|Top Stories of 2012, No. 1: Patriots lose Super Bowl XLVI to Giants||12.31.12 at 1:50 pm ET|
Over the final week of 2012, WEEI.com has been counting down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. This entry in the countdown is No. 1: the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss to the Giants.
Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NHL lockout
No. 9: Wes Welker’s up-and-down year
No. 8: Bruins’ early playoff elimination
No. 7: Ray Allen’s departure from Celtics
No. 6: Tim Thomas’ political controversy and sabbatical
No. 5: Celtics’ Eastern Conference finals loss to Heat
No. 4: Red Sox’ megatrade with Dodgers
No. 3: Tom Brady’s MVP-caliber season
No. 2: Bobby Valentine’s nightmare season as Red Sox manager
It wasn’t a perfect season that was ruined, but the second time that the Giants ended the Patriots’ hopes for a fourth Super Bowl title was equally as heartbreaking.
For the Patriots, hopes were high at the beginning of the postseason. That’s because New England won the AFC East with a 13-3 record. For the Pats, especially after the previous year’s loss in the divisional playoffs to the Jets, it was Super Bowl or bust.
The Giants dealt the Patriots one of their three losses on the season in Week 9. In a game that featured no scoring in the first half, the Giants came out strong after the half and put 10 points on the board in the third quarter while the Patriots were held to just a field goal. Despite two touchdown drives and a field goal in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady and the Patriots couldn’t overcome Eli Manning and the Giants offense, who put up another 14 points for a 24-20 victory. It was the Patriots’ last loss of the regular season.
The Pats trounced the Broncos in the divisional playoffs on a frosty night in Foxboro. Brady threw for 363 yards and six touchdowns, three of which were to Rob Gronkowski.
The Patriots went on to a close win in the AFC championship game against the Ravens. After Brady’s fourth-quarter rushing touchdown put the Pats up 23-20, the defense was able to hold off the Ravens for two drives. The Pats forced the Ravens to place their trust in kicker Billy Cundiff. Luckily for the Pats, Cundiff shanked a 32-yard field goal attempt with 15 seconds on the game clock, ensuring another Patriots Super Bowl appearance.
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Joba Chamberlain reaches out to new Yankees teammate Kevin Youkilis||12.13.12 at 7:58 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NFL: Bengals at Eagles, 8:20 p.m. (NFL Network; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Lakers at Knicks, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Spurs at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ There was speculation that former Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis would be hesitant to join the Yankees considering the feud he had with Joba Chamberlain. The Yankees hurler was suspended two games in his rookie season of 2007 for firing a fastball over Youkilis’ head, and in 2008 Youkilis started to charge the mound but was stopped after another near-beaning. Chamberlain hit Youkilis with a pitch last season after the infielder had moved on to the White Sox.
After Youkilis accepted New York’s one-year, $12 million offer on Monday, Chamberlain did his part to show there were no hard feelings, leaving a voice message for his new teammate Wednesday morning. It’s not clear if the two have since connected.
Chamberlain’s agent, Jim Murray, offered an assurance that Chamberlain will let bygones be bygones.
“Joba has zero ill will toward him,” Murray insisted.
In other news from the Bronx, legendary reliever Mariano Rivera said he plans to be ready for Opening Day after missing most of last season with a knee injury that required surgery in May. Speaking at the team’s annual food drive at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, Rivera indicated he’s on schedule to be ready for the April 1 opener in New York against the Red Sox.
“I don’t see why not,” said the 43-year-old, who signed a one-year, $10 million deal (a $5 million pay cut). “We have three to four months to that point. I will be ready.”
♦ Giants running back David Wilson says he has been doing backflips since he was 3 years old, but there are members of his team that would prefer he end the tradition. The first-round pick from Virginia Tech has taken to doing the flips after touchdowns.
“I like the backflip, man, but it scares me every time he does it because you never know what can happen,” receiver Victor Cruz said. “You don’t want to see him get hurt.”
Added defensive end Justin Tuck: “I told him several times never to do that again. We’re going to have another talk about not doing it. Everyone knows how athletic he is, but the last thing we need is him having some tweak injury by showing off to the crowd. Let’s just keep him upright and running and leave the backflips for YouTube. They’re already on YouTube. If people want to see them, they can go to YouTube and see them.”
Quarterback Eli Manning took a more positive approach to the flips.
“That means he’s scoring touchdowns,” Manning said. “So, that’s fine by me.”
♦ Winthrop’s Mike Eruzione, captain of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, is selling the jersey he wore during the historic victory over Russia at Lake Placid. Heritage Auctions, which is conducting the sale Feb. 23, estimates that the white No. 21 jersey will fetch more than $1 million.
Eruzione also is selling his stick, which he used to score the winning goal against Russian backup goalie Vladimir Myshkin, and his blue jersey from the gold medal game, a victory over Finland.
Eruzione, 58, works in development and alumni relations at his alma mater, Boston University, and is a motivational speaker.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 13, 1991, during the Celtics’ 117-97 victory over the visiting SuperSonics, center Robert Parish became the fifth player in NBA history to appear in 1,200 games, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elvin Hayes and which two former Celtics?
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
STAT OF THE DAY: 52:30 – Time on the floor Wednesday night for Rajon Rondo, a career high, in a 117-115 double-overtime victory over the Mavericks
‘NET RESULTS: There were two-buzzer-beaters in the NBA on Wednesday night that toppled elite teams. First, Warriors forward Draymond Green gets free for a layup with less than a second left to knock off the Heat.
Second, Jazz guard Mo Williams beats the Spurs with a tiebreaking 3-pointer.
Referee Courtney Kirkland attempts to block Nets forward Kris Humphries‘ free throw (the whistle had blown for substitutions to enter).
Lakers star Kobe Bryant and soccer great Lionel Messi appear together in an ad for Turkish Airlines.
Zach Hodskins is a talented junior guard at Georgia’s Milton High School, and he only has one arm. He reportedly hit seven 3-pointers in one game this season and has been getting attention from college scouts.
TRIVIA ANSWER: John Havlicek and Paul Silas
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Morris Day was born on this day in 1957.
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Jets teammates criticize Tim Tebow||11.14.12 at 7:57 am ET|
WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Jazz at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Grizzlies at Thunder, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Heat at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Wisconsin at Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: St. Bonaventure at Cornell, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College football: Ohio at Ball State, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Toledo at Northern Illinois, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
AROUND THE WEB:
Sanchez’ backup, Tim Tebow, continues to see limited action, and that’s just fine with some anonymous Jets players, who criticized Tebow to the New York Daily News.
“He’s terrible,” a defensive starter said.
“We don’t look at him as a quarterback,” another starter said. “He’s the wildcat guy.”
Added a member of the team when asked who wants Tebow to be the starter: “Nobody.”
Steelers legend Terry Bradshaw agrees, as he called the Jets’ acquisition of the former Bronco a “huge mistake.”
“I don’t know him, but he just can’t play,” the Fox analyst said Tuesday on New York sports radio station WFAN, adding, “He is not a difference-maker by any stretch of the imagination.”
Bradshaw went on to say that the Jets should give Tebow some time because that would prove his point and quiet the fans.
“They created this monster and they’ve got to shut it up,” he said. “Now your season is shot, so what are you going to do? You know what? Put him in. I don’t think Mark would mind. Just put him in, let it go.”
Meanwhile, Eli Manning appeared to cross into “elite” territory last season with his second Super Bowl MVP performance, and he started this campaign strong. But in the Giants’ last four games, Manning has two touchdown passes vs. six interceptions, and he has no TD passes in his last three games.
“No, he is not one of the elites. Because when I hear the word ‘elite,’ I’m thinking about guys that can make unbelievable plays on the field by themselves,” CBS broadcaster (and former Giants QB) Phil Simms said on CBS Sports Network’s “NFL Monday Quarterback.”
“There are very few quarterbacks in that category. Yes, Eli has been a tremendous team player. He has been MVP of the Super Bowl twice. I know that. But the way I look at it, the answer is no.”
♦ Former Seahawks tight end Jeramy Stevens was released from jail Tuesday, a day after his arrest on charges that he assaulted U.S. women’s soccer goalie Hope Solo a day before they were planning to get married.
According to court documents, the 33-year-old Stevens and the 31-year-old Solo had been arguing over whether to live in Washington or Florida after their marriage.
Stevens was a first-round pick of the Seahawks in 2002, but his NFL career didn’t live up to expectations. He was arrested three times as a pro, most recently for possession of marijuana the night before a game in 2010 when he was playing for the Buccaneers, who subsequently released him.
♦ Grizzlies assistant general manager Kenny Williamson died early Tuesday morning of cancer, the team announced. Williamson, 65, a longtime college assistant coach, was in his sixth season with the Grizzlies.
“Anybody who has met him will never forget him,” general manager Chris Wallace said. “He was a big personality and extremely well respected, and about as well known as you can get in basketball circles — not only in this country but internationally.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 14, 1967, which Red Sox representative was named Major League Executive of the Year for helping put together the Impossible Dream team that reached the World Series?
|Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Jonathan Papelbon wants umpire demoted to Triple-A||06.05.12 at 7:53 am ET|
TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA playoffs: Celtics at Heat, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI)
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WRKO)
MLB: Rays at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Brewers, 8 p.m. (WGN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon took the loss Monday night after surrendering a single to Elian Herrera that scored the winning run for the Dodgers in the top of the ninth inning. Papelbon thought he struck out Herrera the pitch before, and he shared his thoughts about home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn after the 4-3 loss.
“I thought he was terrible all day,” Papelbon said.
Papelbon talked to Reyburn after the inning.
“I wanted to know If he could throw me out for what I was thinking,” the former Red Sox closer said. “And if he could, then I thought he sucked. It’s that simple.”
After suggesting that Reyburn should be demoted to Triple-A, Papelbon insisted: “That’s not a knock on him. That’s not a knock on the umpires. You’re up in the big leagues for a reason — to do a good job. When you don’t do a good job, you should be demoted or fired. … There’s no room for that up here.”
♦ Giants quarterback Eli Manning said he won’t be distracted by last season’s Super Bowl championship as the team begins working toward a new season.
“It really shouldn’t change things in your preparation,” Manning said. “The only difference is you have a night when you go get your Super Bowl ring and a day when you get to go to the White House and visit the president. Other than that, everything should be the same.”
♦ Former Mets general manager Jim Duquette and his daughter Lindsey had a combined nine hours of surgery Monday so that his right kidney could be transplanted into her abdomen to help her deal with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
“The kidney’s working great and Lindsey is good, recovering in the pediatric intensive care unit,” Pam Duquette, Jim’s wife and Lindsey’s mother, said Monday night. “She’s in and out, and in lots of pain, [but] they were very successful surgeries.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On June 5, 1989, the Red Sox had a productive draft, selecting which two players who would go on to win MVP awards — one in the American League and one in the National League?
|Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Giants QB Eli Manning to host ‘Saturday Night Live’ May 5||04.17.12 at 7:59 am ET|
TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Knicks, 8 p.m. (CSNNE, TNT; WRKO)
NBA: Spurs at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
MLB: Rangers at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI)
NHL playoffs: Panthers at Devils, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL playoffs: Predators at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Coyotes at Blackhawks, 9 p.m. (CNBC)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Giants quarterback Eli Manning will host “Saturday Night Live” on May 5 after turning down the offer a few times before. He follows in the footsteps of his brother, Peyton, who hosted the show five years ago.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Eli said Monday, as the Giants gathered for their first offseason workout program. “It’s something that’s been offered a few times and I’ve turned it down. But it seemed like the right time. I felt ready to do it and I’m excited about that opportunity.”
Eli said he has no stage experience, although he has appeared in a few commercials since arriving in New York.
“Not much Broadway or acting, so this will be a new experience for me,” he said. “I’m a little nervous about it, but excited also. It should be a lot of fun. It will take some work, but it should be something I’ll always remember.”
♦ The crystal trophy Alabama received for winning the BCS championship game shattered into pieces Saturday when a player’s father tripped and fell into the podium where it was displayed. The $30,000 trophy was on display in the athletic building. A school spokesman said the trophy will be replaced.
“In 2009 and again this season, Alabama did a great job showing the trophy off to fans even after we turned it over to them,” said Charley Green, manager of the coaches’ trophy. “Unfortunately it is fragile, and accidents can happen.”
♦ It being tax season, Real Clear Sports has a list of the top 10 players owners wish they could write off. The list includes Mavericks forward Lamar Odom, Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, Red Sox pitcher John Lackey and, at No. 1, White Sox slugger Adam Dunn.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On April 17, 1969, which Red Sox rookie followed up his two-home run effort the day before with another home run, giving him home runs for his first three major league hits, a team record?
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Tom Brady No. 3 on Bloomberg’s ‘Power 100′||01.26.12 at 7:55 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Magic, 8 p.m. (CSNNE, TNT; WEEI)
NBA: Grizzlies at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Boston College at Virginia, 9 p.m. (ESPNU; WRKO)
College basketball: NC State at North Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Indiana at Wisconsin, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: All-Star draft, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Bloomberg Businessweek released its annual list of the “Power 100″ athletes — comprising on- and off-field attributes — and Tom Brady ranks third. The Patriots quarterback is behind two other NFL quarterbacks: Drew Brees and runner-up Aaron Rodgers. Brady, whose key sponsors include Under Armour, Audi, Ugg and Stetson Cologne, was fifth last year.
Brady’s counterpart in the Super Bowl, Giants QB Eli Manning, is 15th. The next Boston athlete on the list is Celtics big man Kevin Garnett, at No. 54 (seven spot down from last year). Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski checks in at No. 77, and Wes Welker is No. 95.
♦ Forbes has its list of the most valuable NBA teams, and the Lakers have taken the No. 1 spot from the Knicks. A 20-year television deal with Time Warner Cable that averages $200 million a year helped boost the team’s value to $900 million. The Lakers are followed by the Knicks ($780 million), Bulls ($600 million) and Mavericks ($497 million).
At No. 6 is the Celtics, who also signed a new media deal last year. The C’s extended their agreement with CSNNE 20 years through 2038 and got a 20 percent equity stake in the network. That boosts the team’s value to $482 million, up 7 percent from last year.
♦ Lightning fans are campaigning to save the job of the woman who dressed as the team mascot, Thunderbug. Kelly Frank was fired after an incident with a Bruins fan during a game last week (video below). She sprayed Silly String on the B’s fan’s head. He got mad, pushed the mascot and had to be restrained.
The team said the incident wasn’t the only reason for the dismissal but refused to divulge any more information.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Frank also once performed as the Rays mascot, Raymond, but was fired at the end of the 2008 season.
♦ The NFL will suspend its policy against players tweeting within 90 minutes of games and will provide a computer station on the sideline for players to tweet from the Pro Bowl this weekend.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 26, 1997, the Patriots lost to the Packers in Super Bowl XXXI, 35-21. Who was the Patriots’ leading receiver, with six catches for 67 yards and one touchdown?
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Dolphins reportedly among teams with interest in Peyton Manning||01.23.12 at 7:44 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Magic at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE, NBA TV; WEEI)
NBA: Grizzlies at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Syracuse at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Texas A&M at Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Blues at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ There’s been widespread speculation that the Jets would make a run at Peyton Manning if the Colts decide to move on from the veteran quarterback. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that another AFC East team is one of three clubs expected to join the hunt. Schefter writes that the Dolphins, Redskins and Cardinals all have interest, and The Miami Herald confirms via team sources that the Dolphins will “aggressively pursue him” if the 35-year-old is cleared medically.
The Colts, who own the No. 1 pick in April’s draft, must decide by March 8 whether to pay a $28 million roster bonus to Manning, who missed the season after having neck surgery.
Manning was in San Francisco Sunday, watching his brother Eli lead the Giants past the 49ers for the NFC championship.
“I’m just proud as a quarterback to watch him compete,” said Peyton, who bought his own tickets to the game and didn’t tell his brother he’d be watching him in person. “And the way he’s played, I’m even more proud that Eli is my brother.”
♦ Controversial former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens, who last week signed a deal to play for the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, told GQ magazine he is running out of friends and money. “I don’t have no friends. I don’t want no friends. That’s how I feel,” he said. The 38-year-old said he’s been victimized by bad investments and struggles with child support for four children (with four mothers). When people ask him where he is, he tells them, “I’m in hell.”
♦ Prince Fielder remains unsigned, and a weekend rumor has the dysfunctional Dodgers as a possible landing spot.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 23, 1981, the Red Sox traded Fred Lynn and Steve Renko to the Angels for pitchers Frank Tanana and Jim Dorsey and which outfielder/designated hitter?
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Archie Manning mutes TV announcers critical of Eli||11.09.11 at 7:46 am ET|
WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY WEDNESDAY:
No games scheduled
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Archie Manning enjoyed watching his son Eli lead the Giants to a last-minute victory Sunday against the Patriots, but he had trouble listening to the commentary on Fox. The elder Manning said he doesn’t agree with Troy Aikman and Joe Buck‘s criticism. “I don’t always listen to Troy and Joe,” Archie told ESPN. “They’re kind of hard on Eli. Joe’s always been really tough on Eli, and it seems this year Troy is too. But that’s OK. Sometimes I just mute them.”
In a 2009 interview, Peyton Manning made a similar comment, chastising Buck for being critical of Eli during another comeback attempt.
♦ Tiger Woods‘ former caddy Steve Williams apologized for his off-color comment at a banquet over the weekend, when he made a racially insensitive remark while joking about the golfer. Woods told reporters that he and Williams met on Monday in Australia and cleared the air, and he’s convinced that “Stevie’s certainly not a racist. There’s no doubt about that.” In the Sporting News, columnist David Steele writes that Woods deserves credit for taking the high road and helping to quash a controversy that would not be good for his sport.
♦ In the San Jose Mercury News, Mark Purdy writes about the man he calls the most influential American sports figure of the last 50 years: former baseball commissioner and 1984 Los Angeles Olympic organizer Peter Ueberroth, who is being inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame Wednesday.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 9, 1972, in an 8-3 victory over the Red Wings at Boston Garden, which Bruin became the seventh player in NHL history to record 1,000 career points?
|LEEInks List: 10 worst Boston sports collapses||09.28.11 at 11:15 am ET|
Boston sports have become known through the early 21st century as a success story. The city has celebrated seven championships among the four major sports teams since 2001. But as Boston fans know, the city’s sports scene has its share of historic and painful collapses — and this year’s September swoon by the Red Sox ranks right up there. Here’s a look at 10 of the most noteworthy Boston sports heartbreakers of the past 40 years.
10. 2009-10 Celtics
Just two years removed from their 17th NBA championship, the Celtics returned for a 12th NBA finals confrontation with the Lakers. The Celtics carried a 3-2 series lead into Game 6 in Los Angeles, but they suffered a crushing blow when center Kendrick Perkins blew out his knee early in the game and had to miss the rest of the series. The Lakers won 89-67, forcing a Game 7 in Los Angeles.
The Lakers and Celtics traded leads through the first half, but it was the Celtics who led 40-34 after two quarters. Boston came out strong in the second half, going on a 9-3 run to extend its lead to 13 points. But the Celtics could not hold on and the Lakers crawled back to within four at the end of the third quarter. The Celtics offense struggled in the final frame while the Lakers caught fire, outscoring the C’s 30-22 for an 83-79 win and their 16th NBA championship.
9. 1974 Red Sox
Before there was the horrific September of 2011, there was the terrible September of 1974. The Red Sox entered September leading Baltimore in the American League East by three games but sank fast. Boston lost six games from Sept. 1-6, three of which came against Baltimore, to fall 1½ games back in the division. The Red Sox never recovered, going 12-13 through the rest of the season and falling to a third-place finish.
|Plaxico Burress criticizes Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning in interview||09.09.11 at 2:35 pm ET|
Jets wide receiver Plaxico Burress bashed Giants coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning in an interview with Men’s Journal that is set to be published in October. Burress said that both Coughlin and Manning did not support the wideout when he was sent to prison on a gun charge back in 2009.
Burress told the magazine that Coughlin is “not a real positive coach,” and he wished Coughlin had shown some concern when Burress accidentally shot himself in a New York nightclub back in November of 2008. Burress also said that Manning never visited or tried to contact Burresss while he was in jail. This disappointed Burress, who described himself as Manning’s “biggest supporter” during his time as a Giant.
Despite the harsh words, Burress and Coughlin have met since Burress was released from jail back in June and became a free agent — and after Burress did the interview — and the wide receiver has said that the meeting helped clear the air between them. Burress also said that he and Manning recently ran into each other at a movie theater and had a friendly conversation.
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