Tom Brady was hated well before Deflategate. The reason why was apparent to everyone who was watching the Patriots take on the Texans at Gillette Stadium Saturday.

In the third quarter, Jadeveon Clowney tackled Brady after he had thrown the ball. When the referee didn’t throw a flag, Brady threw a temper tantrum –– even though it seemed to be a routine play.

Much like last year’s AFC championship game against the Broncos, Brady was under duress all night long. After the game, Clowney bragged about getting inside his head. Few football players are more durable than Brady. The only time he’s ever missed a game due to injury was in 2008, when then-Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard tore his ACL. Brady would probably credit his rigorous, if not unorthodox diet and training regimen for this phenomenon, but sheer toughness factors into the equation as well. You don’t play through a stress fracture for an entire season (2010) or a torn ligament in your throwing hand for three months (2013) without being exceptionally resilient.

But sometimes in this world, perception and reality don’t match up. Around the league, some defensive players view Brady as a soft pretty boy. One of his loudest detractors is Ray Lewis, who poked Brady on Twitter after the Clowney hit.

The likely reasoning for Lewis’ feelings about Brady can be traced to a matchup between the Ravens and Patriots in October 2009. In it, Brady successfully lobbied for the officials to call questionable roughing the passer penalties on two occasions, including after a Suggs hit. Lewis voiced his frustration at the time, calling the whole situation “embarrassing to the game.” (Suggs, for his part, doesn’t even say Brady’s name anymore.)

With that history in mind, it’s not surprising that former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott also shares those sentiments. Two years ago, he mocked Brady and called him a dork.

“Come on man, Tom Brady doesn’t think he’s tough,” Scott said. “Gisele [Bundchen] doesn’t think he’s tough. Listen, I respect him, but he plays the game differently. No different from the way Peyton Manning plays it, but listen, certain guys — Steve McNair, tough guy. He was a guy that could hang with anybody.”

It’s not just ex- and current Ravens who like to belittle Brady’s toughness. Prior to last season’s AFC championship game, former Broncos lineman Antonio Smith called him a crybaby who grovels for calls. His then-teammate, Malik Jackson, backed him up, saying Brady is a “whiner.”

Brady’s been caught in a few uncompromising moments off the field that play into this perception as well. He was once photographed screaming with his hands up while he went down a waterslide, acting similarly to the way a toddler would. Then there the Ugg endorsements and GQ photoshoots, never mind the Elaine Benis-esque dance moves that he once showed off at Carnival.

As a fabulously wealthy and handsome four-time Super Bowl champion who’s married to Gisele Bundchen, Brady is an easy target for criticism. When he throws hissy fits like he did Saturday, he’s just asking to be mocked.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer
David Price told The Boston Globe he heard racist comments at Fenway Park. (Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports)

David Price told The Boston Globe he heard racist comments at Fenway Park. (Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports)

David Price probably did hear racist taunts at Fenway Park last season. But that doesn’t mean Red Sox fans are bigoted. All it proves is that jerks reside everywhere, including Boston.

In a recent interview with The Boston Globe, Price said some fans sitting in the bleachers would jeer at him while he was warming up in the bullpen before games. Once in a while, he said the barbs would also become racial.

“I got it all,” Price said. “It’s all right. I don’t care about that. My mom is white and my dad is black. I’ve heard that since I’ve been in school. There’s nothing you can say to me that I haven’t heard before. Your ignorance is not going to affect what I’m trying to do. But I feel sad it’s still out there.”

Despite those comments, it doesn’t seem as if Price is making an overarching statement about race relations in Boston. Later in the piece, he says he loves the city and can’t wait for his first son to be born here. If Price thought Boston were racist, or was constantly bombarded with bigoted insults, it’s unlikely he would be appear so enthusiastic about living in the area.

In ballparks across the country, black players say they’ve heard racial slurs. In October, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said fans in Toronto hurled racial epithets at him and Hyon Soo Kim during the ALCS. A few months earlier, Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward acknowledged he’s been taunted with bigoted comments during his career as well.

Conversations about Boston’s ugly history with race have been reignited in recent weeks after Celtics fans cheered Jazz forward Gordon Hayward during pre-game introductions earlier this month. Jae Crowder expressed frustration about that, which prompted some talking heads at ESPN to insinuate Celtics fans like Hayward because he’s white. Keep in mind, Crowder never mentioned race during his postgame rant. The talking point was fabricated.

The topic of black athletes being subjected to racism in Boston is low-hanging fruit for many, and the Red Sox are a big reason why. They were the last team to integrate, with former owner Tom Yawkey not signing a black player until 1959 –– well over a decade after the Dodgers had brought Jackie Robinson aboard. Because of this, and a gruesome episode in which vandals wrote racial slurs on Bill Russell’s walls and smeared feces on his bed, Boston’s sports teams are often intersected with the city’s racist past. It’s a lazy narrative, but that’s the perception.

Because of this gross mischaracterization, it’s tempting to dismiss Price’s words entirely. David Ortiz, a black Dominican-born man who didn’t step foot in Boston until he was 27 years old, is maybe the most beloved Red Sox player of all-time. As a group, baseball fans in Boston may have been racist 70 years ago. It’s insulting, and downright slanderous to say they’re still racist now.

The vast majority of people who attend games at Fenway Park would never think about hurling racist insults at anybody. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen once in a while. When Torii Hunter used to visit Fenway with the Twins, he says he heard some racial epithets thrown in his direction. In an interview with Rob Bradford, Jackie Bradley Jr. revealed he’s been subjected to racist taunts as well.

“I definitely had a lot of struggle in 2014. I think that was most racist type things that were directed toward me during that time,” he said.

In the same conversation, Bradley also praised Boston –– just like Price. That’s probably because they both know a couple of knuckleheads don’t speak for an entire city. While it’s essential to keep that reality in mind, it’s also important to remember that black athletes say these kinds of incidents still occur. Denying their existence is blissful ignorance.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer
Glenn, Lou and Christian talk about Aaron Rodgers and his ridiculous throw to set up the game winning field goal. Is he already one of the best ever? Callers fight Fauria, who doesn't think he's there yet.
The guys talk about the other AFC playoff game, as the Steelers and Roethlisberger beat the Chiefs in KC, and TE Travis Kelce goes on a rant about the bad refs.

[0:06:49] ... five after six opened at four to have. But I just think Aaron Rodgers right now league if you give me joining Elson doing always gonna be on a percent now which you know. He couldn't ...
[0:11:13] ... little levity are fresher remember here Dallas completes eleven yard completion to Jason Witten. And o'clock aren't any yeah they get a descent with 49 circuit's first intent on the forty. And he spiked the ball ...
[0:13:12] ... successful in the league like over the last five years whatever. And Aaron Rodgers success rate 60%. And hitting close at. His success is included in the one Orton prince said the man that everybody is ...
[0:14:07] ... Sports Radio diligently yeah. An NFL injury news you missed last hour Christian Fauria out two to three shows with a hammer it problem. With its. I was. Surprised. Good that war. It's. Always been to ...

Glenn, Lou and Christian talk about the Patriots struggling, but ultimately beating the Texans.

[0:01:18] ... me feel too good ever wrote him that we feel too good Tom Brady did early on did make me feel good Lewis a three touchdown Caroline make you feel like. Good job of all Arnold ...
[0:06:39] ... board. All the way from the superstar. To DO DR Lewis and Tom Brady you know both those guys. So did everything everybody Eric role what do you guys I mean that was what stupidest penalty ...
[0:10:15] ... which geez he's got the quarterback got nothing. Can it Ben Roethlisberger. Aaron Rodgers Tom Brady and Matt Ryan. That's that's me that's exactly the way you drawn up. So this tweet from Gaza Michael David Smith talk about the quarterbacks are present the AFC yeah 2003. When Brady went back to back and Ben Roethlisberger Manning Brady Roethlisberger commanding. Roethlisberger Brady Joseph Flacco snuck in there that when you are when they want Ray Lewis patent Brady extra day here and it an issue it's great event it's been greatly guy then Peyton Manning. Since 2003. With ...
[0:11:47] ... shot it doesn't matter how well you play. Great game plan by Romeo Crennel great use them merciless right over to Adidas and attacking the weakest part. The slowest guy with what are your quickest most. ...

Patriots receiver Julian Edelman joins Glenn, Lou and Christian to talk about Mike Tomlin's comments about the Patriots, what it takes to win in the playoffs, and to give Lou and Glenn crap about missing the last interview.

[0:00:43] ... and 37 yards. Now the all time leader in postseason for the New England Patriots. She had a damn good run as well on that reversed Julian Edelman joins us. TB twelve write a soaring announced today ...
[0:03:33] ... that should be able to go eat out or are you know lead practiced batter. Start faster although attacks being ought to play your best football playoffs. Yeah I know it it that post game all ...
[0:04:24] ... know it says it all so. You know a lot of time. Soccer game. I would tell age don't come how gay. Real lot street. It. Ali. All right breaker game in the way he. Let ...
[0:05:15] ... How many adjustments did you guys maker early on it looked like Romeo Cornell was trying to. Isolate their big guns one I want with the senator and you guys seem to Pete seemed to try ...

It has now been a week since Tom Brady joined Instagram, choosing the site over other contenders Snapchat, MySpace and Twitter.  He’s getting the hang of it and at press time has posted four pictures and a video.

Here is where they rank:


Football Sunday with my girlie girl #gopats #letsgooooo

A photo posted by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

This one is cute but it’s too calculated. Brady is not sitting there with his daughter and a TB12 shirt just happened to be there folded perfectly. His product placement is decent with the shirt and the Under Armour sneakers and pajamas (I’m assuming), but why isn’t his daughter wearing Ugg slippers? 


This was his first post and it is very Gisele-esque–it’s got nature, a filter and not enough clothes. This is OK for the fans as his first picture on Instagram because it makes him look god-like, but it has the essence of trying too hard.


Obviously this one is great because of what it is and what it means and it’s a cool picture. But Brady didn’t take it or it wasn’t taken for Instagram so it goes in the middle here.


Be water my friend A video posted by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

This video is quintessential Brady Four Agreements philosophy. But the Patriots looked like the opposite of water on Saturday so this didn’t even work.


“Good luck Daddy” ❤️❤️❤️

A photo posted by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

This is number one by default because no other picture really stands out and this is the personal side of Brady people follow him on Instagram to see. This is precious and everything, but I like the pictures with his family mostly only because I love seeing what the inside of his house looks like.

Blog Author: 
Lucy Burdge
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers will meet the Patriots in Sunday's AFC title game. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers will meet the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC title game. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

The Steelers didn’t score a touchdown in their victory over against the Chiefs Sunday, but Kirk Minihane predicts they’ll have a big day against an untested Patriots defense in the AFC championship next Sunday.

In the first hour of Kirk & Callahan Monday, Minihane said he thinks the Steelers will ride their offensive firepower to an upset win at Gillette Stadium.

“New England has played one quarterback this year who’s good. They lost to him. The defense is good; I’ll grant you the defense is good. [But] who have they played since then?,” he asked.

Minihane is right: though the Patriots finished No. 1 in points allowed, they spent most of the season playing against the dregs of the NFL. They faced off against seven of the 10 worst offenses in the league, including the worst four –– the Texans, Browns, 49ers and Rams.

“We have to give this defense credit, I get that,” Minihane said. “But when I look at Roethlisberger and the weapons they have offensively, the way they’re playing right now, I feel like against this offense they’re going to go in the high 20’s, low 30’s. So will the Patriots, probably –– I don’t doubt that. But the Patriots do seem, offensively, a little banged up now –– wouldn’t you say? No Gronkowski, clearly Bennett is banged up.”

Roethlisberger has played well against the Patriots in his career. In eight games, he’s thrown for 17 touchdowns and six interceptions while posting a 95.4 quarterback rating. Despite those impressive numbers, he’s only won three of his eight meetings with New England. That’s probably because of the damage Tom Brady has inflicted on the Steelers during his illustrious career. His passer-rating against them is a whopping 114.2. (Brady is 7-2 when matched up against the Steelers and has never lost to them at Gillette Stadium.)

Brady’s history against the Steelers is one of the reasons why Minihane says he’s experiencing some pause about his pick. And if the Patriots do win, Minihane says he’s prepared to call them one of the best teams of the Bill Belichick era –– assuming they take care of business in the Super Bowl.

“If the Patriots beat the Steelers and then go on to beat either [Matt] Ryan or [Aaron] Rodgers and win the Super Bowl, finish the year ––what, 17-2 –– and beat Aaron Rodgers in a Super Bowl and Roethlisberger in a championship game, then this is a great team,” he said. “There’s no argument: this is one of the great Patriots teams of all-time.”

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Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer

Awful AnnouncingRob Lowe has been a prominent DirecTV spokesman, but he’s also a big football fan, and the latter role appears to be taking precedence for him at the moment. Lowe absolutely unleashed on DirecTV in a tweet barrage Saturday.

What’s at issue here? It looks like it’s a carriage dispute between DirecTV and multiple Palm Springs, CA-area local television stations. From The Desert Sun: DirecTV has pulled the plug on at least eight local television stations in the Coachella Valley, after the provider and those stations failed to renegotiate carrier agreements.

The stations were initially scheduled to go off the air on Tuesday, but the parties agreed to two 24-hour extensions before “reaching an impasse” on Thursday, said Mike Stutz, general manager at KESQ, one of the affected stations.

According to KESQ and its parent company, The News-Press and Gazette Company, DirecTV customers were scheduled to lose KESQ (ABC), KDFX (FOX), KUNA (Telemundo), CBS Local 2, KCWQ (CW), Desert News Now, KUNA-FM and KESQ-AM when their existing contract expired on Tuesday. After two extensions, the stations went off the air at 3 p.m. Thursday. Those stations carry local news and weather programming, local and national sports — including National Football League playoffs — and network television shows.

Lowe even retweeted a response suggesting people switch to Xfinity:  

This is a bold and hilarious move by Lowe– that “Screwed Over Rob Lowe” line wasn’t bad. But calling the company you work for greedy and promoting the switch to another cable provider is an almost guaranteed way to get fired.

So he tweeted this:

I was really hoping Lowe would pull a Paul from Verizon (now Sprint) and switch sides but it seems he is weak and backed down. He even deleted those two follow-up tweets, which were gold. But he does commercials for DirecTV and still has to pay for it? And Alison Ridley’s dad works for Xfinity and doesn’t have to pay for it? And Alison Ridley’s dad doesn’t even do commercials?

Not only might Lowe now need a new job, but he also needs a new agent.

Blog Author: 
Lucy Burdge

SB Nation’s Charlotte Wilder turned down an interview with Kirk & Callahan last week, but she did pay a visit to the cozy confines of ESPN Radio following her controversial article about Patriots fans having a problem with the team’s affiliation with President-Elect Donald Trump.

In an appearance Sunday on The Undefeated Show, Wilder reiterated her claim that the team is experiencing a significant amount of Trump-related backlash. “I heard from people who were like, ‘Man, I can’t believe they like this guy –– they like Trump. I hate Trump.’ And sort of up in arms,” she said. “But the majority of people I talked to or that I saw leave comments on Brady’s Facebook page –– there were thousands, hundreds –– the people that struck me the most, somebody put it really eloquently and I quote him in my story, he was like, ‘Look, I don’t care what they do off the field. I don’t care who they vote for.’ … But there’s this deep hypocrisy to some fans who think, ‘Here’s Belichick, who’s famously gruff with the media, who says, ‘We’re onto Cincinatti. We’re onto Cincinnati. We’re onto Cincinatti.’” And then, they felt that when it was beneficial for him, or when he felt like he didn’t have to follow his own rules, where the rules have been the media policy and the no distractions and the ‘do your job’ has been something that fans have really bought into. They feel sort of betrayed. It’s like, ‘Wait, you’re not following the one thing that we thought we all agreed on was our thing.’”

Hosts Domonique Foxworth, Clinton Yates and Mila Kunis didn’t challenge Wilder’s conclusion, despite the fact she only quotes one fan, Susan Pease of Lincolin, who says Tom Brady’s and Bill Belichick’s friendships with Trump propelled her to stop watching. Wilder declined my request to be interviewed for this piece.

Later in the conversation, Wilder says many Patriots fans are experiencing an existential crisis in the wake of Trump’s victory. “Some people have stopped watching. As I said in the piece, the majority of people aren’t going to stop watching or stops supporting. But what I was focusing on are the people who are having issues with this, not the people who aren’t,” she said. “If you don’t care about this, great. I’m glad there’s a way some people are able to compartmentalize. But I think when you have an identity –– being a fan is so much about identity –– and your identity is tied into that of your team. And then when you team gets tied up into an identity that fundamentally breaks from yours, then it’s this real kind of moment of crises where you’re like, “Wait, where are the venn diagrams here? Where can I separate myself, how can I compartmentalize this?” And it might seem silly, because it’s sports, but it’s not silly, because sports are kind of everything.”

It seems as if most Patriots fans were able to put their supposed mental distress aside and watch Saturday’s game against the Houston Texans. The contest drew a monstrous 42.2 rating in Boston.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer