It's Minnesota wild


It's Minnesota wild

By Michael Felger

Make no mistake: Boston is the best city in the world to do sports talk radio.

That being said, I think I would have some fun doing a show in Minnesota . . .

Hey, Felger,If you remember those several games Favre started and came out in the second quarter so well, name the games or shut up.I have a different memory of his injuries. Please enlighten me. NAME THE GAMES!!!!My memory is Lavar Arrington sacked him, he sprained his knee, he came out, a bye week followed. Another year, he broke his thumb, the next week was a bye week. He played the rest of the season with a broken thumb. The real reason he played in so many consecutive games is due to some luck. Whether he should have played or not is a different discussion. NAME THE GAMES!!!!I never lived in Milwaukee, so perhaps when I watch Packers I don't have the same perspective. NAME THE GAMES!!!! I did however, watch every game from 1996 to present. Unlike you, if given the choice of Packers or Patriots, I always watched the Packers on Sunday Ticket. NAME THE GAMES!!!!The more I watch, the more of a MLPOS you appear to be.Rich C.

The "POS" I get, but I'm not sure about "ML." Major league? I'll assume that's what it is. Anyway, you must not be much of a Patriots OR PACKERS fan, Rich, because a great example came in a game between the two teams in Green Bay in 2006. The date was Nov. 19, the day after deer hunting season opened in Wisconsin. I know that not because I hunt (I mean, really), but because DAN DEIDORF ANNOUNCED ON THE TELECAST THAT BRETT HAD TO CUT OUT OF THEIR INTERVIEW THE DAY BEFORE TO GO HUNTING! Now, I may not know much about hunting, but I know that it usually involves one of two things: Lathering yourself with deer urine and crouching in a tree for six hours; or sitting in the back of your buddy's pickup truck drinking beer. Either way, it's not exactly the ideal way to get ready for an NFL football game.

Anyway, Favre was brutal, could barely throw the ball. He wound up 5-for-15 and was taken out of the game in the first half with what they called an elbow injury. We all thought Aaron Rodgers was on the verge of taking over (it was his second season), but Brett was in the next week and played out the season, sucking (18 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, 72.7 rating) all the way to an 8-8 record.

I could probably come up with one or two more, but that's the one that sticks out.

Felger, You DB!Is Brett going to be OK? Wheew! What a relief! For a minute there I thought he was seriously injured, you know, the way they cradled him off the field and bundled him like a gridiron cherub onto the golf cart. Did they take him for X-rays after they stitched up his boo boo or did they just put him back in the manger? I know Baby Brett will feel better once the Magi deliver their gifts of Vicodin, frankincense and astroglide. Now we just have to make sure Thom Brennaman doesn't suffer any post-traumatic stress from the harrowing ordeal. "Our thoughts are with Brett Favre.'' Really Thom? He only got eight stitches. And it was his own damn fault for wearing one of those old non-padded chin straps. I am guessing Thom never did hockey play by play. How about I just thank the almighty that I am a Pats fan . . . Look at the Vikings! So far Snidely Whiplash has managed to embroil his team in a self-inflicted QB controversy with a brittle egomaniacal diva, trade for Randy Moss, dredge up Spygate, post a losing record with conference title-winning talent, release Moss, and then get some local caterer to bury Moss on his way out of town. And yet they are STILL just three games out in their Division. MikeAttleboro

Call me nuts, Mikey, but I think the Vikings are about to get better. Seriously.

Nostrafelger!Where were you when I was betting the ballgames? You're scary right so far. I hated all the Favre crap before the game, but he actually brought it. The other guy (Felger: I assume you're talking about Moss?) ABSOLUTELY quit on his team. I think he can't wrap himself up in the fact that it's not all about him. He was definitely put off when all the talk preceding the game was about Favre and not his return. Just look at the difference. Branch, obviously hobbled, played as hard as he could for as long as he could, and contributed a clutch catch, while the other guy, from all the replays that were shown, was half-assing routes and basically just taking up space. Just think what this team can be if Brady actually plays a good game. I'm shaking I'm so excited.SteveChester, NH

You know I'm the president of the Deion Branch fan club, but I have to admit: The hamstring thing concerns me. He's just not a durable player; never has been. Belichick made a remark when Branch first got here about how productive he is when he's healthy and "in condition'' . . . and that last part just concerned me. Was he implying that Deion doesn't always take care of himself? You've got to hope that's not the case.

Felger,I probably missed it, but I haven't heard anyone mention the reason I think Randy Moss is gone: I think the problem with Randy Moss, or any other superstar receiver, is that they are simply too tempting. Anybody who plays quarterback basically wants the chance to "go long,'' even Brady and others who should know better. When you have a Randy Moss or other similar player, it simply is too tempting to throw it up for him and see what happens. I don't think he demands the ball so much as the opportunity each route demands that the QB take notice. This took Brady away from his normal reads and thus the patriots are better off without himMC

You bet. Absolutely right, although I would have to admit some of the blame goes to Brady. It's up to him not to get sucked in, but he did. And it hurt him, as a disproportionate number of his interceptions were on passes intended for Moss.
It's been written several places, but it's summed up nicely here. It's no coincidence that since Moss has left Brady has thrown only one true interception (he has two total, but one was on a Hail Mary against Baltimore).

Hey, Felger,I just listened to Gary Tanguay go on a huge rant about how the Patriots went away from Randy Moss after the game against the Jets, and he attributed that to the Patriots evolving as a team, and their success.I just want to make sure he realizes Randy Moss caught TWO touchdown passes just one week after the Jets game. While he did have less targets, I wouldn't sit on TV and yell about the fact that the Patriots went away from someone after the Jets game, who then scored TWO touchdowns in the very next game.Thanks,

You know that normally I'd love to pile on Gar-Bear, Michael, but I agree with him on this one. The official divorce from Randy Moss came on the day the Pats traded him. But they were legally separated after the Jets game.

Felger,Am I the only one who felt that Moss could have had an EASY touchdown on the long pass interference call if he hadn't quit on the play? The announcers didn't even mention it. Seriously, that ball was about three feet to his right. Even AFTER slowing down tremendously, I felt he still had a shot.AndrewLeominster

Scott Zolak said he was down on the field near where that play took place and that Randy couldn't have gotten it. I don't know. Maybe the lights got in Zo's eyes, because I'm with you. Randy dogged it on that play.

Felger, you DB!!!Okay, so you were absolutely right about Moss. This team and offense is better when it matters without him. But I still hear no love for this ever-improving defense. Since letting Ryan Fitzpatrick throw all day on them, they've held the 'Fins, Ravens, Bolts and now the Vikings to 20 points or under. When is this defense going to start getting some respect? That stop on fourth-and-goal? Old school Patriot defense!!!JoshChicopee

No question. Their goal line defense has been pretty good all year. But beyond that, you're really starting to see some young players emerge -- Mayo, Spikes, McCourty and Cunningham chief among them. For all the hullabaloo over Moss and the state of the offense, this remains the biggest story so far this year.

The Moss stuff is just fun to talk about.

Hey, Felger,All the props to what the Patriots are doing now. But you still have to count 2009 as a year of mistakes, including the draft. Seymour is killing it for the Raiders this year. Yes, he would have been a free agent after last season so there's no guarantee he'd be on the Pats anyway. But he's one of the reasons why that Raiders' draft pick is going to be middle of the pack. Which means, despite five top-flight pass rushers in the NFL draft, the Patriots might not get a shot at any of them. By the way, remember the name Adam Clayborn, a defensive end from Iowa who plays for Belichick disciple Kirk Ferentz. Also, Clay Matthews Jr. is an MVP candidate. Just saying.George,Woburn

P.S. I want my weekly royalty on the cartel comment if youre going to use it on your shows.

Let me know what you have in mind for a price -- between Comcast and the Sports Hub I might be able to put something together. Maybe I'll copyright it for you when I go in to lock up, "fact, not opinion.''

Mike,The hate that flows through me comes from touting his legend before writing his legacy and celebrating his accomplishments before putting in the work. It comes from hanging a virtual "NBA Champions on Paper'' banner when he arrived with fireworks before putting in a practice. It comes from him laying down in one of the handful of games that actually count at the end of an NBA season and then telling his fans they are just "spoiled.'' And it comes from him feigning injury and passing it off as toughness. I hate him for being a phony while convincing so many others he the real deal.The great thing about chest-thumpers is watching them fall on their face, fail, and die trying in the most painful, interesting and entertaining way possible. I would love to find out that Gloria and D. West really did try to make a LeBronte West lovechild. I would love for it to come down to LeBron in a clutch moment and see him wilt -- but the history of Favre tells me I don't think I'm going to be satisfied. If he doesn't win, it's going to be Spoelstra, chemistry, lack of rebounding, toughness and a true big that are first to blame. Something else will be characterized as THE problem, at least on ESPN, long before LeBron ever will. LeBron could pull a Webber at the end of a championship Game Seven and it would still be someone else's fault.You say "he couldn't win,'' meaning people in Cleveland would have burned jerseys no matter where he went, and I agree. But LeBron has taken your mantra and applied it to everything else that has happened -- and that, my friend, is crap. He looks back at the playoffs, the BS elbow injury, the excuses, "The Decision,'' the rallies, the tweets, the commercial and says, "What'd you want me to do?'' He is such a deluded narcissist that he cannot understand, acknowledge or accept a mistake if it happened and it makes it hard to delight as someone goes down in flames when they don't even seem to know they are on fire. What do we want, LeBron? For you to be as tough as you pretend. For you to show instead of tell. For you to be anything approaching the bill of goods your kiss-ass cronies keep selling you as, or to watch you get crushed for being one of the two most misrepresented phony athletes of my lifetime.Peace,JakeBoston

Another gold-star effort, Jake. Truly first class.

Do you know who else I think gets a free pass from the media? Donovan McNabb. Now, unlike Favre and LeBron, McNabb actually seems like a good person. I like him. But so, obviously, do the members of the national media -- because you'd have thought Mike Shanahan had taken Joe Montana out of that game in Detroit. I'd just like to remind these commentators of something: McNabb sucks. And he's literally been puking on his shoes at the end of games for decades. I know someone who worked with the Syracuse football team as a student manager during McNabb's time, and he told me that McNabb routinely vomited on the field at the end of games. And he's done it repeatedly with the Eagles, most famously in the Super Bowl against the Patriots.

But have you heard one commentator mention this? I haven't been able to watch everything, of course, but I haven't heard a single mention of it. Maybe Shanahan just didn't want his center getting barfed on. Maybe he tired of watching McNabb fire the ball into the turf for another incompletion. I think Shanahan should have his head examined for trading for McNabb before the season. But I totally get the benching.

Felger,Wasn't "The Decision'' a lose-lose situation for LeBron?If he stays in Cleveland, people would criticize him, saying he only cares about being "the guy'' on his team, wants all of the limelight and credit, and would rather put on a great individual show instead of win championships. People would say that his ego was so big that he couldn't co-exist with another star because he didn't want his role or legacy to diminish.If he leaves and teams up with guys like Bosh and Wade, people criticize him for tarnishing his legacy. They call it a cop out or a bail out. They say it's like LeBron is admitting he's not good enough to win one on his own, so he needs other superstars to carry him to a title.Do these people forget that he put the Cavs on his back in that '07 run to the finals? Do they not remember him scoring like the last 25 points in a game vs. the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals? He can only do so much by himself. Without him, that team finishes seventh or eighth, or maybe doesn't even make the playoffs.I've never been a LeBron fan because I can't stand someone with such a big ego that they call themselves "The Chosen One'' and "The King,'' but I have to say I have more respect for him now than I did when he was on Cleveland. I thought he was a guy that just cared about being the center of attention and racking up reels of highlights. But his decision to go to Miami to team up with other stars and swallow a bit of his ego has impressed me. I respect a guy that can put his ego aside in order to be a part of a great team -- something we all criticized Kobe for not being able to do a few years ago.Quite honestly, I like the fact that LeBron cares more about winning championships than about racking up stats and accolades that, at the end of the day, mean relatively nothing in the grand scheme of things. I didn't think he had it in him.Jimmy P

Your thoughts about the way LeBron played against Orlando in the 2008-09 conference finals? How about his "effort'' against the Celtics in the conference semis last year? How about the left-handed free throw?

You are absolutely right about what LeBron did in Cleveland earlier in his career. No doubt about it. But I think the last two years have really tarnished his image. And I'm not even talking about "The Decision.'' I care less about that than most people. I just think he choked in '09 and bailed in '10. Those are the things that bother me the most.

Hey, Felger,To my eye, this is the best Bruins team we've had in about 20 years. They seem to have it all with skill players, speed, defense, goaltending and special teams. Is it possible that they are the best team in the NHL? If not, who is the best team in the league?KenWhitman

You're right, Ken. They win the October Cup. Should we have the parade down Boylston or on the river?

You see, the issue for this team the last few years hasn't really been talent. They've had Norris Trophy-winning defensemen and Vezina Trophy-winning goalies. They've been loaded at center. They've been young and deep. And in each of the last three years they've lost a deciding game seven in the playoffs. Two years ago, they were bounced as a No. 1 seed. Last year, they blew a 3-03-0 lead. It would seem to me that this team has more of a balls issue than a talent issue.

Felger,Please tell me how Chara makes all that money. In last Thursday's game against Toronto I saw him give up the puck three times on one shift and he can't clear the front of the net to save his life. They should trade him to clear cap room.PatWinthrop

Trade him? Who else could afford him? Who else has the room to take on that contract? It's a question we'll be asking for the next seven years. And make no mistake, I like Chara. He's just not worth what they're paying him. His existing contract makes him the highest-paid defenseman in the league. His next contract will make him the second-highest paid. He's just not that good.

Hey, Felger,It's okay to enjoy the Bruins' success this year. Oh, wait, I forgot; you're being a whiney biatch because your precious Rask isn't doing a damn thing -- except for sucking. Start cheering for Thomas, you DB.DaveManchester NH

Again, do they hand out Vezinas for November? Let's see what it all looks like in May.

But I'll play along for now. November is "Timmy Time!''

Felger, What was with Curran last Sunday? He's above having his opinions questioned? Tommy, who stole your good humor bar? Dead air is still dead air, no matter how righteous your position might be. Don't pout, fling it back. You're on the damn tee-vee, man.Spanky
Cumberland, RI

P.S. Troy Brown saved that whole segment. That man saves games, save seasons, and now saves Sports Sunday. Good pick-up, Felger.

Bingo! Tommy wasn't exactly buying what 'ol Felgy was selling that night. I felt like a caterer trying to feed Randy Moss.

Hey, Felger,Is there a more self-absorbed media athlete wanna-be than ESPN's Stuart Scott? The height of unintentional comedy is his MNF reports where he speaks while walking toward a (moving backwards) camera and then, in mid-stream, someone throws him a football that he immediately, over-dramatically "tucks'' under his shoulder like REAL receivers do?! Think about it, for that to happen, he has to:1) First come up with this absurd construct.2) Convince a producer that this "act'' is somehow contributing to the broadcast.3) Script out and rehearse the preposterous set up of some lackey tossing him the ball at the precise time he wants (of course, this undoubtedly takes 3-4 takes before he doesn't drop the ball).Can you possibly imagine what Gruden andor Jaws think when they see this clown performing?!Tim

All I know is that Gruden would call him, "this guy.''

Hey, Felger! My son was a good kid growing up and turned into a fine young man with a nice family. My problem: He thinks you are the greatest while I can't stand you. Where did I go wrong?BillWells, ME

When I receive attacks like this I take solace in an old saying that I apparently share with Heidi Whatney: "If reputation is what men and women think of us, character is what God and angels know of us.''

It's been a guiding philosophy of mine.

Turns out your son's an angel, Bill. Or God.

Felger's Patriots game column posts on Monday morning. Read the Report Card on Tuesday. E-mail him HERE and read the mailbag on Thursdays. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study


Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study

If your team makes a goal-line stop in the fourth quarter, but you can't see it on the All-22 tape, did it even happen? 

Bill Belichick said the fog that hovered above the Gillette Stadium turf on Sunday night didn't impact the play on the field, but it did make its imprint on the game in other ways. First of all, spotters and coaches up at the press level had some difficulty relaying information to coaches on the sidelines. Video on the hand-held tablets for sideline use -- as well as the old-school still-frame pictures Belichick prefers -- was also obstructed. 

Then on Monday, as coaches tried to digest the film, the fog butted in on the process again. 

"It affected us a lot this morning because it’s hard to see the game," Belichick said during a conference call. "The fourth quarter is – I don’t know – pretty close to a white-out on the sideline film. The sideline cameras are at the top of the stadium, so that’s a tough shot.

"The end zone cameras are a little bit lower and they get a little tighter shot, so the picture is a little bit clearer. But, on that shot, a lot of times you’re not able to see all the guys on the perimeter. It’s kind of an in-line shot.

"Yeah, the first half, start of the third quarter, it’s all right. As they get into the middle of the third quarter and on, for those of us with aging eyes, it’s a little strained to see it, and then there’s a point where you can’t really see it at all, especially from the sideline. So, yeah, it affected us."

Belichick re-iterated that the fog didn't do much to the product on the field (other than maybe making life difficult for kick and punt-returners), refuting Julio Jones' claim from late Sunday night. When it came to digesting the film, though, that was another story.

"It was more, I’d say, just tougher for, whether it be our video camera or the fans that were sitting in the upper deck. It’s just there was too much interference there," Belichick said. "It was probably hard to see the game. I know when we tried to look at the pictures in between series – you know, I don’t look at the tablets, so I won’t get into that – but the pictures, it was kind of the same thing. It was hard to really be able to make out exactly what you were seeing."

Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut


Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

WALTHAM -- It appears Marcus Morris’ debut for the Celtics will be when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 30.
The 6-foot-9 forward confirmed to reporters on Monday that, for now, that’s the target date.
Morris spent time after practice playing some one-one-one against rookie Jayson Tatum.
“I’m trying to push on it a little more,” he said. “Felt pretty good beating the rook’s ass one-on-one.”
The addition of Morris to the lineup can’t come soon enough for the Celtics (1-2).  They have already lost Gordon Hayward (ankle) for the season, and Marcus Smart (ankle) missed Friday’s win over Philadelphia. Smart said he would probably be in uniform for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks. 
Those injuries have forced the Celtics to dig deeper into their roster, resulting in several first-year players seeing action. 
Having a veteran like Morris on the floor would bode well for the Celts in their quest to remain among the better teams in the East this season. 
Morris, who went through the non-contact portion of practice on Monday, joined the Celtics on Oct. 5, shortly after he and his brother Markieff (who plays for Washington) were acquitted of assault charges involving an incident in Phoenix in January of 2015. He appeared in one preseason game, scoring seven points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field.

Coach Brad Stevens said Morris was having some knee discomfort when he showed up for training camp. That, combined with showing up late to training camp because of his court case in Phoenix, resulted in him not having the level of conditioning he’s used to at the start of training camp. 
“It’s not that I’m in bad shape,” he told NBC Sports Boston earlier. “It’s just that I’m not where I expect myself to be conditioning-wise, right now.”
Morris echoed similar sentiments on Monday. 
“I’m in great condition,” he said. “I just want to be a little better. My conditioning has never been the problem. It’s the soreness in my [left] knee. It’s gotten a lot better over the past 10 days, so I feel I can play now. But be cautious because it’s a long season.”
Morris was acquired in the summer by Boston from Detroit, in exchange for Avery Bradley. The move was done to not only ensure there was enough salary cap space to sign then-free agent Gordon Hayward, but also for the Celtics to add a versatile player who can play both forward positions.