Monday, December 09, 2019

Stop Yer Complaining!

Shank's here to scold you folks that had any problems with yesterday's officiating of the Patriots / Chiefs game:
Patriots fans should not be complaining about officiating

Be better, Patriot fans. All this crying about officiating is embarrassing.

Suck it up. The officials stunk in Sunday’s 23-16 loss to the Chiefs, but we have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. Folks around the nation are celebrating New England’s late-season woes, and we only make matters worse by blaming it on the officials.

Everybody knows that the entire Patriots dynasty was built on a football lie. Remember the Tuck Rule? Of course you do. The bad rule (which nobody knew about before Jan. 19, 2002) was correctly enforced on that snowy night in Foxborough and it turned Tom Brady’s fumble into an incomplete pass, giving birth to 18 years of Do Your Job, No Days Off, and They Hate Us ’Cause They Ain’t Us. The rule was so bad that it was eventually repealed. Brady’s fumble today would be what it should haven (sic) been that night: a fumble.
Except that it was not a fumble on the day it occurred. Rules are added, changed and repealed with some frequency, so Shank's argument can be used selectively, as he did here. When that fumble happened, I did indeed think that it was a fumble and like the occasional moron that I am, I went right to bed after that play, thinking that it was a fumble. The next morning I read all about it and I was pleasantly stunned at a) what happened and b) that the 'Tuck Rule' was in place, as I didn't recall that particular subtlety of the NFL rulebook at the time.

He goes on from there to 'remind' all of us at how lucky the Patriots have been since that game. While it's hard to argue against that notion in general, I don't agree with Shank that it tips oh so heavily in the Patriots favor.

That said, I'd recommend reading the rest of the column. It's a decent read, because you can see Shank is energized in this column, as he usually is when he gets a chance to write a column after a Patriots loss.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Shank's Next Column?

Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird turn 63 today. Does Shank walk down memory lane again with a tribute column?

Friday, December 06, 2019

DHL Dan XCIIII - Dwight Evans Revisted, Etc.

Shank bangs out another Picked-Up Pieces column which among other things touts Dwight Evans' chances of making the Hall of Fame:
Picked-up pieces while playing Mitch Miller and the gang’s Christmas hits on my hi-fi stereo system . . .

■ The Red Sox are actively boosting Dwight Evans’s campaign for the Hall of Fame. You knew it would come to this last year when Harold Baines, who was never as good as Evans, was broomed into Cooperstown in a back-room deal brokered by Jerry Reinsdorf and Tony La Russa.

Evans will need 12 of 16 votes cast when the Modern Era committee meets in San Diego Sunday. He should have two big backers in the room — Dennis Eckersley and Dave Dombrowski — but it’s a crowded field (10) of strong candidates, including Ted Simmons, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Dale Murphy, and Marvin Miller. Voters can vote for no more than four candidates.
All in all, it's a decent PUP column.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

The End Is Near Again?

While Shank's previous column wasn't viciously critical of the New England Patriots and their second loss of the season, he did put some effort into it. With today's column, he keeps the fire burning for another day.
STILL HOUSTON — What a field day for the hate.

Monday. Tuesday. Every day. And this is the way it’s going to be until the Patriots get a chance to prove everybody wrong at Gillette Stadium against the Chiefs Sunday.

It’s open season on Tom Brady and the Patriots across Football America. The Patriots are frauds. They are the worst 10-2 team in NFL history. They are a house of cards, upheld only by a soft schedule, the stupidity of others, and the genius of Bill Belichick.

Suddenly those Patriot wins against the Eagles and Cowboys don’t look so impressive anymore. In a cluster of 10-2 teams including the 49ers, Seahawks, and Ravens, the Patriots are the ones that don’t belong. They are the ones trending in the wrong direction as the playoffs near.

Monday, December 02, 2019


Completely ignoring what he wrote the day before, Shank writes with great fanfare about the Patriot's second loss of the season.
HOUSTON — Pigs can fly. Republicans and Democrats agree on everything. Larry Bird is buying rounds for the house. Jackie Bradley is a .350 hitter who never strikes out.

And the Houston Texans just beat the New England Patriots, 28-22.

Anything is possible.

DeShaun Watson took it to the Boogeymen Sunday night at NRG Stadium, throwing for three touchdowns and catching another as the Texans snapped an eight-game losing streak vs. New England. Former Belichick protege Bill O’Brien secured his first win against mentor Bill, breaking a humbling and at times humilating 0-5 skid. Late in the game, with the Texans leading, 28-9, Antonio Brown tweeted, “Still I Rise.’’
Funny how we always see a Patriots column from Shank when they lose, isn't it?

Sunday, December 01, 2019

He's Got His Number

Thirteen weeks into the 2019-2020 pro football season, Shank writes something complimentary about the New England Patriots:
HOUSTON — New Englanders love this place. This is where 28-3 happened in February 2017 and where the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick Patriots won their second Super Bowl in February 2004. Houston is where the 2018 Red Sox eliminated the cheatin’ Houston Astros in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on a night when David Price beat Justin Verlander. It’s where Larry Bird won his first NBA championship in May 1981 and where Roger Clemens learned how to throw a fastball in the 1970s. Houston was headquarters to our space program when Derry, N.H.’s Alan Shepard walked on the moon in 1971.

And it is the home of the Houston Texans, a sometimes formidable football team that is constitutionally incapable of beating the New England Patriots.

So, here we go again. We are Lucy holding the football and the Texans are Charlie Brown lining up for a kick, ever hopeful that it will be different this time. But everyone knows it will not be different.
Lots of Shank staples in this one - there's a Larry Bird reference, lots of references to other sports and the signature reuse of previous columns, so there's your triple play for the day.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Now I'm A Believer?

That one's for you, Monkeesfan!

Shank sits down with Bill Parcells, who tells Shank what football's all about:
What’s the secret to the Patriots’ success? Let Bill Parcells explain

When you cut through all the analysis, strategy, fame, and gossip that’s been part of this historic two-decade Belichick-Brady dynasty, there’s one football element that’s more important than anything else:

The Patriots win because they don’t turn over the football.

It’s really that simple. The 2019 Patriots are an NFL-best 10-1 (tied with the Niners). Not coincidentally, they have the best turnover differential: plus-19. The next-best team is plus-10. The Patriots have 29 takeaways and only 10 giveaways. It is the annual secret to their success.
I could have sworn that on a number of previous occasions Shank had described Belichick's turnover philosophy as 'obsessive' or some such denigration. Unfortunately, I came up emptyhanded looking for examples and actually found the opposite from an old column:

Zero turnovers in the cold and snow of Chicago is particularly impressive. Absence of turnovers is the ultimate formula for success in the NFL.