Picked-up pieces while stacking cordwood …
▪ Bill Parcells was the last Patriots coach to turn his team over to a rookie quarterback. In his first season as New England’s head coach (1993), the Tuna put the ball in the hands of No. 1 overall pick Drew Bledsoe and watched the Patriots lose 11 of their first 12 games. The Patriots finished with a four-game win streak, made the playoffs a year later, and went to the Super Bowl in Bledsoe’s fourth season.
Fast-forward to 2021 and Parcells likes what he is seeing from Bill Belichick’s Patriots and rookie quarterback Mac Jones.
“I’ll tell you something,” Parcells said from his Florida home. “I thought last week’s Patriots game was superb. I liked their time of possession [32:29]. That’s my kind of game right there. I really like that.
“The guy [Jones] is taking care of the ball and you had control of the game from beginning to end. You can’t ask anything else of a quarterback. If you can play like that, you’re going to win a lot of games. I really think they’ve got a good chance. I really do.
“You don’t want to get a rookie quarterback in a situation where they are playing from behind all the time. It’s hard enough when you’re a veteran to do that. For a rookie, it’s really hard.
“The main thing you want to emphasize is the game’s about the ball. You’ve got to take care of the ball. You want to emphasize not being careless and not gambling at the wrong time.”
Like a lot of America, Parcells saw a lot of Jones on TV when Jones was at Alabama.
“It’s hard to miss them; they’re on TV every week,” said the Tuna. “If you’re a football fan, you’d have to be living in a closet to miss this guy.”
On Jones’s accuracy, Parcells said, “That’s good. That’s one of the main criteria: Can he hit what he’s throwing at? That’s really important. He looks good. He’s doing good.
“Plus, I like the way their defense is playing. They’re taking the ball away. If you take the ball away and you don’t give it away, you’ve got a real good chance in the NFL every Sunday.
“They know what they’re doing. I think those games with Buffalo will be the key games. Let’s wait till after Thanksgiving. It really gets important then.”
▪ Reader Bruce Danziger, a radio broadcasting owner/operator with too much time on his hands, has come up with city rankings of all-time championships for the four major sports, going back to the inception of baseball’s National League in 1876.
AFL titles don’t count (except for the 1968 Jets and ‘69 Chiefs, who won Super Bowls), and neither do ABA championships and WHA titles. Baseball champions are all NL champs before 1903 and World Series champs every year since then. A city gets no credit unless the championship is won while the team is playing in that city (Los Angeles gets no credit for Lakers titles won in Minneapolis, for example).
According to Danziger, New York is the official US city of champions with 62 titles: 27 for the Yankees, 13 (combined) for the baseball Giants, Dodgers, and Mets, nine in football (eight for the Giants, one for the Jets), two for the Knicks, and 11 in hockey spread out over the Rangers, Islanders, and Devils.
Boston ranks second with 47, and the rest of the top 10 are Chicago (33), Los Angeles (24), Detroit (23), Pittsburgh (18), the Bay Area (18), Philadelphia (18), St. Louis (14), and Green Bay (13).
▪ Quiz: Lawrence Academy in Groton (homeland of Peter Gammons and Steve Kornacki) has had a Major League Baseball player, an NFL player, and an NBA player in the last two seasons. Name the three athletes (answer below).
▪ The New York Times did a deep dive on the surge of Black head coaches in the NBA. More than 70 percent of the league’s players are Black, and in November of 2021, 13 of the 30 head coaches are Black and two others are non-white (Eric Spoelstra and James Borrego).
Marcus Smart, who has been with the Celtics longer than any other player on the roster, told the Times, “Basketball is mainly minority-based, so having a minority as a coach, I can connect with him. I can say things to him, or he can say things to me, and we get it. Whereas, it’s different when you don’t. You have to try to figure it out. OK, how can I meet them halfway?”
▪ It’s impossible to fathom the idiocy of Aaron Rodgers and his anti-vax lies and “research.” And it’s not funny.
On the day Rodgers compared himself to Martin Luther King, he did damage to our nation, promoting misinformation and junk science. The estimable Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote, “What’s especially bothersome is that Aaron Rodgers didn’t just lie and threaten the health of those around him, he also damaged professional sport.”
Thumbs down to State Farm for not dumping Rodgers as a corporate spokesman. So much for the cowardly “good neighbors.”
▪ Sorry, I just can’t get on board with the Red Sox’ refusal to seek high-priced talent and I am ever-surprised with fans who agree with ownership’s quest to be Tampa Bay. You pay blue-chip prices for your Fenway seats. You deserve management that competes for high-priced free agents.
In his two years on the job, Chaim Bloom has yet to sign a free agent to a deal of more than two guaranteed years of $14 million. That’s a long way off from December of 2000 when Dan Duquette landed Manny Ramirez for eight years and $160 million. That was 21 years ago, under the oft-maligned previous ownership group.
If you are a Sox fan, why would you not want your team to overspend now for Max Scherzer or Robbie Ray?
▪ Question for UMass top bosses: How long? How long do folks in Amherst persist with the inane, expensive notion that they can compete in FBS football?
The Minutemen just fired Walt Bell, who went 2-23 in three seasons. The bell rang for Bell after the Minutemen lost last weekend, 35-22, to Rhode Island (defensive back Coby Tippett, son of Andre, plays for the Rams). UMass is 20-90 since moving up to Division 1 in 2012.
This is not the fault of the hard-working UMass athletes. This is a blunder that goes to the top of the UMass hierarchy. Stop the madness! Give it up.
▪ The top five NHL goal scorers of all time are Wayne Gretzky (894), Gordie Howe (801), Jaromir Jagr (766), Alex Ovechkin (741 as of Friday), and Brett Hull (741). The 36-year-old Ovechkin has a shot to pass the Great One. Phil Esposito ranks seventh (717).
▪ Woburn’s Kayla Duran, a former Boston College soccer player, plays for Brown now and was named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year.
▪ Great to hear that high school football is coming back to Fenway Park Nov. 23 and 24. East Boston will play Southie and Andover faces North Andover on Tuesday the 23rd, and we get Blackstone Valley vs. Nipmuc and Winchester-Woburn on Thanksgiving eve.
▪ The Wall Street Journal reports that former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan sold his Cherry Hills Village, Colo., home for $15.725 million. It’s a cash record for a single-family home sale in metro Denver. Wonder what the Hoodie is sitting on in Nantucket?
▪ Cheyenne Woods — golfer, TV personality, and niece of Tiger Woods — is engaged to Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks.
▪ When Cleveland makes its first trip to Anaheim next baseball season, it will be the first Guardians-Angels matchup.
▪ Reader challenge: Does anyone have a frozen loaf of Big Yaz Bread from 1968? Serious question. You know where to find me.
▪ Quiz answer: Tyler Beede (San Francisco Giants), AJ Dillon (Packers), and Shabazz Napier (Wizards).