Tag Archives: Patriots

Michael Donner Is Not Welcome Here

Posted by Irregaahhdless

I love this proposed deal in Peter King’s MMQB Tuesday Edition today:

From Michael Donner of Rochester, N.Y.: “Hear me out, as I think this makes sense given the history of the Belichick Era (Deion Branch, Richard Seymour, Ty Law, Curtis Martin): Offer Tom Brady to the Raiders for their 2010 1st, 2nd, 3rd; 2011 2nd, 2012 1st, 2nd.”

What’s the matter, Mike? Couldn’t figure out a way to get Richard Seymour back — and maybe throw in Nnamdi Asomugha, too?

Al Davis is all but brain dead, but even he’d hang up on the Pats if they called with this deal.

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Before You Even Start, Shut the Hell Up

Posted by Irregaahhdless

I’m already bracing for it — the backlash that’s sure to come from Wes Welker’s apparent season-ending injury today. In fact, as I’m typing this, I’m positive that Dan Shaughnessy is licking the stamp on his column that will include statements like:

a. “What was Belichick thinking playing Welker?”

b. An allusion to Belichick having lost his touch. (First the Colts game earlier this year and now this.)

c. Some out-of-date reference to Larry Bird.

Of course I’m bummed that the ghost of a chance that the Pats had to make a run in the playoffs disappeared during one awkward cut on the Reliant Stadium turf. But in no way am I (nor should any clear-thinking Pats fan) think that Welker being the game was the wrong decision.

First off, the play happened on the Patriots’ first drive of the game. Even notorious close-to-the-vest coach Jim Caldwell had his starters in during the first quarter of a snowstorm (considering the footing, you have to imagine there was a much higher injury risk in Buffalo today). And the bottom line is this isn’t college with 100-player rosters and ample subs. You can only dress 45 on game days in the NFL. You’re always going to have some starters in the game. (Additionally, the Pats play many three-receiver sets and only have six receivers on the roster — two of whom are really just special teams guys just happen to have “WR” next to their name on the roster.)

Secondly, the injury was a fluke. If Welker had been getting tackled or was blown up while returning a punt, there’s at least a bit of an argument. But this happened on a play where he was untouched. And it happened to one of the league’s toughest and most durable receivers. He was making the same cut he’s made 100 times in games this year (and likely 1,000 times in practice) on a dry, grass field. Sometimes weird shit happens. And if it had happened in practice — an event as likely (if not more) as probable as doing it in a game — would folks be saying, “Why was Welker practicing?” Of course not. Because that’d be retarded.

Anyway, anyone who wrote a “Jim Caldwell shouldn’t have pulled his starters” last week column is automatically DQ’d from being allowed to write one saying that Welker shouldn’t have been in the game. That should eliminate 90 percent of all columnists. For the other 10 percent who are considering questioning Welker playing today, here’s a thought: Don’t. You’ll only be embarrassing yourself.

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Why Newspapers Are Dying, Part 4,283

Posted by Irregaahhdless

When people look at why the newspaper industry is in shambles, the arguments that always pop up first are:

“The generation that grew up with newspapers is dying off.”

And…

“They need to find a way to make money online.”

What seems to come up far less frequently is that newspaper management continually makes craptacular decisions about its personnel, thereby leaving people who (a) might still read a physical paper and (b) might pay for some content online with a terrible product.

(Side note No. 1: In many ways, I feel the same way about the automobile industry. I mean, is it heartbreaking to see large portions of Detroit in decay and many folks out of work? Of course. But you want to know why that is? Because, for years and years and years, auto plants in Detroit cranked out inferior cars. I drove a new Pontiac for three years before it started giving me trouble. My Honda Accord is chugging toward our 10-year anniversary with nary a problem.)

Wait. What? Oh, right. Newspapers. Anyway, congrats are in order for the Boston Globe’s Mike Reiss, who has jumped ship for ESPN Boston (launching Monday). Reiss was the Patriots beat reporter and blogger — a role that (hopefully) he’ll be duplicating over at the Worldwide Leader in Sports.

Now, I’m not sure if Reiss created the blueprint for how to blog about a sports team. But if he didn’t, he was an early consultant on the project. For four-plus years at the Globe, his “Reiss’ Pieces” blog set the standard for how to give fans what they wanted exactly when they wanted it. He posted 4-5 times an afternoon during the season, dropping little nuggets about which players weren’t present at the media-attended portion of practice and which ones were in non-contact jerseys. (Considering how closely the Pats guard info like that, it’s surprising that Bill Belichick didn’t have Reiss killed at some point. Maybe the fact that he didn’t goes to show that Coach Bill respected a kid who busted his ass and was always at the top of his game.) Even the most mundane info (you know, the kind of stuff sports fans eat up) like which numbers the team’s new draft picks were wearing was posted. Seriously, Reiss didn’t miss a trick.

Now, I don’t have the first clue as to why Reiss is leaving the Globe, but if I were a betting man, I’d say it had something to do with money. He’s going from a company that was close to being shut down earlier this year to one that has billion-dollar broadcast rights to the NFL, MLB and NBA. You can’t blame him for that.

Who you can blame, though, is the Globe. Along with Reiss, the company also had the talented Christopher Gasper covering the Pats. The two of them combined probably made half of what columnist Dan Shaughnessy pulls in for 8 to 10 less-than-mediocre columns a month. Yet Shaughnessy and his bloated salary remain on the Globe payroll, largely because the guys running the joint think his tired-back-in-1999 columns (“Ooooh, the Sox are cursed!” and “Remember Red Auerbach — he shut off the hot water in the visitors’ locker room! That rascal!”) are what Boston sports fans want to read more than anything else.

(Side note No. 2: Of course, there are at least a few dipshits over at ESPN who think that people enjoy watching Chris Berman, Lou Holtz and Skip Bayless. Note to those guys: We don’t.)

Years ago, it was impossible to put a value on what a writer was worth to a newspaper. Sure, your paper could sell a million copies a day — but how many folks were buying that paper to read a particular columnist? Or, for that matter, how many people simply read someone on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis? It wasn’t really measurable.

Well, now it is. Online metrics can track how many folks read Reiss’ stuff compared to Shaughnessy’s. And they can also gauge what that means in terms of overall revenue to the paper. And you have to think that an Internet-savvy guy like Reiss got sick and tired of leading the Globe sports staff in page views while being paid like the No. 8 hitter in the order.

So, now he’s gone. And even though I loathe ESPN at times, you’d better believe I’ll be adding Reiss and ESPN Boston to my bookmarks first thing Monday morning — and I’m sure thousands of other Patriots fans will be doing the same.

Real smart, Boston Globe. How to work it through.

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Fare Thee Well, Tedy

Posted by Irregaahhdless

Look, I’m a Patriots fan. And I understand that the team’s charter flight could go down in flames tomorrow and I wouldn’t receive one drop of sympathy. Additionally, the team could be wrapping up a 19-0 season in January (by the way, F you, David Tyree; seriously, please stand in my office parking lot tomorrow so that I can run you over with my car) and I wouldn’t expect a single person to say “congrats” or “enjoy the parade” to me. But, knowing that, I can’t let Tedy Bruschi’s retirement go by without saying something.

We all watch sports for a reason — and many times that reason is to connect on some superficial level with the guys on your team. And for Patriots fans, Bruschi was the guy with whom we could associate most. Certainly more so than Tom Brady. I mean, Brady was nailing actresses and supermodels (which, by the way, is awesome; seriously, Tom, that’s a great job by you). And New Englanders dig that about our QB, sure. But when it came down to it, we (obviously) couldn’t relate. Bruschi, however, was one of our guys.

Now, take a step back and think about that for a moment. I don’t care for whom you’re rooting. Every team has one of your guys on it — good or bad. Maybe it’s a guy about whom everyone else says, “I could never root for that a-hole” (even though you know the guy disparaging said a-hole would be wearing his jersey if that a-hole signed with his team; see “Vick, Michael”). Or maybe it’s a guy who everyone other fan in the league is sick of (hi, Brett!) for whatever reason. Bruschi was certainly more of the latter. He showed up, busted his ass, got his eight tackles a week and the media praise (for better or for worse, he was the face of the Patriots’ defense for a decade) simply followed. Was it deserved? On some levels, sure. Was it Favrian in some ways? No doubt.

But, let’s be honest, no matter how great your team is — or no matter how sanctimonious you are about rooting for them — you’ve got a guy like that on the roster. It’s sports. It’s inevitable.

And, really, I get it with Bruschi. While I don’t think he ever did anything except play hard, he became one of the faces of a franchise that was sullied during the Spygate scandal. So, to that end, I can see why folks got nauseated by him. (Nowhere was the moment better captured than the “half man, half centaur” clip that a Buffalo radio station put together a few seasons ago. And, yes, I totally laughed at this when it first came out. And I still do now.)

Say what you want about the Patriots, but I don’t think anyone can argue that Bill Belichick knows his football. And, with that in mind, here’s what he said about Bruschi:

(Seriously. “A perfect player.”)

A little more than four years ago, we all watched Bruschi barely walk out of a hospital — the victim of a stroke that left his future cast in doubt. Four years and 258 tackles later, we watched him walk away from pro football. At this point, it’s hard to say which moment was tougher to take.

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