Is Boston.com Ever Going To Address The Eric Wilbur Embarrassment?

It worked, Eric.

By calling this site out, you’re getting the attention you so pathetically crave. OK, lets go over your column from Wednesday and see what we can take from it.

Still waiting. Silence from Patriot Place.

This is the REAL crime that has been committed here.

Oh, yes, the New England Patriots have acted and released Aaron Hernandez in the wake of his murder allegations, describing the process as “the right thing to do,” but no member has yet to speak about the matter publicly and shed some light on how an organization that preaches righteousness swung and missed like Mark Bellhorn when it came to determining their tight end’s character. A week ago, the transaction seemed logical. But with every hour producing a new tale of just how messed up Hernandez is, it’s only logical to wonder how much the Patriots knew, and how much they ignored.

So was releasing him immediately and cutting off any future payments NOT the right thing to do? I’m confused. The Mark Bellhorn reference is outstanding. And timely.

I mean, you don’t just deliver $40 million contracts out of faith.

No, sometimes you hire private investigators, follow the subject around, gauge his fitness for the market, and still hand out $142 million contracts.

Instead, we know what we’ll get. Bill Belichick will take the podium later this month at the dawn of training camp and dodge every question tossed his way with regards to “what’s best for the team,” the same way he deftly handled the New Hampshire political reporters and whatever other ratings-grabbing brigade was sent to Foxborough on the first day of Tim Tebow coverage. It’s what Bill does best, after all. And it’s tired.

Again. We’re on to the REAL crime. “Bill doesn’t tell us anything. Whah!

“It is what it is” ain’t what it was in this particular case. The more we learn about Hernandez’s past, the more the Patriots owe us all an explanation. How exactly was their judgment clouded so impeccably, even as former teammates like Matt Light opine in the aftermath about what a bad guy he was? With all due apologies to the salacious hound dogs at the Patriots’ temple over at Boston Sports Media Watch, the status quo that Belichick preaches won’t cut it.

I’m really confused about this whole “owe us” thing. First of all, who is “us?” Fans? Media? Civilization as a whole? Why is this owed? Do other privately held companies hold press conferences when one of their employees is charged with a crime? When the Globe has yet another plagiarism scandal, will they sit there and take questions from the Herald and channels 4,5 and 7?

Have other former teammates spoken out against Hernandez? They must have, because Wilbur says teammates – plural. Other than some nameless ex-teammates saying Hernandez was a loner – not exactly a scathing condemnation – but other than Light, and his quotes were mysteriously not followed up on by his interviewer, the only other public quotes have come from Deion Branch, and could not be more different than Light. So Hernandez apparently had at least some of his teammates snowed too.

Patriots temple? Is that also a shot at the Krafts? I’m not saying it is, and I’m not saying it isn’t. I do like the “salacious hound dogs” reference – another great word picture. Horny dogs. OK.

The fans and the rest of the NFL deserve more knowledge than that.

Why? Curiosity? I mean, if say, Dan Shaughnessy’s son was arrested for, say, assaulting a police officer, does Dan and the Globe hold a conference to tell us more? Don’t we deserve more knowledge?

It’s difficult to believe that the Patriots, a franchise that has prided itself on background checks, didn’t know that there was more to Hernandez than met the eye. Hell, the marijuana issues aside, Hernandez’s past reads like a Spenser novel. How soon until we get an Aaron Hernandez special edition of “Clue?”

Wait, wait, wait – “prided itself on background checks” – is that even remotely true? Or is Eric just making stuff up? What does that even mean? “Jonathan – we sure nailed another background check! Put that one on the wall!” Seems an odd thing to be prideful over.

A Spenser novel! Awesome. Special edition of Clue! Just stop it! I can’t handle this incredibly witty and relevant humor!

The Patriots want to lead you to believe that they had a model, reformed citizen on their hands in Hernandez, that any troubled past was merely a matter of puff, puff, pass the dutchie on the left-hand side and nothing more. His teammates sure seemed to know. How did his employers miss the boat so egregiously?

They’re leading us to believe that by cutting him immediately? Musical Youth reference? Awesome.

Again, that “teammates” – plural – wording. Does Eric know something he’s not sharing with us? We demand to know!

Fans will line up this weekend to exchange their “Pro Shop-purchased” Hernandez jerseys during the Patriots’ PR stint to put the past behind them. It’s OK to continue wearing it apparently if you bought your jersey at Sports Authority. If the Pats were serious about ridding the streets and stands of its tainted criminal’s name on people’s backs, no questions should be asked. They can handle that as they deftly proved with Hernandez.

I don’t have a ton to argue with here. If they’re going to take #81 jerseys back, take ‘em all back. Eric, we have common ground here. A start, right?

There has to be a disgruntled backlash in the locker room, and not just because the team released a guy for reasons other than having diabetes. Hernandez’s criminal past could have affected Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, or any other teammate the same way it did victim Odin Lloyd. What if Stevan Ridley was the one to find out that Hernandez may have murdered two people in cold blood last summer? Do you think he would skirt any sort of cover up from a guy who theoretically took three days to plot Lloyd’s murder and still butchered the process so badly that the likes of Clouseau would consider the case a waste of time?

Yes, there HAS to be. Eric says so. Ah, the little Florio-type slam on the Kyle Love release, nice to work that in there.

Now, is Wilbur saying that we should be mad at the Patriots because Hernandez could’ve killed Tom Brady? (You already did that, Eric.) It sounds like it. What the heck does that sentence about Ridley even mean? I’ve read it about 20 times and it still doesn’t make any sense. “skirt any sort of cover up”?

To say the Patriots made a huge error in tossing their good faith at Hernandez is an understatement, yet we’ve heard nothing from the owner, the coach, or the quarterback about how they went so astray. Unless you’ve already Hale-Bopped your allegiance, doesn’t that make you in the least bit frustrated?

No. Not at all. And being a Patriots fan doesn’t exactly equate with a suicide cult, another nice reference. I’m waiting for the Globe to say they erred in hiring Mike Barnicle, Patricia Smith or Ron Borges.

Sorry, the Patriots owe you that much.

Again this “owe” thing. And this time it’s YOU they owe. Not “us.”

This is no longer a matter of what did they know and when did they know it, but a situation that needs some semblance of closure from the franchise. They were the ones who took a fourth-round flyer when nobody else would, after all. They were the ones who awarded him with millions just days within a suspected double murder. They were the ones who kept him around, the reason he was in our community.

Wait, in the first paragraph you said it was logical to wonder what and when. Now its about closure. For me, closure came when they cut him. That was enough of a statement to me. They didn’t even know the charges. They didn’t stick by him like the Ravens did with Ray Lewis. The Ravens made Lewis the face of the franchise. The Patriots cut all ties then and there. Actions can say things better and more eloquently than words at times. What more needs to be said?

Three men are dead that we know of. Who knows what the evening will bring.

Thanks for the reminder, I kind of forgot about that after the whole column was about the culpability of the Patriots in the matter and what they OWE you, us, whoever.

One thing we’re pretty sure of, it won’t include a Patriots apology or admittance of fault. That’s not the Patriot Way, of course. Then again, as we’re rapidly discovering, the Patriots Way is a bogus load of tripe.

As is this column. Spare me the hand-wringing over over a media-created standard that has been supposedly violated.

And we continue to wait, as an exposed institution shows its true, cowardly colors.

The most accurate line of the entire column.

Unkind Reactions To Shaughnessy Column on Ortiz

While Dan Shaughnessy gets lionized among local media for his David Ortiz column from the other day, especially among sports radio hosts, a few people displaced from the local scene see the column for what it really was: garbage.

The worst baseball writing of the month -Rob Neyer says that the column takes muckraking to a whole different place.

You know what’s really a shame? I mean, aside from the fact that Shaughnessy gets paid a great deal of money to compose this drivel, year after year? He might have spared himself this particular embarrassment if he weren’t so bloody afraid of statistics that his grandpappy didn’t teach him.

And more.

Nowhere in the column does Shaughnessy offer even the tiniest shred of evidence, not one, that Ortiz’s bat speed is higher now than when he was 34. Nothing from an Internet database, no quote from some grizzled (and anonymous) scout. Just the argument that Ortiz’s bat speed must be higher because hey look! .426!

From Deadspin: Dan Shaughnessy Invents Some David Ortiz PED Rumors

Except, this isn’t a column accusing David Ortiz of PED usage. It’s a column about David Ortiz denying accusations of PED usage. Except there are no active accusations, so Shaughnessy has to create them, confront Ortiz with them, and then run his denials. The truly incredible part is that at some point, this logic ran through Shaughnessy’s brain and he decided it would be a good idea for a column.

He concludes:

The Red Sox have been in first place for most of a season in which they’re supposed to finish last. If there’s not enough there for a local sports columnist without having to resort to sorry-I’m-not-sorry defamation after a month, I feel for Dan Shaughnessy’s shriveled black writer’s soul. But Boston’s lost three in a row, seven of 10, and Ortiz is hitless in his last 13 at-bats. Shank can happily go back to blasting the team for being bad, which is a lot easier and more straightforward than this tortured bit of “I’m just asking questions.”

Question For Dan Shaughnessy Fans (Yes, They Do Exist)

Something I’m curious about. For those of you out there who enjoy Dan Shaughnessy, and I know you are out there, presumably you’re drawn to his style of ripping down athletes and teams and taking shots and carrying grudges.

How do you feel when he writes columns which go to a hyperbolic level in the other direction, such as the ones from the last two days? Yesterday’s Jackie Bradley Jr. lovefest, and today’s At this rate, will the Red Sox ever lose? which starts out like this:

They may never lose.

They may never trail.

Worst to first. Two games into the season, this is the theme of the 2013 Red Sox.

And is it possible for Jackie Bradley Jr. to be the Face of the Franchise after only two games in the big leagues?

I personally find these types of columns even more annoying than the ripfests, as these columns are incredibly patronizing and mocking a fan mentality that does not exist.

What do you think?

Greg Bedard Officially Leaving Globe for Sports Illustrated

As mentioned a bit back, Greg A. Bedard will be leaving his position as NFL writer for the Boston Globe to join Sports Illustrated. The move became official this morning.

His role at SI will be in at least some way tied to the new Peter King webpage, mentioned by Deadspin earlier this week, and dubbed “Kinglandia.” The site is said to be modeled on Grantland, but will be football-themed.

Bedard will continue with the Globe through next month’s NFL draft, but as I mentioned in a previous post, the paper has already begun looking at candidates to replace him. While he is leaving the Globe, Bedard is not moving, and will be based in Boston, so we’ll assume he’ll still have a big focus on the Patriots.

More on this as it develops…

Update: Greg has posted about it:

 

Ordway The Temp, And Is Greg Bedard Moving On From The Globe?

Glenn Ordway teased yesterday that he would be back on the air soon, and word came out that he got himself a temp-job as co-host CSNNE’s Sports Tonight for four nights next week  (Tue-Fri) alongside who else, but Mike Felger.

Chad Finn has a short post on the move, which is a logical one for CSNNE and should generate some interest from viewers looking to see the dynamic between the pair.

We can already guess some of the jokes that will be made about the situation, and how Felger’s success is largely responsible for Ordway losing his job at WEEI. The pupil has become the master, etc, etc.

*********

Sources tell BSMW that Sports Illustrated has had conversations with Boston Globe NFL writer Greg A Bedard about coming on staff with them as a Boston-based NFL writer.

While the move is not official, sources say that the Globe is making preparations as if they expect Bedard to depart following next month’s NFL draft.

The loss of Bedard would be a big one for the Globe, which has had something of a rotating door at the NFL writer position, with Mike Reiss, Albert Breer and Bedard at the post in the last few years. Bedard’s analytic style and attention to detail on film work and schemes have been a big plus for the coverage at the paper.

Bedard politely declined comment when approached about the rumor.

**********

This had to be one of the most bizarre weeks in the history of Dennis and Callahan (and now Minihane). The hosts seemed determined to push the envelope with topics of masturbation, lesbians, transgender and details of relationships between couples.

Is this what they’ve been told to discuss? Is this a return of “Guy Radio?”

Their Beantown Beatdown series, (with accompanying Photoshops) is detailed on the Producers Blog, and is equal parts disturbing, creepy and amusing.

**************

A couple media links from today:

Earlier this week, FOX announced that their new all-sports network FOX Sports 1 would debut in August.

With new network, Fox to challenge ESPN – Finn looks at the aims of the new network, which follows on the heels of the NBC Sports Network and CBS Sports Network as challengers to ESPN.

Sharks voice Eric Lindquist still has a rip-roaring time – Bill Doyle talks to the voice of the Worcester Sharks.

Shaughnessy – “I don’t know a ton about football.”

The brave columnist from the Boston Globe went onto Houston sports radio to talk about his Sunday column…and turtled completely, telling the hosts he’s not a football guy, he doesn’t know a ton about football and saying “you got me” when confronted with specific parts of his column.

Not really a surprise.

Shank Goes Into a Full-on Backpedal About His Texans Column – Barstool Sports Boston.

Dan Shaughnessy, Don’t Know Football? – Houston Media Watch

This whole thing is another of those incidents where I’m torn as to whether I even bother mentioning at all, because it only gives Shaughnessy and his ilk exactly what he is seeking – more attention.

It’s happening more and more. Columns are written, statements are made simply to generate buzz. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. By bringing them up and even attempting to denounce them, I’m simply feeding the monster and adding to the buzz.

Another example would be Felger yesterday. He’s moved on from Rajon Rondo is a “punk.” Now he is a “dick” and a “loser.” What do you even do with that? That’s not just criticism of him as player, it’s an indictment of him a human being. It’s personal, and it’s on the most popular sports radio show in the city right now.

People clearly enjoy this type of media coverage, whether it is Shaughnessy or Felger. I must be old and out of touch, because I don’t get the appeal. It’s not entertaining to me.

I actually like to watch the games, and have them broken down an analyzed. I guess that’s old school these days.

There are plenty of people doing good work in this town, but they are overshadowed by the blowhards.

Instead you have people who openly admit they don’t know much about the game, making incendiary comments and being propped up as the voice of a region and representing Boston sports.

It’s depressing, to be honest.

Shaughnessy’s Column Used As Bulletin Board Material by @ArianFoster

Arian Foster of the Texans has a new Twitter avatar.

From Shaughnessy’s column yesterday.

Shaughnessy’s Continued Digs at Robert Kraft…And Fondness For Tomato Cans

Dan Shaughnessy just can’t help himself.

From Sunday:

In typical lucky fashion, the tomato cans* are lining up for the Patriots, which is great news for Robert (“you can call me Amos Alonzo or you can call me Hef, but please don’t call me Bob”) Kraft and the CBS executives who worship the Patriots.

*see below

From today:

According to the Patriots Pro Shop website, you can still order a Myra H. Kraft lapel pin or patch for $5.

Is Shaughnessy accusing the Patriots/Krafts of making money off the MHK pins? The Patriots Pro Shop website states:

Show your support with the Myra H. Kraft Lapel Pin. All proceeds go to the Myra Kraft Giving Back Scholarship Fund at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.

Or is Shaughnessy expressing disapproval for Kraft’s current relationship? (The “Hef” reference above would seem to indicate that.) Whichever it is, the point remains that the MHK pins and patches are only there to raise money for charity.

Shaughnessy’s digs are predictable…and despicable. That breakfast snub 15 years ago or so really burns him up so much to this day?

Back to the asterisk above, Shaughnessy seems to have a fondness for that phrase, and mostly when it comes to the Patriots schedule, Celtics too on occasion.

From just this year:

January 14, 2012

Their 2011 regular-season schedule featured more tomato cans than an Andy Warhol gallery, and they’re coming off a bye week in which several of their wounded warriors got healthy.

February 7th, 2012

Ultimately, they were fortunate sons enlarged by a tomato can schedule and masterful coaching.

May 9th, 2012

Like the 2011 Patriots, the Celtics are beneficiaries of some nice breaks at the start of the playoffs. The Patriots drew a horrible Denver team for the first round. The Celtics got the Atlanta Tomato Cans.

May 19th 2012

The tomato cans were falling down in front of the Celtics.

May 28th 2012

The Tomato Cans from Atlanta and Philadelphia have been beaten.

September 10th, 2012

Tennessee was 9-7 last year, but on Sunday looked like just another tomato can lined up in front of Bill Belichick’s steamroller army.

November 6th, 2012

The AFC is weak, and once again the tomato cans are falling down in front of the Patriots.

December 2nd, 2012

In typical lucky fashion, the tomato cans are lining up for the Patriots, which is great news for Robert (“you can call me Amos Alonzo or you can call me Hef, but please don’t call me Bob”) Kraft and the CBS executives who worship the Patriots.

December 3rd, 2012

The Dolphins are like fellow division tomato cans, the Bills and the Jets.

Might be time for a new catchphrase, Dan. I know you’re thinking it is a clever way to discredit whatever accomplishments the Patriots might achieve, but it is incredibly lame.

Especially when there is a specific formula for coming up with the schedule. The Patriots will have played the Ravens, Broncos, Seahawks, Colts, Texans and 49ers – all who could be playoff teams. The Ravens, Broncos and Texans are the top teams in the AFC, with the Patriots.

Ron Borges Caught In Another Lie, Mazz Making Stuff Up, and Peter King’s Laughable Rationalization

Just another day in the world of the Boston sports media.

In the morning, we had Pete Sheppard taking on Ron Borges on the Dennis and Callahan Morning Show. Borges, as usual sounded like a raving madman, screaming, yelling and cursing on the air- getting bleeped out, shouting down any accusations or points made against him. As far as defenses go, its a reliable one, if you’re on the offensive and changing the talking points every two seconds, it’s going to be hard to build that stable case against you in the short time you have on the air.

Of course, the case against Borges was made a long time ago, and it has only been added to since.

One accusation that Sheppard made was that Borges had had dinner at Drew Bledsoe’s house, and how this closeness was part of the reason Borges turned on Bill Belichick so venomously when Belichick named Brady the starter even when Bledsoe was ready to return in 2001.

Borges went ballistic on Sheppard, screaming, asking what evidence he had of this supposed dinner, and when pressed on it yelled “NO I DIDN’T” and demanded again to have Sheppard reveal evidence.

Here’s your evidence, Ron: From Drew Bledsoe himself:

So there you go. Yet another documented case of Ron Borges lying.

Gerry Callahan was his usual loathsome self during the show,  at one point dropping into his whiny, feminine voice to say that Sheppard would now be wearing a fireman’s helmet to the games and leading the cheers of P-A-T-S, PATS!

When the topic of Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning throwing the ball on the Packers with five minutes to go came up, the goalposts were shifted again, instead of it being only the evil Patriots and Bill Belichick that do this, it became “we’re only concerned with Tom Brady and him getting hurt.

In the afternoon, Tony Massarotti spent the afternoon yelling that Jermaine Cunningham was clearly much bigger than he was in previous seasons and that the suspension was definitely not for Adderall.  He presented absolutely zero evidence of this, and really,  how could he? How much is he around the team? I’m not convinced that he even watches the games.

Meanwhile, if you want to know about Adderall, and why NFL players might want to take it, and why it is banned, Tom E Curran has it all.

A GIS search of Cunningham shows no obvious changes in his body since joining the Patriots. Some modest increase in strength, but no Barry Bonds-like transformation. Yet Massarotti was screaming that if you didn’t see, it, you’re an idiot, a moron and just plain stupid.

I continue to be baffled as to way anyone who actually enjoys sports and their teams would listen to this type of programming willingly. I’m clearly old-school, maybe not this old school, but definitely from before the time when sports radio only existed to dump on the local teams 24/7.

The running-up-the-score hypocrisy will not die. Peter King in his MMQB, Tuesday Edition answered an email from a New England NFL fan:

BELICHICK DOES IT ALL THE TIME. COUGHLIN, NOT SO MUCH. “How about a team that is up by four touchdowns (38-10) with five minutes left and keeping the starting quarterback in and is STILL throwing the ball? Man, that Belichick is one evil…. oh wait… that was Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning against Green Bay Sunday night. When it’s not Belichick, the moral outrage goes away, right?”
– Tom, Portsmouth, N.H.

It’s a little different. Belichick’s done this often over the years. You need more than one hand to count the times Tom Brady’s been in a total blowout in the middle of the fourth quarter. But Coughlin had a reason, I believe. His offense had been struggling for four weeks, and he has every right to use the game to do what he can to make sure his team is back on track for the stretch run. People wouldn’t be killing Belichick if it were a one-time occurrence. Obviously, it’s not.

My mind is still spinning at this.

It’s OK for Coughlin to use a real, live game to work on things to make his team better and make sure they’re in top form for the postseason. Bill Belichick does it, and it’s just out of spite and poor sportsmanship. Got it.

I mean, it’s not like Saint Tony Dungy ever did this sort of thing with Peyton Manning. Oh, wait.

I think this might be the more accurate explanation for why only Belichick gets flayed for this.

The other thing to wonder is how often are other teams even in this position? It’s all well and good to say that Coughlin, or any other coach doesn’t leave their QB in with a 35-point lead, or isn’t passing under five minutes with a 35-point lead. How many teams routinely have 35-point leads?

Still on the Patriots, with the Gil Santos era winding down, the subject of his replacement is gaining momentum.

John Rooke, The Obvious Choice To Take Over For Gil Santos – Derek Havens looks at why Rooke and his 20 years of working for the Patriots make him the best choice for the job. I’m on-board with this, certainly if it keeps Gary Tanguay or Jon Meterparel away from the gig.

Meanwhile, Red Sox reporters are waiting for something to happen.

Abraham of course, wrote a Lester column himself, but that was sort of his point. Right now, the Red Sox media is jumping on any scrap of information and writing about it.

I thought Abraham and Chad Finn had a nice 1-2 punch on the Jon Lester for Wil Myers rumor(?) Is it even a rumor? Speculation?

Lester for a prospect? Here’s why it’s crazy – Abraham

Jon Lester for Wil Myers? Why not? – Finn

Q&A with Boston Globe NFL/Patriots reporter Greg A. Bedard

Since returning back to his Boston roots two years ago, Greg A. Bedard has found his niche in the Boston sports media market and has emerged as one of the best Patriots reporters in the area. His Wednesday columns in the Globe where he analyzes the past weeks game has become a must read and is heavily discussed amongst other media members and on sports radio. Boston Sports Media Watch had the chance to catch up with Bedard and get his thoughts on his past football reporting, as well as what it’s been like returning home and becoming a member of the Boston media.

Greg A. Bedard has returned home to his Boston roots and has become a prominent member of the Boston sports media.

1. You were an athlete up until college at Rutgers, did you always have a passion for sports writing and think of it as a potential career? Was football always the number one sport for you?

Part of the reason I chose Rutgers was because of baseball. I was a decent first base prospect at Lincoln-Sudbury and wanted to stay in the Northeast. Rutgers and Seton Hall were the top two programs in the region at the time, and that’s what my decision came down to after my visits.

In school, I knew I wanted to do something with sports and the media, I just didn’t know what exactly. SportsCenter was kind of a big deal at that time, so I started on a communications track. After I quit baseball because of injuries, I started looking more towards the print side. Rutgers had a very good daily student newspaper, so I answered one of the ads looking for new writers. My first article was on the women’s golf team (fun fact: my future wife’s name appeared in it), and I volunteered to cover the softball team. I was instantly hooked. I covered them like they were the Red Sox – I’d skip classes to cover road games (like I needed an excuse) – and I knew I found my calling.

While I was the beat writer for Terry Shea’s first football team in 1996, that I wound up covering football was very much by accident. Baseball was always my sport, and probably still is. The Palm Beach Post very easily could have named me backup Marlins writer in 2004. Thank goodness they decided on the Dolphins. Covering the NFL is a much easier life if you want to have a family. I don’t know how the baseball guys do it. But if the Globe asked me to cover golf tomorrow, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. I’m not one of these guys that’s married to a team or sport. The work is what’s important to me. The shape of the ball doesn’t really matter.

2. You’ve were a beat writer for both the Dolphins and Packers before coming to the Patriots. In terms of the day-to-day operations, player availability, locker room access, etc. how much different are the Patriots than the other teams you’ve covered?
Night and day. With the previous teams I covered, the players actually were in the locker room during media availability time. Rarely did you have to request that a player show his face. If you don’t do that with the Patriots, you’re probably not getting an interview. Most days you’ll see about six players in there, and if they talk there’s 25 reporters around.

Assistant coach access under Dave Wannstedt, and then with the Packers was awesome. With Wannstedt you could grab anybody you wanted coming off the field. The Packers had assistant coach access three days a week – about 30 minutes with all of them in a hallway, so you could get individual face-to-face time often – and you could talk to the three coordinators after games. That was absolutely invaluable to my development as a football writer. After a while you developed a rapport with the assistants and you could ask them about why certain plays did or didn’t work, and which players screwed up and why. You didn’t quote them, but at least you were getting accurate information to relay to the fans.

I learned more about the game in those 3.5 years in Green Bay than any other time in my career. Between the players always being available, to the assistant coaches, I could ask real questions about the game and learn about it.

Trying to learn about the game of football while covering the Patriots is like trying to get water out of a rock. I don’t have a problem with how they do things – it’s within the rules – but I’m certainly glad that I was able to work in other markets before coming here.

3. How much different is it working in the Boston media market than in the Miami and Green Bay markets?

I’d say the biggest difference that I have noticed is in the percentage of fans that are critical of the team, or that want debate about the team and the decisions it makes. And I think it’s directly tied into the length of time since the last championship.

Dolphins fans had a very low level of trust for what the organization did, for good reason, so they questioned everything. In Green Bay, which hadn’t won a title since 1996, I’d say about 20 percent of the fans didn’t want to hear anything bad about the team. The rest expect excellence year in and year out, because they feel the Lombardi Trophy and NFL championships are their birthright. They want perfection out of their team. In New England, I’d say it was closer to 75 percent when I got here in 2010, and it has slowly declined slightly. Again, it’s directly tied into the time since the last championship. And it will take another step when Tom Brady is no longer here, especially if they don’t win another Super Bowl before then.

My perception, and I don’t know if it’s reality, is that the pressure on the media here is very intense. Everything is scrutinized. People are keeping track of what you say, how you say it and they keep score. Consumers also love to put you in a box. You’re either this kind of reporter, or you’re that kind of reporter. Nuance is a foreign concept. It’s funny that fans accuse the media of being lazy and guilty of stereotyping, when they do the exact same thing to the media.

In regards to the media itself, I think the relationships are a mixed bag. In South Florida, we all tried to beat the crap out of each other during the day in a highly competitive market, but we had no problem having a beer afterwards. In Green Bay there were hard feelings between the media outlets, specifically the Green Bay Press Gazette towards the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I never understood that. There’s plenty of coverage to go around, and we didn’t even compete for print readers.

It has been fine here; no real issues. The one thing I don’t have a lot of respect for, in any place I’ve been, is media-on-media crime and/or trying to shoot down other people’s reports. I don’t really understand that either. If you have something to report, then report it. Don’t just use somebody else’s report as a jumping off point. Twitter does make things tougher, but I just try to worry about what I can report and proceed like I’m in a vacuum. That’s easier said than done sometimes.

4. You’ve become known for your columns on Wednesday’s following re-watching game tape giving insight not found anywhere else. Have you always done this? Talk more about what goes into the game study, how long does it take, etc.

I knew nothing about this kind of journalism until I went to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and saw that Bob McGinn was doing it, and had been doing it for like 20 years. But as soon as I did, it was like I was awake for the first time — “Why didn’t I ever think of doing this? This is where it’s at.” Studying film, trying to quantify certain things that aren’t officially tabulated (pressures, knockdowns, etc), and then explaining things simply for readers goes to heart of journalism, especially in the televised sports era. Everyone has seen the game. Many have heard the sound bytes from press conferences, but what fans really want to know is why? Why did the Patriots struggle offensively for a half? Why did they lose? Why couldn’t they defend this route? Etc.

When I came here, I thought two things: that it would go over well here because the Patriots aren’t going to tell you what they did well, and they certainly aren’t going to point out what they did poorly. If I could take what I knew about the game, and relay that to the fans by explaining what went right and what went wrong in each game, then I thought it would be successful. And I also promised myself when I came here, knowing the market like I do, that I wouldn’t just offer up opinions on a whim. I would try like hell to quantify everything I could. You can’t just write, “Tom Brady is struggling,” and not have any real evidence outside of statistics, which often lie in football and are certainly no way to measure about 80 percent of the game.

As far as the process itself, it takes me about eight to 10 hours to get through a game. Having the coaches film (some of the time) certainly helps. Having watched film with NFL coaches, college coaches and analysts like Greg Cosell at NFL Films, I have a decent size depth of knowledge – but it’s not even close to the actual players and coaches.

I try to be as clinical and try to mimic the coaches as much as possible. Even with the TV copy, I watch with the sound off. And I watch all the offensive, defensive and special teams plays in succession. This is why I sometimes reach different opinions than fans, especially about individual players. There are about 70 plays for the offense and defense in each game. Why should the 68th play matter than the fourth? Devin McCourty gets a pass interference penalty late in the game, but should that wipe out the 95 percent of plays in which he performed his duty well? NFL coaches grade out a player for the entire game, so why should I be any different?

I watch each play about 10-12 times, trying to determine whether each player, within reason, has performed their duty. I have a spreadsheet with about 35 different categories that I use on each play. Then afterwards I tabulate the positive and negative plays for each player (basically, did they exceed or fail at what I think they were supposed to do), and that gives me a rough idea about how they played. What I see on that paper and on my spreadsheet leads me to write in one direction or another. I usually have a vague idea about what I might want to write about, but it can easily and often changes (much to chagrin of copy desk in all likelihood). I try to be as much of a blank slate as possible and let the data take me one way or another. Every single game is unique. I try to identify what that is for the reader.

For example, last year after I had done my tabulations for the Chargers game, I noticed that Albert Haynesworth, after a very strong opening game in Miami, had zero plus or minus plays on my sheet. That was unusual. Why was that? That led me to watch all of his plays over again, and to the lede of my column where I wrote the Patriots were going to need better and more consistent play from Haynesworth.

Players are going to challenge some of your conclusions – and that’s something I welcome because it helps me get better – but if there’s one thing I’ve learned covering the league it’s if you rely on the film and facts gleaned from it, then it’s very hard to go wrong, and for players or coaches to take much issue with your work. Your knowledge of the game and the team will be very accurate. The film never lies. In my opinion, you absolutely must study film if you’re covering an NFL team. Luckily, the Globe gives me the time to do that. Not all media outlets do. And it’s difficult to find the time as a beat writer. I’m lucky that Shalise Manza Young does her job so well, because it allows me the immense time it takes to do mine. It’s a similar setup to what we had at the MJS – Tom Silverstein and I did the beat, which allowed Bob to do his analyzing. I’m very grateful to Shalise and the paper for that.

5. Growing up in the Boston area and reading the Globe growing up, is this a dream job for you, or would you like to one day cover the NFL nationally?

Two very good questions. I’m not sure I have the answers, but I probably need to figure them out to determine my future, whatever that might be.

I wouldn’t call this a dream job to me at this point in my life, but it was certainly very desirable. Sports editor Joe Sullivan, when we talked about the job, said, “You’d be a direct descendant of Will McDonough,” I mean, what person who grew up around here wouldn’t be completely floored hearing that? I can tell you that on the other end of the phone, I had a huge smile on my face. Still, it was far from a done deal that I was going to take this job. There were two big factors, which continue to be the driving forces in my career: the ability to do good, meaningful journalism – not just feeding the beast based on a timetable (though every outlet has to do some of that; I just didn’t want that to be me) – and to be a good husband and father. I would give up money and success to have adequate time with my family. The Globe was able to hit on both of those factors, and coming “home” (though my parents and brothers are elsewhere) was an added bonus. But it was incredibly tough to leave Green Bay. In the end, all things were equal and “Mama” (the Globe) called. It’s hard to say no to Mama. It was the right job, at the right place, at the right time. If it were the Patriots’ beat writing job, I wouldn’t have taken it. I don’t need to ram my head against the wall repeatedly.

As for where I go from here, if anywhere, I don’t know. I’ve never felt a huge draw to a TV gig (I know, with my looks, this is very surprising). I know I don’t want to be traveling every week and at the whim of some producer (poor Albert Breer, but he’s young and childless so more power to him). Sure, some sort of national job where I didn’t have to move would be enticing. But, like in Green Bay, I could see myself staying here forever. I guess, in a perfect world, I’d do something similar to what Willie did – have the Globe as a base and add some steady television work that fits into that. I’d certainly like to expand on the radio work I do on WEEI. I’d love to spend two hours on the radio getting into deep discussions about the Patriots with smart hosts and callers.

But it’s not something that I think about very much. I’ve got a good gig doing meaningful work for readers that seem to appreciate it for the most part, and I’m able to balance my family about as well as you can in today’s media age. Would I like to get paid more? Sure, who wouldn’t? But so far, so good.