By: Bob George/
January 01, 2008

Buckley: 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
Patriots notebook: Season starts with Houston at Foxboro

They let Tony Franklin go for Teddy Garcia? The barefooted Franklin was at the time the only Super Bowl kicker in franchise history (of course, Adam Vinatieri is the only other one to date). Franklin kicked one more season for Miami before calling it a career, while Garcia crapped out in his only year with the Patriots. He was only 6 of 13 in field goals and was 11 of 16 on extra points. Yes, folks, he missed five of sixteen extra points. That's why you get rid of him and bring in someone named Jason Staurovsky. Garcia pooches one to the 30, hoping someone will muff the kickoff.

They played on New Year's Day at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo. Hockey, not football.

Outdoor hockey? Bravo. More of it. Ask Mr. Kraft if he could pull this off at Gillette.

Then make that hockey tenant on Causeway Street good enough so that 68,000 fans would actually go see them.

All these people extolling the praises of Tom Coughlin will shut up quickly if Tampa Bay dispatches the Giants next week, and missing Giants who were injured in the loss to the Patriots were the main reason why.

Feel sorry for Cleveland and Romeo Crennel, but they should have taken care of business the previous week at Cincinnati.

And they should never place their season in the hands of Jim Sorgi.

So, Brian Billick got fired. Yes, he is a Super Bowl winning coach. A newspaper article offered up this quote: "The Ravens are 33-33 since Steve Bisciotti took over as owner of the Ravens." Bisciotti is the one who fired Billick.

Who knows. Maybe Billick needed to be replaced. It would be too bad if the real problem with the Ravens were higher up on the corporate masthead.

Geek of the week: Will they never learn. Someone tell Saints coach Sean Payton that his team will make it back to the playoffs next year when he tells his team to not kick the ball to Devin Hester. Stuff like that.

16-0. Dang. Now the real work begins.

And whoever said that the playoffs should be less stressful for the Patriots wasn't kidding. 16-0 means nothing any more.

And even less if 16-0 doesn't become 19-0.

The understanding is that Cam Cameron will be fired in Miami as head coach. Gut feeling? Give him a little more time. Let Bill Parcells do some grocery shopping before you make a final decision on this guy.

It's a shame that Arizona didn't make the playoffs. For that franchise, 8-8 seems like 13-3.

Say what you want about Washington. But if they go deep in the playoffs, it'll be Sean Taylor who got them there.

If Minnesota wants a shoulder to cry on, ask a Cleveland Brown. Same deal here.

Randy Moss wants to be like Corey Dillon and get his ring. He may also be like Dillon and never lose his enmity towards the media or those who thought he would never grow up and behave.

Because Dillon got his ring, and is still basically disgusted with the media.

Moral: The ring cures most angst, but not all of it.

Back to school: That's nine straight bowl wins for Boston College. You've perhaps never heard of any of those bowl games they have won, but a bowl win is a bowl win. Chestnut Hill folk can walk around with chins high and chests out all they want nonetheless.

They're in Boston. All Boston teams do is win. They fit in just fine.

The Jets may cut Chad Pennington loose. Bad move. Your division opponents will love you if you do. The Jets simply don't have a quarterback as good as Pennington.

Congratulations to the Houston Texans and their first break-even season in franchise history. Maybe the Mario Williams pick wasn't that bad after all.

Next year, JaMarcus Russell, get your fanny into training camp and learn the pro game when you're supposed to.

Ignore all injury reports on Marvin Harrison. If it's the Patriots and the Colts for the AFC Championship, Harrison will be there and ready to go. Bank on it.

If any NFL team plays a home game and they rest players because of nothing to play for, they should do one of two things: Give the season ticket holders a rebate or give that rebate money to a charity. The game becomes something akin to watching an August game and fans are cheated big time.

It's bad enough that the August games are a waste of ticket holder money. When December games are also, it's actually unprofessional no matter how smart the thinking may be.

Now it's really time for the 1972 Dolphins to shut up and go away. Unfortunately, they won't unless the Patriots do indeed go 19-0.

Remember him: When he retires, Dan Koppen may go down as the best center in team history. Who is right now? Pete Brock? Dave Wohlabaugh? Bill Lenkaitis? Some might say Jon Morris. Morris came to the Patriots in 1964 and played eleven seasons for the red, white and blue before moving on to Detroit in 1975. The former Holy Cross Crusader cleared a lot of holes for Jim Nance when the franchise was based in Boston, was a six-time AFL All-Pro, and was on the AFL all-time second team. Morris had another claim to fame as a Patriot: Morris was a radio analyst for the Patriots from 1978 to 1987. He did two seasons with Gil Santos, seven seasons with John Carlson and one with Curt Gowdy before handing the analyst chair back to former teammate Gino Cappelletti.

It's the playoffs, so we bring back our rhyming playoff predictions. Enjoy your respite from the Patriots and watch who the Patriots will play the following week be determined.

Another NFC West division title for the 'Hawks.

No matter, the spirit of Sean Taylor will make Seattle take a walk.

A gallant effort by the Giants was really terrific.

But Tampa Bay will make Coughlin's life horrific.

Tennessee sneaked in and broke Cleveland's heart.

From the playoffs, the Chargers will make the Titans depart.

A very tough struggle between Pittsburgh and Jax.

If Big Ben plays, he'll then play the Pats, that's a fax.