Michael Holley on War Room, The Globe, The Sports Hub, & Much More!

Just a couple pieces of cheap self-promotional junk from me today. (Don’t tell Bruce) I’ll be back for Sports Media Musings on Friday…

First, I made an appearence on TSN’s ESPN affiliate to talk about an array of Boston sports topics. Check out the 10 minute spot here.

Secondly, yesterday marked the debut of the revamped podcast on Sports of Boston named, Point Taken. I’ll be doing the show every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with co-host Brian Moller (send him some hate on Twitter). We’ll be launching a website to go along with the show that I’ll be writing columns on.

Part 1 of the podcast is what the show will (mostly) consist of each Monday and Friday edition. It is basically a fun banter of sports topics which, right now, we’re calling “The Rundown” (I know, wicked original). Keep in mind, this was the first time Brian and I have ever worked together, and it shows. There’s sloopiness and even some technical issues you guys can harass me about.

With more reps, maybe it won’t be terrible.


Wednesdays we are going to have a guest interview. When that guest is prominent in the local media scene, I’ll give a quick heads up here.

This week (in Part 2) we talked with WEEI’s Michael Holley about the Chris Herren doc, his new book War Room, the state of the Patriots, working at the Boston Globe, Joe Paterno, THE SPORTS LODGE, and my criticisms of NESN.

Holley generally comes across as an affable dude who is down to earth. The talk – both on and off the air – reminded me of when I had Rich Shertenlieb on the podcast. It was a good talk with a guy I’ve generally enjoyed since the early aughts (did I say that right, aughts?)..

I’m presuming most of the BSMW readership will know his thoughts on the state of the Patriots section and are fed up with the Paterno stuff. Consequently, I provided a timeline for those who wish to skip around.

Below is a breakdown of the conversation…

0:00 – 6:00 – Breaking down the “Unguarded” doc

6:00 – 16:00 – Talking about the premise of War Room and also the subordinates that have come & gone around The Hoodie. (And, gasp, some Spy-Gate references)

16:00 – 21:30 – The state of the Patriots now. Is the dynasty over?

21:30 – 30:30 – Why Michael left the Globe & some fun stories from his days in the newspaper industry..

30:30 – 39:00 – The Penn State scandal

39:00 – END – Diving into local media topics. We talk about the Sports Lodge, WEEI vs 98.5, NESN and more.



From The PFW Archives – An Interview With Lesley Visser

This column originally appeared in the November 25th, 2009 issue of Patriots Football Weekly.

Visser no stranger to Pats success

By Bruce Allen

“Hi, I’m Lesley Visser, I know Will McDonough.”

With those eight words, Lesley Visser, the longtime CBS sportscaster voted this past summer as the No. 1 Female Sportscaster of All-Time, would approach players, coaches and officials during her first season on the Patriots beat. The year was 1976, and the 23-year-old Visser was working for The Boston Globe, yet was not allowed in the locker room, and her team-issued press credential flatly stated “No Women or Children allowed in the Press Box.” Oftentimes she would have to wait in the parking lot to interview players. There wasn’t even a ladies room available to her. Dropping McDonough’s name was the only “in” that she had until she could establish herself.

Despite her distinguished career, I sometimes feel that Visser isn’t always properly appreciated by the public for being the true pioneer that she is. In an age where more and more women are seeking careers in sports media, Visser set the standards by which they all measure themselves. Thus, having the chance to chat recently with the very gracious Visser was a great privilege.

Both her remarkable life and career began right here in Massachusetts. Born in Quincy MA, sports and football were in Visser’s blood from a young age. As a little girl, she dressed as Celtics guard Sam Jones for Halloween one year, and asked Santa for a pair of shoulder pads one Christmas.

In 1966, Visser attended her first professional football game, when the Patriots took on the Oakland Raiders at Fenway Park. The 13-year-old Visser managed to get down to the Raiders sideline where she saw future Hall of Fame center Jim Otto up close. “He was the biggest human being I’d ever seen,” she remembers, “and my eyes grew as big as his double 00’s.”

She had the goal of being a sportswriter when she grew up, and as an English major at Boston College, she obtained an internship at The Boston Globe through a Carnegie Foundation grant. Joining the paper full-time following graduation in 1975, she immediately started making her mark in a male-dominated field.

It started that bicentennial year of 1976, when Visser became the first woman assigned to an NFL beat when the Globe sent her out to cover Patriots on a daily basis.

“The first day of training camp, I think I brushed my teeth in the parking lot of Bryant college.” She recalls her biggest fear in those first days on the beat: “Working with people like Peter Gammons and Bob Ryan and Bud Collins, I was terrified I’d let the Boston Globe down with their historic decision.”

Dropping McDonough’s name became her “Magic Credential,” as she puts it. McDonough, the most respected football writer in the country, even spoke to Billy Sullivan on her behalf, telling the Patriots owner that she would work hard, and asking them to be forgiving of her mistakes.

Mistakes? She made a few, some of which pain her to this day. She recalls one incident early in her tenure when she was doing a story on Sam Cunningham, (Visser says that Sam was much more famous than younger brother Randall.) and included some notes at the end of the story. The Patriots were banged up along the offensive line, and she asked coach Chuck Fairbanks who would start at tackle, Tom Neville or Bob McKay.

In the Globe the next morning, Fairbanks was quoted as saying, “Neither one can play the position”. Visser relates: “I got a call at 6 am.  ‘Are you out of your mind?'” It was Fairbanks, shouting on the other end. “I said EITHER one can play the position!”  Visser still shakes her head at the recollection. “I wanted to move to Bimini. Instead, I flew down to Miami with the team – as all members of the media did back then. I heard about it the whole flight, and, OK, maybe the whole season. I think Dave Smith and Vince Doria, our legendary editors at the Globe, remind me of it to this day.”

All in all, she says that “The Patriots were great to me” and that first season in Foxborough was a memorable one, the team went 11-3 before losing a heartbreaking playoff game to the Raiders on the infamous Ben Dreith “roughing the passer” call on Sugar Bear Hamilton, the Patriots tackle who Visser says had watched game film with her that year, giving her an even deeper understanding of the game.

Though he was just a Patriots season ticket holder at the time, Robert Kraft had a big impact on Visser’s career even back in the 1970’s. Kraft owned the Boston Lobsters of World TeamTennis, and was the first person to let Visser into a locker room in any sport. She adds that Kraft “has been so supportive of women in this business, an advocate for more than 30 years. I’m happy to report that the struggles of Schaefer stadium are now the glories of Gillette. It’s no coincidence that the Patriots are the model, the envy of the NFL.”

With her history with the Patriots, it only makes sense that Visser’s favorite memory from her long career covering sports involves the franchise from Foxborough, MA.

“One of my most favorite memories in all of sports was Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans.” She proudly recalls “I was on the field when Adam Vinatieri drilled it through the uprights, and as the confetti came raining down, I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe this is the team I grew up with, the team that gave me my biggest opportunity, and now I’m here for their most shining moment.'”

Visser had moved on to television with CBS in the early 1980’s, and made history there too, working almost all major sporting events the network covered, including the NFL, where she became the first woman to host the postgame Super Bowl Championship trophy presentation. She stayed at CBS until 1994. She then moved on to ABC/ESPN, where she become the first woman on the announcing team of Monday Night Football, as sideline reporter. She returned to CBS in 2000, and has remained there ever since. She currently is a reporter for The NFL Today, and writes a column for CBSSports.com. In July of this year, Visser was voted the No. 1 female sportscaster of all time by the American Sportscasters Association.

Also this summer, Visser became the first woman to serve as a color commentator on an NFL TV telecast, during a Dolphins preseason game. Visser says of the experience “It was an enormous challenge, but I was careful to stay within my experience. I’ve never been in an NFL huddle, so I never said anything I couldn’t possibly know –  I think that philosophy has helped me for 35 years. I don’t assume, I ask.”

Visser’s distinguished career covering the NFL led to the ultimate honor. In 2006 she became the first (and only) woman to be honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. Among those congratulating Visser that day was Jim Otto, “Pretty good,” he said, “for a little girl shivering on the sideline.”

Visser says that “Being honored as the first woman in the Pro Football Hall of Fame made me glad I went through all the ups and downs. I have a genuine respect for sports, I’ve always said it’s the most meritorious business in America. It doesn’t matter where your father went to college or how much money your mother has, if you hit the jumper or sink the putt or kick the winning field goal, it’s because of your talent, your will and your skill.”

Fittingly, talent, will and skill are all qualities that Lesley Visser possesses in abundance.

Server Issues

We’ve been having issues with the site here going up and down all morning. At this point, it is unclear whether it is a server issue, or some sort of attack.

You can check for updates on Twitter ( @bruceallen ) or on Google + – Boston Sports Media Watch

Thanks for your patience.

Fading Patriots Grade Out Poorly

I’ve got the day off today, (it’s election day!) but didn’t want to be accused of not posting the report cards after a Patriots loss, as I was last week.

Making The Grades – Giants at Patriots – Jeremy Gottlieb on Patriots Daily is his usual brutally honest self.

Patriots Report Card – Ron Borges is the happiest he’s been in years.

Patriots Report Card: Eli Manning Out-Bradys Tom Brady While Pats Defense Collapses in Loss to Giants – Jeff Howe says that the Patriots have some work to do.

Patriots Report Card: Blame Brady for loss to Giants – Kirk Minihane says this one is on Tom Brady, and Brady alone.

Hector Longo’s Two-minute Drill – The E-T writer does his normal hack job on Jerod Mayo, and chides Pat Chung for “begging out” on the final drive because he had an “ow-ey.” He also wistfully longs for Buddy Farnham to be part of the secondary.

ESPNBoston Report Card – Special Teams is the big goat here.

Patriots report card Game 8 – Submit your own grades on Boston.com.

Bruins cut to chase – Fluto Shinzawa has the details of the Bruins 6-2 win over the Islanders last night. More on the game from Douglas Flynn | Steve Conroy | CSNNE.com

Maddux withdraws as Sox candidate, cites family reasons – Sean McAdam reports on Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux declining to interview with the Red Sox. Gordon Edes says that Maddux has everything the Sox want – except a desire to be here.


Another Giant Disappointment For Patriots

Eli Manning did it to the Patriots again, leading a last second touchdown drive to beat New England after the Patriots had just scored a touchdown of their own to take a late lead. The Patriots defense had some decent moments yesterday, but simply could not get it done when it counted, allowing the Giants to march down the field for the winning score in just under 100 seconds of play.

The Patriots fall to 5-3 with the loss, and now go into their toughest game of the season, next Sunday night in New York against the suddenly revitalized Jets. I don’t think many around these parts give the Patriots much chance of winning that one. Tom Brady keeps talking about the character of this team, but what confidence do we really have in this group? They certainly haven’t earned it to the point.

Tom Brady, Patriots showing limitations – Mike Reiss notes that suddenly it is the offense that has people worried. Greg A. Bedard agrees that this one was on the offense. Karen Guregian notes that Tom Brady just doesn’t have enough weapons that he trusts on offense. (I’d agree with this – this is where Ochocinco is just killing the Patriots. They need a third receiver in the worst way.) Rich Garven says that the offense is much more troublesome than the defense at this point. Nick Underhill has the offense frustrated with their own lack of execution. Danny Picard has the offense just not doing enough.

Total recall – Mark Farinella says that with Jake Ballard playing the role of David Tyree, this one will haunt the Patriots. Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots just unable to put away the Giants. Hector Longo says that any adjustments the Patriots attempted were just not enough. Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots unable to make the final Brady score stand up. Tim Weisberg says that while it is far from Chicken Little time in Foxboro, the Patriots are running out of time to become a complete team.

Patriots defense’s good work forgotten – Chris Forsberg says that the good work put in by the defense early in the game went to waste in the end. Dan Duggan looks at the unit’s inability to make a stand at the end. Monique Walker has the defense taking the fourth quarter off. Mary Paoletti says that while the defense made strides, it wasn’t enough. Jim Donaldson says that this is a no-name, no-game defense. Jeff Howe has the defense’s improvements going for naught yesterday as they coughed up two fourth-quarter leads.

Ten Things We Learned Sunday: Real test now looms for Patriots – Christopher Price runs down what we can take from this game. Andrew Tornetta has five things we learned. Jimmy Toscano looks what went right and wrong. Dan Duggan picks out the Best and the Worst from yesterday. Reiss gives his 3 up, 3 down.

Patriots’ best no longer enough – Ron Borges says that the Patriots dynasty is over. Wait, I thought it was over in 2005? Or 2006? 2008? 2009?

Patriots must dig deep to prove prowess – Tom E Curran says that the Patriots have a lot to prove, both to themselves and others.

On Cruz control – Chad Finn has former UMass star Victor Cruz doing in the Patriots.

Rough day for Welker – Julian Benbow looks at a rough, but productive day for the Patriots receiver.

Secondary needs primary approach – Ty Law says that the defensive backs need some coaching from one of the best positional coaches in football – Bill Belichick.

Stephen Gostkowski missed field goal costly – Jennifer Toland’s notebook has a missed chip-shot field goal proving costly for the Patriots. The Patriots Journal has the team hoping to turn things around against the Jets. The Globe notebook from Shalise Manza Young and Monique Walker has Brady relying heavily on his top receiving duo of Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski yesterday. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport has Ochocino again failing to record a catch despite five targets. The Enterprise notebook from Glen Farley has Sergio Brown surprised at the pass interference call on him that ultimately decided the game. The MetroWest notebook from Tim Whelan Jr has more on the offensive struggles.

Hot Dan! Duquette back in action? – Gordon Edes has the former Red Sox GM back in baseball, as President of Baseball Operations for the Baltimore Orioles. John Tomase thinks we may discover that we were wrong about Duquette.

Wondering what these managerial interviews are like? Josh Byrnes can offer some insight – Rob Bradford talks to the Padres GM about the process of hiring a manager.

Sox Win Big In Deal To Use Streets – A feature in the Globe by The Initiative For Investigative Reporting looks at the success the Red Sox have had in a deal with the city to lease Yawkey Way and Lansdowne Street.

NBA on edge of darkness – Steve Bulpett looks at the NBA Labor talks, which are on the brink of complete disaster.

Unleashing Some Friday Megalinks

Ok, let’s get this done. Lots of linkage from yesterday and today. I need to catch up. Let’s go.

Check out your Weekend Viewing Picks for the sports and entertainment programming for Saturday and Sunday.


Mike McCarthy of USA Today wonders if there’s a glass ceiling for women in sports television.

Former Comcast SportsNet anchor/reporter Jackie Pepper has her take about being a woman in sports television. (Editor’s note: Link is no longer working.)

Back to USA Today, Michael Hiestand looks at the casting call for the new Broadway play focusing on the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird rivalry and friendship, produced by the same people who did Lombardi on Broadway.

Hiestand writes that Fox Sports will be using some of its own talent for its UFC debut next week.

Paul Thomasch of Reuters talks with CBS head honcho Les Moonves about the network’s SEC deal.

Emma Bazilian at Adweek notes that DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket promotion over the summer paid off in droves in the third quarter of this year.

Phil Swann of TV Predictions has his take on DirecTV’s subscriber spike.

The talk of the sports blogosphere the last couple of days has been the Deadspin story by A.J. Daulerio on a former ESPN executive who’s filed a lawsuit against an employee denying several displays of odd behavior including masturbating in Erin Andrews’ presence.

Congratulations to former ESPN reporter Amy K. Nelson who leaves the Alleged Worldwide Leader for SBNation. Deadspin has that story as well.

Aaron Kuniloff and David Mildenberg from Bloomberg Businessweek co-author a story on ESPN’s Longhorn Network and its ramifications on college sports.

Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek of Businessweek talk about the alternatives to the NBA and how the league’s TV partners have lost money airing the games.

Rick Chandler of NBC’s Off the Bench explains how an ESPN.com story mushroomed into the Occupy Tebow movement.

At ESPN Front Row, network spokesman Mike Soltys notes that the Alleged Worldwide Leader has new policy on employees writing books, something that got Bruce Feldman into trouble earlier this year.

Jason Dachman from Sports Video Group looks at a new MSG Network mobile app that brings live high school sports to your cell phone.

Ariel Sandler at the Business Insider Sports Page has video of two Canadian news anchors going crazy when their sports anchor is named the winner of a $2.5 million lottery on live TV.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell reviews the results of having two In-N-Out Burgers shipped frozen across country.

Sports Media Watch says TNT’s replacement programming for the NBA’s canceled games on what would have been Opening Night of the season failed miserably in the ratings.

Joe Favorito wonders if the Bellator Fighting Championships can co-exist with UFC in Mixed Martial Arts.

Ben Koo of Awful Announcing says Brent Musburger got the job done in his cameo on an ABC sitcom.

Dave Kohl at The Broadcast Booth says it’s the subject matter, not the personalities that drive ratings for sports radio stations.

SportsbyBrooks notes that ESPN Radio hack Colin Cowherd sat with the beautiful people at last week’s Stanford-USC game.

Marisa Ingemi of In Lax We Trust reports that the National Lacrosse League has a deal in place with CBS Sports Network to air games in 2012-13.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn from the Boston Globe speaks with former ESPN MMA Live host Jon Anik who will work straight for UFC now.

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s Bill Doyle talks with Comcast SportsNet Celtics analyst Tommy Heinsohn who’s cooling his heels during the NBA lockout.

Newsday’s Neil Best notes that WFAN’s Boomer & Carton show has really taken off in the ratings.

Neil has more with Boomer and Carton that he could not provide in his feature story.

Scott Shifrel and Bill Hutchinson of the New York Daily News write that former ESPN executive Keith Clinkscales is claiming that he is the victim of a smear campaign.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post wonders where’s the outrage on the Detroit Lions for what he feels was mocking Tim Tebow’s religion.

Justin Terranova of the Post has five questions for Cleveland Browns franchise assassin and ESPN analyst Eric Mangini. No, I’m not bitter about his tenure as Browns coach.

Justin previews MLB Network’s special on the 1986 Postseason.

Pete Dougherty in the Albany Times Union hears from SEC on CBS analyst Gary Danielson on LSU-Alabama.

Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call also has quotes from Danielson regarding this year’s Game of the Century.

In Press Box, Dave Hughes from DCRTV.com has the latest in Baltimore-DC sports media news.

In the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg looks at a failed lobbyist’s efforts to get DC NFL team owner Dan Snyder to change the brand name.

And Dan has Joe Theismann’s thoughts on the whole John Beck/Rex Grossman QB controversy in Washington.

Monica Hesse of the Post says some of the items from the now-defunct ESPN Zone in DC are being sold at auction.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner finds out ESPN’s plans for this weekend’s Breeders’ Cup.


Sean Cartell of SEC.com has Verne Lundquist’s thoughts on LSU-Alabama.

Brian Reynolds in the Tuscaloosa News says ESPN is giving LSU-Alabama the Super Bowl treatment.

David Barron from the Houston Chronicle says both CBS and ESPN are pulling out all of the stops for LSU-Alabama.


John Kiesewetter in the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that former Bengals QB Carson Palmer will be profiled on Sunday’s edition of The NFL Today.

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says ratings for the World Series were good, but the games showed that instant replay was greatly needed.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes that former Brewers radio voice Corey Provus now has a new gig with the Twins.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business has his winners and losers in sports business and media.

Ted Gruber in Chicago Now feels ESPN gets a big fail in covering Mixed Martial Arts.

Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune says Corey Provus takes over for former Minnesota Twins voice John Gordon who retired this year.

Paul Christian in the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin talks about Provus’ hiring by the Twins.

Dan Caesar from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch feels the national media undersold Albert Pujols’ achievement in Game 3 of the World Series.


Jeff Call of the Deseret (UT) News says ESPN’s partnership with BYU has been beneficial for both parties.

John Maffei in the North County Times notes how CBS obtained LSU-Alabama for primetime.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says it’s rare to get a #1 vs. #2 matchup in the regular season.

Jim says Brad Nessler is ready for primetime when Thursday Night Football begins next week.

Jim has his weekend viewing picks.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says we’re in a Golden Age of sports documentaries.

Tom has more in his blog.


Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail says Hazel Mae is officially back with Rogers Sportsnet.

The Canadian Sports Media Blog which broke the news of Hazel’s return discusses what her duties will be.

That’s going to do it for the megalinks today.

Sports Media Musings: Former ESPN VP Allegedly Exposes Himself In Front of Erin Andrews, Quick Musings

One of the hardest things to do as a columnist is write a strong lede.  I can’t tell you how much this is stressed to me on a daily basis. Above everything else, you need to grab the audience by the collar with a strong pun that says, “Put your feet up and stay for a while.”

Almost like a butt-rock song, you need a strong hook (as I’m writing this, “Toucher & Rich” is doing a segment killing Nickelback. Good for a solid laugh. Give it a listen later on 98.5’s site). The point is writing an effective lede is paramount to a successful piece. In fact, one could argue (successfully), a lede about the importance of writing quality ledes is a terrible, ahh, lede. (Damn)

Anyway, the reason I bring this struggle to your computer screen is because today I had the pleasure (problem?) of having to many quality ledes at my disposal for the salacious ESPN story Deadspin broke Wednesday night.

According to the article, Keith Clinkscales – a former senior VP for content, development, and enterprise – allegedly physically and verbally abused subordinates as well as masturbated in front of sideline reporter, Erin Andrews (on a plane nonetheless).

You can’t make this stuff up. It was just last week when I wrote about the proclivity of consumers and the blogosphere to incessantly attack The Machine of sports coverage, ESPN, to unfair lengths. After all, I reasoned, ESPN still puts out great content like the Outside the Lines piece on Joplin High’s football team or the 30 For 30 documentaries. And yet the developer of some of these great stories being aired took the Zach Galifianankis line from The Hangover to heart…

It’s not illegal, just frowned upon. Like masturbating on an airplane. Everybody got so sensitive after 9/11. Thanks a lot, Bin Laden.

I have two takeaways from the story…

1.) ESPN Perspective: After the release of Those Guys Have All the Fun, one had to figure the suits at the four-letter network would tighten up the ship. There was a lot of weird stuff in that book. As I stated in my review, most of the transgressions were already known (or could easily be learned via an afternoon spent searching Deadspin archives).

Still, there were details I was unaware of such as Mike Tirico’s salty-dog persona. I suppose the value of “Those Guys” is how the tome is a nice tool in terms of putting the frat-house culture, which permeates Bristol, into one place for readers to digest.  Almost like a glossary.

And that’s all well-and-good, but even the weirdest-of-the-weird content filling “Those Guys” didn’t cross the line of demarcation set by an average episode of “Jersey Shore.”

(Sans, maybe, the vague line about interns “turning tricks” at ESPN leased New York City apartments and the Erin Andrews peeping incident)

Granted, this incident occurred in the past and Clinkscales is no longer with the WorldWide Leader. The real story within the story from an outsider’s perspective of ESPN, is my feeble reaction to this allegation..

Instant reaction: “Are you kidding me!?! Poor E.A.! An airplane?”

15 minutes later: “The airplane monkey wrench threw me for a loop, but well, it is ESPN.”

And that’s the scary part. At this point an employee whipping out his ‘Pepper Johnson’ for others to see isn’t exactly breaking any new ground in Bristol (Sean Salisbury is slowly nodding right now. He is such a pioneer).

The airplane location and the alleged victim (Andrews) make the lewd story stranger and obscene (sort of how “Survivor” sets strange locations & sometimes has star celebrities like Jimmy Johnson compete). However, neither element give the scandal legs it appropriately deserves. Oddly enough, ESPN employees getting raunchy around one another isn’t a novel concept anymore.

Those Guys Still Have All the Fun…

2.) Deadspin Perspective: I have to hand it to the site – I killed them a few months ago for Tommy Craggs’ invasion of ESPN’s talent meeting. I thought it was a puerile move for an otherwise trailblazing entity. Editor, and writer of this story, A.J. Daulerio did a fantastic job laying out the details and timeline of events. This was a great example of commendable work which is more along-the-lines of investigative (Dare I say?) journalistic reporting.

(That felt weird typing)

Quick Musings, Links

1.) Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti spent all of last week giving us reasons why the Patriots own the Steelers. Although, Felger reiterated multiple times he isn’t confident and a win in Pittsburgh is “always a good win.” Fair enough.

The Patriots were subsequently dismantled. The score was not indicative of the way the game played out. I think we can all agree on that much. But if winning in Steel-city is “always a good win”, then how can losing by a touchdown be a “bad loss.” Actually, the way the media has collectively reacted, this is being portrayed as a catastrophic loss.

Did you hear? The Patriots are heading toward the Hugh Millen days! The reign is over. What have they done lately?

(Besides that whole 14-2 thing last year)

Better yet, now that it’s over, why don’t we try to breakdown the Super Bowl loss to the Giants that happened four years ago? (Yes, that really happened.)

So, crack open a beer and play “Glory Days” on a loop while watching your Super Bowl 36 Championship DVD.. Because according to 98% of the media, it’s over.


2.) Did anyone else find the content strange on the two afternoon drive shows on Monday and Tuesday? “Felger & Mazz” broke down how multiple Steeler wide-outs were open during one of Heath Miller’s 76 first down receptions; meanwhile, “The Big Show” talked about how even Green Bay (who are undefeated) have massive holes in their secondary, thus, the league is still wide open. The following day the two shows flopped: Glenn Ordway talked about Steeler receivers running wide open during the same Miller plays, while Felger cited a weak Packer defense.


3.) Also strange: Right after the NY Times piece, detailing former players turned analysts as volatile talking heads (and giving BSMW a nice mention), both Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi took shots at their old team. Harrison aimed at the Pats defense, and Bruschi says he isn’t sure if the Pats will make the playoffs.

4.) Steve Buckley did a nice job explaining what we should all consider — Boston will not bottom out and become “Loserville.”  Remember that place? The abyss that saw a 15 year title drought? Instead, Buck points out, we could go into a comfy (and continuously competitive) place named “Lesserville.”

5.) Peter King gave props to Michael Holley’s new book, War Room, in his MMQB column at SI.com…

Looking forward to this read. I was a HUGE fan of Patriot Reign.

6.) The Sports Hub gives plenty of commercial time to Andy Gresh’s book of sports lists that just came out. Maybe I’ve missed it, but are they ignoring Holley’s book? The tidbits already released on Belichick’s drafting mistakes seem to fit well with Felger’s rants — it’d be disingenous to ignore.

7.) Looking forward to getting my hands on Jackie MacMullan’s book on Shaquille O’Neal in light of excerpts that have come out.

8.) I want more Jackie Mac on “Sports Tonight.”

9.) Chris Gasper joins in — “Bill Belichick hasn’t become out of touch or lost his touch. He’s lost his help.”

….”Help” referring to Romeo Crennel…The same guy The Hoodie went 18-0 without. And was also long-gone when the Patriots were a crazy helmet-catch away from winning a fourth Super Bowl..

Reflections on Tom Landry and Other Media Links

A few quick links this morning as we get ready for Sports Media Musings, coming in around noon today…

Media Roundup – Last night’s NFL Network’s “A Football Life” on Tom Landry got me thinking about Bill Belichick, and how we’re going to view this era 20 years from now.

Anik gets shot calling MMA – In the Globe media column, Chad Finn talks to former “Diehards” co-host Jon Anik about his new gig covering MMA with Fuel TV and FX.

Tommy Heinsohn weighs in on NBA lockout – Bill Doyle has the 77-year-old Celtics legend and CSNNE analyst giving his thoughts on the NBA labor fight.

Remain Calm, or at Least Try to Panic a Little More Quietly – Michael Gee looks at overreaction in opposite directions from each of the Patriots last two games.

Sunday’s Patriots/Giants game will be shown on FOX, and the network pregame show will feature a sitdown between Jimmy Johnson and Bill Belichick.

Belichick Referendum Week Continues…

So I’ve been slightly out of the loop this week, but from what I can gather, this week has pretty much turned into a referendum on the coaching tenure of Bill Belichick.

An ugly loss to Pittsburgh, coupled with seemingly questionable roster decisions, a shaky recent draft history and topped off by some off-the-field antics has apparently cause some in the region to call for the firing of Belichick.

Two local radio shows are leading the charge in this movement. 98.5’s Felger and Massarotti have been on this bandwagon for months, while Dennis and Callahan have leaped into the fray in the last week or so. Apparently the tipping point was Leigh Bodden. Gerry Callahan probably said “Leigh Bodden” a hundred times early this week. I would wager good money on the odds that Callahan had no idea who Leigh Bodden was prior to this week.

This is a topic for more detailed dicussion a bit later, but for now, here are some of the links from this morning.

Belichick, Brady comment on Edelman’s arrest – The courageous Jonathan Hall of WHDH grilled Belichick yesterday about the arrest of receiver Julian Edelman, and whether the coach has lost complete control of his team. I particularly enjoyed the final, supercilious paragraph of this report. “Kevin Faulk has experience with the law.”  (I also believe the proper term is cited, not sighted.)

It’s always enjoyable when the news reporters come down to Gillette. I know the guy had a job to do, I know the questions, some of them, need to be asked, but confrontation is never going to work with Belichick.

Pressure’s on Tom Brady, offense – Karen Guregian says that the Patriots offense needs to find a way to deal with pressure.

Measuring the impact of Albert Haynesworth on the Patriots defense – Christopher Price looks at the good and bad from Albert Haynesworth.

Belichick defends cornerbacks performance – Tom E Curran has the coach saying the cornerback play wasn’t at the top of the list of problems against the Steelers.

Faulk focusing on the here and now – Mark Farinella has the running back not thinking about the Super Bowl against the Giants, or about his knee injury, but about what needs to be done right now.

Giant test for Wes Welker – Ian Rapoport’s notebook has the Giants confident that they can shut down Welker. The Globe notebook from Michael Vega has more on Belichick defending his corners. The Patriots Journal has more on Hall trying to get Belichick off his game. Rich Garven’s notebook has more on Haynesworth. The Enterprise notebook from Glen Farley has the team tight-lipped on the topic of Edelman.

Dale Sveum eyes 2nd chance in Boston – Gordon Edes looks at the former third base coach getting an interview to replace Terry Francona. More on Sveum from: Tim Britton | Peter Abraham | Scott Lauber | Maureen Mullen

Cubs, Sox wading into the same pool? – Lauber’s notebook says that the Cubs and Red Sox may consider some of the same people for their openings.

NBA lockout hits Big Baby hard – Jessica Camerato has Glen Davis talking about the lockout and his future in the NBA.