Wednesday, January 30, 2008

2001 Pats List (5-1)

Back to the Pats list. Let's finish this thing off strong. Scroll down the page if you missed Part 1, or check the archives.

5) Kevin Faulk
You really cannot appreciate Kevin Faulk unless you have truly followed the Pats for a while. Whenever I try and find a comparable player in either football or other sports I always find myself going back to Derek Fisher of the Lakers. I'd say Robert Horry, but that is too obvious. I say Fisher because on the great Kobe-Shaq Laker teams I'd argue that he was their greatest secret weapon. It just seemed that whenever they needed a back-breaking three to either put a game away or cap a furious in-game run it was Fisher that was nailing the shot right before the home crowd exploded and the camera panned to the opponents' coach standing on the sidelines with a "What the F just happened look" and signaling for a timeout. Isn't that exactly what Faulk does? Whether it's picking up a clutch first down, energizing the running game - which he did against both Pittsburgh and Philly in the 2005 playoffs -, or even picking up a blitz and then sneaking out to catch a screen pass, Faulk always seems to make the plays when they are absolutely the most needed and you always find yourself saying after a big game, "Man, how clutch was Faulk?!".

3 notes to further my case:


A) I was thinking about posting this before the AFC Championship Game but I thought that that would be a bit premature. And I knew Faulk would do a few huge things and I wanted to properly take those into account. True story BTW.

B) Ask Matt Burke, the "Direct Snap to Kevin Faulk" play is my pet-play. It was the one cheesy trick play that Charlie Weiss used to call all the time to pick up some tough first downs that consistently worked. Whenever the Pats are in a clutch short yardage situation I always call for it - including during the SD game last year when they needed that two point conversion - and when they actually do do it, I feel somehow vindicated and proud. It's kind of creepy actually. I'm like a little league dad about that play.

c) There is a 100% chance that this play will happen in the Super Bowl. Mark my words.

4) Troy Brown
We are talking about my all time favorite Patriot here and it kills me to put him at 4. I really wanted to put him at the top, but I just could not do it. The guy is pure class and the fact that he stepped in as a DB in 2004 to help a depleted secondary more than added to his legend. When he retires, if the Patriots do not retire his jersey, have a “Troy Brown Day”, and offer him some job within the organization then it will be an outrage on so many levels.

So, why number 4 then? Well, you could make the argument that the guy was the MVP of the 2001 team which you know won the Super Bowl. But then on the other hand, being a classy guy aside, he only has 2,396 yards receiving since 2001 and 890 of those came in 2002. Plus, on the ’03 and ’04 teams he was the third receiver behind Branch and Givens. Please, don’t accuse me of marginalizing the guy. I’d put him higher if I could, but in good conscience and for the integrity of the list – taking the whole 2001-2007 picture into consideration – I need to keep him here. It kills me, but I gotta do it. Post 2001, would you have said, "Oh crap" to yourself if you heard he was out of a big game? Maybe, but not to the extent that you would with the guys below and certainly not anymore. Again, no offense to Troy Brown because I have more respect for him and feel personally vested in him more than any other guy on the Pats. He came in with Bledsoe for chrissakes!

3) Richard Seymour
Richard Seymour is now to the Pats D what Randy Moss is to the Pats O. You get two options with Seymour like you get two options with Moss. You can either let him run free and more or less annihilate you. Or you can dedicate all your resources to stopping him and then open the door for the other guys to get you and get you good. In that regard, Seymour’s effectiveness often transcends stats.

Now maybe Seymour is not the guy he was a few years back when he was consistently rated as one of the top 5 players in the entire NFL - this is true, I remember perusing a Scouts Inc. list prior to the 2004 season and he was ranked as the second best player in the league based on everything he brought to the table - but he is still really damn good. And he has been really damn good since his rookie year of 2001. If you are an astute football guy who truly understands the ins-and-outs of blocking schemes and how disruptive Seymour is you could probably convince me to put him even higher. I’d love to hear the case too. For now though, three seems about right.

2) Rodney Harrison
Say what you will about Rodney, but the fact is that since he came aboard in 2003 and through the AFC Championship Game, the team's record when he plays is 58-6 and when he does not play they are 19-10. Those numbers include playoffs and notice how every year in which he has played in the postseason they have won the Super Bowl - he missed both the '06 and '07 playoffs. I am sorry, but this is not a coincidence. The guy just plain transforms their secondary thanks to his ability to impact both the running and passing games of the opponents.
*note that the with/without record factors in the 2006 regular season Colts game as a "without" because he was injured on the first series

I said prior to last year's AFC Championship Game that the key to the game was whether or not he would play. Well, he did not and the Pats lost. Do you think if Rodney was back there they could have at least slowed Peyton a little? I say absolutely and that little bit probably would have propelled them to another Super Bowl win. No coulda-woulda-shoulda here though. The Pats lost that game and Indy won it, bottom line. You can't cry on injuries in football because they come up and the great teams overcome them. Last year the Patriots did not.

Yes Rodney has the whole cheap-shot-artist/HGH stain to him, but on the field his impact on the Pats D is unparallelled. Hence his ranking here. Even if you still have doubts, just look at the with/without Rodney splits and try make a case otherwise. You can't do it. If you can, don't do it on theory, show me the numbers and I'll listen.

1) Mike Vrabel/Teddy Bruschi
The linebacking corps has been and remains to be both the most crucial ingredient in and heart and soul of the Patriots defense. Because of that fact and all of the HUGE plays these guys have come up with over the years, I have to give these two the top spot. I know it’s kind of cheesy lumping them together, but I had to do it. Would you want to rank one of these guys over the other? While Bruschi may have been slightly more of an impact player earlier in the run, Vrabel has been the man as of late. And he did catch a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl too that was kind of clutch. Either way, it’s my list and this is just how I am going to roll.

I doubt that I will have too many dissenters here although I can see a case being made for some other guys, but I do want to impart one piece of food for thought.

Shouldn’t these two guys get insane amounts of bonus points for being able to thrive in the Pats linebacking system which is clearly an insanely difficult one to master? Consider the fact that Adalius Thomas, the cream of last years DE/LB free agent crop and an athletic freak of nature came in and made a minimal impact. It wasn’t because he sucks either – he was a Pro Bowler last year – it was because…well I don’t know. But I do know that Vrabel was much more a vital cog in the system this year than him even if he is not the athletic "specimen" that Thomas. (Man that sounds creepy and gay, sorry.)

I could also include Rosey Colvin in the mix, but that really would not be fair because who knows how much his hip injury impeded his development and slowed him down. Sure he had a decent enough year last year and the first part of this year before getting hurt, but he was never the impact LB he was made out to be upon his arrival in 2003. Again, I’m not going to knock him though because when he first hurt himself in Week 2 of 2003 there were legitimate questions of whether he would play again so isn’t it fair to assume that the post injury Colvin is NOT the same guy that was brought in originally? I sure think so. Either way, I think it speaks well to both the skill set and football intelligence of Vrabel and Bruschi that they have been able to thrive such as they have in a such a difficult system which rewards and requires savvy as much as skill.

One final note and that is that I just wanted to say that I toyed with putting Rodney here, but at the end of the day I figured that if you look at what this team has done since 2001 there have been no two more consistently solid contributors on the field, off the field, and in the locker room than these two and I am glad that they head my list.

That’s it. I hope you enjoyed it. I enjoyed writing it at the very least. Read more!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Chiming in on Johan

I'm dying to get to the rest of the Pats list, but that is getting bumped until tomorrow because I absolutely have to chime in on Johan Santana going to the Mets. So as to avoid making this one of my marathon posts, I'll just say that the whole "Johan Sweepstakes" could not have worked out any better as far as I am concerned. Here's why:

1) The Red Sox don't gut their farm system to get a pitcher who very well may only have 1-2 GREAT years left. Sure, an average Johan Santana is better than a really good most pitchers, but for $20M a year? No thanks. Double that with the fact that that contract will more than likely be a monstrous albatross in the backend of the deal. Maybe not as much in the NL, but in the AL I could see him justifying that salary for two, maybe three more years and then having a $20M middle of the rotation starter who absolutely nobody will take off your hands thanks to the cash he is making. Again, no thanks.

2) Maybe in the long run Johan would be a bit of slog on the Yankees payroll - not quite to Giambi levels but a slog nonetheless - but in the immediate future I am certainly happy to not see him in a Yankees uniform because make no mistake, there is still nobody I would want to see the Sox facing less than Johan in a big game.

And three more miscellaneous thoughts:

1) This is the ultimate Omar Minaya move. He comes in, offers the best package for a pitcher who nobody really wants - let's face it, both the Sox and the Yanks had more to offer and could have gotten a deal done if they wanted to do so; a red flag on Santana if you ask me - and is now about to go beyond breaking the bank for the guy so that he can keep his job for at least another year. I think Santana assuming he stays healthy will be a dominant force in the NL but at the same time, gauaranteeing that a pitcher will be taking $20M a year out of your payroll for the next 7 years is an enormous risk with the potential to backfire big time. This is almost like the Shaq deal which seemed so great for the Heat initially and now has them pulling up the rear of the Eastern Conference. Sure they got their ring, but how you like them now?

2) The only way I would have endorsed this trade for the Sox would be if they could have done a straight Johan for Lester deal and made the deal NON-contingent on a contract extension. Not to dog on Lester because he is a great story and all, but I have seen nothing really from his time in the bigs that has told me, "You know what, this guy is it!". Maybe I am rushing to decisions, but the guy seems like a perennial NL 15 game winner, but not cut out for the AL East. I know I am not alone in that thinking either. I beg anybody to argue with me on this. Just remove yourself from the Sox prospect hype and PR machine first though please.

3) If the Sox were to make a blockbuster deal, I'd much rather it be for an impact bat because let's face it, other than Manny and Papi there are really not a lot of guys that scare opponents in that lineup. And let's not put the rose-trimmed glasses on Youklis and Lowell either. When you only get about 40 homers combined from your corner-infielders, that is not exactly ideal. I know the Sox are defending World Series champs, but I still cannot shake the fact that myself and everybody else I talked to spent the better part of the summer coming to grips with how painfully average the lineup was and how the team would inevitably crash and burn in the postseason. Granted they peaked at the right time, but still, it's not like they have a lineup filled with "up and comers".

OK, that's it for now. There may be more to follow on this, pending reactions. Read more!

In Response to Ben...

First and foremost, this is not a list for guys who paved the way or who had great Patriots runs pre-2001 to set the table for what is occurring now although I may tackle that because that would be fun (doesn't Mo Lewis need to be #1?). The list is supposed to be for guys in the Belichek Era who have had the most sustained impact on the team that is now playing in it's 4th Super Bowl in 7 years. That doesn't mean they need to have been on the team since 2001; just that they have been around for a chunk of those years, AND made a substantial impact on 1+ of the SB winning teams.

1) I think my shout out to Bledsoe was more than sufficient. Sure he ushered the team into their new era, but he was also shaky enough his past few years to make Belichek's decision RE: Bledsoe v. Brady a lot easier. I don't think I can put this guy on the list because his late career mediocrity opened the door for Brady. I did put him in there though for his long-term contributions and his bullpen work in the 2002 AFC Championship Game.

2) Regarding Bryan Cox, I hear you there. I wanted to put him at #10, but I just couldn't because there were way too many other guys who have had a longer impact on the field than him. Loved the guy though and he definitely was the one "it" guy from the 2001 team that really got things moving.

3) As for Roman Pfifer, I agree, he was great in 2001. He didn't open the door for Vrabel though. Vrabel was on the 2001 team.

4) Joe Andruzzi...OK, I probably could have made an exception for this O-lineman. I didn't want to open that up though because then what about Matt Light? What about Dan Koppen? What about Damien Woody?

5) And that brings us to O-T-I-S. I love Otis as much as the next guy, mainly because of him introducing himself as "O-T-I-S" on MNF. Still, I have a tough time putting on the list anybody that ever earned for themselves the nickname, Otis "My Man" Smith during their career because QB's loved to throw to whomever he was covering. Secondly, can you really tell me that he has meant more to the team the last 7 years than Ty Law or Asante Samuel? Come on, you really cannot. Those are All Pro players right there.

So that is the retort, the rest of the list is coming tonight. If anybody can guess the Top 5 before I post and (put your guesses in the comments) I'll think you are awesome for a couple of weeks and suck up to you.

NEIL Read more!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Pats 01 and beyond...

I have not seen Neil's completed list, so I cannot comment on who may or may not be left off of it. I am sure that I will have something to say about the top 5, but I will reserve my slander until I see the list. Here are a few comments/opinions on some of the people that you mentioned so far, as well as some people that I think you will forget and belong in the honorable mentions list:

Drew Bledsoe- He was the first draft pick of the Parcells era in New England. He led the Pats to the Superbowl in the 96 season. He was part of the core group of guys that Belichick inherited when he got here. Bledsoe's presence allowed Bill to focus on the defense and other positions, because in Bledsoe, the Patriots had a serviceable QB with a powerful arm. He absolutely deserves some credit for the Pats continued success and at least a mention on this list.

Bryan Cox- I remember he wore that neck protector that looked like a piece of cardboard sticking out the top of his jersey...But thats not why he is on this list. He is here because he brought the hard hitting mentality to Pats defense before most people in New England had even heard of Rodney Harrison. He also provided the veteran presence that has come to define the team. He brought a shovel to almost every game that season. The shovel was shoved in the ground on the sideline to serve as a reminder to his teammates that the Patriots had to, and could, dig deeper than their opponents....nuff said.

Roman Phifer- Come on Neil, this guy deserves his own paragraph. He paved the way for the beloved Mike Vrabel. Phifer was brought in as a veteran to play opposite Cox. Cox was to play running downs while Phifer would play passing downs. What happened is that Phifer took the role he was given and played at such a high level that he ended up being out there more and more for years.

Joe Andruzzi- I know that you said you were going to leave the 0-line out, but I know one rather large former Blackbear that will take issue with that...and he is scary as shit. Either way, there are some members of that line that absolutely should at least get a mention. Joe is one of them. He anchored the left guard position for three of the four Superbowl teams. He was a nominee for left guard on the ESPN All Superbowl team. He also helped to instill the work ethic and mentality that is still present in the O-line, that is one of blue collar work ethic. You are right Niel, if a lineman is doing his job, you should never hear their name. You only heard Joe's when he was raising the trophy...

O-T-I-S-Otis Smith meant so much to this team that a few years ago when he retired the Patriots signed him to a one day contract so that he could retire a Patriot. There is nothing more that needs to be said about that.

I am sure there are still more people that need to be mentioned, such as Bobby Hamilton and Anthony Pleasant, but there are many days left before the big game. See you soon...

Read more!

The Definitive Post 2001 Pats List (Part 1)

So I was wondering to myself the other day, who have been the most important Patriots players in this sustained run of success since 2001. Now obviously we know that the most important player is Tom Brady. But I think the fun lies in naming the top players not named Tom Brady to make this list. I hope this post serves two purposes actually; first, I'd love to get some good dialogue going and second it can get everybody pumped for the Super Bowl while summarily looking back.

Today, we are going to start with my Honorable Mentions and Numbers 10-6. We'll bang out the rest later in the week.

Before I get going, some notes about my decidedly un-scientific methodology.

1) I am not including Welker and Moss on this list simply because they have not won anything - read SUPER BOWL - with this group yet and I want this list reserved for the guys who made a consistent and somewhat lengthy run with the squad.

2) I am not putting the O-line on there because they have been consistently excellent since 2001 and it would be unfair to acknowledge one over the other. Plus, I'm not a savvy enough football watcher to be able to tell the great ones from the average ones. I do however put the same theory towards o-lineman as I do towards refs and umpires - if you don't say their name that means they are doing well. This is how I remember guys like Max Lane. I distinctly remember listening/watching games and hearing his name called every other play it seemed for a hold or false start. No need to even make a Eugene Chung joke.

Honorable Mentions:

Drew Bledsoe
I'll be honest, I don't know if they win that AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh in 2002 without his stellar effort out of the pen. Plus, let's not kid ourselves - without Bledsoe or Parcells the Pats are not where they are today. You absolutely have to give the guy his props.

Antowain Smith
Smith was the definition of a plodding, un-explosive, and mediocre running back but despite all that he was the feature back for 2 Super Bowl teams. That counts for something right? It's kind of like Luc Longley being the starting center for the great '96-'98 Bulls teams isn't it? Say what you will about the guy, but he was still THE STARTING CENTER for back-to-back-to-back NBA Champions.

Bryan Cox
Cox was the first in the long line of questionable character guys that Belichek rolled the dice on and succeeded swimmingly. I could not put my finger on one signature Bryan Cox as a Patriot moment but he really brought a toughness to that 2001 team and set a tone that made them what they were. Without Bryan Cox - and I guess you could put Roman Phifer in here a bit too - are the Pats a Super Bowl winner in 2001/02? I don't know. I doubt it though to be totally honest. Ask anybody about that team and I bet you they will agree with the previous statement.

Adam Vinatieri

Believe me, I know how clutch he was. I just can't put a kicker on my list. I couldn't do it. Sorry. I know it was stupid OK? Just let me be. Please.


10) Asante Samuel
Asante Samuel is kind of like the Patriots version of Kevin Youklis. He'll give you a roller coaster ride during the regular season and clearly thinks he is a bit better than he really is, but come playoff time - or even big regular season game time - he is an absolute cinch for a big or game changing play. Too bad this will undoubtedly be his last season in Foxboro. I don't think somebody who sports a "Get Paid" tattoo will settle for less than the absolute most money he can receive.

(BTW, Kevin Youklis has to be the most polarizing Sox player doesn't he? We need to get into an extended debate in this forum about him as we move closer to the season. As for his contract demands though, they are far from outlandish and I think the Sox NEED to sign him for what he is asking not only because it is a good financial deal for them but it also gives him an insane amount of trade value because regardless of payroll size the $4M range for a guy like Youk is a great bargain and all teams love proven players signed to moderate contracts. Other than young pitching I'd say it is the single most desirable trade asset these days.)

9) Ty Law
Ty Law's 2003 season was the best season I have ever seen a cornerback play and he played what I argued on my old Web site to be the greatest game a cornerback has ever played in the AFC Championship Game that season with his 3 picks of Manning and locking down Marvin Harrison. He also scored a touchdown in their first Super Bowl victory which provided all Pats fans with the definitive, "Holy crap I think we can win this" moment early in the game.

So why so low then? I really don't know. Let's move on. Who would YOU move back?

8) Willie McGinest
Do I really need to explain this? It's Willie Freakin' McGinest here! He gets bonus points too for the infamous fake injury play in Indy in 2003. And we wonder why people hate the Pats?

PS...Do you ever wonder what became of his mid-90's running mate, Chris Slade? I do all the time! I thought Slade would be the better player too!

7)Corey Dillon

Dillon was the first legitimate, star running back the Pats had since Curtis Martin and he did not disappoint as he accumulated over 1,700 yards in 15 games and scored 13 touchdowns in 2004. In the playoffs he had a great game against the Colts in the Divisional Round (23 carries for 144), followed it up with a pedestrian game against the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, and then rebounded with a decent Super Bowl. Despite all this though, he was a tough add because he just did it for one year really as he was hampered by injuries in 2005 and 2006 and only accumulated about 1,500 yards combined those two years. He did manage to score 25 times though. Even if he was only force for one season which seems to go against my initial intentions, his contributions in 2004 cannot be understated and he did allow Maroney to be a tandem back in 2006.

That's what he did on the actual field. As far as the locker room goes though, I'd argue that's where he left his largest impact as he was the first A-List guy with an atrocious reputation for killing team chemistry that the Pats brought in believing that the veteran leadership and coaching staff could smother any potential distractions. This was a seemingly huge risk at the time and never once did Corey Dillon do anything but comport himself like a pro. This was a huge deal.

We all know where this is going right? The Moss trade. It's funny because at the time everybody cited Dillon as the reason the Pats felt they could make such a bold move for a notorious malcontent but now, nine months later it has been an afterthought almost. So much so that when I was bouncing my list off of my old roommate, Jay Higgins he brought this point up to me and I thought to myself, "You're110% right. I need to put Dillon higher". (He was originally slated for the 10 spot.)

6) Deion Branch/David Givens
Don't hate on this. Let me Explain.

Exhibit A: Each won 2 rings

Exhibit B: David Givens postseason numbers - 35 receptions for 324 yards and 9 touchdowns in 8 games

Exhibit C: Deion Branch postseason numbers - 41 receptions for 629 yards and 3 touchdowns in 8 games including 21 receptions for 276 and a TD in two Super Bowls...and a Super Bowl MVP

OK, I've made my case.

Look out for the rest of the list probably Wednesday or so. Read more!

Quit Jazz Guitarring and Get to Centerfield Please

Have you all been following the great Brian Cashman - Bernie Williams feud? It's pretty much exactly the oppositve of Obama - Clinton, JC Chasez - Jason Mraz (not a real feud, but one that would be funny anyway), or even Laguna Beach Lo vs. The Hills Lo. Anyway, here is the full story, and let me just say that anytime the GM of a major sports team criticizes one of it's most beloved former players for spending too much time playing jazz guitar and not enough time working on baseball it is 189% RBB Blog worthy. Read more!

Sluggish Sports Weekend

Some points from the weekend

-What has happened to the Celtics, they have lost 5 of there last 10 games and at times have looked awful. Lets be honest at this point they have 34 wins, last year the 8 seed in the east had 40 wins so they are all but in and if all they do is go .500 over the remaining 40 games they will have 54 wins which is all it took to be the number one seed in the east last year. Still it would be nice to see them put together an entire game against a team like when they dismantled the Knicks earlier.


-There was nothing to watch this weekend on TV. I was left to watch college basketball on Saturday. Now come March I will sit around for 4 days watching every game I can and see my brackets crumble but at the end of January there is just no excitement in watching #7 Indiana(number 7 who knew) lose to an unranked UCONN team. Maybe if I had gone to a school with a real basketball team I would find the whole thing more exciting.


-I watched Eldrick blow away the competition at the Buick Open on Sunday, I am completely serious in saying that HD almost makes golf bearable when there is nothing else on.

-Sox Tickets Went on Sale: I have no money so that's the end of this point


-I am getting married in November and have had the pleasure of spending the last two weekends at various wedding shows. Nothing gets on my nerves more than some schmuck wearing a tux trying to talk to me about the patriots by saying things like "How about them patriots?" or "What do you think about Brady's Ankle?". Any Patriots Fan worth his salt would know that there is no way in hell Tom Brady is not going to play on Sunday. It's a moot point so STOP FUCKING TALKING ABOUT IT.

-Finally if you haven't seen it already one of our loyal readers has started a Facebook fan club for Rootbeerandbacon, so make sure you join. Read more!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Slow Sports Week and an American Icon....

Boy, it has been a slow week for sports. As a result, the blog has been quiet. Here are some nuggets from the last week:

-The Celtics continue to be a great team to watch. Even in their loss today without KG, they are moving the ball like a team that could compete in the 80's, the Big Baby and Perkins continue to develop into above average big men, and the Garden continues to sell-out. However, their weakness is becoming more evident as the season begins to wear on KG, Pierce and Allen. When one of them is out, it becomes far more likely that the team will lose. With Stoudemire being released tomorrow from the Grizzlies, I can only hope that Ainge will go out there and try to add some depth before the trade deadline.

-Does anyone besides the media actually think for a second that Brady will not play every down next week? This just shows how quiet a week it has been for sports....

-Kyle Snyder reached a contract agreement with the Sox, making Kevin Youkilis, or however the hell you spell it, the only player still eligible for arbitration. Youk is looking for 3.7 Million up from $424,500.00 last year. He is a gold glove first baseman, he has a good bat and has not made an error in like 15 years at first base. GIVE HIM WHATEVER HE WANTS! Even at 3.7 he is a steal.

-On the same note, I like the Snyder signing, he had a great year out in the pen, and he is a quality long relief option for when Wakefield gets shelled from time to time.

-Rambo is the best movie ever made. If you have not seen it yet, then stop reading and go see it. I would estimate that Rambo kills about 500 people. The total death toll is easily over 1,000. It is the first movie I have seen in a long time that had people cheering throughout it. At one point I am pretty sure Rambo outruns a nuclear explosion....because he is awesome.

As the Superbowl approaches, there is sure to be much to talk about...See you soon. Read more!

Friday, January 25, 2008

One More Thing

This just caught my eye from the Globe's Red Sox blog and I swear to god if Tony Clark finds his way back onto the Red Sox that may very well be it for me. You remember Tony Clark for the Sox don't you? You know, the supposed power hitter who hit a home run on Opening Day, but then not another one until May 31 and finished the year with a total of 3 home runs, 29 RBI and an amazing .556 OPS. Oh sorry, he did only have 270 at bats. Fine, double it and you still get just 6 homers and 58 RBI. Not really what you want from your first baseman.

Consider the below vitriol that Tony Clark inspired in Sox fans during his infamous 2002 run:

1)Gerry Callahan wrote an article in the Herald claiming him as dollar-for-dollar the worst player in Red Sox history. A fact that really can't be disputed considering his $5M salary. Of course that came before last year's $4.5M investment in Joel Piniero to pitch 34 innings and post a 5.04 ERA prior to his release and lest we forget the BK Kim contract extension after the 2003 season. At least with BK we got the comedy of him flipping off the fans and with Piniero we got to see Theo try to pull a Lacuna Industries on Red Sox fans to make them forget that he actually paid $4.5M to that guy AND he tried to sell them on the idea of him as the closer at the outset of the season.

2) My old roommate Rod fell out of his chair upon seeing him hit a home run as he was so taken aback by the transgression. That is a true story. Consider that.

3) After a few too many Bud Lites at Camden Yards, I unleashed a sarcastic, expletive laden taunt his way - "Gee thanks Tony, it's about f***ing time you did something" - after he made a nice defensive play and then promptly got the boot.

Oh, and that .596 OPS I referenced earlier...compare that to the .638 that heavyweight Doug Mirabeli posted in 2007 or the robust .643 posted by Julio Lugo. I think that frames well how awful he was. Did I mention he was a first baseman and not a speedy middle-infielder or backup catcher whose only discernible attribute is that he can kind of catch a knuckleball? Read more!

Just an Observation

Does anybody else find it weird that one of the Boston Globe's Patriot beat writers, Chris Gasper looks exactly like one of the old Pats beat guys and current ESPN reporter, Michael Smith? Am I looking too much into this? I don't know, it just seems weird.

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I have been in the middle of a just completed move and was without internet and cable from Sunday through yesterday. I got a few things in the hopper though so watch out next week.

If you need me this weekend, just swing by a few middle school plays in the DC area. I'll be the guy dressed in flannel, alone in the back-row taking pictures and giggling. Read more!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Das Boot!!



By now you have all seen the picture of Brady with his Boot in NYC visiting his super model girlfriend. As a Patriots fan am I worried? No, by now we have all had the chance to realize if this was truly a concern Tom would be back getting treatment not carrying flowers in NYC.
Read more!

Sunday in Boston

In my short 26 years on this earth I have been to quite a few sports bars. Whether in Boston, Florida, Maine, or even in my hometown of Beverly, I have never truly enjoyed myself at a sports bar. The closest I have ever come may have been the Bostonville Grille on Route One, some of you may know it as “Big Dog”, or “Full Blast.” But unfortunately, I can no longer step foot in that bar due to an incident involving human poop and my fiancĂ©'s sneaker. My point is that a sports bar, in principle, should be a fun time where sports fans gather, most of the time cheering for the same team, to drink and eat for hours on end.

So last week, when my friend Erica sent me a text message and asked if I wanted to meet up in Boston to watch the Pats play the Colts, I should have said no. At home I have a 42 inch plasma TV in my living room (with surround sound), a stocked fridge and two CLEAN bathrooms close at hand. Not to mention two other TV's in my apartment to insure that I do not miss a single play of any game. (This also comes in handy on those rare occasions when the Pats and Sox play at the same time.) At one point in college I actually had two TV's in my room and a TV card on my computer. This allowed me to multi- task while watching baseball, football, and play Xbox all at the same time…it's a wonder I ever graduated.) So anyway, this past weekend my FiancĂ© Sherri and I hopped in the car and headed into Boston to watch a game that was readily available at home to go to a bar called "Boston's Greatest Bar", call me crazy- I know.

I first have to say this about the bar. Referencing a classic Seinfeld episode titled the "The English Patient", Jerry gives his Dad a t-shirt that says "#1 Dad" which, in turn, ticks off Izzy Mandelbaum, played by the great Lloyd Bridges, whose son in turn gives him a shirt that says "World's Greatest Dad". Izzy then explains to Jerry how that makes him better than just #1. Jerry responds with, “Well I don't know how official any of these rankings are”. The same can be said about “Boston’s Greatest Bar”. Where are these rankings that make them the “greatest”, and if there was a vote can there be a recount? I understand that this bar maybe perfect for scantily clad-fresh 21’s who are looking for their next one night stand on a Saturday night, but to watch a game it was awful. There was little to no seating, the service was awful and some “wanna-be” DJ ruined the game by constantly playing music while the game was going on. Before each football game on TV there is a short montage that is meant to pump you up for the game that is about to start, “Patriots Vs. Chargers, Brady Vs. Rivers, Merriman disrespected by dancing patriots, Patriots date with destiny Blah, Blah, Blah”. Instead of this gloriousness, I was forced to listen to the old Monday night football song, which was wrong for so many reasons, but most glaring of course because it was Sunday afternoon, not Monday night.

After dashing from the “Greatest Bar in Boston”, we ended up with seats, and a great view, at Boston Beer Works. I highly recommend the Beer Works. If you aren’t a fan of traveling into Boston, like my friend Ben, then the Salem Beer Works is just as good, and a lot easier to get to. From this point on I enjoyed the game immensely, mostly because we won, but also because of how we won. Between Maroney and Faulk, we proved that we, not only have a backfield, but giving them a rest for the first 17 weeks of the season was the best game plan. Plus, the mere fact that the defense held the Chargers to no touchdowns meant I was in heaven.

I still have a gift certificate to Boston's Greatest Bar which I have to use, I will probably have to wait till my friend Lindsey Drew comes to visit because she will drink anywhere.

I will write about the Giants as we get closer to the game. I feel that one of there boneheads will say something to rile up New England and if they don’t there is always Tiki Barber. Read more!

Monday, January 21, 2008

"Heaven help the Giants"

Courtesy of the Boston Herald's, Tony Massarotti-

"So, effectively stripped of the thing they do best-- throwing the ball -- the Patriots ran the ball 22 times for 108 yards in the second half....The team that loves to throw first and run second had to do it the other way around, primarily because that is what the situation called for.

In two weeks, the Pats will go back to doing what they do best and what they did better than perhaps any team in NFL history.

Heaven help the Giants." Read more!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Patriots Nation Beware

Bad news Patriots fans....Eli Manning has just announced that he knows how to beat the Patriots.this begs the question: If you know how to beat them, then why did you lose in week 17? Oh right.....your a Manning..... Read more!

SUPERBOWL!!- Laurence Maroney, "Superbowl Virgin", touched for the very first time....

In the Patriots locker room after this historic win....

Press Question- "Any thoughts about being in the Superbowl, personally?"

Laurence's Reply- "Ha...man, you know, it's a lot of 'citement goin' through my body, goin' through my mind, right now, you know I ain't neva been to no Superbow, never played in one, its my first time, so...you know, I don't wanna blow my wad early....so, you know, I just tryin' to stay calm right now....." Read more!

Pregame Thoughts and Predictions

We are about two hours away from the AFC championship game and about five hours away from what should be another decisive victory for the Patriots. I thought that I would give you guys some thoughts and predictions and then follow up with what I learned tomorrow:

-Philip Rivers will try to play but will be pulled in favor of the legendary Billy Volek early.

-Randy Moss will catch two touchdowns today, on the second one he will spike the ball off of the ground and the ball will charge him with assault on Tuesday morning.

-In his post game press conference Randy will be wearing an oversized scarface t-shirt and jeans covered in NBA team logos, or perhaps they will have Fat Albert on them.

-We can expect two 15 yard unsportsman like penalties for Rodney Harrison. He will then justify blatantly attempting to injure people by saying thats just how much intensity he plays with.

-LT will cry....like a bitch.

-Somewhere in the world Tony Romo will be smiling...as he pounds the shit out of Jessica Simpson...How do you feel bad for a guy who lost a big game but gained more time to sleep with Jessica Simpson in return??

-Bob Kraft will be wearing one of those ugly as hell shirts with a colored print and then a white collar. Tomorrow, Nick will go and buy the same shirt.

-Matt, a friend of the blog, is in a luxury box at Gillette for the game. He will not have to worry about being hung over for work tomorrow because he has been unemployed for the better part of this decade.

Well, thats it, some predictions for the game. It will be interesting to see how that latter part of this game plays out between the players. Remember last year that the Chargers were very upset with the way the Patriots acted after the game, feeling like the Patriots showed no class in their victory. Should be interesting....final score Patriots 38 Chargers 17 Read more!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Few Thoughts...

1) I just caught Smokin' Aces on HBO and all I could think to myself during most of the movie was, "damn, this is just a bigger budget Snakes on a Plane...and I think I enjoyed Snakes on a Plane more". Not really a knock on either, I just found both to be completely ridiculous but Snakes was a bit more intentionally over the top and absurd which made me like it more as opposed to Aces which wanted to be a little more legit. Just a little. I mean what can stand up next to a cock-bighting scene?

2) I hate that The Wire was not as popular two years ago when Levy (the Barksdale lawyer) was starring in a line of Subway ads as the business guy face fucking his sandwich. That always used to kill me. What would Wee-Bey say?

3) When I watched We are Marshall a few weeks ago, I found myself cracking up everytime Mathew Fox popped up trying to be serious and remorseful. It's not that I did not sympathize with the character. Rather I just could not get the morning after diner scene from Knocked Up out of my head when Katherine Heigl is explaining to Seth Rogen how she has to interview Mathew Fox, and he says, "You know what is interesting about Mathew Fox? Absolutely nothing!". I don't think I'll ever be able to look at Fox in the same light. Kind of like how I can't shake the idea of Joe Simpson as Scotty from Boogie Nights. I KNOW that he asked Nick to check out his Corvette on New Years Eve 2003. (BTW, I recycled that joke from my old site, but I'm guessing most people missed it.)

4) Speaking of Boogie Nights, how does that only rank a 7.7 out of 10 on IMDB. That is an outrage! Bring it On

5) OK, for shits and giggles some other IMDB rankings.

-
IMDB 5.9/10
Neil 18/10

Point Break-
IMDB 6.6/10
Neil 100/10

Crash-
IMDB 8.1/10
Neil -196/10

Summer Catch-
IMDB 4.9/10
Neil 10/10 Read more!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sox Prospects: Justin Masterson

As many of you may know the Red Sox rookies are currently in town training and learning how to be major league players. A regular who's who of the Sox farm system was seen on Monday at BC working out inside. As a Stat Head, Baseball Card Prospector, and Sox fan this obviously caught my attention. One of the pitchers that seems to continually get mentioned in the Johann Santana trade talks is Justin Masterson, so I thought I would take this opportunity to give you all a little scouting report.


Name: Justin Masterson
DOB: March 22, 1985
Drafted: Second Round, 2006 Draft

Masterson was mainly an unknown until he dominated the cape cod league as a closer in 2005. It was here that I got the chance to see him for the first time, he seemed to pitch well using a three quarter delivery. He managed to get ten saves on the season and was rated as one of the top thirty prospects in the Cape League according Baseball America. For those who have not experienced Cape League Baseball, it is some of the finest amateur baseball in the country and Masterson was in fine company as 2005 also saw top prospects, Evan Longoria, Andrew Miller, and Danial Bard come to the cape.

Following the Cape season Masterson moved on to San Diego State from Bethel College where under the tutelage of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn he became starter who went 6-7 with a 4.81 ERA and was drafted by the Red Sox in the second round. He reported to short season Lowell and dominated as a reliever pitching in 14 games and posting a 0.85 ERA.

In 2007 Masterson started at A level Lancaster and after 17 games as a starter he was promoted to AA Portland. It was in Portland that I got to see Masterson again. As a comparison most people says he look a lot like a Derek Lowe without the mental issues. When I saw him in Portland he was using his sinker to perfection that he was varying in speed from 85 to 92 MPH. He also has a very good slider and what looks like a circle change. He has a crazy groundball to flyball ratio which when he gets to Boston will put our gold glove caliber infield to the test(minus Julio "opps" Lugo).

Off the field it sounds like he is a good kid, he comes from a strong christian family and spent time abroad while his father was a missionary. He seems to be fairly likable and would fit in well with the current clubhouse atmosphere.

Projected ETA: Mid to late 2008 depending on Injuries and the Bullpen

Projected Position: He is not the best starter right now in the organization and as many of you have noticed we are a bit heavy on the rotation right now and I don't see Masterson passing Clay of Jon at this point. His best spot maybe as a reliever complimenting Okajima and Delcarmen as setup men for Papelbon.
Read more!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Caption Contest

By now you have all heard that Randy has been accused of beating up some woman in FL. He claims whatever happened is an accident and that he is now being extorted. But we can have some fun can't we?

Rootbeer & Bacon will send one autographed picture of Nick (the one on the website) to the person who can come up with the best caption for this picture. Just leave your entry in the comments section, we will contact you if you win.....game on.
Read more!

High Def, The Celtics, and Me

Hey, there is this new technology out there that is starting to make some noise, and I wanted to make sure the all you Rootbeer & Baconites were in the know. It is called High Definition broadcasting and mark my words: it is going to change how you watch your favorite teams....Oh wait, you have already heard of it? Many of you own televisions with HD programming?

Oooooooh, thats right, this technology has been out for years. My grandmother even watches FOX news in HD. I guess no one told the Celtics. At this point, a Boston sports fan can watch 19 Patriots games a year, 162 regular season Red Sox games plus the post season, and however many games the Bruins play in HD. Hell, you can even catch a bunch of Revolution games in HD and most people have no idea we have a soccer team. In Spite of all this, Danny Ainge must still think it is a fad because you can only get Celtics home games in HD at this point....

What the fuck? I guess I can see the rationale over the previous two seasons. If you want to see the game in more clarity then just show up at the garden and grab a seat, you could have probably gotten an entire section to yourself. But now all of a sudden we have an unbelievable team that is selling out the garden and reawakening the basketball fan in my old man. We have the best record in the NBA, and are generating a buzz. Yet, despite all of this, we have to depend on Ted Turner to pick up a Celts game to catch them in HD on the road.

Remember that great game vs the Pistons a week or so ago? I do, I would love to tell you the score but I couldnt make out the numbers on that shitty channel. Come on, this was arguably the biggest game of the season, you couldnt figure out a way to broadcast that in HD?

Maybe it's a cash flow issue. After all you just started selling out again, I can understand your hesitance to invest in new technology. Well, Celtics brass, I have an easy solution for you that should free up some cash. FIRE THE FUCKING CELTICS DANCERS!!!! Ole Red will never rest in peace with those sorry excuses for cheerleaders out there. Let's be real with each other for a second; Red never wanted cheerleaders, or dancers, or whatever you want to call them. You guys knew it too. So, when he died right before the game when the dancers were supposed to debut, you postponed it out of respect to the man. The guy never lead us wrong, why should we stop listening to him now that he is dead? Get rid of them, they are aweful and take away from my ability to take in all the amazing factoids and philosophy of Tommy Heinson. More on that later... Read more!

Where's Everybody Else?

Here are 10 other things that I think you may be doing:

1) Watching American Idol Premiere Week and wishing you had Ryan Seacrest's eyes.

2) Catching up on New Adventures of Old Christine re-runs.

3) Thumbing through the new Kohls catalog, getting yourself an erection and then asphixiating yourself as you jerk off.

4) Eating a lot of cabbage.

5) Looking for Omar with Chris and Marlo. (a full The Wire post will be coming, I promise)

6) Putting in extra time with Danny Ainge to try and find a team that he can unload Tony Allen on in exchange for somebody with I don't know, basketball skills.

7) Arguing over the merits of Juno as a movie. Was it really that good or just a cute throwaway movie that got some great early buzz and then rode the PR wave to a status well beyond it's capacity. It's weird to think that a movie such as that would be so polarizing, but it seems to me that the above are the two distinct trains of thought regarding the film and people on both sides love to vehemently argue their case. At least I do, and count me as a member of the "cute, throwaway" faction.

8) Pondering on what would happen if Peter King, Brett Favre, Peter Gammons, and Greg Maddux ever hung out in a room together, just the four of them with a few bottles of blush and some vicodins for Favre? I'm not sure. Part of me thinks orgy while the other part thinks the world may just explode. I think the amount of reporter on athlete man-love there may be just too much for anyone or anything and it would bring about the apocalypse. And for the record, that is not how I want the world to end. Personally, I'd like to see the people from the "Whopper Freakout" ads maul some PETA folks and then overrun the world as BK keeps witholding Whoppers from them.

9) Jam scamming with Pebbles and the Freakin' Puerto Rican.

10) Drowning in a puddle of buffalo wing sauce and light beer while watching NOVA and listening to speed metal. (this is probably the most likely outcome) Read more!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Move Over Ron Burgundy

I always thought the debate of great TV/movie benders began and ended with a Ron Burgundy vs. Krusty the Klown discussion until Jimmy McNulty decided to throw himself into the fray. Man oh man did he bring things to another level. On the hood of a police car in an alley? That smells like a 56 game hitting streak or a 100 point game to me. Read more!

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Definitive 2001-Present Top 10 Pats List (Part 1)

So I was wondering to myself the other day, who have been the most important Patriots players in this sustained run of success since 2001. Now obviously we know that the most important player is Tom Brady. But I think the fun lies in naming the top players not named Tom Brady to make this list. I hope this post serves two purposes actually; first, I'd love to get some good dialogue going and second it can get everybody pumped for the Super Bowl while summarily looking back.

Today, we are going to start with my Honorable Mentions and Numbers 10-6. We'll bang out the rest later in the week.

Before I get going, some notes about my decidedly un-scientific methodology.

1) I am not including Welker and Moss on this list simply because they have not won anything - read SUPER BOWL - with this group yet and I want this list reserved for the guys who made a consistent and somewhat lengthy run with the squad.

2) I am not putting the O-line on there because they have been consistently excellent since 2001 and it would be unfair to acknowledge one over the other. Plus, I'm not a savvy enough football watcher to be able to tell the great ones from the average ones. I do however put the same theory towards o-lineman as I do towards refs and umpires - if you don't say their name that means they are doing well. This is how I remember guys like Max Lane. I distinctly remember listening/watching games and hearing his name called every other play it seemed for a hold or false start. No need to even make a Eugene Chung joke.

Honorable Mentions:

Drew Bledsoe
I'll be honest, I don't know if they win that AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh in 2002 without his stellar effort out of the pen. Plus, let's not kid ourselves - without Bledsoe or Parcells the Pats are not where they are today. You absolutely have to give the guy his props.

Antowain Smith
Smith was the definition of a plodding, un-explosive, and mediocre running back but despite all that he was the feature back for 2 Super Bowl teams. That counts for something right? It's kind of like Luc Longley being the starting center for the great '96-'98 Bulls teams isn't it? Say what you will about the guy, but he was still THE STARTING CENTER for back-to-back-to-back NBA Champions.

Bryan Cox
Cox was the first in the long line of questionable character guys that Belichek rolled the dice on and succeeded swimmingly. I could not put my finger on one signature Bryan Cox as a Patriot moment but he really brought a toughness to that 2001 team and set a tone that made them what they were. Without Bryan Cox - and I guess you could put Roman Phifer in here a bit too - are the Pats a Super Bowl winner in 2001/02? I don't know. I doubt it though to be totally honest. Ask anybody about that team and I bet you they will agree with the previous statement.

Adam Vinatieri

Believe me, I know how clutch he was. I just can't put a kicker on my list. I couldn't do it. Sorry. I know it was stupid OK? Just let me be. Please.


10) Asante Samuel
Asante Samuel is kind of like the Patriots version of Kevin Youklis. He'll give you a roller coaster ride during the regular season and clearly thinks he is a bit better than he really is, but come playoff time - or even big regular season game time - he is an absolute cinch for a big or game changing play. Too bad this will undoubtedly be his last season in Foxboro. I don't think somebody who sports a "Get Paid" tattoo will settle for less than the absolute most money he can receive.

(BTW, Kevin Youklis has to be the most polarizing Sox player doesn't he? We need to get into an extended debate in this forum about him as we move closer to the season. As for his contract demands though, they are far from outlandish and I think the Sox NEED to sign him for what he is asking not only because it is a good financial deal for them but it also gives him an insane amount of trade value because regardless of payroll size the $4M range for a guy like Youk is a great bargain and all teams love proven players signed to moderate contracts. Other than young pitching I'd say it is the single most desirable trade asset these days.)

9) Ty Law
Ty Law's 2003 season was the best season I have ever seen a cornerback play and he played what I argued on my old Web site to be the greatest game a cornerback has ever played in the AFC Championship Game that season with his 3 picks of Manning and locking down Marvin Harrison. He also scored a touchdown in their first Super Bowl victory which provided all Pats fans with the definitive, "Holy crap I think we can win this" moment early in the game.

So why so low then? I really don't know. Let's move on. Who would YOU move back?

8) Willie McGinest
Do I really need to explain this? It's Willie Freakin' McGinest here! He gets bonus points too for the infamous fake injury play in Indy in 2003. And we wonder why people hate the Pats?

PS...Do you ever wonder what became of his mid-90's running mate, Chris Slade? I do all the time! I thought Slade would be the better player too!

7)Corey Dillon

Dillon was the first legitimate, star running back the Pats had since Curtis Martin and he did not disappoint as he accumulated over 1,700 yards in 15 games and scored 13 touchdowns in 2004. In the playoffs he had a great game against the Colts in the Divisional Round (23 carries for 144), followed it up with a pedestrian game against the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, and then rebounded with a decent Super Bowl. Despite all this though, he was a tough add because he just did it for one year really as he was hampered by injuries in 2005 and 2006 and only accumulated about 1,500 yards combined those two years. He did manage to score 25 times though. Even if he was only force for one season which seems to go against my initial intentions, his contributions in 2004 cannot be understated and he did allow Maroney to be a tandem back in 2006.

That's what he did on the actual field. As far as the locker room goes though, I'd argue that's where he left his largest impact as he was the first A-List guy with an atrocious reputation for killing team chemistry that the Pats brought in believing that the veteran leadership and coaching staff could smother any potential distractions. This was a seemingly huge risk at the time and never once did Corey Dillon do anything but comport himself like a pro. This was a huge deal.

We all know where this is going right? The Moss trade. It's funny because at the time everybody cited Dillon as the reason the Pats felt they could make such a bold move for a notorious malcontent but now, nine months later it has been an afterthought almost. So much so that when I was bouncing my list off of my old roommate, Jay Higgins he brought this point up to me and I thought to myself, "You're110% right. I need to put Dillon higher". (He was originally slated for the 10 spot.)

6) Deion Branch/David Givens
Don't hate on this. Let me Explain.

Exhibit A: Each won 2 rings

Exhibit B: David Givens postseason numbers - 35 receptions for 324 yards and 9 touchdowns in 8 games

Exhibit C: Deion Branch postseason numbers - 41 receptions for 629 yards and 3 touchdowns in 8 games including 21 receptions for 276 and a TD in two Super Bowls...and a Super Bowl MVP

OK, I've made my case.

Look out for the rest of the list probably Wednesday or so. Read more!

San Diego Chargers

Any doubts I may have had about the Patriots chances on Sunday were alleviated when I found this the San Diego Chargers official song. San Diego Super Chargers. The Lyrics are below in case you wanna sing along.

San Diego Super Chargers Lyrics
San Diego Super Chargers,
San Diego Chargers!
San Diego Super Chargers,
San Diego Chargers!
Charge!

We're coming your way,
We're gonna dazzle you with our super play.
The time has come,
You know we're shooting for number one.
With thunderbolts and lightning
We'll light up the sky,
We'll give it all we've got, and more
With the Super Charger try!


San Diego Super Chargers,
San Diego Chargers!
San Diego Super Chargers,
San Diego Chargers!
Charge!


We've got a plan,
We're gonna do it for our super fans.
All we seek,Is the goal line to victory.
We'll ignite you, excite you
With high voltage play.
We won't let up a minute,
We're going all the way - all the way!


San Diego Super Chargers,
San Diego Chargers!
San Diego Super Chargers,
San Diego Chargers!
Charge!


We're coming your way
With the Super Chargers' play.
We're coming at you.
Now we're coming through!


San Diego Super Chargers,
San Diego Chargers!
San Diego Super Chargers,
San Diego Chargers!
Charge!

Nothing like a Village People knockoff to whip a crowd into a frenzy and intimidate an opponent. Read more!

Preview of Next Weeks Game

I will be honest with you I am little shocked right now, as I was watching the Colts Vs. Chargers game last night I kept waiting for Peyton to make the come back. I thought that last year he had finally proved that he was able to overcome the hurtle and come through in big situations, but he looked more like his little brother(I'm also shocked his brothers giants are still in it, I guess the future mr jessica simpson is not as good int he playoffs as he is in the regular season). So here is my game preview position by position.

Quarterback
We all know the Tom Brady is a better QB than his San Diego Counterpart Phillip Rivers. This was true even before Rivers had to be lifted at the end of the third quarter against the Colts after becoming an honorary Gramatica brother and getting injured while celebrating a score.

Running Back
While Maroney has been dominating in the last few games, LT is perhaps the greatest running back of his generation. He can be dangerous in the passing game and in the running game. The announcers during the game yesterday said that LT was available to return and it was his choice to remain sitting out, so I would imagine that he will be playing in Foxboro.

Wide Reciever
Moss disappeared against the Jaguars but in the week 2 game against San Diego he managed 8 catches, for a 105 yards, and 2 touchdowns. While I will admit San Diego is a different team than they were then, the Pats receivers will still run all over the SD secondary. The San Diego WR are good but it still seems at times that Chris Chambers just doesn't fit in.

Tight End
If everything was constant I would say that Antonio Gates is easily better than Benjamin Watson. But Gates has something wrong with his toe, and it severely limited him against the Colts and I can only imagine that it will feel worse next week in the cold air of Gillette Stadium.

The O-Line
San Diego's line looked good against the Colts, but they are no match for the pro bowlers that protect Brady.

The Defense
San Diego's Defense scares me. They create turnovers at an alarming rate, and you can say what you want about juice head Shawn Merriman but he beat up the Colts O-line on Sunday and was the one who rushed Peyton at the end to end the game. The Patriots defense has been good, not great like they have been in the past, but they are smart and should be ready for the challenge in front of them.

Coach
No Contest

I would include Special Teams here but I feel that it will be a non factor although Sproules is scary fast when he is returning kickoffs. I understand that we faced off against the Chargers nearly 4 months ago and the team has come together under new coach Norv Turner but we beat them then and we will beat them again. KGB Spy/Chargers Defensive End Igor Olshansky was quoted as saying after the game against the colts "The way we're playing now, nothing can stop us, The way we overcome adversity and everything else. I guarantee you that [Patriots coach Bill] Belichick and everybody else over there are scratching their heads saying, 'Man, we better get ready." I can never imagine Belichick scratching his head over the San Diego Chargers, yeah the pats do have to get ready, but I cant imagine that the Patriots are all that scared of an injury plagued Chargers team.

Final Prediction: 34 - 13 Patriots win Read more!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What I learned from Last Nights Patriots Game

Part of being a true sports fan is learning from each game and realizing that no matter how much you think you know about your favorite team, or their opponent, there is a reason you are sitting on the couch, drunk, while they are out there winning. Here are some of the things I learned last night:

-Tom Brady is best quarterback in football. He already is in the hall of fame, simply based on this season alone, let alone the previous accolades. It just does not matter what the other team throws at him, he finds a way to win. Furthermore, he is a classy guy. When Welker dropped a pass that a fucking toddler could have caught, Brady went over patted him on the back, and said dont worry about it. Other QBs (Peyton) would have literally stomped their feet and yelled at the receiver. Then in the post game press conference thrown that receiver under the bus.

-Laurence Maroney is who we thought he was. Having never pulled a groin, or run a mile, I have no concept as to how debilitating a pulled groin can be. From what we have seen this season, it sucks. It is starting to look like Belichick decided about half way through the season that it was better to make him healthy for the playoffs and let the passing attack embarass teams, than risk him further injury. I guess he was right. Maroney finished with 122 yards, most of which came after the first hit. If he can carry this momentum into next week, he should have another great game since Indy has real trouble stopping the run these days.

-David Gerrard did not deserve to be called all the names I called him this week. This guy played one hell of a game for a guy who has less that 20 starts under his belt. He clearly demonstrated his ability to read a defense, constantly picking on Randall Gay. He showed his arm strength throwing on the move, and one time while laying on the ground. Sorry buddy, I promise I wont call you any names during next weeks game.

-Every reporter who said "The Jaguars are the one team no one wanted to play" are fucking morons. The Patriots are the one team no one wants to play BECAUSE THEY WIN ASSHOLE!!!

-When not forced to wear a suit, Randy Moss dresses like a 14 year old white kid from Peabody. Why doesnt someone take him to a store other than Marshalls? Hey Randy, I hear you can buy clothes all over the country with "straight cash homey."

Well thats it, some of the things I learned last night from the game. For the record, I intend to dedicate a good deal of my time on the blog to the topic Neil threw out this morning about bandwagon Boston fans, but I am saving it for the beginning of Red Sox season. Here is a little teaser for you: I hate 86.845% of all Red Sox fans. Some of whom I am related to.

I'm all out...

Benny Read more!

Congrats For Almost Nailing the Score!

There, I hope you feel better now.

Here are some unsolicited thoughts:

A) I actually missed about the entire Pats game last night because I was at the C's game watching them stink out the joint. I thought they were going to steal the game at the beginning of the fourth, but no matter they absolutely had no right to win it in the first place.

B) Boston fans that show up at sporting events in the DC area are absolutely the reason why the rest of the country hates us. Hell, I hate myself when I feel the need to be associated with these bandwagon hopping yahoos. I was surpised - but not really I guess - to see such a throng at the Verizon Center in DC last night, but it is nothing like going to Camden Yards for an O's-Sox game. Talk about the height of obnoxiousness. Because so many of these folks hopped on the bandwagon around 2003 and they know in their heart of hearts that they are bandwagon fans, they try and overcompensate their "fanhood" (sorry to steal an ESPN word that sucks, but I couldn't think of a better option) by overchearing for everything and stating mundane facts and opinions like, "I wish Manny hustled more" or "I love Kevin Youklis because I feel like I am supposed to love Kevin Youklis". This drives me nuts. Last year, at one of the games a guy behind me tried to talk our section into bunting Papi with runners on 1st and 2nd and no out in the top of the first inning. Really? I could not think of a worse strategy to deploy. Anyway, enough ranting there. This year for the first time since I have been down here (2002) I will not be making a trip to Camden for a Sox game because the schedule does not work out and I really am not heartbroken in the least. I almost wish the Sox would throw a couple of 62-100 seasons up there just to weed out some of these folks and get everything back down to a much more manageable level. Just sedate me for those two seasons though because rooting for a bad and unlikable baseball team just plain sucks.

C) Every time I see that guy that the NFL Network puts in their ads with the fake Boston accent who tries to immitate the dry Boston sense of humor I want to kick a nun in the face because I get so mad. That guy sucks! His accent is awful! He is not funny! Let me say this again, this is why the rest of the country hates people from Boston!

D) I want to spoof that dumb minivan ad where they make the minivan look like the center of all things family and I know exactly how I would do it. I'll flesh it out later. We call that a teaser in the biz.

E) Oh yeah, go Colts. Make Tomlinson cry. Humiliate Rivers. Do the "Lights Out" dance after every single play just like Shawne Merriman. See you guys in Foxboro next week. It should be fun. Read more!

Last Night

By now you all already know that the Patriots defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-20. There is no way that Brady could have played any better, Maroney did what he was supposed to be able to do all season, and the Jaguars thought the best game plan was to shut down Moss only to see Welker, Gaffney and Stallworth beat them. Some things about the game.

1. At what point did the announcers think to themselves that it was ok to compare David Garrard to Tom Brady. On one hand you have maybe the greatest quarterback of all time, who just came off maybe the greatest regular season of all time, who through the first half hadn't even thrown one incompletion, and only ended the game with two. On the other hand you have David Garrard, who if I have to hear one more time how his coach took a risk and cut former first round Byron Leftowich and gave David the job outright. I have this much to say about that, it doesn't freakin' matter, the Jaguars are going home and we are moving on, and there is no place in this world that David Garrard should ever be compared to Tom Brady.

2. Where has Maroney been all season. During the Giants game to end the season I almost wanted to cry every time he touched the ball because it was so painful to watch. Last night he seemed to find every whole and actually run through them instead of dancing around like he normally does.

3. My final point will be this, out of all my colleagues here on Rootbeer and Bacon I was the one who came closest to the final score as I guessed 31-21, compared to an actual score of 31-20. Any prizes and accolades you would like to shower down on me are more than welcome.

I'll be back later with a rant on Clemens that I am still working on perfecting. Read more!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Some Lighter Fare

This is one of the main reasons why I love living in DC. Nothing lifts my spirits like a good old Eastern Motors ad. Shoe City is awesome too. Read more!

Friday, January 11, 2008

RE: Garnett

You see, here is why the strength of this blog lies in the numbers and the fact that one of the contributors lives in DC and not Boston. Somebody from DC has the balls to criticize KG which I acknowledged at the time was sacrelig to people in Boston.

First and foremost, the C's would not be where they currently are without KG. I absolutely love that a) the C's are relevant again and b) Paul Pierce finally gets to show the rest of the basketball loving world what a GREAT and I mean GREAT player he is and without KG absolutely none of this occurs. If you are a C's fan and you are a touch too young to appreciate the Bird Era but old enough to know the true sting of Reggie Lewis and how great he was then you best include Pierce's game 5 against Philly in 2002 and his first round series against Indy in 2003 as your favorite fan moments of your lifetime. If you don't remember the Indy series, let me refresh you memory...

Pierce won the first game by getting himself to the line and hitting all of his shots but he really took it to another level in his landmark game 5 (I think) where he caught fire in the second half, lead the C's back from a double-digit deficit, and ended the third quarter by calling an iso for himself against Al Harrington and draining a deep three in his grill with an, "I'm going to dick on you and there is nothing you can do about it Albert" look on his face the whole time. That is still the most exhilirating paly I have seen in my Celtic cheering life just because you saw it coming from a mile a way and when he drilled that shot, it was the ultimate WHAT...WHAT moment to the Pacers who were the far and away better team. Remember who coached that Indy team? I'll give you hint, he currently is the coach/GM for the Knicks.

But anyway, back to KG.

I still don't mean to disparage the contributions he has made to the team and the organization, but he absolutely needs to play on the block more. I will not back down from that statement. Is it a coincedence that every single team since MJ retired to win a title (go ahead, challenge me here) has featured a dominant post player? Of course not. I don't care how well you shoot the J, the J is a shot that will come and go. However, if you pound the ball down low and attack the rim you will not only get more high percentage shots but you will also draw fouls AND get the other team's big in foul trouble. Not only that, but jump shots will get you back into as many games as they will bury you because if that is all you settle for then in games where they aren't falling you are SOL as opposed to pounding the ball down low because at least there you can get to the line. If you need even more reasoning, by pouding the ball into the paint to a big with a good knack for passing like KG - and BTW, passing has always been the most underrated part of Shaq's game - then the big can command a double team and kick out to the perimeter guys, which is a pretty good thing to do when you have Ray Allen on your squad. If you're really an NBA guy then think of all the big shots that Derek Fisher, Brian Shaw, Steve Kerr, and Bob Horry hit during the Lakers/Spurs domination that has occurred since 2001.

OK, enough bickering for now. I don't want to hate on KG because I love what he has done, but I will leave you with one thought...

The Pistons and Celtics are clearly a cut above every other Eastern Conference team. When the C's play the Pistons, after Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups, the guy you have to fear the most there is Rasheed Wallace. When you see Rasheed - who Charles Barkley said on TNT the other night could be the best player in the NBA if he wanted to, a brash statement but Barkley's a HOFer so you need to at least pay him a little mind - head to the three point line to jack a three you get a little excited right? Wouldn't you rather see Wallace hoist some threes and long Js as opposed to using his god-given talent and size to back his defender down to get either a layup or turnaround J? Of course you would. You give him the three ten times out of ten. And I promise you that is how the C's opponents feel when they see KG taking jumpers all night long. Sure he may hit them more than he misses but I know they'd rather him take long Js than attack the basket.

And one more thought before I sign off...

The above is EXACTLY why Antoine Walker never developed into an All NBA type player. Antoine in his younger days was quicker than any 4 in the league and a great passer. I remeber watching him in his early years destroy Karl Malone while still in his prime and drop 50 on Juwan Howard and the Bullets and thinking to myself what kind of player Antoince could become. And then he fell in love with the three point shot. And I'll end it there because you all probably know how this story ends. If not, yadda, yadda, yadda he's now about 100 pounds over weight and playing for one of the worst teams in the NBA.

That's it for now. I hope other people than us authors are reading this. I'm trying to spread the word. Read more!

Garnett


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Celtics preview

Tonight the Celtics get ready to take on the Nets in New Jersey. Thus far in the season, the Celts have one both meetings of these two teams with relative ease, and should have no trouble taking them to school tonight.

Tonight marks the return of both Ray Allen and the Big Baby. Wednesday night both of these guys were out with injuries, and we got to see just how vulnerable this team is when it comes to depth. With Allen out we saw increased minutes for both Eddie House and Tony "I swear I will never dunk after the whistle again" Allen. This alone is not a terrible thing, House has a great jump shot and provides a great perimeter threat, while Tony is an excellent defender. However, we also saw Rondo and Paul Pierce get into foul trouble early. With Ray and the baby out and Paul in early foul trouble we had a perfect storm brewing for an increase in minutes for.....Brian Scalabrine. God help us all. First of all how can I put my faith in a red-headed basketball player?
Second of all, when everyone is healthy this guy only averages 9.2 minutes a game, and has at least 5 DNP's. This is clearly someone that the coaches dont want out there, but with two injuries this guy got 14 minutes on Wednesday. This is where the Celtics playoff hopes hinge. They are one major injury away from having what amounts to third string players seeing increased minutes.

Onto the Big Ticket...Neil has made a comment that he would like to see KG putting up more numbers inside the paint. To that I respond "Shut the fuck up." Prior to KG coming to the Celtics the most exciting player to watch was some idiot who looked like he tattooed himself while the team bus was on some dirt road somewhere. Now, we have a bonifide big man who can also shoot. In a separate post you can see his stats thus far. He is average almost 20 points a game and 10 rebounds. Our goddamn center is only averaging 5.2! What the hell more do you want out of a man that has almost single handedly turned a once legendary franchise back into a major player in only half a season?

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Nick's Picks

Welcome to Rootbeer and Bacon! For those in our fanbase that are unfamiliar with what I will be bringing to the table.....Imagine Artie Lange after a few Jack n' waters.... I have strong opinions, I'm brutally honest, I'm usually right, and I'll add a little dry humor to the mix. Unfortunately, this initial post will not include booze or any other party favors. I needed to get my picks in for the weekend and with my Friday evening dedicated to feeding the people (another blog entirely), I must use company time to get this done......

Week in Review

Last weekend's games gave us a good look as to what we can expect from each team that won. Mostly that THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!!!! Really, were there any surprises from last week? Pitt going down like that. With no Willie Parker, they would have been lucky to come away with a win. Without him, they couldn't eat the clock, and that's what killed them. Washington's feel good story was bound to end, and a trip to Seattle was just the ticket. The Hawks just don’t lose at home. Its extremely difficult to win a road game when you are surrounded by a fanbase covered in such awful colors. Seriously, what color green is that? Devestator Decepticon green? Whatever it is, its hideous and it causes serious concerns for a visiting opponent. The Giants were coming off a well-played game against the best and trampled a Tampa team that had their starting quarterback play only 5 of the previous 16 quarters coming into the game. And the Chargers….oh boy. The San Diego SUPER CHARGERS!!!! They did everything to lose that game, but how are the Titans supposed to win with no aerial attack. Did you see the elation from Norv Turner after the win? Act like you’ve been there before…C’mon. And can someone please let Philip Rivers know he was drafted high, but it does not mean he is any good. He’s not even in Eli’s league for Christ’s sake. Other quarterbacks drafted high and not panning out. Just a few:

Akili Smith
Andre Ware
David Carr
Tim Couch
Kyle Boller
Ryan Leaf
Rick Mirer

Philip Rivers just fits right in, doesn’t he. The trash talking and taunting he let off against Denver in week 17 was embarrassing for everyone. I am hoping Peyton goes down early and somehow San Diego pulls off a win and comes to Gillette next week……

On to the picks!!!

Seattle @ Green Bay

No brainer. 30 dgrs with flurries. Seattle’s road record is 3-5. Green Bay will not lose this year at Lambeau. Green Bay has shown poise on the defensive side of the ball with a young defense. Wouldn’t AJ Hawk look good with a Flyin’ Elvis on his helmet.

Green Bay 21-13

San Diego @ Indianapolis

Like I said, if Peyton goes down, San Diego has a chance. That’s not gonna happen though. No need to get out of bed for this one. Gates is out and with Norv Turner’s refusal to let the best football player the NFL touch the ball 30 times, San Diego will lose. And lose big. Indy is looking to grease the chain and remind everyone that they are the reigning super bowl champs. They are flying dangerously under the radar here…..

Indy 42-17

New York @ Dallas

I’ll tell ya…. I feel like Eli’s balls finally dropped during that week 17 game against the Pats. He looked good and the Giants were a force. There’s a lot of history between these two franchises. This’ll be one of those “throw out the records” games. Look for an upset here with the Giants looking to avenge their two losses to Dallas in the regular season. There is just too much chaos with Romo, TO and even rumors that Wade is gone after the season. Too much pressure to handle for the boys…..and lets remember that Romo will have his playoff performance from last year on his mind.

Giants 31-28

Jacksonville @ New England

The team no one wants to play? For real? Too bad that they don’t play these games with 2 balls in play, then Jones-Drew and Taylor could both score a touchdown on the same play. They have no serviceable wideout, making me wonder why they didn’t offer Reche “Headlights” Caldwell a contract last offseason. Their defensive backs haven’t stopped anyone from throwing deep. And furthermore, David Garrard is going to have to throw 35-40 passes. David Garrard is not going to beat the best team the NFL has ever seen. Not happening. I’m seeing this game much like the game against Pitt in early December. Close at halftime with some adjustments made by BB at the break that will open up the offense. I don’t see Jacksonville scoring in the second half.

Pats 35-13 Read more!

The First Post(From Mike)

I am going to be honest with all of you I am shocked by the amount of work that Ben has put into this Blog so far. In fact this maybe double the amount of work he put in his last blog, including when for some unknown reason he changed the background to that of a light house. It will be interesting to see if this drive and determination lasts longer than a few weeks. I worked with Ben for over a year and the only thing he ever seemed dedicated to was trying to drive our supervisors crazy.

There are several things that I would like to get off my chest today.

Patriots Vs. Jaguars
1. I don't know if any of you have ever heard of Vic Ketchman, I know I hadn't until earlier this week and I spend quite a bit of time surfing the web. He is the Senior Editor of the Jacksonville Jaguars website. Now I don't know if Vic was growing up and was thinking I want to be the Senior Editor for the website of a mediocre National Football Franchise but that seems to be the hand that God has dealt him. In order to get his name out there this dingus made his own power rankings and rightfully had the Patriots as number one, but thinking he was funny included an asterisk that said "* Cheated in One Game".

Now I admit as a fan of the New England Patriots I was embarrassed by the whole spygate thing, and I was disappointed that when it was leaked that the "Man-Genius" had done the same thing that no one made as big a deal. To anyone who paid attention to what the Pats did would know that if anything they weren't planning on cheating in that game, they were planning to cheat in the next Jets game.

I would include a link to the page but it appears that even with such a grand title of "Senior Editor"(I can't seem to find another editor so that maybe short for Only Editor) he himself was edited and was forced to remove the "*". You think he would have learned from the Pats recent dominance not to piss them off, his joke did nothing but allow a 16-0 team, who are 13.5 point favorites claim they are once again disrespected and allows nut jobs like Rodney Harrison to get that more wound up for the game. I wouldn't be surprised if he decapitates Fred Taylor.

2. I predict the Pats will win 31-21, and instead of Asante scoring like my colleague Neil predicted I will bet that the great Ellis Hobbs will find his way into the endzone.

3. My last point is almost two weeks old. I hate Bryant Gumbel, he should quit his job as soon as possible and begin production on the show "Gumbel and Gumbel" where and he and his brother Greg play beach cops, the scripts almost write themselves.

The Red Sox

I will admit that at times I feel like Jenna Elfman in the charming romantic comedy Keeping the Faith, torn between two loves Ed Norton and Ben Stiller. With Ed Norton of course representing the Patriots and Ben Stiller representing the Red Sox. Ok I think that analogy got away from me a little.

Anyway, this is a tough time of year for Red Sox fans, the hot stove is pretty cool at this point, and we are still a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting, and as much fun as it is to see the truly crazy side of Roger Clemens come out( I am saving my true feelings on him for another post) this is a dead time of year for the Red Sox. I will assure you future loyal reader of Rootbeer and Bacon that when the time comes I will unleash on you my Red Sox knowledge, maybe by then we will even have a podcast because if you think we seem crazy when you read our thoughts just imagine when we are not limited by things like our typing speed.

Baseball Cards

The nerd side of me always comes through at some point. I collect baseball cards, I spend hundreds of dollars buying them then hours organizing them. All of this had been until recently at the comfort of my dining room table where I could still see my 42 inch plasma TV. This Christmas my lovely Fiance got me a card table and banished me and my cards to the spare bedroom in our apartment where instead of a crisp 42 inch plasma we have a 27 inch old fashion TV. The reason I bring this up is because I want to let you the reader know that from time to time my baseball card obsession will sneak through into my posts, and I will scan and show you a card that will truly blow your mind. My first example of this will be former Twin Torii Hunter's 2007 Topps Allen and Ginter card and what has to be considered a classic "Oh" face.




I will end my first post with that image, depending on how much work I have to do today you may hear from me again,
Mike
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