Scott Cordischi On Sports: Texans Have The Bulletin Board Material
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Bulletin board material. We hear this phrase thrown around quite frequently in the world of sports and wonder how much of an impact, if any, it has on a team’s performance and/or the outcome of a game.
This week, the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy provided the bulletin board material for the Houston Texans whom the Patriots will host Sunday afternoon in an AFC Divisional Playoff game at Gillette Stadium.
Shaughnessy wrote in his column Sunday, “The 2012-13 New England Patriots just became the first team in NFL history to get back-to-back byes before advancing to the conference championship game.
Could this get any easier?
I mean, seriously? The planets are aligned and the tomato cans are in place. The fraudulent Houston Texans are the only team standing between the New England Patriots and a trip to the AFC Championship game. All the Patriots have to do is beat the terrible Texans. One week from Sunday. At Gillette Stadium."
Did the Texans take notice of Shaughnessy’s piece? You bet!
Running back Arian Foster changed his profile picture on Twitter to a screen shot of Shaughnessy’s column.
The question is, will this be the fuel Houston needs to get fired up for their return trip to Foxboro where they hope to beat the Patriots and advance to the AFC Championship game?
The one thing that Patriots fans shouldn’t do is summarily dismiss the idea that this stuff has any impact on the outcome of games. Why? Because while the Patriots were in the midst of winning 3 Super Bowls in 4 years, we were led to believe that the team thrived off of this stuff and that it did help them beat the opposition.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a quick refresher course.
Remember the AFC Championship game following the 2001 season? New England went to Pittsburgh where Steeler fans were already making their travel plans for New Orleans and Super Bowl 36 BEFORE the AFC Championship game.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots had learned that the Steelers had also made their travel arrangements to New Orleans public information and used it to inspire his team.
What about Super Bowl 39?
Someone apparently leaked information for the championship parade route to run through Philadelphia BEFORE the game was even played. Again, Belichick supposedly used it to inspire his team and the rest is history.
Some people, myself included, think that we make way too much of this bulletin board material stuff. Isn’t playing in a win or go home playoff game enough motivation for these guys?
Additionally, Houston was absolutely embarrassed 42-14 on Monday Night Football a month ago in Foxboro by the Patriots. Isn’t righting that wrong motivation enough?
Whatever the case may be, if you believe that bulletin board material does have an impact however large or small on the outcome of games, place a checkmark in the Texans’ column because they have it heading into Sunday’s game thanks to Dan Shaughnessy.
-After reading Shaughnessy’s column and you didn’t know any better, you might think that the Patriots were facing, say, the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday. Dan is smart enough to know that on any given Sunday, anything can happen in the NFL. Remember what happened a few weeks ago in Jacksonville? The Patriots nearly lost to the dreadful Jaguars. The point is, no matter how much of a mismatch you might think it is, anything can happen. That’s why they play the games.
-In 2010 when the Patriots throttled the NY Jets 45-3 on Monday Night Football at Gillette Stadium, did anyone give the Jets a chance to beat the Pats in Foxboro when they met in January for a Divisional Playoff game? No! Final score: Jets 28 Patriots 21.
-WEEI’s Michael Holley brings up an interesting point. Is Houston QB Matt Schaub injured? He has thrown a grand total of 1 touchdown in his last 23 quarters of football. Given the fact that he threw 21 touchdown passes in the first 45 quarters of football this year, you have to wonder?
-Alabama-Oregon may have been a better match-up for the BCS National Championship Game but I’m not sure that the Ducks or any other team in college football could have beaten the Crimson Tide Monday night.
-Speaking of Monday night, while most of us were watching Alabama blowout Notre Dame, the Boston Celtics showed what Kevin Garnett would call “grit and balls” at Madison Square Garden by beating the New York Knicks. What made the win so impressive was the fact that Boston did it without starting point guard Rajon Rondo who was suspended for 1 game by the league for bumping an official in Atlanta.
-Staying with the Knicks for a moment. While my Syracuse allegiance makes me a big Carmelo Anthony fan, I must say that his decision to wait near the Celtics’ team bus after the game to confront Kevin Garnett was a “punk move.”
-Back to the Pats. I certainly hope that Rob Gronkowski isn’t still favoring that injured left forearm Sunday. He clearly did not want to block with it in the team’s regular season finale against the Miami Dolphins. As we saw in the Super Bowl last year, it’s not so easy to win without a healthy Gronk.
-After all of the dust has settled and the smoke has cleared, two of the hottest coaching candidates in college football have decided to stay put and not jump to the NFL. Chip Kelly will be staying at Oregon while Bill O'Brien remains at Penn State.
-We finally have NHL hockey again! Hallelujah!
-As exciting of a player as Robert Griffin III is, I would imagine that he and the Washington Redskins have learned a valuable lesson this year. He cannot play with the same reckless abandon in the NFL that he did in college at Baylor. Griffin must learn when to go down before taking the big hit or his pro career will be a lot shorter than anyone anticipated.
-Friar fans, let’s remember that Ed Cooley is only 1 ½ years into his tenure at PC. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
-Having said that, there are some who believe that it will be very difficult for PC to realize any type of sustained success in the sport of men’s basketball because of how things have changed. The big schools that play college football and basketball seem to enjoy quite an advantage over those that do not making it very difficult for the likes of PC.
-URI’s Dan Hurley played Brown the way that PC should have played Brown last month. Hurley used full court man-to-man pressure which wore down the Bears in the second half. Hurley’s Rams may not be as talented as Cooley’s Friars, but he used his team’s athleticism and depth to wear down an undermanned Brown team and it worked.
-Is there any reason that the Jets had to wait a week and a half to fire offensive coordinator Tony Sparano?
-My preseason top 5 in college football next season:
2. Ohio State
4. Texas A&M
-Please, Lord, a Brady-Manning AFC Championship game is all we ask.
-This winter’s best local college basketball story may be taking place in Smithfield where the Bryant Bulldogs look like a team that could compete at the top of the Northeast Conference in this, their first full and unrestricted season of division one play.
-In case you didn’t notice, the 2013 PGA Tour season got underway this week at the Hyundai Championship at Kapalua.
-I’m assuming that the Red Sox will announce the Mike Napoli signing before the start of spring training next month.
-Did you see what Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said about the changing landscape in the Big East following his team’s win over South Florida in Tampa Sunday? "It's Houston and SMU and you can't even name all the teams that are going to be there and when they're going to be there," Boeheim said. "It's not the same. The ACC is a very stable league, I think, knock on wood, knock on some president's head. We hope it's stable. But who knows? Nothing's really stable. Things are going to be changing. I'll be fishing someplace and playing golf. But there's many changes yet to come, no question." Tough to argue what the man is saying.
-And finally, a get-well wish to South Kingstown’s Erik Murphy who will miss the Florida Gators’ SEC opener against Georgia Wednesday night. Murphy is suffering from fractured ribs and is second on the team in scoring at 12.1 points per game for the 11th-ranked Gators.