Opinion: Time For NFL Owners To Step Up

We welcome this guest editorial from Michael Walsh.

It is easy to forget that Roger Goodell is only the most powerful man in sports because the true oligarchy of power needs a public face. The inept, incompetent, and possibly unscrupulous Goodell only holds power because 32 of the richest men in America give it to him.

And now, as the disgrace of the league’s handling of Ray Rice knocking his fiancée out cold grows larger and larger with each breaking news story and subsequent denial or “admission” of failure, calls for Goodell’s resignation are growing louder and louder, and not just from fans on Twitter, but from the league’s partner, and often times enabler, ESPN, as well as the National Organization of Women.

Unfortunately, everyone has it wrong. Stop calling on Goodell to go.

Start calling on his bosses to do the right thing and make him go.

Make no mistake: Roger Goodell works for them. Those 32 insanely rich men. They have hired him to do their dirty work, protect “The Shield”, and most importantly, increase their bottom dollar.

And boy has he. Just a few of those accomplishments include a CBA that grossly favors the owners, a new Thursday night game revenue stream, and local cities falling over themselves to let the taxpayers fund their stadiums. The NFL isn’t an ATM, it is a mint. They are printing money, and their stated goal is to grow and grow the game, and by that they simply mean to increase their profits to even more obscene levels.

Goodell has been such an able employee, and just as importantly, been the face to take all the cries of hypocrisy and greed sent the NFL’s way, that they rewarded him with $44 million in salary last year. All of this to a commissioner whose gaffes and missteps are well-documented. High profile columnists, players both former and active, and fans on social media are happy to point them out.

Ho hum. Print that money. Thank you Roger. You’re doing a great job.

That is the message 32 of the richest men in America keep giving Roger Goodell.

Well no more. That can no longer be the case. Not when the leader of the most powerful, richest sports league in America has so monumentally screwed up something so important.

Ray Rice spit on his fiancée, twice, then hit her in the face with violent, malicious punches, twice, before dragging her like a sack of potatoes out of the elevator. And it is all on video.

What Ray Rice did is despicable. How he has acted since then is despicable. Ray Rice may or may not be scum, but the evidence there is pretty overwhelming.

And the NFL and Roger Goodell have enabled him and every other piece of scum out there. Domestic violence cannot be trivialized, it cannot be brushed aside, it cannot be explained away. The NFL owed it to every women in this country to do right by them, and they didn’t. Whether out of unimaginable incompetence, or, more likely, willful malice in trying to protect “The Shield” (their pocketbook), the NFL took what happened to a battered woman and made it an assault on all women.

So it is time for one of the 32 richest men in America to stand up and be the first to say that the man they pay to do their bidding has to go. It is time for one of them to publicly, with his name attached and his face on camera, to say that Roger Goodell failed his biggest test, that he failed every fan of the league, every daughter, every mother, every sister, every wife and girlfriend, as well as every son, father, brother, husband and boyfriend that love and worry about those people being the next sack of potatoes on a videotape that people with power don’t care to watch.

One owner needs to take the first step that will do whatever needs to be done to salvage something good out of all of this horribleness, no matter how much money it might cost 32 of the richest men in America.

What is the price of right and wrong? Surely the job of one terrible commissioner isn’t enough, but it sure would help in making amends for the damage already done.

Step up. One of you. Step up on your own and say he needs to go. The rest will follow. Then the league will go on, and hopefully the message will be sent that not only the behavior, but the enabling and incompetence that followed is not acceptable to the National Football League, and that women are valued and the league will go to any lengths to defend them from violent animals without having to worry about what 32 of the richest men in America might do to undermine that.

Thoughts? You can email Michael Walsh at [email protected]

Peter King Needs To Turn The Finger-Wag On Himself For Once

The rise of Peter King in the sports media world is a curious one. The 57-year-old King really vaulted into prominence when he began writing the weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column back in the 1990’s. The Internet was still new, and getting this fast overview of the weekend’s football action was a popular idea that took off.

peterkingPrior to this, King had been a fairly ordinary sportswriter, with stints at The Cincinnati Enquirer and Newsday prior to joining Sports Illustrated in 1989, he wrote several books during the 1990’s, but it was Monday Morning Quarterback which really lifted him above his peers in terms of popularity and stature.

He had been a solid reporter, and in addition to the football reporting, people seemed to enjoy his “10 things I think I think” and non-football thoughts of the week, tales of travel woe, as well as updates on his favorite coffee stops, and later, his choice in (inevitably citrusy) beer. The MMQB success made him a sought-after guest on sports radio programs – here in Boston his guest spots on the midday show with Dale Arnold and whomever his current partner was at the time were very popular segments – and also TV shows, such as Inside The NFL, then still on HBO.  When the NFL came to NBC, he was a big part of that, providing in studio reports on Football Night in America.

Then, last year SI, following in the footsteps of Bill Simmons at ESPN, gave King his own website, and team of writers at themmqb.com. He was (and is) at the pinnacle of his career and power.

Yes, power. One of the more annoying things that King has developed over the years is his penchant for the finger-wag at those he feels are deserving of his scorn. He somehow has come to believe that he is a moral arbiter of society, taking people to task for failures in their own lives and professions. In addition to lecturing people inside the league, he’s weighed in on people’s lives outside of football, he’s scolded Red Sox players, and generally acted the part of the ugly American in dealings with any sort of service industry employee. He went to visit troops overseas and gave away details of the location of the camp. These things are all annoying, but mostly harmless.

He has also, like many in the media, gotten close to the subjects he covers and spends a lot of time pumping them up. He was a regular at Brett Favre’s house. Who can forget him eating popcorn in Jerry Jones’s office? Or spending  a week “embedded” with official Gene Steratore and his crew? Or the numerous exclusive sitdowns  (6000 words!) and gushing profiles of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

For some, those columns on Goodell serve to solidify the notion that King is nothing more than a publicity agent in service of the Commissioner. Events of this summer are further disturbing in exposing King’s reporting as being shoddy, incomplete and dishonest.

When the original two-game suspension was handed out, King wrote a column explaining what Goodell’s thinking was in suspending Rice for really only four days – the Ravens played Sunday and play again on Thursday night. The article, complete with bullet-points, was written at the time in which the public had only seen the tape of Rice pulling his fiance of the elevator, seems to be a direct missive from the Commissioner. In fact, King doesn’t say “I think this is what Goodell’s thinking was here.” he says This is why Goodell was softer on Rice than a four-game suspension.

The bullet points, which included he’s never done it before and he does a lot in the community rang hollow to many people who responded back to King in anger. He attempted to defend himself by citing “evidence” that he hadn’t mentioned in the first column.

Note the wording here.

There is one other thing I did not write or refer to, and that is the other videotape the NFL and some Ravens officials have seen, from the security camera inside the elevator at the time of the physical altercation between Rice and his fiancée. I have heard reports of what is on the video, but because I could not confirm them and because of the sensitivity of the case, I never speculated on the video in my writing, because I don’t think it is fair in an incendiary case like this one to use something I cannot confirm with more than one person. I cannot say any more, because I did not see the tape. I saw only the damning tape of Rice pulling his unconscious fiancée out of the elevator.

(Emphasis mine)

So much here. King never explains why he didn’t think it was “fair” to mention the tape on Thursday, but it was OK to mention it four days later. He also definitively states that the video had been viewed by both the NFL and the Ravens. (Later, we learn that he actually did not know this for sure.) He then goes back and forth with a bunch of contrasting phrases I have heard reports/I could not confirm and I never speculated/I cannot confirm.

I’m trying to make sense of this. He states the tape was viewed. He heard reports on its contents, could not confirm so he’s not going to speculate. It’s especially unfair to use information that can’t be confirmed with more than one person – essentially giving us unwashed masses a lesson in the ethic of journalism here.

EXCEPT – he lied. He uses the information in an effort to defend himself, but it was information that he in fact did NOT confirm with more than one person.

You may know this as the John Tomase rule.

King however, wasn’t that humbled by the blowback. He concluded that section by writing:

In retrospect, I would have added a paragraph or two to the story at the end about what I thought, because that is clearly what so many of you expect from me.

Two things – I look at that sentence as just dripping with condescension. Isn’t he admitting right here that the talking points in the original Goodell defense were not his own, but were actually Goodell’s? The original article was written in such as way as to make you think that King is merely observing the whole situation from on high, detached from the situation and saying “This is what Goodell is thinking.” In reality, they were Goodell’s thoughts. and now Peter is distancing himself from them and saying he should’ve offered HIS thoughts too, as they would be very different from Goodell’s. The impatient “clearly what so many of you expect me from me” bit makes me ill.

How do we know he lied? He copped to it yesterday in this curiously titled addendum to the Ray Rice coverage.

He writes:

Earlier this summer a source I trusted told me he assumed the NFL had seen the damaging video that was released by TMZ on Monday morning of Rice slugging his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer, in an Atlantic City elevator. The source said league officials had to have seen it. This source has been impeccable, and I believed the information. So I wrote that the league had seen the tape. I should have called the NFL for a comment, a lapse in reporting on my part. The league says it has not seen the tape, and I cannot refute that with certainty. No one from the league has ever knocked down my report to me, and so I was surprised to see the claim today that league officials have not seen the tape.

I hope when this story is fully vetted, we all get the truth and nothing but the truth.

For King to write within the same paragraph that something had happened and then say “I don’t think it is fair in an incendiary case like this one to use something I cannot confirm with more than one person.” is completely mind-blowing.

His defense is “no one ever told me I was wrong“? (Aside: How tone-deaf does someone have to be to use the phrase “knocked down” in referencing to his own reporting on a case which involved a woman getting knocked unconscious and dragged across a lobby?) This is the guy lecturing on ethics and the importance of multiple sources?

Then the last sentence. Isn’t that YOUR job, Peter? To advance and vet the story?

He continued on the topic with his mailbag today. Many readers were still upset, and King attempted to placate them and apologize – but not really.

I’ve been a reporter for 34 years and I’ve made my share of mistakes. This certainly was one of them. And I realize that a lot of people will not trust what I say on this issue, but I can assure you that it was simply an honest mistake. As far as resigning, if my bosses inside Sports Illustrated and Time Inc. don’t want me to report anymore, they’ll tell me. But I won’t be voluntarily quitting. I’m not sure what good that would do, other than to satisfy some fairly shrill cries for my head.

After looking at the above, can we really call this “an honest mistake?” Not at all. It was deliberate. There was no “honest mistake” involved in the least.

How about that last line? Again, the tone-deafness of Peter King is just insane. Does the term “fairly shrill cries” fill you with warmth at the thought of a humbled man looking to make good on his errors? Or does it leave you with the picture of a testy, impatient man scolding “leave me alone you screeching vultures?”

Way to go, Pete. Get your house in order.

About That Miami Game…

Captured footage from my house around 4:15 yesterday.

giphy

After a fairly good first half in South Florida yesterday, the Patriots came out in the second half and did nothing. They didn’t score at all after putting up 20 points in the first half, and gave up 23 points to the Dolphins. Both lines were pretty dreadful and halftime adjustments seemed non-existent. Miami won going away, 33-20.

The result was the first opening day loss for the Patriots since the 31-0 debacle to open the 2003 season.

A performance like that draws the trolls, and they love nothing better than taking victory laps on afternoon’s like yesterday.

The Globe again has it’s day-after special football section for this season, which will this season include a Monday sports media column from Chad Finn. This week he looks at the game day offerings and ahead to the certain caterwauling of sports radio this week.

On the media front, you should also check out Finn’s Friday column on the history of the sideline reporter, check out last week’s edition of Patriots Football Weekly for my column on the various sideline reporting changes this offseason, and look at the New York Post’s article on Jenny Dell who is working as an NFL sideline reporter for CBS.

Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis and Callahan and Minihane this morning, and no one knows better than he that there is a lot of work to be done.

Get all the coverage from yesterday’s game at PatriotsLinks.com.

If you’re interested in deep, football-focused talk, check out Matt Chatham’s new site footballbyfootball.com, where he has NFL players weighing in and analyzing happenings around the league.

It will be a long week. No doubt about that. It’s already begun, and will not cease until the team wins a game convincingly.

This team will be fine.   There may be more rough patches ahead until roles and rotations are settled, but this is a good team. Despite what you’ll hear, see and read this week.

NFL Preview Day, Globe Goes MAD

The NFL season starts tonight, with the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks hosting the Green Bay Packers on NBC.

The Globe and the Herald have their NFL/Patriots season previews today so there is plenty of material to go through.

As a tribute to 93-year-old MAD Magazine cartoonist Al Jaffee, the Globe did a “fold-in” cover to its section. The image shows the Patriots losing to the Jets 17-3 at Gillette and walking off the field dejectedly while the Jets dance on the stadium turf. BUT fold in the image and you see the Lombardi Trophy.

There’s a whole lot I could say here about the image representing everything the Globe feels about the Patriots and their fans, but I’ll let you guys handle that. And yes, I know the old MAD fold-ins were made so you think it means one thing, and it shows something completely different, but still. Yeesh.

Some highlights from the sections:

Persistent Bill Belichick grows into champion – Jeff Howe has a feature on the coach’s rise from a $25 a week film assistant to a coaching legend. Not much new material in here, but it is always nice to look at the accomplishments rather than the failures.

Tom Brady fueled by doubts about his ability – Chris Gasper does a similar bit on the Patriots QB, and his continued drive to be at the top.

Revamping defense was a priority for Patriots – Shalise Manza Young has a look at the moves made to bulk up the D.

Tom Brady to have many options in score zone – Karen Guregian looks at the improved Red Zone options that Brady has this season. (Wait…I thought Brady didn’t have any WEAPONZ!!!)

Bill Belichick belongs among NFL’s coaching greats – Yes, this is Ron Borges writing this. But don’t be fooled. This is his cover piece, so when he rips him up the rest of the season he can say “Hey, what do you want? I said he was among the greatest of all time!”

To that end – Bill Belichick, Tom Brady on same page – Ron wants you to know that the two are NOT friends. They are just to professionals who happen to work well together. (No, it really isn’t that bad.)

Darrelle Revis brings Patriots back to title roots – Ben Volin looks at the Patriots best CB since the prime of Ty Law and what it means to the team’s hopes.

New England Patriots TE Tim Wright has been adapting on the fly since college – New Masslive.com Patriots writer Kevin Duffy has a piece on the new Patriots tight end.

Levine’s 2014 NFL season preview – Rich Levine looks at the entire league.

Patriots, Broncos are prime-time TV players – Chad Finn says that the national audience will be seeing plenty of these two teams this season.

Full Media Portion of Channel Media and Market Research Poll

Last week I mentioned the media portion of the Channel Media and Market Research poll. Thanks to two readers who each sent me a full copy of the poll, here is the complete media section of the survey.

Download the PDF file .

 

Meet The New New England Patriots

As we head into the week after Labor Day and hunker down for fall and football, why not pick up some chat fodder to avoid awkward water-cooler moments by learning about some of the newest Patriots?

Also on tap – after dozens and dozens of requests (read: none whatsoever), the return of high school fun facts!

[Read more...]

Patriots Wrap Preseason Slate, Cuts Tomorrow

The Patriots wrapped up their preseason schedule with a 16-13 loss to the New York Giants. Jimmy Garoppolo went wire-to-wire in this one and had his moments, both good and bad.

While some are ready to just hand him the backup QB job and get rid of Ryan Mallett, we likely won’t know for at least a few days what the team plans to do. Final cuts are tomorrow, but we can expect the roster to be in flux through at least Tuesday.

I thought the broadcasts on WBZ improved throughout the preseason, and while last night was still silly at times, it was much better than the first effort of the season. Fauria has moments where he can actually give pretty good analysis, he got into detail at one point last night about footwork on a catch, making the right plant when turning which was information, but then he also has moments like “everyone loves bubbles!” which just makes you roll your eyes.

Matt Chatham as usual, is the best part of the broadcast. While some may object and say that he is too deep and technical in his analysis, there is a segment of the viewership that really wants that next level dissection of plays.

Last night’s game will only get one replay on NFL Network, that being tomorrow, Saturday August 30th at 1:00pm ET. The Giants broadcast crew of Bob Papa and Carl Banks with Howard Cross & Bruce Beck on the sidelines will call the game.

What we learned: Patriots put wraps on preseason with 16-13 loss to Giants – Chris Price breaks down the takeaways from last night.

On the media side:

CBS’s all-female studio show is intriguing – Chad Finn looks at the CBS Sports Network’s new studio show, featuring Lesley Visser,  Amy Trask, and Tracy Wolfson, as well as contributions from Andrea Kremer, Laila Ali, Dara Torres, and Swin Cash.

Finn sort of buried the lede though later in the column by noting that Gerry Callahan has already re-signed with WEEI while John Dennis has not. It seems unlikely that Dennis will not eventually re-sign with the station, but it could be an interesting few days. (Update 1:10PM – Finn Tweets that Dennis has agreed to a new deal as well.)

The New England sports survey conducted by Channel Media & Market Research and mentioned in the Inside Track this week had some curious picks in the media section.

According to the Track, “The survey was conducted from Aug. 12-24 and 40 percent of the respondents were from Massachusetts with the other New England states making up the rest. Seventy-five percent of those polled were male, and the majority were between 25 and 44 years old.

Also, the polls were completely “write in” meaning choices were not given to the respondents. They picked these.

Felger and Mazz read off this list on Wednesday at the end of the show. I don’t remember all exactly, except for the winners. These are what I remember:

Top Team Play by Play or Analyst – Don Orsillo was the winner. Others in the top five included Dave O’Brien, Bob Beers, Tommy Heinsohn and Jack Edwards. No Mike Gorman which is an absolute travesty.

Favorite Sportswriter – Mike Reiss won this one. Other favorites in the top five were Gerry Callahan, Dan Shaughnessy, Tony Massarotti and Gordon Edes. Tony Mazz has written about five times in the last year.

Favorite Sports Radio Host – Tony Massarotti. I’ve lost all faith in humanity with this pick. I’m truly aghast. Other favorites were Dale Arnold, Scott Zolak, and tied for fifth were Mike Felger and Marc Bertrand.

Favorite TV Sports Host – Tom Caron. Others on the list included Jerry Remy, Bob Neumeier and Felger.

Pats Bollix It Up Again

It continually amazes me how much Bill Belichick and the Patriots get mocked and criticized by the media and fans, yet continue to win around 80% of their games. Criticized for the Mankins pick, and now criticized for the Mankins trade. How could you draft this guy there? becomes How could you trade this franchise cornerstone?

Time after time, the local media is critical of a pick, trade, cut or other decision, to the point of being insulting, and time and again they are proven wrong. Does the media ever look back and say, “Wow, I really bollixed up that analysis?” Rarely, if ever. Granted, this is mostly being done by sports radio hosts, the national media and know-nothing local “columnists” relegated to posting videos in their bathrobes, but this influence is out there. On the beat, you’ll hear a lot of talk about the “heartless, unsentimental” coach.

On Twitter yesterday it sure seemed to me that more people were pissed off that the Patriots had acquired another Rutgers player than they were that the team had traded away Mankins. Because that Rutgers “obsession” has really cost the Patriots dearly.

The fact is, this is Belichick and the Patriots getting out a year early rather than a year too late. They’ve done it numerous times. Milloy, Seymour, Warren, Moss, Welker, now Mankins. Each time there has been uproar, and each time the team has largely been proven correct. Has anyone locally pointed out that Danny Amendola will likely be playing meaningful football this season while Wes Welker ponders his future after yet another concussion? Does anyone bother pointing out that with the Seymour trade, the Patriots selected Nate Solder who plays the most important part of the offensive line and does it well? If Tim Wright comes in and duplicates or exceeds what he did last season will anyone acknowledge it?

It’s laughable when I hear columnists or radio hosts cry that the entire local media is in the bag for Belichick and the Patriots. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I heard and read so many laments about losing Mankins when it is so important to keep Tom Brady upright. Was anyone paying attention when Mankins gave up double-digit sacks last year? Or what about perhaps the most important play of the season last year?

Logan Mankins is a beast, and I loved having him on the team. He definitely set the tone, he took no crap from trash-talking opponents, and always came to the defense of his teammates. Will they miss him?

YES.

Will they be OK without him? I think so.

Compare and contrast:

Belichick Sells High – Greg Bedard talks sense.

Patriots just aren’t sentimental – Ben Volin, Bedard’s replacement at the Globe, talks no sense.

But winning and turning a profit are 1 and 1A for the front office, and Mankins’s value to the team just didn’t quite match his bloated salary for this year ($6.25 million). Most teams let their aging stars ride off into the sunset, but that doesn’t fly around here, not with Tom Brady’s clock ticking and the need for another championship growing more desperate each season.

Man, where do we even begin to rip this apart?

So Belichick cares about saving the franchise money? He cares about having the team in the best financial shape under the salary cap, which is entirely different from “turning a profit.” Most teams let their aging stars ride off into the sunset? Could we have some specific examples here?

Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Joe Montana, James Harrison, Ronnie Lott, Marcus Allen, Jerry Rice, Bruce Smith, Jason Taylor, Fred Taylor, Ryan Clark, Steve McNair, Maurice Jones-Drew, Justin Tuck, DeMarcus Ware, Champ Bailey.

All of those aging stars surely appreciated their longtime teams allowing them to ride off into the sunset.

Red Sox Continue Dismal Season, Third Preseason Game For Patriots

Is the Red Sox season over yet?

It’s really hard to believe what has happened at Fenway Park this season, perhaps even more difficult to believe what happened last season at Fenway Park.

What went wrong with Xander Bogaerts & Jackie Bradley? – Peter Abraham has an excellent look at one of the biggest issues this season – the struggles of two rookies who were expected to play big roles this season.

Their current hope at keeping interest up is the pursuit of Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, which could be resolved today.

The Patriots play the third preseason game tonight against the Carolina Panthers. It will again be on the Patriots Preseason Network.

Replay times on NFL Network are as follows:

Saturday August 23rd – 1:00 AM and 1:00 PM

Monday August 25th – 4:00 PM

Intangibles have helped Patriots’ Malcolm Butler write his rags-to-riches story – Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal has a nice mini-feature on the undrafted rookie who is making a strong bid to make this team.

After losing Nick Underhill to the Saints beat earlier this summer, MassLive.com has hired Kevin Duffy (@KevinRDuffy)  to take over the Patriots beat.

Is Little League World Series coverage too much? – Chad Finn looks at the coverage from ESPN this week, which got big ratings, thanks in large part to Mo’ne Davis.

Boston media has great taste in main courses – John Molori talks to several Boston sports media personalities about their favorite golf courses.

Random Monday In August

August isn’t a whole lot of fun in the sports landscape, especially when the Red Sox are already out of contention. Hockey and Basketball are still weeks away. The seemingly endless grind of training camp and preseason football drones on.

It’s also the time when most sports radio hosts take some time off before the NFL season gets fully underway. Thus we’ve had an overload of Steve Buckley, Greg Dickerson, Jerry Thornton, Adam Jones (filling on on the AM) Jon Meterparel and the other B-list fill in hosts.

Some of whom are quite OK in small doses, but when you’re sitting there thinking “I can’t wait for John Dennis to come back,” you know there’s an issue.

Rich Shertenlieb has been out for another reason – he’s been by his wife’s side as she continues her battle against cancer. Certainly no one can take issue with that.

When the morning topics are the Little League World Series and talking about a 12 year-old girl and making statements like she’s really a 15-year-boy or that she’ll be a drug addict in a couple years, you know things are bit slow.

But if you thought I was overreacting to Felger and Mazz and Minihane accusing Pedro Martinez of steroid use, or just couldn’t handle their sarcasm and snark, at least I’m not alone in the view.

Sunday Mail: Speculating on Whether Pedro’s Performances Were Enhanced is a New Low – Chad Finn’s Sunday Column is, if anything, tougher on them than I was.

I’m still trying to figure out the angle on Dan Shaughnessy’s column yesterday. We should go easier on celebrities because their lives are hard? And there’s a picture of Roger Clemens with the column? What is the message? And why would Shaughnessy advocate going easy on anyone? Has he ever? Besides John Henry Williams, that is?

From the “Ben Volin is Awesome” department:

Volin had the fingerwag going at Mike Mayock for his comments about Ryan Mallett, basically saying that Mayock is not around Mallett everyday and is thus unqualified to make such a statement.

Then Volin wrote this in his Sunday notes yesterday:

Manziel showed enough in his first game (63 yards passing, 27 rushing) that he looks like he can handle himself at the NFL level.

So Volin can watch half of the first preseason game and declare that a QB is ready to play in the NFL. That’s not a “snap judgment?” Who is more qualified to make a snap judgment on a player anyway? A guy who played in the league and evaluates talent for the draft and works games on a weekly basis, or a reporter who pretty much covers one club, and once lead the charge to give Richie Incognito a “good guy” award?

Breaking News – Over the weekend, I actually heard some pretty good sports talk radio. First Chris Villani and then Danny Picard on WEEI were both reasoned, informative and intelligent in running their afternoon shows on Saturday. I’ve heard both before, many times, but it really struck me how different their shows, at least that day were compared to what I’ve been hearing elsewhere for a while now.

I’m convinced though, that Picard’s accent is a put-on.

If you get a chance, check out the Improper Bostonian and their Patriots coverage. They’ve got a cool Q&A/Feature on Devin McCourty, a team season preview and a Patriots’ 2004 Coaching Staff flow chart looking at the travels of that group since that last Super Bowl title.