The Pretzel Logic Continues…

YOU spent the last few years defending Ellsbury from the critics! YOU said he was a great player. So now that he’s signed with the Yankees, YOU should be pissed at YOUR team for not signing him! YOU are a hypocrite!

A variation of that has been the theme on Felger and Mazz since the news of Ellsbury signing with the Yankees came out. That, and a Tony Massarotti victory lap for being critical of Ellsbury all along.

Even the biggest Ellsbury fanboy would say that it would not have been a wise move to approach that offer that he ultimately got from the Yankees. Ellsbury was a productive, enjoyable player to watch while healthy during his time here, but there comes a point where even if the team wants the player back, it doesn’t make sense to over-extend, which is what would’ve happened.


I admired the stand taken by Trenni Kusnierek (@trenni) of CSNNE this week, who initially took to Twitter to protest the repeated use of the word “ladies” to refer to dumb fans by the Felger and Mazz show.

Of course, her tweet also brought out a couple of  the neanderthals of Twitter.

Kusnierek also called into the show to make her point, and got Felger to see things her way.


Meanwhile, I want to know who in the world said to themselves, Bob Halloran needs more sports radio airtime. The guy has been a semi-regular filling in on the Salk and Holley show, along with Andy Hart (Who I think has been good.) and while Bob is a good guy off the air, he’s incredibly annoying on sports radio. I thought his days in that genre were over, and now he’s back. Whether that is because of Salk, or the new WEEI management, I’m not sure, but wow. I’d rather listen to the insulting pretzel logic of Felger and Mazz than that.


Your first-place Boston Celtics have gotten a little more attention as of late, but not all of it good. While they’re still only 8-12, there are people who are angry that they’re even that good. The Tankers are upset that the team is blowing their chances for a high enough pick to grab the next NBA superstar.

I don’t get that logic. When you have a team with young players like Sullinger, Bradley, Olynyk, even Jordan Crawford, to me, you need to get them into good habits, and if you believe even a couple of them are a big part of your future, you want to have them get as much competitive experience with the system you’re trying to put into place here, as they will soon be the veterans that the younger influx of players over the next few years are going to look to.

Baxter Holmes talked to former NBA coaches turned TV analysts George Karl and P.J. Carlesimo about the Celtics under Brad Stevens thus far. Both are impressed: Ex-NBA coaches impressed by Celtics’ fight

Get all Celtics coverage at


The Patriots take on the Cleveland Browns at Gillette Stadium on Sunday at 1:00pm. CBS will send Bill Macatee (play-by-play) and Steve Tasker (analysis) – the network’s 6th team on the depth chart to cover the game.

It might’ve been brought up and I missed it, but Cleveland’s defensive coordinator is Ray Horton, who coached the Cardinals defense to a win in Gillette Stadium last season, and said afterward that he saw a “tell” in Pats’ offense which helped his club defend them.

Get all the coverage at


The baseball winter meetings kick off on Monday, and WEEI is sending two shows down to Florida to broadcast live during the meetings. Mut and Merloni will be there Tuesday through Thursday, while Salk and Holley will be on the air Monday through Wednesday.

We’ll end things for now with the Globe media column:

Analyst: Hard to see Auburn jumping Ohio State – Chad Finn has Brad Edwards feeling like OSU will get get a bump in the BCS, has a look at Nomar Garciaparra leaving ESPN, and a few other notes.

Ellsbury Signs With Yankees, Media Strikes Out At Fans

Jacoby Ellsbury agreed to a deal with the New York Yankees last night, a move that, ten years ago, or even eight years ago would’ve caused much weeping and gnashing of teeth among the locals.

While there was some of that going around last night (@KeithOlberman tracked a bunch of the mouthbreathers) the reaction was definitely more muted, at least among the fans I was watching and interacting with.

We all knew he was gone, right? And that the Yankees, given their spending habits, were a likely destination, right? Did anyone think that a Boras client like Ellsbury was not going to go to wherever gave him the most money?

The fans and media probably would not have been kind to Ben Cherington had he re-signed Ellsbury to the seven-year $153 million deal that he reportedly got from the Yankees.

Three World Series titles have made Red Sox fans a little more secure and less anxious over whatever the Yankees do. Even after they had won in 2004, when Johnny Damon left for the Yankees the following year, there was still considerable outcry, now, I think we see the cycle the Yankees are in, and it’s not as worrisome to us. The media will still try to make the Yankees scary to the fans, but I think most of the true fans have moved past that feeling. We can still hate the Yankees, but we’re not intimidated or scared of them.

Good for Ellsbury. He’s got two World Series titles under his belt, having played a big role in both of them, and now has the big payday. I don’t begrudge him one bit, and while I’m not sure the spotlight and circus of New York is a great fit for him, I wish him well.

The worst part of this, in the short term anyway, is going to be forced to listen to Johnny Damon as he makes his inevitable media rounds to talk about his experience in leaving the Red Sox for the Yankees. He’ll be on with Mut and Merloni this morning, and I’m sure many other outlets in the next few days.

It should be fun though, watching media people who criticized Ellsbury harshly for the last few years try and change tact and tell us how he’s going to come back and haunt the Red Sox in the future.

It was interesting watching media people last night as they insulted the fans when the news broke:

Nick Cafardo this morning:

Ellsbury was a beloved player in Boston and now the fans who once lashed out at media for being critical of his injury situation likely will boo him unmercifully every time he steps to the plate in Yankee pinstripes. He has gone the way of Johnny Damon, Wade Boggs, and Roger Clemens, and Ellsbury never will live it down. He will be called a traitor and other unsavory names when he steps up the plate.

Beloved player?


There will be some local effort to paint Ellsbury as the Fourth Horseman of the Pinstripe Apocalypse. Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon all chose the Yankees (Clemens got himself traded to New York after two years in Toronto) after long careers with the Red Sox. All three won championships and Boggs and Clemens actually rode horses in Yankee Stadium.

Now Ellsbury. Are you going to boo him the way you booed Damon, Ray Allen and Adam Vinatieri?


Steve Buckley:

Oh, it won’t be fair, Ellsbury being treated that way after all he did for the Red Sox, but that’s the way it is. Tickets to a Sox game are among the highest-priced in the big leagues; you put up that kind of money for a baseball ticket and you can boo anybody you damn well please. No, you don’t get to throw stuff. And if you have any civility at all, you don’t cuss in front of the kids.

But boo? Boo Ellsbury? Again, take a look at your ticket. Better yet, take a look at your credit card receipt. If it has your name on it, you go right ahead and boo Ellsbury if you feel compelled to do so. And don’t you let some sports pundit or gasbag talk-show host legislate your emotions.

A whole lot of finger-wagging going on out there.

Belicheat and Cheating Cheatriots Back At It

According to Texans defensive end Antonio Smith, anyway.

The Patriots had to make another second half comeback yesterday, as they trailed Houston 17-7 at halftime, but rallied in the second half for a 34-31 road victory.

Following the game, Smith said:

“You can tell they changed their scheme in the second half. It just seems miraculous to me how they changed some things on offense that keyed on what we put in this week to stop what they were doing. They did things they never did all year before. It was a specific thing that was important to what we were going to do today, as to how we were going to call the defense. We’d not ever did it before, and they never changed like that before. It just let me know that something wasn’t right.

“Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are among the best at their craft because they put so much into their craft. But you have to be a descendent of ‘Tones-tradamus’ (as Smith calls himself on occasion) to know what we put in this week and to be able to then go change that fast. I got the only crystal ball in existence. I don’t know what it is. Either teams are spying on us or something’s going on.”

Smith wouldn’t give specifics, because the Texans might use these super-secret plays going forward:

“I can’t tell you an example because it’s G-15 classified,” he said. “It’s a defensive thing that we might continue to use. … The way, I’m trying to say it without giving it away. When you watch film of the team do something a certain way all the time no matter what team they play — it’s been 12 games played and they always did it — and then all of a sudden it’s changed? It was pretty clever and pretty suspicious. …

Thankfully most people do not appear to be taking Smith’s remarks too seriously, though I’m sure we’ll be lectured this afternoon from 2-6 about how the Patriots brought this upon themselves.

Wonder if Smith considered that both Wade Phillips and Bill Belichick have been in the NFL a whole lot longer than he has, and that their tendencies are probably pretty well known to both. There’s a good chance that just because Smith never used these plays before it doesn’t mean that they’ve never been used by a Phillips defense before.

Get all the reaction to yesterday’s game at

A few notes/observations/reactions:

  • Happened to be in the car shortly after the game, and the very first words I heard were Gary Tanguay – Are you concerned about this team?
  • Then flipped to WEEI to hear Butch Stearns say about the same thing with the addition of how bad playcalling has been all year. It was comforting to hear Fred Smerlas and Steve DeOssie bury him immediately.
  • Ty Law on the CSNNE postgame says we don’t know anything about this team until they beat a real team. Denver doesn’t count, apparently. Neither does New Orleans.
  • What was with Felger jumping on Belichick’s description of the distance of a Gostkowski field goal attempt? Weird.
  • Speaking of Gostkowski, are we closer to completely burying the He can’t make a tough/clutch kick storyline?
  • Tom Brady was asked following the game whether winning was masking the team’s deficiencies. Does any other team get asked questions like that? Tom, we know you’re 9-3, but doesn’t your team actually suck?
  • What would be the reaction if Bill Belichick did what Mike Tomlin did Thanksgiving night? We know that some quickly brought up a play from 2004 involving Belichick and Marvin Harrison, showing that, as always, when something happens, there are people who will always rush to associate it with Belichick and the Patriots. Even when there is a better, more recent example. (Jets)

Non-Patriots items:

The excerpts in the Globe from the new Ted Williams bio from Ben Bradlee have been terrific. Today’s – Feud with writers helped Ted Williams hit harder – is especially interesting from the perspective of media coverage then and now.

The Lowell Sun had Ted’s back, however. From a 1956 editorial:

“The tide has begun to turn in this case of the Boston sports writers versus Ted Williams, and the verdict is becoming increasingly favorable to Ted as public opinion starts to make itself felt . . . ” wrote the suburban Lowell Sun in an editorial. “If there has been a case of injustice done by a group of sportswriters to a great sports figure, this is it. Time after time they picked Williams apart, they have tormented him, they have knifed him, roasted him, flayed him, tortured him, and have obviously taken what can only be called a sadistic glee in doing so. It is sports journalism at its lowest.”

Wonder what that writer would think of today’s media?

Kevin Paul Dupont’s Second Thoughts column hasn’t always been a must-read for me, but yesterday’s brought up a fairly interesting topic. It’s an idea that may have been discussed before, but it was new to me. With the financial struggles of newspapers, Dupont suggested as a means to improve the outlook, selling “naming rights” to the paper, and even individual sections. The Boston Globe presented by Home Depot for instance. Sounds silly at first, but when you think about it, I think it could work.

For shame, Peter King. For shame.


The Boston Sports Media You Probably Aren’t Reading, But Should Be

Changing things up a bit here, I’m going to list out some folks out there who do a great job (they really do) but aren’t necessarily at the big outlets, or the top billed at their place of employment.

Nick Underhill, @Nick_Underhill

Underhill covers the Patriots, and does it very well. He delivers extensive analysis each week, such as this week’s film study and report card which is clearly not written just “off the cuff.” He’s rewatched the game several times with keen observations and takeaways.

Jay King, @ByJayKing

We’re sticking with MassLive here to mention King, who covers the Celtics. Again, King is prolific in his coverage, and looks at both advanced statistics as well as traditional means of analysis in his writing and tweeting.

Christopher Smith, Lawrence Eagle-Tribune @SmittyOnMLB

Smith has been covering the Red Sox for a few seasons now over in the valley, and he’s been consistently good. His Sunday baseball column this week On Pro Baseball looked at Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan as a possible solution for the Red Sox at the position.

Erik Frenz, @ErikFrenz

He writes the Going Deep blog for, which is mostly about the Patriots, but he also provides updates from across the entire AFC East. He brings good film and play analysis and agenda-free coverage of the team. It’s worth checking regularly.

Mick Colageo, @MickColageo

Colageo is a veteran writer whom I’ve linked to many times in the past. Though he’s covered the Bruins for over 20 years,  his work these days is often locked behind the paywall at the New Bedford Standard Times, but he also provides Rink Rap blog at, which is definitely worth checking out. (Mike Loftus @MLoftus_Ledger at the Patriot Ledger is another veteran Bruins writer worth paying attention to, if you can navigate the myriad of pop-ups and pop-unders at the paper’s website.)

Dave D’Onofrio, @davedonofrio

D’Onofrio covers the Red Sox for the NH Union Leader, but also writes the Red Sox Extra Innings blog at, as well as the Off the Field blog. Busy guy. His stuff is good though, and worth checking out. While you’re on, the On Deck blog by Craig Forde, (@OnDeckBDC ) which  looks at Red Sox prospects and minor league baseball throughout New England, is also very well done.

Who are some other lesser-known media types that should get more attention than they do?

America Disappointed As Patriots Stun Broncos

Well, if America was truly pulling for the Denver Broncos last night, then the Patriots played the role of spoiler, erasing a 24-0 halftime deficit and beating Peyton Manning and the Broncos 34-31 in overtime in Gillette Stadium.

If you left the game, or tuned out…I can’t really say I blame you all that much. I was almost to that point. The start of that game last night reminded one of the 2010 playoff game against Baltimore, where New England couldn’t get out of its own way, handing the ball and scores to the opponent in bunches.

It seems like halftime was the worst possible thing that could’ve happened to the Broncos, who then gave up 31 straight points before sending the game to OT with a Manning TD pass in the fourth.

Wes Welker’s return to Foxborough probably was not as triumphant as he would’ve liked, as the former Patriot dropped a couple of passes, and contributed to the muffed punt which led to the winning field goal for New England.

He was certainly a focus before and after the game, with ESPN and NBC conducting interviews with him.

For ESPN, Welker was interview by Tedy Bruschi, and this quote was interesting:

On a difference he noticed going from the Patriots to the Broncos …
Welker: “It’s just different as far as the media in general. You have 15 reporters trying to get you to slip up just a little bit, where in Denver it’s a little bit of a different feel.”

They routinely get ripped for it, but isn’t it interesting that almost every player who leaves here has something to say about the media?

Also on ESPN was the segment with ex-Patriots talking about the “Patriot Way” (as defined by ESPN) which is getting rid of star players in favor of lesser-known (and less expensive) players. Ty Law and Drew Bledsoe were among those interviewed. Here are some notes:

ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Notes and Quotes: Week 12

On NBC, Bob Costas had the interview with Welker, and Scott Pioli and Tony Dungy had some interesting things to say about the relationship between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, which has led to them sharing thoughts and advice over the years.

Notes & Quotes From “Football Night In America” – Week 12

Locally, a highlights from the postgame were Rosevelt Colvin on Fifth Quarter, asking Belichick during his press conference “Who was your favorite all-time linebacker from the city of Indianapolis, Indiana?” Which actually made Belichick smile, and he went bounding up the aisle to greet Colvin once he finished with his press conference.

Then of course, there was Ron Borges, breaking out the appropriate headwear for his night:

Tom E Curran ruined a few storylines: Welker-less Patriots have a Jules in the slot

And from NBC:

Last night’s NBC Sunday Night Football thriller featuring Tom Brady leading the New England Patriots to a team-record setting 34-31 overtime win against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in “Manning-Brady XIV” – the 14th meeting between the future Hall of Fame quarterbacks – posted a 17.0 overnight rating and 28 share (8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ET) marking the best primetime overnight for a November game in 17 years and a 26% increase over last season’s Week 12 SNF game (13.5 for Green Bay-New York Giants).

The Patriots’ epic comeback victory – they trailed 24-0 at halftime – kept viewers tuned in late, as the SNF overnight rating peaked from 11:30 p.m.-midnight ET at 17.9/34 (full half-hour rating chart below).  In addition, SNF more than doubled the overnight rating of primetime’s second-ranked entertainment show for the night – the American Music Awards (8.2/12 on ABC)

Catch all the stories you haven’t gotten to yet at

Brady-Manning 14 In The Spotlight This Weekend

The fourteenth meeting between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will take place on Sunday night as the Patriots the Broncos on NBC.

It’s been another few days of “Who’s better?”  Which frankly, is pretty tired. They’re both all-time greats. The arguments reach absurd levels.

Hey, did you know that Peyton Manning has never lost a Super Bowl to Tom Brady’s kid brother? Fact, not opinion, caller.

The other argument this week is the return of Wes Welker. If you punished yourself and watched the Globe 10.0 with Joe Sullivan and Ben Volin, you’d learn that the Patriots would definitely, definitely be a much better team with Welker. But they might not have a better record. Wait, what?

Also that Welker will “fake his way through that concussion test” in order to play on Sunday, like that’s an admirable thing to do. If it were the Patriots doing this, Sully and pals would be up in arms over the evil Belichick forcing his players back on the field despite all the evidence about concussions and CTE.

Speaking of incredibly biased viewpoints, did you know Red Sox fans were perfectly justified in booing Johnny Damon when he came back to Fenway, but if you boo Wes Welker on Sunday, you are the worst kind of person. If you disagree with that sentiment then you are part of the Internet mafia [that] will come after you with claws better suited for digging their dignity in the sand, and will go on to no end to defend their religion.

OK then. I picture that being typed with growing hysteria and screaming paranoia with every word.

Al Michaels relishes latest Patriots-Broncos tilt – Chad Finn has the NBC play-by-play man talking about the rivalry between the two all time great QB’s. He also looks at a gaffe from Peter Gammons and Dan Dierdorf retiring.

Pundits pick Peyton Manning over Tom Brady as must-have quarterback – Bill Doyle has the NBC experts saying they would take Manning in a must-win game.

“Manning – Brady XIV” On NBC’S “Sunday Night Football” – Here is NBC’s release on the game, including video of the panel discussing Brady/Manning.

ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown will feature this must-miss segment:

·         The Patriot Way or The Highway: Wes Welker is a symbol of what has become known in NFL circles as “The Patriot Way” – replacing productive Patriots with lesser known players. As Welker returns to Gillette Stadium for visiting Denver on Sunday,’s Greg Garber sits with former Patriots – including Drew Bledsoe, Lawyer Milloy, Adam Vinatieri, Willie McGinest, Richard Seymour, Ty Law and Damien Woody – to discuss whether “The Patriot Way” has helped or hindered the team.

They will also have a Wes Welker interview with Tedy Bruschi.

Get all the coverage this weekend at

As you’re probably aware, today is a significant anniversary for a historic event.

The butt fumble took place a year ago today.


Pats must have dead red focus – Matt Chatham outlines why New England must be tough in the Red Zone Sunday night.

Can the New England Patriots’ secondary slow Peyton Manning’s weapons? – Nick Underhill with a nice look at what the Patriots need to accomplish.

The Bruins lost in the shootout last night to the very tough St. Louis Blues.  Get all the coverage at

Brad Stevens’ story isn’t storybook – Jackie MacMullan looks at the setbacks the Celtics coach endured on his way to becoming who he is today.

Avery Bradley’s offensive evolution – Jay King with a very good look at the still-developing guard.

Denver Post – America Will Be Pulling For Broncos

I’m surprised the Boston Globe hasn’t stolen this guy away from the Post yet:

Patriots whining again, but America will be pulling for Denver Sunday

John Meyer, who is the Olympic and MLS writer for the Post, chimes in with this “Lunch Special” of a column:

This is the team that was caught cheating in the “Spygate” scandal in 2007. This is the team caught cheating against the New York Jets this season, illegally pushing teammates on a field goal attempt.

The Broncos are the team that was caught cheating the salary cap to the tune of $29 million in deferred payments to John Elway and Terrell Davis during their Super Bowl seasons.

In December 2001, the Broncos were fined $968,000 and lost a third-round pick in the 2002 draft for violations reportedly relating to $29 million in deferred payments to quarterback John Elway and running back Terrell Davis. – Washington Post September 17, 2004

The Broncos had their own taping scandal in 2010, and had one of their star players suspended for six games this season for attempting to corrupt the NFL’s drug testing program with the help of a urine collector. While the Patriots offseason wasn’t exactly smooth with the Aaron Hernandez arrest, the Broncos had two front office executives arrested on DUI charges.

The Denver Post goes on to say:

This is also the team that went to Super Bowl XXXVI (which it won) via the infamous “tuck rule game” in a divisional playoff that should have ended in victory for Oakland.

So wait, the alleged point of this column is that the Patriots are whining about a call on Sunday, when this guy is whining about a call that happened almost 12 years ago – again on a call that was made correctly.

Patriots Use PFW To Protest Non-Call At End Of Panthers Game

This week’s edition of Patriots Football Weekly (owned by the team).



It might be a stretch to say that the Patriots are “using” PFW to send a message, but as the paper is a house publication, they at least approve of the the suggestion here.

I guess this is as good a time as any to mention that this is the issue my monthly media column is in. It’s a look at the coverage of the Incognito/Martin incident in Miami, and the work done by the likes of Jay Glazer and Shannon Sharpe on this issue.


An annoying theme that has seemingly become a running go-to subject to bring up every time the Patriots have a call go against them is to bring up the tuck rule. The Globe in particular is obsessed with the tuck rule. Whether it is Shaughnessy, Ryan or Chris Gasper today, the tuck rule is again referenced as evidence that the Patriots have been the recipient of fortunate calls on their own end.

The difference being, of course, that the tuck rule was an actual rule that was enforced correctly, as opposed to a flag being thrown for an obvious foul and then picked up without explanation.

I find the incongruity of this headline appearing in Globe highly amusing:


 I heard the “payback for the tuck rule” last year in the regular season Baltimore game, the one Bill Belichick referenced Monday night when he said he had been instructed that asking for an explanation from the officials was not the right thing to do. I heard “payback for the tuck rule” on the “push rule” call in the Jets game. (By the way – that call, which had never been made before and supposedly had been a point of emphasis that week – has it been called since? Or will that be the only time that call is ever made in the National Football League?)

My other bone to pick is the idea that a team “deserves to win.”

I love the “diehard Pats zealots” bit. To me, Ryan was just trolling Patriots fans with these tweets, and I said so on Twitter.

So, if on that final play Brady had managed to connect with Gronk, would Ryan be saying the Patriots deserved to win? Or that they had been outplayed by Carolina?

That was about as evenly a played game as we’ve seen in the NFL. But if I say that, I’m a “diehard Pats zealot” with “blinders” who can’t see the truth.

Maybe it’s expectations? The Panthers played better than many who hadn’t seen them before thought they could, so it means they outplayed the Patriots? The game came down to one or two plays. I have a hard time saying either team significantly outplayed the other. It was a great, evenly played game that the Panthers came out on top in. I’ve got no problem saying that.

Meanwhile, if you had a bad day yesterday, take solace, it could’ve been worse:

NFL Media’s Albert Breer has travel meltdown with U.S. Airways; informed viewers roll their eyes

Whiny Patriots Fans Can’t Handle Correct Call

Tune into WBZ-FM this afternoon for four hours of the above subject.

At least in that time period, Mike Felger will have someone on his side. Last night, he was on an island with Gerry Austin as the only people in America who thought that the right decision at the end of last night’s game was to pick up the flag for interference or defensive holding as Rob Gronkowski endeavored to come back for a game winning TD pass.

You’re absolutely right Mike – the refs made the right call picking up that flag. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just hopelessly in the bag for the Patriots!

I mean, wow. That was unbelievable.

Not since the Fail Mary pass by the Seahawks last season – in a game called by replacement officials – have we seen a call so unanimously panned as this one.

I mean seriously…when you’ve got almost all of ESPN, plus Mike Pereira, Peter King, ProFootballTalk, Mike Freeman, Pete Prisco and scores of others who have absolutely no good feelings towards the Patriots saying it was the wrong call, something is up.

But Felger stood firm on the postgame last night, insisting that such a “ticky-tack” play should not be called. Of course, Felger was totally in favor of the PI call on Devin McCourty, in which the Carolina receiver hooked his arm and held it to his chest and then flopped to the ground.

That last play sort of goes against the other growing storyline, which is that New England didn’t “deserve” to win the game because they couldn’t stop the Panthers when it counted.

The polar opposite of Felger and Mazz is Gresh and Zo this morning. On fire.

Of course, there are some who just can’t help to cry for attention. The Sun Chronicle, the self-appointed conscience of all things objective and on-the-level, not to mention duty-bound to call out the Kraft family when necessary, tweeted the following this morning:


Strangely, the Tweets were later deleted. Not very Fearless.

Get all the homer coverage at

Patriots/Panthers Set For Monday Night Tilt

The Patriots end their bye week hiatus tonight as they take on the suddenly surging Carolina Panthers in Charlotte.

The Panthers are 6-3 and coming off a win last week over the San Francisco 49ers. The Patriots will be without defensive backs Alfonzo Dennard and Steve Gregory and the status of Aqib Talib is still unknown, though it seems like he has a decent chance to play.

There are two schools of thought on this game – one says the Panthers are actually being a bit overrated and that the Patriots can spread them out and throw at them. The others says that this is the type of team that has traditionally given the Patriots fits – a team with a big strong defensive line that can get pressure on the QB by just rushing four.

It’s a big week for the Patriots as after tonight they face Peyton Manning and the Broncos next Sunday night. The Broncos beat the Chiefs last night, but Wes Welker suffered a concussion, which raises some questions about his availability this week. I’d guess if at all possible, he plays this week. But wouldn’t it be ironic if Danny Amendola plays but Welker doesn’t?

Further, the Broncos put Welker back into the game last night even after he suffered a concussion. Can you even imagine the national outrage if Bill Belichick put Welker back into the game after a concussion?

Catch all of the coverage for tonight over at

ESPN’s Monday Night Football kicks off around 8:40 pm. Locally, the game will be broadcast on WCVB Channel 5. Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden are on the call, and Tirico had a sit-down with Tom Brady on Sportscenter last night:

The Bruins are also in action tonight, and they too are in North Carolina, taking on the Hurricanes. That game is on NESN at 7:00 pm.  Check all the Bruins news at

There have been some that have insisted that Rajon Rondo was not long for Boston, and that Danny Ainge would trade him as soon as he could. Apparently though, the Knicks have called, and Ainge said no thanks. The two teams might discuss other swaps though – check all the chatter at

Glenn Ordway’s debut on Sirius XM this weekend was delayed by technical issues.