Dan Shaughnessy

John Harbaugh, Ravens not afraid of the Patriots

Picked-up pieces while waiting for the Edgar Allan Poe Bowl . . .

That’s right, Edgar Allan Poe. The Ravens get their name from the poet, who spent much of his life in Baltimore and is buried in Maryland. However, Poe was born in Boston and legend holds that his story, “The Cask of Amontillado,” was inspired by a tale he heard when he served in the military at Castle Island. Beatle John Lennon famously referenced the Boston/Baltimore poet in “I Am The Walrus” when he sang, “Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.’’ That song also contains the lyric, “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together,’’ which is believed to be Bill Belichick’s inspiration for, “It is what it is.’’

Separated at birth: John Fox and Grady Little. The Broncos were truly Gradyed Saturday.


Ray Rice will not be using anything from this space for his Twitter avatar. I have the utmost respect for the Baltimore Ravens. They are old and banged up and lost four of their last five regular-season games. Joe Flacco is not likely to play great two weeks in a row. But . . . Baltimore’s coach is not afraid of the Patriots, and the Ravens players are not afraid of the Patriots. They will not melt into a puddle at the sight of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. They spanked the Patriots in the playoffs three years ago and beat the Patriots by a point in September (the game that ended with Belichick grabbing at the arm of a replacement official). Baltimore totally deserved its victory at Denver. This is a serious foe, and there will be no mocking the Ravens.

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Noted baseball stadium architect Janet Marie Smith was in charge of the terrific renovation of Fenway Park, funded by John Henry from 2002-09. According to the Red Sox media guide, Smith was a Red Sox “senior vice president/planning and development.” She abruptly disappeared from Fenway in 2009. A huge influence on the building of Camden Yards, Smith went back to work for the Orioles after her Red Sox stint and has been retained by the Dodgers to rebuild Dodger Stadium. In a Jan. 8 feature in the Los Angeles Times, Steve Dilbeck wrote, “Smith previously worked at Fenway, Turner Field, and Camden Yards. She said the difference in her charge this time was the others were concerned with revenue-generating features, while this renovation was focused on improving the stadium for fans.’’ Ouch.

Anybody left in the Lance Armstrong corner? For me, the most galling thing about fraud Lance was the Nike ad in which he said, “Everybody wants to know what I am on. I’m on my bike, busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on?’’

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett embarrassed everyone in his state with his lawsuit against the NCAA, a lame attempt to overturn the sanctions imposed in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. It’s outrageous. This is just more proof that the NCAA should have taken away football from Penn State. Instead, the NCAA imposed fines and stripped scholarships and bowl appearances. Now Corbett is crying about the sanctions he once embraced. This is a clear demonstration that football is the only thing that matters in the state of Pennsylvania. The folks at Penn State somehow have managed to make the Penn State football program the victim. It is shameful and reminds us why the best thing would have been to let those folks go without football for a few years.

I’m happy that Marcus Camby has been a model NBA citizen and enjoyed a productive, lucrative professional career. But does UMass really need to retire the jersey of the guy whose actions resulted in the Minutemen vacating their one and only Final Four appearance? Camby took money and other benefits from agents while he was playing for UMass. A lot of young people make mistakes, and Camby certainly has been accountable, but is it necessary to honor the guy who got them erased from the record books? Camby’s No. 21 will be retired at halftime of UMass’s game against George Washington Saturday.


Not to be negative, but if the Patriots win Sunday, they have a chance to become the losingest team in Super Bowl history. Four franchises have lost four Super Bowls: the Bills, the Vikings, the Broncos, and the Patriots.

Mark McGwire to Dan Patrick on Hall of Fame voting: “I totally respect the Hall of Fame. They have rules. They have guidelines they go by. I totally abide by that. You’ll never see Mark McGwire fight it.’’

Brick by brick, media access fades toward zero — a perfect future in which fans will get all their news from team websites. In a recent Sports Illustrated story, Roy Blount Jr. wrote of strict rules for those covering the Steelers: “At no time will media be permitted to interview members of the Steelers’ organization in the lobby or parking lots without prior consent from Steelers p.r.’’ The Los Angeles Angels have replaced their perfect press box with luxury boxes and moved the ink-stained crowd down the baseline. And here on Causeway Street, the Celtics are trying out a new system that closes the locker room to all media pregame. Sports Guys Rule. Pretty soon, everyone can just stay home, watch TV, and write their rambling opinions in 5,000 clever words.

Hideki Matsui was class and clutch. Only 38 years old, the veteran outfielder retired at a press conference in New York last month. He was a Red Sox killer, a big part of the Grady game in 2003. He also had one of the largest heads in baseball history, a legitimate Size 8.

Rahim Moore is Denver’s Bill Buckner.


The turbo no-huddle is going to be hell for Baltimore’s old bones.

Patriots-49ers in XLVII in New Orleans? Too good. We can’t get enough of Colin Kaepernick and the notion of Tom Brady playing against his hometown San Francisco while trying to catch Joe Montana and certify himself as the Best Ever.

Dan Shaughnessy can be reached at