Thursday, October 30, 2014


The city of Boston lost a big part of its soul on Thursday. Thomas Menino, who
stayed in the mayor's chair longer than anyone in the storied political history of the
Old Towne, passed away after a bout with cancer.

When word spread of his not-so-sudden, but still suprising death, reaction across
the region was pretty much the same: "Awe, I loved mayor Menino, he was a great
man and was one of us." Menino loved Boston as much as it loved him.

With a lisp and a man who talked as if  he had hot marbles in his mouth, Menino
was perfectly imperfect. He was like the favorite uncle who didn't have to bring
presents to put a smile on your face. He laughed at himself just as easily as others
laughed at Menino's long and comical history of malapropism's. The former mayor
once described the shortage of parking in city, "an  Alcatraz around my neck." Menino
called former mayor John Collins "a man of great statue" instead of stature.

If any other politician had been the master of the malopropism's like Menino was,
Boston would've run him out of town quicker than you can say, "No-maaaaah," or
certainly never would've let him last as long as Menino did.

Boston is a tough, tough town, one  not interested in small talk or phoniness. It is
smart and sophisticated but also a shot-and-beer (or three) type of town that doesn't
take to outsiders too kindly and isn't impressed with button-upped politicians who
smile for all the cameras and say one thing, but do quite another.

Boston will see right through you and your agenda. What it saw in Menino
was a man who appeared to be a nice guy on the outside, but on the inside was tough
as nails. He fought for, and protected his city. He withstood the poisonous arrows
from his political opponents and lasted a mind-boggling five terms.. When he had
to get down and dirty, Menino did. He rolled up his sleeves and didn't always do
what was right for him, but most certainly right for the city.

But most of all, we loved Menino because he tried so hard to be a great fan of
Boston sports. That comes natural to pretty much everybody in the region who
seems to know every stat of every player whose ever put on a uniform of the Red Sox,
Celtics, Bruins, and Patriots. Most think they can coach better than Belichick, contsruct
a team more efficiently than Ainge, and preside over a franchise more impressively than

They wanted desperately for him to be this type of sports fan, the one who puts
everything on hold for its beloved teams and can't go to bed until they know
the final score and how many passes Tom Brady completed. They wanted him
to live and die with every win or every loss and Menino tried hard, oh, so very
hard to do that and they noticed.

Menino knew Boston sports, he just didn't know everything about them. But
he tried. He tried to pronounce the names of many of the stars of Boston, but
he just couldn't. He once mentioned Varitek when it should've been Vinitieri
and  blurted out Hondo when he was talking about Rondo. My gosh, he called
Wilfork, "Wilcock" and even botched the name of the Patriots tight end whom
everybody calls "Gronk". He once hoped the Red Sox would "win the World Cup."


But he tried. Menino tried really, really hard and Boston loved him for it.

All Boston could do was laugh at his malapropisms and love Menino even more. No,
he wasn't really one of them when it came to sports, but when it came to running the city,
he was a great mayor. And when it came to the game of life, Menino was a great man.

Rest in peace, Tom Menino. You were truly loved.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Peyton Manning has another NFL record and the sports world is celebrating his greatness
once again. By the time the quarterback of the Denver Broncos calls it quits, he's likely
to hold every individual passing mark in the record books.

I guess that's great and it'll make for one heckuva plaque under his bust in the Hall of
Fame, but for all those records, Manning has just one Super Bowl ring. Same goes for
Brett Favre, whom he just surpassed for the most touchdown passes in a career Sunday

For all their touchdown passes, completions, and yardage, Manning and Favre
have just two Super Bowl victories combined--or one fewer than Tom Brady has in his
career. For all their individual records  Manning and Favre can't come close to Brady
in the only thing that really matters when it's all said and done and that's winning.
And that is the only "record" that Brady is sure to retire with.

Brady's .773 winning percentage as a starting quarterback tops the lists of all those
who have played the position in NFL history. He has never been showered with the
offensive gifts that Manning or Favre had at their disposal and in many years, he's
had to throw to has been's, never heard of's, or never will be's. Despite having to work
with less, Brady has done more than Manning and Favre. His winning percentage
is far better that Favre's (.642) and Manning's (.699).

Bill Belichick has pretty much said, "here's what you have, now go make it work."
Brady has done that every year since 2001 when he became the team's starting
quarterback. For 11 straight years, the Patriots quarterback has led the team to 10 or
more wins. The team has been to five Super Bowls or the same number Manning
and Favre have teamed up to go to over a combined 38 seasons. Brady's done it in 13.

Brady holds the NFL record for quarterbacks with most playoff wins (18) while
Manning stands alone with the most losses in the playoffs with 12. Favre is just one
behind Manning with 11 playoff losses. Brady has two Super Bowl MVP's, or one
 more than Manning, Favre, and Dan Marino have combined. While Favre and Manning
have struggled in the big game, Brady has raised his game to another level when
it's mattered the most. He has nine touchdown passes to just two interceptions with
a QB rating of 92.2 while Manning has just three TD passes to four INT's and a passer
rating of 80.0

The sports world will shower Manning with praise all week, and rightfully so, he's
a tremendous quarterback who set a prestigious record. However, it's long been stated that
quarterbacks are measured by wins and Super Bowl victories. If that's the case, Manning
is just good, but not great. Brady fits in that category, well-ahead of the legends of
Manning and Favre.

Thursday, October 9, 2014



If Buck Showalter has been a tortured soul, it's certainly easy to understand why. He led
the New York Yankees into the playoffs in 1995, but was fired after losing to the Seattle
Mariners. Joe Torre took over the next season and promptly led the Yankees to four World
Series titles in the next five years.

Showalter was then hired to build the Arizona Diamondbacks from scratch. But after the
2000 season, Showalter was asked to walk away from the organization he had invested
countless hours caring for and raising from birth. The very next year, the Diamondbacks
beat the Yankees, Showalter's former team, to capture the World Series title. Ouch.

I'm sure the pain of watching not one, but two franchises win a total of five World Series
titles without him, was unbearable for Showalter. If you had invested as much time and
been as successful as Showalter had been with the Yankees and Diamondbacks and then
watched them reach the pinnacle of the sport without you, I'm sure there would have a
lot of sleepless nights and trips to the liquor cabinet.

It easily could've been Showalter, and not Joe Torre, who could've guided the Yankees
to all those World Series titles. If George Steinbrenner had not had his usually itchy
finger and pulled the trigger on firing his manager, Torre never would've made the
Hall of Fame nor had his number retired by the Yankees. We could very easily be
talking about Showalter in the same breath that people do with Torre. But it didn't
happen. I'm sure Buck has thought about that more than a million times.

Showalter had another stop in Texas, but that didn't work out so well, either. The
Rangers got to the World Series twice after he was fired, but they didn't win it.

Now, Showalter is on the brink of going to the World Series with his team, the Baltimore
Orioles. He has guided them to the ALCS with the same baseball acumen and drive he
showed with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Rangers, but now he's getting the chance
to finish the job. And that's a great thing.

Showalter has long been considered one of the best baseball minds in the game. He
is a great game strategist, knows how to handle a pitching staff, and motivate players.
His downfall in Arizona was that he was a taskmaster, a stickler for players wearing
their uniforms the right way, and playing the game the way it's supposed to be played.

However, the millionaire players in Arizona didn't want to be bothered with all that
and tuned Showalter out like a bad song in the clubhouse. It's much easier to fire 25
highly-paid ballplayers and owner Jerry Colangelo ushered Showalter out the door.

That didn't happen with Baltimore where Showalter got the chance to guide a solid
group of young players who had not yet reached superstar status. He had a team that
would listen instead of tuning them out. However, Showalter also listened to what he
heard from the players he had in Arizona and loosed the reigns a bit and wasn't the
taskmaster so much on the little things and gave the players a chance to be themselves.

After so many near misses and the pain of watching the Yankees and Diamondbacks
put rings on everybody's fingers but his, Showalter is getting the chance to finish the
job in Baltimore and be on top of the baseball world.

I'm not a fan of any team, but it would be a great story if Buck Showalter captured the
World Series title with the Baltimore Orioles doing it his way and to cover-up the bad
stench still lingering in the city still reeling from the Ray Rice scandal.

Go Buck.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Rude, arrogant, ornery, grumpy, classless, sore loser and a prick. Yep, Bill Belichick
has been called all those and a few other choice words over the years. The head coach
of the New England Patriots has also been referred to as a genius once or twice during
his brilliant career, but when it comes to handling the media, he can get ugly, real ugly.
And sometimes, that can be a beautiful thing.

During Wednesday's press conference the Hoodie emitted some serious repellant to
all those journalists who wanted to re-hash Monday night's massacre,  criticize Tom
Brady, and bury Belichick for giving his franchise quarterback a bunch of receivers
who are has been's, never heard of's, and never will be's.

Nearly every question he received was returned with nearly the same answer
accompanied with the emotion of a mortician.

"We're moving on to Cincinnati."

But Bill, do you think you have given Tom Brady enough offensive weapons to
work with?

"We're moving on to Cincinnati."

It was classic Belichick. Five questions about everything but Cincinnati were
answered with a "we're moving on to Cincinnati." Whether it's SpyGate or the
K.O. in K.C., nobody can stiff arm the media like the Hoodie and he knows it.
He takes as much pride in it as Jim Brown did when he bulldozed opponents
and the media during his amazing career with the Cleveland Browns.

In his 13-plus years in New England, very few members of the media have tried to
challenge Belichick and when they do, they  either get a "it is what it is" or like on
Wednesday, a "we're moving onto Cincinnati" which became the theme of not only
the day, but the week.

Belichick  has the personality of the Grinch after he loses and it's not much
better after a win. He just detests the media. It was that way in Cleveland and it
didn't change much when he got to New England. You get the feeling Belichick
would rather undergo eight hours of waterboarding torture than show up to talk
to the media. He hates it that much, but he certainly knows how to defuse and
use it to his advantage.

I covered the Patriots nearly every day for two years and it became common
knowledge that everything Belichick says in his press conference is received loud
and clear by his players and they usually repeat what the head coach says during
their sessions with the media.

I'm sure if you edited down every interview with the players Wednesday, you
could make quite an  entertaining reel titled, "We're moving on to Cincinnati."

Belichick doesn't care what the media or anyone else thinks. He doesn't care about
the nasty things people say about him. He doesn't care what the media writes about
him, either. He knows he's not getting paid or measured by how he acts with the
media. He doesn't care about popularity contests or "trending" on Twitter.

Belichick is almost always surly but he repels negativity better than any coach in
the game. He knows the way he acted and what he said on Wednesday will be fodder
for all the talk shows, columnists, and social media network. Everybody will be
talking about and criticizing him instead of Brady and the rest of his teammates.
He gave the media absolutely nothing to write and talk about but his surly demeanor
and uncooperative behavior.

That's just another stroke of his genius. There is a method to all of his madness.

Sure, you can talk about his bad draft picks and lack of  offensive weapons for his
franchise quarterbacks. He won't lose sleep over it. Neither should any Patriots fan.
As Bill Parcells famously said, "You are what your record says you are."

11 straight seasons with 10 or more wins, five Super Bowl appearances with three
victories, and a 51-13 record in the last four years. Now, what is wrong with Belichick

All this negativity around the Patriots and Tom Brady is quite comical. One loss and
the sky is falling all around New England. That's in Belichick's rearview mirror and he's
just making sure it's in the player's one, too.

After all, they're "moving on to to Cincinnati."


Everybody is dumping on Tom Brady after Monday night's massacre in Kansas City

Rodney Harrison says his former teammate 'looks scared to death' in the pocket.

Tedy Bruschi explains that Brady is 'no longer an elite quarterback.'

The sports talk radio experts who never threw a pass, played a down, or so much as
broke a sweat, say that Brady is a step slower and has lost some velocity off his fastball.

With everybody dumping on the Patriots quarterback this is starting to look like the Ice
Bucket Challenge all over again. It's like everybody is trying to outdo each other to see
how badly they can drench the golden boy quarterback with the near perfect life.

This is comical.

We really shouldn't be surprised at the attacks on Brady's performance should we? As
Derek Jeter was putting the final touches on a brilliant 20-year masterpiece, all the critics
and the sabrematicians tried to point out that Jeter was overrated and not worthy of
all the attention he was getting. 3,400 hits and five World Series rings is enough for me

When Peyton Manning retires it's inevitable that'll he'll get the same kind of treatment.
The critics will say for all his talent and records, he won only one single Super Bowl.

It's long been said that the media builds athletes up only to tear them down. They are
now obsessed with trying to dent Tom Brady's shining armor.

The three Super Bowl titles, two MVP's, and the best winning percentage among
quarterbacks are in the past now that Brady had one of the worst performances of his

Brady is 37-years old and according to the experts, he is declining right before our
very eyes. Oh, they're not exactly going out on a limb, since most athletes who reach
that age are not as good, not as fast, and not as durable as they once were.

My suggestion is from a page taken out of the book of Aaron Rodgers: R-E-L-A-X.
Packers Nation was on edge after the team started 1-2 and Rodgers was struggling.
The former NFL MVP then went out and torched the Chicago Bears for four touchdowns
and everything is right again in Green Bay.

I realize Brady is longer in the tooth than Rodgers who is still considered to be the
best quarterback in the league despite his slow start. But he is smart, resilient, and
still talented enough to get the job done.

He has always gotten the job done hasn't he? For some reason, Bill Belichick has
never surrounded Brady the same way the Colts and Broncos comforted Manning
with great receivers. yet Brady has always excelled with never heard of's, has been's,
and never will be's. It's nothing short of remarkable, really.

Brady has made Belichick, Josh McDaniels, Bill O'Brien, and Charlie Weis not only
look good, but very, very rich. Brady's also helped Robert Kraft increase the value
of his franchise to over two billion dollars. Yeah, Brady has been that good working
with very little.

Patriots fans should remember that and shouldn't forget how Brady ALWAYS
bounced back from un-Brady-like performances. He is focused, driven, and a man
of tremendous pride. The fire inside of his still burns brightly and one terrible game
won't define him this year. Most of all, he is a great, great leader and that shouldn't
be underestimated.

Manning's had terrible games, too. So did Elway, Montana, Marino, and Bradshaw.
It happens. This is just a blip in Brady's Hall of Fame career. It was a nightmare
game for Brady and the Patriots, but it is just one game.

So, to the Patriots nation and all the experts, do what Aaron Rodgers told everyone
to do: R-E-L-A-X. After all the Patriots quarterback is still Tom Brady and as you
will see on Sunday night against Cincinnati, that will still mean something.