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Prediction roundup

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff October 24, 2008 09:32 AM

What other stories has ESPN been hiding?

In how many other scenarios has a Bristol editor fired off a similar missive to this one, regarding the Jay Glazer-reported Brett Favre phantom call to the Lions?

As reported by Pro Football Talk, ESPN allegedly sent out the following memo regarding the story: "DO NOT REPORT....DO NOT REPORT....DO NOT REPORT....DO NOT REPORT," and it said, in part: "WE HAVE BEEN TOLD BY RELIABLE SOURCES THIS REPORT IS NOT TRUE. We did NOT report it yesterday. Today, the NFL responded to the report, saying even if Favre did this he did not break any league rules. We are NOT reporting it today, because that would mean airing the erroneous report."

Even if he did, you know ...

Fast forward a few days, and here is ESPN, airing a report about Tom Brady’s infectious knee, claiming a “source” within the Patriots organization says the team is awfully upset with its star quarterback for getting the surgery performed on the Left Coast rather than right here in Boston. That prompted the Patriots to release the following statement:

"Today, ESPN cited an unnamed source who supposedly expressed the feelings of the Patriots ‘organization.’ This unsubstantiated report does not represent the team's views whatsoever. We have supported Tom Brady one hundred percent from day one of this process and will continue to do so. We issued a statement last Saturday expressing our complete organizational support for Tom. That support includes all aspects of the process. Unfortunately, our statement was not mentioned or referenced in ESPN’s report. Today, we reiterate our total support for Tom as he recovers from his injury."

Banner week for the WWL.

Back to PFT for a moment if we may. Mike Florio raises an interesting question regarding this matter:

We’re having trouble understanding the difference between the Favre story and the Boston Herald item regarding allegations that the Patriots had videotaped the Rams’ walk-through prior to Super Bowl XXXVI. ESPN couldn’t confirm the Walsh story. ESPN presumably brought “a lot of sensitivity” to the reporting. And ESPN presumably did what ESPN felt was the most responsible thing.

So why did they acknowledge the Walsh story and not the Favre story?

This is where ESPN’s infatuation with certain elements of sports gets in the way of, you know, reporting. The world (supposedly) loves Favre and would be devastated to hear the anointed did wrong. Everybody hates New England, so the more bad news, the better the ratings.

Meanwhile, you have to love Glazer’s response to the ESPN internal memo.

“What we should do as a result is start keeping score. If they want to talk about credibility, let’s keep score, starting from Week One of last year, and see who broke what, who was right and who was wrong. I don’t think they’d want that.”


Who they’re picking

Our roundup of pundit picks for this week's Rams-Patriots showdown:

  • Jim McBride, Boston Globe: Rams. “Quick turnaround for Matt Cassel and the walking wounded as they take on one of the NFL's hottest teams. Hey, Marc Bulger, if you're looking for Torry Holt, he'll be hiding out near the sideline. I'm pretty sure 'Big Game' still has nightmares about Tebucky Jones and Lawyer Milloy.”

  • Boston Globe staff picks: Chris Gasper, Mike Reiss, and Scott Thurston pick the Patriots against a 7 1/2-point spread. Greg Lee and Jim McBride take the Rams.

  • Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Patriots 27, Rams 19. “I'm saving the headline writer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch some time on the job Sunday night. Haslett Honeymoon: History. How's that? By the way, in case you missed my Tom Brady/Matt Cassel early-career comparison Tuesday, taking Brady's first six starts and measuring them against Cassel's first six professional games, here are a few good nuggets. Record: Brady 4-2, Cassel 4-2. Passing yards: Brady 1,105, Cassel 1,095. Completion rate: Brady .632, Cassel .663. Anyone else out there still want to consider Cassel doomed?”

  • ESPN.com staff: Only Chris Mortensen picks the Rams. (Of those who have picked)

  • Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Patriots 30, Rams 17. “The Rams' bandwagon is full. It will empty some after this one. The Patriots are coming off a short week, which is to the Rams' advantage, but this is a tough spot for a young team. Jim Haslett has them playing well, but some of that wears off here.”

  • CBS Sports staff: Peter Madden picks the Rams vs. the spread. All others pick the Patriots.

  • Cold, Hard, Football Facts: Patriots 27, Rams 16. “Jim Haslett is undefeated as head coach of the Rams, with both wins coming against Quality Opponents (Washington and Dallas). He now goes for the hat trick versus a Patriots squad that demolished Denver on Monday night. St. Louis is still a bottom-10 team in almost every Stat That Matters, and New England typically plays well at home."

  • Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Patriots 30, Rams 13. “Will the Rams come up and bite another marquee East Coast playoff contender? Not likely, especially after the Patriots turned in a strong all-around performance against the Broncos last week. You can bet if he's healthy enough to play, the Patriots will do everything they can to take Steven Jackson out of the game first. The Rams, however, will struggle to keep Randy Moss and Wes Welker from being big factors.”

  • USA Today staff: Patriots across the board.

  • Yahoo! staff: Patriots across the board.

  • Peter Schrager, FOXSports.com: Rams 24, Patriots 17. “Is there a better name in football than BenJarvus Green-Ellis? Well, yes: O.J. Atogwe. Both will play significant roles on Sunday, where an inspired, Jim Haslett-led Rams squad wins its third straight and takes one from the banged-up Patriots in New England.”

  • Nancy Gay, San Francisco Chronicle: Patriots. “The switch to coach Jim Haslett has seen the Rams put together consecutive upsets over NFC favorites Washington and Dallas. But the Patriots' blowout win over the Broncos gives them major momentum.”

  • Sam Farmer, LA Times: Rams. “Tough as they are at home, the Patriots are coming off a short week and suffered a big loss when safety Rodney Harrison went down. They're ripe for the picking by the rejuvenated Rams.”

    Ed Zieralski, San Diego Tribune: Patriots. “If Rams RB Steven Jackson is out, it's a no-doubter as Rams come back to earth.”

  • Our pick: Patriots 21, Rams 17. You thought Denver’s pass defense was nonexistent? Well, the Rams’ is a bit better, allowing 231.2 yards per game through the air as opposed to the Broncos’ 240, but it is still a recipe for Matt Cassel and Randy Moss to have another big afternoon together.

5 comments so far...
  1. ESPN is the worst with their unnamed sources, reliable sources, and breaking news. The wording of their headlines changes throughout the day as they realize part or all of what they heard was wrong. I still remember them saying sources close to the situation said that Randy Johnson was going to sign with the Sox way back in 1998 or so.

    It's somewhat interesting to note that the Globe is often one of their sources on breaking stories...the ones that actually turn out to be true.

    Posted by J-Bone October 24, 08 02:02 PM
  1. vote Obama, go pats!

    Posted by mike October 25, 08 07:38 AM
  1. This is the best prediction article available! There were a few weeks I couldn't find it. Please continue even if Pats don't play that week. Your views and the links are incredible. Even searched Eric Wilber last week and could not find my best source of info. I have been transplanted to Chicago, and the Globe has the best Sports in the nation, hands down! Next Eric will gain national exposure. Aren't the Globe scribes the best part of ESPN?

    Posted by Steve Ball October 25, 08 09:48 AM
  1. ESPN Spent year building up the Pats to the national audience, and for good reason. But, when the Pats didn't return the favor and satisfy ESPN's very large ego, ESPN sold out their integrity and went on the attack to generate revenue. A disgrace to responsible journalism. I still can't believe John Tomase is employed while many others are unemployed in this country. Borges being rehired is also a joke. The Herald is no better than ESPN at this point. Sensationalism for revenue.

    Posted by Pete October 25, 08 02:14 PM
  1. When it comes to sports coverage, ESPN is the prom queen and devil rolled up into one. They have unparrallel coverage, access, and stories. This is not always a good thing. ESPN seems to focus more on junk over the last 5 years (infidelity, DWI, suspensions, court appearances, etc). Heck, they should make Roger Cossack a FTE with the TV exposure he gets. When I want highlights, I tune into ESPN.....when I see stories on thugs that want to make headlines for all the wrong reasons, I change the channel. Unfortunately, most of the time, I am changing the channel!

    Posted by Money October 29, 08 10:11 AM
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