By: Bob George/
January 06, 2005

Colleagues take to Twitter to praise ‘perfect’ play-by-play man
Year after year, Gil Santos delivered
Bill Belichick pays tribute to Patriots Hall of Fame broadcaster Gil Santos
Bill Belichick pays tribute to the late Gil Santos
Tight end Troy Niklas’ “crazy” story makes him a Patriot and a father, too

No game this week. So, let's call on one of our own to kick things off. It's almost Super Bowl time, so let's call upon the very first Patriot to score points in a Super Bowl. He set an NFL record, which still stands, for the earliest score in Super Bowl history. Too bad that the early score, coming off a Walter Payton fumble, wasn't a harbinger for the rest of the game. Barefooted Tony Franklin got things off on the right foot for the Patriots (no pun intended) in Super Bowl XX, but it was all Bears after that. Franklin, who once kicked a 59-yarder for the Eagles and hit from 67 in college, booms one into the end zone for a touchback.

The Minnesota Vikings have redefined the term "backing into the playoffs”.

Drew Bledsoe had another Kevin Henry moment, and it helped cost the Bills their season.

It has to be agonizing for Jaguar and Raven fans, needing a Colt team resting its regulars with nothing to play for to win against a team fighting for its playoff life.

That's why it's always best to keep destiny in your own hands.

If there is one positive to come out of the Patriot front-liners having to play so long against the 49ers, it's that they will be the least rusty of all the bye week teams when the divisional playoffs begin.

Pittsburgh made that Patriot loss to Miami totally moot. They went 1-1 and then ran the table. Nobody could have seen that coming in August.

The Jets made it into the playoffs when Buffalo lost. Once this was the case, it would have been okay if you switched allegiances and rooted for the Jets to win. The Rams almost deserve to be in the playoffs less than the Vikings do.

Oh, by the way: Since the merger, 8-8 teams are 0-5 in the playoffs once they get there.

Geek of the week: Randy Moss, for sulking off to the locker room when his team still had a chance to win the game. The Packers will likely induce another such reaction from Moss next weekend.

For now, Corey Dillon can be forgiven for those fumbles. He more than delivered on his promise all season long.

But the real season now begins, and he needs to protect the ball just a little bit better.

Sooner or later, Cincinnati is going to have to do better than 8-8.

Nice win by New Orleans on the road at Carolina against another opponent fighting for its playoff life.

On the other hand, how doesn't Carolina win that game at home after bouncing back the way they did all season long?

Honk if, for the first time since the mid-1970s, you are concerned over the Colts.

Both CBS and Fox pregame shows agree on one thing: Who in their right mind wants to play for Tom Coughlin?

What we'd like to know is where was this negative outpouring towards the former Parcells assistant when the Jaguars were on the doorstep of the Super Bowl in 1997 here in Foxborough?

Both NFC Wild Card games are division opponents facing each other. One of the home teams, Seattle, has yet to beat St. Louis this season. The Seahawks need for the third time to be the charm.

The Packers? Outdoors, not indoors. Smile, cheeseheads.

Back to school: Nick Saban will have a lousy taste in his mouth as he leaves LSU for Dolphin land.

Back to school Jr.: Yours Truly's alma mater came up a point short in the Rose Bowl. But that was one heckuva game. And that was the first ever meeting between Michigan and Texas?

Back to school III: Charlie Weis will have to forgive Notre Dame fans if they watched the Fiesta Bowl and felt sad knowing that Utah's outgoing coach, Urban Meyer, was their first choice to succeed Tyrone Willingham.

NESN is going to show Red Sox World Series games all during January. Makes you wish that the NFL would expand its new policy on allowing NFL rebroadcasts. For now, you can see obscure regular season games from 1998 to the present on NFL Network. That's it.

For starters, show the NBC broadcast of the Patriots-Raiders playoff game of 1976. It won't be a happy experience, but you can use it to shut your Raider fan friends up if they are still complaining about a tuck rule.

Here's this writer's top three NFL rebroadcast list: The 1967 Ice Bowl. Super Bowl III. The Immaculate Reception game.

One of these days, Tedy Bruschi will make the Pro Bowl. He won't stay off everyone's radar screen forever.

Sorry, CBS, you did your best with Thurston Long. But Fox's pregame is a kick from start to finish. And they did spend a good amount of time on AFC matters, bless their hearts.

Frank Caliendo is a riot. Jillian Barberie is eye candy. But Terry Bradshaw makes that whole show. Nobody at CBS can touch Terry, and thus can never equal the entertainment value of the show.

Remember him: Nice to hear the name Tatupu adorn the Orange Bowl on Monday night. Before Bruschi, there was Mosi Tatupu, the heart and soul of the Patriots in the 1970s and 1980s. This was a guy who began at USC as the blocking back for Ricky Bell, then went on to a 13-year Patriot career as a situational back. "Mosi's Mooses” resided in the north end zone. He was the precursor to "Full Tilt Full Time”. Not too many guys have this long a career in a supporting role. But Tatupu was a definite fan favorite, as well as one of the most endearing Patriots in history.

Christmas isn't over until Wednesday. The twelfth day of Christmas. Keep your lights and trees up until then. Enjoy this time of year as long as you can. And we hope that your holiday season was a merry one.

And that 2005 will be your best year ever.

That said, we now bring back our annual poetic playoff predictions. Enjoy them, and enjoy the playoffs.

Minnesota loves making their suffering fans starve.

Green Bay wins because they've got Favre.

Closing the Rams out is tough for the Hawks.

Seattle wins, but it's the weakest of all locks.

San Diego is the prettiest city in all the land.

Jets fly in and win, Bolts feel anything but grand.

Denver gets another shot on the road against Peyton.

Patriot fans will watch the MVP and keep on hatin'.