Back to the Friday Megalinks

It’s been a while since I could give you the Friday megalinks. You’re owed them. Let’s give them to you now.

There’s the Weekend Viewing Picks which has your sports and entertainment viewing choices.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand reports that Fox rookie NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira will be in the broadcast booth for Super Bowl XLV in case there’s a controversial call or booth review.

Mike McCarthy of USA Today notes that in his 2nd stint in the NFL, Michael Vick has become a ratings magnet.

Nat Worden of the Wall Street Journal notes that Time Warner Cable is offering a cheaper package to subscribers without ESPN. 

Milton Kent of Fanhouse is amused by the NFL ratings claims by CBS, Fox and NBC.

Milton talks about Michael Wilbon leaving the Washington Post after three decades for a full-time position with ESPN.

Carolyn Giardina of the Hollywood Reporter writes that ESPN is launching a new research and development lab with a Florida university.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News reports that the new NBC Sports/Comcast will have a new man heading up the cable side of the division.

Mike looks at ESPN research showing that 3-D TV had a “presence” during its coverage of the World Cup this past summer.

Mike says NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football won the cable primetime ratings once again.

Anthony Crupi of Mediaweek discusses Fox Sports becoming the home of the Big Ten Football Championship Game starting next year.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell says Reebok sees its future in selling its products through vending machines.

Darren looks at the future of notifying sports fans when something special is in progress.

Marcus Vanderberg of SportsNewser notes that ESPN was not allowed to air an Activision ad before an Outside the Lines segment today.

Glenn Davis from SportsGrid has the time lapse video of transforming Yankee Stadium from a baseball diamond to a football field.

I’ll have more on this story in the megalinks. Here’s Greg Wyshynski’s story in Yahoo’s Puck Daddy about the New York Islanders pulling a media credential from noted NHL blogger Chris Botta.

Joe Favorito talks about Botta and Scott Raab who had their credentials pulled.

Spots Media Watch notes that ESPN’s college football ratings got a rise from South Carolina-Florida last week.

SMW talks with WNBA star Candice Wiggins.

Steve Lepore of Puck The Media says Versus’ ratings for NHL Overtime rose over its predecessor, The Daily Line.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe looks at the first NESN simulcasts of WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan radio show.

In the Springfield Republican, the lovely Amanda Bruno profiles the blogger who blew the lid off the NHL’s Colin Campbell’s bias towards the Bruins’ Marc Savard.

In her blog, Batter-up with Bruno, Amanda tells younger sports media consumers that they should care if newspapers fall by the wayside.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times looks at the Islanders revoking Chris Botta’s media credential over a very silly issue.

Richard profiles CBS’ James Brown who is the face of a government contractor. 

Newsday’s Neil Best talks with NBC’s Al Michaels.

Neil wonders why SNY keeps replacing its female hosts for “Beer Money”.

Neil talks with Giants QB Eli Manning about hosting “Saturday Night Live”.

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman says ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike refrained from asking tough questions to Tiger Woods.

Phil Mushnick at the New York Post can’t stand live ad reads during live game action.

The Post’s Justin Terranova talks with ESPN’s NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union lists whom he thinks are among the best in hosting and calling NFL games.

Pete also conducts a poll on the same subject in his blog.

Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com gives a sports media roundup of the Baltimore-DC area in Press Box.

Dan Steinberg in the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog has Michael Wilbon’s thoughts on leaving the WaPo.

Jim Williams in the Washington Examiner has Alexander Ovechkin’s thoughts on his new NHL DVD.

South

Dustin Long of the Virginian-Pilot has NASCAR Chairman Brian France backing ESPN despite lower ratings this year. 

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes that the Heat’s ratings are up.

Ray Buck at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram looks at three new NFL Films documentaries.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle also looks at the NFL Films coaching docs.

The Daily Oklahoman wonders if ESPN’s College Gameday is headed to the Sooner State next Saturday.

Midwest

John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes what happened since the last time the Bengals were blacked out locally.

Mike Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says Fox Sports Detroit is beefing up its high school football coverage. 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob Wolfley doesn’t want to watch NBA TV’s airing of Allen Iverson playing in Turkey.

Crain’s Chicago Business’ Ed Sherman has his winners and losers in sports business and media.

Ed has the Chicago Cubs’ statement on the Big Ten’s decision to use only one endzone at Wrigley Field for tomorrow’s Illinois-Northwestern game.

Dan Caesar at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes a gander at the local sports radio ratings.

Dan has a closer look at the ratings.

West

Jay Posner at the San Diego Union-Tribune notes that the Chargers narrowly avoided a blackout on Monday night.

Jay talks with ESPN’s Ron Jaworski about Monday night’s Broncos-Chargers game.

John Maffei from the North County Times also talks with Jaws about Broncos-Chargers.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star discusses the NFL Films trilogy on coaches that began Friday.

Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times says Manny Pacquaio would have fascinated the writers of yesteryear.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News looks at the difference of sports reporting now and then.

Tom has his extensive media notes in his blog.

Stacy Brownhill of Willamette (OR) Week reports that Portland Trail Blazers fans protested Comcast SportsNet’s failure to gain widespread access for the team’s games.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail wonders if the local media is treating Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke with kid gloves in the wake of him losing his son earlier this year.

Burke’s daughter, Katie, has written a reply to some of the comments in Dowbiggin’s column.

We’ll end it there.

Dennis and Callahan To Be Simulcast on NESN

NESN and WEEI announced this morning that beginning on November 16th, The Dennis and Callahan program will be simulcast on NESN from 6:00 to 9:00 am weekdays. The show will also be available to NESN National subscribers across the country.

NESN will install four remotely controlled HD cameras in WEEI’s studio in Brighton, MA and fiber the feeds back to the NESN HD Television Center in Watertown, MA where NESN will direct the four feeds and add graphics. In addition to the live simulcast every weekday morning, NESN will also replay The Dennis and Callahan Showin primetime on NESN National. A one-hour “Best of Dennis & Callahan” is also planned for late night. The partnership also includes regular appearances by WEEI personalities on NESN’s Red Sox pre-game shows and other sports programs.

First reaction? Ugh.

Second reaction? How will Jason Wolfe attempt to use the TV numbers in his radio ratings numbers?

They insist it won’t, but I’ll be curious to see if the move means that D&C will be forced to tone down their hate act a bit. When it comes to politics, we already know that prominent members of Red Sox management are at the opposite end of the spectrum politically with D&C, how much will they be willing to tolerate on their own station? Or will the 9:00-10:00 hour now become the political hour for D&C?

I’m also interested in this move from the standpoint of WEEI’s relationship with Comcast SportsNet. Those two have sort of always been allies in many ways, now, with WEEI alligning itself so strongly with NESN, does that have a trickle-down effect on the other talent at the station?

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It’s unfortunate that a big Patriots win on Sunday is being overshadowed by the possible suspension on Brandon Meriweather for his hit on Todd Heap. Is it only in New England that fans and media are calling for their own player to be suspended?

Meriweather deserves suspension for vicious hit on Heap - Glen Farley’s column this morning is a perfect example of the above.

Belichick on top of his game - (registration may be required) Jonathan Comey says that Sunday’s win might be one of the crowning moments of Belichick’s career.

Quirky nickel scheme key to Patriots defense’s success - Ian Rapoport looks at the 1-5-5 defense that was so successful on Sunday.

Bowl of Belichicken soup - Gerry Callahan has the Patriots once again thriving under Belichick.

A single stop told story - Dave D’Onofrio looks at a big play that spoke volumes on Sunday.

Banta-Cain loses job to Cunningham - Rich Garven has the rookie from Florida making his third straight start on Sunday over the veteran who got the contract extension in the offseason.

The new Patriots’ passing game: Shorte routes, with more congestion - Tom E Curran says that Tom Brady will need to become more a point guard in the new offense.

Ravens, you’re not as good everyone thought you were - Bill Burt gets his column from today published in the Baltimore Sun. It doesn’t go over well. I love that the first commenter says that the column is sour grapes from the playoff loss. As Tom Brady pointed out, the Ravens have beaten the Patriots once in nine years.

Praise for Mesko still hanging in air - Shalise Manza Young’s notebook covers a number of topics.

Report Cards from Sunday are out. Check the grades from Jeremy Gottlieb | Kirk Minihane | Ron Borges.

To Celtics, Frank the perfect fit - Julian Benbow has a look at the newest Celtics assistant. Steve Bulpett also has a good piece on Frank.

No sixth sense for Shaq - Peter May says Shaq doesn’t want to compare himself to Bill Walton in ’86, he just wants another championship.

Job-sharing works for Rask - Joe Haggerty has the Bruins goalie okay with sharing time with Tim Thomas.

Boston Bruins defense will be put to test by Washington Capitals - Mike Loftus notes the tough test the Bruins will face in their home opener.

McAdam at the ALCS: Lee solidifying his place in history - Sean McAdam looks at another historically great performance from Cliff Lee.

Ortiz Helps Sox Avoid Sweep At Hands Of O’s

David Ortiz hit his 31st homer of the season, and had four RBI as the Red Sox beat the Orioles 6-1at Fenway Park last night. John Lackey got his 13th win of the season, and Josh Reddick added his first home run of the season in the win as well. Get all the stories at RedSoxLinks.com.

Ortiz leads Red Sox to victory, then talks about the possibility of leaving town - Daniel Barbarisi has a look at the big night from Ortiz, followed by talk of wanting a new deal, one without a home town discount.

Jonathan Papelbon won’t be leaving - John Tomase says you can count out a trade involving the Red Sox closer this offseason.

Ken Burns proud to present 10th inning - Michael Silverman with a look at the latest installment of “Baseball.”

Red Sox Notes: Red-hot Victor Martinez playing his way into a rich contract - Barbarisi has the Red sox catcher once again putting up big numbers.

Patriots’ second-half surety is gone - Jeremy Lundblad looks at the Patriots inability to hold second-half leads.

Brady’s not quite dialed in yet - Tom E Curran says that the QB isn’t quite himself yet.

Bagging Buffalo is a key in hunt for division title - Albert R Breer explains why this is such a big game for the Patriots.

Kevin Faulk has not left the building - Ian Rapoport has the injured running back saying that he will remain with the team, helping out in any way that he can while he rehabs his knee.

Without Faulk, this could get ugly - Hector Longo thinks this team could implode without Faulk.

Adjustments coming for Patriots - Mike Reiss says that the entire offense may need to be adjusted without Faulk.

Patriots Notes: Morris, Woodhead say they’re ready to help pick up the slack - Robert Lee has a pair of backs looking to fill Faulk’s shoes.

Worry Wart – Game Three vs. Bills - Chris Warner is still wary of this week’s opponent.

Bruins beat Canadiens in exhibition opener, 4-2 - Joe Haggerty has the Bruins looking good in their preseason opener.

Boston Bruins rookie candidate Joe Colborne can’t wait for his first NHL exhibition game. - While Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron got to play last night, the 2008 first round pick get his chance tonight. Mike Loftus has that story and a few other notes.

Concussion cases hard to figure - Joe McDonald says that aftereffects can vary greatly from case to case.

Julien impressed by Caron - Fluto Shinzawa’a notebook has the coach impressed with the 2009 first round pick.

Random observation of the morning:

Bill Simmons has been hosting PTI on ESPN this week, and was a guest of Dennis and Callahan this morning. Simmons talked about the experience of hosting PTI, and weighed in on the Patriots and Celtics. At the end, John Dennis told Simmons that his fly was down on the show yesterday. It was a curious comment, but typical of a bully-type trying to make someone else feel foolish and himself appear like the veteran TV guy. Simmons’ fly wasn’t down, and Dennis’ comment was pretty transparent in its objective.

Doc Rivers Tells WEEI KG Will Not Be Ready for Postseason

In his weekly interview with WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that after watching him run this morning, there was “no way” that Kevin Garnett was going to be ready to start the playoffs, and that after 20 minutes of running, he didn’t know if Garnett would be ready at any point to play in the postseason.

I wish that Doc subscribed to the Bill Belichick school of injury discussion. For weeks, Doc has been telling us that Garnett was close, that he could play if the playoffs started that day, that the team was just being cautious, and now he comes and drops this bomb just before the playoffs.

It appears Michael Holley was on the right track earlier this week when he said that he didn’t think KG would be ready for the playoffs, since nothing that Rivers and the Celtics had said regarding KG had turned out to be true. Since that has been the case,  Holley reasoned, why should we believe that Garnett would be ready to play in the playoffs?

Bruins Top Senators, D&C Bash Belichick. Again

The Bruins pulled out a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators last night, and took a step closer to clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Check BruinsLinks.com for the coverage this morning.

The Denver Broncos traded quarterback Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears last night for QB Kyle Orton, two first round draft picks and a third round draft pick. When the trade was announced last night, a BSMW messageboard poster made the comment that we could count on Dennis and Callahan banging the “Belichick could’ve gotten more for Cassel” drum this morning.

That was a gimme. The angry morning duo jumped on the topic with more than the usual enthusiasm this morning, insisting that Belichick bungled this one, or was in the tank with Pioli on the deal. (The term “severance package” came up.)They mocked the “Patriots talking points” that they say have come from the team and that a memo had been relayed to media lackees such as the Big Show crew.

They also presented themselves as the only people brave enough to say these things. They’ve certainly shown the courage of a lion in this episode.

Their list of “Patriots Talking Points” included:

  • A three-way deal such as presented by Denver and Tampa would’ve taken too long.
  • The Patriots needed to get the deal done quickly so they could re-sign the immortal James Sanders.
  • The second round pick is somehow more valuable than a first because you pay that player less for comparable talent.
  • No one approached the Patriots about Cassel prior to the Chiefs offer, even though they all had time to do so.

Dennis loudly proclaimed that Cassel only signed his tender just a few days prior to the start of free agency, so that argument that the Broncos had plenty of time to contact the Patriots was false. Dennis of course, couldn’t be more wrong about this. Cassel signed his tender on February 7th - three weeks before the start of free agency. What’s interesting in that link is that the esteemed Adam Schefter – who they’ve been quoting as gospel in whatever he says, including his claim that Cassel was a top 5 NFL QB, had this to say about Cassel:

The only way the Patriots would trade Cassel is if they know QB Tom Brady is healthy, and even if they do, the bidder needs to be to Cassel’s liking and offer a contract to his liking, or there’s no deal.

That’s not to say it can’t happen. But it’s not going to be easy to make it happen.

 So the guy D&C go to for all things NFL was saying three weeks before the trade that it was going to be difficult to trade Cassel.

And difficult it proved to be. For the value most “experts” seem to project, anyway.

In addition, WEEI regularly plays a promo in which D&C’s other NFL expert, Boomer Esiason says that the rest of the NFL wasn’t sold on Cassel yet, and that’s why the Patriots didn’t get as much as expected.

Dennis and Callahan this morning naturally ignored the biggest reason why Cutler was worth more in a trade than Cassel was.  Hopefully they and all the other conspiracy theorists and Blind Belichick Bashers can read this slowly so they can understand it.

Cutler was valued more because he was under contract for three more years at reasonable money.

 Cassel is playing under the franchise tag -$14+ million this season – then he can walk again next season if a deal isn’t done. He still has the hammer. Cutler was under control for three more years, and thus is a more valuable property. He also went to the Pro Bowl last season (Cassel didn’t) and was near the top of the league in many passing categories. He does come with his own set of immaturity issues, but teams always feel they can work on those.

The Cassel situation is unique. What player has ever changed teams under a one year, $15 million contract and STAYED with that contract? (notice there has been no extension in KC?) Not many.

I’m sure that the Patriots thought they would get more for Cassel than they did. Could they have gotten more? That’s hard to say. It’s evident that there was no big list of teams lining up to outbid each other for Cassel, and that had they waited, they would not have been able to move forward in free agency, where they have in fact been very active.

Would it have been worth it to wait a few days, move up a few picks, or get another third round pick but not be able to sign Fred Taylor, Chris Baker, Shawn Springs, Leigh Bodden, James Sanders, Greg Lewis (trade) and Joey Galloway? It’s likely many of those players would be elsewhere today had the Patriots waited to make a deal.

What’s the old saying? A bird in hand is worth two in the bush? The Patriots determined that grabbing that pick, and being able to move forward in free agency was worth more than waiting and hoping that something better might come along.

Dennis and Callahan are a difficult combination of both agenda-driven and clueless. Bill Belichick is now on the same level as Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez in their eyes and they will take every opportunity to try and bash him, even if they are clearly off the reservation in their grasp of the most basic facts.

This comes on the heels of their constant talk that Belichick has sabotaged Josh McDaniels in Denver, leaking the fact that the Broncos were interested in Cassel so that Cutler would be upset. This, they claim was retribution for McDaniels leaving and then signing Lonie Paxton. (and Jabbar Gaffney, but they don’t mention him)

Could this be any more ridiculous? Paxton is a long-snapper for crying out loud.  McDaniels offered him silly money. The Patriots replaced him with a guy who has had a very similar career to Paxton (without the snow angels) at the same money that Paxton was making before.

Dennis and Felger Taking Heat for “Bromance” Talk

Thanks to Dan Kennedy, I was pointed to this article in the BC independent student newspaper The Heights which took exception to a segment of the Dennis and Callahan program this week (actually hosted by Dennis and Mike Felger) which they describe as such:

The commentators made a number of derisive comments about students who they specifically named on air. They asserted that the students are in fact homosexual and that the friendships they share with other men are not as they say. At one point, the commentator referenced a particular student, and, upon reading his name, said, “If that’s not gay, I don’t know what is.”

The hosts also made disturbing remarks about the nature of masculinity and of male friendship. The examples they provided of acceptable male activities invariably involved sporting events, drinking, and strippers.

Adam Gaffin also has a brief entry on the subject, titled, I’d almost think Dennis and Callahan are closeted but …

Man Arrested For Making Threatening Calls to WEEI

David Frank of the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s news blog alerted me to a story this afternoon about a Cambridge man facing charges for making a series of obscene calls to WEEI last year, mostly in reference to the Dennis and Callahan radio show.

Jessica Heslam also has a report on the story, in which the suspect, David S. Banner, 57, made four threatening calls to the station allegedly wishing for Julie Kahn, Jason Wolfe and John Dennis to “die.”

An example from Heslam’s article:

“You and your Klu Klux Klan partner should talk sports you (expletive, expletive). And the next thing too Dennis, when you talk about somebody’s look, look in the (expletive) mirror you donut-eating mother (expletive, expletive) sucker. You and your (expletive, expletive) daughter, die you son of a (expletive).”

Boston.com also has a report.

D&C Election Joke Not Funny to SoS

This morning, Dennis & Callahan made a joke about the election being postponed until tomorrow, and that Democrats should vote then. Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin wasn’t amused and issued a “warning” to the talk show hosts. 

WRKO and WEEI Program Director Jason Wolfe responded to the incident with the following statement:

“In their comments relative to today’s election, Dennis and Callahan were obviously joking about a story that has received significant media coverage. WEEI has been on the air today reminding listeners that today is the only day to vote and encouraging them to vote before the polls close,”