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Thinking out loud: Were Patriots lucky to beat Ravens?

12.16.16 at 3:25 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud…while wondering whatever happened to Kirk Cameron.

— Were the Patriots “lucky” to beat the Baltimore Ravens? It depends on what you consider “luck.” If luck to you is turning the ball over twice in your own red zone, giving up two easy touchdowns, blowing a 20-point lead and still managing to win – then the Patriots are certainly a little bit lucky.

— But the Patriots also have Tom Brady pitching, and guys like Martellus Bennett and Chris Hogan catching – and compared to last year at this same time, it’s a major difference in depth and playmaking ability for this team.

— The unsung hero on the offense, for my money, is LeGarrette Blount. A career year in rushing yards, but for the life of me, why does this team insist upon throwing the ball from the 2-yard line – when they surely could get two yards on four tries at pounding the line with BFT (Blount Force Trauma), couldn’t they?

— That’s on the offensive line. While improved, no doubt, over a year ago – they’re not particularly strong up the middle. It’s why you see runs bounce to the outside so often. There’s not much room between the tackles, and when there is room, it doesn’t last long enough to get there.

— Overall however, the Patriots have a much better run game (7th in the NFL) than this time last year (27th) going into Denver. The above-mentioned depth and the running game (the Denver “D” Achilles heel this year) should be enough beat the Broncos – as long as you don’t turn the ball over in the red zone.

— The AFC East is all but over, and with a win at Denver the Patriots will claim the division for an 8th straight season, and the 14th time in the last 16 years. They can also clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs with two weeks still to play. Is that a good thing for this team, or not-so-good? Discuss amongst yourselves and get back to me on that one, will ya’?

— TB12 is not only the NFL MVP for this season, he’s also the NFL (and worldwide) poster boy for sucking it up, taking your (unnecessary) medicine/punishment and then unleashing fury thereafter. Yes, if there is a true football god, he will force Roger Goodell into presenting the Lombardi trophy AND the Super Bowl LI MVP award to Brady.

— And smile while doing it.

— Our pigskin pal Kerry Byrne from Cold Hard Football Facts has laid down some pretty impressive TB12 stuff recently. Like the fact that Seattle’s Russell Wilson – who is a pretty good QB, last week’s result aside – has 61 career wins in 4 ½ seasons. He would have to average 12 wins per season for the next 13 years (through 2028) to match Brady’s current career total of 201 victories. And Brady’s not even through yet.

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KFC in Japan introduces plastic ‘finger condoms’ to wear while eating

12.16.16 at 1:07 pm ET
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MashableGloves are sooo last century.

To keep your fingers clean while eating fried chicken, KFC in Japan has now started to hand out two-fingered transparent gloves that slip onto your thumb and forefinger, it announced.

The half-glove look is so that you can wear and take off the “finger naps” (short for finger napkins) easily.

It’s testing out the finger naps first at 222 outlets in Japan, before rolling them out to the other 1,000 restaurants in the country.

Not a terrible idea, both to keep your hands clean and also to keep your food clean from your hands, but I have a feeling this would take a while to really catch on in America.

KFC is one of the last places I would think of to come up with this idea. Their slogan is literally “It’s finger lickin’ good.” I would’ve expected Cheetos to offer these first.

Too slow, Cheetos.

‘Vanity Fair’ writer insults Home Goods in scathing Trump Grill review

12.16.16 at 10:43 am ET
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Us WeeklyNot so great. Vanity Fair writer Tina Nguyen went in on President-elect Donald Trump’s New York City restaurant Trump Grill in a scathing review published Wednesday, December 14.

According to Nguyen, the reality star turned politician’s eatery — located inside Manhattan’s Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue — leaves much to be desired. She and her companions decided to try some of the Trump family’s favorite items on the menu — and they were not impressed.

First, Nguyen and her pals ordered “Ivanka’s Salad,” a toss-up of vegetables named for the future POTUS’ eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump. Nguyen describes it in her review as “a chopped approximation of a Greek salad, smothered in melting goat cheese and dressing and missing the promised olives, that seemed unlikely to appetize a SoulCycle-obsessed, smoothie-guzzling heiress. … But the cuboid plant matter ended up being the perfect place to hide several uneaten Szechuan dumplings.” She didn’t like those either, describing them as “flaccid.”

Next, Nguyen bit into Donald Trump Jr.’s signature dish: filet mignon cooked medium-rare, with garlic mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. “The steak came out overcooked and mealy, with an ugly strain of pure fat running through it, crying out for A.1. sauce (it was missing the promised demi-glace too). The plate must have tilted during its journey from the kitchen to the table, as the steak slumped to the side over the potatoes like a dead body inside a T-boned minivan,” she quipped of the unappetizing meal.  

I get that Trump and Vanity Fair are feuding because the magazine’s editor-in-chief Graydon Carter offended him at some point and the food at Trump’s Grill probably sucks, but what do you expect?

This restaurant is clearly for people who want to eat at a place with Trump’s name on it or to just say they’ve been there. People will eat there whether the food is good or not. 

But the big problem I had with this review was this part: 

On another level, Trump Grill falls somewhat short of that lofty goal. The restaurant features a stingy number of French-ish paintings that look as though they were bought from Home Goods.

There is NOTHING wrong with Home Goods. It is a wonderland of classy stuff. 

Tina Nguyen has some nerve insulting one of the greatest stores in this country. You can trash Trump’s Grill as the worst restaurant in America, but don’t you dare take Home Goods down with it.

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Athletes react to Craig Sager’s death

12.16.16 at 8:19 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Friday 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.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Charlotte at Boston, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: LA Lakers at Philadelphia, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Dallas at Utah, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Los Angeles at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College football:
James Madison at North Dakota State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Mary Hardin-Baylor vs. Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

— NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager died on Thursday at 65 after a battle with leukemia. Athletes from the NBA and beyond reacted on social media after hearing the news.

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Craig Sager, Draymond Green, Johnny Manziel

A few of Craig Sager’s best moments

12.15.16 at 4:38 pm ET
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Legendary sideline reporter Craig Sager has died after a brave fight with leukemia. He was an absolute style icon and will be missed.

Here are some of his great moments, fashion and otherwise:

Kevin Garnett trashes Sager’s suit, tells him to burn it, Sager takes it like a pro:

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Ryan Lochte announces he and fiancée are expecting a baby

12.15.16 at 1:39 pm ET
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Huffington PostCould a water birth be in their plans?

Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte announced that he and fiancée Kayla Rae Reid are expecting their first child ― from a swimming pool.

A photo posted to Lochte’s Instagram account Wednesday shows him kissing Reid’s belly underwater.

“My Christmas gift came early this year, can’t wait for next year! Best news I’ve ever received,” the caption reads. Reid, who modeled for Playboy, posted her own version.    

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Tim Tebow might bring ‘Tebowing’ to baseball

12.15.16 at 1:39 pm ET
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TMZ SportsTim Tebow says he could be bringing back his signature move for his baseball career … telling TMZ Sports … “Tebowing” could be making a Lazarus-like return.

“Tebowing” was a social media craze a couple years ago … while Timmy was still an NFL player … with the whole world kneeling down to mimic Tebow’s celebration.

Tim’s taking on a different professional sport now … so when we saw him at LAX Wednesday we had to ask … is the epic move making a comeback?

He answered … and he’s saying there’s a chance!!

Even if Tebow ever has a real baseball career, he will never be as good as the original baseball Tebow-er: Nomar Garciaparra.

 

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Von Miller lists 3 Patriots as toughest he’s ever faced; NBA, NBAPA reach new CBA

12.15.16 at 8:12 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Thursday 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.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS: 
NHL: Anaheim at Boston, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Chicago at Milwaukee, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: New York at Golden State, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NFL: Los Angeles at Seattle, 8:25 p.m. (NBC; NFL Network)
College basketball: Appalachian State at NC State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Women’s college basketball: Texas-Rio Grande Valley at Texas, 8 p.m. (Longhorn Network)

AROUND THE WEB: 

Von Miller

Von Miller

— In his piece in The Players’ Tribune published on Wednesday, Broncos linebacker Von Miller lists “The Five Toughest Guys I’ve Ever Faced,” and three of them are Patriots.

Miller lists Tom Brady as the toughest quarterback, Rob Gronkowski as the toughest tight end and Bill Belichick as the toughest head coach.

“What makes him the best isn’t just his accuracy throwing the ball. His presnap vision is the best I’ve ever seen, bar none,” Miller wrote of Brady, adding: “The biggest challenge in playing the Patriots is simply getting off the field. You’re never worried about Brady hitting you for 70 yards, but he’ll chip away at you and keep drives alive, which wears you down. … Getting a consistent first step on a 15-play drive is pretty much impossible.”

Of Gronkowski, Miller wrote, “This term is almost overused in the media now, but Gronk really is a true game-changer. He’s almost like LeBron James in that his body type and skill set has never been seen before at his position. The NFL has never seen anything like his combination of size, speed and hands.”

As for toughest head coach, Miller said he likes Jack Del Rio, too, but “with Belichick, his genius comes from the fact that he always gameplans based on the personnel he has. He’s had Hall of Famers like Randy Moss, and he’s also had guys who you never heard of before, and no matter what, the Patriots are always contenders. Some of the packages we see from the Patriots, I’ve never seen before on a football field.”

Chris Ivory as toughest running back and Trent Williams as toughest offensive tackle round out the list.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, George Springer, rob gronkowski, Tom Brady

Winners crowned in South American Pole Dancing competition, World Pole Sports Championship up next

12.14.16 at 1:54 pm ET
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San Diego Union Tribune— Pole dancing is not just an activity that takes place only at strip clubs like the Bada Bing of Sopranos fame, it’s an international sport and over the weekend hundreds of athletes turned out to strut, or rather, twirl their stuff.

Some 250 (clothed) contestants from 11 countries, gathered in Buenos Aires Sunday for the South American Pole Dancing competition where their strength and gymnastic abilities were on display in front of an appreciative audience, according to Reuters.

Maria Eugenia Massei from Argentina, who was dressed in a two-piece camouflage outfit, won the women’s competition and Jose Garcia Lozada of Venuzuela took home the prize for the top male performance.

The two will go onto compete in next years’ World Pole Sports Championships which will take place in July in the Netherlands.

That’s after competitions involving countries from all over the world including Columbia, Israel, Sweden, Chile, Ukraine, Brazil, Greece, Spain, Japan, Poland and more, according to the website of the International Pole Sports Federation.

Members of the U.S. Pole Dancing Federation (yes, that exists) are even pushing for pole dancing to become an Olympic sport, which I think would do excellent things for Olympics ratings.

I’ve taken a pole dancing class and it’s hard work. Hard enough to be an Olympic sport. I’m guessing the arguments against it would be it is seen as scandalous and risqué but they wear more clothes than swimmers and it’s basically just ballet in the air.

So, if you didn’t know this existed before, here you go and you’re welcome.

Packers give Donald Trump his own custom jersey, Mike Pence gets Aaron Rodgers jersey

12.14.16 at 12:43 pm ET
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TMZ SportsThe 7-6 Green Bay Packers might have help comin’ their way … a 6’3″ player named …Donald Trump.

Trump was holding a rally in Wisconsin on Tuesday when the state’s political bigwigs, Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker, gifted the Prez-elect a “TRUMP” Green Bay Packers jersey.

It’s almost like the Packers didn’t know Mike Pence was coming with Trump and they had to scramble to find something to give him too once he showed up. We’ve all been there.

They made Trump a nice customized jersey with the 45 and everything (since he’ll be the 45th president) and put thought into it and Pence just gets a plain old Rodgers jersey from the team store.

Sad!