Sunday Links from Len Let

Sunday Links from Len

Let the hype begin. Super Bowl Sunday is only one week away as the players, media, and celebrities head to Houston. Michael Smith, in his Pats Notebook, tells us the Patriots are heading down to Texas at 1:00 pm today. Smith explains that the Patriots with Super Bowl experience understand what this week is all about and are conveying that to the younger players. Smith also has a feature on Rodney Harrison who is an old school football player raised in an old school fashion by his mother Barbara in Chicago. Michael Holley sees this as one tough business trip for Coach Belichick and the team. He also believes the Panthers are a much better team than the Patriots who won it all two years ago.

Tom Curran said yesterday in his Notebook that Ty Law and his agent both expect Law back in 2004. There may be a restructuring of the contract. But the 2004 salary cap amount is very similar to the 2003 amount. This is a 2005 problem. But Adam Schefter of the Denver Post, like Ron Borges, believes Law will be a free agent this winter. Schefter claims that the Patriots were trying to dump Law during the season too and that the Broncos turned the Patriots down. Schefter also believes that referee Walt Coleman bailed out the Patriots last week with a fortuitous overturn of the ruling on the field that Tom Brady fumbled with just over a minute left in the game. Does Adam even watch the games? That overturn didn’t even resemble anything controversial.

Karen Guregian explains what this game means to ringless veterans like Rodney Harrison, Ted Washington, Christian Fauria, and Tyrone Poole. Kevin Mannix discusses how the Patriots make good use of the both the draft and free agency to build the team.

Jim McCabe, who has been covering the Panthers for the Globe, says the Panthers hit rock bottom in the last regular season game of 2001 in a game at home against the Pats. 21,000 people showed up in Carolina for that game and most were rooting for the Patriots. McCabe has the story of how the Panthers went from 1-15 to the Super Bowl.

It should come as a shock to nobody that Ron Borges uses his NFL Notes column to defend Al Davis who claims he never offered the Raiders head coach position to Sean Payton despite what Payton told the media. Borges insists that Davis is not a liar. Davis may not cooperate with his fellow owners, sue the league, and move his teams multiple times. But Ron Borges seems to always back the guy. Borges also discusses the financial burden owners take on when their teams go the Super Bowl.

Rick Cimini of the NY Daily News has a feature on Belichick’s friendship with Jon Bon Jovi. Bon Jovi, who owns an Arena Football team, claims Belichick got “screwed” in New York because of a misunderstanding. Steve Serby of the Daily News says Adam Vinatieri is Mr. Clutch.

No-name writer Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal is upset that the Super Bowl has two no-name quarterbacks. He wanted Donovan McNabb. Does he actually believe McNabb is better than Tom Brady? The best thing he says about Brady is that doesn’t mess things up (like his hero who threw four picks in a conference championship game). The very same newspaper has another writer taking shots at Tom Brady today. Terrance Moore says “Manning is Manning” but “Brady is just a Brady”. He claims the NFL has problems as result of the parity in the league and New England is an example of what parity brings us. Perhaps the NFL could bring back the old 3rd Place Championship game and the Atlanta writers would be happy. Maybe the Georgia Dome could serve as the permanent home for such a game.

The College basketball season is starting to heat up with some local teams doing well. Recently, a very young BC team saw its RPI on the rise after some quality wins. But they lost a tough 65-62 road game yesterday to a decent West Virginia team. Mike Shalin has the game story. In a battle between the top two schools in New England, PC stunned UConn at Connecticut. Kevin McNamara has the game story . Both teams are headed for March Madness and will meet again in Providence. Bill Reynolds says that it wasn’t just a monster game by Ryan Gomes that beat Connecticut. UConn couldn’t handle the Friars zone either.

Gordon Edes has Baseball Notes today and has the story on Mo Vaughn unofficially calling it quits as Mo plans to spend more time at his home in Easton and less time at his home in New York. Mo hopes to help out the Brockton Rox and spend more time on his hitting school in Stoughton. Tony Massarotti has the Red Sox looking at possibly bringing back Ellis Burks.

The Bruins lost another home game last night. Florida beat the Bruins 2-1. Steve Conroy has the game story.

Bill Griffith has the story of the growth of the Patriots owned media (website and weekly tabloid). Griffith also explains why today’s Celtics game is not being televised locally.

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Some Quick Saturday Links from

Some Quick Saturday Links from Len

The Patriots, Panthers, and the media don’t get arrive in Houston until early next week and there’s not much going on right now. Tom Curran has a profile on the ageless Roman Phifer. Karen Guregian reports on the improving health of Tedy Bruschi.

George Kimball reports on a big Panthers rally in Charlotte yesterday. Wooooooooo!!!! Ric Flair even spoke at the rally. Paul Nowell, also reporting on the rally, has the Panthers fans playing the

More reader feedback coming in

More reader feedback coming in on the Howard Bryant incident on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan program:

I agree with the person on your site who wrote in about the D&C attack on Howard Bryant. It was sickening, and completely transparent. Callahan had about a 20% involvement in the part I heard it was mostly all Dennis. Don't get me wrong, Callahan made no attempt to slow Dennis down, he just held back a bit more. I've been listening to their show for a year now, and I have never heard them attack someone with so much venom, especially a fellow journalist! It is tough to be a sports radio fan in RI, all we can listen to is 850 with its distasteful personalities but great guest appearances or amatuer hour on 790 the score with irritating Amy.

Here’s another view:

I heard some of what that emailer mentioned and was sort of flabbergasted. I also wanted to find out what Bryant wrote, I figured it was something about this being a red sox town, blah, blah. This was at about 6:40-6:45 this morning. I think Callahan said something to the effect of, I read Felger and Mannix, they always clue you into something new, but Howard Bryant brings nothing to the table, he's not even worth reading, he just throws in a bunch of 50 cent words, etc., while Dennis said,(not exactly verbatim), "yeah, just throw in a Malcolm X quote."

I really didn't get it, except to confirm in my own mind, what a bunch of vile, sad wretches all 3 of them are. Now it makes perfect sense.

And another:

I have never met Howard Bryant, but I have read his book "Shut Out: A History of Race and Baseball in Boston" and found it EXCELLENT. I NEVER read the Herald's premium on-line columns, but Bryant is one writer I have actually spent 50 cents to buy the newspaper to read, based on on-line teases. He can write.

In general my view of WEEI is this: I listen to it, because I love sports. However, The Big Show is the only listenable show on the station, and only when the right co-hosts are in the studio. After starting on weak-signaled 590, the all-sports format almost died. It was saved in 1995 when American Radio Systems (then its owner) moved the Red Sox from WRKO to WEEI.

Last fall's book coincided with an incredibly intense stretch drive, the playoffs and LCS, Grady's gaffe, the Schilling signing, the A-Rod rumors -- and, finally, an incredible streak by the Patriots. The great ratings book is not because of the "talent" of the morning hosts. (Bryant can write circles around Callahan, and Dennis should just play golf all day long - that's the only thing he cares about.) In retrospect, WEEI should have let Callahan jump to WWZN; he'd be talking to the same hundred listeners that Eddie does all day. Instead, they paid him big money ...

I did not hear today's rant. If after all the e-mails you believe that this was an egregious matter, I would suggest that you provide a link to yesterday's Globe piece on the new general manager of WEEI, Julie Kahn, and her e-mail address. She might be interested in hearing about this reaction.

Finally, here is one from someone who somewhat agreed with D&C, a little more of a controversial view. No, the emailer’s last name wasn’t Limbaugh.

While I agree that today's Bryant column was pretty mundane and didn't call for a scathing attack, I agree with much of what D&C said this AM. Bryant was heralded as a fresh voice on the scene and anointed with a column. He was a guest on most of the WEEI shows and came across as an intellectual. His performance to this point has been terribly disappointing. His Boston Uncommon is remarkably bland. I've come to treat it like a Buckley column- skip through it but rarely does it spark any interest at all.

Whether the to-do about his arrival was because he was the only black (that I'm aware of) sportswriter at the Herald or not, I'm not sure, but I suspect so. I think you could say the local media was desirous of a black sportswriter succeeding at the Herald. It is not often I give kudos to the Globe, but with significantly less fanfare, the Globe has hired two great talents who happen to be black. Michael Smith is a terrific reporter and Michael Holley brings something interesting almost every time out.

A bit of a rant but you posting that email seems to endorse its content and I think it's refreshing that someone called out this fraud Howard Bryant.

Eric McHugh talks to Bill

Eric McHugh talks to Bill Belichick’s first NFL boss, Ted Marchibroda, who hired the 23 year old Belichick when he was with the Baltimore Colts in 1975. Tom Curran says life is great for Tom Brady. Kevin Paul Dupont looks at the Patriots 14 game winning streak and their place in history. Michael Felger writes about Russ Hochstein and the Patriots offensive line preparing to block a much bigger and stronger Carolina defensive line than the one they face from Indy. Michael Smith says the Patriots have dismissed the words of Warren Sapp and have moved on to preparing for the game. Tim Weisberg collects Patriot reaction to the words of Sapp. Mike Reiss looks at Ted Johnson, preparing for his third Super Bowl with the Patriots armed with a new perspective. Kevin Mannix says that Tom Brady simply couldn’t say “no” to the invitation to come to the State of the Union address. Rich Thompson says Don Davis and the Patriots will not be taking the Panthers for granted. Alan Greenberg says that Tedy Bruschi is one player in favor of getting the extra week off for the Super Bowl. Bill Reynolds writes about Brown’s Chas Gessner, who has been along for this Patriots Super Bowl run and enjoying every moment of it. Curran also writes that the Super Bowl is a new experience for most of these Patriots. Dan Shaughnessy says the 24 active players who were around for the Super Bowl win two years ago know what it will take to win this one. Smith’s notebook says that the Jets might be interested in secondary coach Eric Mangini. Felger’s notebook has the Patriots keeping their fingers crossed on Bruschi’s status. Curran’s notebook has more on Hochstein and Sapp. Parente’s notebook also leads with Sapp’s smack.

Michael Parente looks at the rise of Jake Delhomme. Jim McCabe says that after years of tough times, the people of Charlotte have reason to celebrate the Panthers appearance in the Super Bowl. Rich Thompson looks at Dan Henning’s offense. George Kimball’s notebook looks at the Panthers knowing that New England is going to be a tough, physical team.

Bill Griffith looks at the exodus of local sports media to Houston.

We’re going to end this morning with an email received just a short time ago about an incident that happened on the Dennis & Callahan show this morning.

After listening to the D&C show this morning, I felt compelled to email you. I would like to recommend a follow up to the entire D&C incident. While its true that their ratings actually increased after their suspension, the offensive behavior continues to resonate. This morning's attack on Howard Bryant is just the latest example. Howard, you recall, wrote a scathing article after the gorilla episode, calling Callahan a racist among other things. Now, finally, D&C, bolstered by ratings approval have decided the time is right for a counter attack on Howard. They proceeded to call Mr. Bryant every name in the book during a five-minute rant this morning, with the highlight being John Dennis imploring Mr. Bryant to get his head out of his ass, and repeating it several times. They went on to question Howard

Michael Felger provides us XXXVIII

Michael Felger provides us XXXVIII pieces of information about Super Bowl XXXVIII. (On the last one, is Tom Brady going to the Pro Bowl? I hadn’t heard, but I’ve been in the bunker the last few weeks here.) Bob Ryan has a look at Mike Vrabel — the quintessential New England Patriot. Tom Curran looks at Ted Johnson, heading back to his roots in Houston for the Super Bowl. Glen Farley says it’s a homecoming for several Patriots. Alan Greenberg says these Panthers have a familiar feel to them. Ron Hobson says the Panthers believe in their coach. Lenny Megliola looks at Panther’s fever in Carolina. Nick Cafardo gives us the nitty gritty on two weeks as opposed to one week of Super Bowl preparation. Kevin Mannix says the Panthers are like the Patriots all right…the ’85 Patriots. Michael Parente looks at improbable starter Russ Hochstein. Mike Reiss talks with Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger about the challenge facing Dan Henning and the Panthers offense. Jim Donaldson talks with Chris Palmer, who faced both the Panthers and the Patriots this season with the Texans.

Jim McCabe talks with Ricky “Tonight a dynasty is born.” Proehl about the chances of the Panthers pulling off the upset. Bill Reynolds tells us 32 things about Tom Brady. The last one is interesting. Michael Bishop, on his way out of town said: “You guys are going to find out that Tom Brady is the best quarterback here.”Mark Blaudschun looks at kicker John Kasay, who has been with the Panthers since their first season. Paul Grimaldi looks at Patriots merchandise taking off. Buddy Thomas hates the hype and stupid questions of the two week Super Bowl buildup. Mike DiMauro looks at New England fans’ myopic view of their team. Felger has a look at Charlie Weis likely getting a look in Oakland after the Super Bowl, and Cafardo says it could be either Weis or Romeo Crennel. Cafardo also hints that Crennel’s extension is below market value for what top coordinators around the league are making. Felger says Tedy Bruschi has a strained calf muscle. Curran’s notebook says the Patriots players will start to learn about the Panthers today. Cafardo’s notebook says the roof is slated to be open for the Super Bowl. George Kimball’s Panther’s notebook says that Brentson Buckner didn’t sign with New England because of his last name. He also talks Sox with Jermaine Wiggins. Parente’s notebook says that the Patriots have some work to do on the Red Zone offense.

Celtics links are at Fox Sports Net New England

Jeff Horrigan reports on the Sox interest in a pair of Cuban pitchers.

Ron Indrisano and Steve Conroy report on cheek surgery for Joe Thornton. He’ll miss at least tonight’s game with Buffalo and be day to day after that. Indrisano’s notebook looks at Framingham’s own Carl Corazzini. Conroy’s notebook looks at Craig MacDonald settling in.

Clea Simon looks at new WEEI GM Julie Kahn.

NESN has Bruins/Sabres at 7:00. ESPN has Flyers/Rangers at 7:30. ESPN2 has college hoops at 7:00 and 9:00. TNT has Cavs/Kings at 7:00 and Lakers/Mavs at 9:30.

Day three of the pre-Super

Day three of the pre-Super Bowl hype. Michael Holley says the Patriots have a fan of their style and system in Don Shula. Eric McHugh writes that there is plenty of work for the Patriots to do to get prepared for the Super Bowl. Buddy Ryan, architect of the ’85 Bears defense tells Michael Smith that this Patriots defense is right up there, he says if they win on Feb 1st, this would be the second greatest defense of all time in his eyes.

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Jim Donaldson once again tries to draw attention to himself, leaping off the Tom Brady bandwagon, trying to incite panic and saying:

Just when I thought Tom Terrific was on the verge of approaching the postseason-stardom level of Joe Cool, Brady produces a performance more reminiscent of Drew Bledsoe than the legendary Montana.

Donaldson must figure that saying dumb things works for people like Woody Paige, so why shouldn’t he get a slice of that pie as well? A guy who should know, Bill Walsh, tells Nick Cafardo that the Brady comparisons to Montana are appropriate. Alan Greenberg looks at some more honors for Bill Belichick and Richard Seymour. Michael Felger in his Patriots Insider looks at some tough offseason calls the Patriots will have to make with guys like Ty Law, Damien Woody and Ted Washington. While the points are valid, why not let us enjoy the next two weeks before we have to worry about that stuff, huh? Michael Parente gives us three things you need to know about the Panthers. McHugh says Belichick sometimes gives the Patriots an unfair advantage. More on the Panthers comes from Hector Longo, who tries to bring us up to speed on the NFC champion. Rich Thompson looks at the value of Mike Vrabel. Dan Shaughnessy says a matchup with the Panthers just doesn’t have that much excitement. Gerry Callahan’s pay column tells us that the Patriots cannot play the no-respect underdog role any longer. Yeah. We knew that, thanks. Parente’s notebook tells us there is still no official word on the injury to Tedy Bruschi.

A-Rod will not go away. There was a buzz on the Internet and sports radio yesterday because of an ESPN report that the two sides will resume talks on the blockbuster deal. Denials were swift in coming. Bob Hohler has that story and other Red Sox news from yesterday. David Heuschkel also has a short report on the matter. Tony Massarotti reports on deals for Kim and Nixon, and his notebook has Theo Epstein shooting down the A-Rod reports.

The Bruins beat the Rangers for the second day in a row, thanks to two goals from rookie Carl Corazzini. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Stephen Harris have the details. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at the club claiming center Craig MacDonald off waivers from Florida. Harris’ notebook has a look at split decisions on suspensions for a pair of Bruins.

The Celtics also won last night, escaping Miami with an 86-84 win over the Heat. Details are at Fox Sports New New England.

John Molori has a look at the job done by Phil Simms and Greg Gumbel in Sunday’s CBS broadcast of the AFC Championship. He also looks at petty comments made by Michael Wilbon.

ESPN has College hoops tonight, while ESPN2 has Knicks/Rockets at 9:00. ESPN Classic has the Bill Russell “SportsCentury” at 8:00 & 11:00.