Yesterday I wondered what the hot topic for media day was going to be…I should’ve known. I’m an idiot. It’s the assistant coaches of course. I actually did think of that, but was like nah, that’s just too obvious an angle. Do other areas have this fascination with assistant coaches? Or is it because they’re not allowed open access to them that the Boston media obsesses over those guys? They talk about them constantly and when there is a chance to speak with them, they fall over themselves writing about them. Could it be that by not allowing access, Bill Belichick actually gets his assistants more attention? I’m talking more than just today though. Today it is understandable, as Charlie Weis and probably Romeo Crennel are in their last week with the club. It’s an overall thing. The assistant coaches are an obsession with certain writers and it goes well beyond just Super Bowl media day access. I’ll likely take some heat for this first paragraph today, but before you fire off that vitriolic email…think beyond today, think about the overall obsession with the assistants and whether it’s like that anywhere else. That’s the only point for consideration I’m making today.
Since this is ostensibly a site about watching the media, a rather big story is brewing and has flown under the radar thus far. Ken Powers, the Patriots beat writer for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette has been pulled off of the Super Bowl coverage and is being investigated for plagiarism. Joe Strupp of The Editor and Publisher – a journal that covers the newspaper industry – has the details of the story. Apparently a Peter King Sports Illustrated story from Jan 24 is what Powers is accused of lifting material from. You may recall that I had an online run in with Mr Powers a few weeks ago. I guess we’ll be waiting for an apology. (Irony intended) I’ll have more on this in a bit, including a comparison of the two articles.
So into the articles on the assistants we go. Nick Cafardo has a piece on how successful teams handle losing members of their coaching staff to other teams, as will be happening to the Patriots. Michael Felger looks at guys that have been talked about as successors to Crennel and Weis, Eric Mangini and Jeff Davidson. Bob Ryan has a look at Romeo Crennel, as seen by the Patriots defenders who to a man, think he’ll be a great head coach. Steve Buckley (subscription only) also writes about Crennel today, comparing him to “Joe Morgan getting his first shot as a big-league manager. He is Raymond Bourque playing on a Stanley Cup winner. He is Susan Lucci, finally winning a Daytime Emmy on her 19th try.” And now, Romeo Crennel will be a head coach. Ron Borges says that Crennel to the Browns is such a done deal that he is trying to line up assistant coaches, and that Dallas offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon is on his wish list. Mike Reiss has Crennel deflecting talk about the Browns for now. Jackie MacMullan looks at Charlie Weis, who is getting a little nostalgic in his final days in the NFL. Karen Guregian also writes about Weis, who seems to be one part Bill Parcells, one part Bill Belichick and his own man as well. Mark Blaudschun also has a piece on Weis as he prepares to start his college coaching career next week at Notre Dame. Jim Donaldson also files a brief piece on Weis’ last week.
Reiss also has a piece on the four coaches on the staff that are holdovers from the Pete Carroll days. Rich Thompson and Bob Hohler each file articles on Mangini, who deserves a world of credit for the job he has done working with a depleted secondary this season. Jim Fennell also takes a look at Mangini for the Union Leader. Blaudschun also has a short piece on Jeff Davidson, as does Dan Ventura. Ventura also delivers an article on offensive line/assistant head coach Dante Scarnecchia, who, other than a two year stint with the Colts, has been with the Patriots since 1982 and has seen just about everything.
Tom E Curran says that the Patriots are not a dynasty, but they’re close. Kevin Mannix looks at the owners of the two teams in the Super Bowl, who have a lot in common beyond the fact that they were both at the first ever game in Patriots history, and later Patriots season ticket holders. George Kimball has a further look at the two owners. After comparing the NFL and the Patriots to the Communist Russia yesterday, Lenny Megliola today looks at all the things that would happen should the Patriots lose the game on Sunday. I guess Lenny is at least trying to be creative…Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has an article on Troy Brown, who manages to keep himself busy between offense, defense and special teams. It was interesting to hear Brown speak a few times yesterday making reference to if he decides to come back next season, meaning that the thought of retirement has at least crossed his mind. Bill Burt says that a Bryan Cox hit launched this Patriots era of greatness. Is he sure it wasn’t a Mo Lewis hit?
Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider has the Patriots unconcerned that the media views them as a boring team. He also looks at interest in some of the Patriots assistants from Nick Saban in Miami. Alan Greenberg looks at the many receiving options available to Tom Brady. Hector Longo looks at the intelligent nature of the Patriots players, and gets a little laugh at his own expense at the end of the column. Stephen Harris looks at Richard Seymour, whose status for Sunday is still unknown. Bob Hohler says that Seymour is slowly seeing improvement in his injured knee. Jonathan Comey looks at Willie McGinest and suggests he could be a Hall of Fame candidate before it’s over. Michael Parente examines the camaraderie among the Patriots offensive line. G. Wayne Miller talks to people not interested in football or the Patriots.
Felger’s notebook looks at Tedy Bruschi finally getting that elusive Pro Bowl nod, being selected to replace Ray Lewis. Cafardo’s notebook looks at Stephen Neal finally getting a chance to play in the Super Bowl, after not playing in the last two Patriots appearances. The ProJo notebook also looks at Neal. Curran has a number of items in his print blog as well. (What’s a print blog, and how is it different from a regular blog?) Greenberg’s notebook expresses the opinion that Richard Seymour will not play in the Super Bowl. Parente’s notebook has Crennel only focused on stopping the Eagles.
Dan Shaughnessy writes about Freddie Mitchell, suggesting he could share the same Super Bowl fate as Fred Williamson. John Altavilla also writes about Mitchell. Stephen Harris and Kevin Paul Dupont look at Terrell Owens, who said yesterday that he will play on Sunday, and not just to serve as a decoy. Jeff Jacobs labels Owens a ” Shameless self-promoting Showboat”. Jim Donaldson says all eyes…and ears…are on Owens. Steven Krasner writes about Owens’ claim that God healed him for this game. Frank Dell’Apa looks at lineman Corey Simon, who is a Florida native and dealing with having the Super Bowl in his home state. Karen Guregian looks at Freddie Mitchell, who unfazed by the maelstrom he created last week, is still talking. Michael Gee (subscription only) says that the Eagles have in many ways created a mirror image of the Patriots, starting with the personnel man, the head coach and the assistants. Lenny Megliola says don’t forget about Donovan McNabb, he seems to be getting overshadowed by Tom Brady this week. (How’s that?) Jim Fennell has an article on an Eagles fan in NH. Dell’Apa also has a piece on Hugh Douglas, one of three Eagles enjoying their second go-round in Philadelphia.
Kimball’s notebook has Donovan McNabb and the rest of the Eagles enjoying every moment of the Super Bowl experience. The Globe notebook has McNabb talking about soup and his Mom. Krasner’s notebook looks at Mitchell not getting a booth during media day.
Get your Philadelphia perspective at Philly.com
Bill Griffith has a look at life on radio row at the Super Bowl.
Michael Vega and Mike Shalin look at Boston College beating West Virginia 62-50 to move to 19-0 on the season. Shalin’s notebook looks at Jared Dudley playing 40 minutes despite tweaking his ankle late in the game. Shalin also touches on BC trying to work with NESN and WEEI to make sure its games are broadcast more regularly. Vega’s notebook says that injured guard Steve Hailey may rejoin practice later this week.
Mark Murphy looks at the Celtics exploring the trade market with Walter McCarty and Gary Payton the names most commonly being referenced. Paul Harber looks at how Ricky Davis has filled the sixth man role perfectly for the Celtics. Murphy’s notebook covers the weak Atlantic division.
FSN has Celtics/Nets at 7:00. NESN has game three of the 2004 ALCS at 6:00 – the last game the Red Sox would lose all season. Sorry if I spoiled it for you. ESPN has Cincinnati/Louisville at 7:00 and Duke/Wake Forest at 9:00. ESPN2 has Texas A&M/Oklahoma at 8:00 and Nuggets/Trailblazers at 10:00.