Kevin Mannix isn’t impressed with

Kevin Mannix isn’t impressed with the Patriots. They aren’t playing championship football and lack the ability to deliver the knockout punch. But I wonder. Had the Patriots punched the ball into the end zone with 30 seconds left yesterday instead of taking the knee with class, would the 27-12 final score have had people looking differently at this team? Doesn’t keeping the ball for the final 9+ minutes of the game equal a “knockout punch”? Ron Borges is thankful for Troy Brown. Mannix and Alan Greenberg also submit articles on the player probably most important to the team. Michael Felger and Nick Cafardo are both thinking that signs seem to point to the team going down a familiar road. Tom Curran looks at Tedy Bruschi’s contributions yesterday and notes that Patriots fans should really be hoping for a quick recovery. Karen Guregian writes about the blitz attack the Joey Harrington faced all day. Alan Greenberg sounds a little skeptical of how good the Patriots are after another win over a weak opponent. Jim Donaldson counts his blessings. The importance of that final drive isn’t lost on Michael Smith. Antowain Smith was once again a factor in the game, Karen Guregian submits a short article detailing his contributions. George Kimball says that Tom Brady looked like — and played like — Matt Cavanaugh yesterday. Ian Clark breaks the game into a Thanksgiving dinner. Curran has a notebook that is informative and entertaining at times. Felger’s notebook and Cafardo’s notebook both put much of their focus on the injuries.

Shira Springer writes about the Celtics looking to “take care of home”. Jim O’Brien has had a talk with the new owners, reports Steve Bulpett.

Stephen Harris and Jim Greenidge look ahead to today’s noontime Bruins matchup with the Canadiens. A little revenge might be in the air.

Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star isn’t too happy with Theo Epstein’s hiring. He feels the Red Sox “once again have thrown cold water on every African-American and minority candidate and have managed to alienate every loyal, front-office person of any race in team scouting and player development departments who aspired to reach the pinnacle of their profession the old-fashioned way.” He goes on to add that “There will be an entire generation of passed-over candidates (and friends) who would like nothing better than to see him and the Red Sox fall flat on their face


If you receive WEEI’s “Clubhouse”

If you receive WEEI’s “Clubhouse” E-mails, then today’s “Major Announcement” came as no surprise. As touted in the latest Clubhouse e-mail, sent earlier in the week, WEEI will be honoring its top “Whiner line” callers in an awards ceremony called “The Whineys” to be held in January. Awards will be handed out in several categories, and Lenny Clarke will be the host of the event. Early odds have the caller known as the “Ghost of Harry Carey” as a favorite to walk away with some of the top honors.

Dale & Neumy had a

Dale & Neumy had a lot of Bruins talk on WEEI today, understandably. Dale had to clarify his comments from the NESN telecast last night when, in the closing minutes, he remarked something along the lines of “Soon, the people of the Commonwealth are going to wake up a realize they have one of the best teams in the NHL here.” Dale had to clear up that he wasn’t knocking the fans who weren’t showing up in protest to Jacobs, but rather talking about fans in general who just aren’t aware of how good the team is. They also took a few calls on trading Kyle McLaren. One exchange was fairly frustrating, as when the caller wanted to know exactly why McLaren wants to be traded, does he have a beef with management…they respond with ‘That’s not it…McLaren has nothing against the Bruins team or its management. McLaren has a personal issue that doesn’t involve the team.’ When pressed, Dale said, “I can’t divulge this information”. It’s frustrating from the viewpoint of the listener, it’s almost a teasing, “I know something you don’t know” type of thing. At the same time, Dale is respecting McLaren’s privacy in whatever his personal issue is. Of course, it wasn’t frustrating to listen to Dale mention this site as the one that guided him to the John Tomase article on Theo Epstein, which was also discussed during the show.

The Eddie shots across the bow continue. Today in response to a caller who mentioned “the other end of the dial”, Andelman said he didn’t know too many people who would walk away from the offer that they put before him. He said there are good people there, Dale is a good guy, Ted is a good guy, but otherwise the place is filled with the “slimiest characters” you could imagine, and that he is a family man and couldn’t stand to be associated with them any more. The rest of Eddie’s show was his annual pre-Thanksgiving “turkeys” of the year in sports.

Speaking of Eddie, reader Matt Cullen writes (Greg) Dickerson was filling in for Teddy last night and an old man called up and asked “What ever happened to Eddie Andelman?” .. and Greg replied “Eddie is no longer working in radio, he has retired.” In the most serious tone .. It was strange, I felt bad for the old guy wondering where Eddie was!

I wrote last night about Borges loosening up on the Patriots. Maybe the Globe has put shackles on him, But MSNBC hasn’t. Borges submits an article highly critical of Tom Brady to that web site. He talks about “lingering doubts in the minds of many” about Brady. After mentioning that the Patriots have only beaten two teams with winning records this year, Borges adds: “In an area that for years insisted Ted Williams and Roger Clemens were

For the definitive piece on

For the definitive piece on Theo Epstein, John Tomase provides a story that that follows Epstein from childhood and to where he is now. If, after reading it you don’t feel he was “destined” to become the youngest GM in MLB history, and to run the Red Sox, then I don’t know what to tell you. This isn’t the first time Tomase has written a piece superior to anything you’ve read in the Globe or Herald. Tony Massarotti writes about the hiring of Bill Lajoie and also gets Grady Little’s thoughts on his new boss. In addition to news on Lajoie, Gordon Edes provides a few other tidbits, such as Pedro stating his offseason workouts, coaching rumors and Mike Port’s future. Steven Krasner and David Heuschkel report on the Lajoie hire. Tony Massarotti puts together a notebook on Charlie Manuel being offered the job as the Sox new hitting instructor, and Port’s future. Mike Sullivan reports that Jim Beattie is still a candidate to join the Red Sox, while Mike Flanagan is not. For the Cliff Notes version of the Red Sox news of the day, Alex Spier provides a nice concise wrapup in the Metro, and includes comments from a possible upcoming trade partner, Padres GM Kevin Towers. Tom Curran gets Patriots Vice President of player personnel Scott Pioli to explain what he’s done to make himself successful and presents it as a guide for Epstein.

Something the Patriots have been criticized for in light of last Sunday’s squeaker against the Vikings was the lack of a killer instinct. According to Nancy Marrapese-Burrell, the Bruins have developed on this season, an offers as evidence last night’s 7-3 win over the Flames. Steve Conroy reports for the Herald. Jim Greenidge and Joe Gordon have a look at Glen Murray’s hat trick, which he had finished off in the second period. Joe McDonald compares the Murray-Thornton combo to Wayne Cashman and Phil Esposito, Barry Pederson and Rick Middleton and Adam Oates and Cam Neely. The Bruin’s efforts to bolster their attendance are chronicled in the Globe notebook. Over at the Herald, the notebook has trade and injuries news and updates.

Michael Felger has everyone on the Patriots paying proper respect to the Lions and their record on Thanksgiving. Tom Curran looks at overmatched Detroit coach Marty Mornhinweg and his decision to give up the ball in OT last week. Michael Smith has a good look on safety Victor Green, who seems to always be in the right place at the right time. Alan Greenberg also has Belichick addressing the Lions on Thanksgiving, and hears from Pete Carroll fan Ty Law. Christopher Price says to expect the Lions to use a lot of no-huddle in tomorrow’s game, given the success that the Raiders and Vikings had against the Patriots with it. Curran’s notebook looks at the worrisome playoff picture. Smith’s notebook has more Thanksgiving stuff, a Tebuckey Jones injury update and the address to Richard Seymour’s web site. Felger’s notebook looks at Seymour’s increased production and Pat Patriot jerseys. Ian Clark also focuses on Pat Patriot. Good Lord. I need to check my temperature. Michael Gee writes the second thing in a week that I agree with. I think I’m running a fever.

Peter May looks at the young Bulls coming in tonight. Mark Murphy looks at the maturing of the former “El Busto”, Celtics center Tony Battie. Tim Weisberg envisions what Randy Moss on the Celtics might be like. Murphy’s notebook also looks at the running of the Bulls, and at chef Paul Pierce.

John Molori looks at Mike Lynch’s Thanksgiving day high school football coverage. WEEI promises an announcement of some kind this afternoon at 5:00.

FSNE has Celtics/Bulls at 7:00, followed by NE Tailgate. ESPN has Magic/Lakers at 7:00 and the Maui Invitational final of Virgina/Indiana at 9:30. ESPN2 has a college hoops tripleheader with games at 7:00, 9:30 and 11:00. NESN also has college hoops with Arkansas Pine Bluff (!) taking on Illinois at 8:00.

Eddie Andelman continued his assault

Eddie Andelman continued his assault against the Red Sox and their new owners and management today. He continued to take shots at them, as well as the Herald and other radio stations, while lauding the Globe for its objective coverage. He said that the Herald and the “other radio station” are in the pocket of John Henry and so go along with anything that he decrees. Eddie declared that he would never allow money to cloud his objectivity and would always be a straight shooter. Right. Never take freebies from an autoglass company or chinese food restaurant and then give them a plug, or an appearance on your station. Cool and Objective. That’s Eddie. He repeated what he said yesterday…that opposing GM’s will not want to trade with Theo because they’ll be afraid the “kid” is going to show them up. He had Brian McGrory from the Globe on and praised him for his “tongue in cheek” article this morning. Eddie read aloud the part about Lucchino taking Epstein to Chuck E. Cheese’s and couldn’t get it out he was laughing so hard. Didn’t think it was *that* funny Eddie….McGrory said he has been inundated today with e-mails from outraged 20-somethings. Good. Eddie also called Shaughnessy the best writer in the country. They also had writer Larry Platt on, who recently published a book on Allen Iverson. Eddie and Jags both displayed ignorance and even some prejudice about Iverson. Eddie went into a ramble about tattoos, cornrows and then said “What the hell is his problem?” Jags compared Iverson to Mike Tyson and said how people close to Tyson worry about his self destructive behavior and how it will destroy him someday, and asked Platt if people around Iverson have the same worries given his similar behavior. That question seemed to dumbfound Platt, as Iverson is really nothing like Tyson. Eddie wanted to go into all of Iverson’s “convictions” and arrests and legal problems. Platt tried to explain that Iverson has one conviction, back in ’97. His high school conviction was overturned on appeal and his troubles from last summer were “laughed out of court”. Eddie then patronizingly said that he knew Larry wasn’t trying to be an apologist for Iverson, but that anyone with good lawyers can get off of most charges brought against them. Platt said that he was only trying to make the point that the charges that have been brought against Iverson over the years have been relatively minor compared to many other athletes, but that people make a much bigger deal about it because it’s Iverson. Eddie didn’t really get it.

Bill Simmons chronicles his memories from his years in Boston. They’re memories we all share. He also says that he will return someday. Mike Fine has a really good Epstein article. Jonathan Comey says that 28, like 1918, is just a number. Eric McHugh looks at the Lions success in Thanksgiving games.

From the “you can’t make this up” department, with a little “not that’s there’s anything wrong with that” thrown in, check out this list. Then note the # 1 entry on the list.

Ready for the Theo articles?

Ready for the Theo articles? To shamelessly steal a phrase, I’m thoroughly enjoying the Theo Epstein era. I’m glad the Sox made this move. Yes, it’s a risk, but I don’t think it’s a huge gamble. I was reading somewhere yesterday that Theo could be the GM of the Sox for the next 30 years. He’d still just be 58 then. Imagine that. 2032 Theo Epstein retires after seven World Series championships. He recalls when the late Dan Shaughnessy ripped him for trading Nomar Garciaparra prior to the 2004 season. Little did Shaughnessy know that the Red Sox would receive two future hall of fame players in the deal. Epstein also recalled his long running feud with Herald writer Tony Massarotti who until the day he retired from the Herald five years ago, insisted that Theo channeled the spirit of Larry Lucchino before he made any moves.

*snap* Back to reality. To be fair, Dan Shaughnessy seems actually willing to give the kid a chance. Everyone please remember this article for the future. Tony Massarotti writes that there are a lot of hard decisions to made and though acknowledging that Theo said the right things yesterday, from the tone of the article, Tony Mazz is going to be watching everything very closely. Gordon Edes gives us a thorough background on Theo, his family, his upbringing, how he got to this point. Makes for a good read. Steve Buckley likes the kid, even gives him some advice on a pickup line he can use. Bill Reynolds says that this is a leap of faith, for sure. Gerry Callahan outlines how Epstein might be an ever better choice than Billy Beane. He’ll be more dedicated, less distracted, and cost the Red Sox a whole lot less to put in place. Brian McGrory steps over from the City & Regions side of the Globe to mock the appointment. Sean McAdam weighs in and produces an article that reads just like he sounds. Jeff Jacobs weaves in Casablanca references and generally provides a fairly entertaining column, while cautioning Theo that this region eats its young. Bob Hohler writes that John Henry was convinced about giving Theo the job when he considered “that it’s the young turks in baseball who at this point may be making the largest contributions in the game.” Jeff Horrigan gets Billy Beane’s reaction to the hiring, and has John Henry sounding like Anne of Green Gables talking about “kindred spirits”. I don’t know what’s more embarrassing, Henry using that line, or me making that connection. David Heuschkel’s headline to his story says “Short Leash For Young Pup”. The story is not really like that however. It just talks about the circle that will be around to advise him and that the big decisions will be run by Lucchino and Henry, etc. This would be the case if Billy Beane were here too. Michael Silverman provides background on Epstein as well, and says heck, he could be commissioner by age 40. Lenny Megliola sounds a little skeptical. compares Theo with the oldest GM in the game. Ken Fratus sizes up all the Red Sox GM’s through the years. Horigan has a notebook with word on Port and Thomas, as well as possible player and coaching moves. Mike Sullivan updates us on erstwhile candidates Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan. Dennis and Callahan spent some time on WEEI this morning begging for an anti-Theo call.

Theo could pay other dividends as well. Over the past week, I’ve gotten a huge chunk of traffic from searches on Yahoo and Google, people, (Women mostly, I’m making the huge leap to assume) searching under terms like “Theo Epstein married”, “Theo Epstein bachelor”, “Theo Epstein girlfriend” and “Theo Epstein bio”. The Red Sox could capitalize on Theo and his Tom Brady-like chin, cashing in with females who had never been interested in a team General Manager before. Imagine the woman that lands him, bringing him home to meet the parents. “So what do you do for a living, son?”

Jackie MacMullan looks at Tom Brady, the pressure he is under, and the unfair criticism he receives for all his early success. Kevin Mannix provides a report card with a whole lot of “C’s”. Paul Kenyon writes that the Patriots are glad to be playing on Thanksgiving, but wary of the Lions. Alan Greenberg chronicles the quick turnaround this week, and recalls Brady getting his first NFL snaps in Detroit on Thanksgiving a couple years ago. Mark Murphy looks at tough guy Joe Andruzzi. Nick Cafardo acknowledges the job Ty Law has done this season shutting down top receivers. Karen Guregian looks at the mess that is the Detroit Lions. Steve DeOssie (nice picture…gotta check it out. Wonder how soon this one appears on the WEEI website) writes about the Patriots for the Boston Metro. The notebooks all look at the return of Pat Patriot. The Globe, the Herald and the Projo.

Peter May looks at Antoine Walker’s frustration at not being considered for the Olympic team. Steve Bulpett looks at the bolstered point guard situation for the Celtics. May’s notebook deals with the prospective new owners missing their first deadline…not to worry though. Yet. He also compares the numbers this season of Vin Baker and Mark Blount. Bulpett’s notebook looks at some sickness going around the team and mentions that Tony Battie has a swollen knee.

Kevin Paul Dupont looks at the Bruins pushing all the right buttons and making all the right moves. Joe Gordon says the team is just going with the flow. Gordon’s notebook features Mike O’Connell shooting down trade rumors.

Bill Griffith previews tonight’s HBO’s “Real Sports” and looks ahead to Thanksgiving NFL coverage, including a planned segment on Charlie Weiss. Bruce Mohl looks at the impact NESN is having on increasing cable TV rates in New England. Jim Baker pans HBO’s boxing coverage and gives some opinion on the Patriots coverage from the weekend. John Molori praises Sean McAdam and Chris Collinsworth.

NESN has Bruins/Flames at 7:00. FSNE has BU/Harvard College Hockey at 7:00. ESPN continues coverage of the Maui Invitational, with semifinal games at 7:00 and 9:30. HBO has “Real Sports with Bryant Gumble” tonight at 10:00.

I wonder if the Patriots

I wonder if the Patriots are chagrined at all that their “Patriots Monday” programming has been usurped most of the midday hours today. streams all of WEEI’s programming on Mondays, so you can hear all the Epstein talk no matter where you are. They carried the full press conference (about a half hour) and also had a one on one with Epstein and Bob Nuemeier, who was at Fenway rather than Gillete Stadium where Dale Arnold was. Peter Gammons and Larry Lucchino were also guests of the program. For complete audio of the press conference you can go to For video, has a good amount of the event on its website. For more on the WEEI programming, I’ve spun off a page of transcripts compiled by “Big Dog”. WEEI also got Mike Port on the air, who was gracious, didn’t give away whether he’ll be staying with the team, but did say he would need a real role, with significant duties to entice him to stay. He wouldn’t stay on if he wasn’t going to be used and challenged. Christian Fauria and Troy Brown were the Patriot guests.

Eddie Andelman on WWZN continued his recent theme of ripping the Red Sox owners, today, it’s of course for picking Theo Epstein. He claims that no other GM will want to deal with him because if he ever gets the better of the deal they will feel they were shown up by a kid. He also managed to rip WEEI in the discussion claiming that if he had business deals with the Sox he might kiss up to John Henry too, but he has no agenda and he will be watching him closely. Right. Eddie…objective?

More Patriots links: Eric McHugh really liked Victor Green’s lick on Randy Moss yesterday. Michael Parente also liked the hit, feeling it set an early tone. Ron Hobson says nothing comes easy for this team. Dan Pires writes that the Pats weren’t going to get burned by the no-huddle for the second week in a row. David Pevear says there isn’t time to analyze this game, they need to move right on to the next one. Pevear also wonder’s what’s next for Brady. Mike Lowe had more on the Jekyll-and-Hyde Patriots. Steve Solloway asks the real Patriots team to stand up. Tim Weisberg says this team is struggling to find its identity while maintaining a sense of urgency. Garry Brown says that a repeat in history is needed. Tom King says the three quick strikes were enough….barely. Parente has a notebook with a big focus on Christian Fauria. McHugh’s notebook has a look at the next few days of preparation.

Yesterday, Rob Bradford had an interesting scoop about Chris Wallace trying to sign up Randy Moss for the Celtics summer league team in 2000 and 2001.

As with any home game,

As with any home game, a plethora of articles this morning. Michael Felger says the Patriots can beat the bad teams — barely. Tom Curran says that yesterday was a microcosm of the entire season. Nick Cafardo found a lot of interesting sideshows to an otherwise ugly win. Kevin Mannix picks up where he left off last night on Fox25, talking about the lack of a killer instinct. Ron Borges notes that all the mistakes and lack of focus yesterday “can be ignored if you do what the Patriots’ defense did yesterday – make late adjustments.” Jackie MacMullan though, says that truly good teams “do not exhibit a second of weakness or allow your (their) single-minded mentality to waver.” Jim Donaldson says that this team just can’t do things the easy way. Steve Buckley says that this was a must-win and that they got the job done. He shares a bit of Bill Belichick humor from his press conference yesterday: “Belichick said he planned to have a walk-through for the Lions game last night. He was, of course, kidding. But nobody – not one person in the room – laughed. Belichick actually had to say to one reporter, “I’m kidding.” Michael Gee had a line that was the butt of many Dennis and Callahan jokes and snide references: “(Let that be a lesson to you carpers. There’s no law that says short passes can’t be long gains. Why must we always look at what stars can’t do? The clods who complain that Brady can’t go deep are like the ones who complain about Manny Ramirez’ baserunning. In fact, they’re probably the same clods.)” Hmmm. Maybe Gee is alright after all. Karen Guregian gets the Chris Hovan and Randy Moss quotes that are also hot topics. Also on D&C, John Dennis says that the team will struggle to finish 8-8. Callahan spent much of the time deriding Antowain Smith. Nick Cafardo came on the Mike Adams show on WWZN and went right into the route that Felger talked about last night on Sports Final…started talking about how they were on a roll this time last year, that things were wonderful and that this just doesn’t feel the same, doesn’t feel good. He then went on to predict that the Lions will win on Thursday 21-14. About last year, anyone remember the second Buffalo game? How about the Browns game? Did either of those leave you feeling like that team was on its way to beating the Rams in the Super Bowl? I am not saying the Patriots are going to win it again. But I agree with Felger that it is too early to tell one way or the other.

As for the second level articles, Christian Fauria is the focus of several articles. Carolyn Thornton says that he is usually in the right place at the right time. Mark Murphy also notes that Fauria can find his way around the red zone pretty well. Joe Burris paints him as a happy guy. Alan Greenberg also profiles the seventh year tight end. Kevin Paul Dupont has a lot of “F” words in the headline to his article to describe the day that Roman Phifer had. Kevin McNamara looks at the job that the defense did. Is the bend but don’t break style back? Michael Smith notes that there always seem to be “buts” attached to Patriot wins. Smith also compiles a best and worst list with some fast facts thrown in. Murphy also writes that for the defense, chasing Dante Culpepper was like trying to catch a jackrabbit. With the boxing match Saturday night clearly fresh in his mind, Mike Reiss makes a lot of boxing analogies. Ian Clark says the defense got mean when they needed to. Dan Ventura looks at the job the secondary did on Randy Moss. Dupont also takes a look at Randy Moss‘ performance. Carolyn Thornton also has an article on Tom Brady’s accurate passing day. Rich Thompson looks at Kenyatta Jones working his way back into significant playing time. Cafardo’s notebook looks at preparation for the Lions and lines at the restrooms. Felger’s notebook focuses on a strolling Moss, and blitz adjustments. Curran’s notebook looks at offensive line adjustments. Christopher Price’s notebook in the Metro also looks at the quick turnaround. Bill Griffith looks at the Fox coverage of the game, and like me, was annoyed with the constant trumpeting of the upcoming Tampa Bay/Green Bay game.

The honeymoon is clearly over, as Tony Massarotti tees off on Larry Lucchino on the Theo Epstein hiring. At one point he says: “As for Lucchino – or is it Pitino?” He also says that Lucchino “clearly knows so extraordinarily little about” about the Red Sox as an institution in Boston. I guess if Lucchino knew as much Massarotti, that media favorite Mike Port would be the GM. Paul Doyle looks at the search process and gives some more background on Epstein. Gordon Edes is all facts today too. No opinion on the choice. Michael Silverman also has a neutral look at the hiring and at the job ahead of Epstein.

Just a couple of Celtics articles, Peter May has the team resting up after back to back wins against Atlanta. Steve Bulpett looks at the Celtics renewed effort on “D”.

Plenty of College basketball on the tube tonight as ESPN2 has UMass/Indiana at 5:00 and Davidson/Duke at 7:00. ESPN has Kentucky/Arizona State at 9:00. ABC has Eagles/49ers on Monday Night Football at 9:00. NESN also has a college basketball game with Ohio State/Coppin State at 8:00.

On Fox25’s Sports Sunday, the

On Fox25’s Sports Sunday, the opening focus was on the disappointing performance of the Patriots after a fast start. The first main story was the Peter Gammons story on about the 11:00 Press Conference tomorrow announcing Theo Epstein as Red Sox GM. Butch was understandably pleased by this and reminded us that he first reported this two weeks ago. Way to go, Butch. Patriots and NFL highlights followed.

The next segment included Levan Reid weighing on the Patriots. He is finding it hard to get a handle on this team. A win is a win though. They didn’t “go for the jugular” and “put the nail in the coffin”. The Vikings changed to the no huddle and the Patriots defense didn’t react quickly enough. Leading up to this piece, Stearns said repeatedly that Reid “wasn’t impressed” with the Patriots. After watching the segment I didn’t get that impression at all. Sometimes I think Stearns tries too hard to create controversy, or stir things up. But, he was right on the Epstein thing, so we’ll cut him some slack.

A clip was shown of the Vikings’ Chris Hovan saying that the Patriots quit during the fourth quarter, and were just trying to get through the game. Kevin Mannix came on with Stearns at this point and talked about the lack of a “killer instinct” on the Patriots. He did praise Phifer, Brady and Seymour as having big games. Phifer has been around all season, but hasn’t been noticed as much. Back to the killer instinct…it needs to be there. Dolphins looked really good today, now we need Drew to knock them off next week. Thursday at Detroit, Patriots need to show up with a total effort. Two years ago they went in there on Thanksgiving and the Lions killed them.

A nice segment with the creator of “Pat Patriot”, Phil Bissell was up next. The history of the logo, and its continued popularity was discussed, and the fact that he hasn’t made money off his creation. When asked about the new logo, in use since ’93, Bissell jokingly stuck his finger in his mouth in a gagging gesture. He said that Pat would easily beat the flying Elvis in a fight… Stearns finished the show lauding the hiring of Theo Epstein, who is young, but not immature.

WHDH’s Sports Xtra with Gene Lavanchy had the usual twosome of Fred Smerlas and Tim Fox (wearing his Ohio State cap) in to discuss the game this afternoon. A few instances of the play calling were discussed such as going for on 4th down, and how that may have giving momentum to the Vikings. Fox was impressed however, with how the team came out strong and really played well to start the game. Smerlas noted that perhaps after going up 21-0 there may have been a letdown.

A talk with Mike O’Connell was up next, discussing the fast start of the Bruins. He really likes the chemistry of this group of guys. As for Kyle McLaren, he doesn’t feel any pressure to make a move, given the early success. Had the team struggled, he might have been forced to make a move by now.

Back to Smerlas and Fox, the team has their own destiny in their hands. It has been a long while since they had such a big lead early, so perhaps they didn’t know what to do with it. They were focused on Randy Moss, and Fox compared the coverage on Moss to a box and one in basketball. They discussed his not running on the last play of the game, with Lavanchy calling him “Manny Ramirez with a football helmet.” The Patriots integrated the run a little bit more today and also used the tight ends more. The Thanksgiving game was talked about, how will the short turnaround affect the team? Smerlas said that teams hate to practice anyway, they won’t hit in practice, so it will be lighter than usual, and then you have extra time off afterwards. Fox says he’s sick of hearing how tough Detroit is on Thanksgiving. They’ll have the same three days to practice, they’re not a very good team, and the Patriots should be able to handle them.

Jackie MacMullen and Michael Holley were in next, first to talk about Holley’s book on the 2002 Patriots. (He’s sworn to secrecy) The topic then moved to the Epstein hiring. Is this a wise move? MacMullan refuses to knock him just because he’s 28. She’s met him a couple times, he’s very bright, committed. Holley is glad to have a GM he can call “kid”. He added about the game is changing, this is a risk, but not a huge one, more and more teams are hiring young GM’s. The Sox also have a 28 year old farm director. They are somewhat visionaries in this aspect. The Lucchino factor was discussed, Holley says Theo will not be a “yes man”. As for handling the media, Holley just feels he shouldn’t have a problem, all this talk about Boston being a tough media town, to him this is a very predictable media town, when things are good they gush, when they go bad….MacMullan didn’t like how Mike Port was treated, Holley says we don’t know exactly what he did during the season, how involved was he in the trades they made. Who really ran the show behind the scenes? Holley again said this is a trend, teams hiring young GM’s.

On WBZ’s Sports Final, Bob Lobel started the show wearing Brady’s gloves. The very crowded AFC standings were shown. Steve Burton did the game story, and called Randy Moss on the last play “absolutely pathetic”. Christian Fauria and Marc Edwards were in studio, Burton told the guys he was going to take a shot at them and said that the offense went on sabbatical in the second half. Edwards said that after the quick start, they missed some opportunities. Fauria says he’s happy they won, but he knows that they can do better, he said it is frustrating to start quick and then see guys not giving their best, many things to still work on. Edwards says every week it is a dogfight. The Jets go from an awful start to 6-5 now, things just crazy. Burton asked if this year feels like last year. Edwards talked about last year being one game at a time, and all of a sudden they’re champs. This year could be similar, but it’s hard to tell. They need to have the same attitude. Lobel asked about the quick turnaround, Fauria joked that they were going to look at Detroit gamefilm at halftime today. But there is no time to enjoy this win, they need to get ready right away. They talked some about the running game, the tight end and fullback’s roles in it, even as receivers in the short passes that sometimes replace the run. The defense stepped up and made some big plays, was able to stop the Vikings’ running game. This brought the conversation back to the running game, they need to be able to control the ball at the end of the game. Burton asked them about Brady now that Bledsoe is gone, Edwards says that he is now the man, he did rely on Drew’s input last year alot, and now Huard fills some of that role. He’s become a leader, sometimes at points this year he’s tried to take on too much on the field and the other players haven’t helped him out enough.

Scott Zolak and Steve DeOssie were up next, they talked about the Thanksgiving game. If Detroit or Dallas has the same players for a number of years, many of them get used to it, that might be an advantage. The short turnaround really hurts teams with injuries, the Patriots are pretty healthy so that is a plus. Zolak talked about what the preparation this week will be, preparation wise. A look at the AFC East, the Dolphins have gotten a couple big wins, but everyone is counting on them to fade in December. They then looked at the Patriots remaining schedule, There are at least 4 winnable games in the last five, they do that, they’re in the playoffs. Lobel asked if the team is getting better…DeOssie said he saw improvement by Seymour and the defensive line. Zolak said guys are getting healthy again, that will help them too. The health of the offensive line will be a key to the stretch drive.

In to talk about Theo Epstein were Nick Cafardo, Gordon Edes and Dan Shaughnessy. Nick has a problem with the hiring because he hasn’t paid his dues yet. Edes says the key is how much support he has from the people around him. Shaughnessy recalled a 19 year old coming up to him 9 years ago at Harvard/Yale game, a “Gammons youth” kid, talking to him. Edes brought up the huge decisions coming up for the Red Sox, Pedro, Nomar contracts, etc. Edes talked about the youth movement in management around baseball. Shaughnessy said Lucchino will be making the big decisions. Cafardo wonders how he’s going to work with Mike Port. Edes says Port will go back to the role he had under Duquette at which he’s extremely competent, and there will be Lee Thomas and they will hire another assistant GM to help out. Cafardo talked about the organizational structure changing, going to more a farm developmental role. Epstein could come under critism if the club struggles while they make this transition. They talked about Theo’s relatives, how his grandfather won an Oscar for co-writing “Casablanca” with his twin brother. Lobel asked what advice would these guys tell him….Shaughnessy had nothing, said Theo knows what he’s in for with the media, he grew up around here…Edes said to tell him that his youth is over, and Cafardo would tell him to be more like Lou Gorman instead of Dan Duquette.

The last segment was the Coors Light twins, who sung the National Anthem at the Patriots game today. They said they were “made” to wear the Brady jerseys while singing it. Lobel talked about hearing their interview on WEEI with Dale and Neumy. They talked about going through the audition process for the Coors Light commercials. It’s changed their life. They’re flying out to L.A. tomorrow to work on a “secret” TV show, the have a dance album coming out. They are Patriots fans, and want them to get back to the Super Bowl.

Michael Felger and Michael Smith were up next. Felger wants everyone to stop comparing things to last year. He hears people saying that last year at this time, they had it going strong, but in reality, they had some shaky wins last year after this point, against Buffalo, Cleveland and the Jets. Smith said this team is really a week to week proposition. You just don’t know what you’re going to get. Felger says it’s just to early to tell on this team. They brought up the schedule again, they’re almost all scary Dolphins and Jets playing so well. Felger says that if they’re serious about winning it all, they need to win them all. They really need that first round bye. The easiest way to get to the playoffs is to win out and win the division. Burton asked if the Jets are the Patriots from last year. Felger says they could be, Pennington looks like Brady, Smith says Curtis Martin is better than Antowain Smith, they have good receivers, they could be serious contenders.

Ron Borges was in to talk about the Ward/Gatti fight. It was a pure fight. Borges likes both of these guys, footage of the fight was shown, with Ward still swinging when going down, when he had nothing left. Borges says boxing at its purest level, like this fight, has all the human elements. These men are able to control their emotions, their pain. Promoters and ratings agencies have ruined boxing. Neither of these guys has gotten huge paydays over the years, but their fight was like something out of the 1940’s. Borges says boxing will never go away though. At schoolyards, the biggest crowds are around the two kids fighting, people always want to see these battles. He things there will be a third fight between these two. I have to admit that this was the most interested I’ve even been in what Borges had to say. No theatrics, but you could clearly tell his passion for the subject. Football seems like a distant second interest to him.