Broncos Run Wild Again

We should’ve known. The Broncos beat the Patriots. Its what they do. Last night was no exception as Denver beat New England 17-7 at Gillette Stadium. While the Patriots will be under heavy scrutiny and fire this week in the papers and on the airwaves, a lot of credit needs to be given to the Broncos. They won the game. The Patriots didn’t simply lose it.

Alan Greenberg claims that this game came down to the Patriots not being willing to pay for the players who would’ve made a difference last night. Mike Reiss has Bill Belichick saying that his club needs to do better in every facet of the game. John Tomase says that the Patriots failed last night among other things to prove that they were not “the most fraudulent 2-0 team in the league.” Shalise Manza Young observes that the Denver jinx is alive and well for the Patriots. Rich Garven looks at the Patriots offense struggling mightily against the Broncos in the loss. Mike Lowe says that the Broncos pounded the Patriots on both sides of the ball last night. David Brown has more on the poor showing in front of a national audience. Chad Finn blogged the game in detail last night.

Michael Felger says that Tom Brady has been hung out to dry by the Patriots. Christopher Price gives us his 10 Things We Learned Last Night. Albert Breer writes that in the past, you could count on the Patriots not beating themselves. That doesn’t seem to be the case any longer. Steve Solloway says that it is too early to pass judgment on this team, but Dan Shaughnessy says that the Patriots truly look like a team in distress. Steve Buckley looks at how the lack of a running game killed the Patriots last night. Jim Donaldson has more on Denver maintaining their dominance over Brady, Belichick and company.

Christopher L. Gasper says that Tom Brady isn’t quite ready to give up on this team and is receivers just yet. Kevin McNamara says that Brady may not be ready to give up, but his frustration is clearly showing. Karen Guregian asserts that with the offense struggling as it has been, the burden falls to the defense to play even better than it did in the Super Bowl winning years. Tony Chamberlain looks at what the Denver defense did to stop the Patriots offense.

Tony Massarotti nails rookie Stephen Gostkowski for having a field goal blocked for the second straight week. Bob Duffy looks at Josh Miller, who had a great night punting, but that’s not a good thing for the Patriots. McDonald says everyone must be wondering this morning why the Patriots let Adam Vinatieri go. But he adds that its early yet.

Dan Ventura looks at Javon Walker burning the Patriots. Peter May asks why can’t we get players like Javon Walker. Yes, he really asked that. McNamara writes that “he playmaker the Patriots half-heartedly chased in the off-season came back to break their hearts last night.” Jennifer Toland has more on Walker burning the Patriots. Breer looks at Doug Gabriel’s fourth quarter (6 catches for 65 yards and a TD) as the lone bright spot in the passing game. Joe McDonald has more on Gabriel getting into the action for the Patriots.

Ventura highlights the play of the game as the 32 yard TD pass from Jake Plummer to Javon Walker in the second quarter. Felger notes that Denver’s blitz really wasn’t evidence last night and they didn’t need it. Joe McDonald provides his game analysis for last night on all sides of the ball. Greenberg has his turning point of the game and other analysis and notes. Tim Weisberg offers up a quick report card for the Patriots last night. Dan Pires had provided five keys to the game yesterday, today he looks at how they turned out.

Lenny Megliola looks at the Patriots going to China next summer for the first-ever NFL action in that country. Michael Parente has more on the announcement of the game. Garven also reports on the Patriots going to China.

Breer notes that tonight’s Saints/Falcons game in New Orleans is being viewed by many as the rebirth of that region after the devastation of last year. Christopher Price looks at five Patriots who will be watching the activities tonight with interest. Randall Gay, Kevin Faulk, Eric Alexander, Marquise Hill and Jarvis Green all have ties to the area and are glad to see football back in New Orleans.

You can check the coverage from Denver in the Rocky Mountain News, Denver Post and Colorado Springs Gazette.

Tomase’s notebook has Corey Dillon missing much of the game with an arm injury. Reiss’ notebook has more on the announcement that the Patriots will play a preseason game with the Seahawks in China next summer. The Projo notebook has more on the first China Bowl next summer. Garven’s notebook examines the Patriots inability to create turnovers in the first three games. The S-T notebook has more on the China game and a number of other items. Lowe’s notebook also reports on the trip to the far east for the Patriots next summer.

The news wasn’t any better for the Red Sox, who dropped a 13-4 clunker to the Blue Jays despite David Ortiz’s 53rd home run of the season.

Gordon Edes looks at a series of gaffes in the field doing the Red Sox in. Jeff Horrigan has a quick look at the game. David Heuschkel has more on the follies in the outfield for the Red Sox yesterday. Phil O’Neill has a look at Ortiz reaching another milestone. David Borges also reports from Toronto.

Horrigan looks at Ortiz tying Babe Ruth’s AL record for home runs on the road. Horrigan’s notebook has Terry Francona saying that the brutal travel schedule that the Red Sox have had this season could’ve contributed to their rash of injuries. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on Ortiz tying the Babe. O’Neill’s notebook says that Francona and Theo Epstein will discuss the coaching staff after the season ends next Sunday.

Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins looking good thus far in the preseason. Stephen Harris says that the good results early make hockey more fun for the Bruins. Harris also has the Bruins counting on Hannu Toivonen as the key to their season.

Jim McCabe and George Kimball have Europe retaining the Ryder Cup with a runaway win this weekend. Bob Ryan says that this was another ugly effort by the Americans. McCabe’s notebook looks at Darren Clarke riding an emotional wave after losing his wife to cancer last month. Kimball’s notebook looks at Scott Verplank scoring a hole-in-one.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00. ESPN has Saints/Falcons at 8:30.

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Weekend Watch – Playoff Rematch

It’s another big football weekend on television.

The Patriots cap off the weekend with their first appearance on NBC’s new Sunday Night Football. Locally the game will be seen on 7NBC at 8:15 PM.

On Patriots All Access this week, Bill Belichick breaks out the telestrator to show why and how Javon Walker has made an immediate impact to the Broncos offense. They all feature a look at the Belichick/Mike Shanahan coaching matchup, and look at Tom Brady and Tedy Bruschi giving of their time to 3 families for a most worthwhile cause. The show airs Saturday at 7:00PM and is repeated Sunday morning at 10:00.

There’s an interesting article in this week’s edition of Patriots Football Weekly – Dan Heffron of Fairfax Va, saved up enough points with his Patriots Extra Points Visa Card to earn the reward of “Reporter for a Day.” His account of the day that he spent as a media member is quite descriptive, Heffron was given full media access, including parking, a stadium tour, and a seat in the press box. He reports that the press box might not be the neutral area that it is supposed to be, and gives his observations on Steve Burton recording live segments of Fifth Quarter “on the fly.”

The FSN Football hour is strong this week once again. On New England Tailgate, Steve DeOssie and Fred Smerlas do a good job at the telestrator, breaking down the 3-4 vs the 4-3 defense. On Four Downs with Felger, there was again lucid discussion among the panel of Felger, Ron Borges, Russ Francis and Don Banks. The show concluded with Felger talking to Logan Mankins about his incident in the Denver regular season game last season which resulted in his ejection from the game.

WEEI gets things going on Sunday with NFL Sunday at 9:00. ESPN Boston has their Patriots coverage with NFL Countdown from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM with Kevin Winter and Russ Francis. CBS4 has Patriots Game Day at 11:30 AM.

After the game, Patriots 5th Quarter will air on CBS4.

If you can’t get near a TV or Radio on Sunday night, but somehow have an internet connection, you can listen to the WBCN radio play-by-play feed online. Gil and Gino’s call of the game against Denver will be available on WBCN.com…The NFL prohibits it’s radio partners from streaming games on a regular basis; those are only available for a fee at NFL.com….but CBS Radio and the NFL have an agreement that allows each of the teams that are aired on CBS stations (Lions, Bears, Giants, Texans, Falcons, Patriots and Eagles) to make four games per season available for free on the station’s website… last week’s game was streamed, and the others that’ll be available will be the Colts game on November 5th and the Dolphins on December 10th.

The Patriots Game Day blog will once again be busy on Sunday, providing updates before, during and after the Patriots/Broncos game on NBC. You can have the latest stories, columns and blog entries on the Patriots all in one place on the Patriots Daily Links page. Tom Curran’s Blog on NBCSports.com is a good game day resource as well.

You can check the coverage from Denver in the Rocky Mountain News, Denver Post and Colorado Springs Gazette. You can also look at the All Things Broncos blog from the Post.

For the rest of the NFL games on Sunday, we’ve got the weekly coverage maps to show what games will be shown in which areas. Here are the maps for the CBS Singleheader and the FOX 1PM and FOX 4PM games.

Bill Simmons has his week 3 NFL picks. Jim McCabe has his NFL selections for the week, as do Jim Lazar and Double D. For those looking for action, I.M. Bettoroffers up his advice for the weekend.

For the college games, get the listings on the College Football Schedule. Locally, Boston College takes on NC State at 7:00 on ESPN2.

The Red Sox will be in Toronto this weekend. Keep up with the storylines from up north on the Red Sox Daily Links page.

The Ryder Cup can be seen on NBC this weekend, Saturday at 8:00AM and Sunday 7:00AM.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to NECNs Chris Collins, whose father passed away earlier this week…

850 Best in the Country

WEEI took home two Marconi awards last night at The NAB Radio Show in Dallas. The sports station was named as Large Market Station of the Year and the Sports Radio Station of the Year.

Media Columns

New England

Susan Bickelhaupt looks at the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) changing its name to Versus and introducing three new original series to go along with their NHL broadcasts. Andrew Neff reports on Bangor sports radio WZON coming away with three awards from the Maine Association of Broadcasters. He also has more on Versus. David Scott looks at the Globe’s series on racial inequities in the college football coaching ranks and ESPN Boston rebranding itself as ‘Boston’s Football Station.’ John Howell looks at Joe Buck handling his role as both pregame host and main play-by-play an for FOX.

New York

Bob Raissman says that a subway series between the Mets and Yankees is not what FOX or MLB wants, no matter what they say. Phil Mushnick notes that the NFL broadcasts haven’t exactly always been educational to the viewers in the first two weeks of the season. Andrew Marchand reports that Allan Houston is in talks with ESPN about becoming a studio analyst. He also comments on the performances thus far of Charley Casserly and Tony Kornheiser in their TV roles. Marchand’s Memo of Week is to Dick Ebersol, suggesting some improvements for Football Night in America. He also poses five questions to Chris Berman. Who might have the toughest job in the NY sports? Neil Best talks to Patty Parker, who does most of the closed captioning for WFAN’s Mike & and Mad Dog afternoon radio show. Yes, she has to type out what the fast-talking Chris Russo says as he says it.

Mid-Atlantic

Aaron Bracy has legendary Phillies announcer Harry Kalas not planning on calling it quits anytime soon. At age 70, Kalas plans to sign a new contract this offseason for two years with a mutual option for a third. You can get more thoughts from Bracy on his blog, which seems to get updated frequently. Laura Nachman checks in with former ESPN reality series “Dream Job” finalist Brian Startare, who is now working in the industry for real. Bob Smizik reports on the Pirates promoting Greg Brown to co-No. 1 radio announcer alongside Lanny Frattare, who initiated the move and has been with the team since 1976 and long known as the “voice of the Pirates.” Michael Hiestand and Michael McCarthy play point-counterpoint on NFL broadcasts taking their studio shows outdoors on location. Hiestand’s column also has a look at the lack of former team GM’s in the television world. Jim Williams looks at coverage of the Ryder Cup on USA and NBC.

South

Jim Sarni notes that it was great to see Peter Gammons on the airwaves again this week. Barry Jackson isn’t so impressed thus far with NBC’s Football Night in America. He also comments on FOX, CBS and ESPN coverage thus far. Dave Darling says that the US needs to make a strong showing at the Ryder Cup. David Barron looks examines the army that ESPN is moving into New Orleans for this week’s Monday Night Football game between the Saints and Falcons that marks the return of the NFL to the city for the first time since hurricane Katrina. Barron has a blog as well.

Midwest

Judd Zulgad takes to task for numerous mistakes the low-level broadcast crew that FOX sent to cover the Vikings/Panthers game last Sunday. A particular target is analyst Bill Maas. Bob Wolfley has Shannon Sharpe underwhelmed with the Green Bay Packers, lumping them with Tampa Bay, Oakland and Tennessee as the least impressive team in the NFL. Jeffrey Flanagan reports on the controversy caused by Brent Musburger’s on-air comments involving signals used by USC quarterback John David Booty last Saturday night.

West Coast

Larry Stewart has Dan Fouts placing a call to Pete Carroll to ensure that there are no misunderstandings this week such as what took place with Musburger. He also has a look at the Ryder Cup coverage, which starts at 5:00AM Saturday and 4:00AM Sunday Pacific time, Monday Night Football in New Orleans and has a mention about the return of Peter Gammons. Jay Posner looks back at the calls of the crazy Padres-Dodgers game on Monday night. He also has the weekend TV ratings numbers for the San Diego area. Tom Hoffarth has more on the early morning Ryder Cup matches this weekend. John Maffei tells us how last weekend “Musburger again proved why he’s the worst announcer on network television.” Michael Lev has Dan Hicks facing the challenge of getting Ryder Cup viewers in the early mornings. Joe Davidson looks at a busy guy in Sacramento radio – KHTK’s Jason Ross.

Ortiz Stands Alone

David Scott says that the Globe might be throwing stones in a glass house with their Bob Hohler series on minority hirings in college football.

One night after David Ortiz tied Jimmie Foxx in the Red Sox record books, he vaulted over him, hitting two home runs last night in a 6-0 Red Sox victory over the Minnesota Twins. Josh Beckett pitched eight shutout innings and Ortiz’s blasts put him at 52 for the season.

Gordon Edes reports on one last magical night at Fenway Park for Ortiz and the 2006 Red Sox. Michael Silverman has more on Ortiz warming things up in time for the arrival of fall. Steven Krasner looks at Ortiz standing alone in the Red Sox record book. Jeff Goldberg has more on a memorable night at Fenway. Bill Ballou notes that this will be as close to a playoff feeling as Fenway is going to have for at least a year.

Rob Bradford says that Ortiz might try to lure Torii Hunter to the Sox, should the Twins fail to pick up the centerfielder’s $12 million option for next season. Lenny Megliola wonders if Ortiz leads the league in curtain calls, in addition to home runs. Alex Speier writes that Ortiz is now the ‘baddest dude” in the Red Sox record books. Steve Buckley says that Ortiz is enjoying the record, but not as much as he would if the Sox were going to the playoffs. Later in the column, we’re treated to Buckley calling a piece in a New York paper “one of the dumbest stories of the year.” Irony, thy name is Buckley. He also has a short piece on the fans who caught the home runs last night.

Edes’ notebook looks at the Twins failing to capitalize on an opportunity to move into first place last night, ahead of the Tigers. Silverman’s notebook has Manny taking some batting practice yesterday. Krasner’s notebook looks at Beckett’s strong performance last night and wonders where that pitcher has been all season. Ballou’s notebook looks at the Twins making good use of their farm system, and also has a number of other noteworthy items.

Chad Finn offers up a number of Red Sox and Patriots related items.

The gang is back at the Patriots Game Day Roundtable, where the topics tossed around include Eugene Wilson, Tom Brady, the running game and predictions for the weekend.

Ron Borges has a tremendous article today on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and how he has applied lessons he learned from his father in the cutthroat world of politics.

Mike Reiss has a very nice piece on Troy Brown as he approaches Stanley Morgan’s team record for catches. John Tomase has a worthwhile read on Ty Warren, who has certain proved critics that were on his case coming out of college wrong. Joe McDonald says that the Patriots need to work on their tackling here in the early stages of the season. Alan Greenberg revisits the play that killed the season for the Patriots last year, and surprisingly Tom Brady doesn’t want to keep talking about it. Rich Garven has a look at Logan Mankins, who prefers to let his game do the talking, especially this week. Christopher Price says that getting pressure on Jake Plummer is going to be a key for the Patriots.

Tony Massarotti looks at the immense respect that Bill Belichick has for Mike Shanahan, and says that it’s probably due to the fact that the Broncos regularly beat the Patriots. Albert Breer has more on the coaching matchup and the mutual respect between the pair. Michael Parente also examines the matchup, and notes the many similarities between the two men. Breer also notes that facing the Broncos is old hat for Junior Seau. The Eagle Tribune has a story on Rosevelt Colvin as the Patriots linebacker aims for a complete, all around game in the Patriots scheme.

Nick Tavarez asserts that consistency is what the Patriots are seeking the most these days. The venerable Ron Hobson has a look at Tom Brady trying to change his luck against the Broncos. Michael Salfino looks at the return of the running back by committee, a topic which was explored in more depth yesterday by Bill Barnwell on the Patriots Game Day blog.

Reiss’ notebook has Rodney Harrison talking about how close he came to nearly signing with the Broncos. Tomase’s notebook has Belichick talking about his brief stay in Denver early in his coaching career. McDonald’s notebook has more on the Belichick/Shanahan matchup. Garven’s notebook looks at how the Patriots will attempt to offset the blitz of the Broncos. Parente’s notebook has the Patriots focusing on tackling.

Check back later for a weekend preview and national media column roundup.

Papi joins Foxx in Sox Record Book

Update: Bill Barnwell has a new column posted on the Patriots Game Day page, this week looking at whether the “running back by committee” approach such as the Patriots might appear to be going with has any advantages over the traditional one-lead-back approach.

David Ortiz made history for the Red Sox last night, hitting his 50th home run of the season in an 8-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park.

Michael Silverman looks at Big Papi tying the club record in a loss that clinched the division for the New York Yankees. Amalie Benjamin says that last night, all the disappointment of the game and the season didn’t matter. It was all about Papi. Steven Krasner has more on Big Papi joining Jimmie Foxx atop the Red Sox record books. David Heuschkel has Torii Hunter feeling good for his former teammate and what he’s been able to accomplish here. David Borges says that it is appropriate that Ortiz’s home run gave the Red Sox the lead. (temporarily) Phil O’Neill reports on the blast, which created a bittersweet night for the Red Sox. Jon Couture has more on the night from Fenway. (Nice redesign for the Standard-Times/SouthCoastToday.com website.)

Steve Buckley has a look at the Twins, who despite being a small market club, boast a roster full of stars. Alex Speier says that the Red Sox are going to need to overhaul their bullpen this offseason, something that is no easy task. Speier also wonders if Keith Foulke will be closing for the Red Sox in 2007.

Buckley also says that Double X would’ve been proud of Ortiz. Silverman looks at the negotiations between the club and the fan who caught the home run that tied Foxx’s record. Lenny Megliola looks a the Ortiz mark as a highlight of an otherwise rag-tag September.

Tony Chamberlain looks at Peter Gammons coming back home to Fenway Park.

Silverman’s notebook has Matt Clement feeling that he is a starting pitcher and not really warming to the idea of moving to the bullpen next season. Benjamin’s notebook has the MRI done on Manny Ramirez coming back clean, ruling out a fracture, so the only thing to do for his patellar tendonitis is rest. It should be noted that John Valentin suffered with the same thing, and eventually ruptured the tendon, which effectively ended his career as a full time, productive player. Krasner’s notebook looks at Curt Schilling trying to shake off the rust in his outing last night. Heuschkel’s notebook has Julian Tavarez saying that Manny is definitely done for the season. Borges’ notebook says that Craig Hansen isn’t close to being ready to take over for Jonathan Papelbon as the Red Sox closer next season. O’Neill’s notebook has Curt Schilling showing signs of life last night.

Patriots

Mike Reiss looks at the 11-up blitz, which has foiled the Patriots a few times now, including last week against the Jets and in the playoffs against Denver. John Tomase examines how Champ Bailey and the Broncos trapped Tom Brady into throwing the key interception in last winter’s playoff game. Shalise Manza Young looks at the last thing offenses want to do, which is turning the ball over. The Patriots hope to avoid a repeat of their last outing against the Broncos. Chris Kennedy looks at the Patriots and Broncos mixing things up this time around. Ian Clark notes that the Patriots can’t dwell on their recent struggles against the Broncos. Jeff Howe has the Patriots reviewing their nightmare night in Denver last winter.

Alan Greenberg notes that the Patriots depth on the defensive line allows them to play more 4-3 this season which could actually serve to get rest for certain players. Tony Massarotti looks at the Patriots offensive line having fun with the running game and being able to get out and hit people.Tomase says a highlight for Sunday night with be Logan Mankins and Ebenezer Ekuban renewing acquaintances in the trenches. Jennifer Toland has Tom Brady ready to move on from the playoff loss. Michael Parente looks at the Patriots duo of Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney and how they make up something that this team hasn’t had.

Albert Breer has a look at Mike Wright, whose emergence and versatility on the defensive line has made him a bigger piece to the Patriots defense this season. Dan Pires looks at how the undrafted Wright fits in with all the first round picks that surround him on the defensive line.

Breer has Stephen Gostkowski’s teammates not blaming him for the blocked field goal against the Jets. Massarotti has Bill Belichick speaking about Jake Plummer, who has come under fire early in the season. Eric McHugh offers up a report card for the Patriots against the Jets.

You can check the coverage from Denver in the Rocky Mountain News, Denver Post and Colorado Springs Gazette.

Tomase’s notebook revisits Cedric Cobbs’ comments about Bill Belichick, which come off as sour grapes. Reiss’ notebook has Tom Brady hoping to raise the level of his game in this, the third week of the season. Young’s notebook has Bailey and Mike Shanahan praising Benjamin Watson for his hustle play on the Bailey interception and runback in the playoff game. Toland’s notebook has Tedy Bruschi pleased with his return and glad to be back on the field. Parente’s notebook has Brady looking for an improved connection with his receivers.

David Ferris offers up some fantasy football advice in the Herald.

Misc

Jackie MacMullan writes about Bruins first round pick Phil Kessel and whether he is ready to make the team and play in the NHL as an 18 year old. Stephen Harris reports on the Bruins preseason game with Montreal last night in which Zdeno Chara took a shot off the foot and eventually left the game, though he wanted to continue. Fluto Shinzawa and Dan Hickling have more on the injury to Chara and the game. Bud Barth has the story of goaltender Jordan Sigalet.

Steve Bulpett has Wally Szczerbiak eager to have a whole season with the Celtics.

Bob Ryan looks at the evolution of the Ryder Cup from a gentleman’s event to a competitive one. Jim McCabe looks at the US squad taking practice as a team yesterday. George Kimball has Tiger Woods speaking out against a Dublin tabloid for things said about his wife. McCabe’s notebook looks at fans being disappointed due to adverse conditions at the club yesterday.

Bob Hohler has a feature on racial inequities among the coaching ranks in college football, both nationally and in New England. He has a quick bit on the only black head college football coach in New England, Mel Mills of Division 3 Becker College. He also quickly looks back at the first to break the color barrier in New England college football, Boston State College’s MacDaniel Singleton in 1975.

NESN has Twins/Red Sox at 7:00. ESPN has Virgina/Georgia Tech at 7:30. TBS has Braves/Rockies at 8:30.

Gammons Returns, Midweek Media

Some quick media links for a Wednesday:

Peter Gammons returned to ESPN last night, and also had a very moving column on the ESPN website, thanking everyone for their support and describing what he’s been through the last few months. Gammons says:

What I endured is trivial compared to 9/11 victims or the suffering of heroes like John McCain, but to get back to the point where Austin Kearns mattered was my return from what was a kind of life-and-death matter. Just to be able to type Kearns' name makes me one of the luckiest people on earth.

Welcome back, Mr. Gammons.

If I can be critical of ESPN.com for a moment…that column should be free for anyone to read, not put in the “Insider” category.

Edit: The column does appear to be free to all…though some people have emailed that they can’t get the whole column…perhaps my criticism was a bit hasty.

There has been some buzz generated by an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune yesterday, in which Padres GM Kevin Towers talks about the trade that brought Doug Mirabelli back to the Red Sox. It seems that neither Towers nor the Padres players miss Mirabelli very much. Today, writer Tim Sullivan follows up with the Red Sox backup catcher to get his side of things. Mirabelli says he was trying to be funny with his initial comments.

You might have heard Dale and Holley talking about an article in which former Patriot Cedric Cobbs said that Patriots players live in fear of Bill Belichick. Cobbs is now with the Broncos, who coincidentally are coming to town this Sunday. The article was reprinted in the San Jose Mercury News, but the original is by Frank Schwab and is on the website of the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Question – What exactly has Cedric Cobbs done in the NFL to be able to say anything like this? Michael Holley suggested on the WEEI airwaves today that Cobbs liked to do a little “smoking” in college, and perhaps in his time with the Patriots as well.

Tom Verducci’s Sports Illustrated article on Alex Rodriguez: A-Rod Agonistes is well worth a read.

Here’s a few Sports Media Columns from the first half of this week:

Richard Sandomir says that the NFL Network has overvalued itself. Bob Raissman weighs in on Joe Buck and Troy Aikman’s comments about Phillies slugger Ryan Howard, who appeared in a promo during the Giants/Eagles game on FOX Sunday. Neil Best examines how FOX and ESPN will handle the issue of having both the Mets and the Yankees in the playoffs and having home field advantage, which could create scheduling issues. He also monitored a Giants message board during their rollercoaster ride on Sunday.

Michael Hiestand looks at the return of Peter Gammons to the ESPN airwaves. He also looks at some national NFL TV numbers. Aaron Bracy has a number of observations from the NFL broadcasts on his blog. Robert Weintraub on Slate.com looks at why NBC’s new Football Night in America is not filling the shoes of ESPN’s old Primetime highlight show.

David Barron says that if you think that NBC’s Sunday Night Football looks and feels an awful lot like ABC’s Monday Night Football from last season, there’s a reason, and it goes beyond Al Michaels and John Madden. Barry Horn talked to both Michael and Madden prior to the Cowboys-Redskins games this past Sunday night. Dan Caesar reports that Cardinals fans could be facing a cut in free over-the-air broadcast games next season.

Some quick Local Weekend TV Ratings numbers:

These are averages for the entire program, unless noted otherwise.

Red Sox/Yankees Saturday on Fox25: 6.4 rating, 18% share.

(I haven’t yet been able to track down the other weekend games.)

Miami/Buffalo Early game on CBS4: 6.3 rating, 17% share.

Patriots/Jets on CBS4: 25.4 rating, 50% share.

CBS Post Game: 28.6 rating, 49% share (only 15 minutes)

5th Quarter on TV38: 2.8 rating, 5% share. (peaked at 4.0 rating and 7% share after CBS Postgame signed off.)

Washington/Dallas on 7NBC did a 8.9 rating, 15% share, with an 8.5 rating among Men 25-54.

Ratings = each point equals just under 24,000 households.

Share is the % of households in the market tuned to that program. So 50% of the households in the Boston market (with televisions on) were watching the Patriots during that time slot on Sunday afternoon.

Get your local sports links on the Red Sox Daily Links page and the Patriots Daily Links page.

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Grading Day for Pats

Michael Felger has his week two report card, with solid grades all around with the exception of the secondary, which gets handed a “D” for poor tackling in the Jets two long touchdown plays. Ian Clark also offers up a Patriots report card and notes that while the team might be a perfect 2-0, they’re still incomplete as a team. Greg Doyle spent Monday in the film room, and offers up his review of the Patriots performance on the Patriots Game Day page.

Gerry Callahan takes issue with Ron Borges and the New York writers (without mentioning either) who spent last week declaring the Patriots dead and going through “hard times.”

Bob Duffy looks at the Patriots ability to switch on the fly between a 3-4 and a 4-3 defense what advantages this can bring them. Joe McDonald has an interesting look at how rookies and young players are handled by the Patriots. They’re not allowed to talk with the media, and are expected to improve and work at their jobs each week. John Tomase says that the team’s final drive on Sunday really showed what they’re made of. Michael Parente has the Patriots looking to be a little more consistent moving forward and being able to put teams away on defense.

Albert Breer looks at Rosevelt Colvin again being in on a key play of the game, and how is role with the Patriots requires him to be a complete player, not just a flashy pass rusher. Rich Garven ? (no byline) looks at the Patriots going retro with their game plans. Lenny Megliola has a few thoughts on the Patriots, starting out with The Handshake.

Tomase’s notebook has Richard Seymour reflecting on Sunday’s opponent, Denver, which of course is also the team that ended the Patriots season last winter. Mike Reiss’ notebook has the Patriots pleased with their game ending drive Sunday. McDonald’s notebook has more on the significance of facing Denver Sunday night. Parente’s notebook has Bill Belichick pleased with his club’s final drive against the Jets.

David Scott links to an anti-Belichick column from Jersey and examines CBS4’s obsession with the “Corey Dillon Defender” on Sunday night.

Red Sox

Sean McAdam says that the experience that Dave Murphy and Dustin Pedroia are getting with the Red Sox this month is invaluable. They’re also producing, which is an added bonus. Gordon Edes takes a fun look at the Boston bullpen, which might not have been very effective at times this season, but has a lot of smart guys sitting on the benches out there. Jeff Horrigan has the Red Sox aiming to finish strong, despite being out of the playoff race. Phil O’Neill looks at what’s left for the Red Sox in their final 12 games, including David Ortiz’s pursuit of the club home run record.

By the way, Mike Adams last night on his radio show told the audience that if Ortiz doesn’t break the record, the blame should go to Manny Ramirez and his being “in quotation marks – unable to play.”

Bill Reynolds says that this lost season should mean a very interesting offseason, with major changes on the horizon for the Red Sox. David Heuschkel has Jason Varitek standing up for Trot Nixon, whom most feel is in his final days in a Red Sox uniform. Varitek says Nixon would “look stupid in another uniform.” Rob Bradford has Billy Beane and J.P. Ricciardi defending Theo Epstein. Kevin Thomas talks to Epstein about coming up to watch the Portland Seadogs win the Eastern League Championship. Joe Haggerty looks at Sox first round pick Daniel Bard and his New England roots which go way back.

To my knowledge and eyes, no correction has been issued for the Nick Cafardo article on David Murphy yesterday which contained at least 11 errors.

EDIT: (9:00 AM) The correction is posted, though not where you would usually find these:

Correction: Because of a reporting error, the list of players selected in the 2003 Major League Baseball draft was incorrect in the On Baseball column about Red Sox outfielder David Murphy in yesterday's Sports section. Lastings Milledge, Brandon Wood, Nick Markakis, Chad Cordero, and Rickie Weeks were the players drafted in 2003. In addition, the names of Weeks and Travis Hafner were misspelled.

Doesn’t quite cover how all those other names appeared in the column, however.

Edes’ notebook has Mike Timlin showing he might have a little something left in the tank just yet. Horrigan’s notebook has more on Timlin’s strong September.

Bruins/Misc

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has a look at a pair of Bruins youngsters with rich hockey bloodlines. Karen Guregian has the three ex-San Jose Sharks who came here in exchange for Joe Thornton, ready to turn the page and move forward as Bruins. Bud Barth has new Bruins center Mark Mowers looking to finally become an impact player in the NHL. Mick Colageo has Brad Boyes looking to make a step ahead after his impressive rookie season.

Guregian’s notebook has first round pick Phil Kessel prepping for his NHL debut tonight against the Canadiens in a preseason game. Barth’s notebook has more on Kessel, who will center a line with Marco Sturm and Glen Murray as his wings.

Kevin McNamara reports on Boston College and Providence signing a four year deal to play each other in men’s basketball. Since BC moved to the ACC, the rivalry with Providence seemed to be a thing of the past, this deal puts the schools back together on the court.

Christopher L. Gasper says that Boston College knows that they will be facing a desperate team in North Carolina State this weekend.

Jim McCabe says that Tiger Wood’s Ryder Cup record is deceiving and the golf superstar is looking to silence his critics in this set of matches.

NESN has Twins/Red Sox at 7:00.

More Globe Follies

UPDATE: 4:15 PM The below paragraph has been changed to read:

The '03 draft produced Lastings Milledge, Brandon Wood, Nick Markakis, Chad Cordero, and Rickey Weeks.

No explanation or correction is noted. And they still spelled Rickie Weeks wrong.