Celtics Record Loss

The Celtics racked up their ninth consecutive loss last night, this time to the Atlanta Hawks at the Garden, 82-76. The Celtics managed this loss despite holding an 18 point lead early in the third quarter. Al Jefferson appeared to get injured twice last night, and the second time he did not return to the game after rolling his ankle. He finished the night with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Kendrick Perkins played perhaps his best statistical game of the season, with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Delonte West led the Celtics with 18 points.

Shira Springer reports on a tough one to swallow, or explain at the Garden. Steve Bulpett notes that this was a franchise record eighth straight loss at home for the Celtics, who played like the clearly wanted that high draft pick more than the Hawks did. Bill Doyle says that the Celtics hit rock bottom last night as they now stand at the bottom of the Eastern conference.

Jackie MacMullan says that in the end, losing all these games might end up to be a winning formula. Mark Murphy says that the injury to Jefferson really slowed the Celtics offense down last night. Mike Fine has a look at Ryan Gomes, who has been a steady force on this young team.

Springer’s notebook updates the lengthy injury situation for the Celtics, made worse by the ankle sprain of Jefferson. Bulpett’s notebook has Paul Pierce shedding the protective boot, though a timetable for his return to the court is still unknown. Doyle’s notebook has Sebastian Telfair puzzled at his demotion to third point guard.

Patriots

Mike Reiss reports on the NFL toughening up its drug policy, specifically regarding steroids.

Bill Burt takes stock of things following the loss to the Colts, and one of his items is his assertion that the Asante Samuel will be back with the club next season, as his source indicates that the club will not let him walk for nothing and will franchise him if necessary.

John Tomase takes a position-by-position look at who might stay and who might go on the Patriots roster. Alan Greenberg says that the Patriots biggest need is going to be at linebacker. Eric McHugh examines the beating that Bill Belichick’s non-football good name has taken this season.

Christopher Price looks back on his own predictions for the 2006 season. Karen Guregian has the agent for Rodney Harrison saying that his client is determined to come back big next season. She also has a short piece on Troy Brown, who has made no decisions on next season yet.

Steve Buckley talks to a local African-American high school football coach about the importance of have Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith coaching the two teams in the Super Bowl. Buddy Thomas is gloating. It’s not pretty. Greenberg also writes that the league has gone too far in protecting the quarterbacks.

Red Sox

Gordon Edes reports on the new construction at Fenway Park this offseason, mostly along the third base line. There is also a NESN video with the article. Paul Doyle has more on the renovations.

Jeff Horrigan reports on the Red Sox signing catcher Kevin Cash to a AAA contract. David Borges has Cleveland manager Eric Wedge glad that his Indians went out and signed Trot Nixon. Jay Miller says that the outfield will be a strength for the PawSox this summer with prospects David Murphy and Brandon Moss likely to spend much of the season there. Edes’s notebook looks at the Red Sox stockpile of bullpen candidates.

Bruins

Stephen Harris has a Bruins mid-season report card. Fluto Shinzawa and Steve Conroy have the East falling to the West 12-9 in the NHL All Star game. Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara had two goals in the loss.

Conroy’s notebook has more on Chara’s performance in the All Star game. Shinzawa’s notebook has Daniel Briere being named the MVP of the game.

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Wednesday Wrap – 01.24.07

A Wednesday wrap after a disappointing 9-7 Patriots season…

Wait, they went 12-4 and went to the AFC Championship game? You’d never know it reading many of the stories from today and listening to a lot of what is being said on the airwaves.

Then again, when I find myself agreeing with the viewpoint of the Big Show, it’s time to take a look in the mirror.

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The NHL All Star game is on tonight. On a Wednesday night. On Versus. No disrespect to Versus here, but tell me again how this is the same league that Orr, Gretzky and Lemieux made great.

The league actually has a head of TV operations in senior vice president for broadcasting John Shannon. Richard Sandomir talks with Shannon about his plans for improving the TV broadcasts of the league.

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Looking over Dan Shaughnessy’s column this morning, I get the distinct impression that Dan was bound and determined to run his Boston vs. Chicago paragraph no matter what. He just threw a few “No’s” in there here and there.

Getting a glimpse of some of Shaughnessy’s storylines for the two weeks of Patriots/Bears hype should surely make us thankful for small favors.

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The Media Circus is back for another week of incredibly stupid and inane things said by national broadcasters this week, such as:

”We’re not supposed to cheer, but I did.”
”I’ll be honest, I could never be more proud of a player than Manning.”
– Sean Salisbury

”Understand how much (Peyton Manning) wants to win, how hard he works at it, how much he loves the game… And then you’ll feel like I feel right now. Like justice has been served.” – Peter King

Getting to the Super Bowl must be much more gratifying for Manning knowing that various mainstream media members are willing to offer the chance to make hot sweaty love to him.

They devote their rant of the week to how the sports media world went into complete chaos when Bill Parcells announced his retirement on Monday.

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I meant to post this last week, but totally spaced it. The Phoenix had a feature entitled Bad Boston, on 27 things that drive us crazy about the city. Nestled in right after a complaint about the lack of lesbian bars in the city was this:

Snake-biting
This town dearly loves its sports teams. So why do so many in the media seem to hate them so much? Boston’s POISONOUS SPORTS MEDIA can’t seem to get in enough licks.

Exhibit A: Dan Shaughnessy. Whether it’s Theo Epstein (a “boy wonder” whose hand was “held” by Larry Lucchino during his “wonder years”), Pedro Martinez (“The Dominican Diva”), or even David Ortiz (whom he purportedly called a “giant sack of you-know-what” on TV before Big Papi had even taken a swing in a Red Sox uniform), the Shank takes evident glee in skewering this team and typifies the worst impulses of the bitter Boston sports fan. At least he can’t keep flogging that “Curse of the Bambino” crap.

Sort of a Shaughnessy-lite, Steve Silva, proprietor of BostonDirtDogs.com also traffics heavily in petty negativity. He exhorted fans last June to boo Martinez, perhaps the most transcendent pitcher ever to wear a Red Sox uniform, for defecting to the New York Mets. Interestingly, when Johnny Damon returned to Fenway in a Yankee uniform, he pleaded for people to cheer long and loud. Curious, that.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Ron Borges is a fine boxing writer. But his football columns are tainted by his consuming, unquenchable hatred for the New England Patriots, especially head coach Bill Belichick, who’s won us three Super Bowls in the past five years. Then there’s WEEI, the powerhouse sports-talk station that’s all but antithetical to nuanced and knowledgeable sports discussion. Whether they’re running clueless blowhard Glen Ordway or crass bigot Gerry Callahan, the station caters to the lowest common denominator, whipping listeners into a racist, sexist, homophobic lather. Stop listening. Stop reading. Write letters and ask for offensive on-air “talent” to be fired. Support the city’s good sportswriters — Edes, Ryan, Silverman — and keep tabs on the bad ones at Boston Sports Media Watch and Dan Shaughnessy Watch. Get your news from Sons of Sam Horn. And if you need sports radio, tune in online to New York’s WFAN. Sure, they mostly talk about Yankees and Mets. But you learn more any time Mike and the Mad Dog spend even a half hour on the Red Sox than you do listening to an entire week of 1440 AM.

Even if they didn’t mention this site, I’d be applauding that section.

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Dr Z doesn’t want to see Parcells go back into the TV analyst role.

Bill Simmons read both new Pete Maravich biographies in a week and offers his thoughts on the books, and on Pistol Pete’s brief stint with the Celtics.

Globe Sports editor Joe Sullivan read one of the books on his way out to Indy last week and offers his thoughts on it.

Michael Hiestand has a number of media notes, including the first Baghdad Bowl, played by U.S. Soldiers set to air during the Super Bowl pregame show.

Dallas Morning News sports media writer Barry Horn has more on the NHL All Star game.

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Tonight

7:00pm, ESPN – North Carolina @ Wake Forest (HD)
7:30pm, FSN – Hawks @ Celtics (HD)
7:30pm, ESPN2 – DePaul @ Georgetown (HD)
8:00pm, Versus – NHL All Star Game (HD on INHD)
9:00pm, ESPN – Rockets @ Spurs (HD)

Three Quick Boston Sports Related Book Reviews

Books have been piling up on the BSMW desk as of late, and I thought I would take a few moments to quickly review three books on Boston sports that I have recently received.

The Best Boston Sports Arguments – The 100 most controversial, debatable questions for die-hard Boston fans.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bostonsportsm-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=1402208227&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
By Jim Caple and Steve Buckley
Sourcebooks, Inc
293 pages

This book isn’t heavy lifting. It’s a light read and meant to be that way. It is predictable at times, and at other times you get the contrarian view forced on you. While there were plenty of times that I was rolling my eyes during the book, there were just as many “I totally forgot about that!” moments as well.

A few examples of the 100 arguments:

  • Should Tony Conigliaro’s No. 25 Be Retired? (Guess the answer on that one.)
  • If You Could Go To Any Game In Boston History, Which Should You Choose?
  • Why “The Curse” Is The Biggest Joke in the History of the Universe
  • What Was the Greatest Football Play in Boston History?
  • Who’s Had a Better Career, Ben Affleck or Lou Merloni?

You’ve probably read a lot of the material before, as Buckley has done columns on many of the topics in the book, or has told a story on WEEI about them. In fact, a lot of the “arguments” probably originate with the radio station, and I think that I’m not off base in characterizing the book as WEEI in print.

Decide for yourselves if that is a compliment or condemnation.

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Fred Cusick – Voice of the Bruins
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bostonsportsm-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=1582619816&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

By Fred Cusick
Sports Publishing, L.L.C.
214 pages

Fred Cusick always struck me a true gentleman. His book does nothing to tarnish that image. While I was more of a casual hockey fan growing up, the legendary Boston Bruins announcer with his trademark “Scooore!!!” always stood out to me, and hearing that call on nightly sportscasts was always a treat.

The book isn’t really an autobiography, it’s more Cusick’s memoirs from his life and career. Going through the memories made me appreciate what a real treasure this man is, and how he perhaps doesn’t get the proper appreciation for his contributions to Boston sports. He understandably spends quite a bit of time on the Bruins, especially on Bobby Orr and the Bruins of the 1970’s, but Cusick’s contributions to the region go well beyond hockey.

If you watched the movie The Greatest Game Ever Played, one of the special features of the DVD is Cusick in 1963 doing the only known on camera interview with Francis Ouimet – winner of the 1913 U.S. Open! Cusick and Ouimet walk the Brookline course and Ouimet points out locations of shots and moments from that legendary 1913 tournament. A transcript of that interview is included in the book.

There is a good segment about doing analysis on the first-ever Boston Patriots game, as well as some stories from the early days of the franchise. There are boxing stories, baseball stories (he did a Sunday night show on channel 4 with Dick Stuart in the 1960’s, and also served as the Fenway Park PA announcer for two years) tennis, and even wrestling. He also talks about calling Lowell Lock Monsters’ games for five years after retiring from the Bruins, finishing his play-by-play career at the age of 83.

Fred Cusick has an incredible number of memories of Boston sports, and it’s good to have them down in this book.

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A Fan’s View of the Super Bowl
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=bostonsportsm-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0595677975&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

By James E. Britton
iUniverse, Inc
145 pages

James E. Britton is a lifelong Patriots fan who went to his first game at Schaefer Stadium as an 11-year-old in 1973. He now lives in central New Hampshire, and he and his wife Jane travel two and a half hours each way to and from Gillette Stadium for every home game.

The book recounts their adventures in getting tickets and attending Super Bowl 39 in Jacksonville for the Patriots/Eagles championship game. James and Jane end up heading to Florida with their friend Steve to take in the event, but they only have two tickets. From arranging transportation, hassling with motel operators, to the food they ate that week, it’s all detailed here.

When I say detailed, I mean detailed. The book chronicles almost every minute of the time in Jacksonville, and the beginning of the book has a lengthy segment on the first preseason game of the year with the Eagles. Britton leaves nothing out in the journey, and the result is as complete a picture as you can get of the events without being there yourself.

Curse Microsoft!

Had my post this morning almost done and a wonderful BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) wiped out the entire entry.

I questioned Michael Felger and Gerry Callahan for criticizing the bottom guys on the Patriots roster while still wanting the team to shell out big money for guys at the top of the roster.

Hector Longo grades out the entire Patriots roster. Alan Greenberg and Shalise Manza Young look at who might be gone and who might be back on the Patriots for next season. Mike Reiss says linebacker is an area that needs an influx of youth and talent for next season.

John Tomase looks at the offense and what needs tweaking on that side of the ball. Albert Breer has more on how the Patriots can help themselves this offseason. Eric McHugh says the Patriots have a bright future but do need some tweaking. Christopher Price takes a final look back at 2006 before looking ahead to next season.

Bob Hohler has a look at Charlie Weis’ malpractice suit for his nearly-fatal gastric bypass in 2002.

Mark Farinella hopes Bill Parcells remains retired this time.

Michael Vega, Jeff Goodman and Lenny Megliola report on Boston College knocking off Florida State on a buzzer beater from Sean Marshall.

Jon Couture notes that the Red Sox don’t have a closer yet, and that’s ok for now.

Shira Springer looks at a small lineup for the Celtics proving to be their best option as of late. Steve Bulpett notes that even though the Celtics are losing games in bunches, the fans are still coming out. Bulpett’s notebook has Wally Szczerbiak and Brian Scalabrine trying to get back into the flow of things.

TV listings and more later…

Oh No, Mr Bill!

I think we might have our theme to fill the slow time on the sports radio airwaves between now and when pitchers and catchers report next month.

Discuss Bill Belichick’s manners.

They might mix in a little Super Bowl talk, or if the Red Sox make a move or the Celtics pull off a major trade that might fill a day or so, but I think we’re going to see a lot of talk about Belichick over the next few weeks. Just shoot me now.

Today we had John Dennis (he of the profanity-riddled, threatening voicemails) lecturing the Patriots coach on decorum. We had Dale Arnold disapproving of the coach with Michael Holley trying to defend him, and then we had The Big Show crew defending the coach.

I actually think the Pro Bowl might get some coverage around here as the media tries to see how Belichick deals with the numerous San Diego Chargers on the AFC roster.

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The AFC and NFC championship games were big winners for CBS and FOX respectively.

From CBS:

CBS Sports’ coverage of the AFC Championship Game featuring the New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Jan. 21 (6:45-10:30 PM, ET), earned an average overnight household rating/share of 28.1/40, up +14% from a 24.6/44, in 2006 for (Pittsburgh-Denver; 3:15-6:15 PM, ET), and up +4% from 2005’s 27.0/38 (New England-Pittsburgh; 6:30-9:45 PM, ET).

From FOX:

FOX Sports concluded its 2006-2007 NFL campaign yesterday (1/21/07) with a bang, posting a 25.1/45 rating/share and an average audience of 43.2 million viewers as the Bears defeated the Saints in the NFC Championship Game, according to fast national figures released this afternoon by Nielsen Media Research.

– With an average audience of 43.2 million viewers, Sunday’s Saints/Bears contest ranks as the most-watched NFC Championship Game in ten years (since 46.3 million tuned in for Panthers vs. Packers in 1997). Nielsen Media Research estimates that just under 75 million people tuned in for at least part of yesterday’s game.

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Bill Simmons laments the Patriots loss in the AFC title game.

Mike Reiss has a season-ending mailbag on Boston.com.

Michael Felger held a chat at the Boston Herald website today. See if you can make heads or tails of it.

Cold Hard Football Facts continues to cheerfully eat crow over Peyton Manning’s performance.

Michael Gee explains the formula to figure out what to expect from Bill Belichick or any NFL coach on any given day.

Neil Best has Boomer Esiason talking about Belichick’s behavior on Sunday.

Peter King weighs in on Bill Parcells’ decision to call it a career.

Bob Raissman says that a return to television is likely in the future for Parcells.

Boston doesn’t have the monopoly on egomaniacal sportswriters. If Pat Burrell is no Joe DiMaggio, then Bill Conlin is certainly no Grantland Rice.

Richard Sandomir notes that Shannon Sharpe is a showman on the air and off.

Dan Caesar examines whether FOX is going to continue Joe Buck in his dual roles of pregame host and top play-by-play man for the future.

John Donovan looks at how MLB’s deal with DirecTV could leave a majority of fans without access to the Extra Innings package.
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ESPN is going all-out with their NASCAR coverage for the upcoming season.

ESPN and ESPN on ABC’s coverage of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series will be the most technologically advanced programming in the history of televised motorsports, according to Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer, remote production.

“ESPN’s presentation of NASCAR will be state of the art at every level of production,” said Drake. ”We have built a production plan that will provide a truly exceptional presentation to our viewers.”

Every ESPN broadcast will be done entirely in High Definition. Other enhancements include HD in-car cameras, grass cam, wall cam, crew cams, pit overhead cams, blimps and multiple robotic cameras at various points around the tracks.

NASCAR Busch Series on ESPN2 will also be carried in HD, and will use the Sportvision technology, which is a series of on-screen pointers with specific information on different cars in real time.

For its NASCAR Countdown studio shows that will precede all NASCAR race telecasts, ESPN will originate from the most technologically-advanced traveling studio ever used in sports television. The studio, which weighs nearly 78,000 pounds and will travel to 26 NASCAR tracks this season, will allow ESPN to bring the look and feel of its Bristol, Conn.,-based studio shows such as SportsCenter and Sunday NFL Countdown to the tracks.

The mobile pit studio will be outfitted with state-of-the-art LED lighting, three robotic HD cameras and a dramatic, contoured, video display fronting the anchor desk. Situated near the pits at every track, the studio will be elevated 14 feet while in use and 30 foot glass windows will give viewers a look at the cars, grandstands and pageantry prior to the race start.

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Tonight

7:00pm, NESN – Florida St @ Boston College
7:00pm, ESPN – Indiana @ Illinois
8:00pm, Versus – NHL Young Stars Game and SuperSkills challenge
9:00pm, NESN – Virginia Tech @ Miami
9:00pm, ESPN – Alabama @ Auburn
10:00pm, Versus – San Diego St @ UNLV

Pats Moving On

And so it begins. With the Patriots 2006 season over, it’s already time to look to next season.

Mike Reiss has an overview of issues facing the team this offseason, with potential free agents, salary cap analysis and roster management. John Tomase has a similar look at holes that need to be filled and holes that might be created by departures. Ian Clark says there are changes looming in Foxboro. Rich Garven says that the Patriots might cut some more of their Super Bowl ties this offseason. Eric McHugh also looks ahead to the offseason. Mike Lowe also ponders what’s next for New England.

Michael Felger has his report card for the AFC Championship game. Ian Clark also has his report card for the game.

Karen Guregian and Reiss each talk with the agent for Asante Samuel, Alonzo Shavers, who does his best diplomat impression on the status of talks between he and the Patriots regarding his client.

Ron Borges has had this column written and shoved his desk drawer for five years now. With Tony Dungy finally in the Super Bowl, he can bring it out and take all the passive-aggressive shots at Bill Belichick that he wants. And you thought Ron might be above that? Ha! A couple samples:

He doesn't sleep in his office, silence his underlings, grouse at the media, close his practices, lie to his players or the public, sulk about losing or equate winning a football game with keeping the free world safe. How did Tony Dungy ever get into the position he's in today?

A little further on in the article:

Important for the country to see that a man can win an athletic contest without becoming a troll, a dictator, or an anti-social misfit. That he can convince his players of the importance of their jobs without trying to convince them that it is Armageddon every Sunday.

If I say directly that Borges is talking about Bill Belichick here, I’m sure to get the angry email from Ron stating that he never said “Belichick.” Ron would probably say that these qualities are not all that uncommon among NFL coaches. But we know who he is actually targeting.This is much similar to his picking the Patriots in the MSNBC article without actually coming out and saying that they’re going to win.

Just another disgrace from Ron Borges on the pages of the Globe sports section. Tony Dungy has got to be proud that he’s got a guy like Borges in his corner.

Steve Buckley joins that disgrace with just a horrid, horrid column in the Herald. I read it, and just went “Huh?!?!” The premise is debunking a nitwit who thinks Reche Caldwell should be compared to Bill Buckner? THAT’S worthy of a column? Along the way, Buckley gets his shot in at Belichick, noting without irony that Belichick could learn a thing or two about losing with dignity from Dungy.

Tony Massarotti wonders how the Patriots even got this far. It was all Belichick and Brady, he concludes. Jim Donaldson says the dynasty is dead. Tom Brady has been to his last Super Bowl. Alan Greenberg appears to take glee in Belichick’s misery following the game. Hector Longo says the Patriots need to give Tom Brady more weapons and not waste another year of his prime.

Albert Breer says that Peyton Manning’s patience and lack of panic helped the Colts come back and win this game. David Brown points to tired legs on the Patriots aging linebackers as a big factor in the game. Michael Parente has the Patriots reflecting on the stunning loss. Christopher Price has Tom Brady still not used to the taste of defeat. Price also has Manning praising the Patriots’ class for how they handled the loss and offered congratulations to the Colts.

Reiss’ notebook has players musing on the late lapses that did them in on Sunday night.

Bob Ryan has the Bears whipping out the respect card to be played over the next two weeks.

Celtics

The Celtics’ losing streak hit eight games, but once again they were at least entertaining as they continue their journey to the draft lottery. The young Celtics put on quite a show last night before falling, 93-89 to the San Antonio Spurs.

Shira Springer notes that despite the loss, we once again saw a glimpse of the Celtics future on display last night. And it wasn’t bad. Steve Bulpett says that the losses are piling up and starting to all look the same – fall behind early, stage a run, fall short in the end. Lenny Megliola has the Spurs extending their streak against the Celtics. Bill Doyle also reports on the game and Tim Duncan’s personal streak of never having lost to the Celtics.

Mark Murphy has Al Jefferson getting praised for his defense last night by Doc Rivers, on a night in which the third year center had 26 points and 14 rebounds against Tim Duncan. Peter May looks at former Celtic Bruce Bowen, now entrenched with the Spurs, where he holds the NBA’s longest current consecutive games streak. Kevin Gray reports on NH native Matt Bonner, working his way back from injury with the Spurs.

Springer’s notebook reports that reinforcements might soon be on the way for the Celtics. Bulpett’s notebook has Paul Pierce shedding the protective boot that he has had to wear for the past several weeks. Doyle’s notebook has former Celtic Eric Williams happy to be with a contender.

Red Sox/Bruins

Jeff Horrigan insists that the J.D. Drew delay is no big deal to the Red Sox.

Steve Conroy looks at youth taking center stage at the NHL All Star game. Fluto Shinzawa has Sidney Crosby taking the league by storm at the age of 19.

Conroy’s notebook has Zdeno Charo just looking to have fun at the game. Shinzawa’s notebook has the league unveiling a new jersey, which is under fire from some players.

David Scott reports on Duke Castiglione finishing up his run at WHDH and heading back to NYC.

TV listings this afternoon….

Coverage Notes

Breaking: The Dallas Morning News reports that Bill Parcells has retired. NFL.com has a statement from Parcells.
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The morning after a season ending playoff loss, the person I really want to hear when I turn on my sports radio station is Lenny Clarke! Boy that guy is a riot!

Now that I think about it, Dan Marino flipping picks and going over to the Patriots side in the CBS pregame was the kiss of death.

Or was it Boomer donning the Belichick hoodie that did it?

No, the Colts simply got the job done. Give them the credit for bouncing back from a 21-3 deficit, and not folding as previous editions of the Colts might’ve done.

Some coverage notes from this morning thus far:

If you can get past the second paragraph shot at the “low cost wide receivers,” Ron Borges wrote a pretty strong column this morning, tipping his keyboard to the Patriots as “one of the gutsiest teams in NFL history.”

Overall, I’ve got to give the coverage nod to the Globe this morning, as the sons of Joe Sullivan (even he chipped in) outperformed the Herald by a wide margin. Looking through the Herald articles, there were none that I found particularly insightful or intriguing. The Globe also has the advantage of the videos of locker room interviews, which are certainly more complete than the little snippets you’ll see on TV. Some of these can give you a real sense of context for a quote that read in an article.

That being said, I can’t believe the Globe sent Bob Ryan to Chicago and left us with Dan Shaughnessy.

Michael Gee chips in on Sullivan writing an on-deadline story while at the same time managing the sports page. He believes this is another sign of the NY Times “baleful” influence on the Globe.

Bill Reynolds tells us that this loss didn’t dim the legacy of these Patriots.

Peter King is giddy that Peyton Manning is heading for the Super Bowl in his Monday Morning Quarterback.

Don Banks says this was the greatest game he’s covered.

Was it the best game ever? Michael Rosenberg on FoxSports.com examines the historical significance of the game.

Pete Prisco looks at Manning getting his vindication. Vic Carucci has more on Manning.

Cold Hard Football Facts looks at Peyton Manning finally winning a big one.

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Glenn Ordway, Right Again. From this space last Thursday:

Overheard on the Big Show today:

Ordway: Dallas Clark scares me more than (Marvin) Harrison

Clark – 6 catches, 137 yards.

Harrison – 4 catches, 41 yards.

I hate it when that happens.

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Both Tom Brady and Michael Holley (who is collaborating with Bruschi on a book.) both mentioned on WEEI this morning that they think that Tedy Bruschi will be back next season, and that his comments last night about taking things year by year were actually nothing new for the Patriots linebacker, who has taken that approach the last few years.

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It seems to be the general consensus in the media that Asante Samuel played his last game in a Patriots uniform last night. That might well be the case. However, his agent Alonzo Shavers is no Jason Chayut, and is considered to be reasonable and pretty easy to work with. I wouldn’t be shocked if Samuel leaves, but at the same time, I think there’s more of a chance that he’s back next season than most seem to believe.

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The CBS broadcast was decent, but lacking in several updates. They didn’t really catch on to how and why Eric Alexander was being used game. They didn’t make mention of the fact that Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk didn’t really see the field much in the second half. In most formations requiring a running back, Laurence Maroney and Heath Evans were used. We had no clue if the former pair were injured or what the deal was.