Patriots win AFC championship, Boston Globe wins the Cliche Bowl

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Sportswriting is hard. You’re writing about things that have happened many times before, and on a deadline. The inevitable result is overblown exaggerations, overused cliches, hackneyed player quotes, and generally flaccid writing. Case in point: the Boston Globe’s coverage of the New England Patriots’ come-from-behind victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in yesterday’s AFC Championship game. We’ve … Continued

Comparing the Gronkowski and NFL statements after he knocks a player into next week

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In Sunday’s football game, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski smashed his 265-pound body onto Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White when White was already down on the sidelines, causing a likely concussion. Gronk talked to reporters after the game, and the NFL made a statement as it suspended him for one game. We’ll compare the … Continued

Strategic jiggery-pokery as the Cleveland Browns hire Paul DePodesta

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The NFL’s Cleveland Browns just hired stats guru Paul DePodesta, a baseball guy, as “Chief Strategy Officer.” I’ve read the press release, and I still have no clue what that means. You’ve probably heard of DePodesta. He was the analytics whiz in Moneyball, the one that Billy Beane embraced to turn around the Oakland A’s. (Jonah Hill … Continued

Has Roger Goodell made himself clear? It’s “more probable than not.”

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Say what you will about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, but he finally figured out how to publish something clear on deflategate. Or putting it in the terms that the Wells Report used, it is “more probable than not” that you can actually figure out what Roger Goodell is saying. Look, Goodell is a mess. It took … Continued

Who sounds like a deflategate liar: Robert Kraft or the NFL’s lawyers?

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Two people are arguing in print. Who do you believe? The one who writes more clearly, not necessarily the one that’s right. Which brings us to deflategate. When the Patriots played the Colts in this year’s AFC championship game, officials found some of the balls to be underinflated. The NFL just finished investigating whether the Patriots intentionally let air … Continued