Will the Patriots get up for the Eagles Sunday?
Move over Rafael Palmeiro, there's a new kid on the erectile block and he's sponsored by your New England Patriots. The Boston Globe's Christopher Rowland is working the beat.
The New England Patriots yesterday unveiled a marketing agreement with the makers of the erectile dysfunction drug Levitra, the latest example of how rival manufacturers in the male sexual impotence market are scrambling to associate themselves with professional sports, broaching a sensitive subject through a macho medium.
SuperBowl Championship Coach Mike Ditka (who knew?) will be the Levitra spokesman at Gillette Stadium, even doing 30-second promotional spots on the jumbotron. The Patriots front office plan to screen Ditka's ad's to avoid crowd negativity if the 1986 SuperBowl is mentioned.
"We'll be screening it," said team spokesman Stacey James. "If they're referring to his biggest games and biggest conquests, I don't think we'll be airing that."
Mike Ditka's "biggest conquest's"?, I not sure I like the sound of that...
Patriot Report is still hunting down reports that the Chicago Bears 1986 cult hit video "The SuperBowl Shuffle", led to scores of erectile dysfunction throughout the Midwest corridor.
When Coach Ditka was asked if he could get it over the counter, he replied, "Take two Levitra".
Breaks, Boroughs, BaDa Bing!
Patriot Linebacker Ted Johnson is out for 6-10 weeks with a broken foot. Tough setback for Johnson who was just elected defensive captain and was back playing a key role in the inside linebacking corp after a reduced role the last few years due to injury and on field performance. The Boston Globe's Nick Cafado has the Johnson injury report.
"It's a tough break," said coach Bill Belichick. "Ted has played well. He was having a very solid year. It's a tough setback."
Cafado's notes column has an interesting trivia note.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Sunday's Patriots-Eagles game will mark the first time in 71 years that two NFL teams will face each other in their second game of the season, after each was shut out in its first game. It last happened Oct. 2, 1932 when the Chicago Bears played the Staten Island Stapletons.
Revisionist historians report the Staten Island Stapletons cut their strong safety 5 days before the opening day shutout to the Brooklyn Dodgers and Coach Hal Hansen had lost the locker room after the stunning transaction.
So how did the Stapletons do against Chicago that autumn day against the famed Bears? John Hogrogian turns back the clock to 1932 in his fine article on the history of the Staten Island Stapletons.
The newspapers hyped the game as the first clash between Ken Strong and Red Grange, the fabled Galloping Ghost. The underdog Stapes stood off the powerful Bears, holding them to a scoreless tie. Chicago's iron fullback Bronko Nagurski and young Campiglio gained the most yardage -- so much for hype -- but the closest thing to a score all day was Luke Johnsos' end-zone drop of a fourth down Grange pass.
The NFL 2003 may have Britney Spears and Hank Williams, but the Staten Island Stapes fan base outmatches that duo on the music front.
The Stapes pulled another surprise the next week when they took on the Dodgers before 20,000 at Ebbets Field. The fans stirred up when they spotted Bing Crosby among their number, but the Stapletons quieted them down by winning the contest 7-6, despite completing a paltry two passes for the day.
"Everybody Have Fun Tonight", So let's go Wang !
Bill Belichick isn't the only coach under media attack. Stephen A. Smith in the Philadelphia Inquirer ask's when Eagle Coach Andy Reid will get off high horse?
Reid could have talked about quarterback Donovan McNabb's ineptitude, but chose not to. He could have explained whether there was any truth to a growing perception that he folds like a cheap tent in bristling winds whenever he faces Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden, or simply dismissed the perception as a figment of our collective imagination.....Some decipherable reasoning on his team's woeful effort would have helped....Instead, "that's for me to know," Reid stated matter-of-factly in response to questions, dismissing inquiry as easily as the Bucs dismissed his Eagles, 17-0, about 12 hours earlier.
The Eagles lost two key players this offseason that have played in the last two NFC Championships. Defensive End Hugh Douglas took his 12.5 sacks south to Jacksonville. NFL all-time return leader Brian Mitchell is now playing for the New York Giants. Most observers felt the Eagles did little to fill these two losses, but the latest reports from Philly indicate otherwise.
Elizabeth Wellington has the skinny on famed designer Vera Wang contributions to the Eagles organization.
The new Eagles' cheerleaders' uniforms, unveiled at the Linc last night, show a little cheek and a whole lot of bust....."I was trying to marry athletic performance and sex appeal," Wang said
Don't get the idea that only sex appeal drove the uniform redesign.
"These outfits are highly athletic. It was a challenge to make sure the pieces were sexy and they wouldn't fall apart," Wang said.
There were no reports after Monday's opening loss to the Bucs of cheerleader uniform rips, but they have not been tested for a full 16 game slate.
Not everyone is happy with the new "highly athletic" cheerleader uniforms. Stu Bykofsky in the Philadelphia Daily News with his wife by his side writes:
Not only did they lose the "official" home opener (they already had dropped the pre-season "unofficial" home opener), they were so bad that not even the blinding laser show and the too-revealing Vera Wang cheerleaders' outfits could cleanse the bitter barf taste from fans' mouths.
Too-revealing? Is that possible? I'll let you decide. Philadelphia Eagle Cheerleader Squad
More Sticks, Stones and Name Calling
The Boston Globe's Ron Borges has a sobering look at the state of the Patriots and looks ahead to this week's game against the Eagles.
"So where do they go from here? If you asked Bill Belichick that question, he would more than likely reply with something curt, such as, "Philadelphia." That would be accurate. It just wouldn't be the whole story."
If you need your daily ingestion of Lawyer Milloy reading, Providence Journal's Bill Reynolds takes a hyperbolic look at the business side of the NFL.
"It impacts the Patriots because it's a very visible reminder to all the other players that they're all as ultimately expendable as some used paper cup lying on the floor."
Reynold's colleague at the Providence Journal Tom Curran reports on dissension in the Patriot locker room.
"The state of the Patriots right now has little to do with the game anymore. Or even the man at the center of the controversy, Lawyer Milloy. It has to do with the relationship between Bill Belichick and the team he's assembled."
This is the week for the Bill Belichick haters in the press to show their true colors with vicious agenda driven dribble. When it comes to name calling in the Boston Media, how can we not start with infamous Belichick hater Kevin Mannix at the Boston Herald. After the Belichick hire, Mannix wrote that Belichick was "duplicitous pond scum." Mannix pulled that line out of his bag in Sunday's Herald column.
"Bill Belichick is pond scum again. Arrogant, megalomaniacal, duplicitous pond scum."
Today, Mannix get's back his trademark name calling.
"With the possible exception of his own self, everybody agrees Bill Belichick is guilty of being an arrogant oaf because of his decision to cut Lawyer Milloy five days before the season-opener. "
Don't worry Coach, a slimmed down Rush Limbaugh is in your corner in his new gig during the morning pregame show, Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN. Robert Weintraub at Slate.com has the Rush update.
"Perhaps most predictably, Limbaugh sided with authority in a couple of coach/player debates, most strongly defending Patriots coach Bill Belichick for the controversial cutting of team captain Lawyer Milloy. Rush announced, "Belichick always gets rid of guys a year too soon, and therefore never faces massive rebuilding." Ask Cleveland Browns fans about that one. The tone indicated approval in the same manner Rush would applaud General Motors eliminating an assembly plant in order to "get lean."
Rush even makes predictions:
"Limbaugh had confidently made New England his lock of the week.
Name calling aside, who ever said Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot?
The whipping the Patriots took at the hands of the Bills yesterday surely will leave us with 6 more days of Lawyer Milloy talk. A must read for Patriots fans is today's Peter King article on Cnnsi.com that explores the tampering angle and how the four-time Pro Bowler ended up lining up on the other side of the ball from the Patriots.
Did Milloy's agent made him play hardball because he wouldn't make any money on a re-negotiated deal with the Pats? And was there already a deal in place?
Followers of the Patriot Report Blog will remember Lawyer vowing to take the high road and not bash his former employer last Tuesday.
"I just don't want to do it that way."
You couldn't not find an article in the Boston Media this weekend where Milloy was not bashing Coach Belichek or Patriot owner Robert Kraft who made Milloy the highest paid safety in the NFL four years ago.
Now Peter King reports on his meeting up with Milloy after Sunday's 31-0 Bills win.
He's furious with me for reporting the tampering story, and I can't repeat what he said to me in a hallway outside the Bills' locker room after Sunday's game against his former club. Suffice it to say he was fairly strident in telling me never to approach him again as long as I dwell on the planet earth, with quite a bit of emphasis
Before we get to the disaster up in Buffalo, how about some good news?
Armando Salguero has the game story in the Miami Herald of the Dolphins 21-20 loss to the 2nd year Houston Texans.
''Everybody,'' linebacker Zach Thomas said, "was sitting around waiting for somebody else to make a play.''
Sound familiar? Let's move on to the Patriots coverage in today's media outlets. The Patriots were shutout for the first time since 1993, 31-0 to the Bills in Orchard Park, NY. Do you think there will be any mention of a certain safety carrying the Patriot's playbook for the Bills?
The Boston Herald's Michael Felger leads with:
Second-guessers unite. Bill Belichick bashers, today is your day. Prepare to feast. The Patriots' humiliating 31-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills yesterday is your piece of raw meat.
The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy brings his tired cynical observations from the diamond to the football field.
Thank goodness Belichick didn't say Bledsoe was in the twilight of his career when he dealt him to Buffalo.
Dan, is it too much to bring some original lines to the table? Or are you too lazy? Is it just too easy to rehash the Clemens "twilight of his career" line in every other article? Shaughnessy goes on to say:
"Milloy and Sam Gash were eager to rip the Patriot franchise after this game while Bledsoe continued to walk that maddening high road. But all of the ex-Patriots are gleeful whenever they can stick it to Belichick. It's a big club and it's growing."
Why is it maddening to take the high road? Last time, I checked in with the Gash family, Mrs. "Don't you know who I am?" Gash was being arrested by the MA State Police outside of Foxboro Stadium for refusing to following an officer's direction. Gash has been gone from the Patriots for six years, and has returned to the Bills two years after they cut him.
Shaugnessy goes on to put the loss in appropriate perspective.
Patriots fans can only hope this was a one-game aberration, and not a symbolic kickoff to another playoff-free winter in New England.
Dan, I'm not sure if you have been paying attention, but the Patriots have made the playoffs 4 of the last 7 years including two trips to the SuperBowl and one World Championship. An ugly opening day loss and we are heading toward a "playoff-free winter in New England" How's that for overreaction?
Let's reach for some more good news?
Kevin Faulk looked good yesterday.
The Patriots punt coverage was solid.
There are 15 games to play.
How sad is that for Patriot fans looking on the bright side? Maybe the Patriots can start showing the SuperBowl DVD on the big screen at Gillette until next Sunday's game in Philly.