A few thoughts and observations from last night and the last week or so.

Games like last night are always so much fun. Whenever I see prediction sets like this:

and this:

and this:

I have to smile. I bring these up, not because of any perceived “disrespect” being handed out, but because it’s fun to see unanimity  of opinion be unanimously wrong.

If people haven’t figured out that Bill Belichick-coached teams thrive under these conditions, I don’t know what they’ve been watching for the last 15 years.

You look at those and you can understand why Julian Edelman feels underdog role is a media creation.

Bob Costas did a nice job at halftime on Thursday night eviscerating Roger Goodell and the NFL for their handling of deflategate.

NBC must’ve gotten a nasty call from the league offices, because they immediately lined up a softball interview with Matt Lauer that will air on Wednesday.

In the interview Goodell maintains that he is “100 percent certain that he got Deflategate right” and proudly touts his “independent investigation.”

Then on last night’s broadcast, when it came time for Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth to discuss Brady’s suspension and the “end” of deflategate, these were pretty much their comments summing up the affair:

Michaels: It was boring.

Collinsworth: It was bad for the league. And you know, I think it might’ve been as much about the commissioner having sole authority over disciplinary matters.

And then they waved to Brady on TV, laughed and moved on.

Very careful not to say anything negative about Goodell, the Dear Leader.

Belichick mismanaged the clock, the offensive line sucked, Bennett is a lazy dog!

Judging by Twitter, those were the hottakes coming out of the CSNNE studios following the game last night.

I’m glad I didn’t switch over to see for myself.

Despite the win, it might be a good time to largely avoid sports talk radio as well. (Of course, when isn’t a good time to avoid it?)

Here are a few of the top links covering last night:


Rewarding Patriots’ victory a strong reflection on Bill Belichick – Mike Reiss

What got Jimmy Garoppolo going before vintage Patriots victory: smelling salts – Dan Wetzel.

Sorry, Patriots Haters, but Jimmy Garoppolo Is Going to Make You Miserable Again – Mike Freeman

In debut, Patriots thrive in rare underdog role – Karen Guregian

The Red Sox took two out of three in Toronto this weekend, including a wild one yesterday.

Red Sox on verge of worst-to-first repeat – Evan Drellich

Powered by David Ortiz, Red Sox pad AL East lead – Peter Abraham


42 thoughts on “Just Like Old Times

  1. I think Bruce made a big distinction that most people don’t get: it’s not about disrespect but accountability. Patriots coaches and players are held accountable for winning and losing every week, in addition to other ridiculous issues (like not being nice to the media, not having a f’in sticker on their helmet, body language) that are constantly harped on by the media and too many fans. Not to mention trumped up or genuinely bogus “-gates” for which the team and players have paid a steep price. And yet many in the media are consistently and spectacularly wrong on a regular basis. Not only is there very little accountability (outside of this site and some voices in the twitter wilderness) but very rarely do these pundits ever even admit that they got it so spectacularly wrong. They just move on to the next (equally insipid) hot take. I understand why that lack of accountability must really piss off Belichick, Brady and any rational fan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To illustrate your point: John Tomase and Ron Borges still have jobs at major Boston media outlets. Only in the media (or maybe in politics….maybe), can people like that continue to find high-end work.


      1. At least in politics, there’s usually a very public apology – and the initial fall is generally for a personal foible (sex scandal) as opposed to direct job f-ups like plagiarism or fabulism. And ultimately politicians still need to get votes and win elections, which means they are (at least technically) accountable to the voters.


        1. Very true.

          Tomase, IIRC, didn’t really “apologize” for the fake walkthrough story. He just did a sort of mea culpa. A kind of “oops, my bad; I got the story wrong.” And his newspaper published the “Sorry Pats!” headline on his behalf.

          Borges, of course, remains completely defiant about the fact that he did commit an obvious act of plagiarism, and still claims he “got screwed” by The Globe when they let him go.


          1. The sourcing on this is dubious (Tanguay said it), but Borges apparently believes the Patriots had something to do with him being caught plagiarizing. It’s basically a story from the crazy guy on the corner, but Borges is also irrational enough about the Patriots for it to be true.

            Something that’s bothered me about Tomase’s apology is that he never wrote anything close to “I’m sorry” in the Herald’s “we messed up” edition. He explained what happened and why he did what he did, but he never said he was sorry for doing it. When readers pointed this out, Tomase wrote an actual apology, but it only appeared in his blog at the paper, never in print. If you try and find that post now, it’s basically inaccessible.


    2. I agree as well that hiding behind “these opinions are what we’re paid to put out there — right or wrong” is a totally bogus way to conduct yourself in sports media. Taking that stance shows how obvious the intention of the talking heads, twitter trolls, and print hacks is. There is barely any legitimacy to what they do. It’s all about the entertainment aspect. How can we get people to listen/read and react. That’s the goal. Having no accountability makes it easy to spend 4+ hours making mountains out of mole hills and then less than thirty seconds the next day saying, “yep, we got that wrong, but what about…” and off we go again. It’s a joke.


    1. Been that way for years. Mostly due to largely negative feelings throughout the league towards the Pats. It is a national broadcast. Arguably the only Household name on the team not “generally aware of cheating” is Gronk, so if he wasn’t available they would have no Patriots.


  2. I can’t believe the number of people who seriously think that after one game the Patriots should trade Tom Brady. I really can’t believe it. Every time I turned on the radio over the last few days there’s some dolt talking about getting rid of the greatest QB in history. It’s mind blowing. There have been QB’s that have put together great season’s and then fallen off the face of the earth, Colin Kappernick for example, never mind ONE GAME. Holy cow, it really is telling about how many Johnny Come Lately’ s are fans of the Pats. These must be the imbeciles that other teams fans complain about. Most Pats fans that I know are knowledgeable and reasonable so I never understand when other fans say that they can’t stand Pats fans.
    Just a heads up for anyone that thinks that trading Tom Brady is a good idea, keep that opinion to yourself. Because if you say it in front of people they will know you’re a complete fool. I can’t imagine too many people that come here need that disclaimer as most of us are impervious to hot takez, but let’s just call it a friendly reminder.


    1. Heard the same.

      It made me think about what might really happen.

      What happens when 12 isn’t 12 anymore? There will be a day when this is reality.

      He’s told (Jim Gray, I think), that he’d retire. I think he would. I can’t see Brady trying to Favre it. He’s got way too much going and could easily continue to make millions just on commercials/endorsements. Maybe he gets an ambassador role with something the Patriots/Krafts do.

      However, that decision is usually BB’s, right? What if BB approaches Bob and Jonathan with that,

      If it’s after his prime and all of the above have a little sitdown, he can gracefully retire. But, what if it’s before this? And, BB approaches the Krafts with his usual, “You know how I fleece dumbass GMs for 1st round picks 1-2 years before guys are done?”

      What if they said, “you let him play until he says he’s done” ? And, this is regardless of how Jimmy G does the next few games.

      I’ve heard before that BB wants to prove to the league he can “do it” without Brady. It’s nothing against him but his own personal legacy.

      That’s where I saw some potential fireworks. I have no clue how it will play out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s an interesting angle and if Belichick has plans to stick around another 10 years or so then I could see him tossing that idea out there. I don’t see it happening until after ’18 though because he has been pretty adamant about Brady being the starter after the suspension is up. If the competition was close right now I don’t think BB would be that adamant.

        But let’s say BB has long term plans to keep coaching. And this would mean he would reach the Marv Levy age which he said he would never do. Assuming TB slows and Jimmy G. progresses a possible time to pull that trigger would be when Jimmy is a FA after the ’18 season. TB will have 2 years left on his deal and if BB felt he could get another 2 years out of TB and then another 8 years or so of top 12 qb’ing from Jimmy G maybe he will be able to sneak in another 2 SB’s wins out of it. Let’s face it, Jimmy doesn’t have to play at the TB goat level to give BB a shot at a couple more titles. Jimmy would be age 26 through 33 during this time as well. Kind of similar to what Rodgers was when Favre left GB.

        I am sure if Brady is playing good, but not at his normal goat level, BB should be able to get a deal similar to what the Cowboys got for Herschel Walker from a good team trying to push themselves over the hump.

        Disclaimer: This is all hypothetical and I have no desire to see Tom Brady be traded. I think it is a stupid idea simply because he is still a top 5 QB in the league and showing no signs of slowing down.


    2. I heard some of the same rumblings back in 2008 when Brady was rehabbing his major knee injury and Cassel was playing better than expected while the team finished 11-5. I’m sure the chorus is louder this time since Brady is 39 now, not 31, and Garoppolo appears to be a better prospect than Cassel, who, we should all remember, did make the Pro Bowl his first year in KC before he turned back into a pumpkin.

      Still, it really is amazing how some people fail to appreciate what they have here in this BB/Brady era. That includes the constant, constant, constant hammering of BB “the GM,” who apparently has been “killing BB the coach” for years now, despite the fact that the team’s default expectation every single season is at least an appearance in the conference title game.

      I like what I see in Garoppolo, but now is not the time to bail on Brady. He’s got too much good football left in him, and if the team finishes at least 3-1 during the suspension, and if Garoppolo’s passer rating is 90 or better after those four games, BB will be able to sell high — probably very high — next offseason.

      As an added bonus, if BB is able to flip Garoppolo for at least one first rounder, the “other 31” and their red-headed puppet will be so pi$$ed off they won’t even be able to see straight.

      How great would that be?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. To those who think BB feels he has to ‘prove/do it’ without Brady, are you kidding me? Unplug the headsets from your transistor radios. If the HC/Ass’t Coach at Hopkins or Navy lax became available he’d take it in a heartbeat.

    There is nothing to ‘prove’ football wise anymore gentlemen.


    1. I’m not on Twitter, but sometimes I “lurk” and read the Twitter feeds of some of the locals who interact with the anti-Patriots trolls out there. Just the other day there was some guy trolling with the well-worn line: “Belichick sucked in Cleveland without Brady.”


      First of all, BB’s record in Cleveland wasn’t nearly as bad as people make it out to be. He took over a God-awful, aging team coming off a 3-13 season and had to almost completely gut and rebuild the roster from scratch. They were respectable almost immediately (remember that free agency didn’t begin, really, until about three years into BB’s 5-year tenure there, so he had to rebuild with “Plan B” free agents and draft picks only in those first couple of years). By 1994 they were 11-5 and in the playoffs. Heading into ’95, half the sportswriters in the country were picking the Browns to go to the Super Bowl, and they started off 3-1 that season (could have been 4-0, but they had lost their opener at Foxboro in the final minute of the game).

      For sure, things didn’t go as well as expected that season, and then everything completely collapsed after Modell announced the move to Baltimore in early November. However, if we accept the troll’s argument that “Belichick sucked in Cleveland without Brady,” that doesn’t explain why, including last Sunday’s win, he’s 12-5 without Brady since Bernard Pollard went knee-diving in 2008.

      Moreover, the “he sucked in Cleveland” crowd never, ever wants to acknowledge the fact that BB himself has said he made a lot of mistakes in Cleveland, and that he learned from them and tried to correct those errors when he got his second chance as a HC here in New England. Would those people prefer a guy like Rex Ryan, who never freakin’ learns any lessons? He’s done things the same way in Buffalo as he did with the Jets, with much worse results this time around, because shtick like Ryan’s has a very, very short shelf life (turns out it has a half-life of two AFC title game appearances and then it burns out, quickly).

      The willful ignorance of some people out there is nearly impossible to fathom sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It certainly looks like BB fleeced the Jets with his trade of Revis. Revis’ performance/skills have deceased demonstrably in two years.


      2. Assessing Belichick’s performance in Cleveland requires a little more nuance than the “it was awful/it was the best” judgements that are so common among fans and media. Considering how bad the Browns were when he took over (The roster that had brought Cleveland to the AFCCG twice under Schottenheimer was basically used up by Bud Carson’s 2 nod year), Belichick should get credit for turning that team from pathetic to respectable. Overall, his tenure there has to be looked at as a disappointment because he wasn’t able to build a consistent contender, but it can’t be dismissed as terrible and there are some extenuating circumstances, like the move that played a role in his dismissal.

        You mentioned how important the draft was at that time because the current free agency system was a couple years away when Belichick was hired. When he took over, the Browns had the #2 pick in the draft, but it was a bad year for drafting QBs. The 1st QB taken was Dan McGwire (Mark’s brother.) Todd Marinovich also went in the first round. Favre was drafted that year, but he was traded away by his original team. My point is, this wasn’t a Bledsoe/Mirer, Luck/Griffin draft where if you get the right guy, your team has a franchise player at a key position for a decade. Belichick had to go with a declining Kosar and then turned to Testaverde. In the early 90s, Testaverde was a punchline. The reason he’s regarded as having a solid career now is the work he put in in Cleveland, then Baltimore and NY.

        Put another way, imagine how different Parcells’ rebuilding job in New England would have looked if there weren’t any QBs to take at #1* when he took over. It seems like the same members of the NE media who want Parcells in the team HOF are the same ones who think Belichick sucked in Cleveland

        *If that was the case, I imagine Parcells would have passed on the job.


        1. I totally agree.

          For all of the credit Jimmy Johnson gets for creating a dynasty in Dallas out of the ashes of those disastrous final few Tom Landry years, does any of that happen if he’s not holding the #1 overall pick in 1989, and a guy named Aikman happens to be available? Herschel Walker trade or no Herschel Walker trade, those Dallas teams don’t win if they’re not able to draft Aikman 1st overall in Johnson’s initial draft as coach/GM.

          Belichick’s Cleveland tenure was a disappointment. You miss the playoffs 4 out of your 5 years, and top it off with a 5-11 record, then yes, you were a disappointment. But, as I said earlier, and as you confirmed, the 1990 Browns were an awful, old team that was a shadow of the team they had been during the Schottenheimer years. BB had a huge rebuilding job to do, and he didn’t have the luxury of free agency to help speed up the process.

          Also, BB learned from his mistakes in Cleveland and he corrected them after he got to Foxboro. This is something his detractors never acknowledge. OK, yes, his Cleveland years weren’t great, and he “sucked without Brady in Cleveland.” But, he’s also been a different guy in New England, who has taken a different approach to things. That’s called personal growth, something guys like Ryan and Jeff Fisher, for example, have never exhibited in all of their combined years as NFL head coaches (and it’s why they have just 1 Super Bowl appearance between the two of them).


          1. I think we can all agree that BB’s reconstruction job in NE is at least one of the top two or three rebuilding jobs in NFL history. Unlike, say, the Cowboys, NE was a lousy franchise that had been to a few championship games and usually lost ignominously. Out here in the Berkshires, we have an “Old Pats” fan club where we sit around and sometimes talk about the good old days. Which, in reality, were the bad old days.


    2. Belichick didn’t trade Revis to the Jets. The Jets signed him to a large contract after Woody Johnson tampered with the free agency process.


      1. Correct, my point was there was no aggressive campaign to match the Jets offer b/c BB knew of his declining abilities.


  4. Mazz continues to be such a douche bag. Tonight on his show while taking about Hanley’s revival this season – particularly his hustle and good citizenship – he went out of his way to credit everyone from ownership to Cherington to Dombrowski to Ortiz. Everyone aside from Farrell, who is most accountable for the team’s on-field performance. He’s obviously trolling when he does stuff like that, or maybe not. In either case he comes across as knowing very little about the game. On top of being a douche bag.


  5. This morning at 7:10 I tried to listen to the new Kirk and Callahan show. It was 20 minutes of Kirk shrieking about how Red Sox fans are not as passionate as Patriot fans. Scintillating radio. Because nothing says morning drive like having the host lecture me the listener as if I am a 10 year little league player not making enough infield chatter (as an aside that seems to be a lost art). I would say it was the worst radio I have subjected myself to in a while except WEEI keeps finding reasons to put Gary Tanguay on the air. Say what you want about John Dennis…and he certainly had his moments…at least his indignation came from some real spot. Further, he moved the show along at a good pace, no one was better with the tease or getting in and out of breaks. This show is almost as unlistenable as the old Planet Mikey clusterfu$k.

    With Dennis’ “retirement” WEEI had a chance to make a clean break and start over in the morning. They could have gone to a straight sports show. Instead they decided to go to a younger skewing more “zany” format. I’ll listen to news.


    1. I agree. For years I hated D&C then they brought in Kirk and I would check it out from time to time. Then after the PSI debacle they were a must listen (unless Tanguay was in) for months. It seems like they want to have controversy and fighting all the time now. When it’s real and spontaneous it does make for great radio. But when it’s planned and fake you can tell and it sounds like crap. And that’s what I’ve been hearing from them a lot more lately, crap. And I love the new attack where they call guys who want to talk sports “Sporty McKenzie.” Um, just a quick heads up there killer you’re on a sports radio channel. Try not to be too upset when people want to talk sports. If they were on RKO and people kept wanting to talk sports I could see it being bothersome, but not on EEI. I don’t get this whole if I’m not yelling at someone it’s boring radio. It almost seems like no matter who the third host ends up being, the show is going in a direction that is interesting me less and less.


      1. Speaking of the PSI debacle, it appears the “scientists” affiliated with Exponent have finally broken their silence and are out there trying to convince everyone that they “got it right” in the Wells Report.

        It’s a hilarious read.

        I wonder if anyone asked them about the second-hand smoke study that Exponent conducted, too?

        Of course, it’s a NY Times piece, the same paper that employed Walter Duranty, another “Pulitzer Prize winner” (just like Donny Van Natta!) who had a problem with the truth but got a big shiny journalism award anyway.

        Hope the link works.


        1. Wish I saw this before. You beat me by 15 minutes on the link.

          I’m amazed that this would be the publication to ‘publish’ this PR/op-ed. You usually find that rag being the one destroying organizations like Exponent, no? I’m wondering what’s going on.


          1. Hey, it’s still a good day for sports media watchers: the intolerable Bart Hubbach has deleted his Twitter account after taking his Pats trolling too far. I’m sure you’ve heard the story by now. If not, check out the Twitters feeds of some of locals (Bruce, Jerry Thornton, Katie Nolan, especially)

            Good stuff.


          2. Tony,

            I can’t reply to your comment directly, since it’s too far down in the thread, but I did.

            They talked about it a bit this morning on M+C. Minihan said (seems like he was told) his employer told Hubbuch to delete his account. They said nobody was picking up in the sports department and his cell phone number was also disconnected. No official word on the suspension or if he’s gone, but who knows.


        2. Bad science is still bad science. Exponent has been discredited. NYT fluff piece will not change that…neither will Roger sticking to his guns. I have spent too much time and energy on this topic. The FFL found a way to make me not care about their product any more. The Kaepernick mess just reinforces…I will watch Pats games if I am home and they are on…I no longer make any effort nor do I fight with my wife about my daughter’s dance and gymnastics schedule any more.


          1. The only non-Patriots NFL games I’ve even tuned into, briefly, since DEFAME-GATE, were the playoff games last year (AFC only), because I wanted to see who the Pats were playing next, and WHERE they were playing them, in the case of the Denver/Pittsburgh divisional matchup last year.

            That’s it.

            I will not watch a single second of a non-Patriots regular season game this year, that’s for sure. I might tune in to an AFC playoff game not involving New England, just to see who and where the Pats are playing next.

            If Super Bowl 51 does not include the Patriots, I’m out, just like I was out for SB 50 last year.

            That league can go eff itself, as far as I’m concerned. Goody has turned it into a complete joke — and yes, I’m aware he’s just doing the owners’ bidding, but so was Tagliabue, and I don’t remember the league being the public embarrassment back then that it is today.


          2. Likewise. I wanted DG to be dead. Done with it.

            Some folks around here already discovered the lead scientist is a big Giants fan–take that for whatever you want it to be, but they also comment about not wanting to use anyone from their Boston office due to ‘bias’.

            Still surprised that it was the Times who let this be published, but I really shouldn’t be. Every outfit will endorse ‘science’ if it fits an agenda.


      2. I am in the minority in that I always like the D&C show. It appealed to me much more than Toucher and Rich. I thought and still think the logical replacement for John Dennis had been Kurt Schilling. Having said that…you are right…the new show is contrived. If every topic devolves to “no one cares” radio because Minihane is bored then why bother. Its not good radio. At least with John Dennis there was a modicum of professionalism (perhaps it was just his dulcet tones) that made me think radio. I did not love it when the show became inside baseball, or we were forced to deal with John’s demons but when he was on he was a good interviewer and I still maintain one of the best at pacing a show. Now its a shriek fest. Who wants that. I don’t particularly like Minihane and I really hate him in this holier than god role. Like I said…more time to listen to the news.


        1. Just so we’re clear I am certainly not a T&R guy. I actually think Rich is very talented and a funny guy, but I could never get past Fred. He is the worst.

          But like you I have my podcasts to get me through. Sad that Jeff Howe’s podcast got interrupted, but he says he will be back soon on something else. Looking forward to it.


  6. The NYTimes is now letting companies like Exponent basically pen op-eds funneled through ‘journalists’ ? They’re usually the ones who are always against orgs/etc like this. They must be hurting for NFL access, or something.


  7. About the Bart Hubbach thing (can’t reply to the older posts, so I’m starting a new one)…..the scary, or most pathetic part about his trolling of Pats’ fans is that he’s not a young man. We’re talking about a guy who I think is in his mid-50s or so. He’s not some fresh-faced grad straight out of J-school who landed a high-profile gig covering the NY sports scene, but who still drives down to the Jersey Shore every weekend in the summer to drink, scope out chicks, and do bong hits with his college buddies.

    Hubbach is (allegedly) a grown man who is about a decade or so shy of retirement age.

    His immature Twitter behavior is even creepier when you consider that fact.


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