Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shank on High School Football

Another good column by Shank today, focusing on the Reading high school football team and their former coach Mike Boyd, who succumbed to lung cancer earlier this year. The last line of the column takes the quality down a few notches, though.

Monday, November 23, 2009

No More Northeastern Football

Shank writes today about a made 4th down play by Bill Belichick the death of football at Northeastern University due primarily to financial reasons. Since there isn't a head coach to rip for making decisions of dubious merit, the result is a pretty good, well researched column.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Obligatory Larry Bird Column

Shank devotes today's column to Larry Legend and the book "When the Game was Ours", co-authored with Earvin 'Magic' Johnson and formally written by Jackie MacMullan. I have the book and I hope to read it over the holidays.

Naturally, Shank has to screw up the premise of the column right off the bat:

INDIANAPOLIS - Larry Bird was not in the house when Bill Belichick decided to go for it on fourth and 2 from his 28.

Unfortunately, I believe this is going to be a Shank StapleTM for quite some time, as if Shank's reputation as a petty, vindictive writer needed any more padding...

P.S. I caught Shank on the local sports show last night. Interesting to note that, when discussing Sunday's Patriots game with the N.Y. Jets, Michael Felger was far more negative than Shank was, even stating that he thinks the Jets will win that game, in spite of being 10 1/2 point underdogs on the road. Could this be the reason Shank appears on the local shows, especially with Felger, in an attempt to come off as the least negative local sports talking head?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bad Call Belichick - II

There's something I forgot to mention yesterday - what's the over / under on how many columns will Shank wring out of this one call by Bill Belichick?

Aside from some of Shank's standard lameness (Lucas Oil Can Boyd Stadium), bellyaching about lack of media access and a martyr complex (maybe I’ll escape the Nixonian Enemies List), it's wash, rinse, repeat from yesterday's column.

Then again, maybe Shank's right. Is he on par with Nixon's enemies list, or just the shit list?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bad Call By Bill B.?

I believe this is the column Shank has been waiting nearly a decade to write.

This was as bad as anything the Red Sox ever did. Had it been a playoff game, it would be right up there with Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner, Aaron Boone, and History Derailed in Glendale, Ariz.

And Bill Belichick played the part of Grady Little.

While I agree with the sentiment of "what the hell is he doing?" when Belichick went for it on 4th and 2, Shank overstates the magnitude of the error by comparing this game to four playoff / championship games. The Grady Little comparison is the pro forma cheap shot, among others.

Belichick is known as the consummate gambler. He's gambled many times before, and won. This time, he gambled and lost. Does Shank consider this angle at all? Not for a second.

Even the legions of zombies who say “In Bill We Trust’’ and the formidable pay-for-play Patriot media machine will have a hard time defending the brilliant coach on this one.

In the world of Dan Shaughnessy, if you like Belichick as a coach, you're basically brain dead. It's always nice to hear such cheery sentiments from a columnist who 'writes for the fans' he's insulting at the same time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Leading up to tonight's Patriots / Colts game, there must have been dozens of articles comparing quarterbacks Tom Brady & Peyton Manning. Clearly thinking outside the box, Shank gives us... another Brady / Manning column!

And what Shank comparison column would be complete without the obligatory Bird / Magic reference?


Last Tuesday, Brady was reminded that he and Manning are often compared to Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.

While the Bird / Magic angle has been badly overused by Shank in the past, his comparisons of Brady with Bird & Manning with Magic are spot on.

Shank then proceeds to mail in the remainder of the comparison column:


Outside the sports arena, Brady vs. Manning works well as a Ginger-Mary Ann Game:

Brady is Mary Ann, Manning is Ginger.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Overlooked No Longer

In today's column Shank profiles Dominic Randolph, a Division 1-AA senior quarterback with hopes of being drafted by the NFL. Since Dominic plays at Shank's alma mater (Holy Cross), we get a pretty good column out of it.

Almost without exception, any Shank column that is not about professional sports or athletes is far better than, for example, this one, or this one. Has Shank found his niche?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Smooth Shank

The Patriots win a tight game yesterday against a division rival and are currently 6 - 2 heading into next week's game against Indianapolis. Leave it to Shank to go negative and dump on Randy Moss!

FOXBOROUGH - He comes off as rude, ridiculous, self-important, and difficult. And nobody gives a hoot because Randy Moss can make plays on the football field.


With a reporter in the middle of a follow-up question, Moss abruptly turned and walked off the stage, out of the room, Bonds-like. There was no need for more talking. He had given us his game (six catches, 147 yards) and that would have to be enough.

We’re never going to know Randy Moss. He came to New England two years ago carrying considerable baggage and there was speculation he was finished as an impact player. All Moss has done since coming to the Patriots is catch passes and win games. He is a captain and he’s got Foxborough game balls. Woe is the reporter who accuses Moss of going through the motions. Belichick and his minions are ever-ready to defend Randy with froth and fury.

Shank says just enough nice things about Moss so it doesn't come off as a complete hatchet job, but we know better than that...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Big Tuna

Shank pens an interesting column on Bill Parcells as a backdrop before this afternoon's game between the Patriots and the Miami Dolphins. He mentions many of Parcell's past efforts at rebuilding franchises (N.Y. Giants, Patriots, Jets) but may have ran out of column inches by omitting his stint as Dallas Cowboys coach, which wasn't his best effort by any stretch (34-32 over 4 seasons).

One amusing nugget:

Parcells is the Man Behind The Curtain in Miami. He has what might be the greatest job in the history of sports. He gets to run an NFL franchise with all of the fun and none of the nonsense. He lives on the beach, makes $4 million per year, enjoys total autonomy, and doesn’t have to talk to the media.

Just a few minor edits, and behold:
Shaughnessy is the Man on Morrissey Boulevard. He has what might be the greatest job in the history of newspapers. He gets to write a major sports column whenever he damn well feels like it with all of the fun and none of the nonsense. He lives in Newton, MA, makes six figures per year, enjoys total autonomy, and doesn’t have to talk to athletes.

Do you think Shank wrote his paragraph with any feeling of self-awareness?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Theater Of The Absurd

Shank finally takes interest in the World Series, and that's because Pedro Martinez will take the mound tonight against the New York Yankees. That, or he's playing the New England angle. Some note the shameless appropriation angle of the column, while the rest of us bask in the irony of Shank hyping Pedro to death years after spearheading the effort to run him out of Boston.

"Hey, Pedro, we're cool, right?"

Add in an Elvis sighting and a dig at Schilling, and it's a wrap...