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“The Spygate thing has diminished what they’ve accomplished”

“You would hate to have that attached to your accomplishments. They’ve got it.”

“I guess you got the same thing as putting an asterisk by Barry Bonds’ home run record”

That’s how Don Shula felt earlier this week when asked about the New England Patriots. Everyone you can think of stepped up and tried to analyze Shula’s comments. Some believed he was well within his rights to question the Patriots, while others questioned his intentions. Either way, those opinions no longer matter because today Shula said this…

“If they run the table, and they win all the games, then they are doing it within the rules of the National Football League”

“And there shouldn’t be any asterisk to it. That would be the accomplishment that they made. It would be the best in all of sports.”

In speaking on the Mike and the Mike show on ESPN Radio Shula essentially backed off of his comments from earlier in the week, performing a complete 180. This is just another example of a prominent sports figure backing away from comments that they made. Once they realized the incredible amount of scrutiny they were taking for it, they backtracked. Like I said yesterday, the anti-Patriot statements that are flying around are getting old. That being said, Shula is certainly entitled to his opinion, and once he makes his opinion known, he should stick by it.

In a landscape where the media dissects every word that comes out of a player or coach’s mouth, it’s no surprise that the vanilla answer is becoming the norm. You will be hard pressed to find a member of the media who enjoys listening to a monotone Bill Belichick press conference. They are essentially useless, basically a practice of following league mandate. No real information derives from them, and you are not going to get a good “quote” to dissect. Yet, everyone grumbles that Belichick is difficult, but can you blame him?

Speaking your mind has become a lose-lose proposition.

Case in point #2 Donovan McNabb…

These were his comments yesterday during an Eagles press conference….

“It’s easy to blame the quarterback when the team loses, but I’m definitely not the whole reason why we lost these games”

“I can definitely help – yes I can – but I (shouldn’t get the full) blame for everything that goes on around here.”

Nothing that juicy right? Well, not if you ask McNabb who writes in his Yardbarker blog this…

“I was surprised to hear that people were saying that I am not taking blame for us being 3-5.”

“There are a lot of mistakes I’ve made. [Whether] it’s throws I want back, [bad] decisions, whatever it may be, there are mistakes that I’ve made in every game- a lot of things that you’re not used to doing, a lot of things that you know you can do better. Everybody makes mistakes. But, in this situation, there’s no room for error, and that goes for each individual person. There’s no room for error.”

Next time Donovan should try to answer the questions the Patriot way…

“It is what it is”

Around the Web

Over at Patriots Daily we get an update on the whereabouts of some ex-Patriots from the Belichick era.

Here’s the latest “Buzz” on the Red Sox trade talks.

Over at Ed Berliner’s Speeding Bullet Network, NFL columnist Vito Stellino takes Shula to task for his comments.

E.M. Swift of Sports Illustrated says that there is smoke but no proof that Roger Clemens used steroids.

Scouts, Inc. provides mid-season grades for both the AFC and the NFC.

Dr. Z has a breakdown of the Pats-Colts from Sunday, as well as the Weekly Power Rankings.

Diehard Magazine has Curt Schilling’s opinion on the possibility of the Red Sox going to a six-man rotation

Jon Heyman has a list of the top free agents available and what they will command in this free agent market.

The jersey of Adrian Peterson a.k.a. “Purple Jesus” is really flying off the shelf. He’s now two spots away from knocking Brady and Moss out of the top ten.

Speaking of “Purple Jesus”, the guys over at Cold Hard Football Facts have busted out a Tale o’ the Tape on Peterson vs. Dickerson.

Awful Announcing has the NFL announcing schedule for Week #10.

Tonight on TV

The Bruins take the ice tonight at the TD BankNorth Garden in hopes of gaining a little of the Celtics mojo left over from last night. The Bruins will take on the 8-3-3 Montreal Canadians. The game can be seen at 7PM on NESN.

For the fans of soccer, the New England Revolution have quietly advanced to their 6th Eastern Conference Finals, as they take on the Chicago Fire tonight at Gillette Stadium. The game can be seen on ESPN2 starting at 7:30PM.

Over on ESPN at 7:30PM is (5-4) Louisville heading to Morgantown, West Virginia to take on #7 West Virginia (7-1) in a Big East battle.

For all the rest of tonight’s lineup check here.