Down to Business

Morning Links submitted by guest blogger Brian. Reach him here.

One would think Media Day has special significance for some, especially those who dabble in the realm of sports media; unfortunately, that’s just not the case for me. Media members from every possible outlet throughout the country are allowed free reign to make wedding proposals, ask Bill Belichick music and movie questions, and in particular this year, try to elicit 19-0/dynasty comments from your New England Patriots. However, amidst a media contingent nearly double that of the Giants, the Pats players didn’t stray much from addressing the one-game season, albeit with some “humorous” back-and-forth throughout the course of the day. It’s unfortunate, because I was starting to like the jovial, endearing Bill Belichick we have seen the past few days, but I for one am excited to get down to business and start breaking down this game in the coming days. Sadly, no more images of Brady’s potential future wife.

Patriots

Over at Patriots Daily, Dan Snapp echoes my feelings exactly, and while wanting to start the game amidst the hype overkill, it is a great problem to have if you’re a Pats fan.

Dan Shaughnessy gets us started with a recap of the scene with snippets on Bob Kraft, Belichick, Brady, and Moss. Karen Guregian touches on the charming and talkative Randy Moss yesterday, who discussed his desire to retire a Patriot, as well as his plans to make his presence felt this Sunday far more than his previous two playoff games. John Tomase takes a look back at Moss’ big game against the Giants back in week 17. Shalize Manza Young has more on Moss enjoying his long-awaited first Media Day. Josh Egerman has Moss and Robert Kraft reflecting on the process that brought Moss to New England. Mark Farinella has more on the chatty and upbeat Moss from Media Day. Dave Goldberg takes a broader approach to the Patriots players performance yesterday, saying almost all of Belichick’s veterans are an extension of the coaching staff both on the field and off. David Heuschkel takes a deeper look into Belichick’s press conferences, and how the local media has adapted to dig deeper for meaning into his daily pressers.

Mark Farinella has Brady coming off as the real winner yesterday, with his smooth and thoughtful responses on every topic. Tony Massarotti talks more about Brady’s performance yesterday, as he handled all types questions with ease. Barry Wilner highlights the two “seasons” the Patriots endured this year, as the first half was filled with blowouts and superlatives, while the second half of the season had close games and “blueprints.” Troy Bown…remember him? Steve Solloway has Brown discussing his fifth Super Bowl with the Patriots, and reflecting back on previous games where he had a much larger role. Mark Farinella has Brown appreciative of the opportunity to be at yet another Media Day, even with his diminished, aka nonexistent role. Shalize Manza Young has more on Troy Brown’s emotions yesterday. David Brown has an interesting piece on Vince Wilfork’s freakish athleticism. Steve Buckley has Tedy Bruschi thinking back to Media Day in 2004, when he took on Warren Sapp for disparaging comments about guard Russ Hochstein. Tony Massarotti has Asante Samuel playing the role of Ty Law as shut-down corner in the Super Bowl. Buckley also does a nice piece on Jarvis Green’s friendship with Marquise Hill, and how the team has tried to keep him in their thoughts in Arizona. Jim Donaldson does a piece on Patrick Sullivan, the son of former owner Billy Sullivan, and his feelings on the Pats success since the Kraft family took over.

Yesterday was also a day of both teams trying to scrape up some bulletin board material, and neither team is going to have a shortage of that, thanks in part to some loose lips and ridiculous book promotions through the local media. See what happens with two Parcells disciples? Karen Guregian has the Pats players planning to do their talking on the field, after hearing about Plaxico Burress’ prediction of a 23-17 victory for the Giants. Dan Ventura has some of Burress’ coaches and teammates unaware of his victory prediction. For all you superstitious Pats fans out there, turn away now, as the Boston Globe and Herald were yesterday promoting books celebrating the Patriots undefeated championship season. In fact, Carol Beggy has a brief piece on the Herald’s “hypocrisy” for calling out the Globe yesterday, while they themselves had a championship book available through Amazon.com as well. The Giants also have a championship book on the website for pre-order. Riveting material here for the respective bulletin boards. Although John Tomase has a quick hit on the Giants choice of black suits upon their arrival in Arizona, as it represents a funeral for the Patriots perfect season.

Jennifer Toland’s notebook has more on the wedding proposals during the circus yesterday. Guregian’s notebook has the Pats secondary discussing the challenges they face in trying to contain Plaxico Burress, who burned them in the first game this season. The Projo’s notebook touches on Brady’s ankle, as well as the front office enjoying the moment of Media Day, and of course references the book pre-sale issue. Heuschkel’s notebook discusses Dean Pees and some potential bad blood between him and the former Uconn coach in 2003, and Matt Light accusing Bob Costas of coaxing Osi Umenyiora into his comments on “Inside the NFL” last week.

Giants

Don Amore has a piece on the spark Ahmad Bradshaw has provided the Giants. Shalize Manza Young has more on Burress’ prediction and some Pats non-reaction. Don Amore also has Burress confident in his team’s chances this weekend. However, Steve Conroy has the Giants glad that everyone is, wait for it…”disrespecting” them, and not giving them a chance as they fly “under the radar.” I’m sorry, but you can’t have it both ways, and it looks like the Giants want to have every angle possible, from “nobody gave us a chance,” to guaranteeing victory by a certain score. I guess this is what happens when the media gives all 53 players a chance to answer 300 pointless questions. Amore has a nice piece about the support Eli Manning received from John Mara following their playoff loss to the Eagles last season. Robert Lee discusses the story of Zak DeOssie, son of Steve DeOssie, and former ball boy for the Patriots during their Super Bowl run in 2001, now long-snapper for the Giants against his hometown team. I’ve always found this to be a fascinating story, as the elder DeOssie has done a nice job in balancing pride in his son with his allegiance to the Patriots. Although it would be nice to be a fly on the wall during some private conversations about football between the two. Conroy’s notebook discusses the changed Tom Coughlin this season, and the flu that has passed through the Giants locker room this week.

Red Sox

Oh yea, the Johan Santana sweepstakes came to close yesterday too, with the Mets landing the best lefty in the game. Gordon Edes talks to some Red Sox executives about the deal yesterday, and doesn’t get the sense they are terribly disappointed they didn’t make the deal, especially since he won’t be wearing pinstripes. Michael Silverman applauds the Sox front office and baseball ops for pushing the envelope with this deal and keeping Santana away from the Yanks.

Celtics

And the Celtics played last night too! Minus the services of Ray Allen and KG, the Celts rallied for an absolute beating of the Miami Heat down in Florida, 117-87. Steve Bulpett breaks down the impressive performance from the Celtics bench last night. Marc Spears has more on the big win coming after the heartbreaking loss to Orlando on Sunday. Bulpett’s notebook has Ray Allen headed to the hospital to receive fluids for the flu. Spears notebook also discusses Allen’s flu, along with the potential landing spot for Damon Stoudamire.

Over on the BSMW Full Court Press, Shirley Coshatt compares the ’08 Celtics to the ’86 Celtics.

Bruins

The Bruins also played and won in Boston last night, 3-1 against Nashville. For complete coverage of last night’s game, check out www.bruinslinks.com.

That’s all for this morning, Bruce will be posting updates throughout the day. Feel free to shoot me any comments at [email protected]

Back in the Driver’s Seat

(This morning’s links brought your way by guest blogger Bob Ekstrom. Contact him at [email protected])

After a four-game stretch in which they doubled their loss total on the season, the Celtics won their second straight last night at TD Banknorth Garden, 116-89 over Philadelphia. The Green, again led by Ray Allen with 23 points, outscored the 76ers 62-32 in the second half, turning a once 12-point deficit into a runaway.

Mark Murphy starts off the coverage with some inspirational words from Allen, along with a big contribution from the newest dad on the roster. Scott Souza has Leon Powe’s entrance doing wonders to neutralize the boards, where Philly had been dominating the C’s once again. Bill Doyle says Doc Rivers made the right move when he looked way down his bench and called Powe’s number last night. Jeff Howe credits Rivers for letting his squad self-administer the halftime adjustments that got things turned around. Oddly, the Globe’s coverage of last night’s action consists only of this Marc J. Spears entry in their Celtics Blog, but while you’re there, catch up on plans for Rajon Rondo’s return.

In his Celtics Beat, Steve Bulpett says it was only a matter of time before seldom-used Leon Powe made his contribution felt. Murphy’s Celtics Notebook has more on the purification of Ray Allen’s game.

Patriots

Anyone who tuned into yesterday’s love-in on WEEI’s The Big Show or checks out Johnny Diaz’s account of the local television blitz is witness to the 24-7 attention paid to the Patriots’ side of this Sunday’s AFC Championship equation. In a slight course change, this morning’s press has focused a bit on the other side. Jim Donaldson recaps the two underdogs’ chances for victory this Sunday. Jim McCabe says that the Chargers’ strong finish has given head coach Norv Turner a little job security. Jeff Horrigan says LT is now fully healed – maybe not his hyperextended knee, but his psyche after the beating it took a year ago when Pats players danced on his sacred lightning bolt. Karen Guregian has Tomlinson in tomorrow, but refers to a San Diego Union-tribune report of more extensive damage to Philip Rivers’ knee that lists him as doubtful. Either way, Tom King says the Patriots will be prepared for whoever is under center. We even have a Chargers Notebook in the Globe, where McCabe and Amalie Benjamin collaborate to bring you the latest on Rivers’ knee. Smerlas and Sheppard must be rolling in their beds right about now.

Back to the home team. Among the random thoughts Bill Reynolds proffers in his FWIW column is one concerning Randy Moss’s concentration factor on Sunday. Amalie Benjamin has the Patriots fending off a multitude of distractions in preparation for Sunday’s game. Bob Ryan says that, with all their experience, there’s nothing that could faze this squad going into a Big Game. Guregian believes Tom Brady’s focus on the field sets him apart and even has trash-talking Shawne Merriman agreeing Brady is something special. Rich Garven has Ben Watson rediscovered after a season in the lost-and-found. Michael Vega says Lawrence Maroney has summoned up the authority at an opportune time, with forecasts of 30 mph winds threatening to keep things grounded tomorrow. And from behind enemy lines, the Union-Tribune has Rodney Harrison dispensing advice to Rivers on remaining level-headed.

Red Sox

Only 26 days until pitchers and catchers report, and you’re thinking the Sox are a little thin at catcher, right? Well, if the Mirabelli re-signing didn’t do anything for you, try Joe McDonald, who will tell you about a veritable traffic jam of catchers down in Pawtucket. Gordon Edes’ Extra Bases blog offers the latest on Kevin Youkilis and Kyle Snyder filing for free agency, as well as Javier Lopez coming to one-year terms. In his Baseball column, Rob Bradford reminds us how long it’s been since any Red Sox player has gone through arbitration hearings.

Odds & Sods

Talk of pitchers and catchers can only mean one thing: Major League Soccer is only two and a-half months away. Mike Biglin has a nice feature on Michael Videira, the former Milford star who was drafted by the Revolution with the 18th overall pick in yesterday’s SuperDraft. But this doesn’t mean you’ll be seeing him at Gillette Stadium next year.

In case you missed it, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story that picked up steam yesterday says that former Georgia Bulldog great Herschel Walker will reveal he has multiple personality disorder in an upcoming book due out this August.

The Herald’s ever-vigilant Inside Track has the latest on Gisele Bundchen’s lunch.

Here’s hoping your lunch is a bit more filling. Enjoy the game tomorrow and start your post-game coverage right back here on BSMW.

Is it Sunday Yet?

Afternoon links by guest blogger Brian

Checking in with some afternoon links for everyone, focusing on a national perspective on this weekend’s game, as well as the Randy Moss situation Bruce touched on earlier. It sounds like this is going to be one of those “he-said, she-said” stories until we get more information, and knowing the Pats, I don’t think we’re getting much more.

Mike Reiss has an update on the situation with Moss’ most recent comments after declining to answer questions.

Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com was the first national outlet to pick up on this story, as his latest post tracks the evolution of this story since this morning, with a much needed legal perspective.

Len Pasquarelli has a piece on the playmaking abilities of the Patriots receivers not named Moss or Welker, with Jags corner Terry Cousins offering an opposing player perspective.

Michael Silver has an excellent piece about the top seeds in the AFC over the last three seasons, and how following devastating defeats at home, at least two of the three teams seem to have learned from their mistakes and won the Super Bowl the following season, for various reasons. As a Pats fan, let’s hope this trend doesn’t prove to be true and we have to wait until next year. All this being said, he closes with his belief that the Pats will buck the aforementioned trend.

In case you missed it, our good buddy, Gregg Easterbrook, checks in with his perspective on a potential Favre vs. Brady Super Bowl matchup, while on one hand calling it “arguably the best quarterback pairing in Super Bowl History,” then in the next paragraph immediately predicting that the game’s story line would be that “traditionalists could root for a small town over a big metropolis; a team with an old-fashioned image would face the team that represents hypermodernism.” I’m not really sure what that even means, as I didn’t know Foxboro, or New England in general, is the center of modernism and metropolis. Furthermore, this quote seems to imply an underlying financial distinction between the two teams, with one characterized as “old fashioned,” and the other as “hypermodern.” I wish he would elaborate on this juxtaposition a bit more…why are we “hypermodern?” This quote seems to imply that the Packers have gone about their road to the Super Bowl in a different way than the Patriots…how so? Don’t all teams operate within the same salary cap structure? Regardless of a franchise’s history and the stadium they play in, aren’t the players of every team subject to the same system? Do Packers players play the game differently because of the history of the franchise, or get paid differently? I guess my point is that if Ryan Grant played for the Patriots, is he “hypermodern” now? Maybe I’m the only one confused here…moving on…

Scouts, Inc. (subscription only) has a breakdown of this weekend’s Pats/Chargers matchup.

Don Banks has a piece on sweet redemption for Tom Coughlin and Norv Turner this postseason.

In case you missed it, Jason Cole has a nice feature on Bill Belichick’s affinity for linebackers, dating all the way back to his days with the Giants. Cole makes note of the contract given to Adalius Thomas this past offseason in response to the Colts game last year. Who?

I don’t care what Greg Doyel says about Phillip Rivers infusing fun into the “No Fun League,” I still think he acts like a jerk who hasn’t accomplished anything in this league. Take this quote from Doyel; “This is one of the more fun guys in the NFL. He’s everything we say we want in a professional athlete. He talks to the media and says what’s on his mind. He shows unscripted emotion on the field. He pumps his fist and flaps his gums. He’s a professional football player, and you can tell how much fun he’s having. ” Oh he’s having fun? Well then, he can do whatever he wants, even if he is disrespecting the opposing team, or at times, his own teammates. At least he’s having fun.

Mike Freeman chimes in on Phillip Rivers with a counter argument to his colleague’s opinion. From a Patriots perspective, keep talking San Diego.

Jerry Crasnick takes a break from all the boring PED talk and checks in with 9 non-Red Sox/Yankees personnel about their choice between Clay Buchholz and Joba Chamberlain. Sox fans won’t be too excited to hear the results, but the chatter between Crasnick and some regional fans is pretty good.

Buster Olney (subscription only) has more non-news on the Johan Santana front, reiterating that at this point, he wouldn’t trade him and would at least enter the season with him as a Twin.

That’s all for today, feel free to shoot me any comments or additional articles that you would like to see in here at [email protected]