By: Bob George/
November 19, 2003

Rob Gronkowski tells Patriots he will play this season
Filling the Patriots' needs: No. 3: Quarterbacks
Buckley: On Boston sports stock market — buy Sox, sell Gronk
Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta could fit in with the Patriots
Guregian: Patriots can play draft in many ways if looking for Tom Brady heir

This writer was a first year graduate student at Michigan in the fall of 1980. Cross-state rival Michigan State came to town, and the Wolverines won a tough battle, 27-23. The kicker for the Spartans in that game happened to be the visiting kicker this past Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Morten Andersen had a booming leg back then, and it isn't much different today. He has taken his place among the very best placekickers in NFL history, and he launches one out of the end zone with his powerful left leg.

Two different CBS announcing crews were positive on Sunday that this year's AFC Championship Game will pit Kansas City and Tennessee.

Ah, disrespect. It's like Emperor Kuzco and the rhythm he lives his life by. In Foxborough, it's known as The Patriots' New Groove.

Except it's not new. It was there in 2001, and it served the Patriots just fine.

Just for fun, ask Randy Cross and Steve Tasker if they know who holds the tiebreaker between Tennessee and New England.

David Carr is a scratch on Sunday. Drat.

You might know that this column originates from Carr's fair city. The former Stockdale High Mustang makes all of Bakersfield, California proud.

As does a former CSUB wrestler named Stephen Neal.

A quick personal note: Carr's mom-in-law is the band director of this writer's oldest daughter. Her next band director will be her dad, and he can't wait.

Andre Johnson. Domanick Davis. Jabar Gaffney. The Patriot defense had better be good and ready on Sunday.

Two men who'll be ready for the Patriots: Greg Randall. Jabari Holloway.

They don't make 'em any tougher than Ronnie Lott.

If the New York Jets could play defense, they could run the table now that Chad Pennington is back.

If the Indianapolis Colts could play defense, they'd be thinking Super Bowl every year for the next five years.

Geek of the week: "I hate everything that is New England!" Whoops, just gave her identity away.

Get Quincy Carter a decent running back, and he'll be the living end.

Honk if it blew you away watching the Patriots shutting out Dallas on Sunday night, all the while feeling no disdain or any animosity towards Bill Parcells at any time.

Hate Parcells all you want, but what the Patriots are today began with His Tunaness.

One reason why Parcells was so fun to be our coach was his knack for saying the right thing to his players.

For example, here's something to say to someone who always repeats mistakes: "How many times do you have to get hit in the face by a skunk before you finally realize that it stinks?" (Thanks, ESPN)

Detroit will hate seeing its road futility continue, but as they say, sometimes things get worse before they get better.

Why Kevin Gilbride is still the offensive coordinator in Buffalo is beyond me.

Bills Nation needs to get off of Drew Bledsoe's case. And right now.

Who's leading the AFC North? Nah. The Bengals?

There's nothing worse than some punk wide receiver shooting off his mouth with a win guarantee, and his team backs it up.

That said, Dick Vermeil had to have seen that coming.

Back to school: Good news: Ohio State sits atop the BCS. Bad news: They head to Ann Arbor, Michigan this Saturday.

Anyone who thinks Jon Gruden should be fired in Tampa Bay is an idiot.

There's a term for what's happening in Tampa: "Everyone's gunning for the champs". That was the theme in 2002 in Foxborough.

When Al Davis fires Bill Callahan, he should replace him with Al Davis.

Pittsburgh has not had a quarterback since Terry Bradshaw.

Would Corey Dillon look good in a Patriot uniform?

Several news organizations did a story on Bledsoe's bonus midway through next year which, if picked up, triggers the next three years of Bledsoe's contract.

Looking into our crystal ball, here's what Tom Donahoe will do. Re-do, Drew. If not, goodbye to you, Drew.

Everyone raves over Gillette Stadium. If you head down to Houston to catch your faves on the road this weekend, take a good look at Reliant Stadium and see if it is as great as everyone says it is.

After this weekend, the Patriots would love a second look at Reliant Stadium. On February 1st of next year, to be precise.

If Bill Belichick doesn't win top coaching honors, then Marvin Lewis does, hands down.

Remember him: Houston GM Charlie Casserly has come a long way from his days as head football coach at Minnechaug Regional HS in Wilbraham. He was there from 1975 to 1976, then Minnechaug won the WMass/CMass championship in each of the next two years after he left. Way to go, Falcons.

News flash: Bucs deactivate Keyshawn Johnson for the rest of the year. A terrific talent ruined by one of the worst attitudes in recent years.

Looks like another manchild project for Parcells, huh?

Is Bill Cowher really as great a coach as everyone thinks he is?

First there was Tony Simmons. Then Donald Hayes. Now the Patriots have J.J. Stokes, the next six-foot-four wideout to try and debunk the theory that to succeed as a Patriot wideout, you need to be under six feet.

Maybe Stokes will have a UCLA flashback, in which case the Patriots would be dastardly lucky.

Quick question: Who saw action in both the 1969 Michigan-Ohio State game and the 1996 AFC Championship game at Foxborough Stadium in the same capacity at both games?

Answer: Referee Jerry Markbreit.

Are the Patriots really for real? You'll find out this Sunday, as they deal with one of the most insidious trap game scenarios of all.