Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to former Big East bully Danya Abrams?

— In no way is this an excuse, but isn’t there at least a game or two every season that you just give away? That’s what last Tuesday night in Chicago felt like, when the 11th-ranked Friars fell to DePaul. It was an inevitability, no matter what happened.

— Three things in life are inevitable: Death, taxes, and losing one you thought you were going to win.

— Ben Bentil’s injured ankle was a big reason for Providence’s inability to eventually win that one. The Blue Demons had no clue how to guard him in the paint, so they did their best to keep the ball out of the paint and limit PC’s penetration. Plus, flopping to the floor and rolling up on Bentil from behind — like you see done on a football field to guys who blow out knees — that also helped, too.

— Add to the mix Kris Dunn’s relatively rare inability to put the ball in the hole, and a motivated opponent, and you have ingredients necessary for an upset. Providence beat DePaul by 27 at Allstate Arena last year. Some of those players remembered. Even though coach Dave Leitao wasn’t there, HE remembered. New Bedford guys (which he is) have long memories.

— Not for nuthin’, but Dunn is showing an alarming inability to finish some spectacular moves at the basket, which is a pretty good indication he’s trying a bit too hard. He’s also not getting contact calls when going to the basket, which is highly inconsistent for officiating crews who have been instructed to make these calls. Doubly frustrating for him, and for the Friars.

— And for my broadcast partner Joe Hassett, who rarely agrees with any call by an official. But he did compliment referee Mike Stuart at the DePaul game for “not stinking” the other night, so there’s that.

— One other thought from the first loss in a true road game (now 6-1) this season — Jalen Lindsey’s illness and absence shows how effective he’s been on the glass. Providence was killed on the backboards, 48-24, and DePaul isn’t tall.

— Before last week began, a 1-1 week is where you hoped to be anyway. And that’s what the Friars got, thanks to a nice win at Georgetown. It just didn’t pan out the way you thought it might. Just sayin’.

— The final four games of the season at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center are sold out, so hopefully, you haven’t missed out. Told ya’ so. It starts Saturday with third-ranked Villanova, and a win against the Wildcats would mean a season sweep over a potential 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament. Who are the knuckleheads thinking PC is now a bubble team? Please identify yourselves, and turn in your fan-boy cards.

— Butler’s Roosevelt Jones and Kelan Martin are two players I wouldn’t want to coach against in this league, but somehow they’re not held in the highest regard by several in the media. Martin was once a Friars recruiting target, and he popped for 34 points in one game last week. Jones is the kind of player everyone loves, but nobody likes. If that makes any sense.

— While Martin is an outstanding sixth man for the Bulldogs, Xavier’s James Farr has been the best off the bench the Big East has to offer so far this season. Adding a deadly mid-range jumper to his physical presence at the rim, Farr is a nightmare to defend — and get around. Consistently, he causes trouble for everyone but his own coaches and teammates.

— Another player who has popped into league eyes and minds is Seton Hall’s Isaiah Whitehead. Simply put, he’s growing up, and at the same time, SHU is getting better. A big-time Brooklyn talent who was whiny as a freshman and a factor in Sterling Gibbs’ transfer to UConn, Whitehead is very much living up to his advance reputation as a player — period.

— It’s midseason in the Big East, so if you’re wondering, here you go, to this point: Player of the Year? Dunn, in a close, close call over Bentil and Villanova’s Josh Hart. Coach of the Year? Xavier’s Chris Mack. Ed Cooley is still in the game, if his team finishes strong. Farr gets the sixth man nod, and Dunn takes Defensive Player of the Year. Rookie of the Year? Henry Ellenson from Marquette, and that one isn’t close. But I happen to like Villanova’s Jalen Brunson, a lot. Friars fans will get an eyeful.

— What has happened to URI? Forget the injuries, which definitely have been a factor. Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but where is the passion? That has to start with the players who are able to play, and I’m not seeing any. Passion, that is. Rhody has players. But do they have the energy to push on? There’s still a season to play out, and the chance to set the cards straight for a phenomenal ’16-17.

— The Sporting News shared its thoughts this week on the top 20 states for college basketball, and frankly, I’m very disappointed. Rhode Island rates no better than 19th? In order to truly get at the crux of what matters in college sports, you always have to include the entire landscape — and not just the relative worth of a team. RI has a nationally ranked team, the four D1 schools have some great players, and fans are selling out the Dunk. What else are they looking for?

— Of course, RI could be Connecticut or Massachusetts — neither of which made TSN’s top 20 list. Take that, and move on.

— A tip of the hat to Johnson & Wales too, with the Wildcats 19-1 on the season (13-0 in their conference) and ranked 17th nationally in D3. Senior guard Quarry Greenaway just topped the 2,000-point mark for his career, making him the NCAA‘s active career scoring leader. The ‘Cats are beating opponents by an average of more than 28 points per game.

— National signing day, in case you didn’t notice, was Wednesday. Only in Boston is this day misunderstood. In every other locale in the country, especially south of the Mason-Dixon Line, it’s bigger than big. Maybe because they don’t play college football in Boston?

— Oh. Right. My bad. They used to play it at a pretty high level at BC, but now? What’s lower than irrelevant?

Boston College actually finished No. 1 in total defense in the ACC this season, but the Eagles lost all but one defensive coach to other teams since the season ended. Seems a little like rats jumping a sinking ship, if you ask me.

— It was great to see so many Rhode Island high school athletes sign their letters of intent to play college sports this week. Football, soccer, cross-country, lacrosse and water polo all were represented, which begs the question: Are our kids getting better at sports, or is the opportunity for them to participate simply increasing? How about a little of both?

— It is rare, however, to see a Rhode Island kid sign to play football at an SEC school. But that’s what happened when former Mount Pleasant star Joseph Putu signed on as a defensive back with the Florida Gators. Putu spent the past two years playing in North Dakota — which makes this story even more intriguing. Rhode Island to North Dakota to Florida?

— One item also sliding under the radar: URI and Bryant signing Rhode Island athletes. This is talked about quite a bit in other places, but keeping your share of talented local kids at the local schools is a program building block anywhere you go.

— Big weekend ahead for the PC hockey Friars, who slipped a bit to sixth in this week’s national polls. The 3-1 loss to UNH last Saturday was the first regulation home loss in more than a year. A home-and-home with the Maine Black Bears can put a little grease on the skates for the rest of the season, if things turn out well for Providence. The Friars are 9-0-1 in their last 10 against UMaine.

— Some good PR has come the way of former UMass product Frank Vatrano getting his time — and some good time, too (remember his hat trick in December against Pittsburgh?) — with the Boston Bruins this season. Don’t forget, former Friar and one of Johnston’s own, Noel Acciari, also has laced ’em up for the Providence Bruins in his first season out of college hockey.

— One of the truly nice men in the big, bad business of radio passed away this week. Norm Jagolinzer had a passionate following for his work as a maestro of the easy-listening format, especially during the days when his voice dominated WLKW’s airwaves in the ’70s and ’80s. Norm was quintessential “smooth.” I loved listening to his commercials! And he loved playing the big-band favorites for his audiences. Jagolinzer, who was inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame in 2009, will be missed by many.

— It was mentioned to me this week by someone who would know, but don’t be surprised if former Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia has a larger role again within the organization. Retiring two years ago from active coaching, Scar has stayed on in a consultant and scouting role — and hasn’t ruled out a return to the sideline to replace Dave DeGuglielmo, who replaced him as line coach.

— Sure, it would have been great for Tom Brady to snub the Commish and the NFL and spurn the offer to be honored as a past Super Bowl MVP. We all wanted Tom to accept that trophy on the podium after winning the championship again, only to see Roger Goodell squirm in the process. It didn’t happen, but TB12 is handling this the right way — the classy way. He doesn’t need more controversy, he needs to get past this as best he can. Showing up, playing the role of good guy, and proving he isn’t “above the game” is really the only thing he can do.

— Otherwise, he feeds into the “noise” that has surrounded and hounded him for 12 months.

— OK, show of hands here. Who is surprised the NFL decided NOT to release any of the tests conducting PSI levels of footballs? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

— What is the true “State of the NFL’€? That business is booming, good as always, better than ever? I’ll buy that. But what about the lies, deceit and treachery among ownership and the league office that also seems apparent? The real state of the NFL is that Business as Usual means, ‘€œWatch your back.”

— Who ya’ got? Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not getting the “zing” for Super Bowl week as I normally do. Is this a case of Patriot malaise? That, and a mix of being tired of Cam Newton and Peyton Manning stories. So this is how the rest of the world looks at us, huh?

— Not surprised in the least to find out this week Ken Stabler had signs of CTE. Stabler passed away last summer at age 69 after a long struggle with cancer, and had his brain dissected for clues into his physical football past. The mind of the former Raiders QB had slipped, precipitously, according to friends and family, over his last few years. It was discovered, then announced this week he had a severe case of the disease, with widespread lesions affecting all parts of his brain.

— This week marked the 15-year anniversary of the XFL. Remember “He Hate Me,’€ aka Rod Smart? The XFL lasted just one season, but the WWE’s foray into pro football did slap the NFL into the realities of showmanship, certainly. From player introductions with fireballs, to skimpier cheerleader costumes, to providing fans with access previously unthinkable (like coaches and players wired for sound), the NFL should thank Vince McMahon for at least a portion of its present-day popularity.

— But there won’t be a royalty check coming his way. Count on that.

— Would we have HBO’s “Hard Knocks” without having had the XFL? As much as coaches crave control, it’s doubtful. They have zero control over HBO’s presence.

— I like the Celtics‘ apparent thinking on Dwight Howard. It’s too bad Houston’s price is too steep, apparently, but Danny Ainge is right. If you can’t grab a go-to scorer, grab a big for the middle and see if what you have is enough to build around him. You might be able to win in the East, right now.

— The Zika virus outbreak might just threaten this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio, according to Forbes magazine. I don’t mean to make light of a serious health issue, but really, if you can bring back DDT to kill off the mosquitos and stop having sex for three weeks, what’s the issue?

— Just say no. Easier said than done? Probably.

— My buddy Statbeast sez he can get over boredom pretty quickly. He likes to randomly text people with the message, “I am pregnant.”

— In case you’ve missed it, more than 13,000 fans have signed a petition to remove former Bruin Mike Milbury from NBC’s NHL broadcasts. I truly did not know that many people cared, one way or the other, about his analysis or criticism of players and coaches — but do they not realize this is even MORE of a reason for NBC to keep him around? Fans love to hate. TV execs care not a whit, one way or the other.

— Much of the vitriol headed Milbury’s way comes from his previous comments on goon-turned-All-Star John Scott. Fans are loving John Scott, all of a sudden, thanks to his “everyman” persona. It is a bit funny, however, when you remember Milbury, who famously went after a fan with a shoe, trying to disrespect a player who models himself after — wait for it — none other than Mike Milbury.

— Danya Abrams was one of those guys, like Ryan Arcidiacono of Villanova is right about now, that you wondered if he would ever graduate. Seemed like he was on the Boston College team forever, when in actuality, Abrams played for the Eagles in the Big East from 1993-97. It sure seemed like he was there longer, and that’s a tribute to his playing abilities. With a big body, and as a powerful force under the basket, Abrams scored more than 2,000 points in his career. He helped BC to a Big East regular-season and tournament title in ’97 as the Eagles advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAAs, then went on to a professional career that included Puerto Rico, Spain and Greece over parts of 14 seasons. Now he’s BC’s radio analyst and he runs an insurance firm. And, I’m told, he’s a huge fan of Ed Cooley — and Ben Bentil. Small wonder — Bentil is almost as unstoppable as he was.

— Chris from Washington, D.C. (@redsoxed) tweeted this week: I came from DC for this game [DePaul in Chicago] and don’t regret it for a second. Sometimes you just don’t win. Love this team. Chris: Spoken like a true fan. I don’t begrudge the whining and moaning when a team loses one it shouldn’t lose, because frankly, that’s part of being a fan — an abbreviation for “fanatic.” What I have a harder time understanding, however, is the constant beatdown and complaining when little things go wrong. This Providence team has been nationally ranked for 10 weeks. Most likely, the Friars will reach the NCAAs for a third straight year. And they have arguably the two most talented players on the floor every night. Are they perfect? No. But I’m enjoying this ride. Glad you are too, Chris.

— Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ’em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster, and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke.

— Don’t forget to join Scott Cordischi and me on Providence’s 103.7 FM every Saturday from 7-9 a.m. for Southern New England Sports Saturday! Call in at 401-737-1287 or text us at 37937.

Blog Author: 
John Rooke

It’s guilty pleasure time. Particularly today in honor of the snowstorm.

I’m a huge fan of Gilbert Gottfried, and he is a huge fan of all the worst moments in show business, past and present. The other day on his podcast, Gilbert talked about this clip. Bob Hope, toward the end of the line, when he had no business whatsoever appearing on camera, much less hosting his own network special, so his wife Delores does most of the talking while he just sort of sits there, pathetic, utterly oblivious to his surroundings. The result is such a masterpiece of awkwardness and whatever the opposite of “entertainment” is that it’s a miracle it ever aired. Preserving moments like this for fans of terribleness to relish for eternity is the reason the Internet was invented.

 Have you come across a video you’d like to see posted? Send the link to your Afternoon Delight-worthy vid to me at jthornton@weei.com. If I use it I’ll make you sports radio station website Internet famous.

@JerryThornton1

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
The story of Peyton Manning getting HGH shipped to his house took another turn when the Washington Post revealed on Thursday that Peyton Manning and his people hired private investigators to go to the home of Charlie Sly's parents.
Tom Brady's father, Tom Sr, spoke with CSNNE's Tom E. Curran regarding some of the comments made by Roger Goodell over the past few weeks.
Christian is resisting the return the of the Whiner Line and is suggesting some new segments. The inaugural "Christian's Comedy Minute" did not perform as well as he hoped, but we got some good phone calls out of it.

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We’re in an age now where the Super Bowl commercial phenomenon is no longer just a one-day event, it’s a season. Almost as long as the Christmas ad season or award show season. These ads are being released online earlier and earlier now until you’ve seen them all by kickoff. But that’s not even the most disturbing trend in this once-proud institution. Judging by the ads released so far this year and the ones we’ve seen in the recent past, there’s a movement away from the one element that made the Super Bowl ad a great American tradition.

Sex.

There was a time not too long ago when these ads were designed to stop red-blooded, meat-eating, hard-drinking ‘Merican men from getting up to eat, drink or pee and during timeouts and keep their eyeballs on the TV screen. And it was hot, sexy, often famous chicks in various stages of undress. But like many of our great institutions, it’s being watered down, gentrified and made safer to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Cleavage and bare midriffs have been replaced with the bland and antiseptic. Animals. Cute kids. Has-been celebrities. Heartwarming little slices o’ life. And heartwarming little slices o’ life involving animals, cute kids and has-been celebrities. They’re taking away our Super Bowl ad sex and replacing it with “Ellen.”

So today I offer you a look back at our not-to-distant past. To a glorious time when corporate America was not afraid to appeal to grown men. Presenting one man’s list of the Top 10 Sexiest Super Bowl Ads of All Time.

10. Britney, Beyonce and Pink for Pepsi

Two of the hottest women in pop music, plus Pink, who’s also really talented, dressed as Warrior Princess and rocking out. If you’re wondering what the pleasure center of my subconscious looks like, this is pretty much it. The part around the two-minute mark where Bey does that little booty shake is one of the most underrated Super Bowl moments ever.

9. Megan Fox for Motorola

It’s hard to contemplate it now, but there was a brief moment in our history where Megan was the “It” girl. Before she got all skinny and crazy and not even worth stopping to look at on the rare occasions she ends up on a gossip site. This ad, while suffering from an appalling lack of skin, captured her at that exact moment.

8.  Britney solo for Pepsi

This was Britney at the height of her powers. The synthesized voice. The belly shirt. The still semi-dangerous barely legal sensuality. In other words, before she became a 32-year-old divorced mother of three.

7. Halle Berry for M&Ms

This would have been higher on the list if they didn’t make the bizarre editorial decision to put Halle Berry in a bikini and keep her under the water the entire time. But “Halle Berry” plus “bikini” equal enough to get you on this list.

6. Kate Upton for Carl’s Jr.

I admit to cheating by including this because it never actually aired. Every year some advertiser pulls a viral marketing trick where they release a “banned” ad that was too racy for TV and rake in the free publicity. Sue me.

5. Go Daddy in court

WWE diva Candace Michelle, a great play on the “Wardrobe Malfunction” and a bunch of dirty old men. This was a get-the-kids-out-of-the-room classic.

4. Cindy Crawford for Pepsi

This one came out during a time when you literally could not walk in and out of a store without having Cindy Crawford stare out at you from at least one magazine. And from the car to the hair to the cutoffs, it might be the one minute that perfectly encapsulates the 1990s. I’m pretty sure it jump started the puberties not only of those two kids, but millions across the nation.

3. Ali Landry catches Doritos in her mouth

This ad actually launched the career of Ali Landry. A career that would skyrocket to heights like being a staple in Maxim and small roles in early 2000s classics like “Felicity” and “Pensacola: Wings of Gold.” She was the rare overnight sensation, and owes all her success to those 3-D snack treats. I miss them, but fortunately her star turn lives forever on the Internet.

2. Adriana Lima for Victoria’s Secret

It is simplicity itself. The world’s most beautiful woman. A football. And the mere suggestion you’d be getting into the end zone with her after the game. Sex and football, boiled down to their essential elements.

1. Miller Lite girls wrestle in a fountain

This one is the gold standard for all sexy Super Bowl ads because it has it all. Hot women. Water. Comedy. Girl kisses. And the twist ending that makes it all meta and justifies the fact you’ve been watching two chicks wrestle in dripping wet clothes. It, like the others on this list, make you proud to be an American on our greatest national holiday. Let’s just hope we haven’t seen the last of their kind.

 @JerryThornton1

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
As Johnny Manziel's problems with alcohol and domestic disputes continue, news broke today that his agent has parted ways him. His father also has concerns for his son, who he fears will not live to be 24 years old unless he seeks rehabilitation.

This is the Carolina Panthers rap we played on Dale & Holley with Thornton’s Final Drive on Thursday. And I post it here as an instructive life lesson.

The girl’s name is Lang Maddox, which sounds less like the “actress” she claims to be and more like the evil business magnate from a superhero comic, but that’s neither here nor there. Lang is, to be fair, about a Carolina 6. And my guess is she’s been told all her life that she’s a 9. Which means no one has ever leveled with her and told her she’s awful at rapping, this song is horrendous, she should never post this video and instead just stick to trying to land a role in some local community theater production of “Rent” or something.

But that sort of frank, honest leveling almost never happens with semi-cute chicks. Guys tell them what they want to hear in hopes of maybe getting to see them naked, and in the long run do them a grave disservice. It’s how we end up with Rebecca Black’s “Friday” and pageant contestants who think America is bad at geography because we don’t have enough maps of “the Iraq.” I know it’s difficult, but a little cold, hard truth might have spared us from lyrics like, “It takes more than negativity to make Superman frown.” And that would be a pure good.

@JerryThornton1

Blog Author: 
Jerry Thornton
Rob Gronkowski is in Santa Clara for Super Bowl 50 festivities. During a segment with FoxSports1 reporter Julie Stewart-Binks, Gronk told a story about giving lap dances in college. Stewart-Binks asked Gronk to replicate the performance. Gronk did. Predictably, the internet was outraged. The guys discuss the national reactions.

At the first ever NFL Women’s Summit on Thursday, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that he will be implementing an update to the Rooney Rule that will make it a requirement that women be interviewed for executive positions throughout the league, as well as in NFL offices.

“We believe in diversity,” Goodell said. “We believe we’re better as an organization when we have good people at the table. We have great people at the table. We’re also seeing it on the field.”

The first full-time female assistant coach, Kathryn Smith, was hired by the Bills last month. Jen Welter made headlines when she joined the Cardinals as an inside linebackers coach during the preseason, and this season Sarah Thomas became the first female official in NFL history.

“Sarah was our first female NFL official on the field this year,” Goodell said. “She did a fantastic job, and we’re very proud of her. We also have people breaking into the coaching ranks. Jen was the first coach last year. She set a trend, and we now have a second coach with the Buffalo Bills.”

Because of the new rule, the NFL should see this trend continue in the near future.

“You can see that progress is being made and our commitment is, we have something called the Rooney Rule, which requires us to make sure when we have an opening that on the team or the league level that we are going to interview a diverse slate of candidates,” said Goodell. “Well, we’re going to make that commitment and we’re going to formalize that we, as a league, are going to do that for women as well in all of our executive positions. Again, we’re going to keep making progress here and make a difference.”

Blog Author: 
Travis Upham