Hector Lingo

I’m sorry. I don’t normally pick on stuff like this, but this was just too much…

I’m admittedly bad at times with grammar and proper sentence construction. But then again, I’m not a professional writer with an editor to proof my work and correct errors before they make it to the site.

So what is Hector Longo’s excuse? In one of his articles today, “Two Minute Drill” (this one is currently in the “Plus Edition” of the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune website, so I can’t link to it) Longo uses the following line:

Corey Dillon added a fumble, so didn’t Laurence Maroney.

Are you kidding me? Was he speaking his story out loud as he typed it? How did the editors let that one go by? This is a professional writer covering an NFL team.

Another head scratcher is in the article entitled “Despite turnovers, Pats grab quality win” where the following line appears:

“Brady and the Pats were on their way to killing the final three minutes until Corey Dillon coughed up a fumble, spreading life through Cowboy Country.”

Cowboy Country? Huh?

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Patriots Bear Down

In a game that was alternatively exasperating and entertaining, the Patriots out-muscled the NFC leading Chicago Bears yesterday at Gillette, forcing four turnovers, but overcoming five of their own in a character building 17-13 win.

Mike Reiss notes that the emotional roller coaster wasn’t limited to the fans, as the players went through the ups and downs of the afternoon as well, with “tremendous highs, then sudden lows, and plays that simply don’t take place in many football games.” Shalise Manza Young works in an LL Cool J reference in the first line of her game story, as the Patriots shook off their errors to pull out a victory which none of them wanted to label a “statement.” The BSMW view is over on the Game Day Rear View column from Scott Benson as he looks at the Patriots becoming the first team to roll up 300 yard on the Bears, but still needed to save themselves from their own turnovers. John Tomase is glad that the Patriots finally beat someone good. Alan Greenberg looks at the Patriots making a stand at home and re-establishing themselves as an elite team in the AFC. Ben Rohrbach reminds us that an ugly win is still a win. Rich Garven reports on the Patriots handing the Bears their first road loss of the season despite turning the ball over way too often. Michael Parente says Asante Samuel saved the sloppy Patriots from themselves. Dan Pires takes another view and notes that “Turnovers and a few questionable officiating calls aside, this is what football should be like every Sunday.” Mark Farinella asserts that this game tells us nothing about whether the Patriots are true contenders or mere pretenders.

Ron Borges says this was a football game, noting that: “The offenses weren’t sloppy. They were slapped silly.” Michael Felger says that the Patriots were lucky, tried their best to give this one away, and won’t be able to win this way down the line. Christopher Price trots out another fine edition of 10 Things We Learned Yesterday. Ian Clark notes that the better quarterback was the difference in this battle between two great defenses. Albert Breer has a look at the Patriots defense coming up big and making plays when they were most needed yesterday. Jeff Jacobs looks at Benjamin Watson being ready – and grateful – when Tom Brady came back to him after the tight end had made some mistakes earlier in the game. Farinella has more on the ugly win, which is still a win. Lenny Megliola looks at the Patriots surviving against the NFC’s best and still feeling their best football is ahead of them.

Jackie MacMullan focuses on the fourth quarter run by Tom Brady in which he faked out all-world linebacker Brian Urlacher – a play that MacMullan tells us will be remembered for the balance of the season. Listening to the post-game press conferences on “Fifth Quarter” you could tell that MacMullan and Jim Donaldson were prepping columns on Brady’s run. Donaldson asked questions of both Brady and Belichick about the run, trying to draw the coach into making a humorous statement about the play, but Belichick wasn’t going along with it. Donaldson got enough for his column anyway, as he apparently went around the Patriots locker room asking about it as well. Karen Guregian also writes about the play. Tom King notes the irony of the fact that Tom Brady’s lead feet actually set the pace for the Patriots yesterday.

Tony Massarotti looks at the huge game from Asante Samuel, who had three interceptions on the afternoon. Christopher L Gasper has more on the big day for the Patriots cornerback, who has now set a career high with six picks on the season. Greenberg has more on Samuel’s hat trick on the afternoon. Tim Weisberg looks at Samuel making a name for himself with his play. Joe McDonald has a look at Richard Seymour stepping up his game to the inspired level as the Patriots All Pro lineman made several huge plays in the win yesterday. Jennifer Toland has more on Seymour’s big afternoon. Amalie Benjamin acknowledges the individual performances from Seymour and Ty Warren, but notes that this game was about the defensive line as a unit for the Patriots. Steve Buckley asserts that Laurence Maroney holds the key to the Patriots success this season.

McDonald has more on Faulk becoming the Patriots all time leading receiver among running backs yesterday with his 261st career reception. Massarotti also looks at the mark for Faulk, noting that he and Troy Brown aren’t exactly the biggest guys in the Patriots locker room, but they’ve gotten the job done over the years. Breer has more on Benjamin Watson atoning for earlier mistakes by making the big catches when needed. David Brown and Steve Solloway each also look at Watson making the most of second chances later in the game. Toland has a closer look at Stephen Gostkowski’s 52 yard field goal just before the half, in which the rookie got two chances to make the kick. Bob Duffy notes that the Bears defense might’ve been too good yesterday…it meant their offense had to keep coming back out onto the field. Farinella says that Rex Grossman is no Tom Brady and that that fact could hurt the Bears down the line. Breer has Brian Urlacher hoping for another shot against the Patriots this season – which would mean both teams were in the Super Bowl.

Art Martone tabs Asante Samuel as the Player of the Game. Buckley appoints the best and worst from the game. McDonald’s Game Analysis looks at the keys on both sides of the ball. Greenberg’s Turning Point provides a similar breakdown. Martone says the Play of the Game was the Timeout called by the Bears that allowed Stephen Gostkowski to have a second attempt at a 52 yard field goal just prior to the end of the first half. Felger follows up on his Game Within A Game preview from yesterday, noting that the Patriots did indeed go down the middle of the field against the Bears linebackers. Pires serves up a quick report card on the afternoon’s play by the Patriots.

Check the stories from the Windy City as well on the pages of the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Tomase’s notebook says that Junior Seau’s season and career are likely over following a broken arm suffered in yesterday’s win. Young’s Talking Points notes that Seau will likely be a coach and mentor on the sidelines for the the foreseeable future for the Patriots. Reiss’ notebook, which is quite extensive, leads off with more on Seau. Garven’s notebook also reports on the injury to the future Hall of Famer. Weisberg’s notebook wonders if this is the end of the line for Seau. Parente’s notebook looks at the Patriots winning despite poor ball security for the second week in a row. Farinella’s notebook looks at how the new FieldTurf held up under game conditions.

With the Giants blowing a 21 point fourth quarter lead to the lowly Titans yesterday, the New York Sports Pages are a fun place to be this morning.

Celtics

David Scott examines a difference of opinion between Bob Ryan and Bill Simmons when it comes to Doc Rivers and how much he should be blamed for the Celtics early season struggles.

Tim Weisberg examines a Peter Vecsey report in the NY Post yesterday which said that Danny “Ainge has been trying to pry power forward Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies.” Weisberg notes that should the Grizzlies be sold to the ownership group led by Brian Davis and Christian Laettner, the new owners would want to cut costs and acquire cheap young talent. The Celtics seem a natural fit.

Shira Springer has Paul Pierce and the Celtics hoping to sustain their stretches of good basketball, such as was on display in the second half Saturday night, while reducing the bad stretches as was in evidence the entire night on Friday. Steve Bulpett takes encouragement from Sebastian Telfair stepping up and leading the team to victory in the fourth quarter against the Bucks.

Bruins

Stephen Harris looks at the Bruins as they come off perhaps their finest 60 minute performance of the season Saturday night in Toronto. Kevin Paul Dupont has the Bruins defense allowing Tim Thomas to get a better view of the puck, which allows him to more easily stop it. Mick Colageo ponders the extinction of the goon in the new NHL.

Red Sox/College

Tony Massarotti reports that the Red Sox and Scott Boras are an ocean apart in their early negotiations for getting Japanese star Daisuke Matsuzaka signed and delivered to Boston, and that this could affect their other moves until they can resolve the contract.

Mark Blaudschun looks at the job facing Bowl matchmakers this season, and tabs Boston College as taking on South Carolina in the Music City Bowl. Zach Rocha has a few college basketball thoughts in the early going. John Connolly has an early look at this coming weekend’s Division 1-AA playoff game between UMass and UNH. Allen Lessels has more on the rematch.

ESPN has Packers/Seahawks at 8:30. ESPN2 has Michigan/N.C. State at 7:30. Versus has Stars/Red Wings at 7:00 and Devils/Kings at 10:00.

Sunday Patriots Links

Just back from out West and getting ready to climb back into the grind.

Be sure to check out Scott Benson’s version of the morning links over at the BSMW Game Day Page – he’s got a nice overview of the pregame coverage of today’s huge Patriots/Bears matchup.

There is plenty of coverage from the Windy City as well on the pages of the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Your NFL Coverage Maps for Today:

CBS Single Game

FOX Game 1

FOX Game 2

Celtics/NBA

The Celtics showed something last night after being humiliated in their last two outings. They came from 16 points down to winning going away in Milwaukee last night as they took out the Bucks, 111-98.

Shira Springer and Steve Bulpett have coverage of the game. Bulpett also has Danny Ainge saying the recent struggles lay with the players, not the coach. Springer’s notebook has more from Ainge on his sticking by Doc Rivers, who has been the object of wrath from many fans of the club. Bulpett’s notebook has Rivers not enjoying the heat.

Peter May’s NBA notes has Yao Ming finally feeling comfortable with life in the NBA.

Red Sox/Baseball

Stan Grossfeld has a feature on embattled former MLB saves leader Jeff Reardon. Tony Massarotti says that the Red Sox options for dealing Manny Ramirez are very few. Nick Cafardo’s Baseball Notes leads off by telling us why the Red Sox investment in Daisuke Matsuzaka is a sound one.

Bruins/Hockey

The Bruins also won last night, posting a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Kevin Paul Dupont and Stephen Harris have the recaps. Dupont’s notebook has Paul Mara laying down the law last night after a hit from a Maple Leaf on Zdeno Chara. Harris’ notebook has Brad Boyes happy to get on the scoreboard last night after a rough start to the season. Dupont’s Hockey Notes has him begging the league to bring back the fighting.

Black Friday

I’m still out on the West coast today, but unless they’ve been slacking, there’s still supposed to be a Patriots Roundtable on the Patriots Game Day page.

David Scott should have his usual offering of Scott’s Shots as well today.

Elsewhere and for the weekend, there is the Patriots News Mashup and the pages of the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Keep up with any news on the Celtics on the Celtics News Mashup.

If the Red Sox are in the news, there is also a Red Sox News Mashup.

In case you’re shopping today, here a look at some of the best Black Friday Deals.

High School Football Reigns Today

A few short links on this holiday Thursday, which is traditionally marked in this area by a plethora of high school football games.

To keep up with the scores from your high school, the Boston papers have a pair of blogs that will be working overtime for sure today. The Herald has the High School Insider from Dan Ventura, who has been covering Massachusetts high school sports for 15 years now. The Globe counters with their High School Sports Blog, which utilizes a huge team of writers to cover the latest games and scores from around the Commonwealth. For Western Massachusetts, the Springfield Republican has the Varsity Voice high school sports blog.

The NFL Network debuts their regular season NFL coverage tonight at 8:00 with the Broncos taking on the Kansas City Chiefs in the third pro game of the day, following the traditional games in Detroit and Dallas.

Check the Patriots News Mashup and Celtics News Mashup for the latest on the locals.

Check bruceallenmedia.com for the latest entries from the BSMW blogs.

This Season’s Patriots Coverage, Part II

OK, so yesterday I was pretty negative. In general I have not been pleased with the level of coverage that the Patriots have had this season. However, there have been some bright spots as well. Here’s my list of a few pleasant surprises of this season’s Patriots coverage.

Mark Farinella

Mark Farinella? Yeah. I’ve knocked the guy in the past for some things that he’s written into his columns, but now that The Sun Chronicle publishes all of his work rather than just his columns, I’m seeing him in a new light. Day in and day out, he’s a solid reporter on the Patriots beat. He also happens to be (I believe) the longest tenured Patriots beat writer, having covered the team on a daily basis since 1978. Yes, Ron Hobson has been around since the beginning, but he’s pretty much retired at this point. I’m told David Pevear (of the Lowell Sun) might be another possibility, but in any case, Farinella has seen the lowest of lows and highest of highs in nearly 30 years covering the Patriots on a daily basis. As a high school student Farinella even covered the opening of Schaefer Stadium in August, 1971. On game days, he does the work of three reporters, single handedly cranking out up to five different articles on the game.

Four Downs with Felger

I hammered Felger yesterday. I really don’t like a lot of the changes that he’s made in his reporting style this year. However, I’ve been pleasantly pleased with the FSN Four Downs With Felger program. The Perception vs. Reality segment to open the show is usually pretty good, and talking with an out of town writer about the Patriots opponent that week has been insightful at times. I hope the quality of the show remains high going forward.

Projo and Globe “early articles”

The newspapers are starting to catch onto this here internet thingy. Rather than waiting for the paper to come out the next day, these papers have been publishing their game stories, analysis and columns online a few hours after the game. They realize that a lot of people are reading their stories online rather than in the paper, and by publishing it to their web sites earlier they’re satisfying the need that fans have for the instant information and opinion.

Not to mention, it saves me a few minutes in the morning if I can start my morning’s post the night before…

Shalise Manza Young

More Shalise please. With the departure of Tom E Curran, Manza Young has stepped up her work at the Projo, many times covering both the Patriots and Celtics. She’s handled both equally well and and comes across in a very personable manner. We’ll be looking for more from her in the future.

Christopher Price’s “10 Things”

Chris started writing these columns last year, but this year I’ve really been looking out for them. They’re usually posted on the Boston Sports Review website the day after Patriots game. These columns have a lot of work put into them, and as far as I know, Chris isn’t making any coin off of them. He breaks out the major storylines of the game into 10 easy to follow, numbered points. It’s a proven fact that the Internet generation loves articles that are lists or in bulleted points. Price’s columns are perfect for the new generation Patriots fan who wants to know about the game at a glance, and then be able to back through and read more about each point.

Chad Finn’s Game Blogs

A few times this year, Chad Finn has decided to devote his already stellar blog to doing a running commentary on the Patriots game. He’s done all three prime time games thus far, pumping out observations, wit and factoids like nobody’s business. If you’re into word counts, Finn’s Patriots/Colts blog entry clocked in at over 3500 words. Finn has a knack for perfectly capturing my feelings about a given moments…much better than I could ever articulate them myself. Like Price, Finn isn’t getting paid for these efforts. Isn’t it amazing that two of my favorite things about Patriots coverage are being written by professional writers…for FREE?

Do you think any of the “star” columnists in town would do stuff like that for nothing – for just the pleasure of writing and satisfaction of putting out columns and entries about a team they enjoy covering? What a concept!

Links for Today:

Patriots News Mashup
Celtics News Mashup
Bruceallenmedia.com

This Season’s Patriots Coverage Part I

It may not seem possible, but this season has seen new lows in the already contentious coverage of Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. For years we’ve put up with snide comments and shots from the likes of Ron Borges, even in the two year span when the Patriots were going 34-4 with two Super Bowl titles. Now that the Patriots have in the eyes of many, taken a step back from that level, it seems that some members of the media can hardly wait to kick them on their way down.

In general, the coverage just feels more negative and nasty. Part of that is course the recent struggles of the club, which has emboldened some of the pundits to come out of the closet and feel more bold in criticizing the coach and organization. Some of the criticism of course could be warranted. The team’s offseason moves, or lack thereof were highly publicized. The playcalling in certain games has been curious. These have led to a more combative media in some respects. The personal life of coach Bill Belichick has been fodder for the gossip columnists, whether warranted or not. The general feeling has not been that of the media “blowing sunshine” regarding the Patriots. (I don’t think “Patriots Monday” should count as real media coverage.) In many ways, I think the coverage has gone downhill. Here’s a few examples that have riled me up:

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The Obsession with the Belichick/Mangini Relationship

During the weeks leading up to the two Patriots/Jets matchups this season, and for a good portion of the following week, we had endless speculation about about the relationship between Bill Belichick and his former assistant coach Eric Mangini, who left the Patriots after just a single season as a defensive coordinator to become head coach of the Jets. Hours of airtime and thousands of trees were wasted as the media analyzed their words, their handshakes after the games and following the second game, a Jets victory, many seemed to gloat over Belichick being beaten by his former “muted underling”. There was endless speculation over the possible causes of the strained relationship, but very few arguments that made sense. Members of the media, as some are wont to do around here, became little more than gossip mongers. It was embarrassing. We had Tony Massarotti and Gerry Callahan each basically saying that Belichick’s grudge cost the Patriots the game. All the endless comments and speculation never touched on the fact of whether Belichick actually had a valid reason for having a grudge against Mangini.

Then Tom E Curran reported on his NBCSports.com blog during the week of the second Jets/Patriots game the following item:

Speculation initially had Belichick peeved at Mangini for taking a job against Belichick’s advice. But there have since been whispers that Mangini was courting Patriots employees to go with him to New York while he was still on the Pats payroll.

That seems to change things up a little bit. Why was there no mention of this previously? When you add that to the fact that 1) Mangini apparently did leave against Belichick’s advice, (I personally think Mangini could’ve been Belichick’s eventual successor here in Foxboro – not basing that on anything but my own opinion.) and 2) Went to a division rival, a franchise that Belichick already hates, you start to have more of a perspective. Then when you add in the fact that 3) The Jets tried to jump in on the Deion Branch negotiations…apparently with no other intention than of tweaking the Patriots…the picture is even more clear. In all of the Boston accounts, Mangini is being painted as the good guy being wronged by the evil Belichick. When talking about Belichick, Mangini plays the role of the grateful student, respectful of the master. The media falls for it. Behind the scenes, it seems that things are quite different, but you’d be hard pressed to find any evidence about reading most of the articles around here.

Michael Felger’s Decline

This is probably the most shameful example. The formerly respectable Michael Felger has largely turned into a buffoon in his effort to be the next Glenn Ordway on the radio waves. I’m very disappointed in the turn he has taken. I had previously put him on my list of 10 People Whose Work I Enjoy in the Boston sports media. Things are a lot different now. Felger has had an ongoing feud with Corey Dillon for some time now. It’s no coincidence that Dillon singled out Felger early in training camp and handed him the sheet listing his career accomplishments. Felger has often been critical of Dillon, and that criticism came to a head a few weeks ago when the Herald writer criticized Dillon for emotionally flinging the ball after a first down in Minnesota. That apparently led to another couple confrontations in the locker room, which Felger then bragged about on his radio show. His Herald colleagues also made reference to the incidents, (without naming Felger) and the whole situation seemed to worn as a badge of honor for Felger. Why? It just seemed like another ploy to bring attention to himself and his radio show, which hasn’t taken off as Felger would like. This type of stuff has been going on all season with Felger, who has seemed to take intentionally controversial stands just for that reason, and in doing so has sullied his own reputation.

Is it possible to get FieldTurf then not get it, and then get it?

NESN was the first to report that the Patriots would be installing the synthetic FieldTurf surface in time for the game with the Bears on November 26th. That report was big news, but then was shot down as denials were issued, the team resodded with grass prior to the Colts game, and it was widely reported that NFL rules prohibited teams from changing playing surfaces in the middle of the season. That explanation was the one that was widely circulated as fact.

However, it turns out that it simply wasn’t true. We can’t blame the media 100% here, because an NFL spokesperson mistakenly confirmed that rule existed, when it fact it did not. You would think you would be able to trust what the spokesperson had said. Jonathan Kraft appeared on Michael Felger’s radio show and said that the rule did not exist. I didn’t hear anything about that, until Felger wrote it in his column last week – after the announcement had been made that the team was switching to FieldTurf. Shouldn’t someone have at least double-checked to see what the rule really was?

Then the announcement came last Tuesday that the Patriots would be installing FieldTurf…in time for the Bears game. The NESN scoop, which had been dismissed as bad reporting, turns out to be true…though not really. The bigger issue in my mind is, why was the story not really followed up on? If Kraft stated that the rule didn’t exist, why didn’t we hear about it? The announcement shouldn’t really have come as such a surprise. But it did. So we had the media all over this story when it wasn’t a story and then surprised when it actually was a story. Go figure.

Borges Reveals Role as Drew Bledsoe Advisor

I think this segment on ESPN Boston (transcript) really showed once again the lack of professionalism with which Ron Borges has conducted himself over the last few years on the Patriots beat. It also really shows you why Borges doesn’t like Bill Belichick. He’s a Bledsoe guy.

Way to be an objective reporter, Ron.

Tom Curran to NBCSports.com

This isn’t a criticism of the media, its more about lamenting the loss of one of the best guys on the Patriots beat. Sure, Curran is still around, taking his turns on the Big Show and being a presence on television. But his departure to the national beat at NBCSports.com, while a great move for him personally, is a loss for Patriots fans.

Five guys I don’t want anywhere near the Patriots

  1. Steve Buckley
  2. Dan Shaughnessy
  3. Nick Cafardo
  4. Jon Meterparel
  5. Butch Stearns

Conclusion

These are some of the larger examples of what I think have been shoddy, biased, and mean spirited coverage of the Patriots. On a daily basis, I’ve just noticed more little shots, comments and one liners that are out of place, especially for those who are simply supposed to be reporting, not giving their opinion. I’ve actually gained some respect for Nick Cafardo, who reputedly felt that he could no longer cover the Patriots because of the environment and requested to be taken off their coverage. Nick does a good job covering baseball, and that’s where he should stay. (Of course his Roger Clemens obsession is now bordering on frightening.) If others who feel that covering the Patriots is just too much work and too much of a hassle would do the same, we’d have better coverage of the Patriots.

Was I too negative about the media? (Ironic question, huh?) Well tomorrow I’m going to turn the tables and look at things that I’ve found to be positive about the Patriots coverage this season.