14-2. 12 victories in a row. Just think about that for a moment. Savor it. Now erase it from your mind, because as Coach Belichick is fond of saying, everyone is now 0-0. Kevin Mannix has the Patriots Report card, and as he points out, the most important thing coming out of the game Saturday is that Tom Brady is A-OK. Tom Curran says the Patriots now play without a safety net, and hopes they do not meet the same fate as the ’99 Jacksonville Jaguars. Ron Borges frets about the Patriots next opponent, it seems no matter who they play next, that team is comparable to the ’85 Bears. Jonathan Comey concurs, noting that the Broncos, Ravens and Titans all pose upset threats to the Patriots. But you know what? In this instance, I might actually prefer Borges’ approach, which is in stark contrast to many of the on-air media personalities in Boston, who already have the Patriots in Houston, and who are openly discussing making their travel plans for Super Bowl week. This space often gets accused of wanting the local sports media to be nothing more than cheerleaders for the local teams, which is certainly not the case. While I’ll hammer those who are clearly working an agenda against teams or personalities associated with those teams, I’m also going to admonish those who go too far the other way, and start making the Patriots out to be unbeatable and a lock for the Super Bowl. Words to the wise: Remember Pittsburgh. Don’t act like the Pittsburgh media did in January of ’02. Remember some of the ridiculous columns coming out of the Steel City that week? How they sounded like a complete bunch of yahoos? Don’t go there. The good thing in all of this is that you can be assured that the Patriots themselves are not buying into the hype. You won’t catch any players or coaches talking about anything other than the next game directly in front of them. The media would be well advised to do the same thing. The other argument that I hate is the one that states that this season will be a “abject failure” if they do not win it all. That all that was accomplished this season will be “ruined” by a playoff loss. That’s a crock.
The story that will be commanding a lot of ink during this bye week will be the interviewing of Patriots assistants Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis for head coaching jobs around the NFL. Michael Felger leads off the coverage with reports of interest in both coaches, as well as in GM Scott Pioli. Mike Reiss has a bit more on specific teams that could be interested, most notably the Bills as they’re within the division. Alan Greenberg has a look at the interest, as well as in the team’s preparation work this week. Christopher Price looks at the potential loss of Crennel and Weis. Nick Cafardo also reports on potential interviews, and claims that Crennel has received permission to interview “in Atlanta” for the Falcons job later this week. That flies in the face of other reports, which would have teams coming to New England to interview the coaches, something that makes much more sense for the Patriots, who would then lose less time with their staff in preparation for the next game. Felger’s notebook looks ahead to potential opponents, and also has a look at the playing field at Gillette which is decidedly chewed up. Nick Cafardo devotes an entire article to the condition of the field, and how the Patriots claim it is to their advantage. I also love how in the last paragraph Nick has to remind us that Drew Bledsoe stepped in for Tom Brady during the Pittsburgh playoff game. We haven’t forgotten, Nick.
The Celtics suffered their worst loss of the season last night, a 105-82 setback in Los Angeles. The Hack-a-Shaq strategy fell short for the Green. Details and links are at Fox Sports Net New England.
Stephen Harris says that a blockbuster trade is not going to cure the ills of the Bruins. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks back at a dismal 4-2 loss in Tampa on Saturday night. Harris’ notebook has Felix Potvin wanting more playing time.
Stop the presses…I think this might be the first day this offseason that has no had a Red Sox article in either of the major Boston papers.
NESN has Bruins/Capitals at 7:00. FSNNE has Celtics/Warriors at 10:30.