Sports Sportsin partnership with NESN your connection to The Boston Globe

Several pieces of business to take care of

Picked-up pieces while making dinner reservations in Houston for the last week of January . . .


Theo Epstein is finally done with his 20s. Young Theo turned 30 yesterday. He'll be 17 years younger than Jesse Orosco this season. In 20 years Theo gets his AARP card. The A-Rod negotiations should be over by then.

Bill Belichick gets Coach of the Year. His primary competition probably will be the Big Fella in Dallas (what else is new?), but given the Patriots' injuries, their record against winning teams, their record in close games, and their defensive dominance, Belichick gets the nod.

No harm in bringing back Brian Daubach for another look. But we're going to miss Lou Merloni.

Rick Carlisle is elevated to modern hero status for his postgame rant in Indiana Saturday night. The Pacers coach benched Ron Artest after a halftime argument with his star. Following a 7-point loss to the Nets, Carlisle said Pacers fans "came in here tonight to see a team play the right way from start to finish, and they got gypped. They got their money stolen tonight. Nothing makes me more ashamed than that." Sounds like something Larry Bird would say. Bird is Carlisle's boss. The Pacers still have the best record in the Eastern Conference and they'll be at the New Garden Friday night.

Now that a third bank is about to slap its name on the side of the building, can we all agree on "New Garden"? Kevin Paul Dupont's "Vault" is probably a better name. But no more banks, please.

People in the A's front office think Keith Foulke made a mistake coming to Boston. Maybe that's sour grapes, but some fear he won't react well to the fallout that comes when a Sox closer blows a save against the Yankees. It takes a specific mentality (think Dennis Eckersley), and some of the A's believe Foulke is too sensitive. I tend to agree, but then again, I didn't think David Ortiz would help.

We wish the best for Messrs. Crennel and Weis, but the betting here is that old pal Tom Coughlin gets the Giants job.

Never mind his ownership of the Brewers, baseball commissioner Bud Selig's greatest conflict of interest is his continued involvement in helping the Red Sox. We know he hand-delivered the team to John Henry & Co. More recently, he extended a deadline to help the Sox trade for Curt Schilling and he let the Sox negotiate directly with a player (Alex Rodriguez) under contract to another team. Nice to have friends in high places. Hope that's not what put George Steinbrenner in the hospital.

They can go on to win the Super Bowl, but my favorite Patriot moment this year still will be the long snap off the upright that led to the comeback win at Denver on "Monday Night Football." Runner-up moment: Miami Dolphin Jamie Nails getting his helmet cracked into smithereens by Ted Johnson during this year's Snow Bowl.

Is Ricky Davis actually playing for the Celtics yet?

Pittsburgh's Larry Fitzgerald should have won the Heisman.

Jason Varitek will be honored as Sportsman of the Year at the annual Hyde Park Lions Club fund-raiser (for eye research) at Annunciation Hall in West Roxbury Feb. 6. For tickets, call Frank Bisceglia at 617-361-5600.

Monica Doerr, married to Bobby Doerr for 65 years, died shortly before Christmas. She developed multiple sclerosis back in the 1940s, and her devoted husband never left her side. "Theirs was one of the great love stories I have ever known," said author David Halberstam, who wrote about the Doerrs in his bestseller, "The Teammates."

Speaking of books, it's not too late to go get "The Best of Sport," edited by our own Bob Ryan. A sleeper in the book rack is Wally Carew's "A Farewell to Glory," which details the golden days and the decline of the Boston College-Holy Cross football rivalry.

Does hearing "Sweet Caroline" take you back to happy days at Fenway in the summer/fall of 2003? Just wondering.

At the other end of the spectrum, there's that annoying "another Patriot . . . first down!" audience participation ritual at Gillette. Let it go. Sounds like something you'd hear at an Orlando Magic game. Yahoo.

If I'm a Minnesota fan, Sunday's Nathan Poole touchdown catch over Vikings safety Brian Russell is right up there with Sugar Bear Hamilton's roughing-the-passer penalty for Patriots fans in 1976. Has Shea Hillenbrand ripped the Red Sox lately?

Old friend Rick Pitino said his Louisville team's win at Kentucky Saturday was "the best moment I've had with a basketball team." Like Pete Carroll, Pitino was born to be the head coach of a major college program but should never go near the pros again.

Speaking of Carroll, he'll have Tom Brady rooting against him at the Rose Bowl. Brady, a Michigan alumnus, plans to make the trip to Pasadena and has a friendly wager with teammate Willie McGinest, a former Trojan.

No need to worry about the Sox mending fences with Nomar and Manny. Garciaparra plays his butt off at all times and never seems to be happy, so he'll be the same guy -- with or without a contract extension. As for Manny, he won't even know any of it happened. Had Manny been shipped to Texas, he probably wouldn't have noticed until sometime in mid June when he'd say, "Gee, it's hot out here!"

Looks like LeBron James was worthy of the hype.

Hope Deion Branch tones down the celebrations for the playoffs. The Patriots don't need any flags for showing off.

Future Patriot TV stars: Richard Seymour, Christian Fauria, Tedy Bruschi. And much as I hate to admit it, Deion Sanders is great on TV.

Harvard hoop fell to 0-11 with Sunday's loss to Stanford. Ouch.

If you've watched any high school basketball around these parts this year, by now you've noticed two major changes: 1. Only two offensive players are allowed to line up in the key when free throws are taken. 2. Players have to wear mouthguards. The mouthguards will take some getting used to. Players are having trouble communicating with one another, and the mouthpieces too often are not in place.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. His e-mail address is

last game
Last game / Dec. 27 vs. Bills
 Box score         Game log
Sidelights to the game
Game photos
afc east standings
  W L T Pct. PF PA
Patriots 14 2 0 .875 348 238
Dolphins 10 6 0 .625 311 261
Bills 6 10 0 .400 243 279
Jets 6 10 0 .375 283 299
first down
Stay in the game with our free Patriots e-mail newsletter. Previews, post-game wrap-ups, stats, standings, stories and more.   Sign up for First Down today!
Globe Archives
Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months