Just What Is A “Produced” Touchdown?

This drab little note in Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column this week has provided considerable fodder for the likes of Felger of Mazz.

Opposing passers have produced more touchdowns than Tom Brady, 19-18.

This is just a weird sentence. “Produced more touchdowns?” What is the definition he’s using here?  Solely passing TD’s?

If we’re going by strictly “passing” yes, opposing QB’s have thrown 19 TDs, and Tom Brady has thrown 18. Brady also has two rushing touchdowns this season, and Kevin Kolb in week two rushed for a touchdown against the Patriots.

It would seem logical that “produced” by the quarterback would also include TD’s scored personally by the quarterback. So when we get there, we’re at 20-20 on the season.

By using this stat, some (Felger and Mazz) have made the completely inexplicable leap to the conclusion that Brady has or is losing it, and the Patriots have lost the advantage they had of having Tom Brady as quarterback. They’re going by King’s 19-18 stat (Has Dan Shaughnessy jumped on that one yet?) and saying that the QB doesn’t even matter.

Whoa.

Just another example of the surface-deep analysis you get from the likes of these guys.

The Patriots have 14 rushing touchdowns on the season. That’s the most in the NFL, by the way. (By way of comparison, opponents have five.) That’s 32 offensive touchdowns. Again, that’s the most in the NFL. Does the QB only produce the passing ones? He has nothing to do with drives that end in rushing touchdowns?

So what if Tom Brady had thrown for 27 touchdowns at this point and the team had rushed for five? Same 32 touchdowns. Would Peter King and Felger and Mazz be happy with that?

The likes of Felger and Mazz would be bewailing the absence of the running game that could prolong Brady’s career. They’re too reliant on Brady, they don’t have any balance to their offense!

The Patriots have enough problems right now. The quarterback isn’t one of them. Bending stats and not giving the entire picture is just fraudulent muck-raking, something some around here are very proficient in.

Shaughnessy — “Get Off My Lawn, Bloggers”

The Boston Globe continued its series of attacks on blogging, Twitter and the internet by old-school media dinosaurs with the publication of today’s column by Dan Shaughnessy.

You’ve probably heard by now that Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel was injured on Sunday and some Kansas City fans actually cheered when he was taken off the field.

The bloggers are to blame, naturally.

It’s an issue about civility in America today. It’s about accountability. It is about angry fantasy football players who do not know how to look someone in the eye, or hold a face-to-face conversation. It is about fanboy bloggers who kill everyone and everything under the brave cloak of anonymity. It’s about instant tweets fired from the safety of your basement. It is about anonymous bullying with the World Wide Web serving as the new bathroom wall.

Those of us who write stories and do talk shows are not blameless. Winston made a good point when he said that Cassel “hasn’t done anything to the media writers who kill him . . . ”

I’ve certainly done my share of tweaking and exposing professional athletes or organizations who don’t give an honest effort to live up to their contracts or fulfill the team-fan accord. In print, on TV and radio, we contribute to a climate of anger in the stands. But at least you know who we are.

That last paragraph is mind-blowing. He only tweaks those “who don’t give an honest effort?” or who don’t  “fulfill the team-fan accord?” What does that even mean?

So has “Amos Alonzo Kraft” failed to give an honest effort, or has he not fulfilled the team-fan accord? Which is it? (By the way, Shaughnessy actually took that moniker from Mike Barnicle. If you’re stealing material from Mike Barnicle, it might be time to acknowledge that you actually do not possess a conscience.) And that is an incredibly minor Shaughnessy tweak.

And “at least you know who we are.”

OK, that makes everything better.

Guys like Shaughnessy are terrified of the internet, because while he might not be the most self-aware guy around, he at least recognizes his increasing irrelevance, as evidenced by this old-man rant.

Yes, there are nasty, vicious people on the internet. I sometimes am disgusted myself at just how angry some people are online, and the things that they say. But speaking in sweeping generalities, like Shaughnessy does, isn’t right either.

It’s easier for Shaughnessy to write a column like this now, because a lot fewer people – especially those online, who are his targets – are able to read it due to the paywall.

Which just might be the best thing about the paywall, limiting the exposure of a Dan Shaughnessy column like this one.

Bob Ryan’s Farewell, CSNNE’s 5000th and More…

Bob Ryan’s farewell (sort of) column in the Globe yesterday was typical Ryan – passionate, with a nod to history, underscored by humility about his own role in things.

The Globe has lost perhaps the final piece to its glory days, and a bridge to even earlier eras. We’ll continue to read Ryan on many Sundays throughout the year, but the paper will not be the same. Ryan officially closes things out with his account of the United States’ win in the Gold Medal Men’s Olympic basketball game.

You’re up, Chris Gasper. Got 44 years in you?

**********

Comcast SportsNet New England celebrates their 5000th episode of “Sports Tonight” with a one-hour prime time special beginning tonight at 6:30PM.

5000 episodes is an impressive number, and kudos to CSNNE for reaching it. However, I can honestly say I don’t watch it all that much, as it is essentially a recap of whatever subjects were debated on sports radio that day. I’ve heard all the storylines, and the debates once already, I don’t need it again.

CSNNE provides a lot of good programming (SportsNet Central, Celtics broadcasts and pre and post game, various original specials) but they also provide an outlet for ridiculousness like the ongoing Joe Haggerty-Kirk Minihane slapfight.

In case you’re not up to speed on it, old friend Ryan Hadfield provides a recap on his Out of Bounds blog on WEEI.com.

Hadfield might find it entertaining, I find it forced, staged and juvenile.

***********

That gushing Boston Globe feature on Bobby Valentine yesterday by Stan Grossfeld was embarrassing. I usually enjoy the somewhat offbeat features that Grossfeld puts together, but I thought we were done with these types of stories after spring training. Given the season that the club is having, it’s even more out of place.

***********

Same newspaper, same day:

Count me as one who missed the memo that the Red Sox are allowing beer in the clubhouse on the road after games. It’s a complete contradiction to what we were told by Bobby Valentine in February. The word then was “no beer in the clubhouse.’’ Now we’re all supposed to shrug and say it’s no big deal that the beer is still there on the road? The Sox made absolutely no distinction between home and road clubhouse rules when they made their big announcement in Florida. The notion that it was common knowledge is incorrect and sneaky.

Biggest non-story of the year: John Lackey having two beers after a Red Sox loss on the road. If you knew the team rule, it wouldn’t be a story. No alcohol in the Fenway clubhouse and no alcohol on return charters to Boston. Been that way since spring training.

The first was Dan Shaughnessy, the second Nick Cafardo.

I’m guessing that since Cafardo is around the team everyday, he actually knew what the rule was.

By the way, John Lackey is severely tone-deaf and lacking in self-awareness and good judgement, but no more so than many of the media weighing in on this whole absurd topic.

Jen Royle says that episodes like this are why we shouldn’t be surprised when players say it is tough to play here.

Globe Editor Finger-Wags Patriots. Again.

Glad to see the fearless sports editor of the Boston Globe is back in full Patriots finger-wagging mode.

Right, because making rookies go down a slip-n-slide – in full public view of media and coaches – is the same as the sexual assaults and beatings that have been uncovered among high schools.

If anything, the Patriots as showing how to initiate rookies in a fun, non-harmful manner. I might think the whole thing is silly, but it’s not harming anyone.

I just hope Sullivan also comes out and takes a stand when the Red Sox make their rookies wear dresses on the final road trip of the season. If anything, that’s more humiliating than going down a slip-n-slide.

Just Curious…

Did anyone else laugh out loud at these lines from Nick Cafardo on the Kevin Youkilis/Will Middlebrooks situation:

Sunday:

It should be Valentine’s decision as to whether Youkilis gets his job back, and nobody else’s.

Today:

The Drew Bledsoe-Tom Brady analogy is somewhat pertinent in this case. Bill Belichick had just about reached the end of the line with Bledsoe and when Brady took over and performed so well, it was an easy decision.

Those are somewhat different sentiments than Nick had at the time of the Bledsoe/Brady debate.

From November 21st, 2001.

The principals in the Confrontational Conference at Foxborough – that would be heavy-handed head coach Bill Belichick and once-upon-a-time starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe – were asked yesterday in separate interviews how they would characterize Bledsoe’s emotions in the meeting Monday in which the coach told Bledsoe he was going with replacement Tom Brady as his starter the rest of the season.

And a little bit later on in the same column:

Belichick’s pronouncement came at an awkward time, just after Brady had played his second consecutive subpar game, a 24-17 loss to the Rams Sunday night. Brady is 5-3 as a starter but has shown obvious decline in the last four games.

If Brady was performing “subpar” and in “obvious decline” it doesn’t really sound like an “easy decision” like Nick makes it out to be, 10 years later.

Valentine gets free reign in making the decision on Youkilis, but Belichick was “heavy-handed” in making his decision.

Playing Stupid And Making Big Bucks – The Life Of A Sports Media Superstar

INT. MASSAROTTI HOME – 8:00 P.M. APRIL 11TH

A weary TONY arrives home after a long, arduous day in the 98.5 The Sports Hub Studios.

TONY

Honey, I’m home!

MRS. MASSAROTTI

Hi Dear! I just put the kids to bed, and your dinner is in the oven. How was your day?

TONY
(sighs)

Just another day at the office. I made a complete and utter fool of myself, just as I am paid to do. I actually made the statement that Rajon Rondo’s 18 point, 15 assist performance against the Heat is proof that he is NOT a great player in this league!

MRS. MASSAROTTI
(confused)

Um, OK.

TONY
(squeaking excitedly)

YES! Because if he WAS a great player, he’d do that every night! See? It’s brilliant! I totally ignore the part where he’s had double-digit assists in 19 straight games – the longest streak in the NBA in 20 years! I also ignore the part where, since 1986 there have only been seven triple-doubles with at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and 20 assists and Rondo has the last five of them! Not a great player! I sounded so dumb!

MRS. MASSAROTTI
(placatingly)

Well honey, you know we’re still really proud of you..

TONY
(interrupts)

Wait, there’s more! I’m learning, I really am. Instead of “You’re absolutely right, Mike.” I’m learning to mix it up a little, saying things like “No doubt, Mike.” and “Listen Mike, I can’t argue that.” I’m really getting a grip on this whole “play dumb on the radio” role! I also insulted the Celtics fans, and suggested that maybe, just maybe the team is “juiced up” and then Mike and I suggested that Terry Francona is just like Josh Beckett. He’s only interested in finding the snitch, not admitting that he really was a drug-addled philanderer like Hohler said he was!

MRS MASSAROTTI
(sighs)

Well, today was payday, right? You’re such a good provider for the kids and I. Even if you do refer to them as “little monsters” in that Dragon Naturally Speaking commercial you do. How much did you make off that again? Never mind, I can see you’re exhausted from thinking so much today.

TONY
(relaxes)

Thanks honey. I do it all for you guys. It not always easy playing a complete imbecile, but the pay makes it worth it. You know what I’ve decided to post on Twitter tomorrow morning?

EXT. TONY’S COMPUTER 8:39 A.M. TODAY

[blackbirdpie id="190418910011588609"]

Bob Ryan Bowing Out, Bruins Blanked

It wasn’t exactly breaking news, but when Bob Ryan told Bill Simmons yesterday on the B.S. Report that he will be hanging it up after the 2012 Olympic games in London, it caused quite a stir.

Ryan had hinted previously that he’d likely be scaling things back following the Olympics, and he emphasized yesterday that he won’t be going away completely. He’ll still be around for the occasional column or TV/Radio appearance, but he wants to move on, and do some other things with his life, which he deserves to do. Interestingly he cited the demands of blogging and tweeting in this modern age as things he’s not comfortable with, and part of the reason he feels he doesn’t fit in anymore.

The last link to the glory days of the Boston Globe, Ryan has had a tremendous career and his weekly voice will be missed. The podcast is exhibit “A.” Even if you’re not a huge NBA fan, it is a great listen, and you really get the sense of his passion for the game. Couple this podcast with last week’s with Larry Bird, and Simmons is on a roll here.

There will be more on Ryan as we get closer to the Olympics, I’m sure.

The Bruins continue to stumble as they were shut out by the New York Rangers last night 3-0.

Ice dam – Fluto Shinzawa reports on Henrik Lundqvist shutting out the Bruins last night.

Where did the Bruins go? – Stephen Harris says that hitting the road might be the best thing for the Bruins.Joe Haggerty says that the Bruins have work to do.

Bruins clearly have big expectations for Johnny Boychuk – DJ Bean says that the new deal for the defenseman reflects the faith they have in him.

Peter Chiarelli proceeds with caution – Joe McDonald says that the Bruins GM would like to swing a trade.

Rockland’s Josh Hennessy feels at home in Boston Bruins dressing room – Mike Loftus has a look at the callup.

Johnny Boychuk stays a Bruin – Dan Duggan’s notebook has more on the new deal. The Globe notebook from Fluto Shinzawa and the Bruins Journal both have the same lede.

Kevin Garnett’s turn to take seat – Peter May has KG as the latest injury casualty for the Celtics. Scott Souza says that the Celtics are a team of wounded. A. Sherrod Blakely says that the KG injury might mean the first career start for JaJuan Johnson.

Ivy climbers – With the success of Jeremy Lin in New York, Bob Ryan takes a look at other Ivy League players who have made an impact in the NBA.

Reuniting Brandon Lloyd With Josh McDaniels an Interesting Possibility and 19 Other Patriots Thoughts – Jeff Howe thinks the Patriots have an excellent shot of returning to the Super Bowl.

Brandon Spikes hyped-up for ’12 – Karen Guregian says that the linebacker could be a difference-maker for the Patriots defense.

Which Patriots made the grade? – Greg A Bedard knocks out the grades for the entire Patriots roster.

Bard ready to toe the starting line – Nick Cafardo has Daniel Bard ready to give it a go as a starter.

Think what you want, the Red Sox do spend – Ron Borges dispels the notion of the alleged belt-tightening at Fenway. It was amusing to hear Tony Massarotti scream that the Red Sox were cheap AND that they overpaid for David Ortiz within the span of 10 seconds yesterday.

Red Sox spring training gets a face-lift thanks to Tim Bogar, Bobby Valentine – Rob Bradford looks at how things will be different this spring.

Beckett arrives, takes mound – Peter Abraham has Josh Beckett showing up and getting some work done in Ft Myers.

Ranking the best (and worst) TV announcers in Boston sportsKirk Minihane still doesn’t like Jack Edwards.

It’s Been Target Practice for the Boston Sports Media – George Cain looks at the current targets.

Joe Sullivan Shows Who He Really Is

Since the Bill Belichick era began, coverage from the Boston Globe has been pretty consistent.

With the exception of Mike Reiss and Greg Bedard, (who I’ve disagreed with a couple of time, but overall I think is excellent, and very objective in his coverage.) the coverage of the Patriots coming out of Morrissey Blvd has been routinely negative.

It doesn’t matter the writer, whether it is Nick Cafardo, Ron Borges, Jerome Solomon, Michael Smith (though he was OK) Chris Gasper, Albert Breer or Shalise Manza Young, the tone and attitude towards the team have remained the same. There are complaints about the access given to reporters, there are shots taken at the fans who they insist believe that Bill Belichick can do no wrong.

Where does this come from? As the saying goes, the fish rots from the head down. In this case, it is sports editor Joe Sullivan, who has been the constant among all the comings and goings on the Patriots beat in the last 10 years. It is Sullivan who sets the tone for his staff when it comes to covering the team.

A Tweet from Sullivan yesterday confirmed how he fans about Patriots fans.

The line about Patriots fans in the article that Sullivan disagrees with so much he felt the need to Tweet about?

I don’t know a New England Patriots or New York Jets fan who argues that Bill Belichick or Rex Ryan is the greatest man walking the earth, almost incapable of sin.

It was a throwaway line in the column, which is focused on the adulation of college coaches, but Sullivan jumped on the line and clearly wanted his views on the matter out there.

The “In Bill We Trust” line gets thrown out there quite bit, usually attempted as an insult to those who think that Belichick might actually know what he’s doing most of the time. However, the records speak for themselves.

In speaking behind the scenes, I can confirm that there is a general attitude within the Globe that hostile towards the Patriots. The coverage also speaks for itself. It doesn’t always manifest itself in the actual game coverage within the newspaper. But follow them on Twitter, read their chats, they always manage to find a way to get their shots in. No other outlet does this.

Where does it stem from? It’s from access. Sullivan and Globe feel a huge sense of entitlement. They demand access. Sullivan has complained to league about their access to the Patriots on multiple occasions. (That information has also been confirmed separately.) There is resentment there, and it comes through in the attitude of the paper and its personnel.

Yesterday, Shalise Manza Young held her weekly Patriots chat, and things got ugly. To her credit, she attempted to answer some of the harder-edged questions that came in, but was not successful.

Here’s an example:

Comment From Blinded
Shalise, with respect, I think you and the rest of the media really fail to put any sort of context on the Patriots drafting and personnel moves. Do other teams such as the Steelers, Packers, Jets, etc hit on everyone of their picks? Not even close. For the Patriots to be continually painted as gigantic failures in the draft and free agency really exposes the lack of perspective around here.
1:50

shalise manza young:
Blinded – Again, no one expects them to hit on 100 percent of their picks. I still have the game notes from the Giants, so right now in the time we have I can only look at them. But of the 75 players they have either on the 53-man, IR or practice squad, 33 were guys that they drafted. 19 of those 33 were drafted from 2006-2010, the same time frame I used for the Pats.

OK, so she attempts to actually provide some context and give an example. However, if you do the same breakdown with the Patriots, you find that of the players currently on the 53-man, IR or practice squad, 32 were guys that they drafted, and 16 of those were drafted from 2006-2010.

Huge difference, huh? Before you jump on me, she chose to compare them to the Giants.

Young ended her chat with a typical, childish response:

Comment From TiredofTheMedia
As usual, you miss the point. A guy who’s in over his head can’t lead his team to a 14-2 record. You think he’s in over his head because he lost a playoff game to the Jets. It’s a pretty absurd thing to think.
2:13

shalise manza young:
I think your handle says it all. Nothing I could say short of “all is right in Patriots world, this team is perfect, they’ll win the Super Bowl by three touchdowns” would appease you.

Talk about hyperbole. No one expects nor wants that type of comment or analysis. It is childish.

Before the Patriots/Belichick haters start lining up in the comments section, let me state this:

This Patriots team has very visible flaws, and some of their moves and decisions are certainly open to criticsm.

The problem I have is when reporters who really have no idea themselves what goes into decisions and what discussions are held behind closed doors or really have no more knowledge about the game than the average fan start suggesting that Bill Belichick is in over his head, it’s time to call them on it.

Moreover, when an entire sports department is guided by a hand that holds a clear grudge, and makes sure that that grudge is conveyed in the final product, and whose personal feelings are allowed to impact the product that goes out to the customers, and who delights in tweaking and annoying those same customers, is it any wonder that the Globe has struggled so much in recent years, during which Sullivan has overseen the demise of what was once the greatest sports section in the country?

Maybe it is Joe Sullivan who is in over his head.

From The PFW Archives – An Interview With Lesley Visser

This column originally appeared in the November 25th, 2009 issue of Patriots Football Weekly.

Visser no stranger to Pats success

By Bruce Allen

“Hi, I’m Lesley Visser, I know Will McDonough.”

With those eight words, Lesley Visser, the longtime CBS sportscaster voted this past summer as the No. 1 Female Sportscaster of All-Time, would approach players, coaches and officials during her first season on the Patriots beat. The year was 1976, and the 23-year-old Visser was working for The Boston Globe, yet was not allowed in the locker room, and her team-issued press credential flatly stated “No Women or Children allowed in the Press Box.” Oftentimes she would have to wait in the parking lot to interview players. There wasn’t even a ladies room available to her. Dropping McDonough’s name was the only “in” that she had until she could establish herself.

Despite her distinguished career, I sometimes feel that Visser isn’t always properly appreciated by the public for being the true pioneer that she is. In an age where more and more women are seeking careers in sports media, Visser set the standards by which they all measure themselves. Thus, having the chance to chat recently with the very gracious Visser was a great privilege.

Both her remarkable life and career began right here in Massachusetts. Born in Quincy MA, sports and football were in Visser’s blood from a young age. As a little girl, she dressed as Celtics guard Sam Jones for Halloween one year, and asked Santa for a pair of shoulder pads one Christmas.

In 1966, Visser attended her first professional football game, when the Patriots took on the Oakland Raiders at Fenway Park. The 13-year-old Visser managed to get down to the Raiders sideline where she saw future Hall of Fame center Jim Otto up close. “He was the biggest human being I’d ever seen,” she remembers, “and my eyes grew as big as his double 00′s.”

She had the goal of being a sportswriter when she grew up, and as an English major at Boston College, she obtained an internship at The Boston Globe through a Carnegie Foundation grant. Joining the paper full-time following graduation in 1975, she immediately started making her mark in a male-dominated field.

It started that bicentennial year of 1976, when Visser became the first woman assigned to an NFL beat when the Globe sent her out to cover Patriots on a daily basis.

“The first day of training camp, I think I brushed my teeth in the parking lot of Bryant college.” She recalls her biggest fear in those first days on the beat: “Working with people like Peter Gammons and Bob Ryan and Bud Collins, I was terrified I’d let the Boston Globe down with their historic decision.”

Dropping McDonough’s name became her “Magic Credential,” as she puts it. McDonough, the most respected football writer in the country, even spoke to Billy Sullivan on her behalf, telling the Patriots owner that she would work hard, and asking them to be forgiving of her mistakes.

Mistakes? She made a few, some of which pain her to this day. She recalls one incident early in her tenure when she was doing a story on Sam Cunningham, (Visser says that Sam was much more famous than younger brother Randall.) and included some notes at the end of the story. The Patriots were banged up along the offensive line, and she asked coach Chuck Fairbanks who would start at tackle, Tom Neville or Bob McKay.

In the Globe the next morning, Fairbanks was quoted as saying, “Neither one can play the position”. Visser relates: “I got a call at 6 am.  ‘Are you out of your mind?’” It was Fairbanks, shouting on the other end. “I said EITHER one can play the position!”  Visser still shakes her head at the recollection. “I wanted to move to Bimini. Instead, I flew down to Miami with the team – as all members of the media did back then. I heard about it the whole flight, and, OK, maybe the whole season. I think Dave Smith and Vince Doria, our legendary editors at the Globe, remind me of it to this day.”

All in all, she says that “The Patriots were great to me” and that first season in Foxborough was a memorable one, the team went 11-3 before losing a heartbreaking playoff game to the Raiders on the infamous Ben Dreith “roughing the passer” call on Sugar Bear Hamilton, the Patriots tackle who Visser says had watched game film with her that year, giving her an even deeper understanding of the game.

Though he was just a Patriots season ticket holder at the time, Robert Kraft had a big impact on Visser’s career even back in the 1970′s. Kraft owned the Boston Lobsters of World TeamTennis, and was the first person to let Visser into a locker room in any sport. She adds that Kraft “has been so supportive of women in this business, an advocate for more than 30 years. I’m happy to report that the struggles of Schaefer stadium are now the glories of Gillette. It’s no coincidence that the Patriots are the model, the envy of the NFL.”

With her history with the Patriots, it only makes sense that Visser’s favorite memory from her long career covering sports involves the franchise from Foxborough, MA.

“One of my most favorite memories in all of sports was Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans.” She proudly recalls “I was on the field when Adam Vinatieri drilled it through the uprights, and as the confetti came raining down, I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe this is the team I grew up with, the team that gave me my biggest opportunity, and now I’m here for their most shining moment.’”

Visser had moved on to television with CBS in the early 1980′s, and made history there too, working almost all major sporting events the network covered, including the NFL, where she became the first woman to host the postgame Super Bowl Championship trophy presentation. She stayed at CBS until 1994. She then moved on to ABC/ESPN, where she become the first woman on the announcing team of Monday Night Football, as sideline reporter. She returned to CBS in 2000, and has remained there ever since. She currently is a reporter for The NFL Today, and writes a column for CBSSports.com. In July of this year, Visser was voted the No. 1 female sportscaster of all time by the American Sportscasters Association.

Also this summer, Visser became the first woman to serve as a color commentator on an NFL TV telecast, during a Dolphins preseason game. Visser says of the experience “It was an enormous challenge, but I was careful to stay within my experience. I’ve never been in an NFL huddle, so I never said anything I couldn’t possibly know -  I think that philosophy has helped me for 35 years. I don’t assume, I ask.”

Visser’s distinguished career covering the NFL led to the ultimate honor. In 2006 she became the first (and only) woman to be honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. Among those congratulating Visser that day was Jim Otto, “Pretty good,” he said, “for a little girl shivering on the sideline.”

Visser says that “Being honored as the first woman in the Pro Football Hall of Fame made me glad I went through all the ups and downs. I have a genuine respect for sports, I’ve always said it’s the most meritorious business in America. It doesn’t matter where your father went to college or how much money your mother has, if you hit the jumper or sink the putt or kick the winning field goal, it’s because of your talent, your will and your skill.”

Fittingly, talent, will and skill are all qualities that Lesley Visser possesses in abundance.

Bizzaro Boston: Shaughnessy Is On Point

You know things are screwed up around here when Dan Shaughnessy is 100% right in a column.

Wind of change

Many of you will still refuse to read it, and I understand that view completely. But Shaughnessy is completely correct today in his assessment of the Red Sox, how far they’ve fallen and where they stand. The vitriol is warranted.

One thing he doesn’t touch is the issue of the character assassination on Terry Francona, a subject that still has many seething.

Has the Globe finished their victory lap over yesterday’s piece yet? It was a big nauseating seeing all the promotion they put into it, even arranging a special mid-day chat with Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan, who lauded the ethics and professionalism and reporting in the story. Apparently Bob Hohler was supposed to do the chat, but had a conflict, and Sullivan said he felt very comfortable speaking for Hohler. Why not just wait for when Hohler was available and have him do the chat?

The whole situation has caused media on media crime, a subject Ryan Hadfield is going to explore in a bit, with the likes of Michael Felger and Heidi Watney going head-to-head with Joe Haggerty jumping on the pile, Junior Seau-style.

Exit, Epstein - Peter Abraham looks at the departure of Theo Epstein, who has agreed to join the Cubs. Jackie MacMullan says that even though we saw it coming, this move is still stunning.

Owners under microscope more than ever -Sean McAdam says that it “would be nice to get some clarity rather than the strange silence — beyond the dastardly, off-the-record sliming of exiting employees, that is — that has existed of late.”

Sox ownership showing its true colors: yellow - Mike Fine says that ownership has hit a new low.

Forget the wrecking ball: Red Sox unlikely to blow up roster in light of revelations - Alex Speier says that huge roster changes this offseason are likely impossible.

Clean up starts with Josh Beckett - John Tomase says that Beckett is most likely the one to get dealt in the offseason.

Cherington would have work cut out - Nick Cafardo looks at what Epstein’s apparent successor would be looking it in his first year. Scott Lauber has more on Cherington.

Empty feeling inside Fenway - Jon Couture says that Sox fans would be smart to keep their credit cards in their wallet this winter.

Special teams leads to bigger things - Chris Forsberg looks at how special teams led to a starring role for BenJarvis Green-Ellis. Julian Benbow looks at others on the Patriots roster who got their first chance on special teams.

In blink of eye, Tom Brady calls it as he sees it - Ian Rapoport looks at what goes into calling and changing a play at the line of scrimmage.

Pats must ready for another Ryan - Tim Whelan Jr. has the Patriots prepping to face a defense led by one of only two coaches to beat them last year.

Dez Bryant-Devin McCourty a select matchup - Karen Guregian notes that the 2010 draftees will always be connected.

Tip of the hat to Cowboy - Monique Walker’s notebook has Bill Belichick saying that it is fair to compare DeMarcus Ware with Lawrence Taylor. The Enterprise notebook from Glen Farley has Albert Haynesworth feeling like he’s improving. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport has Tony Romo speaking about his clutch failures.

Bruins in need of a remedy - Stephen Harris has the Bruins dropping another one, this time 3-2 on the road to the Hurricanes. Fluto Shinzawa also reports.