Tony Massarotti and Michael Holley joined Gene Lavanchy on WHDH’s Sports Xtra. Tampa Bay is a surprise to have won today. Holley wants all Raiders fans to drop the tuck rule now, and he doesn’t want to hear a full week of Raiders vs John Gruden. But should be an entertaining week, with big personalities. Massarotti says that these coaches are being shown to be worth draft picks. Holley says Gruden is only worth the picks if they actually win. He mentioned the Bucs having to cut Keyshawn Johnson in the offseason because of salary reasons. The matchup between the two teams is going to be strength against strength. Tampa defense against Oakland offense. Onto baseball, the offseason has gone pretty much as planned, in that they weren’t throwing money around. But Massarotti noted the two biggest people they went after, Beane and Contreras, they didn’t get, so they failed on those. The team is going to be good though. Lavanchy says they really need a closer. Holley thinks another starter is a bigger need. Massarotti says the Yankees have questions as well, Clemens and Wells are old, Pettite has injuries and Contreras has never pitched in the big leages before. Holley says we say this every year though, and every year they win. Massarotti just thinks the Yankees are not as infallible as years past, but the whole American League is going to be better as a whole. Many more better teams. Holley would not have given up Fossum for Colon. He was excited at hearing all the teams interested in Hillenbrand, as he thinks he’s reached his peak, but now they can’t get anyone to take him. Lavanchy knocked the emphasis on on-base percentage. He thinks its overblown and not as important as Red Sox management is making it out to be. They all then ridiculed the All Star game changes.
After the break, Gary Gillis had a segment that remembered the Snow Bowl from a year ago tonight. Clips from the game, and clips from the post game conferences were replayed. Next week, they’ll look at the AFC Championship game against Pittsburgh.
WBZ’s Sports Final with Steve Burton started off showing what happened a year ago tonight. The snow game, the kick. Unfortunately the Patriots aren’t in the playoffs this year. Steve DeOssie and Otis Smith were in to talk about the football games today. The blowout in the Raiders game was not expected. Smith described Steve McNair as “a beast”. DeOssie says the 10 point swing at the end of the first half killed the Titans. DeOssie picks Tampa to beat the Raiders. A good defense is going to beat a good offense, and he cited the Giants beating the Bills in ’91 and the Patriots winning last year as examples. Smith agreed, saying he likes good defensive teams and lauded the job Ronde Barber did today. DeOssie doesn’t understand why the Eagles didn’t blitz against Brad Johnson today. They have great cover guys, and the Tampa receivers are not speedy, and they didn’t put any pressure on Johnson at all. Smith was surprised the Eagles didn’t play more 1-1 defense with their good cornerbacks. Burton went into the “easy story” John Gruden comes back to face the Raiders. DeOssie mentioned all the enemies Al Davis has around the league and how this could get those people fired up. Burton wondered if Gruden has an advantage knowing the Raiders players. Smith noted that the players also know what Gruden is going to try to do as well. DeOssie says the biggest thing Gruden has to face is the massive offensive line of the Raiders. They then discussed Rich Gannon and Bill Romanowski. DeOssie says Romanowski is a smart guy, knows how to play, knows how to work a crowd. Jerry Rice 40 years old, another Super Bowl, this year was his best year statistically in the last 5 years, coming back for another year next year.
After a break, they came back to talk more about Gannon, today he not only passed, but ran as well. DeOssie again mentioned the huge offensive line, he likened it to the Dallas lines in the 90’s that won 3 Super Bowls. Smith said he didn’t even to slide today. They talked about the age of the Raiders, Gannon, Rice, Tim Brown, Rod Woodson…but if you’re just playing one game, age doesn’t matter. They then moved on to talk about the Tampa receivers, no burners, all possession guys, big guys. Mike Alscott was brought up, Burton called him a house, Smith called him a “mansion”. No one wants to tackle the guy. Burton asked Smith about his status, he’s planning on coming back next year, he’s looking forward to coming back and getting back to the playoffs and hopefully doing what they did last year. During the Dolphin game he was there, on the sideline, helping the guys out. He said it’s hard sitting home now watching the games knowing that they’re capable of being there playing and winning. Next year they will likely come in more hungry, more focused, looking to win as many games as they can, over 10 will be needed. Injuries this year were a factor, but they still should’ve won some of those games that they lost. Next year they’ll come back with a great sense of urgency. DeOssie says the high level of intensity that they had during the Super Bowl run is impossible to maintain over the course of two seasons. Smith said they also put pressure on themselves, they sort of shot themselves in the foot in October.
Gordon Edes and Steve Buckley were in next to talk about the Red Sox. Pedro’s comments were discussed, Buckley called it a “brush fire”, nothing to be concerned about. Edes agreed, the Red Sox don’t mind Pedro being cranky. Burton then read the comments from the Dominican newspaper. Buckley says there is no sizzle with that steak. He doesn’t think fans should be upset by his comments. Edes says Pedro doesn’t have the leverage here. The Red Sox hold the option and have the power. Buckley says a lot of times Pedro says things sort of offhand that come off looking ugly in print. Onto Millar, MLB has said that he has to honor his contract with the Japanese team. His agents feel there might be some wiggle room in the contract. But the only way he gets here, is he’s declared a free agent again and gets put out to the highest (sealed) bidder. Buckley says this guy is just a complimentary player, amazing what a controversy this has become. Edes says he’s a very good complimentary player, led the Marlins in hitting last year, the Sox need more, better complimentary players. They then talked about Theo’s appearance on stage with his band at the charity event. Buckley says this is not a big deal, it was a charity event, he represented himself and his age bracket. Edes likes the account of chair throwing, sounds like something out of the 1940’s. Bill Veeck would done that. They talked about the biggest floral arrangement at Will McDonough’s funeral came from George Steinbrenner. A tweak at the Red Sox even there. Buckley also says that Steinbrenner does indeed concern himself with the Red Sox, and is getting himself more involved in things. They talked about the time in the 80’s when he was in his prime at meddling and all the good players they got rid of in that span. It was when Steinbrenner was suspended that the Yankees rebuilt their farm system and became the power they are now. Burton personally likes Larry Lucchino’s mixing it up with Steinbrenner the last month or so.