David Butler II/USA Today Sports

Thinking out loud: What to make of Tom Brady's hand injury

January 20, 2018 - 11:03 am

By John Rooke

Thinking out loud…while wondering if parenting skills have really diminished over time, or are our kids just stupider?

  • Tom Brady’s hand, or Handgate?  That’s the Number One story in the country this week, outside of New England?  Is this what outside media and fans really think about Jacksonville’s chances in the AFC title game, that Brady needs to be hurt for the Jags to have a shot?


  • Stitches on his throwing hand from hitting a teammates’ helmet buckle?  A thumb dislocation?  Methinks his Patriot teammates are playing coy with the story/non-story of his hand on purpose, just to mess around with the ever-prying media.  Also, to keep the Jaguars guessing. 


  • Call it a ‘game within the game.’  Just remember the other game too, fellas.


  • The overwhelming desire for the Patriots to fail – to lose – is as palpable as it has ever been.  There are some in the national media (looking at you, Max Kellerman) who are agenda-driven (I said look at me!) and can’t wait for the team and TB12 to stumble, so they can finally say “see?  Told ya’ he was done!”


  • Here’s the rub – if the Patriots lose to Jacksonville, the national storyline won’t be “Great Game by Jacksonville.”  It will be “Brady finished, New England dynasty over.”  Amiright?


  • Bill Belichick was asked by a reporter this week about having playoff experience.  Belichick is very much a historian of the game, but when history relates to the next game on the schedule, fuhgeddaboudit.


  • He was asked about his players having playoff experience, as compared to the less-experienced Jacksonville Jaguars.  “We’re talking about how teams are going to compete on Sunday,” Belichick told the media. “That’s what’s going to determine the winner in that competition. It’s what happened Sunday, not what happened last year or two years ago, five years ago, 1996 or whatever it is. Those games don’t make any difference, with all due respect.”


  • The pause for effect, before he ended “with all due respect,” was classic BB.  The question wasn’t a bad question.  But he clearly had no use for it.


  • Now, ask him that question during the off-season, and you might get a different answer.  But when it comes to preparation before a game, no one is more focused on the task at hand (pardon the pun) than the coach of the Patriots.  But you knew that already, didn’t you?


  • Are the Jaguars really that dumb?  They jump all over the Pittsburgh Steelers, largely because they felt disrespected, then turn around and declare to anyone who will listen “we goin’ to get that b*tch,” meaning they’ll beat the Patriots and be in the Super Bowl? 


  • Hello?  Pittsburgh did overlook you.  The Patriots probably won’t.  Stupid is as stupid does, Jalen Ramsey.  Oh, and what goes around, comes around.  Just sayin’.   


  • But the Steelers corner the market on stupidity.  Not just for overlooking the Jags and looking ahead to the Patriots a MONTH ago, but for the in-game planning and play-calling during their Divisional Round game. 


  • You have the best running back in the NFL, and on 4th and less than a yard you sweep him wide? Or let your 6-5, 280-pound (give or take) QB sneak it?  C’mon man.  Maybe that’s why offensive coordinator Todd Haley has left the building.


  • Not for nuthin,’ but in the NFC game, Minnesota and Philadelphia…aw, snap.  Doesn’t matter around here.  May not matter around anywhere else, if the Patriots win this weekend.


  • The AFC is the home team for the Super Bowl in Minneapolis.  But if the Vikings win, they will apparently get to keep their home locker room.  If I’m Bill Belichick, I’m making a stink about that – just to mess with their heads, and to give the NFL crap.


  • Is Nick Saban the Belichick of college football?  Perhaps.  Belichick said this week he wouldn’t look forward to facing him, if that were to ever happen again.


  • Keith Jackson’s passing last weekend brought to mind many great moments in a career full of them.  It also brought to my mind a remembrance that his energetic voice, laid-back style and southern grace resonated through many great sports moments in my own lifetime. 


  • Two men left an indelible imprint on my career for their preparation, their kindness toward others, their willingness to inform, entertain and give back – Keith Jackson and Dick Enberg.  Verne Lundquist is another.  We’re lucky for having had them around all these years.


  • Pawsox game tickets go on sale January 27th, and this year’s schedule will feature “Giveaways Every Friday Night,” in addition to “Fireworks Every Saturday Night.”  And some in our legislature would throw this long-time, invaluable opportunity for affordable, family entertainment for their constituents away.  


  • The current new-stadium plan has passed the RI Senate.  The House is next, and now some would have you believe they’re preaching fiscal responsibility?  Please.  Recognize this as a good deal for taxpayers.  Pawtucket deserves this moment.  Get on the freight train here, Mr. Speaker, or get steam-rolled right out of office.  You in, or out?


  • Did you see the news this week where college basketball finally has an official “opening day?”  It will be the Tuesday before the 2nd Friday of November every year, which falls on Tuesday, November 6th for 2018.  For scheduling purposes, most every Division I team in the country will open on Nov. 6th, 7th or 8th next season.


  • Great idea, to get away from the clutter of the NFL and college football in early November.  Get away from the weekend, and get the cameras (and subsequent attention) to yourselves.


  • The Friars find themselves in a unique situation, with a chance to build up Big Mo (that’s momentum) before beginning their Big East gauntlet next week.  Four wins in a row, no matter who they’re against, is tough to do in this league. 


  • But in this case, it might be mandatory with #1 Villanova, Seton Hall and Marquette all waiting on the road over the next two weeks.


  • This Week in the Big East features Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski, former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese and the one-and-only Guv’nah, Fox’s Bill Raftery.  Tranghese has some advice for Big East teams and fans, thinking 20 conference games in a season is the way to go.  It isn’t what you’re expecting.


  • Listen in, on 103.7 WEEI-FM at 6 am Saturday, on Sirius 108/XM 203/App Channel 963 at 11 am ET, on bigeast.com, westwoodonesports.com any time – plus iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play at your convenience.


  • Remember PC playing Division III Baruch College from New York in the preseason?  The New York Post this week reported a former women’s hoop coach and assistant athletic director at Baruch pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges.  Apparently, the coach pocketed more than $700K from the school athletic department, straight from fees gained by renting out the gym when it wasn’t in use. 


  • Rhody’s roll is unprecedented, and that’s great.  But let’s not lose our minds here.  The Atlantic-10 is down, and the Rams are clearly the class of the league.  But the winning streaks are a welcome sight for a program that has long-clamored (screamed?) for attention in its’ own backyard.


  • You’ve got our attention, URI.  But not because of your screaming.  Yes, you beat PC.  Dan Hurley has crafted a talented, tough team that has thrived on being an underdog or an afterthought.  What about playing as the king-of-the-hill for an entire year?  We’ll revisit this at the end of the regular season.  Should be fun to watch.


  • Meanwhile, the Rams ARE fun to watch.  But the opponents they’re beating aren’t.  Good thing they’ve got a non-league schedule to boost their NCAA chances if they (somehow) falter.


  • Watching Jo Jo White play was one of my earliest basketball memories, but not because he was a Celtic.  I’m old enough to remember his playing with Kansas, in the historical 1966 NCAA Tournament against eventual national champ Texas Western – now Texas-El Paso.


  • That Glory Road also took him to the US Olympic team and a gold medal in 1968, before he began his Hall of Fame career mostly with the Celtics.  White passed away this week, 71 years young.


  • USA Basketball announced this week it is launching an official ‘US Open Tournament,’ starting this year.  The US Open Basketball Championships will be offered through USA Basketball’s Youth Development division, with more than 3000 teams taking part.


  • The top two teams from each age group and division will qualify for the “Open” part of the tournament.  Cool idea.  


  • Brown’s senior all-Ivy defensive end Richard Jarvis has accepted a bid to play in the 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl on January 27th, held annually in Mobile, AL.  The Senior Bowl is still the most prestigious of the pre-draft, college all-star events.  This year, ex-Brown defensive lineman and Houston Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien will lead the South squad, with Denver’s Vance Joseph coaching the North.


  • Jarvis will have the chance, perhaps, to sack the Heisman Trophy winner.  Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield is also scheduled to play.


  • Providence men’s hockey is ranked 10th nationally this week, coming off of a 3-1 win over UConn in Hartford this week before getting the Huskies at Schneider Arena Saturday night.  In 15 Hockey East games (PC is 9-4-2) goalie Hayden Hawkey has a 1.88 goals against average.


  • The Friar women’s team is nationally-ranked, too.  Currently 8th in both polls, Bob Deraney’s Friars travel this weekend to UNH for two games.  Freshman Maureen Murphy has scored seven goals in the last six games, with a hat trick against Boston University last week.


  • And Providence soccer forward Mac Steeves was selected in this week’s MLS Super Draft as the 43rd overall selection by the Houston Dynamo.  Yes, there is such a thing.


  • The National Sports Media Association, of which I am a voting member, has selected its’ state sportswriter and sports broadcaster of the year awards for all 50 states.  Rhode Island winners are WLNE-TV Channel 6’s Nick Coit, and the Pawtucket Times/Woonsocket Call’s Brendan McGair. 


  • Comparatively speaking, the Massachusetts winners were the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy and WBZ-TV Channel 4’s Dan Roche.  Pretty good company, no?


  • These guys aren’t just deserving.  They’re pretty good, if you haven’t noticed.  Coit is a former student of mine at Emerson, so blame me if there’s something you don’t like about the guy.  But his work ethic is hard to match.


  • Want a future star to watch out for?  Remember the name Javik Blake.  This weekend, the high school junior, founder and lead broadcaster of the Lancer Sports Network (Norton High School) calls his 100th ice hockey game.  Blake has also called basketball, softball and soccer since he was in 8th grade. 


  • Anyone else thinking golf yet?  WEEI’s 6th annual 18 Holes for A Cause is already taking on participants, to be held this year at Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln, RI on June 11th.  Proceeds support the Jimmy Fund and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. 


  • They’re battling it out for morning radio supremacy, but the fixation that WEEI’s Kirk and Callahan and 98.5’s Toucher and Rich have for each other’s shows is nauseating.  Here’s a hint – do your own thing.  It will either be good enough, or it won’t be.  But stop trying to be the other guy?


  • Calling all coaches to the 44th annual Big New England Football Clinic, coming up March 2nd and 3rd at the Newport Marriott.  Lectures, information and live demonstrations are all a part of it, this year featuring Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown, Cleveland Browns’ line coach Bob Wylie and Holy Cross head coach Bob Chesney.  Bignewenglandfootballclinic.com is the place to register.


  • My buddy “Big E” has a five-year old grandson who complained recently to his mother that he was hungry and had a tummy ache.  Mom told him he would feel better if he had something in his stomach.  So, when Big E complained to Mrs. E that he had a headache, his grandson overheard and jumped right in with the solution. “Grandpa, you have a headache because your head is empty. You’d feel better if you had something in it.”


  • I know, I know. “Stupider” is not a word.  But after reading, watching and listening to the news lately, I get the feeling that is PRECISELY the direction we’re headed.  Not that my generation was any smarter, to be sure – we’ve all had our “moments” of idiocy, I’ll wager. 


  • After all, we are part of the Forrest Gump generation of “stupid is as stupid does.”


  • Hey Johnny, don’t stick your finger in that light socket!  Don’t put your toe into the bathtub faucet!  Hey Johnny, don’t drink and drive!  And don’t smoke cigarettes, they’re bad for you!


  • Anyone else have those phrases (or similar) still ringing in their ears today?


  • But when parents today need to be reminded to tell their kids and teens NOT to put dishwasher soap pods (ooh, ahh, look at the pretty colors!) into their mouths, well, all common sense has left us as a society.


  • Tweet of the Week, from several sources: “1998: In 20 years we’ll have flying cars. 2018: We literally have to tell people NOT to eat Tide Pods.”


  • Friar fan Kevin sent me a nice email this week, essentially telling me I screwed up.  But he was very nice about it, on my ‘big shots in PC history’ take a week ago: “While John Egan certainly may have hit free throws "with fans shaking the basket [guide wires] at MSG; during the tournament; they weren't Notre Dame fans as Notre Dame did not play in the NIT that year.” 


  • Kevin:  Absolutely correct.  It was Holy Cross fans shaking the wires behind the basket.  A temporary moment of glee, at the thought of misfortune befalling the Fighting Irish, was what clouded my recollection of the game details.  PC had beaten ND at Alumni Hall on Valentine’s Day in 1956 with a big shot at the end.  And Vinnie Ernst was at the line against Holy Cross, missed a 1-and-1 (with the basket shaking) to send the game into overtime.  In the extra period, Ernst hit everything else at MSG to beat the Crusaders – all big shots in Friar history.   


  • 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 [email protected]. 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 tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Southern New England Sports Saturday!  Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.

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