Some In The Media Don’t Even Try To Be Accurate Anymore

From the Washington Post:

It’s hard to choose anyone to root for in this most compelling matchup of the weekend. Belichick is a certified cheater, having been fined a huge chunk of change three years ago when the NFL determined his team improperly filmed walk-throughs of opposing team practices and used that tape to their advantage. Belichick should have been suspended for that transgression, maybe even for a full season, but sadly, it never happened.

Leonard Shapiro should know better. In addition to being a long-time NFL columnist, he has also been the sports media and television columnist for the Post. Shapiro is retiring to teach a journalism course at UW-Madison.

(Thanks to Dan for the heads up.)


Jets Keep Talking, Cone of Silence Engulfs Foxborough

The Jets can’t help themselves. They just can’t. Given an opportunity they will always talk trash. It is who they are, and you can argue that it has worked for them.

Yesterday I tweeted my media myth of the week – That the Ravens/Steelers game is infinitely more physical than Patriots/Jets will be. It’s a rockfight! That’s just nonsense. This is the NFL, every game is physical and hard-hitting. Pittsburgh and Baltimore play ugly offenses, which to the media equals a slugfest. The Patriots and Jets will be just as physical with one another.

Today I’ll give you the media strawman of the week – Bill Belichick’s way of doing things and dealing with the media isn’t the only way that can work!  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard some media type say this this week, usually included with the whine is “He could let his players talk some.” Or my favorite Tweets of the week:

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Good times. The whole Belichick’s way isn’t the only way is a strawman because I don’t hear anyone saying that Belichick’s way IS the only way. I only hear media types (including Boston folks) lecturing that there are other ways to be successful in the NFL.

For many Patriots, a new challenge – Monique Walker has many of the Patriots looking for their first playoff win.

Branch convinced that he’s right where he belongs – I honestly can’t tell you how happy I am to have Deion Branch back with the Patriots. Brian MacPherson says that it is like Branch never left. More on Branch from Steve Buckley and Glen Farley.

Patriots dig deep in forming roster – Mike Reiss looks at the 22 undrafted players on the Patriot roster.

Coaching philosophies give food for thought – Mark Farinella compares coaching styles, says that the Patriots approach is “programmed and repetitive, almost soulless – but it works.”

A closer call – Greg A Bedard has three NFL execs predicting a much closer game this time around.

Steering clear of Revis again should remain Pats top priority – Christopher Price says that Tom Brady still needs to avoid the island. Ian R. Rapoport has more.

All’s quiet on this front – Ian Rapoport’s notebook has the Patriots avoiding the war of words. The Globe notebook from Monique Walker has New England getting some healthy bodies back at practice.

Hats off to Bruins, Bergeron – Fluto Shinzawa has Patrice Bergeron registering the hat trick in the Bruins 6-0 win over the Senators last night.

Patrice Bergeron has look of captain – Joe McDonald pushes for Bergeron to be named a team captain. Joe Haggerty  and Nancy Marrapese-Burrell have more on Bergeron.

Brad Marchand fitting in on second line, Tim Thomas sets new career-high in shutouts – DJ Bean with a few points from last night.

Celtics wise to wait on Kevin Garnett – Peter May doesn’t think the Celtics need to rush KG back into the lineup.

Ticket Watch – Celtics Week Ahead

Taking a minute from the Patriots/Jets hype, (so much for the idea Rex Ryan was going lay low this week) here’s a look at the ticket situation for the Celtics this week.

The Houston and Sacramento games are currently selling at prices 58% and 48% below the Celtics season avg. The Friday/weekend bump is clearly bringing up the price of the Charlotte game.

Patriots/Jets Set For Sunday, Hype Machine Started

So it begins. The latest installment of Patriots/Jets will take place on Sunday afternoon at 4:30, thanks to the Jets wildcard victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night.

In some ways it should be a very fun week, anticipating the game, and seeing what the principals involved (mostly the Jets) have to say about things. On the other hand, some of the week will be insufferable, as a major storyline on sports radio this week will be “What if the Patriots lose to Rex Ryan and the Jets????? It wuld be a disaster of EPIC PROPORTIONS!!!!!

If you want a glimpse of what 98.5 will be like from 2:00-6:00 all week, just watch this 60 second video:

The Jets can certainly beat the Patriots. I’ll save my anguish over it for when it actually happens.

Jets have propulsion – Karen Guregian has the Jets flying sky-high following their victory over the decimated Colts. She’s got them also burying memories of the ‘MNF’ massacre. Mike Reiss has a collection of Soundbites from the Jets spouting their bravado following their win.

Wes Welker’s boundless resiliency – Jackie MacMullan has a feature on the Patriots receiver’s remarkable comeback from knee surgery.

Idle Pats win without playing – Jonathan Comey says that Saturday night was the best the Patriots could’ve hoped for.

Expect this edition of Patriots-Jets to differ from the first two – Christopher Price says that the third version of the rivalry might surprise some people. Monique Walker has Belichick preparing for a ‘different’ foe this time around.

He’s a top tackler – Monique Walker has a look at Patriots outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich and his goals.

Bill Belichick and Co. brace for rivals – Ian Rapoport’s notebook has the Patriots starting preparations, and the latest from Terrell Suggs on Tom Brady.

Ryan Named To NSSA Hall of Fame – The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan has been named to the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame. A well deserved honor.

A trio of vintage recent John Dennis tweets:

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Patriots Set To Watch Wild Weekend

The NFL wildcard playoff round is this weekend, and the Patriots will be comfortably watching from their living rooms, waiting to find out the identity of their first postseason opponent.

Pats focus on fixing flaws during bye week – Robert Lee has the Patriots spending their time this week on self-improvement.

Brady has a trusty bunch – Monique Walker has a good look today at how the Patriots quarterback has developed chemistry with this group of receiving options.

Trust in Bill Belichick key to success – Ian Rapoport has the Patriots leaning on the experience and wisdom of their coach.

Ninkovich carves his niche in New England – Mary Paoletti looks at the Patriots starting outside linebacker, who has come a long way in just two seasons.

Graham, Katula aim to make their mark in postseason with Patriots – Christopher Price has the special teams combination looking to emulate the postseason success of Vinatieri and Paxton.

More Than Stats for Algernon – Alan Segel examines the value of Alge Crumpler to the Patriots.

They don’t know Jack – Ron Borges thinks an NFL team would be wise to snatch up former Patriots executive Jack Mula to run their operation.

Pats underwent makeover in 2010 – Glen Farley examines the extreme makeover of the Patriots this season.

Wes Welker healthy, ready for playoff return – Rapoport’s notebook has the Patriots receiver feeling refreshed after a Sunday off. The Globe notebook by Michael Vega has Vince Wilfork wondering if a fine is headed his way. The Patriots Journal by Robert Lee has Shane Graham looking for a fresh postseason start. The Gatehouse notebook by Glen Farley has Marques Murrell returning to the Patriots.

Opportunistic Wild defeat Bruins, 3-1 – Danny Picard and Joe Haggerty have the Bruins dropping another home game.

Marc Savard is still searching for his old self – DJ Bean says that the Bruins center is still struggling.

NHL, NBC draw icy stares – Chad Finn’s media column looks at good ratings for the NHL Winter Classic. He also has Dennis and Callahan edging out Toucher and Rich in December – a month in which D&C weren’t there for most of the last two weeks.

Shaquille O’Neal bigger than numbers – Steve Bulpett says that Shaq’s on-court impact with the Celtics is greater than his pedestrian numbers would indicate. Julian Benbow has Shaq OK with his role.

Celtics’ Davis has perfect timing – Jim Fenton has Glen Davis playing well in a contract year.

Deep in the heart of Carl Crawford – Scott Lauber files a feature on new Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford, who is working to get even better.

The Next Wave? A closer look at the Red Sox’ 2011 Rookie Development Program class – Alex Speier has a look at the next bunch of Red Sox youngsters.

Celtics Hang On Against Spurs, Buckley Comes Out.

So there’s an odd headline. No, one thing has nothing to do with the other, but both items are worthy of note this morning. There was a terrific game played at the Garden last night between the two best teams in the NBA, record-wise. Rajon Rondo recorded a triple-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 22 assists as the Celtics survived a last-minute charge from the Spurs to win, 105-103. Get all the coverage over at

The other news from last night/this morning is longtime Boston Herald sports columnist Steve Buckley revealing in his column this morning that he is gay. (Welcome to my coming-out party.)  Buckley is not the first Herald sportswriter to come out of the closet. Back in September 2003, Ed Gray wrote a similar column, revealing that he was gay. He left the paper shortly thereafter.

Buckley will be on WEEI’s Big Show this afternoon. He mentioned Glenn Ordway in his column today as someone who has been supportive of his decision.

The Union Leader Responds – The blog had some material lifted by The Union Leader in NH, and the response from the paper seems tepid at best.

Win an elite feat for Celtics – Mark Murphy looks at a big win for the Celtics.

Starring Rajon Rondo, as himself – Paul Flannery has Rondo getting closer to full strength. Chris Forsberg has more on Rondo.

He’s not against popping off – Gary Washburn says that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is the outspoken sort.

Bringing up older Baby – Steve Bulpett has a look at the continued maturity of Glen Davis.

Not in books till last second – Julian Benbow’s notebook has a last second rebound completing the triple-double for Rondo. The Herald notebook by Mark Murphy has Ray Allen doing the unthinkable – missing a pair of late free throws. The Celtics Journal from Kevin McNamara  has a look at the opposing head coaches last night. The CSNNE notes from Jessica Camerato has more on Rondo.

Season full of highlights for Patriots – Jonathan Comey says that putting together the highlight film of the 2010 Patriots will be no easy task.

Patriots became boss minus Moss – Ian Rapoport looks at the mid-season bombshell the Patriots dropped in trading away Randy Moss.

Branch ready, raring to go – Robert Lee has Deion Branch ready for another postseason with Tom Brady.

Defense becomes a key for Patriots – Mike Reiss says that the Patriots became dominant once the defense stepped up.

Atiyyah Ellison takes new job in stride – Ron Borges talks to the newest Patriot.

Borges was on the Big Show yesterday and the subject of Deion Sanders not tackling came up, and Borges related a story involving Sanders when he was with the Cowboys, and facing Roger Craig of the 49ers on a sweep which was run directly at Sanders. Borges has Sanders saying something to the effect that it wasn’t his job to tackle running backs.

The only problem with the story is that Craig’s last year with the 49ers was 1990. He retired in 1993. Sanders didn’t join the Cowboys until 1995.

Robert Kraft ‘loves this team’ – Karen Guregian has the Patriots owner enjoying this team after not recognizing the club that was beaten 33-14 in last year’s playoffs.

The Cameron Equation: How the outfielder fits the 2011 Red Sox – Alex Speier looks at what role Mike Cameron could play this season.

Adrian Beltre’s Signing With Rangers May Set Stage for Texas-Boston ALCS and Eight Other Red Sox Thoughts – Tony Lee has a bunch of Red Sox items.

Bill Buckner eager to bring his tough, disciplined style to Brockton Rox – Erik Potter has the former Red Sox first baseman looking forward to managing the Rox.

NY Times on Rhoden Column Switch: “We goofed.”

You might remember the post  Odd Column Changes From NY Times here after the Patriots had beaten the Jets 45-3 and New York Times columnist William Rhoden has hastily changed up his column about the Patriots, Bill Belichick, Spygate and the Jets.

An article by the Columbia Journalism Review examines the entire situation, and has the Times editors taking responsibility for the situation, acknowledging that:

Since we were out on a limb with both the column and the headline, we should have been sensitive to the fact that any changes we made would override the version that was first published on the Web.

The review concludes by saying:

Sure, breaking news stories evolve in real time, and news organizations have to keep up. And yes, bold-type “UPDATES” have become commonplace in online stories. But the ability to publish multiple versions, to put less emphasis on “definitiveness,” should not give news outlets license to erase the past, as tempting as it may be. Even in opinion columns. Especially not merely for the sake of avoiding embarrassment.

If Rhoden was attempting to avoid embarrassment by switching around the points and premise of his original column, I’d say he failed epically.

Celtics, Spurs Set To Meet Tonight

The team with the best record in the NBA, the (somewhat) surprising San Antonio Spurs, who sit at 29-5 will be in Boston tonight to take on the team with the second-best record in the NBA, the 26-7 Celtics.

High-level meeting – Bob Ryan hopes that tonight is an NBA Finals preview.

Tim Duncan, Spurs a likable bunch – Steve Bulpett says that it is hard to work up hate for the Spurs.

Celtics-Spurs brings buzz to Boston – Peter May is also looking forward to tonight.

Paul Pierce’s consistently improving game – Paul Flannery has the Celtics captain continuing to tweak his game.

Jason Whitlock was a guest of Dennis and Callahan this morning, and was his usual opinionated self. I actually don’t mind Whitlock much of the time, but I found his issues with Chiefs GM Scott Pioli a bit strange. Whitlock wrote yesterday:

Personally, I can’t stand Scott Pioli. It’s true. In any environment, Pioli is a low-character, self-absorbed egomaniac in love with the sound of his voice. I call him “Egoli.” I love giving sports figures nicknames. Based on the feedback I’ve received from NFL people, I’ve never come up with a more accurate nickname than Scott Egoli.

Whitlock was asked by D&C to elaborate on this, and the impression I got was simply that Pioli wouldn’t bow down to Whitlock. He made reference to Pioli taking the media out to dinner in an effort to show that there was “a new sheriff in town,” but Whitlock says that there already was a sheriff in town – referring to himself. He praised the actual job Pioli has done in rebuilding the Chiefs into a division winner, but seemed to be letting a personal beef get the better of him.

A look back into the crystal ball – Following up on a Monday column in which he held himself accountable for preseason worries about the Patriots, Mark Farinella today reviews his preseason predictions around the NFL. Mike Reiss has also done something similiar and it is refreshing to see a few media types actually owning up to their mistakes.

14 reasons not to bet against Pats – Dave D’Onofrio has a reason for each regular season win.

Patriots earn A’s, B’s and (yes) C’s – Rich Garven grades the team on the regular season.

Roster overhaul key to Patriots success – Ian Rapoport examines the Patriots makeover, (25 players on the 53-man roster for the playoff loss to Baltimore are no longer here.) and a companion piece (Revolving door to 14-2) looks at the comings and goings.

New OT rules add a twist to playoffs – Greg Bedard reviews the new playoff OT rules, and looks ahead to the four games this weekend.

Mo(o)re championship games to come for Patriots’ defender? – Glen Farley has Eric Moore hoping to play in his second pro football championship game this season.

Rodney Harrison: Young Patriots must pick it up – Karen Guregian’s notebook has the former Patriots safety with some concerns about New England’s young defense. The Globe notebook from Monique Walker has the Patriots bolstering their depleted defensive line.

If you get a chance to check out the Bill Belichick version of Sound FX on the NFL Network, it’s well worth the time. It aired last night, but will be re-shown at 3:30 this afternoon and 9:00pm tomorrow night. You get to see plenty of practice and behind-the-scenes footage of Belichick over the years, with plenty of interaction with his players.

Some media members covering the team will watch this and be even more annoyed to get further confirmation that Belichick does indeed have a personality and sense of humor, but chooses over and over not to share it with them during press conferences.

Patriots Wrap Up Record TV Ratings Season

The New England Patriots 14-2 record was the best in the NFL, and tied for their second-best regular season record of all time, but their TV numbers locally set franchise records this season.

The Patriots set a regular season record for household ratings in the Boston market with an average 34.86 household (HH) rating during the 2010 season. The 2010 mark topped the previous record of 33.6 set during the 2007 season, which featured the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history, by more than a whole rating point.

In addition, the Patriots averaged a 61.3 share with 15 of the 16 regular season games drawing more than a 55 share, meaning 55 percent of all televisions in the Boston market that were on during Patriots games were tuned in to the game.

Four of New England’s 16 games rank in the top six all-time for regular season HH ratings in the Boston market with the Patriots-Packers game on Dec. 19 ranking third with a 42.62 HH rating, the Patriots-Jets Monday night game on Dec. 6 ranking fourth with a 42.20 HH rating, the Patriots-Colts Nov. 21 game ranking fifth with a 42.04 HH rating, and the Patriots-Bears Dec. 12 game ranking sixth with a 41.29 HH rating.

Here is a game-by-game chart of the Patriots TV numbers for the 2010 Regular Season:

C’s, B’s Win, Patriots Grade Out Well

It was  productive night for the locals, as the Bruins won 2-1in Toronto, and the Celtics held off the Timberwolves 96-93 at the TD Garden. You can check out and for the complete coverage of these games.

Making The Grades – Patriots vs. Dolphins – Jeremy Gottlieb grades out the Patriots regular season finale. Check the other report cards from: Ron Borges | Christopher Price | Michael Felger | Mike Reiss

Revisiting preseason predictions – Mike Reiss has some fun with his own preseason predictions.

Peaking Patriots won’t be denied this time – Gerry Callahan thinks the mayor should be planning a parade.

Brady will win MVP, but Vick deserves consideration – Bill Burt has 10 thoughts on the NFL.

Scanning the AFC field from the Patriots’ view – Glen Farley looks at potential playoff opponents for the Patriots.

Deaderick given suspension – Shalise Manza Young’s notebook has rookie lineman Brandon Deaderick being suspended. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots set to start a new season.

Celtics squeak out a win over T’Wolves, 96-93 – A. Sherrod Blakely looks at the Celtics win last night.

Finding ways to win – Paul Flannery has the Celtics doing what it takes to get the win.

Celtics better with Paul Pierce scoring, not passing – Steve Bulpett says that with Rondo back, Pierce can go back to what he does best.

Wavering on sticking with Wafer – Von Wafer had his best game of the week of the season for the Celtics, but Gary Washburn’s notebook says that his spot with the team might not be safe. The Herald notebook from Mark Murphy has Doc Rivers praising Wafer’s work on defense.

B’s get a perfect ending to their road trip – Joe Haggerty has the Bruins finishing off the Maple Leafs last night. Kevin Paul Dupont has the Bruins feeling good about themselves.

Long-term, the Bruins need everything they got Monday – DJ Bean says the win was a boost for Tuukka Rask.