CHFF Strikes Again

If you’re a football fan, you’re familiar with the website Cold Hard Football Facts. The site is a must read for their analysis, opinion, and most of all, their habit of exposing media members who aren’t truthful with the facts.

Today’s entry, entitled Boston media fails football fans is another must read entry from Kerry Byrne and company. With his permission, I’m reprinting large sections of this article here, but be sure to go and check out the entire article and website.

Remember…this not the entire article…there is more at the link above. The dashed lines just indicate sections I’ve snipped out for inclusion here.

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For those of you who aren

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Celtics Take Control

In their first matchup since game 7 of the first round of last year’s playoffs, the Celtics defeated the Pacers, 85-71 at TD Banknorth Garden. Shira Springer reports on the game, as the Celtics pulled away from the Ron Artest-less Pacers in the fourth quarter. Still, according to Steve Bulpett, Coach Doc Rivers was not happy with the play of his team, as he feels they needed to play better against a flat Indiana team. Lenny Megliola writes that this game was almost entirely devoid of flow. Shalise Manza Young says it may have been an ugly win, but it was a win regardless.

Much focus was of course placed on a player who didn’t even play in the game last night, that being Ron Artest. Peter May and Mark Murphy look at the disgust that his Pacers teammates have for Artest right now, with Jermaine O’Neal being the most vocal in wishing the forward good riddance. Buddy Thomas thinks he knows how any Indiana/Boston trade talks involving Artest must’ve gone. Jackie MacMullan looks at Paul Pierce putting the nightmare of last year’s playoff series with the Pacers in the past. His immediate reaction after the series was to request a trade, but as time went on, he realized Boston was the place for him. In an article that will no doubt please the Get Buckets Brigade, the Globe has a piece by Mindy Pollack-Fusi this morning which looks at Ricky Davis, his home, and his family life, noting that the forward hopes to remain in Boston for some time to come. Murphy has a piece on Mark Blount, and how he was playing so well last night that Davis wanted to do whatever it took to keep him on the floor last night.

Bulpett’s notebook looks at Marcus Banks being held back from last night’s game, and has Stephen Jackson saying good things about Kendrick Perkins. Young’s notebook also looks at the delayed return for Banks. Springer’s notebook examines the friendship that Paul Pierce and Jermaine O’Neal developed over the summer out in Los Angeles. At the end of the notebook, she had a quote from Ron Artest saying that Pierce is the toughest player to guard in the NBA, tougher than McGrady, Kobe or LeBron.

Yesterday’s Patriots buzz centered around the health of QB Tom Brady. Listed as questionable on the injury report with shin and shoulder injuries, the two time Super Bowl MVP walked without a limp in the locker room and was on the field for the start of practice. Karen Guregian notes how ever, that he didn’t walk very far in the locker room, was dressed in street clothes for his Wednesday press conference. She also notes the Doug Flutie was nowhere to be found during the media locker room access. Alan Greenberg says Brady was in the trainer’s room prior to the press conference, which isn’t a long trip from his locker. Brady refused to give out any details on his injury at the behest of Bill Belichick, but Jerome Solomon notes, Jon Gruden opened his press conference yesterday giving out “some detailed information about the status of his injured players.” What was this “detailed information” you ask?

JG: Let me just go through the injury list for you. Anthony McFarland is probably going to be out of this game. He's doubtful at this time with a hamstring. Obviously that's a big loss to our team. Marquis Cooper, a backup linebacker, is questionable with a chest injury. We've got Matt Bryant - our kicker - probable with a hamstring, and Juran Bolden - a nickel corner - also probable with a lower leg bruise. I'll answer any questions I can.

That was from Gruden’s phone call with the New England media. He surely must’ve been more descriptive in talking to his home scribes, no?

12.14.05 Afternoon

I apologize for the lack of an AM update today. Just one of those days.

Here’s a few highlights from today:

Eric McHugh has a look at another solid season from the Patriots offensive line, led by Dante Scarnecchia. Michael Felger has his Patriots Insider. Steve Buckley has a mini-feature on Patriots rookie Ellis Hobbs. Glen Farley has a good look at Rosevelt Colvin, who finally feels that he is at top speed and the top of his game.

Mike Reiss’ mailbag this week is broken into two pieces. Here’s part one and then part two. He also has his frequently updated Reiss’ Pieces.

You can get a look at the Tampa Bay Locker Room quotes from yesterday, as they give their thoughts on the Patriots and this Saturday’s game. Ira Kaufman has a look back at the snow bowl/tuck rule and what impact it has had on the league. Nick Cafardo has a look at Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Michael Parente also looks at the Tampa defense.

Steve Bulpett and Jackie MacMullan look at what faces any team that should acquire Ron Artest. Bob Ryan has the second part of his series about the modern NBA and how it is bouncing back.

Other Links:

Michael Hiestand notes that there will be no Bowl games played on New Years Day, and what that means for the networks.

Dan Shaughnessy Watch – Some great quotes from Dan over the years.

Sheriff Sully – Holding a fund drive and preparing for a blogging marathon on Friday.

Mark Jurkowitz – a look at the Globe management reshuffling. Jerry Kronenberg and Brett Arends in the Herald also report on the Globe’s struggles.

Jim Williams talks to Mark Cuban about media, the internet and the future of sports coverage.

The Boston Globe Ombudsman is now blogging.

Sharing the Spotlight.

Michael Felger has his Patriots Report Card for their game against the Bills, and says they looked like the old Patriots in this one. Michael Parente points out that since Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk returned last week against the Jets, the Patriots have looked like a different team. Bill Burt thinks that Tom Brady should be the NFL MVP this season. He says Brady is the most feared player in the league, and perhaps the best athlete in pro sports right now. That might be overstating things just a tad, but there’s no doubt Brady should be at least seriously considered for his performance this season. Jonathan Comey says that twelve is the magic number for the Patriots. If they have twelve, they have hope. Chris Kennedy reports that Brady’s injury from Sunday is not serious. Alan Greenberg also looks at Brady’s injury, noting that prospects would be grim for the Patriots without him.

The Patriots Game Day Rear View looks at the Patriots making more progress this week in their efforts to make a run during January. John Tomase looks at the attack-style mode in which the Patriots defense has operated the last two weeks. Karen Guregian tells us not to get too excited over the last two games. The Patriots are after all, still only an 8-5 club without much hope of advancing past the second round of the playoffs. Jerome Solomon has a look at Tampa QB Chris Simms. Tomase’s notebook has more on Brady’s injured leg. Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook has Belichick defending Brady’s block on Sunday which was whistled for a 15 yard penalty.

So much for Patriots Monday, eh? The Red Sox once again swooped in and stole the headlines and talk away from the Patriots. You’re telling me that this press conference…with news that had been rumored for days…couldn’t have waited one day? Seriously, this is a front page, above the fold, news story? It sure seems that Dr Charles and the Red Sox PR people simply cannot stand to see anyone get attention (good or bad) besides themselves. It’s bad enough that Patriots coverage in the Red Sox house organ of the Boston Globe is relegated to a single, short notebook entry today (Solomon’s article about was the Tampa QB) but they had to be smiling to hear WEEI intros all afternoon on the Big Show: “Welcome to Patriots Monday…we’re going to get into this whole Red Sox Co-GM thing today…” Michael Felger’s ESPN Radio show was a welcome respite from the Red Sox talk, but as soon as I got in my car at 5:00, I couldn’t get the station in any more.

Chris Snow looks at the Red Sox announcement yesterday that Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington will be serving as Co-GM’s for the Red Sox. Jeff Horrigan notes that the duo will continue to live in the shadow of Theo Epstein, as they did even in their own introductory press conference. Shalise Manza Young says that what should’ve been a great day for Cherington and Hoyer was turned into an opportunity for the media to grill Larry Lucchino about Epstein. David Heuschkel has more on the appointment, and observes the power that Lucchino holds over them. Lenny Megliola writes that “it

Patriots Impressive

The Patriots made it two convincing wins in a row with a 35-7 romp over the Buffalo Bills yesterday afternoon. Tom E Curran says that the Patriots are starting to play like the Patriots. John Tomase adds that we might have a team to watch in the second round of the playoffs this season after all. Jerome Solomon says that for one day at least, the Patriots once again looked like one of the dominant teams in the NFL. Alan Greenberg says that the Patriots probably aren’t Super Bowl contenders, but the Bills were unable to exploit their weaknesses and thus allowed the Patriots run all over them. Ian M Clark asserts that this looked much more like the squad that has won three Super Bowls. Michael Parente notes that the Patriots were just looking to establish some consistency after last weeks win over the Jets, but took it a step further against the Bills.

Michael Felger says that the Patriots week-to-week improvement should, at the very least make for an interesting second round game at Indianapolis. Ron Borges says that the recent improvements are encouraging, but we need to see how the Patriots do against a good team such as Tampa Bay this coming Saturday before we can make any judgments on whether they’re actually any good. Curran provides his game analysis on both sides of the ball, a feature that Greenberg also does and calls turning point.

Karen Guregian writes that Tom Brady must not be hurt all that badly, otherwise Bill Belichick wouldn’t have had him running the ball on third downs and putting him in other situations where his leg could be put in jeopardy. Dan Shaughnessy compares Brady to Larry Bird, Dr. Gregory House and Michael Jackson, all in the first five paragraphs. Tomase has a look at the strong outing from Corey Dillon, which included having a fan share his hot drink with him in the end zone. Miguel Rodriguez in the Herald looks at the versatility and big plays that Kevin Faulk continues to deliver in his role as the third down back. Adam Kilgore (called over from Syracuse?) also has a look at what Dillon and Faulk bring to the offense for the Patriots. Greenberg has more on Dillon, who would like to finish strong for the season.

Nick Cafardo looks at the Patriots dominating performance on defense, holding the Bills to 12 rushing yards and JP Losman to a 33.6 QB rating, but warns that we need to see how they do against Tampa. Guregian looks at Richard Seymour, who while improving and adding much to the Patriots defense, still isn’t satisfied with his performance, and says he isn’t 100% yet. Felger has a look at the secondary, which he says is playing noticeably better, even if it is against second rate QB’s.

Cafardo looks at the Bills hitting rock bottom. Was it really all that long ago that Nick was touting how Tom Donahue had fleeced the Patriots and that he had never seen a team help a rival get so good so fast? Get the take from Buffalo on yesterday’s game from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and the Buffalo News.

Solomon’s notebook looks at Tom Ashworth stepping in on the offensive line, and protecting Tom Brady quite well. Parente’s notebook has more on Brady’s leg and the game of musical chairs on the offensive line. Tomase’s notebook has a look at rookie James Sanders getting a gift interception and TD in the fourth quarter.

Today’s article by Borges was fair, but he absolutely needs to be called on the carpet for this line in his Sunday notes column from yesterday:

Coach Lovie Smith says he has no thoughts of benching Orton, but we're not talking about the kind of situation Bill Belichick faced when Drew Bledsoe returned to health in 2001. Tom Brady was playing so well then, it was absurd to consider a change. But the Bears seem to be winning despite their quarterback.

Are you kidding me? How arrogant can someone be that they can totally ignore their own stance of the time and write such revisionist history? Borges certainly did not consider the idea of returning Bledsoe to the lineup over Brady in ’01 “absurd” at the time, if anything he lobbied for the change. Who can forget columns such as November 22, 2001, where Borges said, among other things:

But of this you can be sure. If Bill Belichick is wrong and Brady doesn't become the future for the Patriots, Belichick will have no future in New England.

If Brady is not a quarterback he can rely on to win for him and win immediately, he will pay the ultimate price, just as he did in Cleveland. He will get himself fired. The difference is this time he will not be given another head coaching job in the National Football League.

Or from that same day:

They'll also decide one thing for Bill Belichick. Whether the future is now or nonexistent for him, because there's no turning back. Some people learn from their mistakes. Others are doomed to repeat them.

If you wonder which is Bill Belichick, go ask people in Cleveland if they've ever heard the story of the guy who benched Bernie Kosar for Todd Philcox?

So for Borges to now pretend that that decision was a simple one for Belichick and Brady should’ve been the guy all along is yet another in a long string of Ron Borges and Boston Globe embarrassments.

If the Red Sox can do anything to upstage the Patriots and steal the spotlight, you know they will do it. The rumors continue to persist of a Theo Epstein return to the Red Sox, and wouldn’t this be the perfect week for it. Jeff Horrigan says an announcement should come this week that Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington will be named co-GM’s, but what Epstein’s role could be is unclear at this point. The ProJo also has a short report on these issues. Whatever happens, Horrigan says that Larry Lucchino will remain in charge at Fenway. Rob Bradford says that things are in motion at Fenway for a Epstein return.

If not Theo Epstein’s return for a PR splash, why not Roger Clemens instead? Or at least the talk of a possible Clemens return. David Heuschkel reports on the Red Sox making contact with the agents for the future Hall of Famer. Horrigan’s notebook says that there are no negotiations going on, just a courtesy call. Chris Snow and Luis Andres Henao report that Edgar Renteria wanted to leave Boston, not because of the fans or the media, but because of the Fenway Park infield. Snow’s notebook has Miguel Tejada backing off his trade request somewhat. Lisa Wangsness in the Globe reports on a Boston city councilor proposing the idea of brining a minor league baseball team to Boston.

The Bruins lost yet another OT game, this time 2-1 to Wayne Gretzky’s Phoenix Coyotes. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at the Bruins falling short despite another strong outing from goaltender Hannu Toivonen. Steve Conroy says that the Bruins got their strong start to the game that they were looking for, but couldn’t end that way. Joe McDonald wonders if Toivonen should be the regular goaltender ahead of Andrew Raycroft. Kevin Paul Dupont observes that the Bruins desperately need to put together a line that can provide a spark. Matt Kalman has more on Toivonen. He also looks at former Coyote David Tanabe, who lost to his old mates after facing them for the first time. Burrell’s notebook has more on Tanabe. McDonald’s notebook and Conroy’s notebook look at former Bruin Dave Scatchard getting back at his old team last night.

Mark Murphy says that the Celtics would’ve liked a little more out of their just completed five game road swing, but that there are reasons for optimism that came out of the trip as well. Shira Springer however, says that the team did not find the identity they were seeking on their trip through the Midwest. Tim Weisberg examines the team at the quarter mark of the season, and sees some positives thus far, but also stresses that the learning process needs to be accelerated.

Check out of town coverage from the New York Sports Pages and the Bay Area Sports Pages.

ABC has Saints/Falcons at 9:00. OLN has Penguins/Red Wings at 7:30.

BSMW SporTView

Since Bill Griffith’s SporTView column was discontinued by the Globe, (Though they did run a story today under the category of “Sports Media” ) I’ve been thinking of ways to try and fill that void, and add something more to this space than just daily links and my occasional thoughts and rants. I’m trying an experiment today to look over the sports events of the coming weekend, provide information on what’s going to be on, when and where, as well as a few links to assist you in making the most of your sports viewing weekend.

It’s likely going to be touch and go for a while here with this, as I will need to try to carve out time during the week to put it together. I’m also thinking about adding highlights/lowlights of the week, and making it sort of a weekly wrap up column, as well as a look ahead to the weekend. The post will remain up over the weekend, giving you a one stop guide to your weekend sports. I’m open to suggestions as to what you would like to see here as well.

What’s on this weekend:

NBA:

The Celtics are in San Antonio tonight and Dallas tomorrow night. Both games will be televised on FSN at 8:30. WRKO 680 AM has the radio coverage.

NFL:

The Patriots are in Buffalo Sunday afternoon Coverage is on CBS4 at 1:00 and despite earlier concerns that the game might not be broadcast in HD, it appears that High Definition viewers will indeed be able to view the splendor of Buffalo in December in that format. It will also be broadcast on radio on WBCN 104.1 FM.

If the Patriots win that game, they will be in position to clinch the division and a playoff spot with a Miami Dolphins loss to San Diego. That game can also be seen on CBS4 at 4:15. (note – I have one site that says Chiefs/Cowboys will be the second game shown locally, (See coverage map) but most I’ve seen say Miami/San Diego)

FOX’s game at 4:00 will be the Giants visiting the Eagles.

ESPN has a dreadful matchup of Detroit at Green Bay at 8:30, a game that can also be heard on WEEI 850.

For the NFL this weekend, you can check your picks against Jim McCabe and Jim Lazar. You can also see who the Globe writers (or their interns) are picking this week. Bill Simmons also has his NFL picks and thoughts on the league.

Double D and I.M. Bettor also help you out with the NFL action, giving your their take.

For Patriots coverage over the weekend, check in at the Patriots Daily Links page, which provides constantly updating headlines from the Globe, Herald, ProJo, Reiss’ Pieces and Topix.net on the Patriots. You can also check in on the Reiss’ Pieces page directly, as this is the single best resource for Patriots fans to come along in the last few years.

College Football:

This weekend features the semi-finals of the Div. I-AA Football playoffs. ESPN2 will have Northern Iowa vs. Texas State tonight at 8:00. Northern Iowa is of course the team that knocked out UNH last week up in Durham, NH.

ESPN2 will have game two on Saturday at noon with Furman vs. Appalachian State.

ESPN Classic will have the SWAC title game at 2:00 with Alabama A&M taking on Grambling St. (What’s the deal with ESPN Classic showing live games…I always find that confusing…)

Also on Saturday, ESPN will have the NCAA Div. II Football Championship with Northwest Missouri State vs. Grand Valley State facing off at 4:00.

The Heisman Trophy Presentation will be held at 8:00 on Saturday night. It will be broadcast on ESPN.

Saturday night sees the premiere of the newest ESPN Original Entertainment movie “Codebreakers“, which dramatizes the story of the 1951 cheating scandal at West Point. The film gets its first showing at 9:00 PM, but if you miss that one, you can be sure it will be shown many additional times…This program will also be shown in HD. Richard Sandomir has a review of the film for the NY Times.

College Basketball:

On Saturday, ESPN is showing California/Kansas at Noon and Ohio State/St. Josephs at 2:00. ESPN2 has Michigan/South Florida at 3:00, followed by Alabama/Temple at 5:00 and Michigan State/Wichita State at 7:00.

That same day, CBS will show Duke/Texas (In HD) at 1:30. The second game locally will likely be Kentucky/Indiana at 3:45.

NESN will have St John’s/Virgina Tech at 4:00.

NHL:

On Sunday, NESN will have Bruins/Coyotes at 5:00. WBZ 1030 AM has the Radio coverage.

Baseball:

Obviously there is no baseball on TV this weekend. But you can surely expect wall-to-wall baseball talk on any local programming done by WEEI.

If the Red Sox make news this weekend, you can read the stories on the Red Sox Daily Links page.

Misc:

Here is a sampling of Sports Media Columns from around the country today:
(Free registration required for some, BugMeNot works great for this)

Short Stop for Edgar

The Red Sox continue their domination of the print and airwaves after having traded shortstop Edgar Renteria to the Atlanta Braves for their top prospect and a whole lot of cash. Chris Snow reports on Renteria’s exit after only a single season in Boston. Michael Silverman & Tony Massarotti report that this was a very costly trade for the Red Sox, who will be paying the Braves an average of $4 million per year for the next three years. Sean McAdam notes that this move ensures that the Red Sox will have a completely new infield next season. David Heuschkel examines further the reasons that led to Renteria’s departure a year after being signed as a prized free agent. Joe Haggerty, Alex Speier and David Borges also report on the exit of Renteria, leaving the Red Sox without an everyday shortstop for the moment, at least.

Bob Ryan has a column on the trade, as he looks at Renteria’s tenure here and the expectations that we, and Theo Epstein had of the shortstop upon his arrival. Tony Massarotti wonders just what is the plan here for the Red Sox, not just as shortstop, but in a lot of areas. Another incident took place last night which had Red Sox fans buzzing about if another high profile shortstop could somehow find his way to Boston. Michael Silverman reports that Miguel Tejada has requested a trade out of Baltimore and one of his preferred destinations is Boston. Gordon Edes also looks at Tejada’s request, as well as the other moves that the Red Sox have made this offseason. Jon Couture says that the team has shown they’re not afraid to shake things up, and they’re really done that this offseason.

The two headed monster of Massarotti & Silverman also report that the Red Sox very well could just go with a two-headed GM combo of Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer. in fact their sources say that an announcement could be made on this decision within the next few days. Kevin Gray reports on Jamie Vermilyea, who the Red Sox selected in the Rule V draft this week from the Blue Jays. He saw Vermilyea pitch for the NH Fisher Cats the last two seasons and tells us what the Red Sox might’ve seen in the righthander. Nick Tavares looks at the moves that the Blue Jays have made this offseason. Art Davidson looks at Holliston native Mark Sweeney landing a two year deal with the Giants. Massarotti reports that the Red Sox may not go much higher than 4/40 with Johnny Damon.

Silverman’s notebook has Bill Lajoie pleased with what the team accomplished at the winter meetings. McAdam’s notebook examines the shrinking market for Manny Ramirez and David Wells. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on that same topic. Snow’s notebook also reports on possible Ramirez destinations.

Murray Chass in the NY Times suggests that Roger Clemens could finish his career where it started, and join Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett in the Red Sox rotation. Before you think how odd it is that a New York paper would suggest this, consider again the NY Times 17% ownership of the Red Sox….There are plenty more Red Sox stories in the New York Sports Pages

The Patriots head into Buffalo on Sunday hoping to come out of the day with a division title and playoff berth in tow. Jerome Solomon says that recording zero tackles last week doesn’t begin to tell you the story of how Richard Seymour actually played and the difference he makes for the Patriots when he is on the field. Alan Greenberg covers the same ground in his piece on the Patriots defensive lineman. Tom E Curran has Seymour expressing a desire that the defense play in more of an attack mode rather than read-and-react. Dan Pires notes that even though Seymour held out at the start of training camp, he still felt confident enough and comfortable enough to call out the fans this week for their quietness in the stands.

Check out the BSMW Game Day page for a preview of the Bills and Patriots. John Tomase writes that the Patriots defense will get a chance to see if they’ve made progress since the last time these clubs met and that it will likely determine the outcome of the game. Christopher Price says that efficiency on third down is what the Patriots are striving for this week. Chris Kennedy examines Artrell Hawkins’ move to safety and the different perspective he is getting on the game from that spot. Ian M Clark notes that each week the Patriots seem to be hurting a little bit less. Lenny Megliola talks to Brady’s quarterbacks coach at Michigan, who says Brady could be President some day.

Eric McHugh says that JP Losman has a long ways to go before he can be compared to Tom Brady, even if they’re both California kids. Michael Parente says that Losman is slowly maturing as a QB and person. Tom King says that Losman could prove to be pesky to the Patriots. Tomase looks at Buffalo’s strong home field advantage. Check out the Buffalo News and Rochester Democrat & Chronicle for more on this game.

Tomase’s notebook looks at the Patriots catching a break in not having to face Eric Moulds this Sunday. McHugh’s notebook says that the Bills will be very wary of Kevin Faulk on third downs. Kennedy’s notebook has Doug Flutie keeping mum on who is is voting for in the Heisman race. Curran’s notebook has Flutie reflecting on the Buffalo scout who convinced the Bills to give him a second shot in the NFL. Parente’s notebook has more on Seymour’s return and the impact it has had on the Patriots defense.

Big Al Jefferson has opened some eyes with his play in the last two games for the Celtics. The challenge is going to be to keep it going for the second year “big”. Peter May notes that the next two nights will present a stern test for the 20 year old, as well as the rest of the Celtics. Mark Murphy has more on the play of Jefferson. Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics trying to break a long streak tonight in San Antonio.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell writes that it is hard to tell just what these underachieving Bruins are trying to do. Stephen Harris says that talk has been cheap all year for the Bruins, their actions on the ice speak much louder as to what they truly are. Bruce Berlet looks back at the courageous attempt by Jonathan Girard to resume his hockey career.

Jeff Jacobs puts together a thoughts column on a number of topics, including the Red Sox shortstop position.

David Scott has a monster edition of Scott’s Shots this week, including a run-in with old pal Pete Sheppard. It is definitely worth a look.

Susan Bickelhaupt has a “Sports Media” column in the Globe, looking at how the NFL is searching for flexibility in how they schedule their national broadcast games.

Check back about 2:00 PM today for a look ahead to the weekend, with listings of sports on TV and Radio and references for the events of the next two days.