October 24, 2014

The Most Miserable 18-1 Season in History

By Bruce Allen
[email protected]

Let me first start by saying that this column was going to be written even if the Patriots had won on Sunday night. The only difference is that the column would’ve been entitled “The Most Miserable Perfect Season in History.”

On the field, this Patriots team was a fan’s dream. They were talented, charismatic and had an obvious flair for the dramatic. They had the highest scoring offense of all time, with the superstar quarterback and ridiculously gifted wide receiver each breaking high-profile NFL records in the process. They had a resourceful defense, which while aging, still had experience and guile unmatched by most units across the league.

Yet, in talking to a number of people, this was the least fun that they’ve had following football that they can ever remember.

What made it that way? Certainly not the games. The games – even the blowouts, were all marvelously entertaining.

It was the coverage of this team. Right from training camp, there was always something to pick at and criticize. Randy Moss didn’t play a single down in the preseason – there was talk that he just didn’t want to work. Some speculated that he wouldn’t even make the team out of training camp. How silly does that notion look now? Others stated that Tom Brady was going to be distracted because of his personal life, having just become a new father, and trying to keep up with his supermodel girlfriend who wasn’t the mother of the child would somehow effect his performance on the field. With all that has happened since that time, these issues might seem like ancient history, but during training camp, we got almost daily reminders of these stories.

It turned out that that was just the beginning. There was Spygate. Then the Patriots were winning by too much and the media complained endlessly that they were running up the scores, humiliating their opponents and that they had no class. Meanwhile, the wins were piling up, one after the other. Teams around the league suddenly figured out that by being the team that handed the Patriots their first loss, they would reap untold reams of media adulation. So they started making games against the Patriots their personal Super Bowl. Teams like the Eagles, Ravens and Jets put everything they could into their games against the Patriots, only to come up short. But since they made the games close, all of a sudden the media was knocking the Patriots because they weren’t winning by enough. Then they might not be able to play in the cold. Then they didn’t have a running game. Then Randy Moss ended up having a restraining order issued against him in Florida. The Patriots were a dirty team that took cheap shots at helpless opponents.

It seemed that almost every day this season there was some drama going on that took away from the football. From the first day of training camp to the last second of the Super Bowl, there the naysayers and finger-waggers were lined up, doing their best to be “objective” in their coverage.

The worst part was that you couldn’t get away from it if you tried.

I think if one word sums up the coverage of the Patriots this season, it is embarrassing.

This season marked a change in a number of ways in which the Patriots have been covered. For one, the Boston Herald went to much more of a tabloid/gossip style of reporting. Fitting because they are a tabloid. It wasn’t always this way. In the early years of the Tom Brady era, the Herald had the best coverage of the team, hands down, while the Globe assigned bitter old men like Nick Cafardo and Ron Borges to the Patriots beat. (To be fair, the Herald did saddle us with Kevin Mannix for many years.)

Even at the start of this season, things were as good as they’ve ever been in terms of beat reporter coverage. Albert Breer was contributing to the Herald through the MetroWest Daily News, and formed a solid 1-2 punch on the Herald’s The Point After blog. When the business relationship between the papers ended, and Breer headed to Dallas, the Herald started sending Karen Guregian to work with Tomase on the beat. While Guregian is a competent reporter, the coverage immediately suffered with the loss of Breer. The Herald started featuring the Patriots in the Inside Track as much as they did in the sports pages, and sensationalistic headlines atop meaningless and pointless articles started to become the norm. The Herald appears to be a New York Post wannabe these days, and that’s not a favorable comparison.

Meanwhile, at The Boston Globe, the day-to-day reporting is in the very capable hands of Mike Reiss and Chris Gasper. They do a tremendous job at bringing us the facts, and analyzing the facts. They stick to football for the most part, and when required to cover issues like Spygate, report in a neutral fashion, not injecting their own criticism or judgments. The problem with the Globe comes when Dan Shaughnessy or Jackie MacMullan sink their teeth into the Patriots. The former always has to defend his paper’s 17% ownership of the Red Sox by putting down the Patriots at the expense of the baseball club, while MacMullan has made a name among Patriots fans for her profiles of a player, agent or competitor with an axe to grind against the organization. The Globe/Boston.com has also been doing more of the gossip-style material on the web as well.

The other papers really weren’t the problem with the Patriots coverage this season. Radio and Television, as well as national websites and publications were what made this a really miserable season. Herr Gregg Easterbook took highly publicized weekly shots at the team in his ESPN.com Page2 column, accusing the Patriots of everything short of being an Al Qaeda splinter cell hell-bent on bringing the free world to its knees. Peter King demanded to know what was the tapes destroyed by the NFL, talked about the Patriots past accomplishments being tainted, and put words in the mouth of an opposing coach (Wade Phillips) about how what the Patriots had done was a “black mark” on the NFL. The other columnists on the national sites lined up to take their shots on seemingly a daily basis. From Bob Cook to John Czarnecki, Michael Silver, Mike Celizic and Dr Z. On TV, Merril Hoge, Marshall Faulk, Mike Ditka, Terrell Davis – they all did the same on the air. The list is endless. Now mind you, I understand that part of the price that you pay by being on top is that everyone wants to take you down. How fun or interesting is it for people just to praise you all the time anyway…but these articles were more than just that, they were personal. They were nasty, and they popped up almost every day.

On the local radio airwaves we had no shortage of the same type of thing. Dennis and Callahan, (WEEI) The Mike Felger Show, (890 ESPN) even the Patriots own pregame show on WBCN all pounded listeners regularly with stupid, pointless speculation and “concern” and moralizing. Very little actual between-the-lines football was discussed. Things were so bad this season that I felt the need to listen to WEEI’s Big Show to hear their incessant sucking up to the team just to get away from the negativity. Even the Patriots own website had Podcasts with the Patriots Football Weekly writers who made needlessly nasty insults about players and insinuated all sorts of things throughout the season.

On television we were treated to many of the same characters, saying all the exact same things on a nightly basis on outlets such as Comcast SportsNet, NESN and NECN. Sportscasters on the late-night news did all they could to tease you into watching their segments by promising the latest scoop on some worry of the day. What’s worse, during the biggest points of the season we were subjected to the regular news folk getting involved with the team, leading their newscasts with misleading, provocative lead-ins, and showing up at press conferences to demand answers from the coach. Those scenes had a very paparazzi-like feel to them. In fact, the whole season did, right down to the final weekend.

The day before the Super Bowl, John Tomase ran a piece citing a single unnamed source stating that an unnamed person taped the walk-through practice of the St Louis Rams prior to the 2002 Super Bowl. This unnamed source did not know what the unnamed cameraman did with the tape, nor if this mystery person did this under instruction or on their own. This story garnered outrage across the country, with even former St Louis quarterback Kurt Warner speaking out. However, it was also reported that a telescope was spotted out of a window observing the Patriots practice, but that fact somehow didn’t generate the same outrage. The fact that the Rams went through red-zone formations in the walk-through and then converted their only red-zone possession into a touchdown in the Super Bowl has also been lost in the chaos.

Tomase took a beating on the Boston Herald comments section for his story. It was brutal, with some readers even threatening him. (The Herald has since shut down comments on the blog.) For a little while I felt sorry for him and even considered sending him a note to hang in there. Then as I noted that the item had been picked up by ESPN, CNN, NPR and every other media outlet known by an acronym, I realized that he didn’t need support. He knew what the local reaction would be, and went with it anyway. A few years back when writing for the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, Tomase had written a piece on Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez, which was not well received by most fans. However, the article made a bigger name for Tomase, who got sports radio appearances out of it, and then eventually a promotion to the Herald, where he ended up on the Patriots beat.

This story could be another stepping-stone for Tomase, as the story received national attention. But really, that’s how it has been the entire season. One person after another, out to break the big story, to make a name for themselves. Congratulations to all who achieved this noble goal this season.

It’s amazing to me that all these outlets truly believe that the type of coverage that we saw this season is what the people really want. Yes, none of this was by accident. They really believe that they’re giving the public what they want.

What they did was almost ruin a fantastically entertaining season – a on-field season like none other in NFL history. Even though it ended in bitter disappointment, the accomplishments of the 2007 Patriots will be remembered for decades. Yet, apparently there wasn’t enough going on on the field to keep people busy. They made a circus out the season, sucking out any joy that could be had from watching this marvelous team. We had it all here in front of us, and too often, we had to look away because someone else wanted to make their own name in front of us. They made following this team a miserable experience at times.

Let’s get something straight here, these are not the ramblings of a person who believes that only good things should be said and written about the team. When they deserve the criticism…let ‘em have it. They deserved criticism for the Spygate episode, but not the massive, belligerent splash-back that actually occurred. People act as though they got off scott-free from that incident, but in reality they received an unprecedented punishment in the history of team sports. This isn’t about legitimate criticism, it’s about the exaggerated dramas and made up “crisis-es” which result in breathless reports “from the scene” and the like.

When we have our Patriots Daily offseason meetings sometime in the next few weeks, I’m seriously considering proposing the idea that the site focus solely on the on-the-field product, and the transactions that affect that product. No more reacting to this media report or that idiot spouting off about tainted titles. Just football. We’d probably have a hard time accomplishing that, but think about it. How cool would it be to have a discussion site where everyone talked about what they say with their own eyes…not about what they heard some talking head mediot spout on his fifth radio appearance of the day. It would be an interesting experiment, I don’t know how far it would go, though.

I just wish I had been able to do it this season.

Comments

  1. Well said. This season felt more like a drain after the constant national Patriots bashing. But unfortunately, I have a feeling that this will not be a one season thing because you know that *insert your own sanctimonious entity (overly ambitious Print Columnists, narcissistic TV “Analysts”, self-appointed World-Wide Sports Leaders, holier-than-thou Comment Trolls, overzealous Congressional Eagles fans)* will do their best not to let the rest of the country forget about “Spygate”. And just like this year, the New England Patriots fans will receive the brunt of those attacks.

  2. Jack Kranefuss says:

    The day after the Super Bowl loss, I received an email from a coworker gloating about how Brady bombed and couldn’t hold Montana’s jockstrap. Bombed? Under contant pressure throughout the Super Bowl, Brady still managed to complete 60% of his passes and drove them downfield for what could (should) have been the winning touchdown. The emailer also commented that the Pats’ loss disqualified them from being talked about as a dynasty, since every other dynasty won thier Super Bowls. Okay, so one can’t consider a team a dynasty when, in a league specifically designed to preclude such a thing, that team went 4-1 in AFC Championships and 3-1 in Super Bowls over the past seven years? Maybe I missed something. I agree that you can’t not have negative stories, but I also agree that this was a miserabley excellent season.

  3. Tip o’ the keys to you, sir. BSMW should go down for a redesign more often.

    I can’t wait until we get to the point in the off-season meetings where Bruce suggests we only talk about football from now on, and everybody pauses for a second, looks at each other and then just laughs and laughs.

  4. Terry Cooney says:

    Try living outside of New England, it was the worst year I have ever had following football. Not everyone liked the Cowboys or the 49ers but the Pats were hated by most people I met and almost every announcer on TV.I even had one guy accuse me of child abuse for putting a moss jersey on my son. I wanted the Pats to win the Super Bowl just to shut everyone up (and they almost did, if it wasnt for the sack that, wasnt a sack and the helmet catch) Hats off to the Giants D, but try and imagine the news coverage if the Patriots won, 18-1 a great year alot of records but I am glad its over.

  5. Captures my feelings on this season perfectly. It seemed to be a battle all season long to ‘enjoy’ what was happening on the field. This was a special team from a football perspective. What I’m left with (after the SB) is the notion that no team has gone through the pressure cooker that this team did for 10+ games and almost come out unscathed and perfect. Easy to lose sight of the fact that this team answered the bell almost every single time it faced adversity. They were in a fishbowl all season unlike any other. After digesting the disappointment that was the final game, I think we should all give thanks that we were able to follow this team this year and enjoy the great football. It’d be nice to be able to focus on the games next year a bit more for sure….

  6. You hit this one on the head. As I was reading the article, I thought, “That’s right…there was ALWAYS some kind of drama.” Unfortunately, I think this is the way it’s going to be from now on. Not because the Pats are great and everyone hates them, etc. It’s going to be this way because dramatic stories attract viewers/readers and viewers/readers sell advertising. Couple that with the amount of media around today, and the sports stories are going to rival daytime soap operas for drama.

  7. Well, that’s even more depressing than losing the Super Bowl and an undefeated record with 35 seconds left in the season.

  8. Perfectly stated .. this was a miserable year. Spygate, domestic violence-gate, runningupthescore-gate, handshake-gate, ankleboot-gate, spygate2, walkingoffthefieldwithonesecondremaining-gate, blah, blah , blah.

    As the year unfolded I just rooted for the Pats to shut up the haters. Oddly, it made me a more devote fan. I will love this team for life.

    Any pre-game excitment I had for the Super Bowl was diminished by the grandstanding Spector and the hideous Tomase. I went into the game with a “please let’s just win and get this over with” attitude.

    Next year — a nice safe 12-4 record and SB #4.

  9. Great article. What’s really come to piss me off this season is the constant negativity towards Belichick. Even Pats fans will get defensive and say things like “Of course he’s not a likeable guy”, “Of course if he weren’t our coach I’d hate the guy too”, etc. The hell with that. I like him just fine, always have. From day one I preferred him to Pete Carrol and his joe college attitude. From what I can tell, I probably like him as a person more than I like Dungy or Cowher or Joe Gibbs or any of the media stars. Belichick has a wicked sense of humor, and if you ever watch him do his “Belestrator” segment on that Patriots Insider show, it’s clear the guy is passionate and loves the game. He’s even actually entertaining. It’s time for Patriots fans to stop letting journalists influence our perceptions.

  10. Canadian Soldier says:

    I was utterly exhausted last Sunday BEFORE the game, with the firestorms created by Specter’s grandstanding and Tomase’s “unnamed source.” The Patriots came within 35 seconds of making absorbing all that hate and bile worthwhile. The pack-of-hyenas coverage may also have been a bizarre offshoot of the Pacman Jones and Michael Vick off-season crapstorms. I heard a few players saying that Belichick and the Pats needed to be punished in the same Draconian way.

    Anyway, thanks for this piece, Bruce. You echo a lot of people’s thoughts.

  11. Thanks Bruce, great article.

  12. Slapdick Corner says:

    A very well thought out and unvarnished look at the jackals that make up the bulk of the media. This season was stupendous for any long time fan for the actions on the field, but you wouldn’t know it by the agendas of the STORYLINES that make up the bulk of today’s coverage in all mediums. The national ignorance of what makes this team great and what they accomplished makes me want to extend the embargo on coverage of the team until further notice. Bruce, thanks again for having the courage to write honestly about the coverage of the 2007 Patriots.

  13. You hit the nail on the head with this analysis. The people of New England should insist that, at some point, Mayor Menino and Boston should wait a bit and then hold a celebration for this remarkable team. Why should the final loss completely change our experience of an extraordinary team and season? And why should we validate the poisonous media coverage by remaining silent about the excellence of this team? The 16-game season and the 18-game run will not be duplicated, ever. The Giants deserve praise for the Super Bowl, but the Patriots were the extraordinary NFL team of this season: coach, quarterback, and overall teamwork.

  14. David Cyprian says:

    Great read Bruce. Nice thoughts.

    I’m not so sure as many of us would be reflecting on this season as miserable had they won the last game. I personally got some joy out of the fact that the entire football establishment (rival teams, media coverage, rival fans) was absolutely obsessed with taking on- and off-field shots at the Patriots, and yet they just kept keeping their mouths shut (for the most part), and winning. It was a odd sensation of unjustified self-righteousness, although after the Raven’s game I began to think the Pats were playing with house money.

    I have to admit though that all the negativity eventually wore me down — the timing of Tomase’s article is absolutely blasphemous — and by the last two minutes of the superbowl I wore a surprising smile at the Giants successes. I like Eli Manning personally, but it was a little more than that– everyone hates the patriots so much, they have won and beaten everyone so much, maybe a stunning loss to the Giants would bring some type of conclusion to your “most miserable” near-perfect season of triumph and torture.

  15. David Cyprian says:

    … as in, “We can lose a freaking football game just like you pesky mortals. Now leave us the hell alone.”

  16. Great job, Bruce. You encapsulated my thoughts exactly. I’m comforted to know that so many other people felt the same way. The unfortunate thing is that as long as Belichick is here the national coverage will never change. The Pats will always be evil personified.

  17. According to SI’s Selena Roberts, he can remedy all that with just a few hugs.

  18. Very well said Bruce. Thank you and the rest of the Patriots Daily staff for doing such a great job this year. Aside from the guys here and a few others like Reiss and Gasper too often the local and national media wanted to ruin this season for us.
    As much as it sucks to admit this, and as fun as watching the games was UNTIL Sunday, this season will forever be remembered as the biggest choke in NFL history. Prior to Sunday it could be argued that the Giants were the WORST Super Bowl participant ever. You could also argue that compared to their opponents, the Patriots were the greatest team ever (using strength of schedule and margin of victory). To me, this is far worse than Boone, Buckner or Tuna taking the Jets job at halftime of the Super Bowl. Unless they can make a run like this again, this season, for me anyway, will always be the one that got away.

  19. pom pom kid says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I also noticed the shift in tone at the Herald. They used to be the best. Has Felger somehow channeled the muse of Borges?

  20. Great article Bruce. You have put into words many of my thoughts.

    The thing that really annoys me is that the media feels that they must go to extremes. If you like the Patriots, you have to go into full yahoo mode (i.e. the Big Show) and if you want to go the other way, your negativity has to be relentless (i.e. Felger).

    That is why Mike Reiss is my favorite writer. He is level-headed and to the point about everything. Now Felger, et al will say that is because he is a reporter and not a columnist. And while that is true, I wish the columnists in town wouldn’t go to such extremes.

  21. I agree with your column. I found myself tuning out all local programming…WEEI just bores me with the same people spouting the same opinions everyday. I really started to listen to NFL Radio on Sirius…they talked about the games…and it was pretty refreshing.

  22. Bruce – well written. And thanks for all the thoughtful pieces from you and Scott and everyone that provided balance throughout the season. Keep up the excellent work, it is appreciated!

    As far as considering going to a football-facts only forum, there may be some potential there as a blog offering. Yet, I must say I’ve always looked forward to this blog’s counter-point to someone like Borges (may he rest in peace on a back-water Cable channel) or Felger. There were more than a few times after a game when they’ve said something, to which my reaction would be “was he watching what I was watching?” Maybe that is for BSMW to watch dog instead of PD? Don’t know – but as long as someone does it.

  23. Virginia Lindsey says:

    I agree completely.Our daughter is a super fan and was responsible for us switching to the Patriots.

    I was shocked they began complaining (immediately)about the coach rudely leaving the field.
    I watched him running across the field to congratulate the Giants coach when everyone thought the game was over at 1 second and the fans spilled out onto the field. He, like everyone else, seemed confused when the referees tried to clear the fans off the field to have that meaningless 1 second knee down.
    So he left the field. I don’t blame him.
    The truth is – the Patriots are the best team and played the best season, and also congrats to the Giants for winning the Superbowl.

  24. Not impressed…we aren’t the first sports fans to deal with negative coverage brought on by the team’s own doing – Michael Irvin hoovered blow with his stripper posse; Steve Young had to deal with monkey-on-the-back questions until ’95; let’s not even get into the Yankees since 2000.

    That’s the cost of doing business in the Internet age. It’s not going away and it’s not going to get any better.

    All the crying and bellyaching feel good, because it’s an us-against-them mentality tha makes a fan base fun to be a part of, but there’s a point – reached by BSMW in spades the last few weeks – where you’re just the opposite end of the same problem. As soon as you stop laughing at it, and taking it seriously (and this column made me feel like I was reading about Bush’s Iraq policy), then I don’t know what you’re doing, but it’s not sitting back and cheering for a sports team…

    The Pats lost, it sucks, so let’s just relax and move on…

  25. GREAT JOB Bruce….you took the words right out of my mouth. I would have written the same thing. (if I had any writing talent)….HELLUVA Job…

  26. Perfect post. This has been on my mind this week quite a bit. The loss itself was devastating enough. The fact that the media tried to suck the life out of a remarkable season is terrible. Maybe next year they will focus on another team. Probably not…

  27. I’m feeling pretty relaxed, for what its worth. Though all this snow makes me kind of tense.

    The fodder for the all coverage was indeed the team’s own doing – Harrison with the HGH, Belichick with the camera – and I don’t think anybody’s claimed otherwise.

    Even so, Bruce’s column about exaggerated drama in no less true in my view. Nor is SSW’s comment about the Internet age – for all it gives us (the newspaper blogs, CHFF, FO, etc.), it also takes away (PFT, etc.), which brings me back to Bruce’s point, I think.

    But again, for whatever its worth, I’m feeling pretty relaxed, and already looking forward to free agency, the draft, and next season. I bet I’m not alone.

    Anyway, thanks again to Bruce for the column, and thanks to all of you for logging in with your comments.

  28. I’d vote for a shift toward a focus on football. The Main Page does the job in calling out the folks in the media who aren’t doing their job.

    As it regards your column, I think that you have downplayed the impact of the Harrison positive test and the taping controversy in terms of the national view of the Patriots. This season would have looked a lot different in the national media without those poor decisions by the player and coach. Folks like Peter King would have stayed on the bandwagon and the haters like Merril Hoge wouldn’t have had the pedestal they sought. Sure the NY Post was over the top with its asterisk all season but they were handed the impetus.

  29. Bruce, great article that echoes my sentiments and those of Patriots fans I know. As you wrote – the games were entertaining all year and gave us all the drama we needed. Too bad about the flotsam and jetsam.

    The drama queens (locally and nationally) actually helped me because I didn’t spend any time reading their opinions because, as you say, they were interested in becoming the story rather than cover it. God, that’s bad journalism.

    I disagree with your intent on changing the focus of this site. You read the Easterbrooks so I don’t have to. I don’t want to keep the pulse of the area – I trust you to do that for me. Here, I can keep informed without having to pollute my mind with the purple prose/commentary. And I use that free time wisely. You report on the ramblings of Felger and the Steve Kmetko wannabees and I appreciate that. If you stop that service and try to be Mike Reiss you’ll lose your audience and you’ll cease to be relevant. Covering the Patriots media is something you do better than anyone else. Hell, why not start making your own brand of BSMW beer and foam fingers?

    I also disagree with your fear of Tomase getting on the national stage, unless E! begins including an sports section. His prose is meddling at best, and his insight is less than a drunk caller on WEEI. While he doesn’t scream desperation like Felger, it’s clear he’s trying too hard to get noticed rather than write something informative. It’s as though they’ve all conceded factual reporting to Reiss and have to play his foil. Breer was good enough that it showed there’s room for talent but the Herald won’t/can’t pay for it. And we’re stuck with that gang of mediocre’s.

  30. Bruce,
    You put into words exactly what I’ve been wringing my hands about since Game 2 and the Spygate crap.
    Thanks for writing one of the most-inciteful pieces any Pats fan – or “real” NFK fan could have needed to make sense of this ’07 season.

    I live in No. VA – redskins’ country. It was so sad to see the growing hatred for a team that really wasn’t arrogant or boastful in any way. The media created “The Patriots Monster” – not the Patriots organization – or their fans.

    Thanks, man.

  31. I guess I’d come down somewhere between Ben and Lance on the question posed by Bruce’s column. It’s true that BSMW is the best place for the media critiques, and that we’re not. Throughout the year, we were all aware we too often veered too far in that direction, and it seemed like everytime we had that discussion and decided to work on changing it, somthing would happen to start it all over again, we’d get wrapped up in that, and the focus would go back to that. Vicious circle in that way – it was kind of unusual year. Maybe we could have been more disciplined. Nobody works on this site to absorb themselves in that stuff all the time, regardless of how it may appear. Nobody relishes the idea of doing it all again in the same way.

    But I do agree with Lance too. We’re not Reiss’s Pieces, and we can’t be. There’s a lot of those options already, including great sites like CHFF and FO too. With a few exceptions, the writers here are fans who write about their own fan experience, essentially. Aside from Chris, Bill and Bruce, I think that’s all we have the capacity or the inclination to do. Despite our attempts at a pithy tagline in the masthead, I’d downplay any expectations that PD is intended to be dramatically different than what it was in the GDRV days. Fans offering their own perspective in a new medium that allows it.

    And the media coverage is part of that fan experience, it seems to me. It’s how you stay conncected to it every day. So its naturally going to work its way into what you write, especially when its controversial. I can’t see that changing altogether.

    I can see adding more writers who bring a more technical and less visceral perspective to the game, as Bill Barnwell does with Outside Foxborough. We’ve all seen the threads over at patsfans from people who can dissect offensive lineplay and defensive coverages and God knows what else. I would love to offer this space to those people, or people like them, at any time. I know I could certainly learn alot in the process, and I know the site would be better for it. Consider this our open invitation.

    We’d also like to add other writers who would have a focus similar to mine, or Dan’s or the Roundtable guys, just writing as a fan. Anybody who writes well and tells a good story would be welcome to drop an e-mail to me at anytime, and we’ll chat. We’re also trying to reach out and recruit people when opportunities are presented, as we were fortunate to do with Chris Price this year.

    Sorry for all the PD naval gazing but I really appreciate you guys weighing in on this discussion.

  32. My sentiments exactly Bruce. It got so bad that by midyear I wouldn’t watch ESPN Game Day or any other pregame show on Sundays. I turned the Super Bowl on at 6:18 because I just couldn’t take listening to all the other nonsense, vile, jealousy and outright hate being spewed by so-called objective TV types. I won’t even get into radio or newspaper. I’ve abandoned certain shows and columnists long ago.

  33. As always, spot on. Thanks

  34. Joe Greenlight says:

    Great column. I fear it’s only going to get worse. Between the Mitchell Report and Spygate, so-called sports journalists have more opportunities than ever to spew self-righteousness and baseless opinions–all at the expense of true journalism.

    In the UK, soccer teams not only have their own channels but even their own terrestrial radio stations. Here’s where I think team-owned media (a la The YES Network) has a real opportunity to shine. Many teams limit such coverage to their official websites, and in this regard, the Patriots do a decent job. Bundle a Patriots TV channel with the NFL Network–I’d pay for it.

  35. delmarvapat says:

    this article sums up what i’ve felt all season. i live in the philadelphia area (only because my job and daughter). i was really hoping that the pats would of won last sunday so could ‘retire’ from being an active nfl fan. i cant talk for more that 2 seconds with someone bringing up negativity about the patriots. their own team they had no opinions just at least my team didn’t cheat. this is coming from eagles fans that now hopes of some justification of their football team didn’t lose sb 39

  36. Great article. In terms of coverage, I think it’s important to have a place that breaks it down, both nationally and locally. As others have said, it’s hard to even read or watch most of it, so having a clearinghouse place that tells you what might be worth reading is really valuable.

    In terms of the local media, I have to think most of the recent turn is a factor of everyone thinking WEEI’s Big Show is somehow typical of coverage. Both Felger and the morning show made constant comparisons to the over-the-top homerism of Fred and Steve on the Big Show. The truth is, the Big Show was just ONE show, and in the end, the ONLY show that was at all positive EVER about the Pats.

    The most depressing part of the season was listening to how even the PFT guys decided they had to be “objective” by trashing Maroney all year, or making light of every minor nit the team did wrong. I think the other factor has to be the area getting spoiled. It’s like how after reading the SI Swimsuit edition your buddies start picking apart these gorgeous women for some minor flaw or another (from guys who will never get close to any of them).

    Finally, I have to note the one largely refreshing oasis in all of this (outside of PD of course) and that was the Dale and Holley show on WEEI. If there was one place where we could get a “calm down” and things in proper perspective, it was there.

  37. Bruce,

    Thanks a million for putting into words what many of us Patriot fanatics are feeling.

    Eight days later, my disdain for Tomase, Felger, Shaugnessey and the rest of the Patriot haters seems to be getting stronger.

    As I type, I am looking for a way to vent my anger and disappointment with the local mediots. These people call themselves professionals but they seem to be in competition to outdo each other.

    Any ideas about how we can send a message that needs to be heard??

    Whatever happened to truth, common decency, respect and writing & talking about football?

  38. WEIRD THEORY

    Weird/strange thought that occured to me when trying to make sense of that sad loss. They were just so listless and lackluster. Could it be that there is more to Spygate than we’ve been made to believe? Losing, in a way, makes is “simpler” and might make all of Spygate go away. Winning would have brought out more vitriol and heightened the determination to bring them down.

    The quality of both the coaching and play was subpar, by Patriot standards, I couldn’t help but think that.

  39. Ana:

    Your theory is right-on … the pats are human and wehn they get Senate hearings even espionage rumors dumped on them on the eve of the SB, it has to have an effect.

  40. Eastertwerp Bites says:

    Bruce – with all due respect, this has been building over time. First, it was the hoodie, and how Belichick was tastelessly dressed. But from my vantage point, it really began to take off last year, particularly toward the end of the year. The reaction to the frosty handshake between Belichick and Mangini was over the top. Then, when Belichick knocked the cameraman out of the way to shake hands with Mangini after the playoff game, the bile was flying. I was watching the guy thinking, he was damned if he did (which he did) and damned if he didn’t (because if he doesn’t shove the cameraman, he never makes it over to Mangini). It was amazing to me how the media took dictation from LT and Philip Rivers, without so much as a peep about how the Chargers sounded like sore losers. Only after the Chargers beat the beloved Colts this year (now, there’s a choke job for you) did you start to hear about the Chargers were a mouthy bunch. And more forests were killed so that the media could cry crocodile tears about Belichick stiffing Peyton Manning. Not to mention Jackie McMullan’s hatchet job, when only Bruce was willing to take the elementary step of doing a Nexis search to see what was reported at the time (which varied considerably from what Jackie wrote and what others parroted).

    Even with Spygate, even those who have soft pedaled its significance have lambasted Belichick for his arrogance. Yet no one actually seems to have investigated to see if indeed Belichick ordered Matt Estrella to film the Jets’ defensive signals. Could Bill have gotten the league memo and round filed it, forgetting to mention to Matt that his job was different? Or could he have told Matt not to film the defensive signals but Matt is not the brightest light in the chandelier? We don’t know – we think we do, but no one has been enterprising enough to actually investigate rather than insinuate. Interestingly enough, it was Michael Felger who suggested the week before the Super Bowl that Belichick’s interpretation of the memo was legit, but he did a bad job of presenting his interpretation (which is my way of saying that I think that Bruce has been too hard on Felger).

    But ultimately, don’t click through to Eastertwerp, don’t click through to the other haters, and limit yourself to the facts.

  41. Bruce, thanx for a great article..I’ve followed this team since they played at Fenway Park. This year seemed special but like your article said Felger an Tomase and the rest of those jackasses took all the fun out of it. I could go on an on but i’m still disgusted over the way it ended. These jerks made it all about themselves…..thanx for keeping it real Bruce, Mudder…

  42. Excellent article Bruce! As disappointed as I was about the Patriots loss in XLII I too was surprisingly not as devasted as I thought I would be. It was an incredible run and it will be interesting to see what team can put together another regular season as amazing as the 2007 Patriots did. Too much negative energy from the media about anything that happened within 20 feet from the Patriots. I hope that any fallout from Spector/Spygate Take II/Matt Walsh gets over with quickly. While I sit here patiently waiting for the draft and free agency I’ll take heart that the foundation is still solid and Pioli/BB will make the right moves. Thanks for a great article!

    pjm

  43. delmarvapat says:

    while im a little disappointed that the pats didn’t finish the season undefeated and get the prestige that a season like this deserves, i fear this senario coming true. the colts are going to try for 19-0. not only for the prestige but also because “fans can feel better about the team attempting to go undefeated” i heard that crap constantly this past season. with saint dungy maybe retiring (way to distrast ur team ur holiness) and sb 43 being held in tampa i can see the headlines now. talk about miserable

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