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Before I get to Media Day, I want to discuss a couple of topics that took place on Monday. I previously wrote Bob Ryan had lost his fastball. Well, Bob stayed consistent when making a guest appearance on Mike Francesa’s radio show on Monday. When asked why Brady had struggled in recent playoff appearances, Bob stated that in his opinion, Brady’s arm strength had declined.
OK Bob, let me just ask what proof do you have to back up that claim? Brady threw for 5,000+ yards this year. It was one of the best seasons of his career. I don’t see a correlation between struggling against the league’s best defense and declining arm strength. It seems Bob is howling at the moon again, with no facts and no data to back up his claims.
Then, there was Monday night.
When I posted my column earlier in the night, I had made the foolish assumption that all the Spygate talk was done for the night. But anytime you get Michael Felger and Ron Borges together for a Belichick legacy question, there’s a 99% chance of Spygate coming up. Now, it’s nothing new to fans in this market that Ron Borges is one of the biggest Belichick haters in the media. We also are aware that Borges was suspended from the Boston Globe for plagiarism; he would later “retire” from the Globe. I wish he would retire from making guest appearances.
It seems Ron’s new passion is to make up lies or unsubstantiated claims about the Patriots organization. The first lie came about a month ago when he claimed out of the blue that Nick Caserio might not have declined the Colts GM interview. That in fact, Belichick might not have allowed Caserio to interview for the role. When pressed by Tom Curran, Borges had no answer or facts to back up that allegation. Felger just sat there smiling.
Monday night, Borges said that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell believed the Patriots had cheated in 2001. He then said that Goodell called Belichick a liar. So let’s be clear, Goodell said that Belichick had lied to him when he said he would apologize for the Spygate incident. But, Goodell never said that the Patriots cheated in 2001. He said this: “We were able to verify that there was no Rams walkthrough tape. No one asked him to tape the walkthrough. He’s not aware of anybody else who may have taped the walkthrough. He had not seen such a tape. He does not know of anybody who says there is a tape.” At that point Goodell ended the Spygate investigation. I can’t read Roger Goodell’s mind, but he never SAID the Patriots cheated in 2001.
So what was Borges talking about? Well he was letting his agenda get in the way of the facts. In other words, he lied. Gary Tanguay and Felger didn’t even try to dispute the lie. Either they were too ignorant to know it was a lie or were encouraging the controversy. Either way, is that journalism?
Moving on…Dennis and Callahan started the day off painting a bleak picture for the Patriots on Sunday. It was actually a nice change of pace from their usually over-confident stance on the team. Heath Evans was a great interview, especially when he gave detailed information about how the Patriots in Super Bowl 42 moved hotels the night before the game, and had extra practice in pads leading up to the big game. He also hinted that the Patriots might have come into the game a little too tight.
I didn’t listen to significant portions of the Toucher and Rich show, but I did see a lot of tweets from fans and listened to some sound bites myself later in the day. They seemed to spend a lot of time on their Media Day experience and had some very funny bits with Rob Gronkowski. The foolishness of Media Day really accentuates the comedic abilities of T&R and this week, they have been crushing it. It has been an excellent change of pace for listeners who don’t want to rehash the same topics all week.
There is also the interesting dynamic with WEEI and the Sports Hub being together at their first Media Day. There were constants jabs at WEEI from T&R and later Gresh and Zo on the air and through Twitter. This is a definite role reversal for WEEI, who is used to playing the role of bully on the playground with other local radio challengers.
Tony Massarotti started the “Felger and Mazz” show off with a conspiracy theory. They average about one conspiracy a show. Tuesday, it was that the Patriots were purposely broadcasting that Gronkowski was out of the walking boot. Mazz believes that this is all a rouse and that in fact Gronk is MORE hurt than the Patriots are letting on. Either way it doesn’t matter, the Giants are going to prepare as if he’s healthy as most teams do with injured players. We can all speculate on Gronk but we won’t know how hurt he is until 6:30 PM Sunday.
Rich Cimini, writing for ESPN New York, had a column speculating that Tom Brady was overrated. The title of the column was “the Brady Myth.” Wow, where to start. I have a couple of comments on this article. First, there is nothing wrong with questioning Tom Brady’s recent playoff history. He’s had a few clunkers.
Cimini, though, might not be the most objective person to write this column. He’s basically a Jet fanboy; picture Fred Smerlas writing for ESPN New York. He’s a constant basher of the Patriots, so his opinion on Tom Brady really loses credibility. Lately when people want to bash Brady, they bring up Montana. That’s fine, but really you should measure Brady against his peers. He’s playing in his 5th Super Bowl Sunday. That’s two more Super Bowls than Big Ben, three more than Peyton, four more than Brees.
There were also numerous foolish assertions by Cimini. Cimini listed out a bunch of uneven performances Brady had in his last 11 playoff games. He remarked that in two of those games (San Diego in 2006 and last week against Baltimore), that Brady was a fumble and dropped past from being 4-7 in his last 11 games instead of 6-5. Alright, Rich we’ll play you’re dumb game.
You realize in that San Diego game Brady had no running game, average tight ends, and Jabar Gaffney and Reche Caldwell at wide receiver. The Chargers were also 14-2 that year and the most talented team in the NFL. Brady did throw three interceptions, but late in the game he hit Caldwell down the sideline to set up the winning score. Cimini also brought up an interception he threw against the Colts the next week. Well, the Patriots got the ball back at their own 21, trailing by four with under a minute to go. Brady’s interception was more a desperation throw with twenty seconds on the clock than anything else. It’s a ludicrous example.
See, its morons like Cimini that make journalists look ignorant and biased. You can’t play the “if this doesn’t happen then blank” game. If Bengals defensive back Lewis Billups doesn’t drop that Montana pass in Super Bowl 23, the 49ers lose that game. If Norwood doesn’t miss that field goal, the Giants don’t beat the Bills and if David Tyree doesn’t catch the luckiest throw in NFL Super Bowl history, Tom Brady is 4-0 in Super Bowls, and the Patriots are the only team to go 19-0. So what the heck is Cimini talking about? You are what your record says you are. Brady is 6-5 in his last 11 playoff games and he’s the best quarterback of his era. Cimini doesn’t make a credible case as a journalist or a sports fan.
Finally, I thought it was great that Peyton Manning did what every little brother enjoys, and that is when their older brother overshadows their biggest moments. Manning in an interview with ESPN said he expected to play in 2012. This was right up there with A-Rod announcing he was opting out of his contract during the World Series.
Peyton, let your little brother have his moment. I know its killing you that he’s going for his second Super Bowl in your stadium, but don’t be a Marsha Brady. Let Eli have his moment and then you can have the media write stories about how you’re the most sought after free agent ever.
Lot of ridiculousness going around Indy and tomorrow is only Wednesday.