Bird’s Rookie Year — Game Nine vs. the Nets

Celtics vs. Nets
October 31, 1979
Wednesday – Rutgers Athletic Center

Halloween in Piscataway is normally not described as a “treat,” and that was no different in 1979.  The Celtics, however, dished out all the tricks to a New Jersey Nets team already in shambles, arriving at the Rutgers Athletic Center looking to keep pace with the undefeated 76ers in the standings.  The six game road trip was mercifully coming to an end, and after a sluggish start in Indiana and San Antonio, the Celtics looked to win their third straight game on the road.

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Patriots head into bye week, Celtics open 2012-13 season

The Patriots will head into the bye week coming off of their first complete 60-minute game of the season in their 45-7 win over the Rams in London. Tom Brady played his best game of the year, and the defense finally generated some pressure on the opposing quarterback by blitzing for the first time this year. This will definitely be one of the talking points during the bye week of whether or not they will build off of Sunday’s performance and blitz more often during the second half of the season.

The team altered its flight plans from London and left early Monday morning to arrive at Logan airport a little before noon Monday. It was apparently one of the final flights allowed to land before the brunt of the storm hit the area. Many of the reporters who covered the game in London had their flights cancelled and will now be stuck there until Tuesday or Wednesday. Not a bad place to have a couple of extra days, but I’m sure many of them would rather be home and with their families. Thoughts are with everyone on the east coast affected by Hurricane Sandy.

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Patriots aren’t half bad at all against Rams– Chad Finn takes a final look at the Patriots convincing win over the Rams.

Patriots report card– Ron Borges’ grades are in from this past week.

Patriots report card: Finally a complete game– Christopher Price says the Patriots played their first 60-minute game of the season.

Stepping up to challenge– Jeff Howe says the Patriots made some big plays in at the right time in Sunday’s win.

Ninkovich hopes to ‘look like totally different defense’– Tom E. Curran looks ahead to the second half of the season for the defense with quotes from Rob Ninkovich.

The Celtics traveled Sunday night ahead of the storm to Miami where they will open their season against the Heat tonight where the Heat will be raise the banner for last year’s championship. The main story line to this game will be Ray Allen facing his former team as there as been a great deal of discussion over the past few weeks about his time in Boston and his eventual departure.

Entering the unexpected– A. Sherrod Blakely has how Ray Allen has no idea what to expect  Tuesday night.

Rajon Rondo ranks among Celtics great– Bob Hohler looks at how Rondo is one of the best players in Celtics history, and talks to some Celtics legends to get their thoughts.

Rondo his own man– Mark Murphy also looks at Rondo’s career thus far with some Celtics greats’ thoughts mixed in.

End of a Celtics era brings new promise– Paul Flannery has his season preview, including looking at how the rookies might make an impact.

Boston Celtics retooled for another title run– Frank Dell’Apa looks ahead to the upcoming season.

Heart and soul– Gerry Callahan says the Celtics will go as far as Kevin Garnett takes them.


Patriots Secondary Again Embarassed in 45-7 Win Over Rams

The Patriots put together a dominating performance in London yesterday, smoking the Rams 45-7. The last two times the Patriots have faced a Jeff Fisher-coached squad the cumulative score is 104-7.

When WBZ interrupted Patriots fifth quarter to go to Gov. Patrick’s press conference for the hurricane, I flipped over to CSNNE, where Mike Felger, Ty Law and Troy Brown were ripping the secondary and saying that major changes need to be made and some real soul-searching needs to be done during the bye week.

Now, I understand that one game does not mean that the secondary issues are gone, far from it, but after a runaway win like that, all that they can talk about is the problems with the secondary?

All day Friday, Felger was telling us about the bad vibes he had about the Patriots, and how they didn’t want to be in London, and they wouldn’t be prepared, and that they would get their doors blown off by the Rams. Mazz of course agreed with him. Troy Brown picked the Rams to win the game, and then after the game dismissed the win because it was only the Rams. Um, OK. I’m a little disturbed that great players like Law and Brown, who have so much knowledge and experience to impart, have sold their souls to Mike Felger for some airtime on cable television, where they just follow his lead in pronouncing doom and gloom. (Though, away from Felger, they did change their tune somewhat.) It was pretty similar on WEEI.

It is really unbelievable to hear what is said on-air about this team, both TV and radio.

Whatever happened to the “easiest schedule in the history of the NFL?” Now I’ve heard on-air people worried about Miami, and there is still Houston and San Francisco on the schedule as well.

By the way, did you know that Dan Shaughnessy proclaimed last season’s schedule the easiest in NFL history, and also this season’s?

If you spout this crap year after year, does it ever dawn on you that perhaps the reason that the schedule appears easy is because the team playing it is pretty damn good? No? I didn’t think so.

Just a few links and back to storm preparations:

What we learned Sunday: Why there’s a feeling of familiarity with these Patriots – Christopher Price says that this team so far is very similar to the two previous editions.

Patriots show off their best – Mike Reiss has the Patriots able to put it all together.

Patriots defense rebounds after another shaky start – Greg A Bedard has the defense putting in a solid effort.

I did enjoy the lede of Tom E Curran’s game column:

Crushing afternoon of football for legions in New England who live to lament the decline of the Patriots.

A 45-7 Pats win in London over the Rams. Bitter soup for the “I hand-wring, therefore I am” crowd. But it was exactly what the Patriots needed to close out a star-crossed first half of the season and head into their bye week on a high.

So, while the bleating harpies withdraw their forks from the “aging” carcass of the quarterback, it is time, once again, for the annual Ode To Mental Toughness column.

Patriots secondary finally shows signs of improvement – Curran also notes that the defensive backs even contributed.

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A couple of Celtics links:

Celtics’ Jeff Green shows heart in comeback – Shira Springer looks at the comeback of the Celtics forward.

Celtics’ depth, optimism ride high – Chris Forsberg says that this Celtics team might be more talented, top-to-bottom than the 2008 champions.

Prelude to more series matters – Steve Bulpett says that even though tomorrow night’s opener will be dissected ad nauseam, (“OMG — did anyone shake Ray Allen’s hand?”) the game actually means nothing, big picture.

Bird’s Rookie Year – Game Eight vs Hawks

Justin Barrasso will be perusing the box scores of the Boston Celtics during the Larry Bird years, starting with Bird’s rookie year in 1979-1980. We’ll be posting the box score as well as some commentary each game day as we re-visit the ’79-’80 season. Enjoy.

Celtics (5-2) vs. Hawks (5-4)
Saturday, October 27, 1979
Omni Coliseum

The Celtics continued their road trip with  Saturday night visit to play Ted Turner’s Atlanta Hawks.  The Celtics were in the fourth game of the six game trip, and with a win, would improve to 3-2 on the road and continue their pursuit of the first place, undefeated – now 8-0 – Philadelphia 76ers (where the C’s would travel on November 10).  As interesting as the Hawks were on the court, they were an even better story off of it.

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Patriots Set For London, Ray Allen Won’t Shut Up

The Patriots are in London this weekend to take on the St. Louis Rams on Sunday afternoon. (1pm EST) Jim Nantz and Phil Simms have the call for CBS.

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No easy fix for defense – If you’ve listened to sports radio this week, you’ve probably heard two themes from callers – “The secondary SUCKS” and “They need to blitz more!” Matt Chatham says that those themes “whiff on reality” and that things are much more complicated than that.

The Red Sox are piecing together John Farrell’s coaching staff, naming Torey Lovullo as Farrell’s bench coach.

This offseason is big from a player perspective as well.

Why this Red Sox offseason will be different: Uncertain contender status will impact roster building – Alex Speier looks at how this winter will be like none in recent memory.

Tim Lincecum could be worth gamble for Sox – Starting the hot stove season, John Tomase thinks a Lincecum for Jacoby Ellsbury swap might be worth taking a chance on.

The Celtics are prepping for their season opener next Tuesday night in Miami. Get all the coverage at

Ray plays down the rift – The former Celtics guard just won’t shut up, as now in an attempt at appeasing the fans, he says he’ll “always be a Celtic.” The story reveals that in addition to more money, the Celtics also offered Allen a no-trade clause in an effort to keep him here.

The Celtics Get Jet-Fueled – Grantland writer Amos Barshad has a look at the man who will be replacing Allen in many ways, Jason Terry, and the impact he has already had on his new teammates in the preseason.

TNT analyst Steve Kerr says Celtics are a long shot – Chad Finn’s media column has Kerr giving the Celtics an outside shot at making the finals, but doesn’t consider them a true contender. Finn also has a number of local media notes, including the absence of Greg Dickerson on CSNNE Celtics broadcasts in the preseason.

TNT’s Steve Kerr claims Celtics are biggest threat for Heat – Bill Doyle has more from Kerr.

Ray Allen jeopardizing his legacy with odd comments – My SB Nation Boston column looks at Ray Allen’s missteps with the media this offseason.

From The PFW Archives – A Look at CBS’ 50th Anniversary of NFL Coverage

This column originally appeared in the October 27th, 2009 edition of Patriots Football Weekly. Some minor updates/additions are in this version.

CBS Also Golden This Season

By Bruce Allen

When a couple celebrates their 50th wedding anniversary there is often a natural tendency to look back at the “glory days” of the past. In the case of the New England Patriots and CBS sports, you can actually make the case that the glory days are right now. Both entities are celebrating 50 years this season – the Patriots 50 years in existence, while CBS is celebrating 50 years of broadcasting the NFL. Both have come a long way from their early roots.

CBS broadcast their first NFL game way back in 1946, (NBC had broadcast an NFL game as early as 1939 but only had two affiliates at the time.) but it wasn’t until 1956 that CBS did their first full season of games. With the exception of a five year period in the mid-1990’s when they were outbid by FOX for the broadcast rights, CBS has carried each NFL season since 1956. Back in the early days, only each team’s road games were broadcast back to the home market. Home games were all blacked out, every single one, to protect the ticket sales in the home stadium.

During this long run, they’ve introduced many of the aspects of NFL broadcasts that we take for granted now, but that were truly innovative at the time. Think about watching a black and white game with just one or two cameras, no on-screen graphics to show you the score,  no clock for time remaining, no down and distance graphic or how many yards the QB has thrown for in this game. If you went to the kitchen and missed a play, or even turned your head, you missed it for good. It wouldn’t be shown again. There was no yellow first-down line, no play-clock counting down, and no switching to see what was happening in other games around the league.

Can you even imagine a football telecast without highlights? How about instant replay? CBS was the first to use videotape highlights back in 1958, and they invented Instant Reply in 1964, using it for their Orange Bowl broadcast, and then used it for the first time in an NFL game in September, 1965. Two months later, on Thanksgiving day 1965, CBS had the first-ever color broadcast of an NFL game.

Monday Night Football is associated with ABC and ESPN, but CBS actually had the first TV telecast of an NFL game on a Monday night. In 1966, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle began an experiment where one game each season was played on Monday night and televised. On October 31st, 1966, the St Louis Cardinals and Chicago Bears played a Monday night game on CBS. The league continued this for the next three seasons, with CBS doing a game in 1967 and NBC in 1968 and 1969 before launching the full-season slate of games on ABC in 1970.

Having invented Instant Replay, they then refined it in 1966 by introducing slow-motion instant replay, allowing viewers to see exactly what happened on any given play. By 1969, CBS and XEROX had teamed up to bring up-to-the-minute team and player stats to graphics superimposed over the TV picture. The following year, the Telestrator made its debut, and though its use has somewhat slowed in recent years, its hard to imagine football broadcasts without it.

Have you ever sat and marveled at a perfectly thrown spiral as the camera follows it down the field? You didn’t see that prior to 1978, except on NFL Films. That year, CBS introduced the “Action Track System” which allowed multi-image display of paths of moving objects during the broadcasts. The Telestrator was taken a step forward in 1982 when the CBS Chalkboard, which was developed specifically for John Madden, was introduced. Using a view from a camera high above the 50-yard-line that showed all 22 players on the field, Madden could diagram plays directly into the view.

Since CBS had broadcast their first game in 1946, and also had the first-ever color broadcast of an NFL game in 1965, it only makes sense that they also had the first ever High Definition (HDTV) broadcast of an NFL game which took place in 1998. In 2004, CBS integrated “Gametrax” information with real time updates of scores and statistics from all games around the league into their broadcasts. “Stattrax” provides continuous in-game player stat updates after every play.

All of these innovations add to the NFL game viewing experience, to the benefit of the home viewer.

CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus is understandably proud of his network’s history with the NFL. “When you look at the names that have been involved with the coverage of THE NFL ON CBS…going back to Chris Schenkel and Ray Scott, Jack Buck, Lindsey Nelson, Frank Gifford, Curt Gowdy, Jack Whitaker, Al Michaels, Vin Scully and Verne Lundquist.” He continued “That doesn’t even include the lineup that we have today with such people as Dick Enberg, Dan Dierdorf, JB (James Brown), Greg Gumbel, etc.  I firmly believe, and I think it is really a given, that when they were doing the NFL together there has never been a better team than Pat Summerall and John Madden on NFL football.”

Summerall and Madden first worked together on a CBS NFL broadcast in 1979, and were paired permanently in 1981. They remained together on CBS until the network lost the broadcast rights in 1993. (FOX immediately hired the duo to be their top NFL broadcast team.) Summerall had been with CBS since 1962, and recalled a production seminar he attended during his first year on the job: “I think that everybody who was at that meeting that day in 1962 has passed away…The Cowboys had just come into the League so there were 13 (teams) then…As I remember each team had its own set of announcers.  It was unlike it is today.  Of all those announcers that were in that room that day, I think I might be the only one still alive.”

For his part, Madden, even though he moved on to broadcast for FOX, ABC and NBC, has always felt a tug of loyalty to CBS “I love tradition and I love history.  This is kind of what it’s all about – CBS, NFL – that just brings back so many great memories of the foundation of the game.  That was my first job in television and they gave me an opportunity.  The people that give you your first opportunity, your first chance in anything, you always have a certain loyalty to them.”

So as you watch the Patriots wearing their throwback uniforms, celebrating their golden anniversary as a franchise, and remembering how far they’ve come from those early days over at Nickerson Field and Fenway Park, think too about how far we’ve come in being able to enjoy the games at home, on television, in the comfort of our own living rooms.

I’m just glad CBS isn’t using throwback cameras to broadcast the games.

Bird’s Rookie Year – Game Seven vs Rockets

Justin Barrasso will be perusing the box scores of the Boston Celtics during the Larry Bird years, starting with Bird’s rookie year in 1979-1980. We’ll be posting the box score as well as some commentary each game day as we re-visit the ’79-’80 season. Enjoy.

Celtics (4-2) vs. Rockets (2-3)
Wednesday, October 24

Having lost two straight, the Celtics continued their six game road trip in Houston.  The Rockets were wrapping up a three-game homestand, and earned Ws in the first two affairs against Indiana (who defeated the Celtics) and Atlanta.  Houston had a lot at stake: the chance to avenge their season-opening loss against the C’s, work their way to a .500 record for the first time this season (they would finish with one at 41-41), and improve their winning streak to three games.  Bill Fitch’s bunch, however, wouldn’t stand for a three-game losing streak of their own.  In fact, although the Celtics would drop two in a row on three different occasions during the regular season, they never allowed themselves to lose three in a row.

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John Farrell Impresses In Introduction, Now Has Plenty Of Work To Get To

The Red Sox formally introduced John Farrell as their 46th manager in team history yesterday, and if there was one takeaway from the day – including the press conference and the numerous on-air and print interviews Farrell did – it is that he couldn’t be more unlike his immediate predecessor.

Speaking of which, Bobby Valentine appeared on Costas Tonight on the NBC Sports Network to give his first extended interview since being fired by the Red Sox the day after the season ended. In the interview, Valentine was critical of one of the only players to actually defend him this season, David Ortiz, saying that the DH essentially quit on the team. Rob Bradford says that Valentine needs to check his facts on many things he said.

I had to laugh yesterday afternoon when Glenn Ordway, attempting to throw a wet blanket on any good feelings about the hire, stated that the fans all loved the hiring of Valentine last season and were excited after his introduction as well. I know Glenn doesn’t leave the comfort of his state of the art home theater all that much, but he couldn’t be more out of touch on that one. To his credit, Michael Holley jumped on the statement immediately, quipping that the hire was only popular in the Lucchino household.

Mike Mutnansky and Lou Merloni did a nice job with their interview with Farrell, which was the first on-air one after the press conference. They asked him about Terry Francona, and Farrell said that he had been in contact with his former boss, who gave him his “blessing” to take the job.

John Farrell has big plans for Red Sox – Peter Abraham has Farrell coming in knowing that there is work to be done.

When pressed, John Farrell has answers – Chad Finn looks at the responses Farrell gave to many questions yesterday, and how different it was from what we saw a year ago.

John Farrell quick to credit 1st big league manager – Steve Buckley looks at how the 1988 Indians were a breeding ground for future managers under Doc Edwards.

Farrell should be the fix Sox organization needs – Sean McAdam says that Farrell’s background as both a pitching coach and a farm director will help the Red Sox.

Common ground – Christopher Smith says that Farrell’s experience will make for a smooth relationship with the front office.

Tall task ahead for Farrell – Jon Couture says that Farrell will not matter if the quality of the players on the roster is not improved.

Red Sox looking for turnaround – Gordon Edes has the Red Sox thinking they can content in 2013, but realize they have a lot of work to do.

Experience should help John Farrell – John Tomase says that two years in Toronto, regardless of results, were a learning experience that Farrell can draw on.

Check all the Patriots coverage today at

Adam Pellerin, Jamie Erdahl to Join NESN as On-Air Anchor-Reporters – NESN announced two hires yesterday.

Bird’s Rookie Year – Game Six vs Spurs

Justin Barrasso will be perusing the box scores of the Boston Celtics during the Larry Bird years, starting with Bird’s rookie year in 1979-1980. The opportunity to reconnect with the Bird era is always fun, especially during his early years in the league. We’ll be posting the box score as well as some commentary each game day as we re-visit the ’79-’80 season. Enjoy.

Celtics (4-1) vs. Spurs (2-2)
Tuesday, October 23

The San Antonio Spurs, another hold-over from the ABA, transitioned more much successfully to the NBA than the Pacers.  A year removed from a 48-34 record and trip to the Eastern Conference Finals (they wouldn’t move to the West until 1982), the Spurs featured the explosive George Gervin, who averaged an incredible 33.1 points that season.

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