"I blame Gisele."
After the Patriots lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, Mrs. Brady delivered a mini-tirade when a fan provoked her ire taking a few shots at No. 12. Her response became the stuff of legend: "You (have) to catch the ball when you're supposed to catch the ball. My husband cannot (expletive) throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can't believe they dropped the ball so many times."
Well, Tom Brady can't win a Super Bowl all by himself, but he can sure save a franchise with just a little help from the missus' millions.
The most-recent on-line figures (and we know the internet never lies) peg Gisele Bündchen's net worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 million. And she and Tommy have built their own version of Cinderella's castle in O.J.'s old Los Angeles neighborhood. So if you're happy about Brady's restructuring, don't forget to thank Gisele.
Brady has gifted the Patriots an extra $15 million in cap room this season by restructuring his contract, and the deal can be redone at any time.
How great is that for the team? Not only can the Patriots load up on Wes Welker, Aqib Talib, and whomever else they'd like to make a run at (see: Dwight Freeney or a real wide-receiver.)
As of now, the pact guarantees Brady $57 million against injury for five years, opposed to the $30 million over two seasons he was guaranteed before the restructuring.
Brady, in essence, took a potential 50 percent pay cut down the line, settling on an average of $8 million a year over the final three years of the deal. The give-back on Brady's end is that he took himself out of the free-agency market after the 2014 season. There's little doubt that free-agent Tom Brady would have gotten himself $15-20 million a year, even at age 38. So much for the dreams of the Los Angeles Jaguars.
That's the gift to the team that might keep on giving for years and years to come.
Now the Elizabeth Warrens among us might say, "Hey, the guy has his millions, why doesn't he play for $1?" Beyond the sheer foolishness of that sentiment, there were practical reasons for keeping this real numerically. Brady's move has already lowered the franchise tag number for QBs across the league by $800,000. There's no way that any contract restructure that allows a player like Brady to significantly undervalue himself - even taking the league minimum - would be approved by the players' union.
Before he began his one-man "Birther" crusade and career as a TV reality show host, Donald Trump was a successful (and at times unsuccessful) real-estate mogul. His "Art of the Deal" is must-reading for anyone who ever wants to build a business or be successful in selling themselves. Haters, take a deep breath. This isn't a political endorsement one way or another. After all, we're being "untangled" from the Globe and sold by the New York Times.
Trump's image on the cover alone is worth the $7.99 Amazon price tag.
In the book, Trump talks about the "Elements of the Deal." Trump details the importance of staying focused on your ultimate goal - whatever that may be. It's not always making money. Sometimes, organizations, companies or people do things improve their image, give back to others or respond to criticism. Those elements eventually incorporate themselves into the bottom line, but revenue and profits aren't always the top agenda item of the day.
The best deals are the ones that work for both sides. The old "win-win." One of Trump's elements of the deal is: "Protect the Downside and the Upside Will Take Care of Itself."
This was the underlying theme of what Brady did this week. Both he and the Patriots protected their downside. The upside might end with a fourth Super Bowl victory at Met-Life Stadium in New Jersey next February. Think about how sweet that would be - Brady and Bill Belichick hoisting their fourth Lombardi Trophy together with a snowy, dimly-lit Manhattan skyline in the distance. That would be Boston's biggest "F.U." since Alan Embree finished off the Yankees in Game 7 - or Ben Affleck's best-picture win Sunday night.
The fact that Brady and the Patriots were able to manipulate the numbers and preserve most of what Brady would end up making in the long run makes this deal all the better. Take that, salary cap purists. Where is it written that one side has always screw over the other side to make a negotiation successful - even when it's the Kraft family dealing with one of their football players?
Brady stepped forward here an offered to do whatever it took, within reason, to make his team better. Even if he didn't give back millions, his move was significant. Sure, MLB contracts are significantly different than their NFL counterparts, but can you imagine the likes of John Lackey, Josh Beckett or even David Ortiz ever doing anything with their contracts to allow the team to spend more money on other players? Ortiz moaned and groaned - and even hinted about playing for the Yankees before the 2012 season - before the Red Sox gave him $26 million over two years to be a DH this offseason. Not much of a hometown discount there. Beckett was a slob who gave up on himself after getting his last deal with the Red Sox. His post-2007 Red Sox legacy is "pulled backfat." And State Run Media wants us to kiss John Lackey's butt because it not longer looks like Kim Kardashian's butt. A baseball player in shape. Stop the servers! Give me a call when he reaches the sixth inning with a lead. Let's not forget Jacoby "The Clock is Ticking" Ellsbury.
The clock is running on Brady and Belichick and everyone knows it - especially Brady and Belichick.
Somehow, whenever Brady struggles in a game or the Patriots lose because he didn't throw for 400 yards and six touchdowns, Gisele's name surfaces as the root cause for his failures. Since she's been the butt of so many jokes and jabs during her marriage, we'll glady give her props for allowing Tommy to stay out and play with his buddies for a few more years.
But it's not just her net worth. Brady is married with two kids, and has third with Bridget "Blue Bloods" Moynahan. It's impossible to imagine Brady making a move like this without Gisele's OK. He's married to a globe-trotting supermodel from Brazil and spent $20 million for a crib in Brentwood. Brady is not going to commit to a team in Foxborough, Mass., until he's 40 (whether or not he does is another story) without getting wifey's approval. America's Alpha Dog has three Super Bowl rings, a guaranteed bust in Canton, and multiple GQ and SI covers on his resume, in addition to spewing all-around manliness. But he also grew up with three sisters and is quite comfortable in a matriarchal household. In other words, he may be a little whipped, but we're still jealous as hell. To put things in perspective, I've been married 23 years to a divorce attorney and can't get clearance to go to Publix without a shopping list and exact change.
Fans and cynics (damn those cynics) are contorting themselves to find fault or a hidden conspiracy in what Brady did. Perhaps they could enlist the Donald to help them find John Edward Thomas Moynahan's real birth certificate.
It's really not so complicated. The Patriots had no shot of keeping Welker (and possibly Talib) in the fold under the given salary cap structure. Brady wanted Welker on the team - in addition to some desperately needed upgrades on defense - and worked with the Patriots to give them room to do both now. And Brady helping the Patriots free-up cap space now is not good news to the AFC.
The biggest knock on Brady remains the fact that he just can't win that fourth Super Bowl.
Man, he does suck.
In his past five seasons (we're not counting 2008), Brady has walked off the field in two Super Bowls with the lead and less than four minutes to play, despite his lack-luster performance in both games. Then we collectively watched in horror as Eli Manning, David Tyree and Mario Manningham stole our children's sports innocence as the Patriots' defense evaporated. Brady's got to be as sick of watching that as the rest of us, not to mention watching his wife light up the rest of the team on TV.
When the Patriots won their Super Bowls, they did it using a combination of Brady's on-field brilliance and a defense that neither bent nor broke.
Brady helped the Patriots take a huge step toward doing that again this week and trumped the NFL along the way.
With a big assist from Gisele.
Take that, every player in the NBA, WNBA and anyone who is headed for the men's or women's NCAA Tournament.
Ashlee Arnau, a cheerleader and soccer player at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Miss., made this amazing soccer-style-throw-in, full-front-flip, half-court shot Thursday at halftime of WCU's men's basketball game.
The ball was placed on the floor at midcourt. Arnau ran toward it, front-flipped while grabbing the ball while she was upside down and then fired it toward the basket while before legs finished swinging forward and hit the ground. A 3-pointer that was a perfect 10 on the can-you-top-this-viral-internet-trick-shot scale.
And no, you can't do this, Rondo, not matter what you said in Sports Illustrated this week.
Arnau's 3 1/2-pointer with a twist came (here's another You Tube clip of the shot from a slightly wider angle) just a few hours after the NBA trading deadline and was easily the basketball highlight of the day.
"I really don't practice at all," Arnau told the Associated Press. This shot was landed on her fifth attempt Thursday. She usually tries the shot a few times at each home game. Thursday's game, a 69-60 win over Auburn University-Montgomery, was the Crusader's final home game of the regular season. They will play in the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament starting on Feb. 27 in Montgomery, Ala., but it's likely Arnau will be asked to perform an encore, or at least give it another shot.
The 21-year-old junior also runs track for William Carey, which competes in NAIA. She told the AP that the front-flip shot was a takeoff on the front-flip throw-in that soccer players do.
Not surprisingly, this wasn't her first attempt. Arnau has been trying the shot during halftime of home basketball games since Christmas, but this was the first time she made it on her home floor. She once made the shot while attending a junior college tournament game, but that one bounced in. This shot hit nothing but net.
"I didn't count it because I wanted it to go nothing but net," she told the AP. "Tonight I was really blessed it happened."
Big doings in Fort Myers these days.
Jason Varitek is behind the plate.
Pedro Martinez is on the mound.
Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z are coming to Fenway Park.
If only it was 2004.
The Red Sox rolled into 2012 with the hope and change of Bobby Valentine, who was going to fix all that was wrong with the end of 2011. The players were more or less the same, save for the departure of Jonathan Papelbon, who was eventually going to be replaced by Daniel Bard and/or Alfredo Aceves. So there was no way of selling the 2012 Red Sox as a winner on the field based on the actual players on the roster. This time last year, there was no way anyone who used reside in Red Sox Nation, or those fans who have renounced their citizenship, was going to buy the line that the actual "talent" on the field was good enough to get this team to the postseason. Eventually, not even the "Grand Illusion" of the second wildcard could keep the unruly masses in line as things fell apart early and often under Bobby Valentine's reign.
We all saw how well "The Year of Bobby V." turned out.
In 2013, the Red Sox are facing a gargantuan task. The Bobby Valentine Error is long gone, but the pesky problem (yes, I meant to say that) remains that this team will be lucky beyond its ability to win 84 games this season. That alone would be a 15-game improvement over 2012, no small feat. The lineup is littered with No. 5 and 6 hitters.
At least they've got cool nicknames.
And the fate of the pitching staff hinges on John Lackey. He came to camp slim and trim, perhaps because he's back on the market after his not-so-pretty divorce. But he's saying all of the right things and the buzz among the "insiders" is that he's poised for a stellar comeback this season. I'd settle for 10-9 with an ERA under 5.00. The over/under on Red Sox complete games this season remains at 2 1/2. Clay Buchholz (11-8, 4.56) managed to go the distance twice last season. Jon Lester (9-14, 4.82) was able throw more than 200 innings in 2012, a fact that is as astonishing as the team's 93 losses. Pedro should threaten to drill him in the ass if he ever gives up four home runs and 11 runs in four innings again like he did against Toronto last July.
Mike Napoli, the big-name, big-money, catch-of-the-off-season free-agent signing that took about 14 years to complete turned out to be unable to catch. The Red Sox are hoping he learns the ropes at first base by Opening Day. Meanwhile, the best fielding first-baseman the Red Sox had since Yaz is now playing for the Yankees (thank you Bobby V.) because of chemistry issues. At least Kevin Youkilis said he'd "always be a Red Sock" until he was reminded that he's now a Yankee. Perhaps he got those lessons in tact from his sister-in-law Gisele at Christmas.
Speaking of Gisele, that provides us a gratuitous opportunity to run this recent Tweet from Mrs. Brady. Thanks, Youk.
"The first step towards getting somewhere is deciding that you´re not going to stay where you are." ow.ly/hQTrq— Gisele Bündchen (@giseleofficial) February 19, 2013
The photo was from 2011, but who's counting?
"Chemistry" is a big word with the Red Sox this season. John Farrell is supposed to have some built-in good chemistry with his pitching staff. Shane Victorino, Gomes and Napoli, among others, were brought in to help maintain chemistry in the clubhouse. Even John Lackey, it's been said, is going to help things out because of his chemistry with Napoli behind the plate when they played together in California. Oops, never mind on that one.
The Red Sox dumped $262 million or so in salary last August when they underwent their triple-organ-transplant, also known as the Josh Beckett/Adrian Gonazlez/Carl Crawford trade. (Don't worry, Nick Punto, you will never be forgotten.)
But that hasn't done much to pare the payroll this season, which sits at about $160 million. That would put the Red Sox only about $20 behind the Yankees if New York is ever able to void A-Rod's contract. At least John Henry isn't trying to finish in third place on the cheap.
One sign that a team doesn't have much to offer in terms of players when it comes to getting fans excited about the upcoming season is when the new manager is a featured player in the pre-season marketing campaign and media coverage.
The notable exception to this rule is Dick Williams in 1967. Wonder if Farrell will tell the assembled media multitudes: "We'll win more ballgames than we lose." It wouldn't be the first time the team would be guilty of misleading its fans (see: "sellout streak.")
Another party line being propagated this month is the "depth" of the Red Sox bullpen. The Red Sox always seem to be loaded with relief pitching in February but have no bullpen by July. That chemistry has already been put to the test by Aceves, who had his issues throwing BP. Farrell has smoothed everything over, supposedly. And the cries to get rid of Aceves are ringing from Bangor to Cape Coral. But successful managers are successful because they're able to handle problem employees. If Aceves can perform on the field and shore things up in that "over-loaded" bullpen, then Farrell needs to make the extra effort to get him in line. If Bill Belichick didn't want to deal with problem players, the Patriots would not have won three Super Bowls in four years or finished 18-1 with Randy Moss.
Spring training games began Thursday, against Northeastern and Boston College. State Run Media will televise Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. To see just how far the Red Sox have fallen, regular-season games in St. Petersburg (pre-sale under way now) are no-longer considered "premium games" by the Rays when it comes to ticket pricing. There's the silver lining in last place we've been looking for.
Pedro, Tek and all that good chemistry won't help the Red Sox drive in any more runners from second base with two out, or pitch a 1-2-3 ninth when they have a one-run lead, or take two out of three against the Yankees in April. Even if Tek decides to beat up A-Rod again, the Yankees would probably send him a thank you note. But it's OK feel good about things on Feb. 21 since everybody's tied for first.
The Red Sox wouldn't have it any other way.
Every year, there's lots of hyperbole coming from spring training, not to mention smoke, mirrors and plenty of BS when it comes to the Red Sox.
We decided to try and help people out by offering the debut of the OBF Translator. The (literary) device tries to help people understand perhaps the true meaning behind what some of the key players, coaches and owners are saying in Florida these days.
Check out our gallery on Boston.Com and don't forget - opening day is April Fools Day.
Everyone's favorite Nazi officer/German bounty hunter Christoph Waltz brought some religious comedic extremes as both Jesus Christ and Pope Benedict XVI to this week's "Saturday Night Live." Meanwhile, everyone's favorite over-hyped and over-hyper ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith returned to "Weekend Update" to offer Kobe Bryant some advice on shooting the ball.
Waltz, who spoofed his Austrian roots in the show's monologue, showed some serious comedic chops as Jesus H. Christ in an ad for "Djesus Uncrossed." Naturally, the "H" is silent. "He may be wearing sandals, but he can still kick ass." This time, forgiveness was replaced with some violent payback for the Romans who crucified him. Jesus even managed to find some Biblical-era machine guns and shotguns, one of which he uses on Judas (Samuel L. Jackson/Jay Pharoah). "When you get to Heaven, say hi to my dad." The Quentin Tarantino-esque film was a combination of "Inglorious Basterds" and "Django Unchained." Among the featured stars was Brat Pitt (Taran Killam) as St. Peter and Ving Rhames (Kenan Thompson) as Pontius Pilate. "Each of you owe me 100 Roman scalps," Peter tells his 11 fellow apostles. The reviews were already in, as critic A..O Smith calls it "a less violent version of 'Passion of the Christ.'"
There's no doubt the sketch will be deemed offensive by some. Offensive sketches used to be a staple of the show. This one is definitely not for the kids, before or after Sunday school. Check it out above and decide for yourself. This Christian was too busy laughing the first three times he saw it to be upset. Of course, the cries of double-standard given the fact that we'll likely never see a similar sketch having fun with the prophet Muhammador the Hindu god of Ganesha go without saying. Even though we just did.
Not even Smith could have been offended by Pharoah's solution to the Lakers' problems.
Smith had no trouble dropping names and telling everyone about how close he was to Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, while at the same time spelling it out that no one on the Lakers but Bryant should ever shoot the ball. "When Dwight Howard lost his virginity, I was on his chest in a Baby Bjorn," Smith claims.
Waltz starred as Pope Benedict XVI - and looked much like a much-younger version of the Holy Father - in a filmed commercial for "Papal Securities." The financial firm is there to help the Pope pay his bills after he's no longer Pope. Benedict is shown doing some of the same things that retired folks do - including cooking with a "Bless This Mess" apron. The spot also offered a spot-on historic nod to the Pope's retirement by saying "No Other Testimonials" were available.
Overall, this week's episode was one of the season's best, with Waltz showing some comedic skills in those filmed spots in addition to some refreshing variety and a return to a focus on current events.
The cold opening featured insight into what the poor cruise directors on the ill-fated Carnival Triumph must have gone through while trying to keep a happy face on the ship's woes. They tried to read the news of the day, which featured North Korea's nuclear bomb test, and realized that wouldn't cheer up the passengers, either.
Smith was preceded by Marco Rubio (Killam) earlier during "Weekend Update," as the show delivered its very-expected and almost-mandatory take on "Watergate." It went as pretty much everyone would have predicted. With Rubio explaining himself before being unable to complete three sentences in his re-take on the speech, thanks in part to eating cinnamon before his appearance. Folks who stuck around late in the show were treated to another send-up of "Fox and Friends" worth watching just for the corrections.
Kate McKinnon continued her spectacular first-full season on the show with a gut-busting appearance as Russian peasant woman who was disappointed the meteor that stuck that country last week didn't end her miserable life.
Kevin Hart hosts in two weeks and he'll have a tough act to follow. Next week, SNL will air a repeat of its Christmas show featuring Martin Short and Paul McCartney.
Here we go!! #BIEBERonSNL— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) February 10, 2013
For those who don't routinely or voluntarily listen to his music, Justin Bieber's 34.7 million followers on Twitter and the fact he's got 51 million likes on Facebook are just as fascinating as his place atop the world of pop music and culture. Bieber brought all of his star power to a snowy New York City this week and endured Nemo with a few million others before hosting Saturday Night Live and performing double-duty as the musical guest.
While this week's episode of "SNL" offered the biggest name in pop, not even the worst case of Bieber Fever or the most devout Belieber could salvage this week's effort. Bieber mocked his own persona at times and the lack of depth this week was unintentionally ironic. The comical highlight was the cold opening. While Bieber sang, and did it well, there wasn't much in terms of laughs worth staying up for, especially if you had spent the better part of the previous day shoveling snow. Bieber's acting and comedic delivery was smooth, but there wasn't much material for him to work with. Perhaps the better writers were snowed in this week and couldn't connect on-line.
Seventy-four minutes in, Bieber's fans may have thought they got what they wanted with a special Valentine's Day message. He flashed a photo down his pants, supposedly for Hillary Clinton, but the sketch was another miss on a night SNL delivered all the comedic impact of Pedro Ciriaco with two on and two out.
The show's cold opening was a rare exception. It returned us to the CBS set during the Super Bowl blackout. Shannon Sharpe (Jay Pharoah) was his typical buffoon self. Meanwhile, Taran Killam delivered a fitting Steve Tasker who found himself an unwilling national anchor in both real-life and during this sketch. "I have nothing to add," Tasker said. And that was one minute into the 15-minute countdown. When Bill Cowher (Tim Robinson) was asked to break down the game after the blackout, he gave the audience this analysis. "As I've said seven times in the last 15 minutes, I can see it having advantages for both sides."
Dan Marino (Jason Sudeikis) didn't have much to offer during this faux delay. Again, another perfect depiction of both satire and reality. Sharpe later asked: "If the clock in the stadium stops, do we stop aging?" James Brown (Kenan Thompson) Tried to help the audience with some player-name anagrams. "Colin Kaepernick spells 'Cocaine Kelp Rick,'"
Brown kept chiming in with plugs for "2 Broke Girls" and Tasker and Brown kept throwing back to either other. Since the CBS hosts had too much time to fill, the subject of Marino's illegitimate daughter came up.
"We agreed it was off limits," Marino said. But Brown responded: "It's a new world, that was before the 20-minute blackout. We have to admit to stuff."
That solicited this confession from Sharpe: "Ray Lewis knows who killed those people because it was him ... I really need to leave this game before it's done."
All that was before Bieber took the stage. "I had no idea there would be any girls here tonight," said Bieber in his monologue (above), who said it was time to celebrate both "Valentine's Day" and "Black History Month." A few lucky girls in the audience were wooed by Bieber and got some distorted lessons in Black history. "Did you know Maya Angelou invented the peanut?" He eventually found his girl in Whoopie Goldberg.
His first song was an acoustic version of "As Long As You Love Me." Not the high-energy performance his audience expected, but a nice, quiet, almost-adult display of his vocal talents. He came back near the end of the show with an ode to his breakup with Selena Gomez - "Nothing Like Us." The audience screamed for an encore, but NBC had lots more money to make this time.
Late in the show, we were subjected to a Killam mocking Bieber as his date's older brother for saying the word "glice."
Killam did his best to get the pop star to break the cardinal rule of SNL and crack up during a live sketch. Bieber barely managed to maintain his composure, much to the delight of his fans on social media. Naturally, within minutes, #Glice was trending on Twitter.
Such is the power of the Biebs.
Miley Cyrus (Vanessa Bayer) was back with her new hairstyle and a new tattoo. Bieber showed up as the president of her fan club, Pete DeFalco, on "The Miley Cyrus Show." DeFalco compared Cyrus' new hair style to Bieber's before mocking himself by saying: "That Justin Bieber, he looks like a lesbian, I heard he has still has baby teeth. and that he got busted for smoking weed, but that people make mistakes and he was really sorry and he won't do it again."
Bieber was introduced to 12 look-alike decoys (including a few females) by his security director (Sudeikis) for his safety during one sketch. It was a nice piece of self-deprecating humor, as Bieber tried to out-sing and out-maneuver his impersonators. No. 11 (Bobby Moynihan) and the real Bieber engaged in a dance-off, but the chubby Moynihan backed out once Bieber flashed his legit six-pack abs. In a surprise appearance Ellen (Kate McKinnon) offered her support.
Bieber pitched for abstinence at a high school dance, but that didn't make his date (Nasim Pedrad) too happy. Some minor laughs were forced during a PG-13 rated version of something that resembled "Grease," but another opportunity was lost to showcase Bieber's singing talent.
A series of wild Bravo spinoffs were promoted in a filmed commercial for the network, including the "The Real Houseplants of Beverly Hills."
Naturally, the aftereffects of Nemo were highlighted during "Weekend Update." We also got a visit from King Richard III's best friends. They stopped by to defend the reputation of the late British monarch, whose skeletal remains were found in London last week. Seth Meyers took a nice swipe at the mother of Honey Boo Boo, who recently shed more than 100 pounds without exercise. "I thought the only way she'd lose 100 pounds is in a custody battle," Meyers said. He also caught up with the "one black guy" in all the Super Bowl commercials who has to "high-five every 12 seconds" or he'll die.
Things slowed down significantly after the monologue. The return of the "Californians" was a buzz kill and it was sandwiched around an excessive amount of real commercials. The show's second sketch didn't start until 25 minutes had run off the clock.
Christoph Waltz will host next week with musical guest Alabama Shakes.
Nemo 1, Red Sox Monster 0.
You can't drive.
You can't take the T.
You might not have power (400,000 people don't).
There's 20-something inches of snow outside your door.
The wind-chill is minus-a lot.
And the Red Sox care.
The Red Sox announced Saturday morning via e-mail to fans lucky enough to be on their mailing list that the scheduled phone ticket-sales event for Opening Day tickets against the Baltimore on April 8 and home games against the Yankees has been postponed until Monday at 10 a.m.
That's assuming things are reasonably back to normal by then.
And you thought nothing would ever slow the Red Sox' drive for more revenue. It's apparent "the Monster" has finally met his match.
Her name is Mother Nature.
Of course, not even a monster blizzard will completely shut down "The Monster." The Red Sox are proceeding with the online sale for "fans selected in the random drawing." That will continue as scheduled. So if you were lucky enough to be chosen in this lottery, stop shoveling, leave your family behind and risk a year in jail so you can drive to your brother-in-law's house who has power and internet.
You don't want to miss out on those pole-seats in Section 7 that offer a stunning view of the outfield. Or the drive for third place. Although you might end up watching all that action from MCI-Cedar Junction.
Don't think this team is worth it.
Even if John Lackey has lost 200 pounds.
By the way, there's no truth to the reports on some Twitter feeds that God ordered this storm as vengeance on Boston for trading Tim Thomas to the Islanders.
Stay warm and be safe.
Wednesday was the 35th anniversary of “The Blizzard of ‘78.” Check out this audio clip of WBZ’s Gary LaPierre and Gil Santos - yes, that Gil Santos of Patriots’ Hall of Fame fame - deliver the news of the storm to the WBZ audience. The clip is 8:06 long and worth every second - including Don Kent’s forecast for “sunny skies tomorrow” just in time for the cleanup at the 7:06 mark.
For anyone over the age of 40 who grew up in Boston - this storm set the standard for every snowstorm we’ll encounter for the rest of our lives.
I was 12 when “The Blizzard of ‘78” dumped 36 inches of snow in my back yard. I remember not having school for two weeks since February vacation bookended the cancellation of school for four days following the storm’s arrival late on a Monday afternoon. We all have memories of walking everywhere for a week, since there was no way to drive, no T service (at least when in came to buses to Arlington) and really nowhere to go for days. We did venture down the hill to Stop & Shop once it opened to get some basics and hit the movies once they re-opened. But there was no internet and video games meant pong on the second black-and-white TV in the house. That would get old pretty fast - or at least after an hour or two.
We spent those days outside, trying to figure out where to shovel all that snow and then sledding down my street before heading up to the Farm Park. Anyone who knows where that is - knows how great is was/is. It offered - and still offers - the most spectacular view of Boston imaginable and the landscape was covered with white across the 180-degree spectrum.
Those of us lucky enough not to be along the coast or stuck in their cars on the highways in and around the city fared reasonably well despite the storm’s fatal impact, 29 died in Massachusetts. For the rest of us, the storm meant a lot of days off. There was no mass looting, riots or immediate calls for billions in federal assistance. Nor was there a sense of helplessness. When Gov. Dukakis came on the TV and told us things were pretty much closed and most folks were on their own for a few days, there was no panic. Folks in my neighborhood, like they did in so many others, checked on one and another and made sure no one was hurting. We were lucky enough to have power, so we never got cold or really hungry. It sounds so simple, foolish and unsensitive, but we pretty much made do.
Then there was the Beanpot. The first round took place Monday night and, as the snow piled up, fans were warned to leave early if they needed to use public transportation. Most did, some didn’t. Those 200 or so hearty fans spent three nights at the Garden and their story is legendary.
No matter what happens to Boston and Eastern New England with Friday’s predicted massive snowstorm - you just know that there will be way too many folks who say: “Yeah, it was something, but it was no ‘Blizzard of ‘78.’”
A few hundred years ago when I was in the newspaper business, we used to joke about the week after the Super Bowl being the slowest of the year.
Unless, of course, in you're in a city that won a Super Bowl, lost a Super Bowl, missed the Super Bowl by losing the AFC Championship Game at home, or sent the truck to Fort Myers.
Not to mention the Beanpot, which used to be several weeks after the Super Bowl back in the day.
The latest Rob Gronkowski video has left some Patriots' fans questioning WTF is up with this guy. TMZ caught him dancing shirtless at a Super Bowl afterparty - this time it was in Las Vegas and not in Indianapolis. This time - he tried to lift a dance partner, fell back and landed on his broken left arm.
Gonk - as he will forever be known in these parts thanks to Mayor Menino - is a 6-foot-6, 265-pound, 23-year-old monster of an athlete who likes to party. He lives the lifestyle of a 23-year-old athlete who likes to party exactly as Hollywood would present it. He is exactly what we think he should be. All public signs show he's a decent person and does more than his share of charity work, like many other pro athletes. And there's no doubt about his heart.
RT " @chrisviolette how about a shout out for my unit that just left for Afghanistan! 4th Brigade Infantry out of Ft. Lewis” S/O to y'all!!— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) November 28, 2012
But how many of us want to see photos of Gonk visiting the sick kids at a local hospital? That image of Gronkowski doesn't fit into the "Yo soy fiesta" brand.
Gronkowski is no dummy, even though he plays one on TV. When he takes his shirt off with a porn star, at a post-Super Bowl bash, partying with kids in Baton Rouge or whooping it up in Vegas the other night, he knows someone - everyone - is watching. Whenever one of these images or video "leaks" out, you hear little blowblack from his camp. Think about it. Has his image really been harmed by what we've seen in the past week? Some fans are upset - thinking he might have put himself at greater physical risk by trying his impromptu audition for "Dancing With the Stars." But even my dog knows not to lean into his injured paw until it's healed. There's a stronger case to be made against the recklessness of having your team score a touchdown and running up the score while leading 52-24 when you could have just sat on the ball, and sending in Gronkowski to block on an extra point, than there was in Gronkowski trying his dance flip.
TMZ never caught J.D. Drew partying in Vegas or with his shirt off and beer in his hand. Yet the oft-injured Drew only played 127 games in 2010, 124 in 2009 and 105 in 2008. All the while, he collected every dime of his five-year, $70 million contract. In 2011, Drew went on the DL with a "shoulder impingement." Gronk was probably born with two of those. The point - what you do off the field in a night club has little effect on your playing status - unless your name is Plaxico Burress.
Gronkowski is part of a football culture that demands 100 percent all-out effort all the time. Some 23-year-old athletes are more mature than others. They can separate life off the field from life on it. Right now, it appears Gronkowski cannot. If he gets a talking-to from one of his veteran teammates, that might help the education process. His family remains insulated.
But do Patriots' fans really want Gronk to change? He has no record of drunk driving, physical abuse or criminal behavior. They re-tweet, Facebook post and e-mail links about his latest antics to anyone they know with an inbox. He's the PG-rated party guy who our kids can love. Remember, Bibi kept her shirt on. If Gronkowski's injuries are so severe that he can't play in September, it's not likely that a dance move would have made any difference. His injury against the Texans in the AFC playoffs was plain, dumb luck. There's nothing fake about Gronkowski, which is all too rare these days (says the guy who writes under a pseudonym with photo wearing a pair of sunglasses). Unlike Lennay Kekua, I do actually exist. And this column is as sincere as Gronkowski when it comes game time. And we both know a little about coming back from injuries.
I'll take Gronkowski's partying over Ray Lewis' piety any day.
History and humanity tell us that the hard-drinking, hard-living lifestyle is much easier to sustain at age 23 than it is at age 28, 30 or 33. Aside from the broken arm, there was nothing evident in Gronkowski's play last season that he was letting up or not going all out on every play. Sadly, we cannot say the same thing about our beloved quarterback. If Gronkowski continues to live like this, his play will inevitably slip and his value will diminish. Again, this is where his teammates would come into play. They can speak from first-hand experience from what they've seen from other athletes. There are no John Lackeys (or at least a pre-2013 emaciated John Lackey) in the NFL. You produce or you get cut. And the salary cap complications from his long-term deal would be dealt with as needed.
My son is the same age as Dougie Hamilton. That means a couple of things. One, I'm old. Two, I look at some of these athletes as a father would with his son. If Gonk was my son, I'd ask my wife: "Who was his father?" Then, I'd tell him to slow it down. Of course, I would have told him that last year and during his days in college. But that's me. Gordie Gronkowski has three sons in the NFL and he's chosen a different course with his kids. Something must be working since he has three sons in the NFL. It's not my place to judge his parenting. Nor would I listen to him if he questioned the risk my son is taking when he joins the U.S. Army following his graduation from college in three years.
Gonk is a joy when he's being interviewed. Check out his interview on Felger and Mazz last week. Can you imagine the crushing disappointment in all of us he had said: "You know, with all those injuries, I think I'll be slowing things down a bit next season."
Think blinding outrage not seen since Wes Welker's last drop.
As noted here before the season, Gonk's antics will continue to play well in these parts as long as he continues to score touchdowns and spike the ball. When he was healthy, Gronkowski has done nothing to lessen his value to the Patriots. Gronkowski rolled into 2012 with 12 catches and a pair of touchdowns in the first two weeks of the season coming off an ankle injury. He caught two balls with one arm for 42 yards against the Dolphins in Week 17 before ending his season against the Texans. And in the toughest regular-season games this season he did well. Against the Seahawks (6 catches, 61 yards), and Jets in October (6 catches, 78 yards, 2 TDs) he made major contributions. Against the Ravens in September, he was only targeted three times but caught two of those balls for 21 yards. In all, Gronkowski was targeted 79 times in the regular season (a drop from 124 times in 2011), but still managed 55 catches and 11 touchdowns.
One touchdown every five catches.
Pretty good numbers.
When that stops, so will Gonk's party.
The folks at The Whistle.Com put this info-graphic together about Sunday's Super Bowl between the 49ers and Ravens and were nice enough to share it. The site is designed for younger readers and is a safe place for kids to visit without worrying about them running into a clip of the latest f-bomb tirade, hate-filled tweet from your favorite pro athletes or nude photo of your favorite college football star's girlfriend.
Those a bit older can also check out our "Super Bowl Sunday Survival Guide" for Patriots' fans.
It's depressing enough that the Patriots won't be playing in the Super Bowl, but we have to compound that with the fact it's the end of football season, as well.
But even though Wes Welker won't be dropping any humongous passes or the Patriots' secondary won't be getting scorched on 30-yard out-patterns this weekend at the Superdome, that's no reason not to watch Sunday's game or get swept up in the pre-game hype. So here's our Super Bowl Sunday-Without-the-Patriots Survival Guide and 49ers-Ravens game day preview. We'll save the actual pre-game analysis for the experts. By the way and for the record, I've been proudly "loud and controversial" if not so "smart and insightful" since 1965.
Speaking of loud and controversial, it's time to take a cue from Rob Gronkowski when it comes to generating an interest in Sunday's game across New England. Gonk hasn't slowed down when it comes to having a good time. He was seen beering it up at Baton Rouge on Thursday, despite his broken arm. If Gonk can party with abandon despite the fact that his team lost at home in the AFC Championship Game a year after it blew a Super Bowl lead in the final two minutes, we shall not be deterred.
The Super Bowl is the closest thing this country has to a non-serious, celebratory national holiday. And there's plenty of logic to the argument that Presidents' Day should be moved up two weeks to accommodate all those folks who attempt to trudge into work hung over the next day. Super Bowl Sunday has plenty to offer before kickoff, both on TV and elsewhere.
Here's my plan for the day with some ideas I hope you can borrow to help make the day a bit more pleasant and the game more enjoyable.
7:57 a.m. - Wake up. Realize it was a dream. David Tyree didn't drop the ball.
8:27 a.m. - Check the morning paper for the latest Arby's and Cap'n Crunch coupons. Take a spin though some of my favorite sites on the internet to see which player was arrested late Saturday night, trying to pick up a prostitute named "Desire," who also goes by the name of "Fred." (Kids, Google: "Eugene Robinson Super Bowl XXXIII".)
9 a.m. - Morning dog walk. The dog and I continue to re-hash those three punts inside the 42-yard line against the Ravens, not to mention the misuse of clock at the end of the first half. We both agree that if the Patriots could somehow get Ed Reed and keep Aqib Talib, many of their defensive issues would be resolved.
9:30 a.m. - Off to church. Not sure if I'll to pray to the God of Ray Lewis or Colin Kaepernick. End up settling for communion from Fr. Tim Tebow.
10:30 a.m. - Roger Goodell joins Phil Simms and Jim Nantz on CBS's "Face the Nation." Host Bob Schieffer asks that all night games start no later than 3 p.m. to accommodate his bed time.
10:45 a.m. - Brunch. Order some waffles while I read Terry Francona's new book.
11 a.m. - Speaking of the Patriots since Super Bowl XXXIX, HBO2 airs the comedy classic "Bridesmaids.
12 noon: - Three hours into NFL Network's "GameDay Morning" coverage. We catch up with Hall of Famer Warren Sapp as he offers us financial advice.
12:25 p.m. - Daily "Deer Antler Spray" treatment. Wish this stuff was around before I went through those two organ transplants.
1 p.m. - Biggest diversion of the day. Clippers at Celtics. It's been officially declared "White Flag" day. Somehow, the Celtics will continue to overachieve without Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger. Even before Rondo and Sullinger got hurt, they were still short one big man and a scorer - or a productive Jeff Green. They were at best a contender to reach the finals in the East. Meanwhile, Clippers big-man Blake Griffin remains cooler than your car seat on a Monday morning in January. He's also more popular these days in LA than Kobe Bryant, which is just another reason to love the guy. Never thought anyone would ever wish they were a Clippers fan, huh? Celtics fans will be given their official release by Danny Ainge before tip-off to root for any team in the West they choose (besides the Lakers) once the Celtics-less playoffs begin.
1:10 p.m. - If for some reason you don't want to watch the NBA, CBS offers "Phil Simms All-Iron Team: Super Bowl Edition" starting at 1 p.m. as part of its day-long pregame programming. Among the highlights we won't see - the discovery of the white suit Ray Lewis wore in Atlanta the night following Super Bowl XXXIV.
1:35 p.m. - Check out the action on DirecTV's 7th Annual Celebrity Beach Bowl (which originally aired live on Saturday). The guide calls it a "no-holds-barred" flag-football game. Sounds like "an all-you-can-drink keg party" with nothing but root beer. Pitbull is doing the postgame show. If he lip-syncs it, no one will notice.
1:51 p.m. - You mean the 49ers and Ravens coaches are brothers? Really.
2 p.m. - CBS's official "Super Bowl Today" four-hour pregame show begins. Dan Marino, Tom Brady and Antonio Cromartie swap baby-mama stories and try to figure who has spent the most on out-of-wedlock child support. Marquette and Louisville also tip off on ESPN at 2 if you're engaging in a day-long Super Bowl boycott. Unfortunately, Rick Pitino will be walking through that door.
2:15 p.m. - Enough of that. Time to check out some Super Bowl commercials on this Hulu site. You'll be sick of them long before kickoff, especially that Volkswagen ad about the guy from Minnesota who speaks with a Jamaican accent. I don't care what language you speak, the only way I'd buy a Volkswagen was if they put an Audi engine in it and called it an S6. Here are a few ads worth checking out, starting with a very cool Audi S6 spot, which was a lot like my prom (at least the part about going by myself):
Here's one from Axe Deodorant:
And Taco Bell:
Taco Bell pulled another ad because, get this, it "attacked vegetables." Nation of wusses. Hard to believe sometimes this is the same country that won World War II, sent a man to the moon and produced Garrett McNamara.
Toyota put out this funny "genie" ad featuring Kaley Cuoco. I wish for "working brakes." (Cuoco also appears as Captain Kirk's long-lost daughter in a "Priceline" Super Bowl spot.):
And of course, the latest from Budweiser:
2:30 p.m. - Back to the Celtics. If they're within 15, we'll bring in the "good job, good effort" kid.
3 p.m. - "Puppy Bowl IX" kicks off with its lead paw on "Animal Planet." No doubt this will be the best one yet.
Check out this preview offered on Entertainment Weekly: "So, the Harbaugh brothers are coaching against each other in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday? Big woof. In Puppy Bowl IX, EIGHT sets of siblings are facing off on the gridiron."
How can you beat that? By the way, my money is on Alabama native and former SEC standout Chestnut:
3:23 p.m. - Celtics lose. Reality sets in.
3:45 p.m. - Mrs. Obnoxious returns from a day of working at her law firm, shopping and general spousal avoidance.
3:46 p.m. - Complaints start about what's for dinner.
3:47 p.m. - Mrs. Obnoxious tosses a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese my way. Although she plans to make her own world-famous, best-ever pastitsio (as us Greeks like to say, lasagna is Italian pastitsio) to occupy the next couple of hours so that she can avoid Super Bowl Sunday for as long as possible.
4:02 p.m. - The long march continues on NFL Network, which has been live since 9 a.m. Hope to catch special guest Brett Favre as he unveils his new adults-only Instagram page.
4:30 p.m. - Scott Pelley sits down and chats with President Obama on CBS. Hope Pelley takes it easy on the president. Obama must still be rattled following that brutal inquisition (with Hillary Clinton) conducted by Steve Kroft last weekend on "60 Minutes." I've seen tougher questions on "Red Sox Small Talk."
4:45 p.m. - Tear the dog away from Puppy Bowl IX so that he can answer nature's call. Good to get up and walk myself. Don't want to end up dying of a blood clot or have my arteries seize up thanks to four hours on the couch without moving - even if it means living long enough to see Ray Lewis win another Super Bowl.
4:51 p.m. - CBS airs "Cialis" commercial. Still trying to figure out how the hell you're supposed maneuver between those two tubs.
5:12 p.m. - Excitement builds - in San Francisco and Baltimore. If you're still missing the Patriots, you can catch a re-run of "Southie Rules" on A&E starting at 5.
5:25 p.m. - In the timely movies catagory, swing by "Lifetime" to join "The Wife He Met Online" in progress. Yes, this is a real flick. No, it does not star Manti Te'o and Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.
5:32 p.m. - As the game approaches, so does the excitement over the commercials. For the record, here's the greatest Super Bowl commercial ever - Apple's 1984 spot. Yes, even better than that great Larry Bird-Michael Jordan McDonald's ad, the famous Joe Greene Coke spot or my wife's favorite - the Volkswagen Darth Vader spot:
The ad only aired once. By the way, the bad guy in the commercial wasn't Microsoft but IBM. The irony of the ad given Apple's position in the marketplace these days (despite its recent stock price slide) makes it even more poignant and chilling 29 years later.
5:48 p.m. - If for whatever reason you are not near a TV set, or want something to do on your iPad, CBSSports.Com will load up its site with plenty of on-line firsts, including the first time many of us will ever visit CBSSports.Com. The site will stream the Super Bowl halftime show and online shots showing all 22 players on every play and other shots not seen on TV. The site will post every Super Bowl ad in real time, so you can watch them again and again on demand once they air on the telecast. That may be a good thing or a bad thing.
6 p.m. - After a mere four hours of pregame coverage, CBS begins it's official "Kickoff Show" only 30 minutes before the actual kickoff.
6:12 p.m. - For those Patriots' fans who simply can't bring themselves to watch any of this, AMC is airing a 13 hour, 30 minute "The Walking Dead" marathon starting at 3 p.m. The network will show a sneak peek "First Look" at the first two minutes of the next new episode at 6:35 p.m., which airs in full next Sunday at 10 p.m.
6:20 p.m. (or so) - Alicia Keys sings the National Anthem. The over/under on time is 2:10. The average time someone to sing the National Anthem is supposedly 1:55 and over is paying +120. Also, Las Vegas and online bookmakers are offering a +500 betting line (you'd bet $100 to win $500) if you think Keys will be booed during or after her rendition of the National Anthem. And it "must be clear consensus of boo's for 'yes' to be graded the winner." Whether or not she lip-syncs it is off the board. Before Keys sings the National Anthem, a group of kids from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., will sing "America The Beautiful." There won't be a dry eye in the universe.
6:30 p.m. - The listed kickoff time, but the game usually starts a couple of minutes later. So if you have to go, it's OK. As far as what might happen - consider this. Both teams beat the Patriots this year - with the Ravens doing it twice. New England combined for 43 points in its two losses to Baltimore, but managed to score 31 points in the second half against San Francisco. Meanwhile, the Ravens shut out New England in the second half of the AFC Championship Game. I like the Ravens, thanks to both their defense, their aggressive style of play and their offensive line. How good is that offensive line? Vince Wilfork had zero solo tackles in the AFC title game. In his two games against the Patriots, Joe Flacco had just one interception and the Ravens had no fumbles. For the record, my worth-what-you-paid-for-it pick: Ravens 24, 49ers 21.
Meanwhile, Super Bowl XLVIII is scheduled to begin at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2014, blizzard or no blizzard.
Hopefully, the Patriots won't miss it this time.