By: John Molori
October 17, 2005

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THIS WEEK:

- Romo's no-no's
- Bob's back
- Rising Stars, Falling Stars: Who's hot and not in Boston sports media?

Sympathy and compassion do not fit this Bill

This past Sunday on CBS' "60 Minutes," former NFL tough guy Bill Romanowski pouted and purged. Known for his dirty methods and pharmacological diet, Romanowski showed regret for his brutal play and admitted to taking steroids and human growth hormone provided by Victor Conte of BALCO infamy.

Romanowski's performance was from the Lawrence Taylor school of thought. Step 1: Show a sensitive side preferably accompanied by tears. Step 2: Admit to character flaws. Step 3: Drum up interest in your soon to be released book, "Romo. My Life on the Edge."

In the interview, Romanowski talked about breaking the finger of Dave Meggett during a game. "All I could get was a finger and, at the time, I thought it was his, but whatever it was, I just snapped it and I could hear a scream at the bottom of the pile," he stated. How nice.

We learned that Romanowski's hard-hitting style has resulted in twenty " documented" concussions and possibly permanent brain damage. According to CBS, Romanowski's brain shows "profound slowing of cognitive function."

In truth, Romanowski's brain functioning was questionable long before now. Throughout his career, he was a cocky, swaggering ass. He regaled anyone who would listen about his gross intake of a smorgasbord of pills and supplements. His teary admissions of using steroids and feeling regret for his past are about as sentimental as a Motorhead concert.

"I compromised my morality to get ahead, to play another year, to play two more years, to win another Super Bowl," the ex-Niner, Bronco and Raider said in an almost heroic tone. Please. This interview was completely laughable.

The fact is that Romanowski is being utterly Cansecoesque, cashing in on the steroid scare and feigning regret for his cheating ways. It won't be long before he gets a spot on some celebrity reality show and a high-five session with the boys from FSN's "Best Damn Sports Show Period."

Shame on me for even calling attention to this smarmy degenerate, but I' ll use my indiscretion to outline my school of thought. Step 1: Don't feel sorry for Bill Romanowski. Step 2: Don't believe one word he says. Step 3: Please, don't buy his book. You've already heard the story.

Norton news

The return of college hockey signals the return of a voice that has become synonymous with sport in New England, but ESPN hockey analyst Bob Norton has traveled a long and winding road to notoriety. The longtime principal at Woburn High School quit playing hockey after his freshman year at Watertown High School to pursue baseball and football.

"I didn't play hockey again until I joined the club team at Rutgers," said the 62-year-old Norton. "(Current New Jersey Devils GM) Lou Lamoriello played on a Providence College team that beat us 20-1 and set a record for most points scored by one line in a game."

Norton graduated from Rutgers in 1965 and went to Washington, D.C. to work for the CIA. He eventually got into coaching. "I was hired at Bergen Catholic High School in New Jersey. We started the hockey program literally on a nearby pond," says Norton. From Bergen, Norton moved to Holy Cross as an offensive line coach, and then to UNH as an assistant in both football and hockey.

By 1977, UNH had arrived as a national power. Norton was instrumental in recruiting the likes of Rod Langway, Bob Gould, Bruce Crowder, Ralph Cox and Bob Miller. UNH reached the Frozen Four in 1977, 1979 and 1982. Norton's media odyssey began at New Hampshire Public Television in 1976 doing color commentary alongside Jim Jeanott for UNH hockey.

He also did radio color for Dartmouth hockey, but a larger audience was just down Route 93. "Dave Shea and Sean McDonough were calling Hockey East games on NESN," Norton explains. "Around 1985, Dave joined Fred Cusick and Derek Sanderson on Bruins telecasts. "(Hockey East commissioner) Lou Lamoriello and (NESN executive producer) Bob Whitelaw asked me if I would join Sean for college hockey games."

By the late 1980s, Norton was a much sought-after college hockey analyst for NESN, NCAA Productions and ESPN. He's been in the booth for eight Frozen Four telecasts and has worked for ESPNU as a studio analyst. His love for the game is based more on people than pucks.

"The friends I've made and the people I've been associated with is what makes the game special," says Norton, who has won two Emmy Awards. "I grew up idolizing Fred Cusick and I got a chance to work with him. Fred sent me a note praising me for my preparation and effort. I cherish that."

Despite his success and immense popularity, Norton remains humble. "It' s not about talent," he says. "I just try to get along with the people in the booth, the truck, the whole crew. I try to show everyone respect and not act like I am the show. No one is indispensable. I've been lucky to work with the best people in the business."

Rising Stars

Steve Burton, CBS4: Burton broke the story of Tedy Bruschi's anticipated return and deserves kudos for getting it first, getting it right and getting it on the air, in that order.

John Carchedi, CN8: His recent package previewing Hockey East was top notch including coaches' interviews and insights on the smaller schools in the conference. Known for his off beat style, Carchedi played this one straight and it worked.

Greg Dickerson, FSNE: His courtside work during Celtics' telecasts brings professionalism and credibility, and serves as a nice segue to announcers Mike Gorman and Tom Heinsohn. Willie Maye is likeable, but Dickerson is a more polished presence.

Falling Stars

Fred Smerlas, WEEI: Smerlas was over the top saying that the Pats' loss at Denver wasn't really a loss. The fact is that the Pats sleepwalked through the second quarter and David Givens and Deion Branch had key drops in a potential game-tying drive. Ease up on the pom-poms, Fred.

ESPN Radio Boston: It doesn't matter who is on the air if you cannot hear what is being said. ESPN Radio has shown lots of promise, but the station's AM 890 and AM 1400 signals aren't doing it justice. If the signal issues remain unchanged, the station will suffer the same fate as AM 1510, i.e.- a frustrated listener base that finds it more satisfying to just stay at WEEI.

Theo Epstein Boosters: Glenn Ordway, Joe Amorosino and others need to ask themselves a question. Would you give more than $1 million per year to someone who is simply carrying out the corporate plan? Theo Epstein might be a talented GM, but he'll never reach his full potential under Larry Lucchino's rather large thumb.

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 Maga zine, ColdHardFootballFacts.com, TheRemyReport.com, PatsFans.com, BostonSportsReview.com, BostonPressBox.com, BostonSportsMedia.com and MethuenOnline.com. Email John at JOMOL3@aol.com.


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