Flynn is an excellent resource this week in particular because of his connection to Baltimore -- he spent more than a decade playing center for the Ravens. But he's a rising star on the local sports media scene not just for his knowledge, but because he's self-deprecating and doesn't hammer listeners over the head with the "I-played-the-game-caller" stuff that plagues many ex-athletes who end up in the media. Probably has something to do with his UMaine education.
Also, if you missed it, there's an update at the bottom of the column on NESN's search for Heidi Watney's replacement. It's down to six or seven candidates, with the decision ultimately up to Tom Werner, who has a tape that includes everyone who auditioned. So you'll have that answer you've been waiting for soon. Now, if the Sox will just find a right fielder and fifth starter, baseball season will finally feel near.
I'll be at Gillette Sunday, handling the tweeting duties from our @GlobePatriots account among other things. Should have a post or two right here leading up to the game, so be sure to check back in.
Finally, I've posted a few deleted scenes from today's column below. They probably should remain deleted, but you know me. Wasted words are my specialty.
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With the team he formerly and brilliantly quarterbacked, the 49ers, hosting the Giants in the NFC Championship Game, ESPN analyst Steve Young was asked earlier this week to reminisce about the franchises' classic showdowns in the late '80s and early '90s.
Demonstrating that the agony of defeat sometimes lingers as long as the thrill of victory even for the most decorated athletes, it was actually a game the 49ers lost -- New York's 15-13 victory in the 1990 NFL title game in which Young replaced injured starter Joe Montana -- that seemed to stick with him the most.
"The Giants always played us tough," Young said. "Bill Belichick-coached defenses [he was the Giants defensive coordinator] always felt like they knew what was coming, you know, so it was tough to play them. And they were great that day. That was a really tough one."
Despite the Hall of Famer's deep personal history with the Niners, Young said he's actually finds the other conference championship game more compelling.
"I think the game to watch is Ravens and the Patriots," Young said, "because the Ravens have the big boys on defense and [the Patriots have] this phenomenally unique, different offense, led by one of the great players ever. It's unbelievable what Tom Brady does now. He's built a repertoire that you just don't want to miss. I'm really looking forward to the results of that game. Phenomenal offense against a great defense. We'll see in this era who can pull off championship football."
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It wasn't just Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos who got thumped by the Patriots Saturday. Not surprisingly, they did the same in the Nielsen ratings to the Bruins and Celtics, who had the misfortune of playing in the same approximate window. The Patriots' 45-10 victory earned a 44.4 rating and a 60 share in the Boston designated market area for their 8 p.m. game on Channel 4. The Bruins, who have averaged a strong 6.1 household rating on NESN this season, got a 1.8 for their 4-2 loss at Carolina, which began at 7 p.m. The Celtics, who also started at 7 p.m., were even more of an afterthought, with their 97-83 loss at Indiana drawing a 0.7 rating on Comcast SportsNet New England. The bad news for both the Celtics and Bruins? They both play in the same window as the Patriots again Sunday.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.