By: John Molori
September 19, 2005

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THIS WEEK:

- Foulke tale
- Jason's jabs
- Rising Stars, Falling Stars: Who's hot and not in Boston sports media?

It's time for WEEI to stop the Foulke music

Keith Foulke's weekly radio appearances every Friday on Sportsradio 850 WEEI's "Dale and Holley" show have become the most brutal listening experience in Boston. It is time for WEEI to stop punishing listeners and put this needless and worthless exchange to sleep for good.

This past week, a clearly dejected and depressed Foulke wandered through the interview while hosts Dale Arnold and Michael Holley were equal parts Dr. Phil and Dr. Joyce Brothers. With injury, ineffectiveness and some off the field woes, Foulke has had an excruciating season. He has been booed by fans and accused of everything from steroid use to disparaging the common man.

These events have made his weekly radio stint sad and seemingly interminable. With Foulke in a funk, you would think that WEEI would stop the madness and kill the segment, but there is a problem, and it has to do with money. Foulke signed on for the weekly gig because he worked out a deal with WEEI and one of their sponsors, Ricky Smith Pontiac/GMC.

In exchange for his comments, Foulke got a new truck from Ricky Smith. He is obligated to appear because of this deal. Such is the negative result of the checkbook journalism that WEEI and other stations practice on an all-too-regular basis.

Hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time, right? The Red Sox heroic closer would appear exclusively on WEEI and share his thoughts on strategy and the game. Instead, we have a weekly exercise in psycho-babble, with the helpless Arnold and Holley asking inappropriate and uncomfortable questions like, "How are your off the field problems going?" or "Who do you talk to when things are going wrong in your life?"

I don't blame the hosts. In fact, Arnold said on the air that he no longer looks forward to the Friday chat with Foulke. I don't blame Foulke, who has been accommodating throughout the year. They are trying their best. I do blame programming chief Jason Wolfe for walking down the pay to appear road in the first place.

Foulke's thoughts have become completely irrelevant. Moreover, WEEI is using Foulke's candor against him. In Friday's interview, the upfront Fouke said that he will be happy when this season is completed. For the rest of the day, the station ran that sound bite in its Sports Flashes. While Foulke did say that, he also said many other things that tempered and framed that strong statement. Playing that bite alone is deceiving and unfair.

In truth, the Foulke interview is beneath WEEI, a station that has consistently delivered relevant interviews and commentary. It's time for Wolfe and company to admit that this plan failed. Call Ricky Smith. Give Mike Timlin the truck. Let Foulke off the hook and spare listeners more pointless soul searching.

That probably won't happen because Foulke is financially obligated to appear, regardless of the interview's relevance or content. Call it the price you pay for paying the price.

Sehorn's sentiment

Former Ram and Giant safety and current Fox Sports Net analyst Jason Sehorn recently stated on ESPN Radio that he does not consider Tom Brady to be a top flight NFL quarterback.

Specifically, Sehorn stated, "Brady's not Peyton Manning. I'm taking Peyton any day over him. I'm even taking (Ram QB Marc) Bulger over him. Hey, everyone has their picks." Needless to say, Sehorn has come under fire for his words. For Sehorn to say that Brady is not an upper echelon quarterback is silly. Statistically and in terms of intangibles, Brady is clearly one of the top signal-callers in the game.

However, Sehorn's assertion that he would take Manning or Bulger over Brady should not be so quickly tossed aside. Far be it from anyone to criticize a guy who snuggles with actress Angie Harmon every night, but beyond that stroke of luck, Sehorn has a point.

Choosing Peyton Manning over Brady is no crime. Indeed, yours truly and many others believe that in every area but leadership and Super Bowl titles, Manning is the superior player, but what about Bulger?

This is the comparison that leads Sehorn to the lions, especially in New England. Well, let's go to the 2004 numbers. Last season, Bulger bested Brady in every QB stat with the exception of games played and touchdowns. Bulger led Brady in completions, attempts, completion percentage, passing yards and QB rating. Both men had 14 interceptions.

Sehorn is no media visionary. This is a guy who could not hold down a regular gig on Fox Sports Net's "Best Damn Sports Show Period," but he has a point. If you are talking strictly about the position of quarterback and the physical performance of that position, Bulger is better than Brady.

I realize what the Brady boosters are saying. Brady leads Bulger in the most important categories, wins and titles. That is true, but those are team statistics. If you want to argue titles, you have to take the entire roster into consideration. Jim Plunkett won two Super Bowls. Dan Marino won none. Would you pick Plunkett over Marino as a quarterback, not the Raiders over the Dolphins, but Plunkett over Marino?

Another case in point, Trent Dilfer, Jeff Hostetler, Mark Rypien and Brad Johnson all won Super Bowls. Fran Tarkenton never did. Would you pick any of those signal callers over Tarkenton?

John Elway may be the best example. If not for those two titles at the end of his career, the media would have tossed Elway into the "loser" scrap pile with Marino. The truth is that even without the titles, you could make a sound case for Elway as the best ever at the position.

Taking everything into consideration, I'd take Brady over Bulger, but strictly on physical performance and numbers, Bulger is better. In short, championships don't make great quarterbacks, and more to the point, great quarterbacks don't always make championships.

Rising Stars

Michael Felger, ESPN Radio: Felger's first week as host of "The Drive" on AM 890 and AM 1400 proved that he is a capable host with the ability to create lively discussion. Felger has great guests including Buster Olney and Mike Reiss, and a solid partner in the talented Kevin Winter. With a strategic 4:00-8:00 p.m. time slot, Felger begins during an endless WEEI commercial break and lasts two hours after "The Big Show." His prospects seem very bright.

Paul McNamara, AM 1510: Veteran high school broadcaster is calling play-by-play with Russ Rubin and Ed Maguire for Middlesex League football every Friday at 7:00 p.m. on AM 1510 through Thanksgiving and possibly the postseason. Broadcasts can also be heard live at 1510TheZone.com.

Mike Silvia, Fox Sports Net: Silvia's latest "Confessional" ad campaign shows once again that Duffy-Shanley is the preeminent sports advertising creator in New England. Watching FSN's regular hosts and guests comically bare their sports souls makes me want to watch FSN's programming and see more of these guys, the ultimate goal of any promotion.

Falling Stars

WWZN AM 1510: Not only did AM 1510 needlessly fire Kevin Winter last December, but they have cancelled the fun and unique "Barstool Sports" radio show at " The Place" Wednesday nights. Why? According to one of "The Place" owners, "Because of all that John Dennis-Ryen Russillo (stuff), AM 1510 The Zone decided it's best to lay low for a while." Dennis and Russillo are engaged in a personal battle that has been chronicled elsewhere, but is too silly and irrelevant to mention in this space.

Curt Schilling, WEEI: The too-candid "Dennis and Callahan" commentator made his manager look foolish by saying that the front office is involved in deciding who plays, and risked bristling teammates by stating that David Ortiz is the only "indispensable" player on the Red Sox. Are you listening Captain Varitek?

New Orleans Saints: On Fox25, Fox reporter Pam Oliver quoted the Saints saying, "They feel the NFL has not been helpful at all. They'd prefer to play all of their so-called 'home' games in San Antonio. The Saints feel that they have enough working against them already and they don't need the league to pile on." With all due sympathy, the team's feelings come off as selfish whining. Most of the people affected by Katrina do not have six or seven figure incomes to ease the strife, nor do they work for companies that take care of work arrangements and travel plans.

John Molori's columns are published in The Boston Metro, Patriots Football Weekly, The Providence Journal, Boston Sports Review, New England Hockey Journal, New England Ringside Magazine, TheRemyReport.com, PatsFans.com, BostonSportsReview.com, BostonPressBox.com, BostonSportsMedia.com, ColdHardFootballFacts.com and MethuenOnline.com. Email John at JOMOL3@aol.com.


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