Lots going on today, not

Lots going on today, not a whole lot of time to bring it to you.

Bob Ryan looks at “the hottest quarterback in the known universe”. Peyton Manning. Tom Curran looks at possible kryptonite facing “Supermanning”. Michael Felger says the Patriots must get tough with the Colts. He also looks at the Patriots version of Bill James. Michael Smith says the Patriots are going to need a big game from the offense, not just the defense, in order to beat Indy. Alan Greenberg focuses on the defense as what will win the game. Nick Cafardo has a very good article looking at how Belichick defenses shut down two other other high powered offenses in the postseason, and what parts of those games they may bring into this week. Kevin Mannix also looks to the past for ideas as to how the Patriots will play this one. Michael Parente looks at another marquee QB matchup. Ron Hobson says the Patriots have earned a shot at another Super Bowl. Jim Donaldson says we will find out if defense wins championships. Eric McHugh says the Patriots defense needs to be able to get off the field on third downs. Mike Reiss says Antowain Smith will be ready to go against the Colts. Joe Burris looks at the balance that Tony Dungy has brought to the Colts. Frank Dell’Apa looks at the resourceful Eagles.

Number “8” has been raised to the FleetCenter rafters, no, not Antoine Walker, (Nice joke, Dickerson) but the great Cam Neely was honored by the Bruins last night. John Powers and Joe Gordon bring you the details of the retirement ceremony. Douglas Flynn says there will never be another Bruin like Cam Neely. Kevin Paul Dupont says Neely’s style of play is sorely missed in today’s NHL. Karen Guregian says Neely’s game was Hall of Fame worthy. James Murphy has Neely reflecting on Boston and the fans. Rich Thompson talks to a few of Neely’s ex-teammates. The Herald provides a transcript of Neely’s speech last night. Mike Loftus says Neely was the ultimate teammate. Ron Indrisano says Neely brought much needed attitude to hockey, but could actually play the game as well. Thompson also reviews the deal which brought Neely to Boston. Steve Buckley has a pay column in which he says that Neely is one of us, he’s at home here in Boston. Yes, there was also a hockey game at the FleetCenter last night as well. The Bruins defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 behind two goals from the youngest player in the NHL, Patrice Bergeron. Paul Harbor has the game story for the Globe. Stephen Harris for the Herald, and Shalise Manza Young for the ProJo. Steve Conroy says the Bruins are glad that Bergeron does not act his age. Harris’ notebook looks at Jeremy Jacobs not backing off on his comments from earlier this season. The Globe notebook has Bergeron drawing raves. Young’s notebook has more on Neely.

New York finally gets a taste of the real Roger Clemens, and they do not like it. Tony Massarotti says hey, Roger always said he wanted to play closer to home. Guess he was telling the truth.

Does Roger still go into the hall as a Yankee?
New York Post.

Dan Shaughnessy says that it is fitting that Clemens ends his career in Texas, and enjoys the reaction in New York. Michael Silverman says the Red Sox brass is doing some damage control in trying to patch up their relationship with the popular Nomar Garciaparra. Tom Werner is the Red Sox point man on the West Coast. Tony Massarotti says the Red Sox are not buying the Billy Beane version of Moneyball. Beane

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The Colts are coming. Is

The Colts are coming. Is this Peyton Manning’s year? It’s his week to be the media binky, we know that much. But then again, we also have the angle that Tom Brady could beat both the guys that beat him out for league MVP. Should be a fascinating week and game. Michael Holley does the smart thing and doesn’t focus a whole lot on the Colts just yet. Lets enjoy what this team has done and is doing. Kevin Mannix’s report card gives the fans an A+ for Saturday night. Tom Curran looks at all the seemingly small things during the course of the game that led up to victory for the Patriots. Alan Greenberg looks at a close call for the Pats. Mike Reiss looks ahead (and back) at the Colts. Ron Borges says Colts/Pats II will be a classic confrontation. Michael Smith says the Patriots are in for a fight on Sunday afternoon. Michael Parente looks at the Colts turn to come to Frosty Foxboro. Michael Felger looks at the wild ride that was the first meeting between the Colts and Patriots. Jim Donaldson drinks the Kool Aid and compares Tom Brady to Joe Montana. Gerry Callahan has a pay column saying that Tom Brady outplayed Steve McNair and will be overlooked again this week as Peyton Manning will get all the ink. Steve Buckley’s pay column is focused on how Manny Ramirez would fit in with these Patriots and different the Pats are from the Sox. Nick Cafardo looks at the unsung Bobby Hamilton. Christopher Price looks at the clutch plays that made a difference Saturday night. Ian M. Clark says it’s business as usual for the Patriots. Smith’s notebook looks at Willie McGinest being named to the Pro Bowl. Felger’s notebook looks at the Patriots injuries. Curran’s notebook looks ahead to the Colts. Parente’s notebook also looks at McGinest.

Jim McCabe has the game story of the Colts win over the Chiefs. Bob Ryan says that offensively, the Colts were perfection personified. George Kimball says Peyton Manning is a master at the line of scrimmage. McCabe says the Colts aren’t worried about the Patriots. McCabe’s notebook looks at Tony Dungy. Howard Bryant has a pay column on Donovan McNabb, who got his Eagles to yet another NFC title game. Frank Dell’Apa has the story on the game. His notebook looks at the Eagles’ kicker, David Ackers who shook off an earlier miss to tie and then win the game for the Eagles.

Kevin Paul Dupont looks at Cam Neely having his number retired tonight at the Fleet. Karen Guregian gets reaction from former teammates. Joe Gordon looks at Neely’s passion for the game. Ron Indrisano says Neely is revered by Bruins young and old. Guregian also looks at the slow start to Neely’s career and gets the reaction of other Bruins legends to having Cam join their numbers in the rafters. Stephen Harris says the Bruins aren’t going to let recent success go to their head. Harris notebook looks at the injury status of one of the Bruins few legit prospects.

The Celtics came up with a road win and continued their amazing success against the Western Conference with a 97-93 win in Houston. Links are at Fox Sports Net New England.

Bob Hohler says Kevin Millar has talked to Nomar Garciaparra about the comments he made last month when a deal for Alex Rodriguez seemed certain. Millar says all is well. Hohler also looks at the baseball writers dinner.

ESPN has college hoops with Notre Dame/Pitt at 7:00 and Syracuse/Missouri at 9:00 (In HD) ESPN2 has Penguins/Flyers at 7:30.

Things that make you go

Things that make you go hmmm…
(Thanks to eagle-eyed reader A.S.B.)

Len Pasquarelli, 1/09/2004:

As he was riding to the press conference at which he was announced as the Giants' new head coach, Coughlin noticed a newspaper story reporting that Lewis had been fired in Pittsburgh. He told a companion he had to get in touch with Lewis quickly, because he knew Lewis would be a hot commodity on the open market.

In four seasons as the Steelers coordinator, Lewis never had a unit rank lower than ninth statistically in overall defense, and that was this past season. Pittsburgh was seventh two times under Lewis, in 2000 and 2002, and rated No. 1 in 2001.

Ron Borges, 1/11/2004:

As Coughlin was riding to the press conference that would announce his hiring as Giants head coach, he saw in the newspaper that Lewis had been fired by the Steelers. He told a companion he had to get in touch with Lewis quickly because he believed he'd be a hot commodity. Coughlin hired him within days. Lewis served for four years as the Steelers' defensive coordinator and never had a defense ranked lower than ninth overall. They were first in 2001...

Yes, the Globe article does say:

Material from personal interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report.

But does Len Pasquarelli count as any of those? He’s an ESPN columnist, not a beat writer, wire service or team/ league source. Or did they both get it from a wire service? Any way you look at it, it just seems suspicious.

Sunday Links from Len

Sunday Links from Len.

Eskimo Up!!! The Patriots are back in the AFC Championship Game after winning another classic as Adam Vinatieri kicked another improbable game winner with just over four minutes left to give the Pats a 17-14 win over Tennessee. Michael Smith has the story on a shivering win. Michael Holley found a Titan who still does not respect the Patriots. Tennessee guard Zach Piller was not only unimpressed with the Patriots defense, but also believes it “sucked” and that he would be “shocked” if the Pats won it all. But Eddie George and Jeff Fisher seem to understand what the Patriots are all about. Michael Felger says the Patriots defense has guts. Despite the fact that Steve McNair picked on Poole, Wilson, and Samuel, the defense hung in there and closed out the Titans. Tony Massarotti has the story on Antowain Smith who gained key yardage last night including a big run when the Pats were pinned at their five yard line at the end of the third quarter.

Jackie MacMullan has the story on the suddenly human and possibly injured Adam Vinatieri, who once again found a way to deliver. Nick Cafardo is convinced that Tom Brady just knows how to win. Ron Borges finds irony in the fact that a shank by a punter would cost his team a very big game. It’s ironic that it was Pro Bowler Craig Hentrich and not Ken Walter. Bill Reynolds just isn’t surprised by the gutsy Pats who always find a way to get the job done. Kevin Mannix is doing the Super Bowl Shuffle.

Paul Kuharsky explains that it was a game of lost opportunities for the Titans who allowed Brady and the Pats to convert 44% of third downs.

Michael Felger’s Notebook has the Pats signing Romeo Crennel to an extension that will make RAC one the highest paid defensive coordinators in the NFL. Of course, Crennel is still up for head coaching positions in Chicago and Buffalo. Felger also got a reaction from Rodney Harrison on the Keith Bulluck column in yesterday’s The Tennessean. Harrison believes that Bulluck has some growing up to do and that you should never say anything to motivate the other team. After the game, Bulluck said that if he weren’t a grown man, he would cry according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

Mike “Grady” Martz decided not to go for the win in regulation. Jim Thomas of the St Louis Post-Dispatch has the game story on the 29-23 Carolina win and some questions for Martz. The Post-Dispatch Report Card gave Martz a D. If Martz were coaching a New England team and pulled a stunt like that, he’d get an F minus and would probably be lynched. Pat Yasinskas of the Charlotte Observer was shocked too that Martz believed he owed it his players just to “get into overtime”. But that shouldn’t take anything away from a great effort by the Panthers and the exciting Delhomme to Smith connection that won the game.

Kansas City hosts the Colts at Arrowhead in the early game today at 1:00 PM on WBZ-4. Bob Ryan says the Chiefs aren’t too concerned with their 4-3 finish. They’ve won 13 in a row at home and feel good about today’s game. Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star, who loves one sentence paragraphs, says it is quite okay for fans to get greedy and start thinking about the Super Bowl. He says it’s the greatest thing to hit Indy since IU was making a championship run in hoops.

Green Bay and Brett Favre have a date in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field. It’s the late game on FOX-25 at 4:45. Rich Hoffman of the Philadelphia Inquirer says Andy Reid has proved to be a great coach through December. He needs to prove he can win in January. Phil Sheridan thinks the Eagles can take advantage of Brett Favre’s penchant for throwing interceptions.

Shhhhh!!!!! The Bruins beat Detroit for the second time in a week. Kevin Paul Dupont has the game story on the 2-1 OT win with Joe Thornton providing the game winner.

Syracuse crushed BC. Michael Vega has the game story. PC lost another game at the buzzer. Rutgers star Herme Lamizana hit two three pointers in the final 10 seconds to beat PC 65-64 including the clincher with .4 seconds left. Kevin McNamara has the game story.

The Celtics are at Houston. FSNE has it at 8:30 PM.

The Patriots are hosting the AFC Championship next Sunday at 3:00 PM. The game is on WBZ-4. The forecast from weather.com calls for snow showers with a high of 17 and a low of 3.

Another reminder from the “shameless

Another reminder from the “shameless self promotion” department, feel free to nominate BSMW in the “Bloggie Awards.” There are many categories you can nominate the site for, (Perhaps “Best Topical” or “Best Kept Secret”, “Best American Weblog” or even “Weblog of the Year”.) Nominations have to be in by Monday, January 12th. If you think the site is worth a nomination, I thank you in advance.

Michael Holley gives us an enjoyable and informative feature on Bill Belichick. A glimpse of his upcoming book? Maybe. Michael Felger compares and contrasts Belichick and Jeff Fisher. Tom Curran says the Patriots don’t want to lose on Saturday night. Very nice. Alan Greenberg says Tom Brady is ready for the game…and the elements. Mike Reiss looks at how Willie McGinest has recaptured his youth this season. Christopher Price looks at the cold. Jackie MacMullan has a piece on Tedy Bruschi, who epitomizes this Patriots team. Michael Parente looks at the playoff experience of each club. Michael Smith says Adam Vinatieri still has his confidence intact. Rich Thompson looks at the respect Vinatieri has for Gary Anderson. Charlie Pierce says New England fans aren’t all that tough. The Globe staffers make their playoff predictions. Patriots across the board. Except for Jim McCabe, who picks the Titans, but doesn’t say why. Tony Chamberlain looks at Rodney Harrison. Gerry Callahan has a pay column on the Patriots being annoyed at the Red Sox stealing the sports page headlines. He makes some suggestions for the Patriots to regain those headlines, such as trading Tom Brady and Richard Seymour for Peyton Manning, and firing Bill Belichick. Felger’s notebook has Belichick still sour on the new turf. Smith’s notebook has the Patriots getting anxious to get to game time. Curran’s notebook has more on the sod. Parente’s notebook has the Patriots with Super aspirations.

Dan Shaughnessy and Mike Reiss remember and pay tribute to Will McDonough.

Nick Cafardo looks at the coaching vacancies around the NFL, which ones have been filled thus far, and why. George Kimball looks at a couple Titans who might be headed for retirement following the season. Mark Blaudschun looks at Titans linebacker Keith Bullock, who has provided the few bulletin board quotes available this week. Cafardo also has a piece on Carolina receiver Steve Smith. Kimball also has a pay column on the magic of Jeff Fisher. Jim McCabe looks at Trent Green. Cafardo’s notebook says that even though Eddie George has yet to practice this week, he will be at full strength tomorrow night.

Bill Griffith wraps up all the Patriots coverage on the airwaves.

From the “shameless self promotion”

From the “shameless self promotion” department, feel free to nominate BSMW in the “Bloggie Awards.” There are many categories you can nominate the site for, (Perhaps “Best Topical” or “Best Kept Secret”, “Best American Weblog” or even “Weblog of the Year”.) Nominations have to be in by Monday, January 12th. If you think the site is worth a nomination, I thank you in advance.

With not too much actual news to report on, a lot of the articles today focus on players and possible stories leading into the game. Football Outsiders has an extensive week two playoff preview, with plenty of interesting information on the Patriots and Titans. Tom Mooney says there could be empty seats at Gillette Saturday night because of the extreme cold that is expected. Plenty of seats up for sale…not for cheap dollars, either. Lenny Megliola looks at Rodney Harrison and the impact he has made on and off the field for the Patriots. Harrison recalls his first Super Bowl experience, he was just a special teams player then, he would like to get another shot at one. Jackie MacMullan has a article on Lonie Paxton, who is not enjoying being injured and having to watch his teammates in the playoff game this weekend. MacMullan revisits those magical days of two years ago. Michael Felger has a look at how the Patriots got healthy over the bye week. Jim Donaldson says anyone who says they thought the Patriots could be this good is a liar. Alan Greenberg looks at the Patriots TD receiving leader – David Givens. Michael Smith has a look at Ty Law. Tony Massarotti looks at the return of smashmouth football. Joe McDonald says the Patriots and Titans have an equal amount of respect for each other. Rich Thompson has an article on Antowain Smith, gearing up for another postseason run. Christopher Price looks at the Patriots recovery from their Super Bowl hangover of last year. Felger also has a piece on Richard Seymour, well on his way to his goal of being the best defensive lineman in the NFL. Chris Kennedy looks at the ageless Roman Phifer. Tony Chamberlain says football should never be played indoors. Frank Dell’Apa looks at Mike Cloud’s performance in the first meeting with the Titans. Smith’s notebook looks at the dwindling job opportunities for Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis. Kennedy’s notebook looks at David Givens. McDonald’s notebook has the teams downplaying the impact of the weather.

Nick Cafardo has an interesting look at Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, youngest defensive coordinator in the league and a “kindred spirit” to Bill Belichick. Mark Blaudschun has another glowing article on Eddie George. George Kimball also has a pay column on George in the Herald. Blaudschun’s Titan’s notebook looks at Tennessee hoping to put an end to the New England 12 game winning streak. Jim McCabe looks at Walpole’s own Todd Collins, back in the playoffs as a backup for the Chiefs.

Bob Hohler has a look at Dennis Eckersley and the personal battles he had to overcome to become a Hall of Fame player. Michael Silverman and Hohler look at the Sox parting ways with third base coach Mike Cubbage. Bill Reynolds looks at the new meaning of Charlie Hustle.

The Celtics got back into the win column with a 101-93 win over the Orlando Magic last night. Fox Sports Net New England has the links.

The Bruins also won, with a 3-0 shutout of the Red Wings in Detroit. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Stephen Harris have the details. The notebooks focus on Andrew Raycroft, who notched the shutout, the second of his career. The Globe and the Herald both have more on the accomplishment by the young goaltender.

TNT has Rockets/Knicks at 7:00 and Blazers/Wolves at 10:00. ESPN2 has Rangers/Hurricanes at 7:00