Media Silliness Abounds As AFC Title Tilt Approaches

Must. Pound. Storylines.

For the on-air side of sports media this week is less about football than it is about their precious storylines. Legacies. Past failings. Worries. Concerns.

Then you have clowns like WHDH’s Dan Hausle, who only appears in Foxborough when there is something “big” happening. He showed up when Tebow was signed. He showed up when Bill Belichick addressed the Aaron Hernandez case. He showed up this week to ask the tough questions to Tom Brady about a poll which said he was the least liked QB in the NFL. He asked Belichick and Brady today about playing a game in Denver for the first time in which marijuana is legal for recreational use.

Belichick brushes him off, but you have to admire Tom Brady’s ability to take any question and answer it good-naturedly and with a smile.

Other storylines:

Hey….Peyton as Wilt Chamberlain and Brady and Bill Russell? That’s why you’re the bravest columnist going, Dan Shaughessy! By the way, nice way to cover yourself. You’ve already said the Patriots will lose on Sunday. With this column today, if the Patriots manage to win, you can blame it on Manning! Genius!

And that you stole that premise from Felger and Mazz’s first hour yesterday? Brave! Original!

Heard the 98.5 morning zookeepers touting the storyline that whomever wins on Sunday is just going to be blasted by the NFC winner in the Super Bowl. Wasn’t that the line of thinking last season too?

As my friend Scott put it:

Its like there’s a centralized entity that writes the shallowest possible narratives on Sunday night and then sells them to all the radio stations, newspapers and internet sites on Monday before 6 am. Then the on-air geniuses keep repeating them over and over again until a fresh batch arrives the next week.

A few articles from today:

Aqib Talib has resurrected his career with the Patriots – Shalise Manza Young has a look a how the cornerback has fit in and become a mainstay of the Patriots secondary.

Julian Edelman is the Patriots’ Mr. Persistence – Kevin Paul Dupont has a nice feature on the Patriots breakout star.

A chemistry forged by triumph, failure – Jackie MacMullan has her second good column of the week, this time looking at the partnership of Brady and Belichick and their determination to reach the top once more.

Dante Scarnecchia, the Patriots’ Forgotten Man – Robert Mays on Grantland has a look at the offensive line for life coach.

Broncos huge test for Pats pass coverage – Matt Chatham says it isn’t about who take who, but how everyone is accounted for after the snap.

Patriots radio voice Bob Socci ready for biggest call of his career – Bill Doyle talks to Socci about his first season, the AFC title game, and working with Scott Zolak.

CBS foresees giant Patriots-Broncos matchup – Chad Finn has the CBS voices talking about the matchup.

Among the features on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown this weekend:

  • Brady-Manning, The Beginning: Vignettes with memories from parents and close family members of young Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, as well as insights on how they each fell in love with football.
  • Best of SNL: Best moments from Brady and Manning’s appearances as Saturday Night Live hosts.
  • Brady-Manning’s Center: Dan Koppen (currently on injured reserve) was Brady’s center for nine seasons and Manning’s last year. He discusses the quarterbacks’ similarities and differences.
  • Pick 6s: Ty Law, the only player in NFL history to get a ‘pick 6’ against both Brady and Manning, relives each of his interceptions against the quarterbacks and tells the story of how they both cornered him afterwards and inquired how he was able to read their plays.
  • Omaha! Omaha!: Manning’s pre-snap audible calls – “Omaha! Omaha!” – last Sunday made Nebraska’s largest city a trending topic on Twitter during the game. The city’s tourism board entered the fray with a tweet thanking the Denver quarterback. Countdown essayist Rick Reilly visits Omaha to explore how Manning and the Broncos are helping to boost the city’s profile.
  • Blue-Collar Rob Ninkovich: ESPN.com’s Greg Garber reports on where Patriots defensive captain Rob Ninkovich acquired the blue-collar style that reminds many of past Patriot linebackers.
  • “We’re Going to the Super Bowl”: One of the most exciting moments in a football player’s career is when he finally realizes he is going to the Super Bowl. From the Cowboys in the 1990s, through Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s Patriots, to Ray Lewis and the Ravens last year, DJ Porter spins the emotional audio and celebrations from the last 20 championship game winners.

One Celtics article – Kobe Bryant longs for rivalry – Steve Bulpett has the injured Lakers star wistfully recalling the battles with the KG/Piece Celtics and wishing they had gotten one more chance to play for a title.

  • bullock

    Personally, I’m more worried about how this game will affect ::my:: legacy. If my Monday morning comment post exceeds the over-under on thumbs-up (+7.5), I will definitely be regarded as the next *bsmfan* and put to rest any lingering doubt about my ability to write clever classroom satire inspired by popular, but predictable and lazy, talk radio hosts! Fact not opinion! But if I poop myself in the spotlight, will I be just another *HighWireNickEsasky* — a guy who was pretty good in his day, but too often disappears when the storylines become too predictable and boring.

    Where’s the consistency?!

    You’re preaching to the choir on this one, Mike!

    • HighWireNickEsasky

      I was going to take offense at this post then i realized: he’s talking about ME!!! All anyone in this business wants is to be talked about.

    • bsmfan

      I was hoping to read about the ‘tomato cans’ for competition we encounter here. :(

  • OpinionNotFact

    Mores Sports Hub “personalities” being referenced on Grantland… this time it’s Felgie in Kurt Goldsberry’s piece on Rondo’s shooting.

    “More than ever, he’ll be the subject of Tommy Heinsohn’s grandfatherly praise and Michael Felger’s drive-time trolling.”

    And a link to the story: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/courtvision-everything-you-think-you-know-about-rondos-shooting-is-wrong/

  • daver

    I know we’ve still got some games to go in the season, but the Talib situation is already fascinating to me. That’s the key personnel decision for the team in the offseason by far. And right now, there’s no telling what direction they’re going to go with him.

    1) Talib has performed at a top-10-cornerbacks-in-the-league level this year when healthy. And he’s stayed mostly healthy. Plus, there haven’t been any signs of the off-the-field issues he had in Tampa. That would seem to line him up for a significant payday; a Champ Bailey/Asante Samuel/Darrelle Revis type contract.

    1a) You know… the type of contract the Patriots NEVER hand out.

    2) But…. As was discussed on T&R this AM, Talib is one of the very, very few players that Belichick has ever explicitly praised and discussed in his press conferences. The list is incredibly short: Brady, Law, Bruschi, Mankins, Wilfork, Harrison are the only ones who jump to mind. And the team extended itself to keep all those guys around, even if things got messy at times (with Law and Mankins). That certainly bodes well for Talib.

    It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens here. Talib can reasonably expect to get a significant contract — one that puts him in the top tier of cornerbacks in the NFL salary-wise — coming off these two seasons. However, he’s still not a “sure thing” due to the injury history. The Patriots are clearly, clearly a better team with him on the field, and his presence as a shut-down corner allows them to do more with the defense scheme-wise to cover up some of their weaknesses. They really do need him, or someone just like him, to stay at the next level. And BB clearly likes him.

    If he just wants the money (and I can’t fault him for that), there’s a good chance someone else could step in and give him front-loaded silly money that the Pats could not or would not match. But he does seem to like it here…. and the Pats may be willing to go a little further than their usual line-in-the-sand value for a player BB has identified as a key component of the defense.

    It’ll be interesting….

    • Trip McNeely

      Agree whole heartedly that he is THE most important player to get re-signed this offseason. Since he has come to the Pats I have come to realize that a top cornerback is the most important piece to a BB defense. When he had Ty Law they had a great defense. When they had Asante Samuel they were still pretty good, not as great but good. Since Samuel left the defense has gone to hell and just has not been championship caliber. Look at last year’s AFC Championship game. Talib gets hurt and in the second half the Ravens torched the Pats. If Talib walks they need to find a replacement that is as good if not better. Otherwise the defense is going to take a huge step backwards. It’s already looking like they may not have Vince back and will have to replace him. The D can’t afford two major losses.

      I’m hoping that despite his stellar play the last year and a half most teams will still be scared off by his troubles in Tampa. I know that’ hoping for a lot, especially in the NFL.

      • bsmfan

        Did you guys catch what he said yesterday?

        “I wasn’t in the NFL until I joined the Patriots”

        Hopefully, that means good things.

  • DryHeave

    If you went back and looked at some of the columns that were written when the Pats first signed Talib I imagine they would look pretty comical today. I remember Greg Bedard for one, riding his morale high horse proudly. I had no idea how it would work out but certainly thought it was worth the chance……such is the life of a “fanboy”

  • smack_libs_around

    I think Brady should yell, ‘WILD KINGDOM!!! WILD KINGDOM!!!’ as a broadside to Manning’s ‘OMAHA!!! OMAHA!!!’ And do it on a flea-flicker play using Blount.

  • Homer Greenz

    Your friend Scott put it brilliantly.

  • JFP

    Good stuff from Mike Reiss. Can’t picture anyone else in the Boston Media writing this:

    10. The trip to Denver Friday night had an unexpected enjoyable twist
    when the person assigned the middle seat was good pal Tom E. Curran. We
    talked a bit about how fortunate we feel to be covering this era of
    Patriots football, and to be first-hand witnesses to a 15th Tom Brady/Peyton Manning
    duel. And as Tom so perfectly put it, what we do wouldn’t be possible
    without you as a loyal audience. So enjoy the game and, as always, the
    journey.

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