2017 Patriots: Twas the night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Gillette Not a creature was stirring, not a Microsoft tablet. The stockings all hung by the chimney with care, coach Belichick hoped home field advantage soon would be their’s. The Patriots were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of Super Bowls danced in their heads. And Bill in his hoodie and Tom is his cap, had just settled in for a long winter’s nap. When out on the Twitter, there arose such a clatter, I sprang to my phone to see what was the matter. Where at wide receiver we needed a fit, Ian Rapaport tweets, the Pats signed Kenny Britt. With the Bills on the schedule and some chances of snow, it is almost assured the Bills Maf

4th & Goal - A Grumpy Bam Reviews 2017 and Previews 2018

Wow. 2017 is almost gone. What a year it's been. A whirlwind of sorts. Ups. Downs. The latest down? I started 2-4 in my college football bowl pick em contest. But 2017 will finish on a high note. A good friend from Maine will be making the trek to Oklahoma this week. We will be making the Dallas sports circuit with NHL, NFL and a college bowl game, all on the menu. We might even get a white Christmas down here, just for old times sake I guess. That's in the down column. This year will be remembered in part for all the nonsense surrounding Aaron Judge. Nonsense is putting it mildly. A guy who is basically on pace to be the next Dave Kingman ( some of you will have to Google that name) shouldn

Thoughts As I Pace The Sideline as a New Hoops Coach

Yesterday, I had a very rare first in my basketball life. I coached a high school basketball game. The JV 2 team (also known as Freshmen) for Foxcroft Academy. I’ve broadcast thousands of games, refereed several hundred, including many high profile tournament games back in the day, coached youth and middle school level, but up until yesterday, I have never been a high school head coach on the sidelines. Let’s first get this out of the way. We lost the game by 25 points to Brewer (coached by Mark Savage, former Brewer varsity coach and a really good guy). We are young. We have small numbers, but the players played hard until the end, and with practice, we will get better. Here are my random t

A Dream Season for U-Maine Women's Ice Hockey

I want to write about Maine hockey this week, but not the men’s team. It’s been a great start to the season for the University of Maine women’s ice hockey team. Maine enters Christmas break riding a six-game unbeaten streak. The Black Bears have a record of 12-6-3 overall, 6-3-2 in Hockey East play. Maine is receiving votes in the latest UCSHO.com poll, and is just outside the top-10 in the 11th spot. The team is fourth in the league standings, and the 12 overall wins are second most in the conference this season. Maine has wins over #9 Quinnipiac and #10 Robert Morris, in addition to Hockey East wins over BU, UConn, Northeastern, and Vermont. The team is coached by Ricky Reichenbach, who is

What It's Like In An NFL Locker room after Week 15

The state of any given NFL locker room entering into the last few weeks of the season is determined by the record of the given team. (ok- a little Captain Obvious I know) For teams that have no chance of make the playoffs a lot of the players are simply counting the minutes till the last play of week 17. For these teams the season has been physically and emotionally draining with the only relief is to regroup and start over next year. In fact, I’ve been on a few teams whose records were so bad that after the last practice of the year players didn’t even wait to go to the bar but enjoyed their celebratory libations in their lockers with their pads still on. As for individual players, most are

My Sports Christmas Wish List.

Yep, certain aspects of life become more difficult as the years roll by. Setting aside usual complaints of aches, pains, and the need for reading glasses, let’s focus on an area of aging having to do with the holidays. When our two boys were actually boys (they are manly-men in their 30s now) we were able to buy gifts that delighted them. They were even cool with the clothing choices we wrapped and parked under the tree (OK, cool may be stretching it…but at least they didn’t roll their eyes.) But as any parent knows, at some point kids cross a line when gift choices made by parents become quite lame, especially when it comes to clothing. It took us a while to accept this reality when our “bo

Fake Spike? Refs Get The Call Right, And Yankee Hate is Back!

Happy holidays to everybody and here’s hoping that you enjoy whatever it is that you celebrate. I am celebrating the return of a fantastic piece of my childhood. I grew up conditioned to hate the Yankees. They represented everything that was wrong with baseball. The people with the most money, spent the most money, and won the most championships. Now don’t get me wrong, everything that they have ever done financially has been within the rules, but that’s a conversation about how baseball is broken, and that’s not right now. In the last few years, the “Evil Empire” has been relatively likable. Lots of young players, most from within the system, the way it’s supposed to be done. So the rivalry

The NFL Tried to Screw The Pats Through Scheduling. And It Failed!

The Sports Chowdah, through our super secret non-Russian sources, has obtained unedited audio of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell watching the conclusion of the Patriots-Steelers game Sunday. (Roger) Are you *^$%#ing kidding me?” Yup. You bet he said that. And more. Because he and the league have done everything they could to screw the Pats this year. And they failed. Miserably. Again. Here’s what the NFL has done to slow down the Brady, Coach Bill, and the boys this year. New England just played five out of six games on the road. In the second half of the season. In the cold. As all teams wear down. And players are lost as injuries rack up. That’s tough. Really freaking tough. No other NFL te

Stanton to the Yanks? Let's go to "The Twitter"

As with all major news developments, Twitter people went bat poop crazy this weekend as news of the blockbuster trade broke. Here are some of the best tweets which will make you laugh, and as a Sox fan, maybe cry. @BillSimmons A quick recap: Jeter bought the Marlins using mostly other people’s money, completely gutted them, pushed out a bunch of longtime employees, and traded their once-in-a-Generation player to the Yankees. Yup- the captain of the Yankees sure did Evil Empire a favor. Sort of a twisted sports threesome as he screwed the Sox and Marlins at the same time. Along those lines…. @GlobeChadFinn Marlins fans don’t even get a gift basket. Great reference by Chad back to Jeter’s dati

4th & Goal

It is with some humor and disbelief when I read all the garbage about Rob Gronkowski's suspension. Not because he didn't deserve it , but because of all the clowns that think he should have gotten more. When you think dirty, thug behavior on the football field, you don't think of New England. When you think of dangerous, egregious, illegal hits you don't think of New England or Rob Gronkowski or any other player coached by Bill Belichik. When you think of a decade or more of fines and suspensions for illegal cheap shots, you don't think of New England. You think of, or you very well should think of , teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals. You think of coaches like Mik

Keepin' It Real

Keepin' It Real By: Toby Nelson I love basketball. I especially love Maine High School basketball. If I could make a career out of it, I would be a high school basketball historian. With that said, this past weekend is always a great time of year as the high school basketball season opened up all across the state. Everyone starts 0-0. Congratulations if you won a championship last year. The gold ball looks good in the trophy case, but it means nothing now as hope springs eternal for all teams. I fondly remember my last opening night game in high school. Picture it. December 9th, 1994. East Millinocket, Maine. We (Foxcroft Academy) traveled to Schenck High School, the defending Class C state

Top All Time Black Bear Hockey Players From Canada

Two weeks ago, I was listening to the St. Louis Blues hockey game and they talked to UMaine great Paul Kariya during the first intermission. It was shortly after he had entered the Hockey Hall of Fame. A few days later, I was listening to another hockey game and they were talking about celebrating Canada 150 Skating Day on December 10, 2017. Skating was slated to take place all over Canada as part of the 150th anniversary of the Confederation celebration. I started thinking that the majority of the top hockey players in University of Maine history have been Canadian, so I decided to come up with my top-10 list. I’m taking the easy way out and listing them alphabetically. Spencer Abbott (Hami

I Agree With Steve, the NFL Need to Get Its Act Together

Will the NFL ever come up with a suspension and fine protocol that is consistent from one week to the next? One player to the next? One wrongdoing to the next? The answer, as 2017 winds down appears to be, NO. Judge, Jury and Executioner Roger Goodell is like the older brother Mike from ET. He torments those he can while forcing them to say “you have absolute power.” Probably holding an action figure of the player in question and contorting its body in awful ways just for his entertainment. No Proof. Just Instinct. Oh by the way, the parameters of a 200 million dollar contract extension for Roger were reportedly agreed upon this week. So, get used to it, because he’s not going anywhere. The

NFL is Taunting Me to Look Away

Hey NFL! I can’t imagine that you care-but you’re losing me. Not so much because players are kneeling during the National Anthem. An argument can be made that the flag represents freedom of speech, and that soldiers have died in order to make that free speech available to everyone, including football players. What’s pushing me out the door is the attitude and actions during the game; the recent “game” between the Steelers and Bengals serves as a perfect example, particularly one specific play. Pittsburgh receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster absolutely creamed Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict with a vicious hit while Burfict was in a defenseless position. Although I’m not a fan of these sorts of

WHO ARE THESE BLACK BEARS?

Is this the same University of Maine hockey team who has been an abysmal club away from Alfond Arena the last four-plus years? Don't look now, but the Black Bears are heading into the Christmas break above .500 at 8-7-1, and 3-1 away from Orono thanks to this weekend's sweep at Quinnipiac University. While some Black Bear supporters may argue that this wasn't Boston College or North Dakota that Maine swept, Quinnipiac is a quality opponent in spite of its 6-10-2 record. The Bobcats won 23 games last winter, and played for a national championship the year before that. In an era where there's much more parody in college hockey, going into another team's building and winning two games is a chal

Hockey Happenings

With the New England Patriots and Boston Celtics taking the sports spotlight right now, the recent run of success for the Boston Bruins is going a bit under the radar for most Boston sports fans. With the Pats in pursuit of another run of back-to-back Lombardi Trophies and the Celts off to the NBA’s best start a quarter of the way into the season, that’s understandable. But, the B’s deserve some attention as well. They’ve won six out of seven games heading into tonight’s big test in Nashville against the Predators. At 12-8-4 through 24 games, Boston sits just one point out of a playoff spot. Their 24 games played is currently the lowest number of any team in the league. They have as many as

A Decent Weekend for U Maine Hockey, But A BIG test Lies Ahead

The University of Maine hockey team was expected to take care of business at home against a subpar Vermont squad this weekend. While the Black Bears did that in resounding fashion Saturday afternoon in dispatching the Catamounts 6-2, old habits cost Maine two points on Friday night. The Bears were up 2-0 in the third period and were primed to start the series with a victory, but two third-period penalties, the last of which was a questionable holding call on defenseman Alexis Binner, led to the Catamounts forcing overtime, where the game ended in a 2-2 tie. Yes, the penalties were frustrating, but truth be told, Maine should've been up by two or three goals after two periods, which saw neith

Hoopin' It Up! - High School Basketball is a Part of Life In These Parts

December in Maine means two things; Snow is on the way and high school basketball season is ready to get started. I thought of my weekly musings while sitting on the bench at our recent preseason games at Foxcroft Academy. We were playing Piscataquis Community High School on Friday night. They are a longtime rival. In fact, I played my very last high school game of my career against the Pirates, in a 106-79 loss on 2/9/95. Ouch. It could have been worse. Without me, we would have lost 106-73. As we are a Class B school in the Big East, we don’t play PCHS anymore during the regular season, so the preseason is as close as we will get to the rivalry. So here was my thought; I never remember a w

Eli Manning Should Have Been Benched Long Before Now

I'm about burned out on this Eli Manning garbage. Why are people so upset that the Giants, about a month, or a season too late, made a business decision? Has there ever been a more overrated Quarterback in NFL history than Eli Manning? Give me a break. Yeah, the guy has over 50,000 yards passing which puts him in the Top 10 all time. Here's your little ribbon for playing. What else? Very little. For every 3 touchdowns, you get 2 interceptions. His completion percentage is barely top 40 all time. There are some really pedestrian names ahead of him on that list. Ho hum. With Eli at the helm, the Giants are barely a .500 team. They have made the playoffs only half the time. Sure, he's "won" 2 s

The Yankees Name Aaron "Bleepin" Boone Manager

It appears George Costanza and Mr. Wilhelm are once again making the decisions in Gotham. Of the thousands of managers and coaches working at various levels of baseball in our great nation, somehow the most storied franchise in the sport has chosen a guy who has never managed or coached a single game in his entire forty four years on Gods green earth. What's next? Cotton uniforms? Yankee Stadium bathroom stalls that have doors all the way to the floor? A blockbuster trade with Tyler Chicken? Seriously, Joe Giardi was canned after winning 91 games and almost making the darn World Series. He averaged 91 wins a year for a decade, never won fewer than 84 games, and did claim a World Championship

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