Each day during the sports pause stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, NESN.com will publish a diary full of random thoughts, opinions, takeaways and other cool tidbits we’ve stumbled across in the absence of actual games. Because why not? We’re all in this together.
Miss sports? We do, too.
There obviously are more important things going on in the world. That goes without saying. But the absence of sporting events really stinks, especially when you consider Major League Baseball was supposed to start this week and both the NBA and NHL would be heading down the home stretch if not for the COVID-19 outbreak that’s sweeping the globe.
This doesn’t mean there’s nothing to talk about when it comes to sports, though. In fact, everyone who’s social distancing — you should be, if you’re not already! — could use some lighthearted sports chatter to pass the time and ease their minds during this trying period in human existence.
So, here’s a smattering of thoughts for Monday, March 23:
— Happy birthday, Kyrie Irving. 🎂
While he’s still a clown for the most part, kudos to Kyrie for stepping up and donating a good chunk of change amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It’s nice to see so many athletes getting involved.
— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) March 23, 2020
— The Los Angeles Rams unveiled a new logo and color scheme. It has a real Sonic the Hedgehog feel to it, which isn’t a compliment in this case — as much as I love Sonic the Hedgehog.
The 𝗟𝗼𝘀 𝗔𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘀 Rams pic.twitter.com/qyspVxoHWX
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) March 23, 2020
— There’s been some Internet rumors floating that the Patriots also will have new uniforms in 2020. The current ones are decent, but the timing just feels right with Tom Brady leaving, no?
Logo and uniform changes: #Rams, #Chargers
Uniform changes: #Falcons, #Bucs, #Patriots, #Browns
Logo/uniform tweaks: #Colts
Usually you get only 2 or 3 per season. Seven is unheard of https://t.co/Kwxri6b8fN
— Joe Reedy (@joereedy) March 23, 2020
— The Brady drama shows no signs of slowing down, but there’s one narrative that still makes zero sense.
For some unknown reason, there’s this common belief that, moving forward, whatever Brady does with the Buccaneers and Bill Belichick does with the Patriots will serve as evidence for who was more responsible for New England’s two-decade dynasty. Yet that couldn’t be further from the truth.
How the heck could we possibly make sweeping generalizations about their respective impacts based on what figures to be a small sample size from a past-his-prime Brady and a 68-year-old Belichick guiding a watered-down Patriots roster? It’s just not possible.
Maybe we could have discerned something from the breakup had Brady left when he was 30 and won a few more Super Bowl titles while Belichick and the Patriots crashed and burned — or vice versa. But at this point, we’re not going to learn much at all with respect to their legacies. Those already are etched in stone.
So, can we please stop with this idea that Brady’s departure will show once and for all who deserves more credit, him or Belichick?
— I hate the eyeballs emoji. Everyone uses it way too much, even for the most mundane developments. But when oddsmakers over the weekend listed Deshaun Watson as the favorite to be New England’s starting quarterback in 2021: 👀 👀 👀 👀 👀 👀
I don’t know what the heck it means. Maybe it’s simply safeguarding against another boneheaded move by Bill O’Brien, with his former organization being the beneficiary this time around. One imagines the Texans will place the franchise tag on Watson next offseason even if they can’t work out a long-term contract extension, so a trade might be required to pluck him out of Houston.
It does make you wonder, though, whether the Patriots’ apparent reluctance to commit to Brady moving forward was part of Belichick playing the long game with an eye toward something — or someone — significant. It sure feels like 2020 is shaping up to be a bridge year — nothing screams “placeholder” like “Brian Hoyer” — and that 2021 will be the point at which we really start to judge Belichick’s post-Brady vision.
— Speaking of those odds, I’d probably sprinkle a little action on Andy Dalton (+1200) and Jacoby Brissett (+1100), two unrestricted free agents in 2021. Because even if the Patriots were to draft someone like Trevor Lawrence next year — a sign they truly fell off a cliff — it’s hard to imagine them handing the keys to a rookie in Week 1, and either Dalton or Brissett could be a viable stopgap.
— Also, on the topic of Lawrence: It’s virtually impossible to tank in football. Stop with that theory.
— The Red Sox sure seem to be prioritizing catching depth in Chaim Bloom’s first few months as Boston’s chief baseball officer. They added another backstop Monday, acquiring minor leaguer Jhonny Pereda from the Chicago Cubs to complete the teams’ January trade involving right-hander Travis Lakins.
Boston has added catchers Kevin Plawecki, Jonathan Lucroy, Jett Bandy, Connor Wong and now Pereda since Bloom’s hiring in October. Either Plawecki or Lucroy figures to open the season as Christian Vazquez’s backup with Sandy Leon gone, but the Red Sox suddenly are deep at the position organizationally, which is a stark contrast from 2019.
Video of the Day
For anyone suggesting the Patriots sign Jameis Winston…
Stat of the Day
Only three players in NFL history have appeared in more playoff games than kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who was released by the Patriots on Monday after 14 seasons in New England: Tom Brady, Adam Vinatieri and Jerry Rice.
Tweet of the Day
In case it still didn’t seem real…
Tune in at noon tomorrow to hear Tom Brady's first press conference as a Buccaneer 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/Xh4hSjjbtB
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) March 23, 2020
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images