Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Thinking out loud: Final Super Bowl thoughts

John Rooke
February 08, 2019 - 3:24 pm

Thinking out loud…while wondering whatever happened to Mary Lou Retton…

  • Oh, the Joy of Six.  Remarkable, really, when you consider where the Patriots franchise came from in the ‘60’s to the ‘80’s, and into the early ‘90’s.  You probably need to be of a certain age to fully understand what this means…so… go Google it.

 

  • Tweet of the Week I, from @Jason_OTC: “Two teams built very differently today. Rams were 4th in the NFL with total players earning at least $10M a year. Patriots were 29th. Patriots led the NFL in players earning between $1.5 and $5M a year. Rams tied for last.”

 

  • The above, by the way, is the true definition of what “The Patriot Way” means.

 

  • Is Boston now the City of Champions?  How can it not be?  An incredible 12 pro world championships over the past 18 years is a run that we may not see again for some time.  And it also may not be over, yet.  Sorry, America.  But not sorry.

 

  • Tweet of the Week II, from @JPosnanski: “Wait, you are telling me the Patriots are so odious that we are all supposed to root for a team that abandoned a great city in the grossest imaginable money grab?”

 

  • That was one story we didn’t hear much about last week – Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke thoroughly screwing over St. Louis in moving the Rams’ westward.  As blatant a money grab as there ever has been in pro sports history.

 

  • I love me a good parade.  What I don’t love are parade TV hosts who substitute as cheerleaders.  And interviewing fans.  Really?  What could they possibly tell us that we don’t already know or realize?  “This is amazing!”  “Oh, I saw Gronk!”  “It was so cool!”  A complete waste of time.

 

  • A tip o’ the cap to “he sucks, he blows” Sony Michel’s season.  Michel missed the first three games, remember?  Counting the postseason, he played in 16 games and still he rushed for 1267 yards and 12 TD’s – which would rate as the 4th best season in team history.

 

  • The three in front of him?  Corey Dillon (’04), Curtis Martin (’95) and Jim Nance (’66). 

 

  • There are some radio people you really should never, ever listen to for their opinions.  Some TV people, too.  Max Kellerman and Rob Parker certainly come to mind.  The very definition of “bloviator.” 

 

  • Emphasis on the ‘blow’ part.

 

  • Watching and listening for entertainment is one thing.  But for (incorrect) information?  Why?  So you can be the loser-dork at the company water cooler?

 

  • All I know is, Rookestradamus told me before the season Sony would shine like a first-round pick should shine.  Say that fast three times. 

 

  • Whiners of the World, unite.  Tweet of the Week III, from @BruceAllen: “After Chargers game: No Fair! The Chargers shouldn’t have had to play in NE they had a better record!  After Chiefs game: No Fair! KC didn’t get to touch the ball in OT!  After Rams game: No Fair! Edelman shouldn’t (have) been allow to play because he was suspended to start the season!”

 

  • After the parade – No fair! No one should be forced to watch two in the same city within 100 days of each other!

 

  • The Super Bowl TV ratings took a big plunge, the lowest rating in 10 years.  Three reasons why: 1) National Patriot fatigue; 2) Few real fans in SoCal; 3) No offensive fireworks. 

 

  • But I loved it – because defense made a rip-roaring comeback.  And if you are a Pats’ fan, how could you NOT have been on the edge of your seat throughout?

 

  • What’s next on the #StairwaytoSeven?  Big, big changes coming.  Rookestradamus said so, about midway through the past season. 

 

  • Those off-season issues will center around whether to sign and pay Trey Flowers, and whether Rob Gronkowski and/or the McCourty brothers decide to ride off into the sunset of retirement.  Wide receiver, absent Josh Gordon’s eligibility issues, will also be a major area of concern.

 

  • Rumor has it there won’t be a traditional Thursday night opener in Foxboro for the World Champs, as the thinking is for more of a ‘throwback’ event to kickoff celebrating the 100th year of the National Football League in September. 

 

  • We won’t know for sure for a couple of months – but Bears-Packers would be more interesting than say, Patriots-Cowboys?  On what planet?

 

  • Ex-Tampa Bay and Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano will be the defensive play-caller, if not the actual Defensive Coordinator.  But he’ll come in here with more pressure on his shoulders than you might realize.

 

  • BFlo, Chad O’Shea and Jerry Schuplinski all leave New England for Miami as the new HC, OC and QBC.  Good luck fellas.  You might need it.  Just remember, they’re the Dolphins, not the Patriots.

 

  • If you can’t beat ‘em, hire ‘em.  Wait, wut?  What was the Miami Miracle, you say?

 

  • And remember that the J-E-T-S once hired an ex-Pat-not-quite-ready-for-primetime in Eric Mangini, too.  How’d that turn out?

 

  • Tweet of the Week IV, from @JoeyMacHockey: “The Super Bowl parade was on the TV in the Bruins locker room and (Tuukka) Rask was asked if he’s been to one. “Yeah, ours.”

 

  • With the 2nd half of Big East play now underway, one thing is becoming clear – perception is becoming reality.  The longer everyone (other than Villanova and Marquette) beats up on each other, the chances for multiple bids (3, 4, 5?) into the NCAA Tournament shrink.

 

  • But St. John’s struck a blow for the mediocre middle by becoming the first team to win at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee against Marquette this week.  And the Friars get the Johnnies Saturday in the Garden.

 

  • Shamorie Ponds is the one guy who puts his team on his back in this league, when he needs to.  That ability alone should put the Red Storm into the thick of March Madness.

 

  • What do the Friars need to do to get into the discussion for a dance invite?  Win.  And to win, make baskets.  One hand will wash the other for this team.

 

  • The team’s best player, Alpha Diallo, needs to set an example for the rest of his team, like it or not.  He isn’t.  That’s another part of the current problem.

 

  • There is a Friar parallel to what the Patriots’ went through during their mid-season malaise.  There’s still time in this year to make a splash, although it is beginning to run short.  But every team left on the schedule is ahead of Providence in the NET ranking, so opportunity exists.

 

  • TWITBE, Episode 5:  Butler’s LaVall Jordan, St. John’s forward Marvin Clark and the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Joe Juliano on the impending Wildcat-Golden Eagle showdown – 103.7 FM has it locally, while Sirius 119, XM 201, Online 964 have it on satellite; you can also download on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and find it on westwoodonesports.com and bigeast.com.

 

  • A steady stream of improvement continues to come from Jim Crowley’s PC women’s program.  Heading into the weekend, the Friars have already won three more games than they did all last season and have their best Big East mark in seven years.

 

  • Much like the Friars, URI continues to struggle mightily shooting the ball.  An oh-for-10 start at Davidson this week doomed the Rams in a 68-53 loss, putting URI at 12-10, 5-5 in the Atlantic-10.  Dayton is in the Ryan Center Saturday afternoon.

 

  • Brown’s situation is simple – the Bears need to figure out a way to get a win against the good teams that have made their schedule a bit top-heavy.  Brown is in a four-way tie for fifth in the Ivy, with Penn and Princeton at the Pizzitola Center this weekend.  Top four in the league reach the postseason.

 

  • Has anyone noticed that ex-Friar coach Rick Barnes has the current Number One team in the nation at Tennessee?  Wonder if my alma mater, Texas, has noticed – with the Longhorns currently at 13-10 in the Big 12?

 

  • Barnes said this week he believes these Volunteers are better than the Texas Final Four team he had in 2003.  Former Friar and current Fox analyst Dickie Simpkins also told me he stays in regular touch with his ex-coach during the season.

 

  • Bill Cuthbertson has been coaching basketball and baseball at Dighton-Rehoboth for 41 years.  Lasting that long, he’s probably earned the benefit of the doubt in most of the decisions he makes, wouldn’t you think?  Guess again.

 

  • Cuthbertson has been placed on administrative leave by the school principal, largely because a parent is complaining over their child not receiving enough playing time.  Oh, and the coach “yelled” at the team after a handshake line with an opponent.  Good lord. 

 

  • Shame on D-R’s spineless principal for allowing an enabling, over-protective parent to run roughshod over the reputation of a good coach – and a good person.

 

  • The Celtics, it seems, will end up being a potential trade partner for New Orleans and Anthony Davis – just not when Davis wants them to be.  Or maybe where he wants to be, either.  Life is tough, huh?

 

  • We have LeBron James to thank for this trend of NBA players “dictating” where they want to play.  Kyrie Irving, too.  Always trying to look out for “themselves.”  It’s precisely why I keep my interest in the game at a minimum level. 

 

  • How about some hard work, some dedication, some loyalty to your current team without whining about going somewhere else “to win?”  You’re being paid an awful lot of money to play a game, fellas.

 

  • This being said, Mr. Davis, Boston will probably have the best trade deal available when the subject comes up again this summer, now that the trading deadline passed you over this week.  Give that some thought, will ya?

 

  • There’s little doubt in my mind the Celtics haven’t played to their lofty expectations this season because Gordon Hayward isn’t the player they thought they were getting.  Pre-injury and post-injury.  Just sayin’.

 

  • 11th ranked Providence Hockey heads north for two at Maine this weekend, after managing a loss and a tie last week against Vermont.  In their 15 wins this season, PC's average margin of victory has been an average of 3.33 goals per game, which is #1 in the NCAA.

 

  • The women’s team also heads to Orono for two at Maine this weekend.  The Friars are currently fourth in Hockey East, hoping to hang on in order to host a quarterfinal playoff series in early March.

 

  • T-minus four days (and counting) for pitchers and catchers to report to Fort Myers.  First full-squad workout is scheduled for Feb. 18th, but it seems as if Sox camp has already been underway for a couple of weeks.

 

  • Camp has already been well-attended, as those-in-the-know tell us.  It’s a good sign for the defending champs, no?

 

  • But there are an awful lot of Free Agents still out there, unsigned, looking for a place to play.  Don’t expect Boston to find a closer in that mix, either.  Not one they really want to pay, anyway.

 

  • There are some baseball rule changes being considered – for this year – that have merit.  The time has come for a pitch clock (sorry, David Price), and for a minimum number of batters for a reliever to face before making another pitching change. 

 

  • Speed is of the essence, and we’re not talking about pitch speed, either.  Pace of play is the #1 issue to be addressed.  Pay attention, Red Sox, because you’re the worst at this.

 

  • Strikeouts exceeding hits last year, for the first time, and the major league batting average dropping to its overall lowest level in 46 years also tells me it’s probably time…for the Designated Hitter to find a place in the National League. 

 

  • A part of me likes the NL differing from the AL.  Another part of me thinks it’s crazy for the two leagues, playing the same sport, to have different rules.  Bottom line – attendance has fallen three straight seasons.

 

  • Do something.  Or do nothing, and watch baseball continue to wither on the vine.

 

  • Frank Robinson passed away this week at age 83.  He’s the first player I ever remember as a kid being awed by his performance on a field of any kind, in any sport. 

 

  • The Pawsox are offering some new fan initiatives this season as they “Celebrate Rhode Island” and 50 years together.  Among the ideas are ‘Kids Eat Free’ during weeknights in April and May, and if the team makes money, they’ll split profits with the City of Pawtucket.

 

  • Not for nuthin’, but it seems to me if they really wanted to celebrate Rhode Island, they would have figured out a way to stay there.  And play there.

 

  • My buddy “Big E” sez his neighbor came home from work the other day to find his wife dancing and singing in their kitchen.  He asked her why she was in such a great mood.  “Because the doctor today told me I’m in great health, and that I have the chest of an 18-year old.”  So the neighbor friend replied, “well that’s great, honey.  What did he say about your 50-year old a**?”

 

  • “Actually,” she said, “your name never came up.”

 

  • Having worked for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee in 1984, one of my first “brushes with greatness” came one day while waiting for a bus to get to the basketball venue – and Mary Lou Retton happened to be in line behind me.  This was just hours before she became the first American woman to win the gymnastics All-Around gold medal, stealing American hearts everywhere.

 

  • She was only 16 at the time, but very polite to everyone who spoke to her and wished her luck in the competition.  I thought it was strange, however, for her to be alone – especially traveling alone – to reach the athletes’ village.  Can’t imagine that happening today, can you?

 

  • Today, Retton is divorced (she married an ex-Texas QB) with four daughters, living in Texas and working in TV analyzing young gymnasts.  She also wrote a book: “Gateways to Happiness: 7 Ways to a more Peaceful, More Prosperous, More Satisfying Life.”  And she knows this by having four daughters and divorcing?

 

  • @gman_Blanchette tweeted at me this week: “Thanks for the notice John!  Ordered my copy!”

 

  • Gary, my pleasure.  He is referring to the latest – and final – edition of Patriots Football Weekly, out this week with its commemorative Super Bowl Championship cover.  After more than 20 years as one of the best team publications in the media and pro sports business, PFW is headed the way of so many other newspapers these days – and that’s out of print.

 

  • Under the leadership and through the ideas of Publisher and VP of Content Fred Kirsch, coverage will continue to be published digitally through the team website.  But the days of opening and reading magazines and newspapers continue to be numbered, for all of us.

 

  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

 

Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Southern New England Sports Saturday!  Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.

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