THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Dan Shaughnessy

These e-mailers are writing about a wrong

By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / February 9, 2010

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Whoops.

OK, maybe I jumped the gun a little. I got caught up in the moment. On the eve of the Super Bowl, I wrote that Peyton Manning was better than Tom Brady. I was positively Peytonized. And as Rick Pitino once said, “that’s how I felt at the time.’’

Fortunately, this is sports and opinions change every day. Now that Manning lost the Super Bowl with his Favre-like pick six, he’s a mere .500 quarterback (9-9) in postseason play. He’s still two rings shy of Brady, who is 14-4 in NFL tournament play.

Nothing beats being wrong on the sports pages of The Boston Globe. And that is because of you, gentle readers.

Choosing Manning over Brady in these parts is like taking Magic over Larry. You invite a ton of dispute and insult. And these days, dissent arrives faster than a Jonathan Papelbon fastball.

There’s a spectacular immediacy about e-mails and message boards. In the bygone era of US Mail delivery, several days would pass before I’d open letters and read about how stupid I am. Many of the missives, some in Crayola, arrived long after I’d moved on to another topic.

Not now. In 2010, you hear about what a dope you are before you pack up and leave the press box.

Especially in Boston. Especially if you type without pompoms dangling from your wrists.

Sunday night in Sun Life Stadium, I started getting “I told you so e-mails’’ before the game was even over.

The avalanche of anger was triggered when Tracy Porter jumped the route, picked off Manning, and ran 74 yards into the end zone with just over three minutes to play. While Garrett Hartley was kicking the extra point, my computer blinked.

You have new mail.

New mail? Suddenly my inbox was hotter than the switchboard at your local Toyota dealer. The Dan-is-Dumb Bomb had been detonated.

Subject lines hinted at the tone of the messages:

“Eating crow.’’

“Have you had a change of heart?’’

“Mr. Right.’’

“Peyton ain’t no Brady.’’

“You know how to pick ’em.’’

“Shame on you.’’

Something told me these were not high school students asking about a job-shadow opportunity for the spring semester.

As always, the commentary was astute and hilarious.

■“Dan - You are like a TV weatherman in New England. How much of the time are you really seriously right? Would you like some seasoning with your order of crow? Better luck next time.’’

■“I understand you got an assignment to write some usual BS for the Super Bowl. That’s how you get paid. But, you have to get into people’s nerves and create some controversy in order for some people to read your stuff; know that I am being polite with the word ‘stuff.’ ’’

■“You, just like the “Who’’ stinking at halftime, are washed up.’’

■“You need a haircut. Manning is not better than Brady, just different.’’

■“Boy Dan, does your column look foolish now! Peyton The Playoff Choker was back to his old self on Sunday, throwing a critical Pick Six in the 4th Quarter of a big, no BIGGEST, playoff game to seal the win for the Saints.’’

■“Attaboy Dan . . . you finally showed the entire sports readership of Boston.com exactly how stupid you are by announcing that Manning is better than Brady BEFORE the results from SB 44. How’d that work out for you?’’

■“Dan - I took the Saints for the game. When I read your article about Manning, I doubled it. Thanks for your input.’’

■“In light of new information are you willing to admit you were wrong? Is Manning still better than Brady? I think you should probably write a public apology.’’

■“You are the perfect reverse barometer. Whenever you jump on someone’s bandwagon, the wheels fall off.’’

■“Why don’t you move to Indianapolis?’’

It was great stuff. And there was a lot of it. I even got CC’d on a message delivered to Globe football guru, Albert Breer:

“Nice call Al . . . did you say something about Jim Irsay accepting the Lombardi Trophy @10p.m tonight? It’s hard to believe, but you are almost as big a boob as Shaughnessy, which is just about impossible.’’

Seven minutes later, the same reader sent me my own critique:

“Danny, You did it again you idiot . . . idolizing, glorifying, Pats-bashing. Still with one (1), uno Super Bowl title - you are almost as much of a moron as Albie.’’

Now there’s a guy who needs to make up his mind. Boob, idiot, or moron? Which is it?

Welcome to the wild west of web readers and reactors. This must be why my head always snaps around when I’m in the middle of a big crowd and somebody yells, “Hey, stupid!’’

Keep ’em coming, people. We love to know that you’re out there and that you care.

I might even get a haircut.

But I am not moving to Indianapolis.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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