Patriot Report

Patriot Report






Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Turf Wars

Patriot Report is finally dusting off the holiday hangover and ready to get our heads out of the dirt.

Nick Cafardo continues his weird obsession with the field conditions at Gillette. Cafardo's inane musings began this summer when he continued his personal agenda against Coach Belichick by carrying water for deposed groundskeeper Dennis Brolin. Brolin whom Cafardo refers to as the "Michael Vick" of Groundskeepers, reported that Brolin(aka Vick) quit over a dispute with Belichick over how much fertilizer to use in the Red Zone. Below is a chat transcript of Cafardo from last fall.

Question: Was Dennis Brolin immediately hired by another franchise to be in charge of their field? Is he currently working for another organization? The field has looked fine to me all season. Your comment about him being the "Michael Vick of groundskeepers" appears to be a major cheap shot at Belichick...I give you credit for always saying Belichick is a very good coach but this groundskeeper stuff makes me think you must find something to criticize him about? Your thoughts.

Cafardo: Dennis had enough of being told how to treat the field, and so he decided to start his own field construction business. Dennis would be hired in a heartbeat by a number of professional sports teams if he wanted to get back into that...One of the problems with Gillette is that there are too many events. The Revolution play there as well and the field looks chewed up. Last week it looked awful and even the players commented how bad it looked and felt. And the "groundskeeper stuff" you referred to is called reporting. Brolin informed me over the summer he was quitting because he had had enough. I'm not in this business to sweep those unpleasant stories under the rug. That's a legitimate news story.

Makes me think Cafardo might be on the Woodward and Bernstein path with this hard hitting "legitimate news story".

This week Cafardo goes back to his water bucket to write:

The playing surface at Gillette Stadium is a state-of-the-art mess. It's chewed up right down the middle, precisely the way the Patriots prefer it...With the next game at Gillette not until at least Jan. 10, there is plenty of time to do repairs, especially if the league orders new sod so the field will look presentable on TV. But the Patriots probably would just as soon do a little cosmetic landscaping and take their chances.

The Patriots are 8-0 on the their home field, and from the outset it hasn't been in great shape. Early in the season, concerts and professional soccer caused some problems. Now the snow and rain have made it a mess.

"Well whatever it is, it is," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "My job is to coach the team and get the team prepared to play and that is really where my focus is. Doing the fields isn't my strength. I think we all know at this point in the season in New England there is going to be a lot less growing than there is at other points in the year, and the field has had a lot of wear and tear. It is what it is."

Asked whether he could turn to owner Robert Kraft and ask why the field hasn't been re-sodded, Belichick answered, "That is not really what it is about. It is our home field. We are comfortable playing on it. The fans have been great. The atmosphere in our games has been good. Whatever we play on, we will show up and play on it. That is our attitude. I don't spend a lot of time worrying about it."

You would think Cafardo's highly placed sources in the Groundskeeping community would let him know that it's far more dangerous to attempt to resod the Gillette field than to do nothing. In the Northeast winters, the sod will end up being torn up in big clumps because the grass is dormant. You don't need to be the "Michael Vick" of Groundskeepers to know that. Hell, anyone can get this information at

Monday, December 29, 2003

Patriots Stomp bills 31-0

What goes around comes around. In a reverse Groundhog Day season, the New England Patriots finished off the greatest regular season in team history with a 31-0 put down of the lowly buffalo bills. The 14-2 Patriots, winners of 12 straight games started the season with a 31-0 loss by the same "no show" bills in Week 1. Tom Curran has the symmetry of the 2003 Patriots season.

The Patriots provided the perfect symmetrical bookend to their historic 2003 season, boxing the ears of the downtrodden Buffalo Bills by the same score the Bills hammered the Patriots by 118 days ago. The 31-0 win was the Patriots' 12th straight.

Truth be told, yesterday's game was over in the first five minutes. The Patriots walked up to the Bills and, without speaking a word, punched them square in the jaw.

The afternoon's domination was capped by a stirring, shutout-preserving interception in the end zone by reserve linebacker Larry Izzo with 13 seconds left after Buffalo had gotten to the Pats' 1.

"All 53 guys on this team wanted to keep that zero on the scoreboard," said Izzo. "It wasn't just one play. It was 60 minutes of football."

Kevin Mannix looks at the Patriots statement game.

It wasn't a trap game after all. Not even close. Actually, it was more like a statement game.... When other playoff teams see tapes of yesterday's 31-0 rout of the Bills, they'll see a real-live offensive unit that's capable of carrying its share of the load. They'll see that the Pats are not a one-dimensional, offensively challenged team that has to rely totally on defense and field position.

Jersey Bob Ryan regurgitates the old Montana/Brady comparison.

Quarterbacks are somewhat easily categorized, but has there ever been a doubt that Brady is the latest offshoot of the Bart Starr/Joe Montana School of Sheer Efficiency, as opposed to the Norm Van Brocklin/Sonny Jurgensen/Terry Bradshaw/Dan Fouts/Peyton Manning school of Golden Arm Strength or the Fran Tarkenton School of Improvisation, or the Brett Favre/Steve McNair School of Swashbuckling Grit? And, yes, Brady is still but a pup out of that Starr/Montana litter. He hasn't won five championships (three NFL titles and two Super Bowls, as Starr did), or been the star of four Super Bowls, as Montana was (all without throwing an interception). He's just got the one Super Bowl on his resume, although surely he rates some extra credit for doing it as a de facto rookie. But in the way he goes about his business, combined with his ever-rising efficiency rate, Brady is demonstrating that when you talk about contemporary quarterbacks and their capacity to find ways to win, he is as good as anyone you can name, including the many who put up far gaudier stats, week in and week out.

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  • Description

    One man's take on the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots and a look at the lighter side of media coverage on the team and the NFL. Parody is not intended as grounds for libel


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