Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Missed Opportunity

Here's another meal with a member of the Patriots organization that Shank didn't get invited to:

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Shank, showing no interest whatsoever at writing about the Celtics or the Bruins (other than the occasional tweet about shitcanning Claude Julien), decides to bring up Deflategate in an offhand way in order to point out another NFL 'controversy' that received decidedly unequal treatment.
HOUSTON — One of this year’s Super Bowl participants got caught cheating a couple of years ago. They were investigated by the NFL, found guilty, and punished with a whopping fine and loss of a 2016 draft pick. A team leader was ordered to serve a suspension.

Say hello to your cheatin’ Atlanta Falcons. Say hello to Noisegate — the scandal that went away quickly and quietly.

During the 2013 and 2014 NFL seasons, a Falcons marketing executive artificially pumped up crowd noise at the Georgia Dome when Falcons opponents were calling signals. The NFL got wind of it, investigated, and acted quickly. Atlanta was fined $350,000, lost a fifth-round draft pick, and team president Rich McKay was suspended from the league’s competition committee for three months.
Nothing like dredging up a past Patriots controversy in order to take yet another shot at the Patriots organization. You know, Shank could be held in better regard with local sports teams if he wasn't such a negative asshole who insisted on bringing up the past time and time again. Shank can forget about being invited to a team breakfast, just as it was during the Patriots 2nd Super Bowl appearance - take it away, Andrew!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Trolling Effort Noticed

This was from a few days ago:
The New England Patriots must overcome the Atlanta Falcons in order to capture the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl title since 2001. Boston Globe scribe Dan Shaughnessy is unhappy with this situation because, to paraphrase, Atlanta is not a worthy adversary but instead a pitiful sports city unable to conjure up the slightest bit of hate in New England.
Now, let’s give Shaughnessy some credit where it’s due. All of the potential matchups would have been more interesting to the casual observer. Dallas, New York and Green Bay are NFL bluebloods. Seattle is flirting with a dynasty. But, let’s also admit what’s painfully obvious.
Check out the rest of the column, for it is good.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Troll Wars - Shank Wins Round 2

Our Man Shank continues to make friends and influence people:
Boston and Atlanta may not share much of a rivalry, but one could be brewing after a Georgia gas station banned the sale of Sam Adams until the Super Bowl.

The Brown Bridge Exxon gas station in Gainesville says it will keep Boston Beer Co.’s flagship beer off its shelves until after the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons meet on Feb. 5.

Earlier this week, the station’s manager, Hadji Chhadua, put a sign announcing the ban on a gas station cooler, blocking the shelf space that usually features Sam Adams Boston Lager. The image circulated widely on social media Thursday morning.

The move, he said, was a response to a column by the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy, which bemoaned that the Patriots would play the lower-profile Falcons in the Super Bowl, rather than the better-followed Dallas Cowboys or a historic rival like the New York Giants. “When it comes to Atlanta and its sports fans, we feel nothing. Maybe a little pity,” Shaughnessy wrote.

UPDATE, 5:26 PM - Typo in the headline has been corrected.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Troll Wars - Shank Wins Round 1

John Fricke at CBS Atlanta responds to Shank's trolling efforts; the two morning jerkoffs at The Sports Hub call it "the hammiest response to team-ribbing I've ever read." Show some balls and say it sucks and it's weak.

SIDE NOTE - There a lot of script-heavy, slow as molasses websites out there, and CBS sites are among the worst, as they share the same slow platform across all of their local outlets (Pittsburgh, Boston, Atlanta), even on a machine like I'm running (AMD FX-8350 8 core processor running at 4 GHz, 32 GB DDR3 1200 memory, SATA III solid state drive) and I still can't copy and paste any text after waiting 10 minutes and a few page refreshes to show you the lameness involved in John's 'response'. So, we have a shit response to a shit writer on a shit Web platform. Guess I'm done for now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Two Newspapers In One

The Boston Bruins haven't been playing well recently. Bruins beat reporter Fluto Shinzawa doesn't think coach Claude Julien should get shitcanned:
This is no time for Bruins to fire Claude Julien
In times of crisis — an accurate description for the current segment — it would be easy for Neely and Sweeney to execute change by sacking Claude Julien. Coaching changes can sometimes initiate short-term spikes.

The harder thing would be for the bosses to do nothing. Which is precisely what they should do.

The Bruins are who they are. As projected before the season, they are a team engaged in a dogfight to qualify for the playoffs. That they remain in the hunt is partly because of Julien’s guidance.
Then there's this guy:
If Shank watched more than a single period of Bruins hockey this year, I'd be shocked.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Shank's General Sherman Imitation - II

Despite the Patriots bring a mere three point favorite for Super Bowl 51, Shank lays out a classic passive-aggressive column designed to piss off a major metropolitan area of the United States, pretending it's not going to be a competitive game.
We do not hate Atlanta nor its sports fans. We can’t even summon the old “Casablanca” line when Rick Blaine tells a petty thief, “If I gave you any thought I probably would [despise you].”
Now that the formalities have been skipped...
No. It’s not that. When it comes to Atlanta and its sports fans, we feel nothing. Maybe a little pity.

The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl in Houston Feb. 5, and they are going to play the Atlanta Falcons, and that takes a little fun out of the experience. It’s thrilling to see the Patriots get a chance to carry out their frontier justice on Roger Goodell. It will be sweet if Bill Belichick becomes the first coach to win five Super Bowls and Tom Brady ends the debate once and for all by surpassing Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana with five Super Bowl rings.

But Atlanta? Seriously? This will be like the Larry Bird Celtics winning two of their championships by beating the Houston Rockets instead of the Lakers. It’ll be like the Bruins beating the expansion St. Louis Blues to win the Stanley Cup. It’ll be like the Red Sox beating the Colorado Rockies to win the World Series.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, from Boston College, is on fire this year and at this point he's playing as well as Tom Brady, if not better. Atlanta's running backs are lethal and their defense doesn't look too bad either. Shank is a moron for dismissing this team.

Oh - and to all you Falcons fans who might be reading this column? This is Shank's M.O., so please don't fall for it.

Shank's General Sherman Imitation - I

Oh, boy - Shank's trolling real early this time around:

Atlanta readers are all over Shank, and they are brutal:

Sorry, Mark Whalberg!

I'll leave it right there because there are too many, although further down you might like the Napoleon Dynamite reference or two. I know I did!

The Revenge Tour Continues

If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell won't come to a Patriots game, the Patriots will come to see him.
FOXBOROUGH — History. And revenge.

The Patriots trumped the Pittsburgh Steelers, 36-17, in the AFC Championship game Sunday night to advance to Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons in Houston Feb. 5. New England becomes the first NFL franchise to make it to nine Super Bowls, and Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have a chance to become the first coach and quarterback to win five.

But this New England matchup with Matt Ryan and the Falcons is much more than a shot at ring records and grid immortality.

Above all else, it will be a showdown with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Emerging Pattern Confirmed

A few weeks ago I spotted a pattern with Shank's Patriots themed columns:
By now the pattern should be clear to everyone - when Shank writes about the Patriots, he will avoid expressing an opinion about the quality of their opponent if they're a top team at the time of the game. Otherwise, the Patriots opponents are 'tomato cans', 'frauds' and so on.
This explains the lack of a column by Shank yesterday or today about tonight's AFC Championship game. In one sense, that's good - we won't be subjected to trite comparisons of Boston and Pittsburgh, simplistic 'anslysis' of the Brady / Roethlisberger matchup, and so on.

There will be a tweet about the coin flip around 6:40 this evening, so I'm really looking forward to that...

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Only 12th?

I was cruising around this afternoon and stumbled across this story by Matt Keller that ranks the villains in the Deflategate saga, which I find to be dead on:
Boston sports fans are insane. I should know: I have been one my entire life (it’s like being Jewish – we can criticize ourselves). Deflategate turned into a massive rallying point for the entire region, and if you aren’t from New England, you may have a hard time comprehending just how big of a controversy it was. After sides were taken, anyone who came at Brady or the Patriots was turned into an enemy by a rabid fanbase (some of whom happened to work in the media). Twitter battles ensued. And the pro-Patriots media and bloggers, led by people like Jerry Thornton of Barstool Sports (then of WEEI), didn’t hesitate to take each perceived enemy to task for their sins. With Jerry’s input, I compiled a list of the biggest Deflategate villains.
Out of fifteen media villains, Our Man Shank only bags 12th place?
No 12: Dan Shaughnessy (Boston Globe)

Nicknamed Shank in Boston for the way he sticks the knife into his targets’ backs in print (close enough! - ed.) , Shaughnessy has always delighted in ribbing Boston fans with purposely contrarian viewpoints. Deflategate was manna from heaven for the curly-haired columnist.
That's it - I count thirty-six posts on this site that contain the word 'Deflategate', most of those being columns or tweets by Shank.

Special mention goes to the 2nd biggest asshole in the whole saga besides Roger Goodell (#2 under the NFL category):
No 2: Ted Wells

He authored the Wells Report, which was either an incomplete report that may have relied on some faulty assumptions and didn’t offer much in the way of proof (according to most unbiased observers) or an unscrupulous hit job by an NFL stooge that contained too many errors to count and was never meant to be objective (anyone living in New England, especially media members and Patriots employees).
So even if you split the difference here, the most charitable description you can assign to the Wells Report is that of a hatchet job, which Shank once called 'embarrassing' but given that he was burying the Patriots the entire time, it's safe to say he meant 'embarrassing - for the Patriots'. Just to remind people - once again, logic and Shank took different roads.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Revisionist History - II

Shank wrote about Theo Epstein two days ago, a column that curiously didn't show up on the main page (or Shank's page) until today. I'll speculate on the reasons in a moment.
It’s good to be Theo Epstein.

A modern-day Mozart of baseball ops, the onetime baby general manager of the Red Sox (he was 28 when he took over), is all of 43 now, and he’s just about the hottest thing in sports.

Theo is the architect of the two greatest curse-busting teams in American sports history. He was running the Red Sox when they threw off the 86-year-old jinx in 2004, and less than three months ago he tasted champagne again when the Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years. He is a lock for Cooperstown sometime later in this century.

When Theo went to the White House Monday — where his Cubs were feted by outgoing president Barack Obama — the leader of the free world suggested Theo might be a good fit to run the Democratic National Committee.
Screw that - I think they're doing just fine!

Anyway - I think this column was half-buried by the Globe because this is the second attempt by Shank to rewrite the history books in the span of a year. It's funny how former members of Boston professional sports teams seem to be rehabilitated once they've left town for a few years and had some measure of success, isn't it? I mentioned a few of Shank's previous columns trashing Theo when he was GM of the Red Sox back in May, and my co-blogger Mike, naturally, has a few more Theo trashing items and Shank's many, many bad calls on trades and player personnel.

The message here - don't believe shit like this from Dan Shaughnessy. He's doing this fore one reason only - to co-write a book with Theo Epstein.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Piling On

Looks like we're not the only ones who noticed Shank's bashing of the NFL commissioner:
Patriots 20, Steelers (+5.5) 17. I can’t decide who I hate more between Roger Goodell and the Pats fans who get to indulge their inner Tough Guy complex because the commish ducked out of going to Foxboro this weekend. HE WON’T SHOW HIS FACKIN’ FACE HERE-AH BECAUSE HE KNOWS HE MESSED WITH THE WRAWNG CITY! It’s not like they would have shot the guy. Your average Pats fan would probably just boo him and then try to throw a beer at him but miss and hit a baby.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

And Now For Some Roger Goodell Bashing!

I'll let the professionals handle this one:
Roger Goodell’s office made it official early Tuesday: The NFL commissioner is electing to attend the NFC Championship game between the Packers and Falcons Sunday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

In today’s corporate-speak, this is what’s known as “bad optics.’’

It looks as though the commissioner is afraid to come to Foxborough.
What is the big deal, Roger? You are not Salman Rushdie hiding from the followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini. The Wells Report is not “The Satanic Verses.” There is no football fatwa in Patriot Nation. This is a sporting event.

And Now For More Boston Globe Bashing - XLVIII

That depends on how you define 'nearly', doesn't it?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Jumping The Gun

Shank's previous column was quite shaken about the Patriots' win over the Houston Texans. The next day (or when he sobered up - take your pick), he's back on the No Worries Bandwagon, presuming once again to speak for all Patriots fans with the royal 'we' and barely acknowledging the AFC Championship game.
We are greedy. We don’t want the Patriots to simply embarrass the commissioner, make history, and win Super Bowl LI in Houston Feb. 5. We want to see the Pats settle old scores and beat the highest-profile opponents. That’s why the last two weekends have been a little disappointing as we watched the Giants, Seahawks, and Cowboys get eliminated from the tournament.

I know . . . first thing first. The Patriots have a pretty big game Sunday night at Gillette Stadium. They will be playing in their record sixth consecutive AFC Championship game, facing the ever-dangerous Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. Beating Pittsburgh is going to be a lot harder than beating the Texans in the divisional round. (Oh, and Roger Goodell was in Atlanta Saturday, so he’s got to come to Foxborough, right?)

All that said, there’s a popular notion in these parts that no team in the AFC is going to beat the Patriots at Gillette Stadium this season. That’s what a 15-2 record does.

And right about now I’m dreaming of a Super Bowl matchup featuring New England’s defense against Green Bay gunslinger Aaron Rodgers.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

That's Why They Play The Game

Shank backtracks sharply from a week long belittling of the Houston Texans and a Saturday night of 'tomato can' tweets, and recognizes that things don't always turn out as expected.
FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots lurched to a 34-16 victory over the Houston Texans Saturday night and next Sunday will play in their record sixth consecutive AFC Championship game. A home victory over the Chiefs or Steelers is all that stands in the way of the Pats making it to Super Bowl LI in Houston Feb. 5.

Swell. But if Saturday’s game made you feel good about your team, you must be wearing Tom Brady’s Under Armour pajamas. Call it a warning shot or a wake-up call. The sloppy slugfest furnishes fodder for those who wonder if the 2016-17 Patriots — now 15-2 — are championship-driven, or merely fortunate sons of the AFC East, the softest schedule in the league, and the presence of the ever-beatable Texans.
Read on for a column chock full of Shankisms and the standard game recap.

Stolen from the comments is a new nickname - 'Tomato Can Dan'. It's catchy!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Great Calls By Dan Shaughessy - II

With the game still undetermined...

Great Calls By Dan Shaughnessy

With a four point lead at halftime (and a 16 point spread at the beginning of the game), Shank puts his foot in his mouth one more time:

Let The Stupid Tweets Begin! - II

Let The Stupid Tweets Begin!

For the kickoff of the 2016-2017 playoff season, I give you the one and only Curly Haired Boyfriend!

Almost On Cue

Shank hates successful sports teams:

Reader reaction is what you'd expect:


I'm looking forward to the barrage of tweets from Shank belittling the Houston Texans, calling them tomato cans, discussing the coin flip, the 'double score' and all that, aren't you?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Common Theme Spotted

Maybe I was being too harsh on Shank?
Three Throwgasms

Patriots (-16) 23, Texans 0. Patriots Day comes out tomorrow and the ads are killing me. Marky Mark literally says “They messed with the wrawng city!” As if other cities would be like, “Oh man, someone bombed us. We better not do anything about it.” The fact that Marky Mark plays a composite character who gets portrayed as a reluctant hero and says shit like “We gawtta catch these guys before-ah they hurt othah Sawx fans!” is a fucking insult to real-life events. No one from Boston should ever be allowed to make a Boston movie ever again.

No Imagination

It looks like Shank's running out of material leading up to Saturday's game.
Has there ever been less drama, hype, or anticipation for an NFL playoff game?

Here in New England, we openly mock the opposition. We ridicule the Houston Texans as a team with no chance to beat the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in the divisional round. The team from the land of “Friday Night Lights’’ will produce “Saturday Night Blights” in Foxborough and everyone knows it.

With all this ridicule, we get no resistance from anywhere in the heart of Texas. The people who cover the team and the Texans fans offer no alternative outcome. They are prepared for a major beatdown. Almost nobody in Houston is fighting back.
You'd think the Boston Globe would ask Shank to quit rewriting the same column, but you'd be wrong. Little wonder, then, that their readership numbers have been plunging for years.

A Rhetorical Question For Shank

If Curt Schilling's post of a picture saying 'Rope. Tree. Journalist.' bothers you to the point that you devote part of a column to it in addition to withholding your Hall of Fame ballot for him, does it also bother you when yet another fellow journalist wants President-elect Donald Trump killed?

Just curious.

Monday, January 09, 2017

You Missed One, Adam Gaffin

Adam's gonna have to update the chart I referenced below - Sir Shank The Predictable is all over the New England Patriots' next opponent:
Been here. Done this.

The Patriots will finally play their first postseason game Saturday night and wouldn’t you guess . . . they are playing a team with absolutely zero chance to win the game.

Enjoying the spoils of their hard-earned top seed, the 14-2 Patriots will face your friends and mine, the All World Tomato Cans, the Houston Texans.

In a game that could be best described as the NFL’s answer to Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve Show, the Texans beat the quarterback-less Raiders, 27-14, Saturday to advance to the divisional round. New England’s dream matchup with fourth-seeded Houston became official Sunday when Pittsburgh routed the terrible Dolphins.

This could not have worked out better for the Patriots.
I suppose 'tomato can' is an improvement over the descriptor for the last playoff game between the two teams, which was 'fraud'. And so Shank takes his quadrennial shot at trolling and antagonizing yet another professional sports team and the residents of the fourth largest U.S. city.
The 2012-13 New England Patriots just became the first team in NFL history to get back-to-back byes before advancing to the conference championship game.

Could this get any easier?

I mean, seriously? The planets are aligned and the tomato cans are in place. The fraudulent Houston Texans are the only team standing between the New England Patriots and a trip to the AFC Championship game. All the Patriots have to do is beat the terrible Texans. One week from Sunday. At Gillette Stadium.

Pass Go and collect $200. The Patriots are in the AFC title game.
The words are a bit different, but you've read it all before.

To anyone from the Houston area reading this - Shank's just trying to piss you off; this has been his M.O. since I got out of high school thirty-five years ago. Don't let him piss you off too much.

Running The Numbers

Longtime readers (or even relative newcomers) of Dan Shaughnessy Watch are well aware of Shank's affinity for insulting 31 of 32 NFL teams and organizations by constantly referring to any opponents of the New England Patriots as 'tomato cans'. Journalism school supposedly teaches young journalists not to be repetitive, but this lesson has been lost on the Boston Globe's sole sports columnist. How bad is it? Universal Hub's Adam Gaffin actually ran the numbers:
It's even worse than that if you include the many, many tweets where 'tomato can' was used; you'd have to recalibrate the y-axis to go to 50 or more to capture that.

I don't know how often Adam reads Shank, but it's safe to say if he devotes a post to it and punishes himself by dredging through the Globe archives and adding it up, the 'tomato can' shtick is worn out now. Which means we can expect it for many more columns.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

It's A Lock

With the Miami - Pittsburgh game still to be determined (Miami would come to New England if they win this afternoon), Shank's pretty sure the Patriots will be playing the Houston Texans next week. How sure is he? This sure:

Feedback is what you'd expect from such a hot take:

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Shank's Hall Of Fame Ballot, Explained

The Boston Globe, in a rare example of accountability, decided to publicize their Baseball Hall of Fame voter's cards this year. Here is Shank's:
So how come I'm only voting for two guys this year?

It's complicated. And it doesn't feel good. But it's the best I can do.

Tim Raines gets this vote and I think he'll be elected in his final year of eligibility (as was Jim Rice). Raines' vote total has been climbing. A candidate needs to be checked on 75 percent of ballots and Raines was up to 69.8 percent last year. He has a lifetime on base percentage of .385. He stole 808 bases with a higher success rate than Ricky Henderson or Lou Brock. He reached base more than Roberto Clemente, Brock, Tony Gwynn, and Ichiro. He was a World Champion with the Yankees.

Vladimir Guerrero gets this vote in his first year of eligibility. He hit 449 homers. He swung at everything and still hit .318 for his career. He was an MVP once and close several other times. He had a cannon for an arm. The WAR folks don't like him that much and he wasn't a good baserunner given his speed, but he always had the look of a Hall of Famer. Doubt he gets in on the first ballot. That's it. Raines and Guerrero.
That's interesting - I might have had the look of a a professional cyclist back in the day, but that doesn't mean I'm winning the Tour de France (or any other pro bile race), ever! Curious criteria, there, indeed.

Of course, he still has to kvetch about Curt Schilling:
As for Curt Schilling, I'm putting Schill in a corner for this year after he tweeted that the notion of lynching journalists was "so much awesome." This is not a political statement by me. To my way of thinking, lynching is not a political issue. There's no liberal/conservative take on murder. A place in the Hall of Fame is an honor and I'm choosing not to honor Curt's strong candidacy this year.
It seems there are a professional journalist or two, as well as a CNN panel laughing about Trump's plane crashing (and a lefty CEO and sundry others) that are just fine and dandy with killing President-elect Donald Trump. It seems quite evident to me that there's far, far more liberal take on murder than there is conservative take.

But wait - there's more!
Lastly, can we dial down the vitriol and all just get along? I respect the opinions of all voters and fans. This is the baseball Hall of Fame. These are votes. Can we agree to disagree with one another's votes and opinions without giving in to the hate and toxicity that has polluted the process?
We're barely a week into the 2017 year, and Shank just wrote perhaps the most hypocritical, disingenuous and chutzpah-filled paragraph of his entire career. Numerous of his fellow journalists want Trump dead, and Shank has made a cottage industry out of spreading hate and vitriol since he joined the Globe back in 1981. We have been documenting every single example of that since our 2005 inception, and as many previous ones as possible. What a freaking joke.

March Of The Tomato Cans?

Yes, we make sport of Shank trotting out that well-worn cliché, but it's fair to point out he's not the only sportswriter out there thinking along those lines.
Steelers (-10) 42, Dolphins 10. By the way, the Pats get to play either the winner of the Houston/Oakland game, or the Dolphins if they do New England a favor and knock the Steelers out. Thirty members of the Patriots could die in a ferry crash and that team would still walk to the AFC title game. It’s horseshit. Half the AFC playoff field is composed of amputees. Next year the Pats should be forced to battle a fucking Frost Ape if they want to advance.

Shank On The Other Isiah Thomas

Celtics point guard Isiah Thomas recently scored 50 points in a game, so Shank suddenly has a need to pay some pro forma attention to the team. He talks to Celtics legend Bob Cousy about Isiah Thomas, and the result is a pretty good column.
There was a time when the Celtics’ best player was the smallest player on the floor. He scored 50 points in a single game. He was MVP of the NBA. He was Mr. Basketball. He basically invented the point guard position, his first Celtics column of the year.

Now he is 88 years old and he spends the winter in Florida and he hardly every misses a Celtics game on television.

Bob Cousy has seen all of the Celtics’ great guards. He played with Bill Sharman, Sam Jones, and John Havlicek. He coached Nate Archibald when Tiny became the only player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring (34.0) and assists (11.4) in the same season (1972-73 Kansas City-Omaha Kings). Cooz was a color commentator here when the Celtics had Dennis Johnson and later Paul Pierce.

Cousy is sold on Isaiah Thomas.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Shank Hijacks The Patriots Bandwagon

Shank's been all over the damn place in the past week concerning the Patriots, and it seems he's settling in on grabbing the steering wheel.
Am I the only one?

Is there anybody else out in Patriot Nation who’d like to see the Patriots in a competitive, thrilling playoff game? You know . . . a game where the outcome is in doubt before Hoodie defers on the coin toss?

Guess not. The Patriots are going to get to the AFC Championship game without a serious test of their considerable abilities,
That statement whiffs of bullshit. While Shank steered clear of weighing in on Game 1 at Arizona, I recall many local wags predicting a Patriots loss for that game. He didn't say anything about Buffalo shutting the Pats out, 13-0 in Week 4, did not write about the visit to Pittsburgh for Week 6 (he was covering the baseball playoffs at the time), steered clear of weighing in for the Week 10 game against Seattle, wrote about but again steered clear of weighing in for Week 14 against the Ravens and wrote all about Tom Brady's miserable record against Denver for the Week 15 road game.

By now the pattern should be clear to everyone - when Shank writes about the Patriots, he will avoid expressing an opinion about the quality of their opponent if they're a top team at the time of the game. Otherwise, the Patriots opponents are 'tomato cans', 'frauds' and so on.
...and everybody around here seems to be absolutely thrilled at the prospect of two straight bye weeks before the Patriots maybe get pushed slightly by the Steelers or Chiefs in the AFC title game in Foxborough.
Which is how Shank likes to insult other teams 'second bye week' as though the Patriots don't need to take the game seriously in order to win. Pure idiocy.
Seriously. The Oakland Raiders, Houston Texans, and Miami Dolphins — one of which will come to Gillette Stadium a week from Saturday for a divisional round game — have to represent the sorriest playoff troika in the history of professional football. The highlight reel of the 2016 Raiders/Texans/Dolphins seasons is scheduled to open at the Tomato Cannes Film Festival in France next year. When one of them arrives here, the point spread might be record-breaking.
You can see where this column's going, so if it's your bag, go forth and read it. I'm skipping forward to the fun part:
Critics of this space often complain that “you keep writing the same thing.’’ It’s true.
And all this time, I thought Shank lacked self-awareness!

For any of the new readers out there, here's the most succinct summary of Shank's trolling approach, when Kansas City was coming to Foxborough for the first playoff game last year:

Monday, January 02, 2017

An Uncertain Man - II / The Weathervane Returns

Well, it didn't take long for Shank to do his 180 degree / Sybil act after shitting on the Patriots in his previous column, did it?
“Nothing changes on New Year’s Day.”

— U2

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — This brand new year is working out pretty well for Tom Brady thus far.

Two thousand and seventeen will be the year when Brady turns 40. It will be the year when he has a chance to play quarterback in a record seventh Super Bowl and perhaps win his fifth. It will be the year in which he is named NFL Most Valuable Player for the third time.
Well, we don't know that yet, do we?
Brady’s Happy New Year got off to a near-perfect start Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium when he threw three more touchdown passes in a 35-14 rout of the playoff-bound (really) Miami Dolphins.
Which, naturally, contradicts his last tweet, where he calls the rest of the AFC 'Tomato Cans' for the millionth time:

Let the record show that in the controversial campaign in which Brady was forced to serve a commissioner-mandated/court-upheld, four-game suspension, QB12 came back with a vengeance.
You know, Deflategate, where Shank called Tom Brady and the Patriots cheaters.

Last example:
Brady and coach Bill Belichick — the Bill Russell and Red Auerbach of this century — were in generous moods after the holiday festival in southern Florida. The Hoodie feted his squad as a “very physically and mentally tough team, no question,’’ while Brady called Dante Scarnecchia “the best offensive line coach in the NFL,’’ and repeatedly reminded us that “we worked pretty hard to get to this position.’’
Here's my question - was there even the slightest hint of this in Shank's previous column? No, there wasn't. He is the ultimate weathervane.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

The Sun Will Rise, The Sun Will Set

...and Shank will tweet about a meaningless fucking coin flip:

If It's The Last Game Of The Regular Season's time for Shank to conveniently forget about the Patriots' other losses and injuries last year and second guess and pile on like the best of them.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — It is impossible to be in sunny southern Florida this weekend and not think about what Bill Belichick did here last year. This is where the Great Hoodie came up with the worst game plan of his career and willingly forfeited an opportunity to go to another Super Bowl.

It was worse than fourth and 2. It was almost as bad as Pete Carroll opting for the slant pass in traffic from the 1-yard line. It was Belichick’s Grady Little moment.
I'm pretty sure Belichick is no Grady Little, but that's what you get with a columnist with an axe to grind.