College Blog Blog Network

Boston Globe early edition front page says Falcons won the Super Bowl

02.06.17 at 2:24 pm ET
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Folks who get the Boston Globe early edition delivered to their house were greeted with an alternative fact on the front-page Monday. The newspaper declared the Falcons victorious in Super Bowl LI over the Patriots, calling it a “bitter end.” The accompanying photograph shows Tom Brady on his knees while Falcons cornerback Robert Alford is returning an interception for a touchdown to put Atlanta up 21-0.

The folks who put together the Globe weren’t the only people to count the Patriots out Sunday. Marl Wahlberg left NRG Stadium early and President Donald Trump bailed on his own Super Bowl party. TV yakkers Skip Bayless and Max Kellerman delivered premature hot takes as well.

The losing team’s Super Bowl shirts are usually donated to international aid organizations. No word on what the Globe plans to do with its inaccurate newspaper covers.

Read More: Boston Globe, New England Patriots,

More people watched Lady Gaga’s halftime show than Patriots’ historic comeback win

02.06.17 at 1:19 pm ET
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The Patriots completed the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history Sunday, overcoming a 25-point deficit to defeat the Falcons. But Lady Gaga upstaged them.

According to TiVo’s data, viewership for the halftime show was greater than the game itself for the seventh consecutive year. Lady Gaga’s extravagant performance generated a whopping 41,000 tweets per minute, ranking third all-time behind Madonna’s act in 2012 and Katy Perry’s and Lenny Kravitz’s show in 2015.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell took some criticism last week when he declined to comment on President Trump’s immigration order, which temporarily bars travel from seven predominately Muslim countries and indefinitely ends the Syrian refugee program. But booking Gaga for the halftime show is one of the strongest statements the NFL can make. Though she wasn’t overtly political Sunday, her message celebrates diversity and inclusivity. The first song Gaga sang, “Born this Way,” contains these lyrics:

No matter gay, straight, or bi
Lesbian, transgendered life
I’m on the right track baby
I was born to survive
No matter black, white or beige
Chola or orient made
I’m on the right track baby
I was born to be brave

During last year’s halftime show, Beyoncé caused a stir when she performed her hit song, “Formation,” which was released with a music video that makes reference to Hurricane Katrina and Black Lives Matter. After Coldplay singer Chris Martin’s performance was over, the audience flipped over rainbow-colored cards that read “Believe in Love,” a tacit nod to marriage equality.

Largely thanks to the Patriots, the NFL has been blessed with a litany of classic Super Bowls in recent years. But no matter how good the game is, for much of the country, the star-studded and provocative halftime performance almost always steals the show.

Read More: Lady Gaga, New England Patriots, Super Bowl LI,

Boston police didn’t make single Super Bowl-related arrest after Patriots’ win

02.06.17 at 12:01 pm ET
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There was perhaps no better example that nobody knows how to celebrate championships like Boston.

“Officer McGuire” of the Boston Police Dept. told TMZ that there wasn’t a single Super Bowl-related arrest following the Patriots’ overtime win over the Falcons.

“There were zero arrests. It was a great night and we thank all our fans for being responsible,” Maguire told TMZ, adding, “It was a lot of happy celebrating … We’re experienced at winning!”

Tom Brady doesn’t deserve the crap he gets

02.06.17 at 11:39 am ET
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Tom Brady (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

It’s become in vogue to dump on Tom Brady. He’s ridiculed for eating healthy, lambasted for not betraying his friend and called a cheater because his footballs lost air pressure in cold weather. The greatest quarterback ever doesn’t deserve the crap he gets.

Brady secured his place in history Sunday, completing 21-of-27 passes in the fourth quarter and overtime to lead the Patriots on a 25-point comeback win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. It was the greatest come-from-behind victory in Super Bowl history, besting the Patriots’ work to overcome a 10-point deficit against the Seahawks just two years ago.

In the two weeks leading up to the game, Brady was skewered for his relationship with Donald Trump. Despite never formally endorsing the President, he was called a “dreadful person” and a “coward” for not disavowing him. I fed into the frenzy as well.

Brady’s relationship with Trump is a wildly appealing story. Perhaps the most famous athlete in the country is pals with the most divisive president since the Reconstruction-era. It’s an all-time convergence between two superstars, which is why it’s covered so heavily. But in the grand scheme of life, of course, the Trump-Brady friendship is inconsequential. When Brady won his first championship, Trump invited him to judge one of his beauty pageants. They also periodically play golf together –– much like Bill Clinton and Trump used to. That’s it.

Back in September 2015, after a “Make America Great Again” hat was spotted in Brady’s locker, he did say it “would be great” if Trump were elected president. But whenever that line is mentioned in somebody’s self-indulgent think-piece, the author almost always forgets to include Brady’s next sentence.

“There’d be a putting green on the White House lawn, I’m sure of that,” he said.

Does that sound like a serious answer to you?

Brady’s worst offense throughout the Trump saga came in October, when he ended a press conference after being asked about the President’s lewd Access Hollywood tape. Though it’s apparent Brady thought that was the best way to avoid controversy, it seemed as if he was afraid to condemn sexual assault. His response looked especially weak when compared to LeBron James, who called Trump’s words “trash talk.”

But two weeks later on Kirk & Callahan, when asked about former Giants kicker Josh Brown’s lenient one-game suspension for domestic abuse, Brady opened up on the topic of violence against women. He denounced it in sharp terms.

“I grew up with three sisters, I was very fortunate to learn from a loving father and a loving mother how to treat and respect women,” he said. “I have a daughter of my own and domestic violence is a horrible issue. It’s a tragedy when it happens. Any type of abuse or bullying of people who can’t defend or fight for themselves, I have no respect for that. Like I said, the NFL, they claim to take tough stances and this is their situation. This is their situation to deal with. I’ll let them deal with it. Like I said, I was very fortunate to grow up with sisters, a mother — I condone no part of that. That is absolutely something I would never be apart of or do. It’s a terrible tragedy.”

For those of us who are political, it’s difficult to imagine someone with Brady’s bully pulpit opting to stay silent on the issues of the day. But athletes don’t have a responsibility to speak out. In fact, they’re often revered for not making waves. Derek Jeter, who’s never said anything even remotely interesting to a reporter in his life, is often praised as the gold standard when it comes to how athletes should conduct themselves. How hypocritical.

To state the obvious, it’s impossible to tell from afar whether Brady is truly a good person. But by all accounts, from stories about his outreach to a grieving family to his work with Best Buddies International, he seems to be a good guy. It’s apparent he loves his family, given his outcry of emotion when talking about his father and ailing mother in the lead-up and aftermath of Super Bowl LI.

When Brady talks about his parents, his guard drops down. But in the face of controversy, whether it’s his friendship with Trump or a nonsensical scandal about deflated footballs, he tries to stay above the fray. Throughout the entirety of Deflategate, Brady never spoke ill of the league. While Roger Goodell was destroying his reputation for nearly 18 months, he talked about the importance of staying positive.

“If I hold a grudge it bothers me more than it bothers the person,” he said earlier this year.

In today’s age, where fourth walls are routinely broken down, there’s a certain phoniness to Brady’s air of serenity. When he says he’s unaware of what’s going on in the world, it’s difficult to not roll your eyes.

But a man shouldn’t be vilified for his restraint. In fact, it might be one of the reasons for Brady’s greatness. He appeared to be in state of tranquility when he was leading the Patriots on their historic comeback Sunday. There were no delay of games or unorthodox exchanges. Brady may not be able to operate so smoothly if he were worried about responding to every slight.

Maybe he could teach his buddy in the Oval Office a thing or two about that.

Read More: New England Patriots, Tom Brady,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: David Ortiz celebrates Patriots win, Mark Wahlberg leaves Super Bowl early

02.06.17 at 7:36 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

NBA: LA Lakers at New York, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: San Antonio at Memphis, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL: St. Louis at Philadelphia, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Women’s college basketball: Louisville at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Women’s college basketball: Texas at Baylor, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Holy Cross at Bucknell, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Louisville at Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Jackson State at Southern University, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kansas at Kansas State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)


— David Ortiz tweeted this video Sunday night of his celebration of the Patriots’ Super Bowl win:



Meanwhile, self-described Boston sports fan Mark Wahlberg was in attendance at the Super Bowl, but ditched the Patriots early when they were losing: 

The NFL also tweeted this video of Gisele celebrating her husband’s Super Bowl win:

Here is how athletes across different sports reacted to the huge win:


QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Two years ago, we won our fourth Super Bowl down in Arizona and I told our fans that was the sweetest one of all. But a lot has transpired during the last two years, and I don’t think that needs any explanation. But I want to say to our fans, our brilliant coaching staff, our amazing players, who are so spectacular, this is unequivocally the sweetest. And I’m proud to say, for the fifth time, we are all Patriots. And tonight, for the fifth time, the Patriots are world champions.” — Robert Kraft, accepting the Lombardi Trophy after the Patriots’ Super Bowl LI win


Read More: New England Patriots,

Donald Trump, after bailing on the Patriots, congratulates them on Super Bowl win

02.06.17 at 12:17 am ET
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Donald Trump congratulated his good friends Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft on their fifth Super Bowl championship. But the truth is, he bailed on them.

At 8:57 p.m., with the Patriots trailing the Falcons 28-3, the President left his own Super Bowl party. Trump was watching the game at his Florida golf club, flanked by his chief of staff Reince Preibus and wife Melania –– both of whom looked despondent.

In his pregame interview with Bill O’Reilly, Trump predicted the Patriots would win by eight points. He also intimated he was rooting for the Pats, saying it’s important to “stick up for your friends.”

That’s what Brady, Belichick and Kraft have done for Trump over the last 18 months. All three of them, and Brady in particular, have stuck up for him in the face of incessant criticism. But that apparently didn’t matter to Trump Sunday. When the Patriots fell behind, he hopped into his motorcade. Brady went on to complete 21-of-27 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Donald Trump, New England Patriots, Robert Kraft

Donald Trump: Tom Brady is ‘getting a lot of popularity’ out of their friendship

02.05.17 at 4:22 pm ET
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Donald Trump said Tom Brady is gaining popularity because of him. (Jack Gruber/USA Today Network)

Donald Trump said Tom Brady is gaining popularity because of him. (Jack Gruber/USA Today Network)

President Donald Trump talks incessantly about his friendships with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft. The pattern continued in his pre-game interview Sunday with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.

When asked about the criticism Brady and Co. have faced for their ties to him, Trump said he believes it also has been beneficial for them.

“They’re taking a lot of heat. But you know what? They’re also getting a lot of popularity out of it. I think they’re going to do very well. Tom’s a winner,” he said.

Trump didn’t explicitly say he was rooting of the Patriots Sunday, but implied he was pulling for his pals, who he thinks will win by eight points.

“I think the other team is fantastic, though. No, I think it’s a fantastic team –– turned out to be a good quarterback,” he said. “But you know, there’s less pressure on the Patriots, because they’ve been there. Once you’ve won, once you’ve done it –– and they’ve done it –– once you’ve done it, there’s a lot less pressure. So, we’ll see what happens. But you know? You have to stick up for your friends, right?”

Given Trump’s closeness to the Krafts, there’s been some speculation he’ll be the first sitting president to ever attend the Super Bowl. His vice president, noted Brady hater Mike Pence, will be at NRG Stadium in Houston.

When asked on Kirk & Callahan Friday about the possibility of Trump showing up, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft demurred.

“You don’t –– I don’t know. Talk to the White House. They would know what’s going on,” he said.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Donald Trump, New England Patriots, Robert Kraft

Saturday Night Live weekend update anchor says Boston is most racist city he’s ever been to

02.05.17 at 1:07 pm ET
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The barbs about Boston being a racist city are hackneyed and stale. So, it’s not surprising that one of them found its way into another dreadful Weekend Update sketch on Saturday Night Live.

When discussing Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between the Patriots and Falcons, anchor Michael Che threw out this groaner: “I just want to relax, turn my brain off, and watch the blackest city in America beat the most racist city I’ve ever been to.”

Ironically, the quip came shortly after Kenan Thompson rolled out his David Ortiz impression, which exaggerates the slugger’s Dominican accent for comedic effect.

Bill Maher: F— Tom Brady and f— Bill Belichick

02.04.17 at 2:05 pm ET
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Bill Maher has weighed in on the Patriots’ love affair with Donald Trump.

The provocative Real Time host brought up the subject during his closing monologue Friday night, and fired off a salvo of insults towards Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

“The Falcons are playing a team where the owner, the coach and the star quarterback all love and support Donald Trump,” he said. “So I’d really like them to lose by the score of a million-f—— thousand to one.”

Despite attending Trump’s inauguration and saying his policies are “going to be great” for America, Robert Kraft was largely spared from Maher’s onslaught. Instead, the comedian singled out Brady.

“I love the Falcons! I love their running back, what’s-his-face, and the guy who catches the ball, but mostly I love them because Tom Brady was one of the first to display a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat, because America’s been so tough on Tom so far,” Maher said. “And back when Tom was asked if he thought Trump would be president, he said, ‘I hope so, that would be great.’ Hey Tom, f— you.”

After reading portions of the fawning letter Belichick sent Trump, which the President read aloud at a campaign rally the night before the election, Maher had similar words for the Patriots coach.

“Wow, that’s some serious butt-licking, coach,” he said. “Let me give you some advice for the big game: F— you, Belichick. F— you and your deflated balls you joyless, cheating f—.”

At the end of his rant, Maher, who’s a minority owner of the Mets, bemoaned the politicization of sports. Kind of.

“[Trump] took something beautiful, a game where millionaires give each other brain damage, and made it tawdry and cheap,” he said. “I don’t want to make everything political, but that’s where we’re headed. Athletes are refusing to stay at Trump hotels. People are unfriending each other on Facebook. Siblings have stopped talking to one another, which makes it hard to get laid in the South.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Donald Trump, New England Patriots, Tom Brady

A Deflategate movie is coming out –– and it has nothing to do with deflated footballs

02.03.17 at 3:46 pm ET
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There’s a documentary coming out about Deflategate. It has nothing to do with deflated footballs.

Director Julie Marron is nearing completion of the film, “Four Games in Fall: The Genius Marking of Deflategate.” The documentary takes a look at some of the larger themes of the scandal, including how the NFL manipulated the media to spread false information, such as ESPN’s report about 11 of 12 Patriots footballs being 2 PSI below the legal limit.

Tom Brady served his Deflategate suspension this season, almost two years after the alleged violation.

Tom Brady served his Deflategate suspension this season, almost two years after the alleged violation. (Screenshot via Lemon Martini Productions)

“We’re exploring three things in this film: manipulation of the media, misrepresentation of science, and abuse and perversion of the legal system,” Marron said. “Those are the things we’re really looking at. On the surface you have a very trivial event that just involves an equipment violation, and yet, you have this very serious and concerted event that was made on the part of one of the parties to really manipulate the media, to cement public opinion by leaking misinformation and not allowing correct information to get out there, and then kind of switching it up and focusing on other types of things where they can kind of craft the story in a way that’s to their advantage. So to me, this is a really fascinating story.”

Deflategate first caught Marron’s eye when the NFL announced it was hiring attorney Ted Wells and the research firm Exponent to investigate the matter. An executive in corporate strategy, Marron is well aware of Exponent’s practices. The company once published tobacco industry-backed studies that deny the existence of second-hand smoke.

“I’m very familiar with the kind of work they do in terms of product liability and industry-sponsored clients,” she said. “So for me, that was a real eye-opener. I thought it was really intriguing that they had been brought in to examine allegations of deflated footballs. That, to me, seemed preposterous –– and intriguing.”

Using Exponent’s expertise, Wells concluded it was “more probable than not” that Tom Brady was aware of the Patriots’ illegally deflated footballs in the 2015 AFC championship game. But that finding goes against scientific consensus. A litany of independent scientists, including MIT’s Dr. John Leonhard, who Marron interviewed for the film, don’t believe there was any wrongdoing. The footballs, they say, naturally lost air pressure in the cold weather –– much like tires.

In addition to Dr. Leonhard, Marron speaks Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann, Barstool Sports’ Jerry Thornton and a litany of others who closely followed the Deflategate saga. Even though the scandal is two years old, it was still one of the top storylines during Super Bowl week in Houston. Marron says the NFL is fortunate for that.

“Obviously, it’s been a really useful tool for the NFL in terms of deflecting attention away from more important issues facing the league,” she said. “The thing about the concussion is, this is an existential threat to the organization. The fact that the NFL supported faulty research and lied to the public about the facts of concussions –– that’s scientific misconduct. They have these dubious research findings that are now out in the public. That, to me, is phenomenal. Certainly Deflategate has been a really useful tool to deflect attention away from serious issues facing the league and facing human beings.”

Read More: Deflategate,