Monday, January 30, 2023


That's Shank's opinion on the late hit in last night's game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs which wound up helping the Chiefs to win, 23-20:
The Bengals’ unfortunate Joseph Ossai pushed himself into a dubious spotlight
And who better to help put Joseph Ossai into a dubious spotlight than Our Man Shank?
Some people see GOATS and think of Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, and Bobby Orr.

I see Goats and think of Bill Buckner, Scott Norwood, Grady Little, Pete Carroll, and now Joseph Ossai.
Let's not forget Shank's attempt at revisionist history when Bill Buckner passed away a few years ago; Shank's praise or denigration of certain Boston athletes depends on the situation.
Super Bowl LVII will feature Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs against the indomitable Philadelphia Eagles, who have shredded everything in their path on the way to Glendale, Ariz.

The Eagles got there with great help from the football gods, who determined that every man playing quarterback for San Francisco would get hurt this year. The Chiefs, meanwhile, were gifted when a humble, 22-year-old kid from Nigeria was flagged for a personal foul when he pushed an already-out-of-bounds Mahomes to the ground in a 20-20 game with eight seconds left in regulation.
Classic dumb play he'll have to live with his entire career - there's your column summary!

DHL Dan CLVI - Steal This Page!

Shank brings up an interesting parallel between Tom Brady's rise in the National Football League and what's happening with San Francisco 49'ers starting rookie quarterback Brock Purdy:
Brock Purdy is taking a page from the Tom Brady story, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while wondering if George Santos would agree to a one-year contract with the Red Sox …

▪ Tom Brady. Brock Purdy.

Their names roll off the tongue in similar fashion.
That was not the interesting parallel; let's get that one out of the way...
Remember how much fun we had watching 24-year-old Brady in the 2001-02 playoffs? Fresh-faced Tom had been fourth string in 2000, but one year later took over after franchise quarterback Drew Bledsoe got hurt. With Brady at the controls, the Patriots won their last nine games, including Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans. Young Brady was Super Bowl MVP.

Now you get to watch this all over again. You get to see 23-year-old rookie Purdy take the San Francisco 49ers into a conference championship game Sunday in Philadelphia. Purdy is 8-0 since taking over for Jimmy Garoppolo (remember him?) Dec. 4. Until proven otherwise, he is the new Tom Brady. Absurd, right? There will never be another Brady. We all know that.
In retrospect, those 'new Brady' plans will have to be put on hold until next year.

Wishful Thinking

Do you think Shank's getting just a bit ahead of himself this year?
The way the Bruins and Celtics are going, something very rare could happen in June

There has never been a winter like this winter for our Boston Garden teams.

They play just about every other night. They win just about every other night. We are more than halfway through the Bruins and Celtics 2022-23 regular seasons, and they have the best records in their respective sports.

So we must ask … can both play here in the Finals in June?

Imagine. The NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup Final unfolding simultaneously in the Hockey/Hoop Hub of the Universe. A Bull Gang Bacchanal. The Larry O’Brien Trophy and Lord Stanley’s chalice sitting side by side in the bowels of TD Garden. Past champions Johnny Bucyk and Robert Parish — Chief and Chief — walking hand in hand on Causeway Street. Bobby Orr as Banner Captain one night, Larry Bird handing out the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP trophy the next.

No city has ever won both winter sports titles in the same spring, but a duck boat doubleheader is possible for Boston in June.
So are our odds of hitting the Powerball jackpot tomorrow night...

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

DHL Dan CLV - Time For Tom To Retire

I think Shank means it this time:
A plea for Tom Brady to retire for good this time, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while waiting for Brett Maher’s first extra-point attempt against the 49ers Sunday …

▪ Please, Tom Brady.

Just stop.

Enough already.

You’ve proven your point.

You played at the top level till you were 45, just as you pledged all those years ago. You hold all the records and you’ve won everything there is to win. You’re Michael Jordan, Tom Cruise, and Benjamin Button. You gave us so much joy here in New England for all those years and we can never thank you enough.

But here’s hoping you don’t succumb to the hubris and neediness of getting back out there with yet another team next year. There’s no need to try to do this again with Josh and the Raiders. The 49ers and Dolphins are pretty much set, thank you, and we all know you can’t come home again.

A half-century in this biz has taught me that it’s not up to media, or fans, to dictate when a player should retire, and I’m pretty sure you are determined to keep playing, but anyone who truly cares about you would tell you that it’s probably time to stop.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

40 Years Running - The Grueling One Mile Run

This theme was a favorite DSW staple in our earlier years, and now we arrive at its fortieth anniversary:
One man’s idea of long-distance running: A mile a day for 40 years

It started as a New Year’s resolution in the Los Angeles Hilton on Jan. 1, 1983. I was there for a Rose Bowl game featuring Michigan and UCLA.

Forty years ago.

After getting out of bed, I jogged a mile on the streets of LA to make my 29-year-old self feel better.

And I never stopped. One mile a day. A four-decade, slow-motion grind that has taken me more than 14,500 miles, across America and back — twice! Practically Gumpish.

For a long while, it was a legitimate streak, almost Ripkenesque. I’d never miss. But I must confess that there have been gaps, especially in the last 10 years. A kidney stone halted the madness in 2012 and a shattered collarbone shelved me in 2015. There are a handful of other misses due to lost luggage, a knockout flu, sinus surgery, and one day when I overslept, rushed to an interview, and just plain forgot.
Read on for a pretty good column. Congrats to Shank on the streak!

Monday, January 16, 2023

DHL Dan CLIV - The Winter Of Discontent

When local sports teams are at their worst, Shank's at his best:
It’s a winter of discontent for Patriots and Red Sox, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while waiting to watch Tom Brady in the playoffs on “Monday Night Football” …

▪ Things could not be much better for our winter teams. The Bruins and Celtics have the best records in their respective sports and we’re clearing June schedules for the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals.

But life is not perfect, and that brings us to the other two franchises in town: the Red Sox and Patriots, who have brought us an aggregate 10 championships in this century.

At this hour, both powerhouse New England institutions are in turmoil, facing crises of ownership, management, money, and roster construction.

It starts with the Red Sox, who are in far worse shape than the Patriots. They’ve finished last in two of the last three seasons, five of the last 11, and will go into 2023 as consensus favorites to land in the basement again. Ownership’s reluctance to pay/retain homegrown All-Stars such as Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Andrew Benintendi paired with front office malpractice has left the Local Nine with a hideous everyday lineup and a starting rotation of Question Mark and the Mysterians.

Monday, January 09, 2023

Not Today

Shank feels yesterday's win by the Buffalo Bills over the New England Patriots was inevitable:
The Patriots were not going to beat the inspired Bills, not on this day, as Buffalo honored Damar Hamlin

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — We are accustomed to everyone outside of New England rooting against the Patriots, but perhaps never more than on this final day of the 63rd Patriot season.

Bill Belichick’s uneven, oft-dysfunctional 2022 squad put up a good fight in its regular-season finale, and there were still pipe dreams of playoff possibilities as darkness came over Niagara Falls Sunday afternoon. But in the end, the Patriots were vanquished by an inspired and talented group, playing to honor and celebrate teammate Damar Hamlin, who almost died on the football field just six days earlier.

Bills 35, Patriots 23.

The Buffalo Bills simply were not going to lose on this day.

Saturday, January 07, 2023

DHL Dan CLIII - A Come Together Moment

To everyone's surprise, the Boston Red Sox signed Rafael Devers to a mega contract:
The Rafael Devers deal coming together was one for the books, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while packing for Buffalo, home of America’s Team …

▪ Signing a homegrown star to an 11-year, $331 million extension is not something a franchise does on the spur of the moment. It’s not something a team does in knee-jerk fashion. It’s not an emotional reaction to the owner of the ball club getting booed two days earlier in his own ballpark. That’s just silly.

But that’s the shorthand, folks. That’s what fans will remember years from now when the pluses and minuses of Rafael Devers’s whopping contract are debated after the Local Nine experiences more duck boat parades and/or last-place finishes.

Fair or unfair, the lasting narrative of the Devers extension is going to be that a minor fan insurrection at Fenway Park Monday motivated the Red Sox to sign their best remaining player.

Thursday, January 05, 2023

In The Hunt

With one game to go in the NFL's 2022-2023 season, Shank devotes a column to the playoff fortunes of the New England Patriots:
Sure, the Patriots are in the playoff hunt, but does anyone really think they’re a good team?

This is why the NFL is the perfect sports product.

You can have a team like the Patriots — plagued by poor coaching, inept offense, and unusual dysfunction — and still be in contention for a playoff spot with one week left in the regular season. The Patriots’ status as a contender after 16 games is a tribute to Parity Pete Rozelle, Any Given Sunday, and the illusion of contention.
Remember when the Patriots used to play mostly 'Tomato Can' teams? Those were the days!
The Patriots beat the Dolphins (and their second and third-string quarterbacks), 23-21, Sunday in New England’s final game at Gillette this season. The Patriots raised their record to 8-8 and can qualify for a playoff spot if they win at Buffalo next Sunday.

New England fans certainly can feel good about a defense that forced two more turnovers (27) and scored its seventh touchdown of the season. Mac Jones (20-of-33 passing, 203 yards, 2 touchdowns) came alive late in the game and the much-maligned Matt Patricia made a nifty call on the goal line for the game-clinching touchdown.

But seriously, friends, is there any footie-pajama-wearing Pat Patriot who actually thinks this is a good team? Neither Full Rochie nor judge Richard Berman can make a case for the Pats beating the Bills next week (unless Buffalo has cause to tank), or winning a wild-card game on the road.