fb-pixel

Picked-up pieces while assisting Ed Davis in finding out what really happened down there in the Dominican Republic in June . . .

■  The 2019 AFC is shaping up as the Tomato Cans conference of the century. It’s in a class by itself for patsies. Leading into 2019, we figured the Kansas City Chiefs would provide the Patriots with the most resistance in the conference. Last January’s AFC Championship game was truly epic. But it’s pretty clear now that the Patriots — who have won only four road playoff games (same as Mark Sanchez) during the Belichick-Brady dynasty — are not going to have to travel in the postseason this year. We have seen the Chiefs come back to earth in the last three weeks. The Colts pushed them all over the field in Week 5, and then the Texans had their way with them last weekend. Now all-world quarterback Patrick Mahomes has a dislocated kneecap. Right on schedule if you are a Patriots fan. In the old days, the Patriots won because they were better than everybody else and overcame their rivals. Now they just sit back and watch the competition unravel. Every day in which the Patriots do not play a game, they gain ground. They are legit progeny of Sun Tzu (“The Art of War”) who wrote: “If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.’’ It has happened again. While the Patriots were idle Thursday, Mahomes dislocated his kneecap against the Broncos. And it’s not just the KC QB injury. Like most teams that lose to the Patriots in the playoffs, the Chiefs are psychologically damaged from the AFC Championship game. They will never be the same after losing that coin flip at Arrowhead before overtime. They are toast.

Advertisement



Watching the Chiefs sag, NFL smartguys have anointed the Houston Texans as the new potential threat to the Patriots.

This is comical. Never Texans, I say. This not because of the letterman jacket embarrassment on Monday night back in 2012. It’s because J.J. Watt and Bill O’Brien can’t beat the Patriots. I have never seen Watt make a play in any game against the Patriots. He is 0-7 against New England. Meanwhile, O’Brien is the latest in a long line of otherwise-smart football men who lose their minds and wet their drawers at the sight of the Hoodie. It happened a little more than a year ago when O’Brien came to Foxborough and stood on the sideline paralyzed instead of calling time out to allow the officials to review a questionable/crucial 28-yard catch by Rob Gronkowski at the end of the first half.

Advertisement



With Patrick Mahomes sidelined for a few weeks, could Deshaun Watson and the Texans be a threat to the Patriots in the AFC?
With Patrick Mahomes sidelined for a few weeks, could Deshaun Watson and the Texans be a threat to the Patriots in the AFC?Ed Zurga/AP/FR34145 AP via AP

“It’s not my job to call a timeout to make their job easier,’’ O’Brien reasoned after the predictable and well-deserved loss.

Wrong, coach. That is exactly your job. But like Gary Kubiak, Jack Del Rio, Pete Carroll, Mike Tomlin, Andy Reid, Dan Quinn, and Sean McVay, we know you will lose your football acumen at the sight of Bill Belichick. A former quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in New England, O’Brien is 0-5 as a head coach against Belichick. This year will be no different.

This leaves the Ravens, Colts, and (gulp) Bills as the cream of the crop in the AFC. None of these teams have a quarterback who has ever beaten the Patriots. Perfect. I have once again purchased my Super Bowl airplane ticket. You should, too. See you in Fort Lauderdale in February.

Advertisement



■  Bob Kraft cannot possibly be happy with Tom Brady’s participation in Paul Rudd’s Netflix series “Living With Yourself.’’ In the premier episode, Brady appears in a cameo emerging from an Asian spa in a strip mall and then ducking into a waiting limo. Now Brady is mad that the scene is being taken out of context. So let me see if I’ve got this straight: After Kraft is charged with solicitation at a strip-mall Asian massage parlor in February (Kraft hopped into a limo after the alleged crime), Brady went ahead with a video shoot in which he emerges from a strip-mall Asian “Top Happy Spa” and ducks into a limo. Timothy Greenberg, creator of the show, has told reporters that he could not believe Brady agreed to do the shoot in the wake of the Kraft arrest, and now Brady is telling us that he can’t believe the “blame and shame” media would take all this “out of context.’’ And the Patriot media cartel rushes to Tom’s defense. Please. We were not born yesterday. It’s OK, Tom. It’s a funny scene. You are a grown-up. You knew what you were doing. It’s a shot at Bob Kraft. Just don’t pretend to be surprised and outraged when this video is “taken out of context.’’ No thinking person could view it any other way.

Advertisement



■  If you are a Celtics fan and you’ve seen five minutes of any of those interminable Democratic presidential debates, you have noticed that South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg is a dead ringer for Celtics coach Brad Stevens. Mayor Pete also sounds exactly like Coach Brad. “It’s an Indiana thing,’’ Stevens said when I asked him about it this past week. “When I was in my early time at Butler, one of my friends told me that he met a young politician in South Bend that looked exactly like me and couldn’t be more impressive. I think the only real difference would be that he’s a Rhodes Scholar, a veteran, a mayor, and running for president of the United States. Other than that, I think we’re about the same.’’ Coach Brad and Mayor Pete have never met, but Celtics owner Steve Pagliuca says, “I’d be happy to supply courtside seats if they’d like to meet.’’

■  Forget about “Space Jam 2,” LeBron James should be starring in “Despicable Me 4.’’ James’s unconscionable, greedy, anti-American attack on Daryl Morey will not be forgotten. Here in Boston, we have the perfect juxtaposition in Enes Kanter, who has stood up for his beliefs and truly sacrificed. “Freedom is not free,’’ Kanter tweeted Tuesday, reminding us that he hasn’t seen or talked to his family in five years, has received death threats, and is continually harassed because of his stance against Turkey’s president.

■  The Wall Street Journal reported that “an army of pro-China troll accounts” bombarded Morey’s Twitter account in the hours after his seven-word, pro-freedom tweet. In the week after Morey’s tweet, he was targeted in more than 160,000 tweets, 22 percent of which had zero followers. Fifty percent were from accounts with fewer than 13 followers. Clemson University researcher Darren Linvill told the Journal, “I’ve only seen so many brand-new accounts used at one time when it was a state-affiliated operation.’’ The Journal should study the Twitter patterns of angry Patriots fans.

Advertisement



■  QUIZ: What two players (both catchers) wore No. 8 for the Red Sox in 1960, one year before the number was issued to Carl Yastrzemski? Answer below.

■  Few stats are more meaningless than modern passing records set by NFL quarterbacks in this Arena Ball era. Example: Mahomes reached 36 percent of Troy Aikman’s touchdown mark in only 8 percent of Aikman’s games. Thirty-one-year-old Matthew Stafford, 0-3 in playoff games, will go past 40,000 yards in his next game and will someday hold all the records. Until the next guy comes along.

■  In December, a Major League Baseball veterans committee of 12 former players, writers, and executives will decide the Hall of Fame worthiness of 10 candidates from 1970-87. The late Marvin Miller, who has been repeatedly rejected by this committee, deserves admission.

■  After the Braves were knocked out of the National League Division Series by the Cardinals, Georgia House majority whip Trey Kelley suggested that the Braves’ loss may have had something to do with the team’s decision to remove foam tomahawks from the stands at the request of St. Louis pitcher Ryan Helsley, who is a member of Cherokee Nation. “Have to feel this is karma for the unjustified and rash decision to do away with foam tomahawks,’’ Kelley tweeted after the Braves’ 13-1 loss in Game 5.

■  Curt Schilling is not going to run for Congress and he is not going to work for the Phillies or Red Sox next season. But something tells me he will find a way to make headlines nonetheless.

■  Quiz answer: Ed Sadowski and Jim Pagliaroni.


Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @dan_shaughnessy.