The Patriots head to South Florida this weekend to take on their AFC East rivals the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon. A focus for the Patriots Sunday will be taking care of the football. We’ll be watching to see if Laurence Maroney is able to play and if the Patriots go to more of a spread offense.

Keep up with your Patriots news tomorrow and Sunday on the Patriots News Mashup page, which brings you stories from about 20 newspapers, web sites and blogs all in one spot. Moving your mouse over each headline in most cases gives you a preview of the first paragraph of the article. On Sunday morning, we expect to have links from the local newspapers along with some commentary and a preview of the game on the Patriots Game Day page.

Keep up with the Celtics as they take on the Suns Friday night and the Nets Saturday night on the Celtics News Mashup page.

Will the Red Sox land Eric Gagne? Will there be progress in the Daisuke Matsuzaka negotiations? Keep up with the news on the Sox, including from the Extra Bases and Clubhouse Insider blogs on the Red Sox News Mashup.

TV Highlights This Weekend

Friday
7:30pm FSN – Suns @ Celtics (HD)
7:30pm ESPN2 – UMass @ Montana (Div 1-AA Semifinals) (HD)
8:00pm ESPN – Wizards @ Sixers (HD)
10:30pm ESPN – Heat @ Nuggets (HD)

Saturday
Noon CBS – Indiana @ Kentucky
2:30pm CBS – UCLA vs. Texas A&M
7:00pm NESN – Devils @ Bruins (HD)
7:30pm – FSN – Celtics @ Nets

Sunday
1:00pm CBS – Patriots @ Dolphins (HD)
4:00pm FOX – Seahawks @ Cardinals (HD)
4:15pm CBS – Broncos @ Chargers (HD)
6:30pm NESN – Maryland @ Boston College
8:15pm NBC – Saints @ Cowboys (HD)

NFL Distribution Maps

CBS Game One

CBS Game Two

FOX Single Game

Channel Surfing

  • Be sure to check out the UMass football team as they journey to Montana for the Semifinals for the NCAA 1-AA Football Tournament. The game is on Friday night on ESPN2 at 7:30.
  • Estimate on the number of times this week that Glenn Ordway referred to Scott Boras as “brilliant” and/or a “genius” – 77.
  • Ron Borges’ comments on FSN Thursday night, chronicled here on Friday morning, have elicited several chuckles from on-air personalities today as Dale Arnold, Michael Holley, Steve DeOssie and others dismissed Borges for simply trying to cause trouble and make stuff up.
  • Junior Seau says he wants to play football next season, Len Pasquarelli says it could be with the Patriots.
  • Glad to have a little Celtics talk on WEEI, though I don’t think I need the Big Show crew breaking down the chances of Allen Iverson coming to the Celtics, especially on the Friday before a Patriots/Dolphins game.
  • Bill Simmons has the Patriots at #9 in his Power Rankings in what has become an illogical season.
  • The Patriots are seventh on the Football Outsiders DVOA Power Rankings.
  • They’re fourth on Cold Hard Football Facts.
  • Chad Finn hates winter.

Pierce on Guns

Paul Pierce will be one of many quoted on ESPN’s Outside the Lines Sunday morning on the topic of athletes and guns:

“Because I’m recognized on TV, people want what I have. And, people are jealous of what you have. And, you have to be careful because people out there in the world are very envious of your life.”

Pierce, as you recall survived a brutal multiple stabbing at a Boston nightclub in September 2000. He is now licensed to carry a concealed weapon, but says he leaves his gun at home and hires a bodyguard when he goes out.

Media Columns From Around The Country

New England

Susan Bickelhaupt has a quick column today, looking at the issue that Patriots viewers have had this season since WBCN went to a four second delay. TV viewers would turn down the sound on their set and turn on the radio and listen, something that is just about impossible to do today. David Scott has a further look at the Fred Smerlas.Glenn Ordway Patriots ticket story that appeared in last weekend’s Boston Globe. Andrew Neff has a look at Dan Hannigan and Eric Frede’s NESN show “America East on Campus.” Bill Doyle has a look at 12 Worcester Sharks AHL games being shown on local television this season. John Molori says that some Mark McGwire bashers are choosing fiction over facts when it comes to the slugger’s Hall of Fame qualifications.

New York

Andrew Marchand reports that Knicks’ TV announcers Gus Johnson and Walt Frazier had a shouting matching during a TV timeout this week. Johnson apparently felt Frazier was talking too much. Richard Sandomir looks at why Rutgers fans may not be able to watch their school’s bowl game appearance against Kansas State in the the Texas Bowl because the NFL Network has the rights to the game, and well, stop me if you’ve heard this before…many areas don’t yet have access to the network because of the ongoing battle between cable operators and the network. Phil Mushnick notes that the Knicks are really earning the boos they’re getting at Madison Square Garden. Neil Best checks in with a guy who has a really tough job – the Knicks vice-president of marketing. Bob Raissman says that the MSG broadcast crew is a “sorry” operation. Marchand’s Memo of the Week tells Bryant Gumbel he is not very good on his NFL Network play-by-play.

More East Coast

Michael Hiestand has a look at Brent Musburger, who has evolved from his role as “the man” at CBS to a jack-of-all-trades for ESPN. Aaron Bracy has Chris Berman missing “NFL Primetime” and being back at the Bristol studios on Monday nights. In his blog, Bracy says major changes are needed for ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Jim Williams defends sports radio host Anita Marks against charges that she made a racist remark on the air when she called Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman a “juice monkey.” Laura Nachman reports on a pair of veteran Philadelphia broadcasters being taken off the air this week. Chris Zelkovich looks at the Toronto sports radio scene getting a little more crowded.

South

Dave Darling touts the advantages and features of HDTV, reminding us not to forget the improved sound as a major bonus as well. Barry Jackson says that there is plenty of room for improvement on the NFL Network game telecasts. Jim Sarni reports on FOX’s huge numbers for the NFL the last few weeks with last week’s Cowboys/Giants game being the most watched regular season game this century. David Barron looks at a new DVD set from NBA Entertainment which allows Rockets fans to view game 5 of the 1994 NBA Finals without having the screen split to also show coverage of the O.J. Simpson Bronco chase. Barry Horn looks at Tony Romo going nationwide.

Midwest

Dan Caesar reports on sports talk show host Kevin Slaten of KFNS who was involved in an altercation at a bar recently and could face criminal charges. Judd Zulgad reports that the Twins will have a new radio home next season, but the voices will be familiar, including 82-year-old Herb Carneal, who will has called Twins games since 1962 and is entering his 52nd season calling Big League games. Bob Wolfley talks to ESPN’s Jay Bilas about the Wisconsin/Marquette basketball rivalry. Ed Sherman gives a thumbs up to “Sports Action Team” the SportsCenter takeoff show that airs late nights on Sundays. Jeffrey Flanagan notes that with the Royals TV rights changing over in 2008, next season could turn into a tryout season for the broadcast crews.

West Coast

Jay Posner has Phil Simms looking forward to his first in-person look at the Chargers this weekend. Simms likes to see teams in person to get a real feel for them rather than just making judgments based on what he sees on television. Larry Stewart looks at how NBC is pleased with the flexible scheduling this season, with Cowboys/Saints being the latest example of having a good game moved in their favor. He also looks at high school football getting its turn in the spotlight. Tom Hoffarth has Dan Patrick sneaking in another movie role. Jim Carlisle has the Saints staking a claim as America’s team with their feel-good season. John Maffei has San Diego State naming a new exclusive athletics marketing partner, which will oversee TV and Radio rights as well. Joe Davidson checks in with sports radio talker Mike Lamb.

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