Posted on: January 3, 2009 9:09 pm

Boston Fans: SMARTEN UP!

I live in New York, but for the holidays I went and stayed with my parents near Boston for a week. While I was driving around Massachusetts I got to listen to WEEI (which is a treat, because I only get ESPN radio in NY), but what I heard from most callers was very disapointing.

People were calling into the radio station talking about complete nonsense, which made me realize, "this is why sports fans from other cities hate us". Here are some of the things Boston sports fans were calling into WEEI to talk about that are absolutely ridiculous:


"Come on Theo and do something already!" - Why do the Red Sox need to do something just for the sake of doing something? What does he really need to do? The Sox made it to within a game of the World Series last year and he has all the same players as last year, plus a healthy Lowell and Ortiz. The only pressing issues were (1) signing a 4th starter, which he did signing Brad Penny, (2) sign a catcher, locking up Varitek is just a matter of time, and (3) maybe strengthening the bullpen, which he has done as well.

"We should trade everyone we have for Jake Peavy" - Why? So we can forfeit or future like the Yankees have been doing? Peavy would legitimately be the #4 starter on this team, and the Sox don't need a team full of All-stars. Just because the Sox have money doesn't mean they have to go nuts in the off-season.

"The Sox need to do something the improve the bottom of the lineup" - Come on people, Lowell, Lowrie, and Varitek are going to be just fine. We're talking about the WS MVP from 2007 and the guy who got the ALDS winning hit batting 7th and 8th, not too shabby. And if Varitek happens to struggle at the plate again, so what? What team has a really good #9 hitter?


"The Patriots got screwed out of the playoffs, the NFL should change their system" - Is there a rule that says an 11 win team is automatically in the playoffs? If the Patriots really deserved to get into the playoffs then they would have beaten a playoff team. "But the Chargers were only 8-8!" Yeah, and they beat the Pats. If Patriots had beaten the Bolts, Colts, Steelers, or Dolphins (twice) they would have been in. If you can't beat playoff teams, you don't deserve to be the in playoffs.

"Franchise Cassel and just piece together the rest of the team with whatever money is left over" - great plan...spend 1/3 of your total cap on a single position. The Patriots NEED help in the secondary, and if they franchise Cassel there is no money to bolster their defensive backfield.


"The Celtics have no shot of winning the championship with their current team make-up, the need Stephon Marbury" - Nobody NEEDS Stephon Marbury. This town just got rid of Manny Ramirez, now we want him right back. Unless the Celtics put a claus in his contract that reads, "if Stephon distrupts the team in any way he will be immediately cut" I don't want to see him. Do whatever it takes to get P.J. Brown out of retirement or start developing Patrick O'Bryant because we don't need a PG, we need a big man. ----Ps. If the Celtics sign Marbury, all you crazies would go nuts whenever Scalabrine touches the ball are going to start crying because guess whose playing time the little guy is going to steal....

I know there are very well educated Boston sports fans out there, because I see their posts on this site all the time (yes, I do see the dumb ones too). I just wish more people, who I have no choice but to be associated with, would do a little homework before running their mouths about things they don't understand.

Posted on: December 22, 2008 2:08 pm

The NFL hates the New England Patriots...

I honestly do not believe that the NFL has it out of the Patriots, but the schedule change they made earlier today, flexing the Dolphins vs. Jets game from 1:00 to 4:00, really hurts New England.

The thing that bothers me is that there had to have been someone involved with this move that said, "If we make this schedule change and the Patriots win at 1:00, then the Jets are eliminated and could just lie down and let the Dolphins win, but if we leave the game at 1:00 then all three teams will have something to play for" and therefore someone more important simply said, "whatever".

I'm trying to follow the advice so often given by Bill Belichick and only worry about what the Patriots can do, but it is so hard. These two ideas keep bouncing back and forth inside my head:

1) The Jets lie down and let the Dolphins cruise to victory. My first thought when I hear this is "Yep, that could happen". The Jets despise the Patriots and they would like nothing more than to bring New England down with them. Mangini and Belichick aren't exactly best buds and the Jets could get away with it because they have played so awfully recently that anyone could say that they gave it their all.

2) The Jets come out, play well, and win. I know if the Patriots win then the Jets have "nothing to play for", but I hate that line. You always have something to play for, even if you can't make the playoffs. Every single player on that team is fighting for a job, a bigger contract, or even tv time, and the only way to get those things is to play well. If Mangini goes out and loses his last four games, even if the last game was "meaningless", he could definitely be on the way out the door. I just don't see how the Jets players/coach could throw this game away.

I just hope after everything is said and done a flex-schedule change isn't what ultimately decides who goes to the playoffs in a winable AFC.

Posted on: December 1, 2008 2:51 pm

Patriots Playbook: Patriots Playoff Picture

Before Sunday's matchup against the Steelers there was a graphic flashed on the screen indicating the Matt Cassel, with his performance against the Dolphins 2 weeks ago, became only the 5th player ever to throw for 400 yards in back to back games. Of the other 4 QBs, the three relatively prolific ones, Dan Marino, Phil Simms, and Dan Fouts, went on to play well and win their next game while the relatively unknown player, Billy Volek, threw for only 111 yards in a losing effort.

Looking at those stats I wondered to myself, "Is Matt Cassel, at this point in his career, more like Marino or Volek?" Sadly, by the end of the game I got my answer.

I'm not saying that Cassel's four turnover performance in the Patriots' 33-10 drubing suffered at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers means he's going to end up a never-was like the Volek (now a backup in San Diego), but it does show that Cassel has a long road ahead of him. You can chalk this one up as a learning experience for the young QB who hadn't played a game in poor weather all season, and probably not ever in those conditions in his life, having grown up in California and playing (or sitting) his college ball at USC.

But the Patriots have larger problems than Matt Cassel's ability to play in New England weather, and that is their place in the standings. At 7-5, the Pats find themselves on the outside looking in in terms of the AFC playoff race.

Although New England appears to be only 1 game out of the playoffs behind the Colts, Ravens, and Jets, the Patriots are, for all intents and purposes, 2 games back. This is why:

Wild Card Playoffs: Colts own tie breaker (Head-to-head).  Even if the Pats win out and the Colts go 3-1 against Cincinnati, Detroit, Jacksonville, and Tennessee (which they probably will), the Pats will lose the first WC tie breaker. For the Pats to get in over the Colts, New England would have to go 4-0 and the Colts 2-2 down the stretch...unlikely.

Wild Card Playoffs: Baltimore owns tie breaker (Conference record). With 5 AFC loses (Pitt, Indy, NYJ, Miami, SD) the Pats would lose to the Ravens in the second Wild Card tie breaker (Ravens have only 3 AFC loses, their fourth being to the NYG).

There is an outside chance New England could steal the tiebreaker from the Ravens. Baltimore has one of the toughest schedules down the stretch playing host to Washington, Pittsburgh, and Jacksonville and travelling to Dallas. If the Pats can go 3-1 (only loss to Arizona), and Baltimore goes 2-2 (Losing to both the Steelers and Jags), the two teams would be forced to go to the 4th tie breaker which is Strength of victory (which is defined as combined winning percentage of the opponents a team has beaten). Although this would be close (neither the Pats nor Ravens have beaten any good teams), the Pats would probably pull this one out because they have wins over the Jets, Dophins, and Bills (all .500 or better) whereas the Ravens only have 1 victory over a winning team (Miami). If the Ravens lose to the Jags and Steelers, however, it is more likely they will lose to one of the two NFC East teams as well and the Pats can scoot by with a better record.

Since NFL rules stipulate Wild Card tiebreakers between divisional opponents will be decided by divisional tiebreaking rules, the following scenarios would playout in the event of a tie in the division or wild card between these teams:

Wild Card Playoffs/ Division Playoffs: Patriots own tie breaker (Divisional record). The Dolphins, with a record of 2-2 in the division would at this moment would lose a tie breaker to the Pats in either the division or wildcard because of New England's 3-2 AFC East mark. This could change, however, if the Pats go 3-1 the rest of the way with a loss to the Bills and Miami goes 3-1 with wins over both the Bills and Jets. If both teams were to win out and go 4-2 in the division, they would tie at 10-2 in common opponents, and the Patriots would again lose the in-conference tie breaker having 5 AFC loses and the Dolphins only 4.

Wild Card Playoffs/ Division Playoffs: Jets own tie breaker (Divisional record). Whereas the Pats are 3-2 in the division, the Jets are 3-1. If the Jets were to lose to either the Dolphins or Bills and the Pats win out, the Pats and Jets would be forced to go into the strength of victory tie-breaker, which the Jets would most likely win due to their W against Tennessee.

In short



The Patriots are going to be hard pressed to win tie breakers against any team they are currently in battle with for playoff spots. If they go 10-6, they will most likely not make the playoffs, and if they go 11-5 there is still no guarantee.
Posted on: November 25, 2008 3:17 pm

Patriots Playbook: Weird feelings for Matt Cassel

For all the females who are reading this in hopes of picking up some juicy insight on the total hunk that is Matt Cassel, I'm sorry, I'm not talking about that kind of feeling.

What I'm talking about is lack of fulfullment.

When I watch Cassel improve every game, move around in the pocket, throw on the run, rush for first downs, make tough throws, and win big games, I think, "Wow, look at this guy. He's young, he's got great talent, and he's a winner. I can't wait to watch him develope over the next 10 years and become a franchise quarterback!"

Then I remember that Cassel, assuming Brady's rehab continues as expected, will be wearing a different uniform next year.

It's unreasonable to believe that Cassel will remain as the backup with the Patriots when he could be making a projected $12+ million as a starter for one of the many QB desperate teams in the NFL...but you can believe that if his new team is on the Patriots' schedule next year there will be a large contingent of New Englanders who will be very nervous going into that match-up (including the Patriots' secondary).

So why is it that I feel cheated when I watch Cassel play? I compare watching the Pats' QB to watching a child grow up. You put all your effort and care into that child, encourage him to do his best even when other people might tell you he's not going to amount to much. Then, when he is finally turning into something you can really be proud of, he's taken away from you. Your child is given to new parents who benefit from the time you put into him and it's possible that he might make his family better than yours.

I guess what I'm saying is while I love watching Cassel play and excel the way he has been, that it's hard for me to put my whole heart into it because I know next year our baby is going to sign with a new family and leave us behind to watch him prosper elsewhere.

But, in the big picture, it's not so bad. We still have our oldest son Tom.

Posted on: November 9, 2008 11:45 am

NFL Predictions Week 10

Upset of the week: Lions 24 - Jaguars 20

The lions are not as bad as everyone thinks they are.

Everyone will tell you, "you're only as good as your record", but those people are the ones who don't know enough about sports to actually analyze the games to determine the actually ability of a team.

The Lions havn't lost a game by more than 8 points in their last 4 and they've had 4th quarter leads in 5 of their 8 games this season. At times their defense is suspect, but in their last 4 contests they've averaged 24 points against, which isn't exactly stellar, but is a managable number.

A lot of times all an offense needs is a little spark to get the points rolling and the signing of Daute Culpepper might just be what the Detroit Lions needed. I know, Daute Culpepper hasn't exactly been the quarterback the lead the Vikings to a 15-1 record, but then again look at the offenses he has played in since then; Miami and Oakland. Detroit has weapons on offense and Culpepper will have an opportunity to, ready for this? Lead the Detriot to a 4-4 record in their last 8 games.

After beating the Jags this weekend, Detriot will also post wins against the Vikings and Colts back to back weeks in December. Their 4th win will come on Thanksgiving, the upset of THE YEAR over Tennessee.

The 0-8 Detroit Lions will finish up the season 4-12.

The rest of my picks for week 10 are as follows:

Saints 27 - Falcons 30

Seahawks 13 - Dolphins 24

Bills 17 - Patriots 23

Rams 24 - Jets 31

Packers 27 - Vikings 24

Ravens 20 - Texans 27

Titans 26 - Bears 16

Panthers 31 - Raiders 17

Colts 24 - Steelers 30

Cheifs 27 - Chargers 42

Giants 24 - Eagles 21

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 6, 2008 6:44 pm
Edited on: November 6, 2008 6:46 pm

Happy with the Patriots' season

Tom Brady, the single most influential person in Boston sports, goes down in the first quarter of the first game of a highly anticipated NFL season and I am utterly pleased and overwhelmed with anticipation about New England Patriots football.

That's right, I am just as excited about this Patriots' squad as I was with last years' team at this point in the season and there are 3 reasons why:

It's exciting to watch regular season games again. Over the last few years it has be expected that the Patriots would win every game. You would sit down on Sunday and not wonder "will the Patriots win", but "how much will they win by". There was never a sense of accomplishment when they won, only dispointment when they lost. The joy of watching Patriots' regular season games was lost.

The fact that I can now cozzy up in my recliner and not lean back lazy boy style but balance tenderly on the edge of my seat while the Patriots fight for every victory (or suffer a well faught loss as it may be) is really satisfying. Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but watching an inferior version of last years Patriots is more fun...which brings me to my next reason for being excited about the 2008-09 Pats.

Matt Cassel is Solid. Is Matt Cassel going to be a pro-bowler? No. Will he lead the Patriots to the Superbowl? Probably not. But could he be a viable back up for the Patriots or starter somewhere else next year? Absolutely.

Patriots fans have been spoiled over the last half decade with Tom Brady at the helm to the point where solid tallent at the QB position isn't recognized. "He's no Tom Brady" I hear people say all the time. No kidding. Who is? But next year when Matt Cassel is starting somewhere else in the league (Detroit, Chicago, Kansas City, Minnesota) and possibly playing winning football I think people are going to realize that they gave him the shaft right off the bat here in Boston.

Finally, It's fun proving people wrong. I can' t tell you how many blogs and threads were ready to write off the Pats after the loss of Brady. The majority of people were saying they believed the Patriots would "be lucky" to win 4 or 5 games this season. Well, guess what, they have won 5 thus far and we are merely at the halfway point. If Jabbar Gaffney holds onto a gimme TD pass against the Colts last week they are staring 6-2 and sole possesion of first place in the AFC East right in the face.

I know some New England fans who would have sold their first born child to have the Patriots be in this situation halfway through the year after the loss of Brady. The best part about this season is that the Patriots havn't even come close to maximizing their potential. They are going to improve more over the second part of the season than any other team because they have a QB who is still learning the ropes, a RB corp which hasn't been healthy yet, and a very young secondary that gets better every week.

Watch out NFL, the Pats are on their way to playoffs, and once they're there, as they say, anything can happen.

Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or