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Video: Amazing Auburn win over Alabama

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 30, 2013 08:04 PM

Football. It ain't dead yet.

While the sport, at the pro, college and even high school level, has been besieged with player injuries, questions about the mores surrounding the game, arrests, and all-around cultural assault, the finish Saturday afternoon at Auburn, Ala., reminded fans, players and media types why the sport reigns atop the American athletic food chain.

Auburn made the most of its "Second Chance" against Alabama Saturday and turned a potential game-losing field goal into a game-winning touchdown into the wildest college football finish since Cal beat Stanford and its band.

"Hail, Flutie!" meet "The Second Coming of Auburn."

Chris Davis fielded Adam Griffith's short kick at the back of the end zone, cut back to the left just past the 10-yard line and raced untouched 109 yards for the game-winning touchdown with no time left. The 34-28 victory put Auburn in next week's SEC title game against Missouri and derailed the Crimson Tide's chances for a third-straight national title.

If anything, it was the greatest play ever this month at Jordan Hare Stadium, which just two weeks ago saw an Auburn [11-1] catch so miraculous it was universally dubbed "The Prayer at Jordan-Hare" and/or the "Immaculate Deflection."

Alabama [11-1] coach Nick Saban lobbied for the officials to review the final play from scrimmage, a T.J. Yeldon run to the Auburn 39. They did, and gave the Crimson Tide one second back on the clock and a shot at 57-yard game-winning field goal with the score tied 28-28.

Be careful what you ask for, Nick.

"We're a team of destiny," Davis said. "We won't take no for an answer. When I looked back, I said, 'I can't believe this.'"

Auburn was 3-9 last season and is now in the SEC title game under first-year coach Gus Malzahn. They've been a "Team of Destiny" most of the season. [Does any of this sound familiar, Red Sox fans?] When Ricardo Louis caught a 73-yard TD off a deflection with 36 seconds left to beat Georgia two weeks ago it set up Saturday's Iron Bowl, the first time the intra-state rivals met as top-five teams.

Alabama took a 28-21 lead after a 99-yard TD pass from QB and Sports Illustrated cover boy A.J. McCarron.

While McCarron wasn't victorious on the field Saturday, he certainly didn't go home a loser.

McCarron's girlfriend, Katherine Webb, went to Auburn but said she was going to root for Alabama Saturday. Brent Musburger wasn't available for any age-inappropriate comments because Saturday's game aired on CBS.

Alabama missed three field-goal attempts in the game and Saban made several questionable moves throughout the game after taking a 21-7 lead.

As Saban died more than little inside, the crowd at Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium demonstrated complete delirium on the outside.

Davis said he "just ran" once he caught the ball but knew where he was headed a year ago, as evidenced by this post on his Twitter account from last December:

Auburn's greatest football player was indeed impressed:

Alabama fans, as expected, weren't happy.

Not even Broadway Joe could guarantee this victory:

Some took it harder than others:

Sports fans in Boston can sympathize with this young Crimson Tide fan, having shared a similar, crushing first-time "Why did this happen to me?" experience in either 1946, 1967, 1975, 1978, 2003 or 2008, depending on your age.

Saturday's Iron Bowl came on the heels of the annual Ohio State-Michigan matchup, which saw one of its most exciting conclusions in decades. The cheers from Columbus after the Iron Bowl were nearly as loud as the ones at Auburn and will echo throughout the rest of the college football landscape for weeks.

Ohio State beat Michigan 42-41 after a Michigan's two-point conversion attempt was intercepted with 32 seconds to play. Brady Hoke made the right call going for two and not risking OT, given how Braxton Miller and OSU was moving the ball, but the play called was not imaginative and the Buckeyes were waiting Meanwhile, Florida State routed Florida 37-7.

Alabama's loss threw the BCS rankings into complete chaos. It's likely that Florida State, Ohio State and Auburn will each move up a spot and be No. 1, 2 and 3 this week. Alabama should land at No. 4. College football's playoff system is going to come a year too late for the Buckeyes if they get jumped by a one-loss SEC champion Auburn team in the final BCS poll. Florida State appears to be secure in having a shot at the national title game if it beats Duke next week in the ACC championship game. Ohio State plays Michigan State for the Big Ten crown.

Given the action Saturday, it might be time to update this list:

The NFL playoffs and bowl season are still a month away.

In the words of Bart Scott, "can't wait."

Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.

NFL Week 13 Power Rankings: Patriots aim to avoid Texas-sized trap door

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 30, 2013 05:57 PM

Brady Globe.jpgThe Patriots don't do "trap games."

Just ask Aqib Talib.

"Just because they're 2-9 doesn't mean they're going to come and hand us the win," Talib said this week.

He's talking about the once-mighty Houston Texans, who play host to the Patriots this week. The Patriots have enjoyed lots of success at Reliant Stadium. The Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium, beating the Carolina Panthers on a day when there was wardrobe malfunction but no major officiating screw-ups of note.

The Patriots are coming off their most-impressive win of the regular season, beating Peyton Manning, Wes Welker, the ghost of Wes Welker and the Broncos 34-31 in overtime. They wiped out a 24-0 deficit, fed millions of fans and more than few media types a monstrous helping of crow and re-asserted, if not re-affirmed, the primacy of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady as best the "QB-coach" east of Bill Walsh and Joe Montana.

When Belichick took the wind in overtime, he left Manning and the Broncos sucking wind. The nasty, cold weather conditions meant Manning would have to slip out of his comfort zone and throw to win. Each time the Broncos ran the ball, Belichick smiled in his best Evil Genius/Dark Lord manner and thought to himself. "I love it when a plan comes together."

Brady, meanwhile, continued to manhandle Peyton in a manner that little brother Eli could only dream of.

The 2013 Texans are more suited for the winner of Saturday's Iron Bowl than the winners of "Brady vs. Manning XIV."

A year ago, the Texas were the "up and coming" AFC darlings of many in the NFL intelligentsia. The had the gun-slinging offense and potent defense poised to dethrone the Old Guard of Brady and Belichick and the Patriots in the AFC elite.

The teams then met a year ago next week on Monday night football and the Patriots emasculated J.J. Watt, Arian Foster and the rest of the then 11-1 Texans with a 42-14 rout in Foxborough.

The beatdown was replicated just over a month a later as the Patriots rolled to a 41-28 victory over the Texans in the playoffs.

The Texans, as a franchise, have yet to collectively recover.

Contrast that with the incredible resiliency of the Brady-Belichick Patriots. You know, the team that a year ago was poised to be dethroned by Houston or Peyton Manning.

The Patriots are 33-4 since 2003 in games after a loss. They were shafted by the non-pass-interference-pick-up-the-flag penalty at the end of their 24-20 loss to Carolina and denied one more play to win that game. The "Push Rule" penalty called in the OT loss to the Jets had never been called in NFL history before that game and has yet to be called since.

And while many media types, other NFL coaches, former top NFL officials and fans in 49 of 50 states according to one ESPN "SportsNation" poll believed/were right in thinking the Patriots got stiffed against Carolina, neither Belichick nor any of his players spoke out openly about that play. They recognized the play of Cam Newton and the Panthers and, in true Belchick Cliche style, "focused on the Broncos" the following week.

While it took New England another two quarters to recover, the end result left the Patriots all but assured of another AFC East title.

In just the past 21 months, the Patriots have lost a Super Bowl, an AFC championship game, had their most-prolific receiver in team history jump to their most-potent rival, had a player arrested for murder, managed the Tim Tebow circus and weathered seven Stevan Ridley fumbles, not to mention the envy, hate and ill wishes of fans in 31 other NFL locales.

They stand at 8-3 but very easily could be 10-1, in spite of all those injuries, departures and distractions.

Seven of their games have been decided on plays or penalties called in the final minute of regulation or in overtime. A breakdown of those games show big last-minute/OT plays by Brady ["showponies and unicorns" against the Saints], big plays on special teams [winning FGs by Stephen "He Doesn't Get Enough Credit" Gostkowski and the forced fumble against Denver on Sunday], materful coaching decisions ["Yep, we'll take the wind] and stellar stops by the defense [Talib's knockdown of Matt Ryan's fourth-down pass with 41 seconds to left against Atlanta].

Much of society and culture these days is focused on finding fault in those who are successful and "bringing them down." Trolls do it on the internet, and opponents try to do it on the football field. The difference is that football players, or those engaged in real life, actually have to move out of their parents' house and get dressed each day to go to work.

Little if anything of what fans and media types say ever really affects what happens on the field during NFL game day. No matter if you're in fear of "jinxing" a team because you know they're going smite a weaker opponent but are afraid to say it, or if you just "hate" an opposing team so much that there's no way they can win.

The Patriots won last Sunday night not because of all the fun millions of fans in New England had making jokes at Peyton Manning's expense, or because you turned off the TV when New England was losing. That type of idiocy is fun when selling beer. But it means nothing in real life or football.

The Patriots won because they designed and executed their game plan well enough in the second half and overtime to overcome their mistakes - including three disastrous turnovers - and the Broncos' ball-possession offense in the first half.

So, fear not Sunday.

This one is in the bag.

Unless someone drops it.

[Teams are listed with records and their rankings in last week's poll.]

FULL ENTRY

10 things to be thankful for in Boston sports - 2013 edition

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 26, 2013 10:54 AM

Napoli.jpg

There was plenty to be thankful for on the Boston sports scene before Sunday night's latest "Comeback From The Ages" over Peyton Manning produced by Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.

If that wasn't enough, the Red Sox 2013 World Series Championship film had its premiere at the Wang Theatre in Boston Monday night, and was being shown publicly for the first time as both the Bruins and Celtics were winning.

Not a bad 24 hours.

Thanksgiving is Thursday. Your turkey should be thawing in the fridge, or already reserved at the grocery store. All that's left other wise are the frozen-solid 35-pounders. And no, you can't thaw it in the sink over night without courting food-borne illness.

2013 was both the best and worst of times in Boston sports. The city's largest, oldest and most-prestigious sporting event was targeted by evil and shattered by two explosions on Patriots' Day. The Red Sox provided an Improbable Dream championship for the ages. The Bruins came with a few unlucky bounces, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews of a Stanley Cup.

Those two sporting events, along with the bombings and subsequent manhunt, were intertwined on a personal and civic level for millions.

The first rallying point after the bombings was a Bruins game at TD Garden and the first outdoor rallying point after the manhunt was a Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

Both teams, their players, and their organizations did terrific work, much of it unpublicized, to comfort the survivors and offer whatever solace possible to the victims' families. In addition they, along with the Patriots and Celtics, helped to raise millions for the One Fund and other worthy charities.

In this space, we chronicled the personal reflections of both those who survived the bombings, and those of the family members and friends who perished in their aftermath. We are well aware of what is truly important and what isn't, as are most adults.

There is a huge grey area when the real world and sports world collide. The Marathon Bombings showed us humanity's ugliest side, despite what Rolling Stone put on its cover. In their aftermath, we saw demonstrated the deep goodness found in so many millions of others. While it may sound uncomfortable or unseemly to those who deem sports a distraction or "the toy department," the role played by Red Sox and Bruins in the city's civic recovery is undeniable and substantial.

For that, we should all be thankful.

That Red Sox championship at Fenway Park was not bad, either.

What that, here are 10 other things to be thankful for in Boston sports in 2013.

Enjoy, and pass the stuffing.

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bergeron.jpg

10. Patrice Bergeron. No. 37 solidified his place in the rafters above the TD Garden ice with his ultimate Tough Guy performance against the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals. Bergy suffered torn rib cartilage in Game 4, broke a rib on his left side in Game 5 and a separated his right shoulder and a punctured left lung in Game 6. The lung eventually collapsed. The next time Clay Buchholz misses three months because he slept funny, just remember the above photo.

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9. Technology: Once upon a time, your sports allegiances were dictated by birth and limited in their scope by the circulation of the daily newspaper and broadcasting scope of the home team's radio and TV stations, or their affiliates. Fans were isolated and a handful of voices contributed to the discussion. Thanks to the internet, satellite and cable TV, social media, sports talk radio and [for those in the circulation areas] the continued strong presence in the city of two newspapers that devote sizable resources to sports coverage, Boston sports fans just about anywhere can stay connected, informed and even misinformed about their favorite teams. It's been one of the biggest game-changers in sports in the past 20 years.

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8. Ben Cherington: Throughout the summer, as the Red Sox lingered at or near the top of the A.L. East standings, the line "Ben Cherington hasn't gotten enough credit for this team" was repeated 8,343,549 times in New England. Credit has been given to this New Hampshire native who attended Amherst. And we're grateful for it. No matter what happens to the Red Sox, Cherington's hands were all over the "worst-to-first" World Series champions. Cherington was GM when Bobby Valentine was hired, but that wasn't his decision. Remember, as we heard at the time, "Larry Lucchino runs the Red Sox."

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7. The NBA Draft Lottery: It's the only legitimate hope the Celtics have of rebuilding their team into a championship contender. For whatever reason(s) - Boston is not a coveted destination [see Miami, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Houston] for NBA free-agents, even when the money is on the table. But one lucky Ping Pong ball can change history. Don't forget, it was the lottery that led to the creation of the Big Three in 2007 when the Celtics swapped the No. 5 pick in the NBA draft [which became Jeff Green] and a few others for Ray Allen.

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Globe Red Sox.jpg

6. Fenway Park: A year ago, we were sick of this place, its ceremonial bricks and the team that played its home games there. But the 2013 Red Sox not only restored this team's place in the sports soul of New England, they also exorcised the rank commercialization of the Park's 100th anniversary with Boston's first World Series championship-clinching victory at home in 95 years. Fenway Park remains the constant among generations of sports fans in Boston. It's where your dad went as a kid. It's where he took you as a kid. [I also sat with my mom in the bleachers during the 1975 World Series.] It's where you've taken your kids, and, someday, your grandchildren. Fenway's historic significance is self-evident. That was reinforced this past baseball season. The other main sports venues here, Gillette Stadium and TD Garden, are first-rate modern facilities, both without sections full of Obstructed View seats or stadium seating that leaks when it rains.

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5. Zdeno Chara: His swat to the face Sidney Crosby in last spring's Eastern Conference final is reason enough to put him here. A native of Slovakia, Chara speaks six different languages. No one was quite sure what language he was yelling when he hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2011. Chara, 6-foot-9, has towered over the Bruins as team captain since 2006. The best thing about Chara is that after seven years as a team captain in Boston, there's little if anything negative to say about him, save for a rough spot or two against the Blackhawks. While he may remain the Montreal's Most Wanted for his hit on Max Pacioretty in 2011, he's Boston's Most Respected, if not beloved, hockey player.

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4. Dustin Pedroia: His contract extension has already proven to be the best $110 million the Red Sox have ever spent. Pedroia's uniform is usually dirty by the end of the first inning. He's the consummate five-tool player. He plays the game the way you wish you could play it. Bogaerts to Pedroia to [fill in the blank at first] will be music to Red Sox fans ears for years to come.

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henry kraft.jpg

3. Stable Ownership: Success starts at the top. Each of Boston's four major pro teams boasts ownership that has demonstrated a serious commitment to winning. That is not the case everywhere. And it hasn't always been the case in this city. Just 20 years ago, the Red Sox were being mismanaged by the ever-changing Yawkey Trust, the Jacobs Family still housed the Bruins in the rat-infested, sweltering/freezing, pole-seat laden Boston Garden, James Orthwein was threatening to move the Patriots to St. Louis and the Celtics and first-year owner Paul Gaston were reeling from the death of Reggie Lewis. None of the current ownership groups are perfect, but they've all notched championships in the past nine years [you're slacking, Mr. Kraft] and would have won more had it not been for the Giants, Lakers, Blackhawks or [when it comes to the Red Sox, there are way too many things to list here].

John W. Henry, the Kraft Family, Wyc Grousbeck and his partners and the Jacobs Family all deserve a nod from Boston sports fans for spending what it takes to produce winners and media who cover them for helping them keep their jobs in the process.

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2. David Ortiz: In a year when Ortiz hit .688 in the World Series and was named MVP of the Fall Classic, he's best perhaps remembered for a pair of speeches he delivered that were witnessed by a national TV audience.

The first one came before his first game of the season and the day after the Boston Marathon bombing manhunt shut down the city and re-christened the Hub. The second notable soliloquy was a speech fit for a king and came before the sixth inning of Game 5 in the World Series and refocused his teammates to wake up and put the Cardinals to sleep.

Ortiz' success in the World Series drew out the haters and small minds who cannot grasp or comprehend the end result of effort and hard work. A year ago, the Red Sox and Ortiz were at odds over a contract. The Red Sox eventually signed him for two years, keeping him in the fold for next year. No need to thank Ben Cherington for that, we already did [see above.]

Six months and 10 days after Ortiz delivered his "Our [Bleeping] City" speech, Ortiz, the Red Sox celebrated a World Series championship at Fenway Park for the first time since Woodrow Wilson was president.

Thanks, indeed, for the memory of a lifetime.

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Brady Belichick Getty.jpg

1. Brady and Belichick: Combined, they are 144-42 [.774] as a QB-coach tandem in the regular season.

Their success is tied to one another, inexorably linked. At their best, Tom Brady's offense and Bill Belichick's defense provide an unbeatable combination. The one year Brady missed with an injury, Belichick guided the Patriots to an 11-5 finish but still missed the playoffs.

They have elevated the Patriots and the NFL to a stratospheric status in Boston no one could have imagined 15 years ago, especially since at that time Kraft was working on a deal to move the team to Hartford. A year ago at this time, the Patriots were arguably "the biggest team in Boston" and it took the Red Sox doing what they did in 2013 to definitively knock the Patriots out of that top spot.

"Spy Gate" is a good crutch for anyone who chooses not to recognize the success that the Patriots have enjoyed with Belichick as their coach and Brady as their QB. Did Belichick have secret tapes of the weather on Sunday night when he took the wind in overtime? Or was it his knowledge, and dare we say genius, that he knew Peyton Manning would not rise to the occasion in OT. Brady, meanwhile, began the 2013 season with his top five targets from 2012 absent for a variety of reasons.

The Patriots, despite the arrest of Aaron Hernandez, an overhaul of the receiving corps, all their injuries, some gastly bad calls, non calls and questionable but correct calls, are 8-3 and would have a first-round bye if the season ended today.

The biggest knock against Brady and Belichick is that they have not won a fourth Super Bowl together.

Think about that for a minute. They suck because they haven't won four Super Bowls?

Be thankful for what you've got in these two. They won't be here together forever. And their success as a "QB-Coach" tandem won't be duplicated in our lifetimes.

Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.

Affleck has special message for N.Y. fans in Red Sox 2013 World Championship film

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 25, 2013 09:34 PM

The Red Sox premiered their 2013 World Series championship DVD Monday night at the Wang Theatre. It is available on sale in stores Tuesday.

Narrator Ben Affleck, who is already in some hot water after being named the next "Batman," didn't win over any support in Gotham with his special message to Yankees' fans in the version of the film shown Monday night:

Oscar-worthy dialogue for sure. The line was edited into the premiere version film that was shown Monday night and sadly will not appear in the DVD offered for sale to the public.

The crowd at the Wang Theater went wild with applause after Affleck's shot, which came in the movie right after the Red Sox were shown winning the World Series at Fenway Park for the first time in 95 years.

David Ross, Will Middlebrooks and honchos from the Red Sox front office walked a red carpet and were joined by season ticket holders and others for the premiere. The film starts on Patriots Day and chronicles the season through the World Series. It also includes a music video called "This Beard Came Here to Party."

Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.

Patriots critics eat crow for Thanksgiving

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 25, 2013 01:00 AM

Spike.jpg

You are losing 24-0 to Peyton Manning the Broncos and Wes Welker.

You've given up three turnovers that resulted in 17 points.

Your defense gave up a 31-yard screen pass on a 3rd and 20.

Usually, that means it's over.

But you are not Tom Brady.

You are not Bill Belichick.

Turns out the Patriots were fortunate to be down 24-0 at the half. And had the Broncos right where they wanted them.

You are the guy who turned off the TV, or even worse, switched to the AMA's at half time. You are the guy who left Foxborough at halftime, even though your kid wanted to stay, because your buzz was wearing off and the cold started to feel, well, cold.

You are the idiot on the interwebs or our Boston.Com in-game chat who said "this team sucks," "fire Josh McDaniels" or "the defense is toast without Wilfork."

Or even worse, you're the moron who Tweeted this:

Of course, it wasn't just fans and media types trying to be realistic at half-time Sunday night who questioned this team. The haters were also out in full force, continuing their rampage that began Monday night.

We know there are never any nails in the coffin of Brady, Belichick and their Patriots as long as they still have a mathematical chance and enough time to win. Even these Patriots. The team with the decimated defense. The team without Welker. The team without accused killer Aaron Hernandez. The team whose best running back fumbled the ball right out of the gate Sunday night.

That same team also demolished a 24-0 halftime deficit and won 34-31 in OT Sunday night. It was the biggest comeback in Patriots' history and the timing was perfect. It came on a Sunday night with millions watching on NBC against their biggest obstacle in the AFC.

Ten years from now, there will be 14 million people who say:

1. "I was at that game when the Patriots came back on the Broncos in 2013."

2. "I stayed until the end."

3. "I said Belichick should defer and take the wind ... and I activated Knowshon Moreno that week on my Fantasy League team."

Sure you did.

If the Patriots [8-3] can win out against a very downhill schedule, New England will have a first-round bye. If the Patriots win out and the Broncos [9-2] lose again [they play at Kansas City next week] the Patriots could gain home field throughout the playoffs. The Chiefs will have to help a bit. That means a very likely rematch against the Broncos at home on January 19, 2014. The Broncos-Patriots AFC title game match-up that so many of us saw as inevitable in August appears even clearer as we prepare for Thanksgiving dinner and Black Friday, Thursday, Wednesday Night.

The Patriots took some major steps toward creating a championship contender with this victory. For one, they put the entire Welker exit/departure mess behind them. That ghost was buried, hopefully for good, along with any doubts about kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who hasn't missed a key kick all season and was ice-cold money with his 31-yarder that won this game in OT.

Forget Bill, in Gostkowski we trust.

Four hours of f-bombs, frustration and football were rewarded with another one of these victories over Manning in another "Game of The Ages." While 2013 has already given media types, fans and anyone else paying attention, an Improbable Dream championship in the Red Sox, the Patriots are quietly and indirectly working on their own little Miracle In Foxborough.

Brady is now 10-4 against Manning. More like, 10-4, over and out, when it comes to the never-ending argument over which one of these QBs is better, and which QB is the best one of this era. There is one Manning who has Brady's number, but his team lost to the Cowboys Sunday and fell to 4-7. Archie might have fared better against Tom in the blustery, winter-like conditions at Gillette Stadium.

Tom owns Peyton. No question. No doubt.

Peyton has one Super Bowl ring. Brady has three.

Peyton pitches pizza. Brady hawks Movado watches.

Peyton drives a Buick. Brady has a Gisele.

New England's special teams were spectacular all around, as well. Welker's miscue on the final punt of the game, which resulted fumble that was recovered by Nate Ebner, led to the game-winning field goal. Denver's Tony Carter ran into Ryan Allen's punt after it landed, and Ebner recovered it at the 13-yard line.

Welker owned up to the mistake. He also had a pair of notable drops late in the game, one in the fourth quarter and another in OT, that triggered immediate flashbacks to Super Bowl XLVI. But at least he's got a nice head of hair.

Dare we say he ... ahem ... choked. We said that after the Super Bowl two years ago and it didn't work out so well.

Belichick pulled out his "Genius" card by double-dog daring Manning to beat the Patriots with the first possession on overtime. He took the wind and gave Papa John's favorite QB the ball and said: "Here you go, see if you can win on the first possession of OT like Tim Tebow did back in the playoffs two years ago."

The Patriots players at mid-field still weren't sure that they got their coach right in declining the ball to start overtime. But they did. Belichick wanted the wind. And he wanted to make Manning win this game, take it in overtime, on the road, in cold and blustery Foxborough.

Manning then stuck out his tongue and it stuck to the frozen telephone pole.

He blinked, flinched and fizzled. Moreno was a "brahma bull" - as the late, great John Facenda would say - chewing up 224 yards on the ground. But Moreno could not carry his team in overtime. That was Manning's job. The Patriots defense, which was gassed in addition to being depleted, pushed Manning into being Manning. It was Peyton at Foxborough circa 2003. He was stunned, befuddled and rattled.

Brady, meanwhile, owned the final 43 minutes and 55 seconds of Chapter 14 in the "Manning Vs. Brady" saga. He finished 34 for 50, with 344 yards and 3 TDs overall and compiled a 107.1 passer rating. The Patriots fumbled six times in the game, but didn't commit any turnovers in the second half or overtime. Some of that came as a result of cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie dislocating his shoulder after diving to try and pick off Brady's final pass of the first half.

Without Rodgers-Cromartie, the Broncos secondary was shattered and Brady picked it apart over the final [almost] three quarters of play.

Julian Edelman and Welker went "Freaky Friday" and Edelman dominated the Broncos with nine catches for 110 yards, highlighted by a masterful 43-yard gainer. He also returned three punts for 39 yards.

Wes who? Danny what?

Rob Gronkowski, who appears completely recovered from his early-season ailments, was in full beast mode again Sunday night, dragging defenders after each catch and triggering contact with the defenders before they got the chance to go Luke Kuechly on him.

Gronk catch. Gronk run. Gronk score. Gronk spike. And eventually, Gronk party.

There were another slew of questionable calls. It would be interesting if you asked all the NFL officials to define pass interference or defensive holding and see how many different answers you'd get. There was a glaring non-call on a mugging of Kenbrell Thompkins in OT that ignited Brady's famous Irish temper and left everyone in Foxborough and Patriots fans everywhere groaning. There was also trouble with the play clock and game clock early in the game. It's reassuring that the NFL has its focus on important things like idiot Tweets from players but can't keep the lights on during the Super Bowl, ensure that facilities have clocks and/or operators that work or go a season without someone being charged with murder.

But enough of the NFL's troubles. Sunday night the Patriots put a season's worth of criticism of doubt behind them.

Brady is now the first NFL QB ever to be 102 games over .500 in his career [144-42]. He and Belichick re-asserted their dominance over Peyton Manning Sunday in front of a stadium and TV audience full of frustrated skeptics and doubters.

Despite everything that's happened to this team and this franchise in the past 11 months, the Patriots will be 8-3 when their players and coaches sit down for Thanksgiving dinner this week.

And while Manning offered up another turkey in Foxborough, the meal served Thursday should taste pretty damn good, too.

But not nearly as tasty as the crow so many of us ate Sunday night.

Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.

Bikini-clad Packers fans brave sub-freezing temps

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 24, 2013 03:56 PM

Fans via Bleacher Report.jpg[via Bleacher Report]

These hearty and likely very inebriated Packers' fans turned Sunday's game at Lambeau Field into a bikini beach party. The game-time temperature was around 20 degrees as the Packers faced the Vikings.

If their goal was to be noticed, it worked.

It was surf's up on Twitter:

It didn't go unnoticed on the Red Zone channel, as Scott Hanson weighed in with his thoughts.

Even Wisconsin native and CSNNE sportscaster Trenni Kusnierek beamed with Cheesehead pride about her spiritual sisters:

It's going to be blustery and cold Sunday night at Gillette Stadium when the Patriots face the Broncos.

For those hearty female fans in New England, the challenge has been made.

You're up, Foxborough.

Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.

Watch: Ohio State band's amazing 'Gettysburg' salute

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 23, 2013 10:46 PM

osu1[Via For The Win]

This score was one for the books.

Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address 150 years ago this week.

The Ohio State University band did not let the occasion go without the fanfare of another one of its epic, spectacular and wonderfully creative half-time performances.

Saturday, the "Best Damn Band In The Land" recreated the Battle of Gettysburg and Lincoln's famous speech there, complete with marching soldiers from the Confederate and Union armies, to firing cannons, to the Lincoln Memorial itself.

osu2 (2)[Via For The Win]

The "Salute to Gettysburg" was a performance even a Michigan grad like Tom Brady would love.

Here it is in its entirety.

In just the past five weeks, the Ohio State band has created a Michigan-player-eating dinosaur, sank UM's battleship and re-animated Michael Jackson's moon walk. They play at Michigan next week.

The fans who stuck around in the snow in Columbus for OSU's latest half-time performance were rewarded with the Buckeye's 23rd straight victory, a 2-score-plus-2-14 rout of Indiana, that clinched a spot in the Big Ten title game and a extended OSU's hopes of squeezing into the BCS championship.

The Buckeyes will need Auburn to upset Alabama next week in the Iron Bowl and win out for a shot at the national title. There's negative zero chance of the Florida Gators, who lost to FCS opponent Georgia Southern Saturday, upsetting undefeated Florida State next week in Gainesville. And FSU will be heavy favorite in the ACC title game The Tide and Seminoles will be ranked No. 1 and 2 in Sunday's BCS poll. Ohio State will be third.

[Mobile users can watch the video here.]


Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.

NFL Week 12 Power Rankings: Wounds linger for Welker, Patriots

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 23, 2013 06:07 PM

Brady Welker.jpg

By now, you've been smothered with "To Boo or Not Boo Wes Welker" columns, social media polls and TV reports.

Given the Sunday's 8:30 p.m. or so kickoff, a large chunk of the crowd at Gillette Stadium should be too lubricated to remember that Welker ever played in New England. The rest can do what they please. They've earned that right by purchasing a ticket.

The "why" in the Welker jumping to Denver saga is the most important question. Not that anyone can take back, or change, the past. But it's important to understand why Welker left and why the Patriots lowballed him after franchising him for $9.15 million in 2012.

Welker suffered a concussion last week against Kansas City but has been cleared to play. If anything, this week's game will help both sides move on past their bitter, break-up.

This week's "Peyton vs. Satan" matchup won't actually have Brady and Manning playing against each other, they're playing against each other's defense. That dominance of New England's defense over the years is one key reason why Brady is 9-4 against Manning and Foxborough has been Manning's personal House of Horrors in January over the years.

Welker's departure was part Welker, part Bill Belichick and part Patriot Way. In all every divorce, the ultimate fault lies with the people involved. No one forced Welker to leave New England. He left on his own accord and did have a counter offer from New England on the table. That offer from the Patriots [$10 million over two years plus incentives vs. $12 million over two years from Denver] was both significantly below his market value and what it would have cost New England franchise him again [a 20 percent mark-up over his 2012 salary.]

Then there were the issues that Welker himself brought to life after he left town. According to Sports Illustrated, Belichick "got on him in a way he never had before, admonishing him in front of the team" last season. "It was just kind of hard," Welker said at the time. "One of those deals where you have to endure him, put up with him . . . But he does it to everybody, it's the way he is."

After posing for the cover of SI's NFL preview, Welker said it was the Wrath of the Hoodie that was still on his mind. "When I'm answering questions from the Denver media, I'm not worried about what the Broncos' people are going to think," Welker infamously said last August. "I'm worried about what Belichick will think. Isn't that crazy?"

It's something, for sure.

That's all you need to know about how much Belichick is still living in his head.

There's little question the Broncos are better off with Welker this season. Denver is 9-1 and Welker leads the team with 61 catches and has logged 648 yards with nine TDs.

In March, the following words appeared in this space as the NFL prepared for free-agency:

"Welker is not your typical 31-year-old future Hall of Fame slot receiver who made 118 catches last season. He's Tom Brady's target of choice in all the toughest situations. There will be always be a substantial market in the NFL for Tom Brady's favorite target, especially when you can take him away from Tom Brady."

The only people who weren't surprised when Welker left New England and landed in Denver were the insiders and experts who dutifully via State Run Media and other outlets propagated the Kraft Administration's party line that the free-agency market for Welker was soft.

Turned out the market for Welker was soft as Peyton Manning's right arm.

That leaves us with the "Patriot Way" as the final, and perhaps most sinister culprit.

Brady restructured his contract in the offseason and, at least on the surface, got nothing in return. Welker was the first of Brady's Binkies/Buddies to be shown the door in the name of not overpaying for anyone one position.

Of course, the Patriots busted the bank to keep Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski in the fold for a long time, banking on re-making the game by having two dynamic tight ends at Brady's disposal for the indefinite future and discarding fully the need for a big-name, costly, deep-threat wide receiver.

The slot guy was, as they say, expendable, especially with Danny Amendola readily available and Julian Edelman going nowhere. The numeric matchup between Welker vs. Edelman/Amendola this season is virtual push. But the Patriots dearly miss Welker on third-down situations this season. The Patriots are converting 35.6 percent of their third-down attempts 10 games into this season. They hit on 48.6 percent of their third-down attempts in all 16 games in 2012.

Rolling Stone's well-crafted mix of facts and conjecture about Hernandez left readers with the impression that Urban Meyer was a co-conspirator in the murder of Odin Lloyd and Bill Belichick drove the getaway car. Absurdity aside, the Patriots obviously knew Hernandez had problems in his past and were convinced and/or fooled he had moved beyond his thuggery.

And that's where Welker's departure really hurts. So much it is rooted in vanity, on both the side of the Patriots and Welker. Belichick dissed him, or did whatever he did to sour Welker, because he could.

It's the "Patriot Way."

And the business of football isn't always business.

Egos often trump common sense or common decency.

And Welker, instead of being capable of shrugging off Belichick's Belichickness, like so many others have, let it get to him. It likely still does.

Meanwhile, Manning and John Elway were there waiting to comfort him with a hug, a smile, $12 million in cash and a shot at another Super Bowl.

Offers like that are hard to pass up, even if that means you have to divorce the likes of Tom Brady.

Here's this week's poll. Teams are listed with records and last week's rankings. Join us Sunday night on Boston.Com for our live, in-game Patriots-Broncos fan chat.

FULL ENTRY

Orr still sets golden boy standard in Boston

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 21, 2013 08:06 PM

Bruinss.jpg[#BostonBruins via Instagram]



Once upon a time, everyone wanted to be Bobby Orr.

Judging from the reaction he got Thursday night, they still do.

And 41 years after he won his last championship in Boston, Orr continues a mythical hold on the heart of this city like no other living athlete. Orr was the "greatest" among the "Big, Bad Bruins" of the early 1970s. His appearance at the Bruins' game to drop the puck Thursday was intertwined with season-long Bruins "90 Years Celebration" [the teams of the 1970s were honored this time] and a book-signing for his new tome called "Orr: My Story."

Much of Orr's story is our story.

His legend is part of Boston's folklore much like that of Sam Adams, , John Hancock, Paul Revere and John F. Kennedy.

And Orr's time as a player in Boston was like "Camelot" on ice for Bruins fans. The Bruins won two Stanley Cups and came close to a third over a span of five seasons during his 10 years [1966-76] here. The end of his days in Boston are forever shrouded in controversy and pain for both Orr, and the fans here who sports-worshiped him so.

He played 26 games for the Blackhawks over two seasons after leaving Boston. But that was conveniently forgotten Thursday as Orr and his statue came full circle, since the Bruins were playing the St. Louis Blues. That was the team Orr scored against in overtime of Game 4 back on Mother's Day in 1970 to give the Bruins their first Stanley Cup in 29 years.

[Hockey porn alert. You won't be able to get any work done for the rest of the day once you start watching this:

The statue of Orr outside TD Garden has kept that pose, perfectly.

The Blues won 3-2 in a shootout Thursday night. It comes only 43 years [or three weeks] late for St. Louis.

"Bobby Orr makes everyone feel better about themselves," NESN's Jack Edwards said. Especially those of us who are reminded of our youth whenever we see him.

When the Bruins and Blackhawks met for the Stanley Cup this past spring, Orr, who is a player agent and had clients playing for both clubs, made it clear to anyone who asked him that "I am a Bruin." Orr moved back to Boston after living outside Chicago for four years and has never left.

One benefit of being the same age as the Super Bowl every year is that you can remember watching Orr play during your childhood. And it would be childish to compare those Bruins teams of the early 1970s to their counterparts of the early 2010s. For one, this current version of the Bruins doesn't have a Bobby Orr.

And that's enough to mute any further comparison.

We all have that athlete who dominates our youth. The one guy whose jersey you wanted more than anyone else. The one guy whose cards were always your favorites [back when people under 30 bought cards]. The one guy who you always wanted on your team no matter the match-up, real or imagined. The one guy who still left you in awe when you got to meet and interview him one-on-one as a young journalist just a year out of college.

Bobby Orr was that guy for me.

One great benefit of the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011 is that a couple of new generations got a taste of what the city was like during the days of Orr's reign in Boston. The wide-eyed, blue-collar delirium he and his teammates inspired during the early 1970s was [sort of] duplicated when the Bruins ended their 39-year drought.

Back then, Boston was still a "hockey town with a baseball team" even though the Celtics had just completed their dynastic dominance of the NBA. Orr was the hero of every wanna-be hockey player from South Boston to Worcester to Rockport to Brockton to Arlington and anywhere else in between.

Getting to wear the No. 4 jersey during after-school street hockey games was a hard-fought and well-earned honor.

Orr combines all the best attributes of his one-guy-from-each-team Boston Sports Mount Rushmore contemporaries. He's got the killer, close-em-out instincts and game-changing dominance of Bill Russell, the technical mastery and pure athletic abilities of Ted Williams and the eternal good-looks of Tom Brady.

But Orr is unique among so many other Boston greats in that he was never booed. He never had to wrestle with the negativity of being a black superstar in a city shrouded by bitter racial divisions during his heyday. He was never scorned by the fans and spit back at them. He was never called a bum. And no one ever, ever, ever, ever, ever said he should be benched in favor of Ryan Mallett.

Not once.

Watching Orr drop the puck at TD Garden Thursday night to another rapturous Boston welcome, is ample evidence that Orr remains a king - the greatest hockey player ever - who is a permanent Prince of This City.

Orr, given his well-documented personal grace and humility, would be the first to note someone like Russell, who leads Orr in championships 11-2, or Williams, who gave up parts of five seasons of his career for military service and went 39-0 as a Marine pilot during the Korean War, are in a class way above his.

He's probably right. But neither Williams nor Russell were my idols as a kid. They were more like gods.

Orr was just human enough, and just youthful enough 40-or-so years ago, to be the man for so many boys [and girls] in my youth and for my generation.

For my Dad, that athlete was Williams, for my son, it's Brady and/or David Ortiz.

The Patriots and Brady are gearing up for another matchup against Peyton Manning, this time with the Broncos, on Sunday in Foxborough.

The Red Sox and Ortiz, who would squeeze his way onto that Mount Rushmore along with Larry Bird if we had a couple of more openings, are basking in the afterglow of the Improbable Dream championship season.

The Celtics are tanking in a way that would make America's greatest tank commander, Gen. George S. Patton, proud.

But Orr just shows up, signs a few books, and drops a puck, and everyone is reminded against that he's still Bobby Freaking Orr.

Boston's Golden Boy.

Not bad for someone who's 65.

But forever 4 in our hearts.

Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.

Mrs. Brady's wisdom comforts Patriots

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 20, 2013 10:03 PM

Brady WTF.jpg

Mrs. Brady's wisdom helped raise a generation.

She never actually said "don't play ball in the house."

But she did offer plenty of important guidance for kids and their parents.

Today's lesson:

"Fun is fun ... Like I said, 'If you carry a joke too far, somebody can get hurt.'"

The joke was on the Patriots Monday night in Carolina.

And Mrs. Brady knows it.

That would be Galynn Brady.

Tom's mom is a genius.

According to the Patriots' quarterback, his mom believes there should have been a penalty called on the final play of Monday night's game. "My mom thought it was a penalty, does that count?" Brady answered when asked Wednesday if he had seen the replay of that play.

And Mrs. Brady is never wrong.

Ever.

Just ask John Brenkus. His crew at ESPN's "Sport Science" demonstrated that the interference denied Rob Gronkowski a shot to make a play on Brady's final pass attempt, which was ultimately intercepted.

Wicked smaht stuff for sure.

But some of us didn't need to recreate the Manhattan Project to confirm the obvious.

The simple words of Mrs. Brady were enough.

Even when losing is such a mother.

"Now we're on to Denver," said Bill Belichick Wednesday.

At least twice.

The storyline of Sunday night's game against the Broncos and Peyton Manning has multiple tracks.

There's Peyton vs. Satan.

There's the short week coming off You Know What On Monday Night.

There's the battle for QB supremacy in the AFC.

There's the scary thought of the Patriots "Down To the Last Drop" depleted defense trying to stop Manning's Hydra offense.

And the main event: The Return of Wes Welker, whether or not he plays.

It was time to move on from the Great Carolina Screw Job of 2013 sometime on Tuesday afternoon. It clearly time to move on from the bungled departure of Welker, as well.

Assume, for the moment, that Welker plays Sunday night and he has anything to the success that, say, Steve Smith, enjoyed against New England Monday night.

Or let's say he goes full Megatron and pulls in seven TD passes and chews up 300-and-something yards.

There is little angst, anger, consternation or vitriol left to vent from this deal. The Patriots blew it in letting Welker go, especially to the Broncos. This is not news in this space or anywhere else.

How much do the Patriots miss Welker? A lot. Matching up the numbers between Welker and his pseudo-replacement Danny Amendola doesn't even begin to demonstrate the absence of Welker on this team. Welker's presence was dearly missed in New England's three losses. Just envision that final pass the other night with both Welker and Gronk on Brady's radar screen.

Binky 1 and Binky 2 with the game on the line.

Welker's absence has drastically impacted New England on third down. The Patriots are converting 35.6 percent of their third-down attempts 10 games into this season. They hit on 48.6 percent of their third-down attempts in all 16 games in 2012.

In defense of the team's dropping the ball on Welker, Brady's "showponies, unicorns and where's the beef" miraculous TD reception to Kenbrell Thompkins against the Saints likely would not have happened if Welker was on the field. That act of desperation turned into victory.

Even if Welker isn't playing because the concussion he suffered Sunday night against the Chiefs and Amendola is skipping up and down the field catching everything thrown his way by Brady, the Patriots will still have to find a way to contain Demaryius Thomas. The 6-foot-3 Thomas is on pace for 96 catches and 15 touchdowns this season and is averaging 15.2 yards per catch.

Once you strip away all the drama and consternation surrounding the return of Welker [again, assuming he does play] to New England, Thomas poses just as much of a threat. Both WRs have nine TDs and have almost exactly the same amount of catches this season [61-60 in favor of Welker], but Thomas has gained 914 yards receiving to Welker's 648. Welker also trails Eric Decker in yards receiving [he's got 792] and in average per catch [14.7 to 10.6].

Now the thought of Belichick treating Welker just like any other player doesn't seem to fit into this picture. The coaching trauma Belichick experienced Monday with the flag going down and then back up would be dwarfed by horror generated from watching Welker tear up the Patriots. Or even worse, Welker hauling in the game-winning pass and flipping the ball to his former coach as he and Manning trot off the field together

Think End of Death Star [revised 2004 version].

This week has been long on drama and short on cerebral substance, save for the science lesson from Brenkus and his staff. And that's not just from precincts in New England. The NFL's contorted explanation and rationalization for the "non-call call" was far worse than any visceral, emotional reaction here or elsewhere.

The Patriots are Bronco-focused, and probably have been since they got off the plane coming back from Carolina. Just like Brady has struggled and stumbled before eventually producing despite not having Welker available as his favorite target of choice.

It's time to move on from both losses, what happened in Carolina Monday and what happened last spring when Welker slipped through the Patriots' hands and ended up in Devner.

In both cases, there's no choice. There's a game Sunday night and much is at stake for the Patriots.

As [Mr. and] Mrs. Brady once said:

Carol Brady.jpg

"Quitters never win and winners never quit."

[via FanPop.com]


Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.

Refs pick up flag, drop credibility in Patriots loss

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 19, 2013 12:12 AM
[Note: Before we begin dismantling the "non-call" and show how the Patriots got shafted at the end of the Patriots' 24-20 loss to the Panthers Monday at Carolina, we offer the following disclaimers:]

1. Stevan Ridley's first half fumble cost the Patriots a potential touchdown.

2. The personal foul penalty on Logan "I don't recall punching anyone in the face" Mankins was absurd.

3. The Patriots had no clue what to do when it came to stopping Cam Newton on third down, whether it was via a game plan or actual physical execution.

4. The decision throw into Section 140 on 3rd and 1 on New England's final scoring drive and the settling for a field goal, instead of running it once or twice to get the first down, will hang on Josh McDaniels until the entire internet is erased.

5. The Panthers were able to devour the clock and dominate the line of scrimmage during their crushing, 81-yard drive, 8:21 drive that gave them the eventual margin of victory.

6. Tom Brady and his teammates were not offering any excuses. As Brady said of his last pass, "it wasn't a great throw. There were no excuses. We had plenty of chances. We shot ourselves in the foot too many times."

Whew, glad that's out of the way.

OK, so no excuses here.

Just reality.

Monday night, the refs picked up the flag and dropped the ball.

And after shooting themselves in the foot, the Patriots got the shaft in the end.

Watch this 1 million times and it doesn't change:

Play[via @BuzzFeedSports]

Rob Gronkowski gets man-crushed and love-hugged by Panthers linebacker and former Boston College standout Luke Kuechly as Robert Lester is left wide-open to pick off Brady's pass at the end of Monday night's frustrating defeat.

The flag was thrown, then picked up. The pass was ruled "uncatchable."

Of course it was "uncatchable." Gronkowksi was smothered in the end zone and could not have gotten to that ball if it was a bowl of Gronk Flakes. It's unthinkable to think Gronkowski, who 6-7, 265 or so pounds and had been playing like Mongo all night, could not have made a legitimate attempt on that pass had he not been mauled on the play.

Gronk run. Man hug Gronk. Gronk see flag. Gronk no see flag. Gronk just pawn in game of life.

Kuechly was flat-out lost on the play and came nowhere near close to playing the ball. He had no choice but to go full "Hack-A-Gronk" and hope for the best.

And he got it from the CFL, XFL, Arena League, WFL, USFL NFL officials who ended the game one play short.

After the game, Brady sought an explanation from the refs as he walked off the field and managed to fire off at least one "f-bomb" before ESPN cut away.

Time to update our list of "The Most Appropriate "F-bombs" of 2013:"

As Gisele might say: "The refs cannot throw the [expletive] flag, then pick up the [expletive] flag and expect my husband to win the game."

Millions of "f-bombs" were detonated across New England and throughout the Twitterverse after the game.

The Patriots are 7-3 and have two losses end with controversial, if not questionable calls/non-calls. The "Push Gate" call against the Jets was the proper call, but the circumstances surrounding it before and after the call did wonders when it came to the NFL's credibility when it came to credibility.

It was like getting a speeding ticket for going 66 MPH in a 65-MPH zone.

Yes, it was against the rules, but when was the last time you saw someone get nailed for that. Never, actually, because that "Push Gate" call hadn't been made before and hasn't been called since.

Monday's "non-call" was infinitely worse.

This was like going being stopped for going 166 MPH in a 65-MPH zone and being given free auto insurance for life.

For one, the "non-call" was flat out wrong. It was "Replacement-Ref" wrong. It was "Are any of these guys related to Tim Donaghy?" wrong. It was "The Tuck Rule Game and Spy Gate Still Don't Justify This" wrong.

And all the "Tuck Rule" and "Spy Gate" karma babble was about as relevant to last night's game as Alexander the Great's invasion of Persia in 334 BC.

Even Fox's Mike Pereira, who is the "Baghdad Bob" of NFL State Run Media apologists, Tweeted "since the flag was thrown they should have stayed with the call. There was clear contact before the ball was intercepted ... You could make a case that the pass might have been uncatachable, but the flag was thrown and you should stay with it."

That's like Jay Carney telling the White House press corps: "Hey, between us, this health care plan sucks."

The NFL's fading credibility took another incredulous hit Monday night. A couple of years ago, the league emerged from an offseason lockout stronger than ever. Since then, the league has been besieged by crises both on and off the field. And each week, the NFL loses a bit more of its legitimacy for a variety of reasons.

We've had lockouts, replacement refs, murders [alleged and otherwise], a national indictment of the "lockerroom culture," key players being lost on surprisingly high rate starting on the first day of training camp, and now, on national TV in the biggest Monday night game of the season thus far, an embarrassingly bad blown "non-call."

The league settled with its former players, who are struggling through horrific, life-long injuries for $750 million to avert an even higher judgment and prolonged set of lawsuits. The 2012 season began with faux officials. In just the past year, one NFL player committed a murder/suicide, another was charged with murder and a third was behind the wheel and charged with DUI manslaugher after fatal crash that killed a teammate. Former players and current broadcasters have said they don't want their kids playing the game and Richie Incognito did something with Jonathan Martin that has sent the cultural universe off its axis.

On the field, defenders are being stripped of their ability to defend and rule changes have forced tacklers to go for the lower extremities, causing a slew of season-ending knee and hip injuries.

And, as the world saw on ESPN Monday night, when a defender does commit a legitimate penalty that cost the Patriots a shot at winning the game, the flag is thrown and then picked up.

Again, to their credit, none of the Patriots players voiced any trepidation about the "non-call" after Monday night's loss. They blamed themselves and gave well-deserved credit to Newton and the Panthers.

But when there was some audio feedback during Bill Belichick's postgame press conference, viewers and reporters could have been excused if they thought that was the alarm that sounds right before a Hoodie explodes.

The Patriots went from the inside track to a first-round bye and home-field advantage for at least one playoff game to coming off a tough road loss with a short week to prepare for Peyton Manning, [maybe] Wes Welker and Denver Sunday night in Foxborough.

Given the issues New England's secondary had Monday, especially with Aqib Talib getting out-everythinged by Steve Smith, the Patriots may need the refs running interference for them for 60 minutes if they hope to slow down the 9-1 Broncos.

It would be the very least the officials could after Monday night.

Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.

Next week on NBC: It's 'Peyton vs. Satan'

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 18, 2013 09:07 AM

Frame.jpgGuess someone in the NBC Sports graphic department has a thing against Tom Brady.

In this promo shown several times during Sunday night's Broncos-Chiefs game hyping the Patriots-Broncos showdown and Brady vs. Manning XIV, the Patriots QB was cast in an interesting, if not sinister, light.

It's all the proof we've ever needed that Brady is indeed the son of the Dark Lord of the Sith, also known as Bill Belichick.

Either that, or he's the long lost twin brother of "Dexter," whose is also billed as "America's Favorite Serial Killer" on Showtime.

While Manning appears as his typical doofus self, Brady has the look of someone who just murdered 17 coeds and buried their remains beneath Fenway Park.

Brady's certainly been lethal against Manning over the years, winning nine of their previous 13 matchups.

And even when he's looks this bad, Brady's always devilishly good.

Manning's House of Horrors in Foxborough re-opens Sunday at 8:30 p.m.

Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.

Watch: Jason Babin tears out Andre Ellington's hair via 'dread'-ful tackle

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 17, 2013 04:24 PM

HairWhoops, hair it is.

DR Jason Babin of the Jaguars brought down RB Andre Ellington of the Cardinals Sunday and ended up with a fist-full of dreadlocks in the process.

Ellington proudly displayed his dreadlocks outside his helmet during the game. That turned out to be a hare hair-brained move.

Babin briefly held the most unique trophy of the NFL season - a few dreadlock strains/extensions - before dropping them on the field after a tackle in the third quarter.

The tackle was legal, and at the least hurt Ellington's pride, if not his scalp.

But these are still the Jaguars. The Cardinals won 27-14.

And 1-9 Jacksonville remains the most "dread"-ful team in the NFL.

[Update: Ellington got his hair back after the game:

And he told his Twitter followers his hair was just torn and not ripped from his head:]

[Mobile users watch the hair-raising experience here.]


Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.

SNL Video: Toronto mayor, Obama '2nd-Term' Paxil featured as Lady Gaga hosts

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 17, 2013 08:42 AM

A few things were clear after watching this week's episode of "Saturday Night Live"

  • We still miss Chris Farley and we'll soon miss "Blockbuster Video."
  • Kayne West won't be coming back to sing on SNL any time soon.
  • President Obama and his health care plan have created more jokes than new policy holders.
  • A 47-inch 1080p LED high-def TV screen isn't kind to Lady Gaga.

Toronto's crack-smoking mayor, Rob Ford, was the subject of the show's cold opening [above] and the mayor's real life antics were still hard to separate from fiction. Ford even found a news outlet and a reporter who would believe his story, that being Lara Logan of "60 Minutes."

Ford is a live-ringer for Farley in so many ways, both physically and in their indulgences. The ghost of Farley [yes, it rhymes with Marley] appeared very slightly in the form of Bobby Moynihan..

Farley would have been just too good as Ford. Perhaps he is Ford. For a minute Saturday, we were reminded of that tremendous talent that we lost when Chris [called him Chris when we lived on the same college dorm floor sophomore year] died. If Moynihan was trying to bring back Chris' memory this week, he did a pretty good job.

Jay Pharoah continued to make no friends in both the White House and in the world of Kimye.

His President Obama found relief for his current health-care blues and a case of lame-duckitis in the form of "Paxil - Second-Term Strength."

It's strong enough to handle symptoms like the NSA, IRS and AP scandals, Benghazi and Obamacare web site. Of course, it's not covered by Obamacare.

"Paxil Republican Strength" is available for any house speakers currently besieged by caucus members dressed in American colonial garb.

Pharoah absolutely destroyed Kanye West, while Nasim Pedrad repeated her stellar take-down of Kim Kardashian in "Waking Up With Kimye." That sketch also featured Lady Gaga as a geeked up Apple store employee.

The perfect way to start the day.

Faux speech critic Jebidiah Atkinson of the real-life Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Patriot & Union came back to life to offer his stinging critique of Lincoln's Gettysburg address and few other notable speeches, including Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.

"Four snores and seven yarns ago, this reviewer watched the president's speech at Gettysburg and let's be honest, Abe, you dropped a real Lincoln log ... and the acoustics, a field, sorry I couldn't hear it, it was in the second row ... and don't get me started on that beard, what was her name, Mary Todd."

And yes, SNL remembered Blockbuster video, too, which announced last week it would be closing all of its stores.

NFL fans have the "Red Zone" each week to watch all nothing but highlights each Sunday without sitting through the mundane parts of live games. The "Rose Zone" does the same thing for fans of ridiculous yet often-boring TV reality shows.

It's for viewers who don't care about back-stories but "just want to see women destroy other women."

Gaga was a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen when she twisted and twerked her way during a performance of "Do What U Want" with surprise guest R. Kelly.

Gaga spent much of the episode mocking herself, which raises the question of whether or not her "regular" antics are the real joke.

Someone named Josh Hutcherson hosts next week and something called Haim is the musical guest.

Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.

Cherington keeps Red Sox Hot Stove cold

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 16, 2013 06:04 AM

Ben Cherington.jpg

"Paulie might have moved slow... but it was only because Paulie didn't have to move for anybody."
- Henry Hill, Goodfellas

The Red Sox Hot Stove is stone cold.

And no one cares. Uber agent Scott Boras continues to seek a foolish suitor who will repeat the same $140 million, seven-year mistake with Jacoby Ellsbury that the Red Sox made with Carl Crawford.

We keep hearing about all these teams lining up to pay Ellsbury $20 million a season. But there have been no stories anywhere, not even on Joel Sherman's fake Twitter feed, about teams closing in on a deal for Boston's erstwhile center fielder. Ellsbury will undoubtedly be signed soon, and that will open the door for the rest of baseball's big-money free agents. Once he goes, the down market will be set for his contemporaries in center field, allowing the Red Sox to make a reasonable deal for the likes of Carlos Beltran, or decide that it's time to begin the Jackie Bradley Jr. era all over again. [Unfortunately, Shin-Soo Choo is also represented by Boras, which makes his signing in Boston unlikely.]

This is Ben Cherington's off-season and the rest of us are just living in it. Ben is going slowly because he can. Boston's Baseball Baby Einstein is playing it cooler than Mike Napoli strolling shirtless through the Back Bay with a heater in his mouth on a Saturday night. And Ben's got plenty of reasons to wait out this free-agent market.

He's not just "holding all the cards," he's got a full house, aces high, or, depending on your card analogies, a 1941 Ted Williams Play Ball, Yaz's rookie card and the 1914 Tris Speaker. Cherington will soon get his own shiny 2013 World Series ring, not one of Theo Epstein's hand-me-downs from 2004 or '07. And Cherington's ring belongs to him as much, if not more, than Theo's two rings belonged to him.

Remember, Ben and Jed Hoyer initially made the deal that brought the 2007 World Series to Boston, trading for Josh Beckett [remember him?] and Mike Lowell while Theo was finding his inner-self in the gorilla suit.

It's foolish to think Cherington is feeling much pressure to repeat his wizardry from last off-season. Much of his wizardry hasn't gone anywhere. Cherington's focused on next season because it's next season, and not because the Red Sox are feeling the pressure to market bricks, continue a faux sellout streak or sell coffee-table books.

It's amazing how much team swag you can sell when you actually win a championship.

The Red Sox stumbled into 2013 with minimal expectations [at least among those not in uniform], a new manager and a refreshing mindset from ownership, who finally seemed to accept the fact that most fans who buy tickets or watch the games on NESN are not 10 years old and think like adults.

Let's hope those folks who show up at Fenway Park beardless [real or fake] in 2014 aren't sentenced to 10 years of non-stop "Sweet Caroline" sing-alongs and episodes of "Sox Appeal."

Friday, the Red Sox announced a "variable pricing structure" for 2014 that raises prices for "high demand" games - you know, the ones you want to attend - and lowers them for 16 Tier 5 games, like those against Tampa Bay in late April/early May and again in September, against the Rangers in April, the Blue Jays in early May, the Orioles in early September and the Reds in early May.

In other words, the games no one plans on attending anyway.

Nothing is free, not even an Improbable Dream season.

Overall, tickets to watch the defending World Series champs in 2014 will average 4.8 percent more than 2013, upping the cost for the most expensive outing in baseball. It's the first ticket price increase in three years, and comes after the Red Sox first playoff victory in five years.

Box seat tickets for Opening Day against the Brewers [welcome back to 1980] will be $165.

In related fake news, Twitter announced that #BostonStrong will be changed to #Boston$trong during the Red Sox 16 Tier 1 games.

Don't count on any cheap tiny beers for you or free hot dogs for the kids in April. The Red Sox won't have to convince fans to stop hating them, or to drink away their memories of Bobby Valentine this time.

This offseason, Red Sox fans have a new set of priorities. They're much more anxious about getting home from work in time to hide that UPS package with the David Ortiz World Series jerseys ticketed for under the Christmas tree; than they are fretting over whether or not Stephen Drew, Ellsbury or Jarrod Saltalamacchia will re-sign with the team.

There's minimal panic or concern about losing any or all of the three.

Ellsbury is not worth $20 million a year, whether or not John W. Henry plans on investing the difference in his newspaper's digital sports staff or his Liverpool soccer team. The lesson of Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez was that these ridiculous contracts can potentially damage a franchise for as long as they're on the books. Locking up Ellsbury for seven seasons, which is what Crawford got, keeps him in a Red Sox uniform past his 37th birthday. The oft-injured Ellsbury played only 18 games with the Red Sox during the year he turned 27.

Saltalamacchia found himself on the outs at catcher, losing his job to the venerable David Ross during crunch time against the Cardinals, after Salty and his bat went sour.

Drew's home run in Game 6 of the World Series put the Red Sox up 4-0 and finished off the Cardinals in the process.

We're not just saying that here and now:

[Twitter don't lie.]

The Red Sox will never get any more out of Drew than they got on the night of October 30. Like his older brother, J.D., Stephen Drew justified his entire existence in a Red Sox uniform [wearing No. 7, no less] with one post-season swing of the bat. Red Sox fans and those media types who cover the team know exactly what you mean when you bring up "J.D. Drew's $70 million grand slam." The fact that the Red Sox got "Stephen Drew's solo-shot that fired up the Duck Boats" for a mere $9.5 million or so made him a steal.

Drew's fielding is what kept him in Boston's lineup and eventually allowed the team to feel comfortable enough to deal Jose Iglesias. He prevented enough runs in the postseason to justify his anemic average.

Xander Bogaerts was the shortstop of the future when the Red Sox traded Iglesias in the Jake Peavy deal. One misplayed grounder in the World Series is hardly enough to eliminate him in your mind from playing the position for the Red Sox on a regular basis next season or beyond. It's baffling to hear folks question Bogaerts' ability to play short but them seem so confident in his skills at third base, a position he never played with any regularity until last month.

The only name free-agent Red Sox fans or bartenders on Boylston and Newbury Street seem emotionally attached to these days is Napoli, who may or may not have gotten a long-term offer from the Red Sox. He has showed up to watch the Bruins and Celtics at TD Garden since his epic #DrunkNapoli post-victory Rolling Rally roiling rampage.

The real issue here for the Red Sox is Will Middlebrooks, who was the biggest disappointment in Boston's infield last season. Very early in 2013, we tagged John Lackey as the key player to watch for this season. Next year, it will be Middlebrooks, if or when he plays.

In his two major-league seasons, Middlebrooks has played in 169 games, roughly a full season. He's hit a tepid .254 with 168 strikeouts, but he's also hit 32 home runs and driven in 103 runs, striking out 168 times.

That kind of power production from the right side of the plate is coveted in places like Boston.

In comparison, Napoli, the Red Sox right-handed "power-hitter," and shirtless, bearded, fill-in bartender hit 47 home runs and drove in 148 runs over 247 games during the past two seasons.

Average those power stats between the two, and their home runs and RBIs per game ratios are nearly identical. [.190/.599 for Napoli vs. .189/.609 for Middlebrooks.] And Napoli struck out 187 times in 139 games this season.

Middlebrooks' power numbers were masked by his demotion to Pawtucket and his atrocious production [.160 average, 1 RBI] in the post-season.

If Middlebrooks can use this offseason to figure out what worked in 2013 and put that into play in 2014, the entire Drew-Bogaerts saga will be moot.

The bytes, pixels, ink and newsprint being consumed to ponder the fate of Drew, Saltalamacchia or Ellsbury have offered a nice distraction. But there's no buzz or panic over their fates. The most important assets on the Red Sox are named Ortiz, Pedroia, Victorino, Gomes, Lester, Lackey, Buchholz and Uehara. None of them are going anywhere. Peavy's likely to stick around, too, if for no other reason to get Duck Boat maintenance tips from the likes of @MallardStorm.

No doubt all winter and into the spring we'll be hit with the age old question that comes whenever there is snow on the ground in New England:

"What will the Red Sox do with all this pitching next season?"

Usually that question answers itself by the time the snow melts.

If Cherington does nothing this offseason but get a viable catcher to spell 90-100 games for Ross, and keep Napoli in the fold for another year or two, this youthful brainiac who didn't get enough credit this season would have had done his job heading into 2014.

After all, he got most of that work done heading into 2013.

Got a news tip, want to let me know directly what you think, or have a complaint or compliment, hit me up on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.

NFL Week 11 Power Rankings: Truth emerges, along with Patriots

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 15, 2013 06:10 AM

brady scream.jpg

The month of September was full of incorrect promises, untruths and misplaced sports insider knowledge and expertise.

Leave it to Richie Incognito to speak the truth.

Among the buffet-sized portions of falsehoods uttered on sports talk radio, nightly sports TV, the Twitterverse and interwebs:

  • The Yankees will make the playoffs after being inspired because Ryan Dempster hit Alex Rodriguez.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays have a deeper pitching staff than the Boston Red Sox.
  • Tom Brady has lost his game, along with his temper and ability to lead.
  • Colin Kaepernick is the quarterback of the future.
  • The Miami Dolphins will challenge the New England Patriots in the AFC East.

We know how the Yankees and Rays fared. By now, you should be fully-loaded up on Red Sox 2013 World Series champion swag.

Let's start with Incognito.

The 4-5 Dolphins began their implosion long before Incognito and Jonathan Martin began swapping profane and quasi-racist text messages. It was the disintegration of Miami's offensive line when both Martin and Incognito were both playing that let to Ryan "He's better than Brady, Really" Tannehill being sacked a total of 18 times in the Dolphins' first four games.

Tannehill was sacked four times in a 38-17 loss to New Orleans in Week 4, which left him on pace for a 72-sack season.

"If we give up 72 sacks, I mean, everybody should be fired," Incognito said after the loss to the Saints on Sept. 30. "I think the whole offensive line. That's atrocious."

His wish is now in the process of being granted.

The "BullyGate Scandal" that has exploded in Miami Gardens and has since permeated American culture was way too much for a franchise like the Dolphins to handle. This is the same team that let Drew Brees walk in favor of Daunte Culpepper and has had seven different coaches during the same span that Bill Belichick has been video-taping his opponents, cheating, and using the "Tuck Rule" to win Super Bowls for the Patriots.

The Patriots went though an off-season in 2013 that saw Aaron Hernandez arrested for murder and the team, through innuendo and the select compilation of facts, somehow implicated as an accomplice by default.

Amid that, they dealt with the mini-circus involving Tim Tebow's presence in camp and navigated the arrest on July 11 of Alfonzo Dennard, after which Dennard admitted that he violated terms of his probation from a previous arrest that occurred in April of 2012.

Heading into this season, Brady's top five targets from 2012 were absent after they had either been lost via free-agency, cut, exiled into retirement, injured or arrested for murder.

After Danny Amendola's injury in Week 1 of the season, Brady, tantums and all, went 3-0 with a receiving corps that consisted of Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, James Develin and Josh Boyce. His tight ends during that stretch: Michael Hoomanawanui and Matthew Mulligan.

There isn't another QB not named Peyton Manning who could have won three games with only those future Hall of Famers on his radar screen.

Now, Brady has Rob Gronkowski and Amendola, in addition to a burgeoning running game anchored by Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount, along with Dobson and Thompkins catching the ball with regularity. Both, when healthy, are slowly developing into reliable targets.

Brady's performance against Pittsburgh was easily his best of 2013 and one of the best in his career. It wasn't just the numbers he hung on the Steel Shower Curtain [23 for 33, 432 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs and a 151.8 passer rating] that were so gaudy. It was Brady's accuracy and confidence he showed in all of his options, connecting with six different receivers.

The old Brady, that being the Brady from 2012 until the AFC title game, was back.

Thumbnail image for BradyFurious.gifGone are the temper tantrums, at least until the Patriots lose again in the AFC title game, that punctuated the early part of the season and triggered an avalanche of idiocy from the football intelligentsia.

Winning the greatest cure-all for any illness in the NFL. Just check out the 9-0 Kansas City Chiefs [sorry if you're offended], who less than a year ago had a dead player laying in their stadium parking lot after he killed the mother of his child and committed suicide.

Brady being Brady is the best medicine the Patriots could ask for heading into the second half of the season. If the victory over Pittsburgh is any omen, the next seven weeks could resemble 2007 as much as 2003 or 2004.

After nine weeks and a bye, the Patriots are in control of their playoff fate in the AFC. Win out, and they'll get at the very least a first-round bye and a home-field against anyone but the Chiefs [sorry if you're offended].

Thankfully, the Broncos [likely a wildcard] and Chiefs [sorry if you're offended] will bash heads in the AFC West [they play twice in the next three weeks], and if all the pieces fall into place, the Patriots could slip through the remaining seven weeks of the season as the top seed in the AFC.

Then again, if the Patriots lose at Carolina Monday night and again the following Sunday night at home against Manning, Wes Welker and the Broncos, they could be stuck in a first-place tie in the AFC East with the Jets.

Such is the precariousness of the NFL.

A quick peek at New England's schedule shows a marked decline in the degree of difficulty after the Patriots play the Broncos.

And by the time the dreaded late-season trip to Miami [on Dec. 15] takes place, the Dolphins should be in complete shambles.

Unless they emerge to challenge the Patriots in the AFC East.

Here are this week's rankings. Teams are listed with their records.

FULL ENTRY

Video: Peavy's Duck Boat on road to Alabama

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 14, 2013 01:05 PM

[Note: You can turn down the volume on your computer or mobile device. There is no audio on the clip except for some annoying feedback.]

peavyy.jpgAmong the great moments in news media helicopter history:

There was the slow-speed O.J. Simpson chase in the white Bronco.

There was the hunt for the Boston Marathon bombers.

There was Les Nessman's Thanksgiving Day turkey giveaway on "WKRP."

Now, we have aerial coverage of Jake Peavy's Duck Boat being transported to Alabama, via NECN.

This is real news. That's why you're reading about it here.

Peavy bought the Duck Boat for $75,000 on the day of the Red Sox Rolling Rally following Boston's victory in the World Series. Peavy bought the boat after the idea was put in his head by Jonny Gomes during the regular season.

Stay tuned for further developments.

[Mobile users: Check the clip here.]

[HT/Kevin Vahey]

Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Marathon bombing survivor Roseann Sdoia has film in works

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 13, 2013 07:10 AM

Roseann Sdoia's story begins on Patriots Day 2013 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

She lives in Boston's North End and loves to run. She's not a marathoner, but was in Copley Square on that horrific Monday afternoon because she had some friends running in the race.

The second explosion was detonated right next to her and so badly maimed her right leg it had to be amputated above the knee. She absorbed shrapnel in her left leg and had both her eardums destroyed in the blast.

"I felt that if I lost consciousness, I was gonna die," she said in May when recounting the blast. "So I told myself to keep breathing and stay awake as long as I could." Sdoia was saved by a "guardian angel," later identified as a Northeastern University student, who used his belt as a make-shift tourniquet for her badly injured leg. She was then carried away [literally] by Boston fire fighter Mike Materia, who held her hand while she rode in the ambulance to the hospital, and has since carried her away and become her boyfriend.

FULL ENTRY

Proof sun never sets on Red Sox Nation

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 12, 2013 06:29 AM

Reddit Red Sox.jpg

"On her dominions the sun never sets; before his evening rays leave the spires of Quebec, his morning beams have shone three hours on Port Jackson, and while sinking from the waters of Lake Superior, his eye opens upon the Mouth of the Ganges."
- The British Empire as described by the Caledonian Mercury, Oct. 15, 1821

"I set my alarm for 4:37 a.m. every morning and would roll over and turn on my TV just in time to see the first pitch. I love baseball and love the Sox . . . and them winning the World Series made dealing with life here just a little bit better." - Red Sox fan and retired U.S. Army Captain Dennis Goulet, currently working in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The sun never sets on Red Sox Nation.

That bold statement was verified during the Improbable Dream season that concluded with Jake Peavy's Duck Boat test drive and #DrunkNapoli's journey into Boston legend a week ago Saturday.

You'll never be alone as a Red Sox fan, even if you find yourself in South Florida, South Korea or South Africa.

Red Sox fans who call Fenway Park home but get their mail in places in Camp Humphreys, South Korea; Kabul, Afghanistan; Fugen, Austria; Armagh in Northern Ireland and Pretoria, South Africa, stayed connected in real time or in person with the Red Sox during this past season and some were happy to share their stories with the OBF Blog. They all followed the Red Sox long before Boston became #WalkOffCity.

Although it wasn't necessary, the Red Sox had air support available if needed. The members of the Massachusetts National Guard's 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment A Company weren't shy about their favorite team during the World Series. They proudly displayed their Red Sox colors in the above photo that was posted on the Guard's Facebook page Oct. 23.

The British Empire's power in the 19th century was rooted in the strength and size of its navy. The world-wide reach of Red Sox Nation flourishes thanks to the internet and satellite technology. There are official Red Sox Nation Governors in all 50 states. The major time zones of the Western Hemisphere are covered and daylight on this half of the world is safely under Red Sox sovereignty.

Not surprisingly, many of those who root for the Red Sox around the globe have their roots planted in New England and have ended up overseas after joining the U.S. Armed Forces.

We thank them here every day for their service and sacrifice.

dennis goulet.jpegRetired U.S. Army intelligence officer Dennis Goulet [@GrumpyVeteran] was born in Norwood, raised in Brockton and went to college in Vermont. He left the Army in 2012 after 10 years on active duty which included three one-year tours in Iraq. He now serves as a government contractor advising and mentoring the Afghan National Army, to help them operate independently upon troop withdrawal. [The photo at right was taken in October.]

"It is everything to me [here] that we have the technology to watch the games," Goulet told the OBF Blog. He watched the Red Sox win the 2004 World Series while preparing for deployment in Georgia but viewed the 2007 World Series from Iraq. "The games started around 2:30-3 a.m. in Baghdad and I would go find the closest TV with an AFN box to watch every game. Being able to watch helps [relieve] the stress of everyday life over here, and not being able to be with my family. It just gives that little piece of home and [a] nostalgic feeling. And, when they win it makes it that much more great."

Goulet watched every minutes of the playoffs this year - almost. "[I missed] parts of the clincher against the Tigers because I had to go on a mission. So I had my little brother texting me updates to my cell phone racking up international data charges just to see how my Sox were doing. I set my alarm for 4:37 a.m. every morning and would roll over and turn on my TV just in time to see the first pitch. I love baseball and love the Sox . . . and them winning the World Series made dealing with life here just a little bit better."

The success of Team Chemistry also won over Goulet, who held true to his cynical Bay State genes until this season. "I never really bought into the whole 'chemistry' thing. I always thought if you are a great athlete, it doesn't matter what, and who you are, surrounded by. I couldn't have been any more wrong. It made me think back to some personal experiences working with 'cancerous' coworkers and it kind of starts to affect you. You can be the greatest employee on the staff, but if there are people that don't want to be there, or people that just don't care, eventually you don't feel like going to work and starts to take a toll on you constantly being surrounded by negative energy. That's what happened in 2011 to the Sox, and maybe in part the 2012 team. This year you had 25 ballplayers, 25 guys who just wanted to play baseball and wanted to win. Napoli, Gomes, Victorino, etc. None of them will be Hall of Famers, but they just wanted to win. It was an amazing sight to watch a team that just wanted to win for the first time in a few years."

Like any officer, Goulet appreciates the value of good leadership. "Who can forget John Farrell? That trade, in my opinion, might be as good as or better than the Heathcliff Slocumb trade as far as best trades in Sox history go. I chastised Ben Cherington for a lot of his offseason moves and, again, I couldn't have been any more wrong."

farrell.jpgU.S. Army SSG Mick Farrell, 36, was born a Red Sox fan in Providence, R.I., and joined the Army in 1998 before he "got my stuff together."

As an Army corrections officer, he's completed two combat deployments to Afghanistan, one to Iraq, one tour at Guantanamo Bay and is currently serving his second tour of duty in Korea.

"I watched most of it on Armed Forces Network but had to watch some on [MLB.COM GameDay] because the games are on at 9 a.m. here in Korea," Farrell said.

Farrell's family is stateside and he's deployed out of Fort Lewis, Washington, where he and his wife [a Mariner's fan] attend Red Sox games at Safeco field. "The city really needed it this year. I can't believe they did it, but it's awesome."

He did offer proof via Twitter that the comforts of home in South Korea extend beyond baseball:

image.jpegThe Red Sox are never out of season, as well. For Angelo Zachariades of Pretoria, South Africa [pictured at right with his wife, Lynn], baseball is primarily a winter sport.

Zachariades got his first taste of the game by watching movies like "Bull Durham" and "Eight Men Out." His baseball education continued after learning about curses surrounding Babe Ruth and Billy Goats. It "culminated with an immediate connection to this underdog, beloved team that couldn't win the World Series - the Red Sox."

"Being a cricket fan, it was easy to develop an affinity for baseball in general - the rhythm, the ebb and flow of an at-bat / an inning / a series, the contrast between team work and individual performance," he said. "But the Red Sox's pursuit of a World Series absolutely captivated me."

He got hooked on baseball and the Red Sox by following their games on the internet and when ESPN began airing in South Africa [it has since ceased broadcasting there].

"For the first time I saw live games - usually at 2 a.m. - which in turn made me more interested in everything from the difference between a slider and a cutter, to what Terry Francona was chewing in the dugout."

By 2007, he was watching the games on-line via MLBTV, Now the country's main satellite provider DStv is airing live coverage of MLB, the NHL, NBA and NHL, all in high-def.

Baseball is rare in South Africa, but there is "a very rudimentary amateur league" in South Africa but "there is no culture for the game" since cricket, which was introduced by the British during South Africa's colonial past, dominates the sport scene.

"South Africa is soccer, rugby and cricket mad, and hence, I am considered a bit of an oddity with this additional passion for baseball and the Red Sox," Zachariades said. "My whole family are hooked."

He adds, "my son has a great arm. He'd be a pitcher if we lived in the United States."

While they've never lived in Boston, Massachusetts or New England, Zachariades and his family can happily claim citizenship in Red Sox Nation.

Even from South Africa.

Plenty of fans wore their Red Sox colors on the Emerald Isle. The World Series games began around 12:30 a.m. in Dublin.Stephen Bassett traveled more than 20,000 miles following the World Series champions this season from his home in Northern Ireland.

His Red Sox roots sprung while he worked in Boston as a bartender during the last decade. This season, he followed the Red Sox to California in July and saw them play the Los Angeles Los Santos Southern California Angels of Anahiem and Orange County, and the Oakland A's.

He was in Boston for Game 6 of the World Series against St. Louis.

"Loved this trip - but following the Sox this year has cost me over $30,000," he said.

And worth every penny.

Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Hey, Boston, we have an NBA season

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 10, 2013 09:24 AM

green.jpgHey, Boston, we have an NBA season.

The 3-4 Celtics fell off the collective radar sometime between their quick playoff exit last spring, the defection of Doc Rivers and the departures of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

The plan was to load up on Ping-Pong balls and pray the ghost of Red Auerbach and gravity-defying antics of David Stern would deliver Kansas' all-universe Andrew Wiggins via the No. 1 pick in the NBA lottery.

Then the Celtics took a quick trip to Florida and the worst-laid plans of #RigginForWiggns and someday seeing his No. 22 1/2 jersey raised to the Garden rafters in 2032 were demolished.

Saturday, Jeff Green posterized LeBron James with his game-winning 3-pointer from the corner as the buzzer sounded that gave Boston a 111-110 "See You In The Next Life Wiggins" victory over the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. '

In your facial.

Friday, the Celtics beat their fellow lottery hopefuls the Orlando Magic when Aaron Afflalo's 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left turned out to be 2-pointer [his size 14 shoe was on the line] and Boston won 91-89.

That "Enjoy Your Trip To Florida and Don't Forget To Lose" email from the front office got must have been deleted by Brad Stevens somewhere over Jacksonville.

2013 has been a year of Improbable Dreams for New England sports teams and fans.

The Red Sox did the incredible. The Bruins babysat Tyler Seguin and the rest of us all the way to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Patriots, now unofficially the worst 7-2 team in the history of the NFL, emerged from the offseason of "Heaven and Hell" and torrent of never-ending injuries to again dominate the AFC East. They enter the second-half of their season next week poised as the best team in the AFC to reach the Super Bowl not from Kansas City.

[But don't look past Carolina next Monday night, though, since the Panthers are now 6-3 after Sunday's victory over San Francisco.]

Now, we have the Celtics. Beating the Heat. Literally right in LeBron's face.

Witness that, South Beach.

It came too late for all of you to leave. So you watched it in deliciously stunned disbelief.

Green went full Ray Allen right on the same court where Allen and the Heat celebrated their 2013 championship just five months earlier.

Jesus H. Shuttlesworth, what was he thinking?

Players on the floor, in practice, or on X-Box find it impossible to try and lose. It's just not in our nature. That's why all the "tank" talk sounds good, but is so impossible to implement without the players buying into it.

Don't worry, Celtics fans, Jake Peavy doesn't have to worry about gassing up his Duck Boat.

Regular-season NBA victories carry about as much importance as spring-training batting averages.

But these victories by the Celtics this early in the season have changed the dynamic of this team, whether it had been real or imagined.

The Celtics, who would be the No. 7 seed in the East if the regular-season somehow mercifully ended after seven games, are going to give it a try this season. That much is certain. And if Rajon Rondo doesn't want to play along, he could likely be jettisoned before it's over.

And if the Celtics give us any more victories like they did this weekend, another year or two of mediocrity might be worth it.

[Mobile users: Watch Jeff Green's game-winner here.]

Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Edelman scores big during reddit 'AMA'

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 8, 2013 11:43 AM

The Patriots' have been creating plenty of buzz during their bye-week. The mic-ed-up Bill Belichick and Tom Brady dissing the mini-Red Sox burned up the interwebs.

Fans across New England this week were recovering from a World Series title, getting back into the early stages of the Bruins' season, the Celtics' going all out "Riggin' for Wiggins" and the Patriots' 55-31 beatdown of the Steelers

With that as a backdrop, Patriots all-everything Julian Edelman got connected with thousands of fans on reddit via an "AMA" - "Ask Me Anything" - and trolled with the best of them.

When one redditor asked: "Do you prefer crossing patterns or returning punts? And why?
What horror movie did you end up watching on Halloween?"

Edelman digitally deadpanned through his inner Gronk: "Edelman say: any time ball in hand[.] Edelman watch: 'Hocus Pocus.'"

He was there to help, as well as inform:

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When asked: "Yo soy fiesta?" he simply replied "si."

He gave us a hint of his future plans, as well:

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Come on, who doesn't like pie?

The AMA drew more than 2,400 comments and generated plenty of reddit karma that Edelman can only hope translates back on the field when the Patriots return to action a week from Monday at Carolina. Edelman agreed with the assessment that he's a "a scrappy gym rat" and discussed his love of hamburgers and absence of comfort food during the season.

Among the other insights:

Favorite Hall and Oates song: "Did we just become best friends? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_I4wtNPv5w

Favorite nickname: "Squirrel because one time on the sideline i was yelling don't let me get squirrely out there."

Favorite words of motivation: "Screw what other people think or say, if you believe in what you can do and work hard at it, there's an endless amount of possibilities."

Favorite NBA team: "Like seeing the Celts do well but at heart...go Warriors."

Favorite penguin: "I'm normally an Emperor penguin guy but lately I've been partial to the Chinstrap penguin."

Flying Elvis or Pat Patriot? "PP"

Is Vince Wilfork a scary guy in person? "He's a great guy but if i was on the other side i'd be terrified."

Video: Red Sox win Game 6 in 137 seconds via #MyWorldSeries

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 7, 2013 05:26 PM

There are certain things in life you can't see enough.

Among them are highlights of Game 6 of the of 2013 World Series played at Fenway Park on Oct. 30. MLB created an Instagram hashtag of #MyWorldSeries during this classical Fall Classic and pieced together the results from Boston's 6-1 over St. Louis in this video posted Thursday on MLB.com

It is 137 seconds of pure G-Rated baseball porn for Red Sox fans everywhere, whether they were at Fenway in person or in spirit that night.

The site also produced a similar video following Game 1, which can be seen here.

The #WTFWasThatThrowToThirdBase hashtag after Game 2 and the #ObstructThis hashtag following Game 3 didn't quite produce the same results.

Meanwhile, Christmas at Fenway and Truck Day are just around the corner.

[Mobile Users: See the Game 6 video here.]

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Thomas merits 100% of vote from Bruins fans

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 7, 2013 05:16 AM

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Tim Thomas will be back in Boston Thursday night when the Bruins play host to the Florida Panthers.

Only two players in the history of the Boston Bruins have won the Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Bobby Orr was the first. Thomas is the second.

Although he's injured and won't be playing, he should be accorded some sort of honor by the team he left, at least based on what he did for Boston in 2011. [Even Mike Napoli got a nice ride on the video-message board at center ice Tuesday night.] It's incomprehensible that there will be some in attendance at TD Garden who will boo or jeer Thomas if and/or when he's formally introduced or honored by the Bruins.

But there will be boos if history is any indication.

Boston fans have booed Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice and Tom Brady during their days here and Adam Vinatieri, among others, after they left.

And none of those athletes ever called themselves a "Free Citizen" on Facebook while warning that the "federal government has grown out of control" or paraphrased Martin Niemïller's famous quote about the Holocaust while voicing his opposition to policies that require religious groups to provide free birth control to their employees.

We have a simple rule here: "We don't do politics."

We are not going to start now.

Despite what some on either side of the aisle might want to think, no one told me to say that.

The benevolent John W. Henry, who has become the living embodiment of both Joseph Pulitzer and Branch Rickey, hasn't gotten around to issuing any direct orders for this space as owner of The Parent Company of This Blog.

He's got much more important things scheduled on his iPad.

Like anything else.

If/when he decides to pull the plug on this space, which should come about four seconds after he reads anything we wrote about the Red Sox in 2011 or '12, we'll let you know on Twitter at @RealOBF.

Sports and politics don't mix well. Sports unite us. About 2 million people swarmed the streets of Boston and banks of the Charles River on Saturday to show their appreciation for what the company baseball did this season.

A city, state, region and [Red Sox] nation was from many, one.

"E pluribus Red Sox."

People from diverse religious faiths, political perspectives, sexual orientations, social classes, races, ethnic backgrounds and family lineage can usually find quick common ground if they're both Red Sox fans and the subject is "The Autumnal Awesomeness of Jon Lester."

Politics divide us. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it's just the nature of the business. Grab 10 people in that crowd on Saturday and ask them their thoughts of the political issues of the day and you're likely to get 10 different answers.

The OBF Blog's lone exception to our self-imposed "no-politics rule" applies when athletes try to be political or politicians try to be perceived as "regular" people by talking sports. Then, we fire away without mercy, no matter the politician, athlete or party affiliation. Just on general principle.

We live in a representative republic which is founded in the principles of democracy. We are guaranteed our right of free speech, especially when it comes to politics [and offering your take on sports], whether you're a fan or athlete. But there's no right that forces anyone to listen.

This brings us to TD Garden on Thursday night. Thomas, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, is on injured reserve. He hasn't played since Oct. 23 but will travel with the Panthers.

If/when he is introduced, or featured on the video-message board, and he should be, he is deserving of a standing ovation and adoration, if not wild adulation, for his indispensable contribution to the 2011 Bruins and Boston's first Stanley Cup since the Nixon Administration.

No Thomas, no Cup in 2011. Period.

Thomas ticked off a sizable number of Bruins fans, media members and people across the political spectrum when he decided not to attend the Bruins' ceremony at the White House. He was excoriated because what he did was considered detrimental to the team. Others didn't like what he did because it was considered disrespectful to the office of the presidency, or just plain rude.

Others supported Thomas for what he did, both because of political reasons and the fact that he was a man of principle, even if you didn't agree with his principal principles.

His snub split me right down the middle. He deserved praise for sticking to his beliefs but I didn't understand why he wouldn't go just because it is the White House and those were his teammates.

The most disturbing part of his no-show was the way it was reported across the print, broadcast and digital spectrum. Thomas was not the first prominent Boston ring-earning sports personality to snub the president and a White House ceremony due to his political views. Theo Epstein, who campaigned for John Kerry in 2004, sat in the White House audience in 2005 but avoided the stage and President Bush. Theo took a pass on attending the 2008 ceremony citing "family reasons." [One of the "Fs"]. He was never criticized by any major voice in this city's media market, partly because Manny Ramirez was also no-show on the same day in 2008.

Thomas was not afforded the same journalistic fairness, however. His on-going political commentary on Facebook and elsewhere continued to enrage those with whom he disagreed and inspire those with whom he found common ground.

All of that was a side-show, really, blown grossly out of proportion on all sides.

The narrative was spun, by State Run Media and others, that somehow Thomas was dividing the team and causing angst and rancor in the locker room because Player A had to take 10 or 15 seconds out of his 24-hour-day to answer a question about something Thomas had said. Journalists [real or pretend] tend to overstate their own importance. Most players treat their brief daily media obligations as just that, an unpleasant but necessary part of the job, much like stretching, time in the whirlpool or getting their ankles taped.

The Bruins exited quickly from the 2011-12 postseason. Thomas' play against Washington were much more relevant in that seven-game loss than his views about Washington. Thomas subsequently bailed on the team and checked into his Colorado bunker, no doubt loading up on gold and food insurance for the coming apocalypse and re-election of President Obama.

His exit infuriated the Bruins and their apologists because he had the nerve to both possess and exert leverage over ownership. Thomas didn't need the Bruins' contract and he wanted to focus on the "three Fs." He no longer wanted to play [at least in Boston], was in a position to walk and did so. That make him the ultimate villain in the eyes of the Bruins.

When you're used to being in complete control, like management usually is in these cases, having a player with another option and having that player exercise that option simply isn't done nor it is considered acceptable.

Cam Neely and Peter Chiarelli had a fourth "F" for Thomas, which would probably get the plug pulled on this column if I printed it here.

To say Thomas "screwed over" the Bruins by leaving is to forget the fact that his departure gave Tuukka Rask the opportunity to become the full-time goalie for the 2012-13 season many believed he could be. Rask didn't lead the Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship like Thomas did in 2011, but he proved himself to be Cup-capable and gives the Bruins stability in net until the end of this decade.

And that same ownership that sneered at Thomas leaving the Bruins in the lurch had no trouble at all locking out all its players three months after Thomas' self-imposed exile in 2012. Thomas just beat them to the punch.

You see it's was bad for Thomas to quit on his team but a necessary step for his team and every other NHL franchise to exile their rosters for 119 days and leave fans holding their sticks until the middle of January.

You might not like the politics of Tim Thomas, or you may agree with him 100 percent of the time. That's for Facebook or Fox News.

The issue on the ballot Thursday night will be hockey. Bolshevik or Birther? On the ice and in uniform, it matters not.

And when it comes to recognizing the critical role he played in helping the Bruins win that coveted Cup in 2011, Thomas should win Boston's applause in a landslide.

Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Gomes on 'Conan': Everyone in Boston deserves a ring [Video]

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 5, 2013 11:20 PM

Brookline native and Harvard University grad Conan O'Brien, who turned 50 this year, has seen plenty of lean years as a Red Sox fan.

Tuesday, the lanky red-headed host welcomed Red Sox left fielder Jonny Gomes and right fielder Shane Victorino to "Conan" and did little to hide his Red Sox fandom or excitement over the Red Sox eighth World Series championship.

O'Brien called the World Series Commissioner's Trophy being placed at the Boston Marathon finish line an "amazing moment."

"We're supposed to be the strong backs to carry everyone and put smiles on their faces," Gomes said. "But I think it was the other way around. We jumped on Boston's back. They wouldn't let us quit ... If everyone in Boston could get a ring, they deserve one, too."

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Throughout the season, Gomes had repeated the mantra that the Red Sox were "one day closer to the parade." Tuesday he claimed credit for coming up with the suggestion during the season that resulted in Jake Peavy buying a Duck Boat after the Red Sox Rolling Rally on Saturday.

"We had one thing on our mind all season, take a ride in Duck Boat," Gomes said. "Two months ago, Jake Peavy showed me his property in Alabama. I think he owns three-quarters of the state. He's going through all these pictures and I'm like 'you don't have a Duck Boat,' so when we go, you like buy the exact Duck Boat you ride on and you ship that pig to Alabama. And he did ... Now we can have a World Series parade any time we want at Jake's house."

Gomes also got a round of applause when he turned around his "Boston Strong" shirt and the back read "Famous as F**k."

20131105_234844_resized.jpgEach player sported a pair of bright red Red Sox "2013 World Champion Boston Strong" boots.

The boots were produced for the Red Sox by L.L. Bean of Maine, which has a partnership with Fenway Park and posted about the boots on its corporate blog.

"These extremely limited-edition 2013 World Champion Boots were designed and sized specifically for the Red Sox team and staff by our expert boot-builders in Brunswick, Maine. Each pair features a special commemorative logo and will never be sold. It's our way of saying "Thanks" for all the Fenway memories to each and every member of the team.

A spokeswoman for L.L. Bean said via Twitter on Wednesday that the boots would be available for sale - minus the logo - in early 2014.

"I will get one of those. I'm getting a ring, too," O'Brien said.

Naturally, the beards were a big topic.

"You're tasting food from three weeks ago," O'Brien said to Gomes as he caressed his beard.

Gomes told O'Brien that Mike Napoli fears letting him tug on his facial mane. "He's so selfish," Gomes said. "I really want to get in there."

O'Brien called the Red Sox "the most driven team in the league."

"This team was built on winning," Victorino said. "We weren't the most talented team, but we were going to get in your a-- if you don't play all 27 outs."

And Gomes handled the issue of the role that team chemistry played on Team Chemistry. "Ben Cherington and his staff didn't go out and six rodeo clowns to sit in our clubhouse, these guys were good players," Gomes said.

O'Brien's experience as a Red Sox fan growing up was like that of so many others his age, one of "pain and misery." But his kids, who are 8 and 10, are spoiled, or perhaps blessed, growing up in an era where the Red Sox [almost] always come through.

O'Brien said his kids sit there and say "they'll win it again like they always do."

"You've completely alienated me from my children, but in the greatest way."

Artie Lange followed. The comedian and confessed Yankees fans came out and tugged on Gomes' beard and said these Red Sox held a special place in his heart because his first love "looked just like David Ortiz."

Lange then tore into Alex Rodriguez. "I know you guys hate him," Lange said. "He's not blue-collar like these guys ... He makes $32 million a year and does the direct opposite of what we're paying him for ... He's looks like the guy who you pay to mow your lawn, but instead he takes a dump on your lawn, and the next day he comes over and wants the money."

Couldn't agree more.

[Watch highlights of the interview here.]

Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Bruins crowd hails [sober] Napoli

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 5, 2013 10:26 PM






Marty Walsh will be the next mayor of Boston but Mike Napoli owns the city.

Napoli. who wore a t-shirt supporting Walsh before embarking on his epic Saturday #DrunkNapoli journey, showed up at the Bruins game on Tuesday night and received a rousing ovation from the TD Garden crowd when he was featured on the video-board.

And he remained fully-clothed throughout the game.

The game was a bummer for fans, as the Bruins lost 3-2 to the Dallas Stars in a shootout.

Napoli, on the other hand, is loving life, especially the past week or so.

"They've been pretty awesome. It's been a good time. I've enjoyed it," Napoli told NESN's Jamie Erdahl in his first public comments since being spotted roaming the city's streets shirtless. "It's cool how all the athletes in this city support each other. It's a strong city and they're passionate about their sports, and it carries to their athletes."

Napoli reiterated that he's planning to keep his beard. "I'm going to rock with it," he said.

But don't expect him to lace up the skates, since he's never played hockey.

"Me skating would look like Bambi on ice."

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On the ice, it was the ex-Bruins who inflicted the most disappointment.

Et tu, Rich Peverley?

Peverly joined former Bruin Tyler Seguin in squashing the Bruins hopes of an overtime victory and two points by each scoring goals in the shootout.

Loui Eriksson, who has missed five games with a concussion and was the key addition in the deal that sent Peverley and Seguin to Dallas, fanned in his OT attempt, and was a push while on the ice. Seguin was a plus-1. Something that was a rare occurrence during the last spring's run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Let the "Seguin Trade Blues" begin. Perhaps the only way Loui Eriksson will silence any doubters after Tuesday's loss will be if the Bruins win the Stanley Cup and he drops $75,000 on a Duck Boat.

Reunion week continues at the Garden on Thursday when the Florida Panthers and Tim Thomas, who will travel with the team, come to Boston. It would be Thomas' first game in Boston since he departed from the Bruins after the 2011-12 season and a first-round loss in the playoffs.

Maybe Elizabeth Warren and Ted Cruz can drop each drop the ceremonial first puck if the Bruins decide to honor the 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy winner.

Phil Kessel returns to TD Garden Saturday with the Toronto Maple Leafs. They were last seen in a catatonic state of shock after losing 5-4 to the Bruins in OT of Game 7 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last spring.


Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Video: David Ortiz on 'Late Show with David Letterman'

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 4, 2013 07:12 PM


A not-quite-clean-shaven but well-trimmed David Ortiz stopped by the "Late Show with David Letterman" Monday night and talked about the Red Sox, their beards and the role the Red Sox played in helping Boston heal after the Boston Marathon bombings.

The interview was taped Monday and aired later on that evening's show.

Ortiz discussed his feelings during his 2013 debut, which was also the Red Sox first home game after the Marathon bombings.

"My first day at Fenway, I saw a lot of faces expecting something special to happen and me being one of those faces," he said. "I express myself the way I feel at the time," Ortiz continued.

After getting Ortiz to repeat his infamous "this is our [bleeping] city" vow, with the "bleeeeep" and not the original f-bomb, of course, the "Late Show" host brought up those Red Sox beards.

"And the thing with the beards, I bet it was fun the first 10 days," Letterman said. "There's a lot of this going on," the host added while scratching his face.

"Yeah, it started itching after a while, yeah," Ortiz said.

Letterman brought out the World Series trophy, complete with some special effects twinkles, at the end of the interview, leaving Ortiz, Letterman and his audience wondering how he managed to get it.

Given the fact that Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin were together again Monday during an off night before Tuesday's Bruins-Stars game at the TD Garden, Rob Gronkowski is on a bye week and Mike Napoli is out there somewhere after resurfacing on Twitter Monday, Ortiz, who was scheduled to appear on "Live with Kelly and Michael" Tuesday morning, was probably smart staying in the Big Apple rather than trying to be out on the streets of Boston.

So what's the latest from Napoli, who was tendered by the Red Sox Monday along with Stephen Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury?

There was no evidence of a #DrunkSeguin or #GronkOnTheLoose hashtag surfacing over night.

Brady talks about 'conducting' Patriots

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 4, 2013 08:55 AM

Tom Brady was a maestro on the field Sunday for the Patriots, having his best day of the season while dismantling what's left of the Steel Shower Curtain at Gillette Stadium during the Patroits' 55-31 rout.

So how does Brady do it?

He offered a glimpse into his mindset while conducting the Patriots offense in an interview that aired on "CBS Good Morning" on Monday. Brady told acclaimed musician and CBS News cultural correspondent Monday Wynton Marsalis on "CBS This Morning" that every single action he takes at the line carries importance, in much the same way as every nuanced move taken by the New York Philharmonic director Alan Gilbert.

"I'm looking at a guy and going to flash him a signal, it means something." Brady said.

"Brady is a maestro at center like no other," Marsalis added.

Both the orchestra and Brady's offense, when it's clicking like it did on Sunday, it's beautiful music indeed. "When all those things come together, it's a sight to see," Brady said in the piece.

Sunday, he was Arthur Fiedler with a football, throwing for a season high 432 yards and four touchdowns.Soloist Rob Gronkowski had a career-high nine catches. The 55 points were the most scored in an NFL game this season and the most ever scored against the Steelers (2-6). Brady had 252 yards passing in the first half and 119 of those came on seven catches by Gronkowski, who looks like he could play a mean tuba.

"A symphony of symbols" [as opposed to cymbals] are used by Brady to direct the offense, especially on the road in hostile environments.

"You can bring the energy, enthusiasm and level of excellence," Brady said. "People ask me what I'm looking at, I'm looking at everything."

"Throwing a football, there's a sequence to that," Brady said. "But you have to bring emotion to it,"

Each has to dictate pace and tempo, Marsalis said. "It's all synchronized," Brady said.

And Brady did it perfectly on Sunday.

SNL: Red Sox score laugh in 'Weekend Update'

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 3, 2013 01:22 AM

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The Red Sox World Series title served as one of the best one-liners during this week's episode of "Saturday Night Live," which was hosted by the versatile and very funny Kerry Washington.

"The World Series ended on Wednesday when the St. Louis Cardinals were defeated by Mumford and Sons," reported Cecily Strong during "Weekend Update."

Shaquille O'Neal [Jay Phraroh] and Charles Barkey [Kenan Thompson] later stopped by the "Weekend Update" desk to talk about the new NBA season.

Viewers were tipped off in the cold opening that Washington would have to play many roles in the show, which mocked itself over the fact that it has no black female cast members this season. In that sketch, she appeared as both Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey.

Kerry

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The highlight of the night was a hilarious parody of "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)", the electronic dance hit and viral You Tube hit by the Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis.

"What Does My Girl Say?" featured Pharaoh as Washington's boy friend who gets into trouble thank to too many photos and messages on his phone.

"How's He Doing" tried to explain why President Obama's support among black voters has fallen to all-time low of 93.6 percent.

The question "Has there been a time in the past month that you wish you would have voted for Mitt Romney?" was greeted with some serious laughter before Thompson added "I always like to start with a joke."

The panelists in the sketch, played by Phraroh and Washington, said white people have unrealistically high expectations for the president. "It's like how while people actually like their mail man," Washington said. "What I wouldn't give to get a white person's mail for a day. Just a bunch of pre-approved credit cards and a Pottery Barn catalog."

Eminem was the musical guest.

Lady Gaga hosts and sings in two weeks.

Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Napoli roams Boston shirtless, tends bar, adds to legend of 2013 Red Sox

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 3, 2013 12:26 AM

First-baseman Mike Napoli added to the legend of the 2013 Red Sox Saturday, continuing a days-long celebration that included a World Series title on Wednesday, his 32nd birthday and Halloween on Thursday and the Red Sox Rolling Rally Saturday.

He stopped at McGreevy's of Boston on Boylston Street after the parade and tended bar:

And downed a few with his fellow patrons:

Somewhere along the way, he lost his shirt and took to the streets:

His personal rolling rally also included a stop at Daisy Buchanan's on Newbury Street:

The hashtag #DrunkNapoli found plenty of traction on Twitter.

For some, it came just a couple of days late:

Here's one way to work off that inevitable hangover:

And if Jake Peavy thought he won the day by buying a Duck Boat, Napoli may be headed for Hollywood:

An extra hour probably wasn't enough.

Yep:

Brad Marchand, you're up.

Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

'One Day at Fenway' time-lapse video covers Red Sox Game 6 win in 2:46

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 2, 2013 05:50 PM

[One Day at Fenway from DGA Productions on Vimeo]

Michael Andrus knows all about championships.

Being a cameraman for DGA Productions in Watertown has allowed him the opportunity to chronicle the 2008 NBA championship won by the Celtics, the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011 and this year's Red Sox Improbable Dream season and the glory that was Oct. 30, 2013 at Fenway Park.

Andrus worked with colleagues Rob Maerz and Matt Stavropoulos to create this spectacular 2:46 time-lapse compilation called "One Day at Fenway." The video begins at 1:03 p.m. on the day of Boston's 6-1 victory over St. Louis and ends with the on-field celebration and World Series trophy presentation.

Andrus shot all the time-lapse photography and edited the piece, while Marerz wore a GoPro to capture the end of the game and Stavropoulos photographed the post-game celebration that's shown in slow motion.

"I wanted to document my day in Fenway," Andrus said. "Usually I'd just take some pictures but i thought it would be cool to do it with time-lapses."

He shot the time-lapses with a Canon 5D and Canon 60D.

Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

Red Sox deliver ultimate 'Boston Strong' moment

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 2, 2013 11:40 AM

tweet.jpg[Trophy Photo via Boston Globe/Darren Durlach]

"V-E Day" marked the end of World War II in Europe.

"V-J Day" celebrated the end of the hostilities in the Pacific.

"V-B Day" commemorated the eighth World Series championship of the Boston Red Sox, and the loss and triumph of those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.

Duck Boat Saturday.

November 2, 2013.

It's why we watch all those games throughout the spring and summer, spend all that money on tickets, beer and parking, and stay up past midnight virtually every night in October when this team in the postseason.

This Duck Boat Saturday brought with it a dimension that its 2004 counterpart was lacking. [The 2007 Duck Boat parade was held for some reason on a Tuesday.]

It gave the City of Boston, those who love it so, and a nation, a mix of joy and sorrow, as the Duck Boats rolled though Boston from Fenway Park down Boylston Street and eventually into the Charles River. Millions in person, on TV, computers and smart phones around the world that is also known as Red Sox Nation watched those lovable Bearded Boys of Spring, Summer and Fall on Team Chemistry hailed as the conquering baseball heroes they have become.

People laughed for sure at the antics of David Ortiz, smiled seeing players like Jake Peavy holding up their children [PS - this just in, the Red Sox won that trade] and waited for someone to hold up a sign that said "Derek Jeter and Bobby Valentine are Playing Golf Today and This Is Better."

The Rolling Rally stopped at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, where so many lives stopped at 2:49 p.m. on April 15 of this year. Jonny Gomes placed the World Series trophy on the painted marker and draped a "Boston 617 Strong" jersey over baseball's most-coveted piece of hardware as his teammate Jarrod Saltalamacchia watched.

Think American flag over Iwo Jima, U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay or Neil and Buzz on the moon.

It was the first moment the city and region could commemorate those injured or taken by Marathon Bombings on a mass, public scale.

The lone TV feed of the event fizzled and the sound all but disappeared. No one watching on TV - at least while it was happening - could tell what was being said. Nor did it really matter.

Something, someone, somewhere, somehow caused this technical glitch. Of all the moments documented across the broadcast and digital spectrum this season, this one was denied to anymore more than 100 feet away.

It was fitting in so many ways. Almost a blessing. In this age of everything being posted for everyone to see. The most public of all public moments was a private one. It was staged to honor those whom we lost and those who continue to struggle in the aftermath of what happened that day. Everyone watching was left to come up with their own words.

Pick your emotion.

Joy. Sadness. Anger. Applause. Solemnity. Happiness to be alive. Survivor's guilt thinking about those who weren't. Intense national pride during "God Bless America." Awkwardness over thinking "when will it all be enough." Conceit. Humility.

Ground Zero became Ground Infinity.

There were players, marathon survivors, first responders, regular fans.

Heroes all, for many different reasons.

Those of you whom follow this space, read about Father Chip Hines, who delivered the funeral mass for Krystle Campbell only to find peace and solace at Fenway Park, later that same night. We learned first-hand about the never-ending-pain felt by Allen Collier, the father of slain MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was estranged from his mother for decades. The emotion and gratitude felt by Sean's brother Andrew and sister, Jennifer Lemmerman, and the rest of their family offered a terrific perspective heading into Game 6.

Marc Fucarile, who spent 100 nights in two hospitals after losing his right leg and suffering a myriad of other injuries after the second blast on Patriots' Day, talked about how he had to watch Game 1 of the World Series back at Mass General. He got that seat thanks to having to undergo his 50th [or so] surgical procedure since the attacks earlier that day.

When we spoke, each was asked about what "Boston Strong" means to them. The consensus went something like this: "The fans, players and teams who use it are sincere. Too many others who use it are not."

So forget for a moment the marketing types, the whores selling unlicensed t-shirts and mugs without donating any or all of the proceeds to "The One Fund" or another legitimate charity, or those who yell "Boston Strong" each time they down a shot of Bushmills during happy hour.

They are the idiots who always seem to be there no matter what.

One can still feel "Boston Strong" and hold on to its true meaning despite what too many others have done with it. The Red Sox players, along with their counterparts on the Bruins and Patriots, made multiple hospital visits and gave to these victims. The "Boston 617 Strong" jersey went up in the dugout on April 16 and never left. Survivors, their families, police, the victims, the city were all honored for their sacrifices many times. So often, those ceremonies came when the team completed one crazy #WalkOffCity win after another.

Behind those beards was a team that lacked star power but was loaded with talent, hustle, work-ethic, character and characters.

Adults know what a baseball team can do and what it can't do in helping the healing process.

This was a "once in a lifetime season."

Thank goodness.

There was nothing exploitative that happened on Saturday. No doubt the next issue of "Rolling Stone" will feature the Yankees on its cover just to make us think about another perspective. The small voices on the interwebs and elsewhere will rail directly from Mom's basement about how Boston is the best city in the world when it come to celebrating tragedy.

Boston is so much larger than that. Its people, past and present, and those who call it home have demonstrated remarkable resiliency from the reign of King George III to the fall of the House of Steinbrenner.

2013 was a compressed high-def JPEG of every year in Boston since 1630, perfectly illustrated by the image of the World Series trophy placed on the finish line of the Boston Marathon Saturday.

It will be the signature image of a season and year filled with so many other moments of a lifetime.

The story of Boston in 2013 in one photo on a glorious day.

From tragedy to triumph.

No words necessary.

[NOTE: "Collier Strong," an eight-minute film about the brotherly bond between Andrew, who is a mechanic for Hendrick Motor Sports, and Sean Collier will air on Fox Sports 1's Race Day coverage at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The feature was produced by NASCAR and is narrated by Donnie Wahlberg and includes interviews with Sean Collier's siblings, MIT Police Department Patrol Sergeant David O’Connor and Collier’s auxiliary supervisor at the Somerville Police Department, Officer Bob Ankenbauer.]

Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

10 things that happened because the Red Sox won the World Series

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan November 1, 2013 05:59 AM

papi champage.jpgHalloween also doubled as Championship Hangover Thursday. Millions of Red Sox fans, not to mention the players themselves, began to absorb the realization of their Improbable Dream and the miraculous joy ride of a baseball season the team just completed.

There were plenty of tricks and treats offered in the wake of Boston's "arch de triumph" over St. Louis.

The interwebs can be a sad place on any day, but when the Red Sox win a World Series it becomes be a world-wide web of Boston Haters.

As far as the haters, cynics, contraians and wanna-bees go . . . screw 'em.

Here are 10 things that happened because the Red Sox won the World Series. And it's all good.

1. David Ortiz drank from the biggest bottle of champagne ever.

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2. Jonny Gomes took a victory lap around Fenway Park.

papi champage.jpg
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Ticket.jpg

3. Ortiz, Gomes and the Red Sox weren't the only ones with reason to celebrate the Red Sox becoming World Series champions, One lucky reddit user posted this ticket, which came as "a wild drunken bet back in July on the Red Sox" before Game 6.

After Game 6, it was worth $13,600.

The wager was made at a Las Vegas casino. "It's a straight to win the World Series, so if they lose, I lose, and they win, I'm buying a boat," Donkylips9 posted on the Boston subreddit. "The take means the odds at that date for $1,700 to win $13,600. Basically an 8 to 1 odds. I 'took' the 8:1 odds the casino was giving me."

The winner posted a couple of messages after the team won and received multiple congratulations. As one user noted: "That's your reward for not being a bandwagon fan, you earned it, congrats!"

As far as that boat goes, how about a used Duck Boat, with some champagne stains on the floor?

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4. You may be familiar with the story of Chad Duncan and his car that got flipped in Kenmore Square.

Anyone who thinks there's never a cop around when you need one might want to take a look at this, via LiveLeak:

The owner of this car which was parked on Boylston Street was a bit luckier than Duncan, as two Boston Police officers on bicycles arrived just in time and kept his car from being flipped by a band of flipping idiots.

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5. The internet provides an endless supply of visuals.

Some are pretty good:

pennants.jpg[via reddit/rrunning]

Sorry, 1914 Boston Braves, but we're only dealing with teams that are still in town.

Others are so bad, they're so good, so good:

[via reddit/goofymcnoofy]

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6. Many Red Sox players took to social media after Boston's victory. Jacoby Ellsbury's agent Scott Boras was telling anyone who would listen that "11" teams were already inquiring about the Red Sox centerfielder, who is eligible for free-agency. Ellsbury had other things on his mind, at least early Thursday:

Shane Victorino had some time on his hands the day after his three-run, bases-loaded triple got things started in Boston's 6-1 title-clinching victory:

Here's the latest from World Series MVP Big Papi Cooperstown, who we learned will be on "Late Night With David Letterman" Monday:

By the way, the "Curse of the Dempstino" was lifted sometime in September. Ryan Dempster had no trouble finding the plate while throwing some BP in the wee hours of the morning Thursday.

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7. The Red Sox World Series victory was the lead story at Thursday's daily White House briefing. Spokesman Jay Carney took the podium in a Red Sox hat.

"What a great night," Carney said. "I was up late with my son. Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox, world champions." Carney grew up in Northern Virginia and went to prep school in New Jersey before attending Yale.

Somewhere along the way, he became a Red Sox fan.

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8. The Kraft Family took out a full-page ad in today's print version of the website run by The Parent Company of This Blog. That's what we in the newspaper business used to call "unplanned revenue," Mr. Henry

And Jet Blue did some upgrading on its official Red Sox plane.

The seat, 21E, is painted red to mimic the red seat in the bleachers [Seat 21 in Row 37 of Section 42] where the ball landed after Ted Williams in 1946 hit the longest home run in Fenway Park history. It's in row 21 beacuse the plane doesn't have a row 37 or 42.

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9. There's always a downside. For those hoping to take any of the scheduled public Duck Boat tours Saturday, we have an announcement:


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10. Finally, since the DNA of this championship are found in fried chicken, it's only fitting that we end with this:

Frank Yurchak grew up in Tampa, Fla., and had no baseball allegiances as a boy. He became a Red Sox fan after watching the 1967 World Series on TV and in 1968 when he won the chance to play catch with Carl Yastrzemski during spring training in Winter Haven after winning a local baseball skills competition.

He has a Boxer named "Yaz" and took each of his kids to Fenway Park to celebrate their 18th birthdays. Yurchak is the manager and operator of the Chick-fil-A on State Road 436 in Altamonte Springs, Fla.

On Thursday, anyone who wore Red Sox swag or who sported it on their car got their food comped as a surprise, courtesy of Yurchak and the Red Sox victory. This reporter ended up getting some chicken strips, a salad and sandwich on the house. Of course, had we known the meal was going to be free, we would have ordered a large drink and added dessert.

Yurchak was busy cleaning the outside tables and refilling drinks for his customers Thursday afternoon while wearing his tattered Red Sox hat and a bright red jersey.

"It was a great Series," he said. "Just wanted to share in the celebration."

No word if the freebies were extended after Thursday.


Don't forget to visit our Obnoxious Boston Fan blog. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.


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Obnoxious Boston Fan offers a fun, unique and biting perspective on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and whatever else people are talking about in the world of sports. We More »
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