Sports Monday

I spent the weekend in beautiful central New Jersey, which allowed me the always-fun diversion of hearing Jets fans try to convince themselves on WFAN that nothing bad was going to happen to their team when they played the Patriots. With the possible exception of the Philadelphia Eagles, no team in the NFL has provided bigger letdowns to their fans over the years than the J-E-T-S.

Yesterday’s 19-10 Pats win was no different, and as sweet as it was for the Fighting Belichick’s to leave Fireman Eddie crying in his Bruce Harper throwback jersey, the biggest thing to come out of the game was this: Matt Cassel can be an honest-to-goodness NFL quarterback.

It’s tempting to get carried away and bring up the Tom Brady-2001 parallels with the former Chatsworth Chancellor hero. The playbook was straight out of 2001, but instead of JR Redmond and Jermaine Wiggins catching flares and dump-offs, Cassel was able to throw to the great Wes Welker.

Cassel “managed the game,” in that he didn’t turn the ball over or make any horrendous mistakes, but there were some obvious signs of inexperience. The Jets swallowed him up on a number of blitzes—every team in the league is going to come after him until he can prove that he can handle the heat—and the deep throw to Randy Moss should have been an easy touchdown. But, as debuts go, Cassell’s was very encouraging.

Now, can we stop the silliness about how this is a referendum on whether Bill Belichick can coach without Brady?

Last Wednesday, Bruce Allen proprietor of bostonsportsmedia expressed shock and outrage over the rumors that the Herald would be talking to duh-duh-duh Ron Borges! This on a day when Howie Carr ripped Patriots fans for being whiners. Channeling the John McCain campaign, Allen wrote:

It would appear that the Herald is looking to deliberately insult Patriots fans. After the walk-through tape scandal, for the Herald to hire Borges and have him write about the Patriots, they might as well just spit in the face of many of their readers. It’s unthinkable. Then again, maybe it is a planned strategy on their part. First Tony Massarotti did it, and now Howie Carr.

I wonder (why) it is always the Patriots fans that get targeted by the media in this manner? You would never, ever see anything like this targeted at Red Sox fans.

Allen’s morning links are invaluable, and he hit on something deep in our cultural vein when he launched his website, which is a deep and abiding mistrust of the knights of the keyboard. But his argument has more than a few holes in it.

For starters, I can think of a few people who dislike Dan Shaughnessy’s Red Sox musings quite a bit. A concerted campaign to “spit in the face of its readers?” Sorry, no one in the Herald sports department tells Howie Carr what to write.

The Globe owns the Patriots beat, and the Herald has been losing people faster than they can replace them, either to or, gasp, the Globe itself. The tab is in desperate need of a name and a face to put on their Pats coverage.

Borges is a big name. He generates controversy. He generates discussion (OK, he generates visceral hatred, but it’s really the same thing). It might be desperate, but for the Herald it’s an obvious move.

Closing Numbers: 200/50

The number of hits and doubles, respectively, by Dustin Pedroia. The only other Sox players to hit both marks: Tris Speaker and Wade Boggs.