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. your Super Bowl DVD

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.

So here we go, the

So here we go, the countdown to the Super Bowl is on. Bob Ryan says this focused football team truly takes things just one step at a time. Kevin Mannix looks back and gives his report card for the AFC Championship game. The Receivers and Special Teams get C’s, the rest are all A’s and B’s. Tom Curran says that Bill Belichick is finally being embraced as a local son here in New England. With the exception of a couple holdout sportswriters, that’s true. your Super Bowl DVD

Ron Borges says the Patriots will be in the unusual position of being a favorite coming into this Super Bowl. I’m sure this isn’t easy on Ron considering how much he hates seeing the Patriots succeed. His premise that he needs to be negative to be “objective” is tired. He manages to get through his article today without venom, though he’s probably saving it for his TV and Radio appearances, which is where he does the majority of his blustering these days. With the advent of this pesky Internet invention, the things you write can be looked back on in the future. It’s easier to just throw things out on the air instead. Like that Tony Dungy is just as good a coach as Bill Belichick. (From Channel 7 last week.) Alan Greenberg says there will be no looking back from this team, either to the AFC title game nor to previous Super Bowl appearances. Mike Reiss says that flexibility is the key to the Belichick philosophy. Karen Guregian gives us a glimpse of the lighter side of Bill Belichick as revealed in a question about playing football with this kids from yesterday’s press conference. Michael Parente says that the Patriots will have plenty of time to prepare for the Panthers with the two week gap between games. Ian M. Clark says the Patriots are just focused on getting one more win for this season. Michael Smith has a look at the offensive line and their season-long game of “Survivor”. Jim Donaldson also has a look at the offensive line.

Rich Thompson says that Bill Belichick does not care who Vegas installs as favorites and underdogs in this game. Bill Reynolds also takes a look at Belichick and the side of him that came out in the press conference yesterday. Rick Gossellin of the Dallas Morning News tells us this will be one of the most hard-hitting Super Bowls in history. Frank Dell’Apa has a look at the astonishing development of David Givens. Buddy Thomas admits his team got bested on Sunday afternoon. Smith’s notebook looks at similarities between Belichick and John Fox. Felger’s notebook tries to get us an update on Tedy Bruschi. Reiss’ notebook has some on Bruschi, and a lot of other stuff.

So just who are these Panthers, anyway? Michael Felger gives us a primer on the Panthers, and who to look for on their roster. Nick Cafardo looks at the rise of Carolina from a 1-15 team to the Super Bowl in just three years. Lenny Megliola says the Panthers are not made for prime time, but worries that they’ve got some of the Patriots vibe of two years ago going on. Steve Buckley has a pay column saying the Panthers are just like the 2001 Patriots. Should’ve known Buckley would be the one to pen that obvious angle. You can get more on the Panthers, as well as what they think of the Patriots down at the Charlotte Observer. (Free registration required to read stories.) They’ve got an article on the Patriots bouncing back from the Lawyer Milloy release and a look at the Patriots players that Carolina fans need to know about.

Steve Conroy and Nancy Marrapese-Burrell report on the Bruins 5-2 win over the Rangers yesterday. Gus Martins looks at Brian Rolston and Glen Murray ending their scoring slumps yesterday. Andy Nesbitt looks at the addition of Jiri Slegr to the blue line. Joe Gordon looks at another strong game for Andrew Raycroft. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at a punch from Eric Lindros that fractured the cheekbone of Joe Thornton and will keep the Bruins Captain out of tonight’s game. Conroy’s notebook says that the B’s could be without Dan McGillis as well, after the defenseman received a match penalty yesterday.

Celtics links are over at Fox Sports New New England.

Tony Massarotti says that the Sox hope to avoid arbitration with Trot Nixon, David Ortiz and Byung-Hyun Kim by signing each to a multi-year contract.

NESN has Bruins/Rangers at 7:00. FSNNE has Celtics/Heat at 7:30. WBZ4 has a special Patriots program each night this week at 7:00.

Quick Monday Links by Len

Quick Monday Links by Len

The Patriots Protected This House and now we must prepare for two weeks of Super Bowl hype. Tom Curran has the game story on an overpowering performance in the 24-14 win. Curran also tells us that Bill Belichick knew the Colts were not looking forward to yesterday

Sunday Links from Len Championship

Sunday Links from Len

Championship Sunday is finally here as the Patriots host the Colts today at Gillette Stadium. We must protect this house. The game is on WBZ-4 at 3:00 PM with pre-game shows beginning at noon.

Ron Borges tells us that the Colts are close to unbeatable and that the weather will not likely be a factor. Dan Shaughnessy believes the Patriots are something special and will be headed to the Super Bowl. He also salutes the Patriots fans who are a special bunch. Shaughnessy covered Larry Bird during the 1980

The countdown to kickoff is

The countdown to kickoff is on. In a event that is reminiscent of Lawyer Milloy’s press conference prior to the AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh two years, Michael Felger reports on a session that Rodney Harrison had with the Indy press that had a bit of an edge to it. Jeff Jacobs also looks at Harrison’s comments. Mike Reiss tells us that the 40 seconds between the end of one play and the next snap is where this game is going to be won or lost. Alan Greenberg looks at a Patriots club made up as a team and not individual stars. Joe McDonald says this will be a poker match for the ages. Eric McHugh says the Patriots have used their entire roster to get this far. Ian M. Clark says the Patriots defense sneaks up on it’s foes. Most of today’s articles focus on one player. So if you’re the casual fan who hasn’t paid a whole lot of attention to the team and has just come on board here recently, these articles might be good for you. For the hardcore fans, they might be a bit of a disappointment, as you might be thirsting for more indepth analysis of the matchups. But here goes with the player articles. John Powers has an article on Richard Seymour, who is one of the prime stoppers in the NFL. Tom Curran has a piece on rookie safety Eugene Wilson, who isn’t going to be intimidated playing in his first AFC Title game. He’s put the first game with the Colts out of his mind. Michael Smith has an article on rookie receiver/kick returner Bethel Johnson, who was dynamic in the first meeting between the teams. It was a little amusing to read Smith describing Johnson as baby-faced (which he is.) Smith and Johnson are the same age. Glen Farley also has a look at Johnson. Rich Thompson chats with Dedric Ward about this team’s unselfish nature. Dan Shaughnessy looks at Tom Brady, and compares his matchup with Peyton Manning as a Russell/Chamberlain type duel. Michael O’Connor looks at tight end Christian Fauria, who is hoping to just stay as even as possible through the playoffs. Frank Dell’Apa has a piece on Matt Light, who will have his hands full, and likely get some help in protecting Tom Brady’s backside on Sunday. Karen Guregian looks at clutch kicker Adam Vinatieri. Thompson also has a piece on rookie center Dan Koppen. O’Connor also has a bit on Joe Andruzzi, who has been the mainstay on the offensive line. Bob Fedas reviews the Patriots history in AFC Title games. Lenny Megliola looks at a 41 year old Patriots fan battling Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Felger’s notebook says the Pats are keeping their defensive game plan under tight wraps this week. Smith’s notebook says this is the most comprehensive test the Patriots have faced this year. McDonald’s notebook has Bill Belichick keeping his team level. Reiss’ notebook says that Ken Walter likes the cold.

For the Colts, Joe Burris looks at Indy’s all world receiver Marvin Harrison. Michael Holley and Michael Gee look at Brandon Stokley returning to practice yesterday.

The Globe staffers make their picks. They all pick the Patriots, with the exception of Ron Borges who predicts a 24-20 Colts victory. Yet in his matchups, he gives the overall edge to the Patriots “by a ring finger”. Speaking of Borges, the flap that came about last weekend with the eery similarity between a section of his Sunday article and one written by Len Pasquarelli on Friday has been investigated by the Globe, and they are certain that Borges did his own work there. In an email sent to many readers who had written in on the incident, Sports Editor Don Skwar said that

"Although there were only two sentences that were similar, we nonetheless, because of the similarity of the anecdote, checked into it. Ron said he didn't get the language from Mr. Pasquarelli. We can't speak for Mr. Pasquarelli, but we contacted the source of the anecdote, and he affirmed that Ron did his own reporting. Ron wrote the item based on the information he received from that source."

So there it is. They checked it out, and he came out clean.

A great article is in The Atlantic, and it focuses on Eagles center Hank Fraley, but the Patriots figure large in the story as well.

That’s all I have time for right at the moment.

Only had time for Patriots

Only had time for Patriots links this morning, but that’s pretty much all that is going on anyway.

With the seeming loss of Damien Woody for the remainder of the playoffs, (The Patriots still him as “doubtful” and say he is day-to-day.) you’ll get used to the name Russ Hochstein over the next few days. Michael Smith says that Hochstein will just try to fit in and do the job come Sunday. Alan Greenberg looks at the loss of Woody and how Hochstein can try to fit in. Michael O’Connor says Hochstein is ready to do whatever is asked of him, even stepping in and starting an AFC title game. Mike Reiss says that the Woody injury will showcase a staple of the Belichick era…depth. Michael Parente also has a look at the loss of Woody for the Patriots. Bob Ryan says the Patriots stand out among the four remaining teams. Michael Felger looks at Willie McGinest, who doesn’t want to look back at his heroics in the first meeting between the Colts and Patriots. Michael Holley says that Peyton Manning has his poker face on this week, he’s not going to reveal anything. Karen Guregian says that Foxboro is just not Peyton’s place. Tom Curran just knows that special teams will somehow come into play in deciding the game on Sunday. Mick Colageo looks at how newcomers fit into and adjust to coming to the Patriots. Kevin Paul Dupont says the Patriots’ young secondary members need to study up this week, as they’ll be tested come Sunday. Another member of the secondary, Tyrone Poole knows that his small stature could also lead to his being picked on, but to him, it doesn’t matter. Frank Dell’Apa has a look at Christian Fauria, enjoying his second season in New England much more than his first. Robert Lee says that Indy’s offense is just scary. Joe Burris says the Colts defense is hoping to make a statement this Sunday. Colts fan Buddy Thomas tells us that the Colts can beat the Patriots. Jim Donaldson looks at the AFC title games in Patriots history. Curran says that Patrick Pass may get some touches if Antowain Smith is too banged up.

Felger’s notebook has Ty Law looking for a bigger piece of the action come Sunday. Smith’s notebook says Tom Brady has a tall task in front of him as far as trying to match Manning on Sunday. Lee’s notebook has more on Woody. Reiss’ notebook looks at Ted Washington’s “Homeland Defense” T-shirts. Parente’s notebook says the Colts will try to stretch the Patriot secondary. Burris’ Colts notebook says the Brandon Stokley could miss the game Sunday because his son is in the hospital.

Celtics lost to the Rockets at home last night. An injured Paul Pierce had only four points. The links are at Fox Sports Net New England.