College Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Patriots missing Super Bowl game-winning football found; UConn Women reach record 100-game win streak

02.14.17 at 8:45 am ET
By   |   Comments

Good morning, here is your Tuesday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Cleveland at Minnesota, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Sacramento at LA Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (NBATV)
NHL: Vancouver at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (NHL)
College basketball: Saint Joseph’s at VCU, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Boston College, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Rutgers at Purdue, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Tennessee at Kentucky, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Tulsa at UCF, 7 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Wake Forest at Clemson, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Dayton at Saint Louis, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Mississippi State at Georgia, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Ohio State at Michigan State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Penn State at Nebraska, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Texas at Oklahoma, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Boise State at New Mexico, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Patriots running back James White said after the Super Bowl he forgot to take the game-winning touchdown football and didn’t know what happened to it.

“I wasn’t thinking in that moment,” White said. “I was too busy sprinting down the field.”

Thankfully, we now know, according to a team spokesman, an equipment manager picked it up and it is safe and sound and on display in the Patriots’ Hall of Fame.

The missing football was worrisome at the time because Tom Brady’s game-worn jersey was also missing and still has not been found.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: James White, New England Patriots, UConn women's basketball,

Despite battling illness and personal anguish, Jerry Remy is back at top of his game

02.13.17 at 4:50 pm ET
By   |   Comments

At various times last year, it seemed as if NESN was phasing out Jerry Remy. At one point, after being sidelined for three consecutive road trips, the longtime color analyst even took it upon himself to assure fans he was feeling fine. He said the new schedule, not his health, was the reason for his prolonged absence from the booth.

It’s been a trying stretch for Remy, who NESN announced Monday is being treated for a relapse of lung cancer. The 64-year-old broadcaster was first diagnosed in 2008, leading to a more than three-month sabbatical the following year due to a bout with depression. He relapsed in the offseason prior to the 2013 campaign, but was able to work on Opening Day. Remy stayed on the job until mid-August, when his son, Jared, was charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel, with whom he had a young child. The news forced Remy off TV for the remainder of the championship run.

While his son’s murder trial played out in the early portions of the 2014 season, Remy was on the air almost daily. When Jared pleaded guilty to first-degree murder charges May 27, 2014, he returned to the broadcast booth the next night. Though Remy was able to maintain his amiable on-air persona during that time, it made for some uncomfortable imagery. Play-by-play man Don Orsillo navigated through the delicate situation with aplomb.

At that point, after being on the job for 27 years, there were questions about how much longer Remy would continue to work. Those uncertainties may have been a reason why NESN brought in Steve Lyons to do studio shows in 2014. The telegenic former Red Sox outfielder was once Fox’s No. 2 baseball analyst. A local studio job seemed beneath him, unless it came with the promise of also getting into the broadcast booth.

Lyons has worked his way onto game broadcasts, taking part in a three-man color rotation alongside Remy and Dennis Eckersley. After Orsillo was ousted in favor of ex-radio voice Dave O’Brien at the end of 2015, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said he wanted to “re-energize the broadcast.” Apparently, lessening Remy’s workload was a part of that process.

After an offseason of change, it wasn’t the broadcast that seemed re-energized –– O’Brien struggled to adapt to a lighter, more conversational format –– but rather Remy. He appeared more focused than in recent years, frequently pointing out intricate details about the game that probably eluded most folks watching at home. When Remy is at his best, he combines a keen level of insight with his endearing RemDawg persona. That happened last year, and suits at NESN seemed to notice. Earlier this year, the network announced it had re-signed Remy to a multi-year contract. He’ll call 115 games in 2017.

Remy, who’s currently undergoing treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital, plans to work his full schedule this season. That’s good news for viewers, who didn’t appear to enjoy Lyons last year. On a couple of occasions, Lyons was even trending on Twitter during games, because so many people were complaining about him.

With the sharp-tongued Eckersley reportedly unwilling to sign on for a full-season slate, Remy remains the Red Sox’s best color analyst option. As he enters his 30th season in the booth, his value to NESN has never been higher.

Read More: jerry remy, NESN,

Jerry Sandusky’s son charged with sexually abusing children

02.13.17 at 3:26 pm ET
By   |   Comments

The apple apparently doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Jerry Sandusky’s son, Jeffrey, was charged Monday with 14 counts of child sexual abuse. He’s currently housed in the Centre County Correctional Facility in Bellefonte, Penn., where his bail is set for $200,000.

Jerry Sandusky, the disgraced ex-Penn State defensive coordinator, is serving a lengthy prison sentence for sexually abusing at least 10 boys. In an attempt to get his conviction overturned, he denied in court last year he ever had sexual contact with children. The appeal is still pending.

Over the last several years, Penn State has paid roughly $93 million to more than 30 of Sandusky’s accusers. In September 2016, the school settled a long-running suit with its main liability insurance company over whether it will be reimbursed for the money it paid Sandusky’s victims.

Read More: Jerry Sandusky,

Robert Kraft is acting like one of Donald Trump’s political surrogates

02.13.17 at 1:26 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Kraft routinely touts Trump's economic plans. (Andrew Innerarity/USA TODAY Sports)

Robert Kraft routinely touts Donald Trump’s economic plans. (Andrew Innerarity/USA Today Sports)

If Robert Kraft needs an activity this offseason, perhaps he could fill in for Donald Trump’s embattled White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer. He appeared to be auditioning for the role in an interview Monday on Fox Business Network.

The Patriots’ owner, who also appeared on NBC’s TODAY show, was asked about attending dinner with Trump Friday at his Mar-a-Largo estate alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Kraft third-wheeled for the evening’s proceedings, and was seated across from the President.

“[President Trump and Prime Minister Abe] had a real connection. I think it’s going [to be] to the benefit of both countries,” he said on Mornings with Maria. “The president stressed the need to create jobs and have a fair trade relationsihp. They both seem connected in the area of defense and all the issues that Americans would care about.”

When asked about Trump’s policies as a whole, Kraft said he thinks they’ll be great for working families –– echoing his comments to the New York Times last month.

“The most important thing for our country is new, good jobs –– especially in the inner-cities for working class people,” Kraft said. “People who live in the inner-city –– for the last decade, I don’t think they’ve gotten their fair share. I think if we can create a vibrant economy and have new stimulation, have this deregulation, and repatriation and tax reform, I think that’ll create a vibrant economic environment.”

During Super Bowl week, Kraft explained some of the history behind his relationship with Trump. He says when his wife, Myra, passed away in 2011, Trump called once per week for one year. With that in mind, it’s easy to understand why Kraft feels an apparent loyalty towards Trump.

But unlike Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, who are also buddies with the President, Kraft discusses Trump’s political policies. During his interview with Fox Business, he parroted Trump’s vapid economic rhetoric, acting like a cable news surrogate.

Moments like these demonstrate why the Patriots and Trump are inseparable. Kraft aligning himself with Trump not just personally, but politically, is a relevant story –– just like when any celebrity or influential person decides to step into the political arena.

During his TODAY show interview, Kraft expressed support for the six Patriots players who announced last week they plan to skip the ceremonial White House visit. But he also appeared to criticize the press for fixating on the story, a move right out of the Trump playbook.

“Well, you know what’s interesting, this is our, I’m happy to say, fifth Super Bowl in the last 16 years,” Kraft said. “And every time we’ve had the privilege of going to the White House, a dozen of our players don’t go. This is the first time it’s gotten any media attention.”

With deflections like that, maybe Kraft will soon be making his way onto a CNN set.

Read More: Donald Trump, Robert Kraft,

Watch Canucks forward Alex Burrows, who bit Patrice Bergeron during Stanley Cup, get laid out

02.13.17 at 11:00 am ET
By   |   Comments

Six years ago, Canucks forward Alex Burrows bit Patrice Bergeron’s finger during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. On Sunday, he finally received his comeuppance.

During the first period of Vancouver’s contest against the Sabres, Burrows started to engage in a shoving match with Buffalo goalie Robin Lehner. During the midst of their confrontation, Sabres defenseman Justin Falk came out of nowhere and tackled Burrows to the ice.

Burrows’ night got a lot better from there, however. He netted a goal against Lehner and also recorded an assist in the Canucks’ victory. But for a fleeting moment, the Hockey Gods seemed to enact their belated revenge.

Read More: Alex Burrows,

‘Simpsons’ added final score of Super Bowl LI to their all-Boston episode

02.13.17 at 10:30 am ET
By   |   Comments

When the Simpsons’ Boston-themed episode first aired in October, Homer and his buddies went to Moe’s Tavern to watch the Boston Americans oust the Springfield Atoms. The game-winning drive, which features the Americans’ well-coiffed quarterback slinging a touchdown pass to the team mascot –– a trick play drawn up by his dour-looking head coach –– is a familiar sight for Patriots’ fans. And now, so is the final score.

For Sunday’s rerun of “The Town,” Simpsons executive producer Matt Selman, a Watertown-native, decided to sub out the “Americans and “Atoms” for “New England” and “Atlanta.” The score, 34-28, was also coincidently the final of Super Bowl LI.

“For an episode that’s really a love letter to Boston, this felt like the perfect one-time addition,” Selman told Boston.com’s Kevin Slane. “It’s kind of cocky, but everyone else already hates the Patriots and their fans, so it’s OK.”

James Corden led the lamest rendition of “Sweet Caroline” at the Grammys

02.13.17 at 9:53 am ET
By   |   Comments

When thousands of drunken moms and dads are screaming the chorus of “Sweet Caroline” during the eighth inning of Red Sox home games, it’s difficult to think of being subjected to anything worse in life. But then, James Corden tried to lead a rendition of Neil Diamond’s 1969 single at the Grammys Sunday.

With a car cutout in hand, Corden gathered a bunch of A-listers and put them in his pretend vehicle for a game of Carpool Karaoke –– a signature bit from the Late Late Show. With Jennifer Lopez in the front seat and an array of artists in the back, including Diamond, Tim McGraw and John Legend, “Sweet Caroline” began playing inside the theatre. Three minutes of tortuous television followed.

Up until Sunday, the lamest moment in award show history was when Ellen Degeneres took a star-filled selfie at the Oscars three years ago. But now, her desperate attempt to go viral has been surpassed. Congratulations, everyone.

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Former Celtics center Fab Melo dead at 26; Jose Fernandez estate sued by families of other boat crash victims

02.13.17 at 8:23 am ET
By   |   Comments

Good morning, here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: San Antonio at Indiana, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Boston at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: Atlanta at Portland, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL: NY Rangers at Columbus, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Baylor at Texas Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Colgate at Bucknell, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Louisville at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Morgan State at Howard, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Villanova at DePaul, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: West Virginia at Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Women’s college basketball: Texas at Florida State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Women’s college basketball: South Carolina at Connecticut, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Former Celtics and Syracuse center, Fab Melo, was found dead in his home in Brazil on Saturday.

According to reports, Melo went to bed Friday night and was found Saturday morning by his mother. The cause of death has yet to be determined.

“We don’t know the cause yet. It’s so hard right now, so hard to believe. It’s a sad, sad day. He was a really good kid, and it’s not fair that he will be defined by one thing: a 10-page paper,” said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim to ESPN. He was referring to Melo’s academic ineligibility during his final season at the school. “He worked his tail off to become a really good player and was a nice kid.”

Melo was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year during the two seasons he spent with Syracuse before he was drafted in the first round by the Celtics in 2012. He spent a year with the Celtics before he was traded to the Grizzlies. He then left the NBA in 2014 to play in Brazil.

Current and former Celtics and others around the sports world reacted on social media to Melo’s death.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Jose Fernandez,

Patriots are selling way more Super Bowl merchandise this year than after last championship

02.10.17 at 3:15 pm ET
By   |   Comments

The Patriots' win in Super Bowl LI may be the most celebrated championship in Boston sports history. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots’ win in Super Bowl LI may be the most celebrated championship in Boston sports history. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

It’s difficult to win a Super Bowl in more dramatic fashion than the Patriots did two years ago against the Seahawks. Faced with a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady orchestrated two incredible touchdown drives that put the Patriots ahead. The game ended with Seattle on the one-yard line, where Malcolm Butler jumped a slant route to record the Super Bowl-clinching interception.

But the Patriots topped that this season, storming back from a 25-point deficit to upstage the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Brady went 21-of-27 in the fourth quarter and overtime to lead the Patriots to the biggest come-from-behind win in Super Bowl history. On top of that, he got to hold up the Lombardi trophy in front of Roger Goodell, finally getting his revenge for Deflategate.

Amidst all of this euphoria, Patriots merchandise is flying off the shelves. According to data from Fanatics, the Pats sold as much team gear in the first two hours after their victory in Super Bowl LI than they did in 24 hours following Super Bowl XLIX. The contrast has only intensified since:

  • The Patriots sold more merchandise in the first 12 hours after Super Bowl LI than they did in seven days after Super Bowl XLIX.
  • Patriots sales this week are ahead of where they were 30 days following Super Bowl XLIX.
  • The Patriots have out-sold their 2015 championship by more than 130 percent.

These numbers are a bit surprising, considering Super Bowl XLIX attracted more viewers in Boston than Super Bowl LI. The Patriots’ matchup with the Seahawks drew a 61.0 rating in the city, whereas their affair against the Falcons garnered a 54.3 rating. It’s also worth noting that Super Bowl XLIX was a slightly better game from start-to-finish –– despite New England’s historic comeback Sunday.

But with more than 1 million people taking to the streets for the Patriots’ parade this week, in spite of snow and freezing rain,  it’s apparent this might be the most celebrated championships in Boston sports history. Maybe Roger Goodell should get a cut of all those merchandise sales. His draconian penalties on Brady and the Patriots only heightened the appetite for ring No. 5.

Read More: New England Patriots, Super Bowl LI,

ESPN writers writing book about Roger Goodell, NFL

02.10.17 at 2:47 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Awful AnnouncingThough a date hasn’t been announced, ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham have collaborated on Powerball, an investigative look at Roger Goodell, NFL owners, and the league’s modern-day power structure.

That’s a very promising starting point, and the synopsis is very intriguing:

“From the commissioner’s office on down, the NFL serves the interests of those who really have the power. Beginning in 2006, when Roger Goodell was elected NFL Commissioner on a secret ballot by the NFL team owners, POWERBALL will trace how the league’s owners evolved from a mainly cohesive group of legacy owners’ families to a raucous, divisive membership that has splintered into cliques, and it will examine how what happens in the inner circles of the league affects the games watched by millions every season.

Both separately and together, Van Natta and Wickersham have written definitive pieces for ESPN The Magazine—about Roger Goodell, Jerry Jones, the Ray Rice domestic violence incident, the connection of Deflategate to Spygate, the relocation of the Rams to Los Angeles, and many of the league’s biggest stars, from Tom Brady to Peyton Manning.”

Fewer sports organizations have been more maligned in recent years than the NFL league office. Something goes wrong at seemingly every turn, and even incidents in which they’re on the right side of common sense (like the various New England scandals) turn into bumbling investigations.

And this is a multi-billion dollar enterprise! It’s astounding how much of a disconnect there is between the stern, competent face the league seems to want to present (respect the shield!) and the Keystone Cops routine into which things inevitably devolve.

Van Natta and Wickersham both contribute to ESPN: The Magazine and Outside the Lines. OTL regularly offers some of ESPN’s best journalism, and both men appear well-suited to this particular task.

Crown didn’t announce a release date yet, but smart money is later this year, perhaps around opening week for the league.

It should be an interesting read.

Before I even get to the part about these two particular ESPN writers authoring this book, look at this article itself.

“Something goes wrong at seemingly every turn, and even incidents in which they’re on the right side of common sense (like the various New England scandals) turn into bumbling investigations.”

THE RIGHT SIDE OF COMMON SENSE.

Stuff like this will never end. I know that. “It should be an interesting read.” No, it should not be. It should be a biased, infuriating read because these are the two guys who wrote that trash “Spygate to Deflategate: Inside what split the NFL and Patriots apart” piece for ESPN in Sept. 2015. It included lines like this: “Then the Patriots’ coach, Bill Belichick, the cheating program’s mastermind, spoke.”

If this book is anything like that, expect it to make the Patriots look bad and Goodell look less like the devil.