Archive for the ‘New England Patriots’ Category

Spike Lee’s Gratuitous Attack on the New England Patriots

August 26, 2008

I was out on 16th Street in Denver getting some quotes from Spike Lee when he used an analogy that stopped me in my tracks.

Lee, of whom I’m a major admirer, was trying to temper the excitement of Barack Obama supporters.

“I’d caution it’s not time for celebrating yet, dancing in the end zone like it’s a done deal,” Mr. Lee said.  “Let’s not be like the New England Patriots. What were they 18 and 0? They thought they’d make history, so they didn’t.” 

Ouch!

Here’s the full item at the New York Sun.

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Patriots v. Colts: Tom Curran’s Colossal Blunder

December 31, 2007

Tom Curran is an informative reporter and interesting football analyst for NBCSports.com. I’ve enjoyed the contributions of Curran, formerly of The Providence-Journal, to the discussion on WEEI. Having said that, Curran made arguments over the last few days that demonstrated that he may know sports but lacks a fundamental understanding of popular culture and the public mood.

Following the NFL’s announcement last week that it would televise the Patriots-Giants game on NBC and CBS, Curran took to the airwaves to minimize the implications of the move. Curran thundered at Pete Sheppard that speculation over the ratings for the game was overblown. He was vehement that the Saturday night game was “meaningless” and that much of the world outside of New England would ignore the contest. He criticized the myopia of New Englanders for thinking the game might be a happening outside our region.

I found this reasoning completely perplexing and entirely unconvincing. After all, hadn’t John Kerry, for once, demonstrated some keen political instincts in championing the right of those without the NFL Network to see the historic game, a fact noted by this blog. And hadn’t the NFL broken precedent, and presumably contract law, by simulcasting the game on two television networks. And, finally, hadn’t two television networks opted to show the game in the midst of a writers strike which has left broadcast television bereft of fresh product. None of this seemed to matter to Curran, who did appear to backtrack somewhat when he was interviewed yesterday on WEEI and said that much of the nation would change the station if the game became a blowout. He also attempted to mitigate his argument by stating that this was a “peripheral” discussion. Whatever that means.

Well, now the ratings are in, and we now know whether Curran was right. And, of course, he wasn’t. According to TV WEEK, the Patriots-Giants broadcast was the most-watched television program, not just of the NFL season, but the entire television season.

“The three-pronged multicast of the Patriots’ undefeated season Saturday night on CBS, NBC and the NFL Network scored as the most watched program of the current television season.The come-from-behind victory for the favored New England team over the New York Giants also became the most-watched NFL regular-season game since 1995, with an average of 34.5 million viewers tuning in to see the action.”

The only explanation I can come up with for the combination of Curran’s passion for his argument and the inanity of his position is that WEEI needed a straw man to Sheppard. Otherwise, it just doesn’t make any sense.The undefeated Patriots are a huge story this year. It won’t be one Patriots fans will like until the team wins its next three games, but the nation as a whole will watch to see if the club wins or loses.

Kerry Stands Up for Pats Fans

December 12, 2007

Patriot's logo

Senator Kerry entered the fray over the NFL Network’s broadcast of the December 29 game pitting The New England Patriots vs. The New York Giants. Under current rules only local fans who have access to WCVB and those few who subscribe to the NFL Network will be able to watch this potentially historic game at which the Pats could be the first team to ever finish the regular season with a perfect 16 – 0 record. This excludes all those Patriots fans who watch the team on other channels in Rhode Island, Vermont, etc.

Kerry wrote Roger Goodell, the NFL’s commissioner, asking to meet over the quandry. “Given the unique circumstances surrounding this game, we cannot allow proprietary interests to trump commercial interests and prevent an agreement from being reached in time to ensure the broadest possible level of viewership,” Kerry wrote. He also called the team’s “pursuit of a perfect season … an important financial boost for the NFL.”

Read it here.

Also, maybe I’ve got the Patriots on my mind, but doesn’t Kerry’s profile resemble the face in the team logo? Particularly the chin.

John Kerry

Giuliani in New Hampshire

November 26, 2007

I spent Sunday on the second day of Mayor Giuliani’s bus tour across New Hampshire. We were in Nashua, Hudson, Salem and Hampton. During one particularly surreal stretch, I was in the back of a pick-up truck riding in Salem’s Christmas Parade. It was odd to drive by kids expecting to see Old St. Nick only to find a bunch of reporters with note-books.

I give a lot of credit to David Broder, who also made the climb into the pick-up. When you see a guy like Broder on the Sunday morning shows, you have to realize there’s much, much more there than a guy who can talk about politics off-the-cuff. He has a deep knowledge of American politics. And he is still working it. All the reporters gave him a tremendous amount of respect. He deserves it.

As for Giuliani, he was energized.But it was a strange day. Like everybody in New Hampshire, he was heavily managed. But this has gone a bit too far. In 2000, Bush was criticized for his inaccessibility to the press, in contrast to John McCain, who gabbed with reporters constantly, but at least the then-Texas governor did at least one set-piece press conference or availability a day. Nowadays, few of the candidates, Democrats or Republicans, even do that.

At one point, the campaign even brought Paul Cellucci onto the bus to answer questions, an act that drew eye-rolls and groans from the press corps. Cellucci called Romney’s earlier anti-Giuliani tirade a “Mitt Fit,” which I found to be a pretty good line.To me, the substance of the day was Giuliani’s attempt to exploit the opening created by one of Mitt Romney’s judges freeing a convicted murder who went on to murder a couple in Washington State. Here’s my piece in the Sun.  The spectacle of Giuliani’s campaign bus blaring Christmas music as the mayor ran from sidewalk to sidewalk was the kind of color that makes the New Hampshire primary great. Also great was this quote from a spectator clad in a Veterans of Foreign Wars jacket, David Thompson about the Massachusetts judge. “I’m not in favor of that at all. These judges are too damn liberal.”  

Boston Red Sox: 2007 World Series Champions

October 29, 2007

Matthew West for The Boston Herald

Shortly after Jonathan Papelbon threw his last strike last night, I was startled by a series of loud noises. I rushed to my front porch to see bright fire works going off over Metropolitan Hill in Roslindale. Boston basked in the elation of the Red Sox’s second world championship in four years.

Now, three years removed from the first victory of the Red Sox in 86 years and five from the first Patriots Super Bowl championship ever, I’ve rethought that concept that became so intertwined with Red Sox Nation; that is, the notion of “The Curse of The Babe.”

In taking the very long view of Red Sox history, I’ve come to the conclusion that there was no curse at all.

It is true that the team lost the best years of productivity of Ted Williams, who gave up the best time of his professional life to serve his country. If not for the years he devoted to military service, the stacked Red Sox team of the 1940s would likely have won a World Series.

After that, the culprit has to be bad management. During the 1950s and much of the 1960s, the team was shamefully slow to seek out and play African American players. During the 1970s, the ownership bungled away a club that lives in my imagination as one of the best ever, Rice, Lynn, Fisk, Evans, Yaz. But not enough pitching.

More recently, the Yawkey ownership just didn’t have the chops or the smarts to build a modern club.

That changed with the current ownership group. And while they’ll be sure to make mistakes, at least they’re doing everything they can to operate at the top echelons of their game.

The competition with the uber-intense and professional Patriots organization will only drive the Sox to further heights. One reason Danny Ainge tried so hard to get Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen for The Boston Celtics is to remain relevant in a town whose sports teams are top notch.

No, it wasn’t a curse. And it isn’t a blessing today. It’s innovative leadership and sound management.

Belichick and Crisis Management

September 15, 2007

One huge error Coach Belichick has made in the press management of the videogate problem is his refusal to say anything whatsoever to the media about it. It’s one thing for Belichick to offer two prepared statements about the matter — one before NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to penalize the Patriots, one following — as he has. Generally, this method works. Belichick, however, has barely acknowledged his written statement during his press conferences. Typically, it is necessary for the principal, in this case Belichck, to get up before cameras and say or read the statement on camera; otherwise, t.v. reporters don’t have “sound” on the statement, which means, for the t.v. world, the statement doesn’t exist.

When a principal goes so far as to act with disdain about a prepared statement and announce that it’s time to “move on,” the effect is to render the meaning and the substance of that statement null and void. The story can’t be over because Belichick hasn’t acted with any regret or contrition whatsoever — despite the prepared statement.

The argument can be made about Belichik that he doesn’t care about his place in football history or his legacy. But we know this is not so. Despite refusing to ever say much to members of the daily press corps, Belichick was effusive with author David Halberstam. The only reason a source decides to sit down with the great Halberstam is a sense of history. Now, Belichick is tainted in this regard. And, sadly, Halberstam’s no longer around to comment on it.