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Patriots, announcers, Ali/Frazier, Astros

Tuesday 10/6/20

The Patriots lost that game last night when Devin McCourty dropped the balloon that Mahomes threw him on the Chiefs' first drive. You can't blow those plays and win a game like that against a team like that without your starting quarterback. And while it may not have set the tone, it did establish the pattern for the Patriots. That was a very winnable game, if you got anything from your quarterback--or at least not negative play from him. Hoyer is bad. He was bad physically, he was bad mentally. You don't know how many timeouts there are? That's inexcusable in Pop Warner, but you've been in the NFL forever and you are calling for a timeout at the end of the first half that you don't have?

The refs jobbed them on the Mahomes fumble or interception--whatever it was--that got blown dead, but if you don't play sloppy, stupid football, you have an even chance, I'd say, of winning that game. McCourty is like Mayo--guys who are supposed to be these rocks, but Mayo made no big plays, and neither does McCourty. Honestly, how do you fail to catch that? It's like an outfielder dropping a fly ball. And then Edelman, the drop king. He cost them the game in Seattle with a drop. At this stage of his career, he's guaranteed one huge drop--at least--per game. It's a mental thing. I found it so telling that this guy was not elected as a team captain. I think his head is somewhere else--like in Tampa. How Romo defended his drop that turned into a pick-6 last night is beyond me.

I don't get the whole Tony Romo obsession. (Well, I do--the bar is so low, there is very little talent and so much samey-ness, that if someone manages just a tiny hop, people can be like, oh, wow, that's amazing, otherworldly, etc.) I just don't think he's this wunderkind of an analyst. He has a scratchy voice (which people associate with enthusiasm and "a breath of fresh air") and he sounds like he's having fun, and sometimes he predicts plays, which isn't that hard to do--speaks more to what meatheads most other analysts are. He was a bright quarterback when he played, but I don't find that he adds anything to my viewing experience. It's a different sport, but you listen to Eckersley on a Sox game, and he adds something. Speaking of the Sox, I saw that their NESN ratings were down 70% since 2018. That's hard to do. You really have to make a bad product and alienate people to do that. I think there is a political reaction, which pertains to the Globe. Same blowback you're seeing right now with the NBA. The ratings for the Finals are abysmal, and it's a compelling match-up and narrative.

When I had seen enough of the Patriots last night, I actually ended up watching a rebroadcast of Ali v. Frazier in the so-called Fight of the Century at Madison Square Garden in 1971. Talk about compelling. Frazier is my favorite boxer. Smart guy--he was very funny on The Dick Cavett Show--and a bad man. There are times I think he lets Ali hit him on purpose, to show what a bad man he is. I wonder: Has a book been written on their fights? The journey of these two rivals in relationship to each other? Such different men.

When these MLB playoffs began, my thought was that the Astros had the best chance to be the "what the hell are they doing here?" team at the end. They have a lot of talent--guys who had down years, who can make up for it now. And though they are cheaters, they can still use the whole backlash against them thing as motivation. I think they can reach the World Series. No one should be beating the Dodgers unless the Dodgers come apart.


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