No tomato cans this week. Or next.

Make no mistake, tonight’s game against the Houston Texans is a tough one, no matter how Dan Shaughnessy might try to reverse-jinx you into thinking it’s going to be a Patriots cakewalk.

Much of last week on the airwaves, well, at least on a couple of shows was spent figuring out how to argue that this game also means nothing, or if it means something, it’s only to the Texans. If the Patriots win, we learn nothing, because it is at home, the weather is bad, and the Texans are injured. If the Texans win, it validates their status as the greatest team of this generation. Or something like that.

Michael Gee had a nice take on this.

So what’s a commentator to do? I dunno. No city is ever short of commentators eager to shout “Rah!” for the home team, and Boston has its share. That’s demeaning as well as dull. Were I still professionally employed, I’d probably have focused on the new guys. Becoming part of an already successful football team is not an easy chore, and their stories might be of some interest to fans or even just plain folks.

I know what I wouldn’t do, though. I wouldn’t take what is a depressingly popular role among the commentariat — the pigskin concern troll. I would neither pick nits nor spend any time fretting over possible negative future events for the Pats as if I was one of those  anonymous “senior Democratic aides/officials/legislators” who’re always being quoted in “Politico.” That would be demeaning, dull AND ridiculous.

Pigskin concern troll. Plenty of those around.

Back to Shaughnessy for a moment. How does this:

We try to represent the interests of the fans. – Nov 1, 2012

Reconcile with this:

Patriots fans are the most confident, arrogant, thin-skinned fans in the entire world. – Today.

Seems like a conflict to me.  Or a lie.

Shaughnessy calling someone else arrogant and thin-skinned is probably the most ironic thing he has ever written.

The hype started early for this one, and you’ve probably already read all the good stuff written on this one tonight. If you missed any, you can catch up over at

Here’s one from today that’s a must read:

Texans’ turn at trying to roll with Patriots – Tom E Curran looks at the Texans taking their shot at breaking through to the big stage.

He also takes aim at media members such as Shaughnessy. This seems like a direct hit:

There’s a lazy tendency around here for media types to point out that the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl in eight seasons, as if that’s a damning fact.

In fact, Shaughnessy used that exact argument this morning.


That “stat” – like so much of what we in the media sadly offer our consumers – is devoid of context and thought, merely a ploy to agitate when we haven’t bothered to investigate.

The current Patriots are – along with the 80s and 90s 49ers, the 60s Packers, and the 70s Steelers – the most successful organization the NFL has seen.

And there is no end in sight, especially with their 35-year-old quarterback playing better with each passing season.

Surely Curran is outing himself as a Patriots fanboy here. But what is the real reason we don’t hear more about this stretch of success that the Patriots are enjoying? Curran has a theory on that, too.

Well, the formative years of Boston media members born before 1983 was spent watching mostly talented but flawed teams that would faceplant at crucial moments. That left us sitting on the ends of our beds, pimply-faced and wondering what might have been. It made us cynical, the kind of people who walk out on a clear, spring day, look at the sky and wonder when the meteor will hit.

Those born before 1960 are afflicted with a more virulent strain of miserable. They romanticize the 1967 Red Sox, a team that didn’t even win the friggin’ World Series, as the pinnacle of their sports-viewing lives. They remember a time when the teams they covered needed them because they were the only voice in town. Now, not so much.

They could only take so much success from one franchise before reverting to the hackneyed, sky-is-falling, “you don’t know what we know” storylines that get them to deadline and onto their next gig.

Let’s see, I identified call-outs of Shaughnessy, Steve Buckley and Ron Borges there. Speaking of those “storylines,” Curran next bit could be “ripped from the headlines.”

If the Patriots beat the Texans, the fossils will tell you it’s the outcome everyone expected anyway. If they lose, it’s comeuppance for the arrogant Patriots.

It’s neither. The Texans are trying to be successors to the Colts, the Steelers, the Ravens and the Chargers. We will find out tonight whether they may be worthy adversaries to the one AFC constant since 2001. The Patriots.

Well done.

A couple of media-related columns:

What was CBS thinking? – Kirk Minihane wonders why CBS decided to show us Steelers/Chargers instead of one of the games involving of the dynamic rookie quarterbacks in Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

Samantha Steele talks Ponder; NFL pregame shows talk tragedy, again – Richard Deitsch has his complete wrap of sports media commentary and news from the weekend and last week.


11 thoughts on “Another No-Win Game on Tap For Patriots

  1. Watching the Steelers/Chargers was bad. The worst part was that the end of the game (after the outcome had been decided) dragged on mercilessly. Am I correct that if it had ended, they could have switched to the end of another game? Instead, we had meaningless timeouts, and, worst of all, a useless 5 minute delay for the confusion after the failed on-side kick. For a second I thought the replacement refs were back out there.


  2. In a completely unrelated note, for the 20 minutes that I had Merloni and Minihane on in the car, they spent that time talking RedSox Hot Stove. Did anyone tell them there’s a semi important game tonight. No wonder the mid-day on EEI sucks.


  3. glad you didn’t link the stupid Jackie Mac column that heavily cited the 2005 Schaub start with the Falcons vs. Pats as evidence that he’ll carve them up.


  4. Did everyone see the media outrage after Pete Carroll left Russell Wilson in until 10:00 of the 3rd when the score was 45-0? (38-0 @ half) Me either. How did we lose to these guys again? AZ had more turnovers than first downs.

    Maybe the media is prepping themselves to become more of a college market via all of this “THEY DIDNT PLAY ANYONE ON THE SCHEDULE. THEY’RE ALL TOMATO CANS AND SUCKBAG TEAMS” outrage. I’ve never heard so much discussion of team schedules outside of radio in SEC Country and CFB markets.


    1. Did Wilson come out of the game with 10:00 left in the 3rd? That’s way earlier than Brady ever comes out, so I’m not sure if the comparison is fair. Even if you mean with 10:00 elapsed (i.e. 2:00 remaining) in the 3rd, that is earlier than Brady comes out so people aren’t hypocritical by criticizing one and not the other.


      1. He came out with 10:00 left/so 5 minutes gone in the 3rd.

        The game was over after the first quarter (21-0) with how they were playing.

        I was joking on it. Obviously, there was nobody talking about it I saw on the national side. The local AZ guys I managed to find could do nothing but cover their eyes, so not a peep there.


  5. I am completely pleased to see Shaughnessy locked behind The Globe’s paywall, continually. It must enrage him to no end, knowing that the only people capable of reading his drivel are the handful of people who ponied up the money to ‘buy’ The Globe’s online offering.


  6. In tomorrow’s paper, Shaughnessy and Borges team up to write a Peter King-style 7,000-word expose on why this win SUCKED, means NOTHING, and will ultimately cost us the Super Bowl.


  7. Can we get an update on all the things we don’t know/haven’t learned about the Patriots after this week’s win? Anyone?


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