As the Patriots embark on what could result in their fourth Super Bowl in five years, it's only natural that the CHB would dredge up a few fossils (Bill Russell, Red Auerbach, Scott Zolak!) in his coverage. It's an old trick: hide your ignorance of the present by talking about the past. He even manages to drag Derek Jeter into the fray. Wrong season, Sybil.
Then there's this absurd line: "The NFL annually manufactures more non-news than our other three major sports combined." That, from the same person who drones on endlessly about the sale of baseball memorabilia.
He follows that up with: "... but still it's been a challenge for fans, scribes, and talk-meisters to generate legitimate story lines regarding tonight's game." Well, try telling that to the folks at Football Prospectus. They didn't seem to have any problems. A little knowledge ain't a bad thing, Dan.
Indeed, would it be too much for a columnist who has covered sports for like, five centuries, to trot out a piece of data once in awhile instead of falling back on that old saw about how the weather dictates the victor? ("There'll be some legitimate doubt next weekend. The Patriots will not be playing at home. It will not be cold if the game is played in Indianapolis.") Are Jon Gruden's mind games that mesmerizing? ("Here's what I remember when I first got here, we had never won a game in our history below 42 degrees. We broke that hex beating the Bears in Week 16 in '02, and then we beat the Eagles below 32 degrees [in the 2002 NFC Championship Game]. But, what can I say? Our players aren't really acclimated to the cold weather.")
For the love of Belichick, man, Go out and do some research! Here, I'll do it for you: "Home field advantage increases by roughly 15 percent when a southern team plays in a northern outdoor stadium after November 1, and the effect is even stronger when the game is played at night."
Out-of-season insult watch: "It's a new arrogance in our midst, almost laughable given the history of haunting and hyperbolic gag jobs by the local baseball team." More ancient history, Dan.
Bird watch (his first of 2006!): "Those Celtics (the 11 of 13 Celtics, not the Bird Gang) and these Patriots. Teams of infallibility."
But all in all, I guess we should feel lucky: At least he didn't compare Brady to Bird. For the CHB, that's restraint.