Thank you Denver. No need

Thank you Denver. No need to listen to everyone fret about a possible three way AFC tie now. The Patriots have their first round bye, and now all that is at stake with the Buffalo game is the # 1 seed. That and a little revenge. Bob Ryan says life is good for Patriots fans right now. What have we done to deserve this? I’m predicting most talk show fodder regarding this team in the coming weeks will be regarding which assistants will be leaving for head coaching jobs. (And how Belichick and the Patriots will cope without them in coming seasons.) Romeo Crennel appears to be a lock to be gone next season. Tom Curran says Crennel will not be saying no to any head coaching opportunity that is offered to him. (Even Arizona Romeo? Say it ain’t so.) Crennel also heads the forward to Kevin Mannix’s report card for the week. All “A’s” and “B’s” this week for the Pats. Nick Cafardo looks at all the quarterbacks that the Patriots defense has consumed this season. Alan Greenberg looks at another Patriots opponent grumbling that they could’ve beaten the Pats. Ron Borges looks at the job Bill Parcells has done getting the Cowboys back to the playoffs. Michael Felger says the Patriots really need the bye week, but they’ll worry about that after taking care of some business they have with the Buffalo Bills. Michael Parente runs some numbers regarding the Patriots defense. Jim Donaldson wonders how good the Patriots would be if they actually had some Pro Bowl caliber players. Jonathan Comey says the Patriots have all the pieces. Ian M. Clark says another week, another hero for the Patriots. Curran’s notebook looks ahead to the Bills. Felger’s notebook looks at how Rodney Harrison is dealing with his Pro Bowl snub.

*Yawn* Tom Hicks has a deadline. I’m sure John W. Henry appreciates his feet being held to the fire. Gordon Edes and Tony Massarotti report on the latest in this tired drama. Vin Sylvia says anyway this deal goes, it’s a win-win for the Red Sox. Michael Felger says Curt Schilling has his eye on Drew Bledsoe’s old digs in Medfield.

The Celtics pulled off another fourth quarter comeback, beating the Sixers 87-84. The links are at Fox Sports Net New England.

Russ Conway looks at the seemingly inevitable crash course the NHL and the Players Association are embarking on. A more informative piece than you’re going to find from any of the Boston writers. Stephen Harris looks at recent comments from Jeremy Jacobs that are only hurting the ability of his team to make deals. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at Ted Donato’s impact on the Bruins. Harris’ notebook has Harry Sinden saying the Bruins need to get more physical.

Ron Borges has a look at how John Ruiz will likely be regaining the WBA Heavyweight title, simply because Roy Jones Jr will not fight him again.

ABC has Packers/Raiders at 9:00. NESN has Bruins/Rangers at 7:00.


Here are some “Guest links”

Here are some “Guest links” mostly courtesy of reader Len. (I’ve added a few of my own.)

Rich Thompson interviewed Joe Namath BEFORE the bottle of Jack Daniels last night. In addition to liking Vodka and Suzy Kolber, #12 likes another #12, Tom Brady. Michael Felger has the game story and the Pats looking for redemption next Saturday. Kevin Mannix has the story of the start by David Givens over Troy Brown and the emergence of Givens. Felger’s NFL Notebook is interesting. He has a breakdown of home games next year including Bengals, Ravens, 49ers, Seahawks, and Indy. Mark Cannizzaro blames Chad Pennington’s stinkbomb for the Jets loss.

Pick 5
The “Magnificent” Chad Pennington.

Cannizzaro picked the J-E-T-S on WEEI earlier in the week. Steve Serby (another NY Post writer) says RAC scored huge points with the Giants Ernie Acorsi last night. Charlie Weis did not. You’ve got to love the back page of the NY Daily News. Rich Cimini calls it Chad’s first slump and has a story on how bad his teammates feel for him.

Nick Cafardo has a good Pats Notebook and explains how Law has earned his salary but Woody could be tagged and dealt. Bob Ryan says the Pats always find a way to win. Frank Dell’Apa has something on the forgotten man, Antowain Smith. Smith was huge last night and he’s looking forward to more against his old team next Saturday. Rick Gosselin looks back at the 1994 Browns, which he notes boasted some of the brightest football minds ever collected together. Ron Borges lauds the Patriots defense, but he also claims that they clinched a first round bye with the victory last night…something any educated fan knows is not the case. Clark Booth says Keith Foulke will be a dud, Terry Francona a lousy manager, that the Patriots are too cocky, and laments the loss of Curtis Martin.

A-Rod, A-Rod, and more $-Rod. We’re all sick of it. Gordon Edes is not optimistic. Jeff Horrigan tells us that $-Rod is incensed. Do yourself a favor and read Mike Lupica today. Lupica may have a huge ego, but he nails this thing and Boras and the PA for what they are. John Harper of the NY Daily News says A-Rod still really wants this deal to happen and compromises are being made to get it done. Funny how the internet and NY papers are covering this better than the Boston media including whiners like Tony Mazz and the Globe contingent. Doug Mirabelli is staying. Bob Hohler has the story.

Bill Griffith has a look at how athletes and team management chatting with fans on websites is sending a message to the mainstream media. WBZ’s “Sports Final” will continue this theme by having Steve Silva of and Eric Christensen of the Sons of Sam Horn website on the program.

BC could be the worst 8-1 team in the country. Michael Vega has the story on a home overtime win over Kent State before 4,272 fans. PC is off to a 4-1 start with quality wins over Alabama and Illinois. PC’s Rob Sanders has also helped Vin Baker fight off his demons. Kevin McNamara has the story. PC takes a holiday breather with a home game against Central Connecticut (did they beat UMass earlier in the month?).

Sports on TV today. Phantom Gourmet gives it a metza metza. 1:00 pm football on WBZ-4 has Miami-Buffalo while Fox-25 gives us Cowboys-Giants. 4:00 pm is bad with Eagles and 49ers. Best football is ESPN game tonight with Denver at Indy. A Denver win get the Pats a bye. Celtics are on FSNNE at 6 pm. College Basketball has St Johns vs GA Tech on NESN. GA Tech has not won a game by less than 25 points and St Johns just fired Jarvis. I smell a blowout.

The ARod trade is dead.

The ARod trade is dead. Long live the ARod trade. Larry Lucchino issued a statement last night saying the trade is dead. Peter Gammons reported last night that members of the Red Sox organization were puzzled by that statement from Lucchino, and that talks were in fact, ongoing. In any event, things sure seem to have gone too far to go back now. This is the downfall of being as open as this ownership and management group is. At this point, even though I wasn’t originally in favor of this trade, there has been so much talk and hype and things put out there that I’m almost going to feel betrayed if ARod is not playing in Boston next year. This has been built up, and dragged on, publicly now for an extended period of time. Obviously it’s not just the Red Sox who have put this story out there, but for all the criticism the Patriots get for not giving out information, I prefer their under-the-radar approach to doing business. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised when the Rosevelt Colvin and Rodney Harrison signings were announced last offseason. No one really knew the the Patriots were talking to those players until they were here and signed. It was like getting a surprise a gift. This Red Sox situation is more like someone teasing you with the promise of a reward or gift, and each day you’re expecting to get it, but they don’t have it with them, or they need to finish working on it first, or put you off in some other way. It would’ve been better had they said nothing at all, and just surprised you with it when they had it all ready for you. Of course, I realize something of this magnitude cannot be kept under wraps, totally. But I’m feeling really strung along at this point. Yes, I think the deal will still happen, but its all almost anticlimactic at this point. Mostly I’m just sick of the whole process.

This whole process has had Red Sox nation in a tizzy. The popular Sons of Sam Horn board, frequented by Red Sox personnel such as John W Henry and Curt Schilling has had to close its doors to visitors, because of incredible traffic demands, allowing only registered members to even view the board. Schilling called into WEEI yesterday to lay a smackdown on Tony Massarotti and Sean McAdam, neither of whom covered themselves in glory when talking about the Internet. Massarotti at one point said stuffily that if players want to talk to the fans via the Internet, then they can also promote their charities on web sites, hinting that this was something a power that the press has over the players. McAdam mocked fans who he says have a “slavish devotion to the team”.

Michael Silverman says that the ARod trade is not dead. Sean McAdam says that the Rangers have made some concessions that could make the deal still possible. Gordon Edes says ARod is still hopeful that a trade can be worked out to the Red Sox. Bob Ryan attempts to assess who is really at blame for the snags in this deal, he says it’s not Gene Orza. Jim Donaldson in fact, says Orza was right in how he handled the deal. Bob Hohler says the parties involved will not challenge the Union. Jeff Jacobs says the Union is tougher to beat than the Yankees. Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News has a piece for the Globe saying that the union gap is too wide to be bridged. Steve Buckley looks at what would happen if Nomar and Manny are still with the Sox next year. Tony Massarotti says the Red Sox roster is a mess. Jeff Horrigan says ARod could make up for the loss of Babe Ruth. David Heuschkel looks at the possibility that the ARod trade is dead. Mike Shalin looks at fans expressing their displeasure with the Union’s actions outside the New York office. The Herald notebook looks at the Red Sox interest in Pokey Reese. Jim Donaldson looks at decisions the Sox have to make on eight arbitration-eligible players. Ken Fratus also looks at the Sox interest in Reese.

Nick Cafardo looks at the matchup and rivalry of Chad Pennington and Tom Brady. Paul Kenyon says the Patriots/Jets rivalry has gone from nasty to one of mutual respect. Alan Greenberg looks at the important of having Troy Brown back for Tom Brady. Christopher Price looks at the job done by the offensive line this season. Rich Thompson looks at the two Patriots named to the Pro Bowl, Ty Law and Richard Seymour. Michael Smith also has a look at the two veterans. Michael Parente looks at the Patriots new long snapper, Brian Kinchen. Ian M. Clark has a piece on Rodney Harrison, who wasn’t named to the Pro Bowl, but is only concerned about winning at this point. Thompson also has an article on Tom Ashworth, who has been learning on the job this season. Parente has another piece on the Pro Bowl selections. Curran’s notebook has more on the Pro Bowl. Thompson’s notebook has more on Kinchen. Parente’s notebook leads with more on Ashworth.

The Bruins are probably grateful that the all this other coverage is overshadowing their dreadful 5-0 loss to the Flames last night. Stephen Harris and Nancy Marrapese-Burrell have the gruesome details. Joe McDonald says it was just brutal. Kevin Paul Dupont says the Bruins need help. Joe Gordon looks at Andrew Raycroft getting pulled last night. Dupont also says the NHL is optimistic about getting a new CBA done. He’s also wondering if Mike Sullivan has lost his team. Gordon also looks at Flames goalie Jamie McLennan, who registered the shutout last night. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook says the 5-0 loss was not the fault of Raycroft. Harris’ notebook doesn’t have quite as much good news regarding the CBA. McDonald’s notebook looks at Raycroft, being unofficially named the number one goalie.

Celtics links are at Fox Sports Net New England.

Bill Griffith looks at a few broadcasting milestones coming up, and has Jim Baker promising parting shots in his final column this Sunday.

FSNNE has Celtics/Jazz at 7:30. ESPN has Pistons/Pacers at 8:00 and Sonics/Spurs at 10:30.

The ARod watch continues. No

The ARod watch continues. No news as of yet. WEEI says the sides are not even talking today.

Christopher Price reports on Antoine Walker’s return to the FleetCenter last night in the first story published at BSMW under the new page: “The Press Box”. The page will serve to provide an online home to stories from writers that used to appear on the website of the Boston Metro. This is likely a temporary arrangement to allow their stories to appear online until they get their own page up and running.

In other news, WEEI sent out an email this morning announcing the news that Glenn Ordway has signed a new five year contract with the station. The email reads in part:

We have just signed Glenn Ordway to a new 5-year contract with WEEI, locking THE BIG SHOW in for, what is setting up to be, the most exciting five years in Boston Sports history. This solidifies our daytime line-up with multiple year deals in place for Glenn as well as Dennis & Callahan and Dale & Neumy.

Red Sox Nation is abuzz with the A-Rod trade on the horizon and Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke strengthening the pitching staff. The Patriots are poised for an exciting post-season and the Celtics are making moves that scream for Sports Radio discussion. I am pleased to tell you that WEEI is gearing up to bring you quality programming to match all that is happening in the world of sports.

Glenn and I have had many discussions over the past months while working out his contract. As a former Program Director, Glenn is uniquely qualified and an active participant in sculpting the on-air content of his program. We talked about the tremendous success of programming features like the Whiner Line, The Whiney Awards, Patriots Monday and regular guests like: Peter Gammons to complement the wide variety of "sports insiders" who co-host The Big Show. We also planned the enhancement of WEEI's Jimmy Fund Radiothon (1.1 million raised in its second year) and the newly developed Junior Jocks program that funnels money for sports programs directly to the neediest kids in Boston's Boys and Girls Clubs (over $30,000 raised to date in year one.)

Glenn's tremendous ratings speak for themselves in quantifying his success. Over the past four years Glenn has been #1 in WEEI's target demo of Men 25-54. We thank you for listening and for telling your friends about The Big Show and WEEI.

Ask Nick is up for another week. Last week he compared Tom Brady to Bill Russell. Check out this entry from last week’s mailbag:

Nick, I love your mailbag. I have always been a fan of Bledsoe and was sorry to see him go, but I think it's time to recognize the treasure we have that is Tom Brady. He's dramatically improved over the past two years, and all he does is win and rally his teammates week after week. He's got some pretty impressive records/stats already. Where would you rank him among Boston's all-time players right now, and also at the end of his career (assuming his career progresses in the same direction)? Thanks for responding!
Alvin Lin, Cambridge

A: Special. He's really special. I think now you have to start talking about him in the Bird, Orr, Havlicek, Ted Williams, Russell context. Believe me, I'll get a zillion e-mails from older fans who will take me to task for putting him in the same place as Russell, and I'm really not because Russell won multiple championships. But he's certainly above most of the great big stars who have come through Boston because he's won a championship. Before I get too carried away and dig a deeper hole for myself, let's see what he does with his career from here. He's a winner. He's a great person, which is very important to me, which is why I have so much respect for Bledsoe. I've had the honor to cover a lot of great athletes and people in the last 27 years of sports writing and Tom is right up there of people I respect as an athlete and as a person.

This week apparently Nick feels differently on the matter. This entry is from the mailbag today:

Remember Celtic Bill Russell wasn't about "stats" - just winning? Why then, isn't the same metric similarly applied to Tom Brady - whose leadership and 4 come-from-behind victories this season with relatively weak talent around him ought to make the case for NFL MVP?

-- Derek Larsson, Ashland

A: I think Tom has received a great deal of notoriety for his accomplishments over a short career. Please, don't compare him to Russell. Please. Not even close.

I don’t get it. Is it possible to compare Tom Brady to Bill Russell and then *not* compare him to Bill Russell?

The drama continues. Today may

The drama continues. Today may be one of the least productive work days across New England since…well, since the week of the Red Sox/Yankees ALCS. The Players Union has stepped in and flexed its muscles, rejecting the proposal made by the Red Sox and Alex Rodriguez to his contract. Some feel this is nothing more than a PR stunt by the Union, who wish to show that they have authority and power, and that eventually this deal will still get done. Other think this is a deal breaker. Who to believe? In any event, the Internet will be a busy place today as people will constantly be checking in for the latest. Gordon Edes says that Bud Selig, who wants this deal to go through, may approve it anyway, and force the issue to an arbitrator. He also talks with Curt Schilling, who is never bashful about speaking about these things. Schilling believes it is wrong for the Union to go against the wishes of a player in this manner. Michael Silverman says all sides are still motivated to make this deal happen, and chances are “better than even” that it still will. Sean McAdam says the Commissioner may step in today, allow the trade to go through, and then attempt to iron out the differences.

According to sources close to the Commissioner's office, Selig intends to step in today and attempt to broker an agreement with the players' union that would allow the trade -- terms of which have been agreed upon by the Red Sox, Rangers and Rodriguez himself -- to go through. Selig will either try to work out an acceptable compromise or, if he cannot, convince the union to reverse its decision. If he cannot, sources say he is willing to take the case to an independent arbitrator in an attempt to overturn the ruling.

Jack O’Connell also has a look at the situation. Tony Massarotti says the price for signing Nomar goes up every day that this drags out. The situation is giving him leverage. Dan Shaughnessy knows Gene Orza and says he really is a likeable fellow, he just happens to be playing the Grinch to all of Boston. Gerry Callahan has a pay column for the Herald, and he takes on the Union noting that they are only about money, not what is in the best interest of the game.

A-Rod says he wants to win, and the union responds the way it always responds: Getting paid $25 million a year is winning, you ignorant little worker bee. It is the objective. And who cares what's best for the game of baseball? This is all about one thing and one thing only: making Marvin Miller proud.

Bob Hohler has an interesting look at how this situation is a ‘perverse irony’ and the opposite of what the Union is actually supposed to be doing for its players. The Union was formed to facilitate the ability of players to go an play in the cities that they wanted to play. In this instance, Rodriguez wants to play for Boston, Texas has given the permission for it, and yet the Union is blocking it. Hohler also looks at Magglio Ordonez, who would be a great fit here, and actually spends his winters working out with ARod. The Projo notebook has a look at the ESPN comments of Kevin Millar. It also says the Sox have a deal in place to acquire outfielder…and Nomar buddy…Jay Payton. Don Amore says the Yankees are keeping an eye on what the Red Sox are doing, even in the midst of making their own moves. John Tomase says that ARod needs Boston more than we need him.

The Celtics had a HUGE win over Antoine Walker and the Dallas Mavericks last night. All the links are over at Fox Sports Net New England.

Mike Reiss looks at a score that Ted Washington has to settle with Jets center Kevin Mawae. Washington’s agent claims that Mawae was responsible for the broken leg suffered by Big Ted in the first meeting between these clubs. Some great quotes in here, both from Washington’s agent and Mawae himself. Michael Felger also looks at this bitter matchup. Michael Smith looks at the improvement in the Jets since the last time we saw them. Pro Bowl selections are announced today, and Tom Curran looks at possible Patriot honorees. Michael Parente looks at the difference Chad Pennington has made in the Jets since his return from injury. Glen Farley looks at Patriots backup tackle Brandon Gorin, who is a “basketball junkie”. Mike Lowe looks at the Patriots quest for home field advantage. The notebooks have a lot of focus on Ken Walter. Smith’s notebook looks at the punter breaking his silence. Parente’s notebook looks at how a week off might’ve benefited Walter. Reiss’ notebook and Curran’s notebook also both lead off with Walter. Felger’s notebook has a look at the possible Pro Bowl selections.

Kevin Paul Dupont wonders what’s wrong with Joe Thornton. Steve Conroy looks at big time rookie Patrice Bergeron. Conroy’s notebook looks ahead to tonight’s matchup with the streaking Flames.

NESN has Bruins/Flames at 7:00. TNT has Mavericks/Timberwolves at 7:30 and Suns/Trailblazers at 10:00.

Michael Holley has an entertaining

Michael Holley has an entertaining and informative article about Ty Law and Tyrone Poole, both of whom he says deserve to go to the Pro Bowl. Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider looks at Charlie Weis, who has been having his name associated with head coaching rumors around the league. Weis is not concerning himself with those rumors, rather, he is focusing on the task at hand. Nick Cafardo looks at the vaunted AFC East which has turned out to be a dud. Michael Parente says the Patriots remember what Chad Pennington did to them last season, and look to not have a repeat performance. Eric McHugh looks at the Patriots offense. Glen Farley looks at a compressed week of work for the Patriots. Jim Donaldson doesn’t agree with the NFL’s policy for interviewing minority coaching candidates. Alan Greenberg looks at bad news for the Patriots…the Dolphins are likely to have a new coach next season. I’m not all that concerned, as a friend of mine pointed out, the Dolphins struggled up here in the cold with Jimmy Johnson and Don Shula coaching them as well. Felger’s notebook looks at another long snapper for the Patriots, as Sean McDermott had to be placed on IR. Parente’s notebook looks at the disturbing possibilities if the Patriots, Chiefs and Colts all finish 13-3. Mike Reiss’ notebook has an update on Deion Branch.

Gordon Edes reports on a meeting in New York with the Players Association looking at the proposed A-Rod contract restructure. He also floats the name of Magglio Ordonez coming to the Sox as part of a Nomar deal. (Newsday says that deal is already in place.) Sean McAdam says the clock is ticking and the Sox have until noon tomorrow to finish the restructuring of the deal. Michael Silverman looks at the blockbuster deal inching forward. Jack O’Connell says there is no turning back now. Edes looks at a few megadeals in baseball history. Dan Shaughnessy tells us who he voted for on his Hall of Fame ballot. Kevin Gray says Mark Bellhorn is a defensive upgrade in the infield for the Sox. Silverman also has a look at Bellhorn. Hohler’s notebook has Kevin Millar manning the welcoming committee for A-Rod. Howard Bryant’s Boston Uncommon looks at how the Red Sox misjudged the market price of Miguel Tejada, and looks at the Red Sox compared to the Yankees as far as resources and spending.

Antoine Walker returns to the FleetCenter tonight. The links are at Fox Sports Net New England.

Lenny Megliola looks at the Boston GM’s keeping things interesting for their fans.

FSNNE has Celtics/Mavs at 8:00. (ESPN nationally)

A busy day and evening

A busy day and evening for the Boston Celtics, get the details on the trade, on #31 being raised to the rafters and the Celtics 116-95 loss to the Timberwolves at Fox Sports New New England.

A “D” for the running backs and a “C” for the offensive line, otherwise all “A’s” and “B’s” for the Patriots on Kevin Mannix’s report card this week. Ron Borges wonders why Bill Belichick chose to take the hard line with Richard Seymour, considering the concessions he made for Larry Izzo when Izzo’s father died earlier this season. How predictable was that article? Alan Greenberg wonders if the incident will cause Seymour not to re-sign here when his contract is up in two years. Tom Curran notes that:

Yesterday, a noted writer from the region's biggest newspaper said of Brady, "I'm still not convinced."

Hmm. I wonder who that was. Curran then goes on to make the case for Brady, and concludes that:

Tom Brady is far from the perfect quarterback. But he's a great deal closer to it than a lot of the other ones manning huddles in the NFL.

Is that a clever play-on-words by Curran there? Mike Reiss wonders if we’re going to see Deion Branch this weekend. Dan Pires and Michael Parente also take a look at the repercussions of the Seymour benching. The Patriot offense oftentimes gets overlooked, or criticized as a weak link on the team, but Michael Smith says the group doesn’t take a backseat on the road to the postseason. Bill Reynolds is still trying to get used to the idea that the Patriots are the best team in football. Rich Thompson looks ahead to the New York Jets. Jim Donaldson blasts NFL celebrations as “self-indulgent”, “self-aggrandizing”, “over the top” and knocks them for doing something outrageous just to get attention. All qualities and things a columnist would never show or do, right? (Not saying this Donaldson column is an example of that, just speaking in general.) Curran contrasts how Jim Haslett handled the Joe Horn situation to how Bill Belichick handled the Richard Seymour situation.

Parente’s notebook has the Patriots focused only on beating the Jets. Thompson’s notebook has more on Seymour, as does Curran’s notebook. Reiss’ notebook has still more on Seymour and a brief bit on NFL tiebreakers.

Tony Massarotti says you can count on Alex Rodriguez coming to the Sox. He doesn’t call it a “done deal”, but says it’s impossible to believe anything contrary to that. Bob Hohler & Gordon Edes report on the “gaining momentum of the deal. Jeff Horrigan assures us that one way or the other, this will all be resolved very soon. Sean McAdam says the Red Sox have to find some young pitcher to send to the Rangers before the deal can be made. Paul Doyle gives us the book on A-Rod. Gordon Edes looks at who might be possibilities to fill holes for the Red Sox if Manny and Nomar are both dealt. The notebooks look at the likely acquisition of Mark Bellhorn from the Rockies, who would play an infield role. The Globe, Herald and Projo all look at the six year veteran.

Both Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Steve Conroy look at the Bruins getting back to basics. Douglas Flynn looks at Peter Laviolette rejoining the NHL coaching ranks. Conroy’s notebook looks at Sergei Samsonov healing up.

Bill Griffith looks at another record setting ratings week for the Patriots. John Molori has visions of shortstops dancing in our heads.

NESN has Bruins/Canadiens at 7:30.