Kevin Mannix hands out the season ending grades for the Patriots. The only F goes to “management”, which is separated from “coaching”. One curious note though, in giving out the F to management Mannix claims that “Jarvis Green, a fourth-round pick, was the most productive draft pick and he had only 21 tackles in 16 games.” Huh? I think Deion Branch, though injured at the end, was far more productive than Green. (43 catches, 489 yards) Tom Curran examines the team and declares if they don’t make the playoffs next season, it will be a greater sin then not making them this year. Nick Cafardo reports on Brady’s separated shoulder, while Michael Felger says that Scott Pioli has officially signed his contract extension. Felger also speculates on any possible interest around the league in the Patriots coaching staff. Bill Burt looks at the emergence of Kevin Faulk. Michael Smith catches up with Antowain Smith, who vows to rededicate himself and take his place among the top five backs in the league. Brian Fleming writes about Belichick’s to-do list in the offseason. Bill Reynolds looks at the difference between last season and this year. Chad Finn puts the wraps on the season.
The other story of the day, is of course Parcells. Dennis and Callahan used the Parcells topic as their springboard into the new year, and had the expert Parcells commentator from Everett on proclaiming Tuna the biggest personality in the history of sports and laughing at anyone thinking Belichick and Patriots can beat the Cowboys next season. George Kimball writes that the Cowboys are going to have a schedule full of foes lining up to face Parcells. Cafardo also reports on Parcells to Dallas, and notes that Jerry Jones consulted Bob Kraft on this. Jackie MacMullan examines the fit between the Cowboys and Parcells. She concludes it’s a good fit, as the Cowboy defense is pretty good, and the Cowboys are one of the premier franchises in the NFL. With his usual hard hitting and analytical style, John Madden says Jones and Parcells are “a good combination.” Seriously.
Steve Bulpett reports that the Celtics are looking to improve their poor (Second worst in the NBA) shooting percentage. Rob Bradford caught a special link between one of the new Celtics owners and one of the coaches of the team the Celtics were facing the day the new owners officially took over. Shira Springer looks at some names that might be able to help the Celtics in the frontcourt. Bulpett’s notebook has a similar theme.
Stephen Harris catches up with an in-pain Sergei Samsonov after his wrist surgery. Jim Greenidge reports that the Bruins need improved play from all four lines. I had this in a set of afternoon links last week, which were lost when power went out in the middle of my writing. Dan Shaughnessy writes a really good article on Joe Thornton for ESPN the Magazine.
TNT has Wizards/Bulls at 7:30 and Sixers/Suns at 10:00. NESN has BC/Providence College hoops at 7:30. ESPN has NC State/UMass hoops at 7:30. ESPN2 has Flyers/Kings at 10:00 and ABC has the Orange Bowl with Pete Carroll and USC against Iowa at 8:00. After they got off the Parcells thing, D&C castigated Carroll for his allowing OJ Simpson around his team. They’re going to root for Iowa tonight.