway & Holley, hired Kevin Winter (who’s quickly proven that it is, in fact, possible to be even more annoying than than Jon Meterparel), and most recently gifted listeners with the god-awful half-a-moron Dan Sileo as a fill-in host. Not to mention the absolute mess he’s presided over at WRKO as well. Seems like everything he’s touched has turned to crap since TSH opened up shop.

    If 7th place in the ratings doesn’t get the corporate suits at Entercom calling for heads to roll at WEEI, I don’t know what will. Can’t blame the lackluster ratings on the crappy AM signal anymore, or the Red Sox being out of contention seeing the Celtics are back and the Bruins have yet to play a game. The Pats play just once a week so any EEI ratings dilution there would be negligible; you could even argue that EEI’s regular daily programming is more Pats-centric than TSH anyway. So what’s Jason Wolfe and Julie Kahn’s excuse going to be this time around?

    WEEI looks more and more like a sinking ship with every passing ratings period. They’re in desperate need a complete on-air personality overhaul. No matter how hard they try or how they’re repackaged, I just don’t see a bunch of 60+ year old hosts which includes the likes of John Dennis, Glenn Ordway and Mikey Adams suddenly becoming marketable to the under 45 crowd at this point (and 45 is probably being generous).

    I just hope the EEI dot com guys can escape to another viable outlet, or perhaps set up a new independent site somewhere – they’ve been the only consistent producers of quality content there for years now.

    • Winning_Again

      Well delivered point Jon. WEEI is eerily similar to how the Detroit Lions were run under Matt Millen. Each year, the team would have a flash of two then return to past mistakes. At each year’s draft, no matter what weaknesses the team may have had, they would take a Wide Receiver. Granted they had a tiny bit of success with Roy Williams, the picks of Charles Rogers and Mike Williams were massive busts.

      Wolfe is too arrogant to make the bold changes needed. He’s content to recycle talent and act like he knows best. Maybe he’s shooting to become #7 in the ratings pool, in which case, good job Jason!

      He must have pictures or transcripts on someone of importance to have lasted this long.

  • GRBSPR

    I do very much like stories that point to WEEI’s ineptness. They are saddled with ‘talent’ that is ‘big’ in so many unflattering ways, and throwing flaming oil on their management is fun sport, too. I still can’t get over the haughty ego displayed by the insufferable Dale Arnold, and while we don’t have NHL hockey we also don’t have HIM. That’s addition by subtraction in everyone’s book.

    Being on a par with ‘elevator music’ WBUR is pleasing, also.

  • Scott

    I liked Bob Beers,McAdam and Roche as well. I find Kirk Minihane listenable, but Pete Sheppard is a huge step back. Dumping Arnold was a mistake, but Sheppard should have been the start of house cleaning. Why wasn’t it?

  • http://twitter.com/theaisleseatcom Andy Dursin

    Pete Sheppard and Kirk Minihane are — exactly right Bruce — pretty good together. I wonder if they would be the top choice when Mutt & Lou get jettisoned for the midday show (what’s it going to take for THAT to finally happen?).

    EEI has plenty of problems but two that really need correcting (one sooner than the other I’d imagine) — 10-2 remains a black hole and the Big Show is just awful. There’s no chemistry between Ordway and Holley and I’m surprised how bad they’ve been together. I’m tired of Ordway but also very disappointed with Holley. His boring, mild mannered takes and lack of strong opinions have really been a turnoff. I’ve found myself seeking solace in Mikey Francesa’s WFAN show at times…he might fall asleep but when he’s awake he’s far more interesting than either of the afternoon shows in our market!

  • GStill45

    Couple quick points;
    - Minihane should have Mut’s job by now. I imagine he gets it soon.
    - I don’t like Gresh & Zo, but until EEI put a viable show against them, they’re safe.
    - WEEI was in a tough spot with Holley. If they didn’t re-sign him and move him to drive time, he goes to TSH with Felger and they bury WEEI.
    - It’s funny WEEI spends so much to talk to Brady& Bill, but they are 7th.
    - Give Wolfe credit at least for locking up Howie Carr. Wouldn’t let him jump to 96.9, and now that station is dead.

  • Andy

    Is Mike Adams finally toast since EEI can’t beat 98.5 at night with the Celtics playing and the Bruins not? I have hated that show since Day 1.