Author Archives: Ironhead15

The Athletic’s Heel Turn: Meet New Patriots Beat Writer Matthew Fairburn

On Monday, September 9, 2021, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe announced his promotion to National NFL Insider, leaving an opening for the The Athletic to fill for Patriots beat coverage. As you might expect, Boston Globe media critic Chad Finn was all over this, having inside details of Howe’s promotion and search for a replacement nailed cold. (Just kidding. Charred Finn was folding Felger’s warming napkins before heading to Market Basket to fetch ketchup for Big Gym and chloroform-laced kitty litter for Jimmy Stewart.)

In a coordinated fashion, Howe tweeted his promotion and his replacement revealed himself. Matthew Fairburn is the new beat writer covering the Patriots for The Athletic:

Per usual, colleagues tripped over each other scrambling to tweet congratulations at Fairburn for his new role at The Athletic in nauseating numbers. Inside the headquarters of The 15, there was more skepticism. Unlike Charred Finn, we went to work and some gems were unearthed.

Is The Athletic Boston turning into The Unathletic Medway? I’m Just Asking The Question, reader. I would make a suggestion to Fairburn: Never go full Bedard. At all.

Fairburn is off to a rollicking start. He’s checking all the mediot boxes. Belichick cheats? Check. Brady about to go off a cliff? Yup. Reheated conventional wisdom passed off as insight? Bing. Intellectual dishonesty? You decide.

He deleted his tweets to spare his friends from an onslaught of Twitter nonsense. One might suggest his uninformed, trolling nonsense started this. Framing himself in the most unselfish and gallant of lights, Fairburn wanted to spare his friends from nonsense. But who is Fairburn sparing from an onslaught of Twitter nonsense in this since-deleted tweet?

Fairburn has spent the past week deleting tweets at a greater rate than Tom Brady destroys cell phones.

Meet the new beat writer for The Athletic Boston’s coverage of the Patriots: A Belichick hating, Brady cliff-diving, Cheating Cheatriots Spygate Enthusiast and DeflateGate Truther conspiracy theorist who will dedicate himself to providing unbiased, quality coverage of Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots. Is Fairburn writing for his audience? In Buffalo, he was catering to folding table murderers and dildo tossers. In New England, will he cater to the mouth-breathing Felger worshippers and angle for the weekend fill-in radio hottakez dollars?

The only question I need answered about Fairburn going forward is if he prefers mittens, Splenda, or a thesaurus.

L-R: Volin, Bedard, Gasper, Fairburn.

Members of #The15 and Entitled Town contributed to this column.

David Patten and the Element of Surprise

By Guest Columnist @PatriotsDaily

“In conflict, direct confrontation will lead to engagement and surprise will lead to victory. Those who are skilled in producing surprises will win.”

 – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

One of the understated joys of being a Patriots fan during the Belichick era is how often something goes counter to expectations. Football is a game of planning and execution, but so often the thrills come when things don’t go according to plan.

“Surely Belichick won’t do this” went the mantra. “Surely Belichick won’t keep playing Brady once Bledsoe’s healthy,” until he did just that. “Surely Belichick will never trade Bledsoe within the division,” until he did just that. “Surely Belichick will never choose to kick off to Peyton Manning in overtime,” until he did just that. Even just this past week, with the prevailing belief being that Belichick was locked into some old coaches wives’ tale about never starting a rookie quarterback, Belichick did just that.

The original “Surely Belichick won’t”.

Patriots football has been like that for two decades – confounding expectations, flouting convention, defying probability – so much so that rivals resorted to conspiracy theories and superstition to explain away losing to what they believed to be inferior teams. It could never be that they were simply out-worked, out-prepared, out-coached, or out-played.

David Patten, the Super Bowl XXXVI hero who tragically passed away last Thursday at the age of 47, is the answer to that mystery. He was the ideal Belichick player: selfless and humble, tireless and hardworking, competitive and gracious. Rivals need look no further than Patten to understand just how they lost that game.

Patten might be the first of Patriot surprises, predating even the time Bill Belichick told Drew Bledsoe he wouldn’t be getting “his” job back from Tom Brady. For all those now on the “It was always Brady” bandwagon (and previously on the “all he does is dinks and dunks” bandwagon), let’s not forget the guy who saw champion qualities in the former sixth-round pick way before the rest of the civilized world.

Patten’s story is best told in context, and that context is Terry Glenn.

In the summer of 2001, the two men occupied opposite poles of the football spectrum. Glenn was the sole playmaker on a 5-11 team, a Pro Bowler two years prior, and a year removed from signing a $50 million contract. 

Patten was a fifth-year player who played a little in the Arena League, made his NFL bones as a kick returner with the Giants, then bounced to Cleveland before eventually getting a call from the Pats. Nobody could envision Patten’s slot on a depth chart that included Glenn and Troy Brown at the top spots, and with more celebrated free agents Charles Johnson, Bert Emanuel and Torrance Small also vying for jobs.

Glenn was in the doghouse entering camp, with an offseason domestic assault arrest, and a 4-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. When the Pats withheld bonus money in accordance with behavioral clauses in his contract, Glenn left camp in protest.

Imagine how many times the two players crossed paths in camp prior to Glenn bolting. Did either have any idea how their career paths would diverge so completely in the coming months?

OTA - Off Topic Activities: #88 - Terry Glenn Edition - Pats Pulpit

Five years prior, Glenn was the super-athletic wunderkind from Ohio State, the sixth overall pick in a receiver-heavy draft that included Hall of Famers Marvin Harrison and Terrell Owens, and Pro Bowlers Keyshawn Johnson, Eric Moulds, and Muhsin Muhammed. Patten, meanwhile, went undrafted out of Western Carolina, biding his time stocking trucks with 75 lb coffee bean bags while waiting for his pro football opportunity.  

In August of that year, while the rookie Glenn missed all of exhibition action with a hamstring injury (prompting Bill Parcells’ “She’s making progress” comment), Patten got picked up by the Arena League’s Albany Firebirds for their playoff push. In the semifinals, he caught three passes for 44 yards against Kurt Warner’s Iowa Barnstormers.

Patten was everything Glenn wasn’t: humble, hard-working and the ultimate teammate. He was lightly recruited, played for a relatively unheralded Division IAA school, and went undrafted. It’s no exaggeration to say he earned everything he achieved.

Glenn never saw the glory Patten witnessed firsthand. Despite a monster rookie season, Glenn’s massive potential went unrealized. His Patriots legacy is a cautionary tale, a reminder to disavow ourselves of preconceived notions. And to be willing to accept that the “next guy up” might be as good as the last one. Possibly better.

Going into 2001, the expectations for the Patriots were nil. In March of that year, Joel Buchsbaum labeled the Patriots, “The team that’s most set up for failure for the next five years.” At best, after a 5-11 season, there was just hope for improvement. Again, our preconceived notions told us that if there was any glory to be had that year, it must be coming from Drew Bledsoe and Terry Glenn. 

But Bill Belichick didn’t care how high a player was drafted, how much he made, or what legacy he carried. And so when Glenn went AWOL, and Patriots fans were frantic about the team needing to come to amends with its top playmaker, Belichick had moved on with the guy he already had – the short, slight, humble, hard-working kid with good speed from Western Carolina.

Patten exemplified the element of surprise that so personified that 2001 Patriots team. With unheralded players like Patten, Troy Brown, Antowain Smith, and most certainly Brady, the Patriots were routinely underdogs, yet still finding ways to win.

David Patten dies in motorcycle crash at 47
Patten embodied what the ’01 Patriots were about.

We didn’t know it then, but Glenn’s 2001 season drew up the blueprint for how the Belichick Patriots would come to handle distractions. He was suspended three times that season – the four games for violating the substance abuse policy, for the season after skipping out of practice for 11 days (reversed later by an arbitrator), and for good just prior to the playoffs. 

This made for a season where Glenn was sometimes available, but mostly not. After a seven-catch, 110-yd game in October, in which Glenn caught Tom Brady’s first touchdown pass, Glenn felt vindicated, believing the performance justified the return of his bonus money. The Pats didn’t budge, so Glenn malingered with his balky hamstring, even suggesting it would heal faster if he got paid.

Patten stepped up into the starter’s role, catching 51 balls for 749 yards. Glenn played three more games, but after another series of missed meetings, Belichick suspended him for good. 

On Glenn’s final day in New England, you have to wonder if the two receivers crossed paths one last time: Glenn packing his bags for destinations unknown; and Patten about to undergo a historic playoff journey (seven clutch receptions in the Snow Bowl, and twin right-corner-of-the-end-zone TDs against the Steelers and the Rams, respectively) we had previously imagined might be Glenn’s legacy.

In that moment, with one player walking out the door and one walking in, and Glenn gazing for the last time upon the player who had taken his place, do you think he was surprised?

The 15net.com Announcement: Patriots pre-season Coverage!

The15Net.com has long demonstrated frustration over the lack of quality, honest, agenda-free Patriots coverage in Boston Sports Media. Today, we offer a solution.

The 15Net.com’s coverage of tonight’s Patriots pre-season game will be handled by Joshua Marion of “The Joshua Marion and Friends Podcast.”

The newest author at The15Net.com, Joshua Marion

The 15 are excited to add Josh to the roster, and we’re confident his Patriots coverage will be more McDonough than Mittens. Josh is enthusiastic about sports (and the Patriots in particular), likes to keep things moving, and his Patriots insight will be authentic, informative and entertaining. Josh has editorial control over his Patriots coverage on the site and brings a fresh perspective that we hope you’ll find refreshing.

Josh’s Twitter handle is @jmarion34, and you can find his podcast here:

https://www.talkshoe.com/show/sports-talk-with-joshua-marion-friends

Welcome to The15Net.com, Josh. We’re Truly glad to have you in sports with us.

The Glenn Ordway Boston Media narrative:  Not so fast, my friends

Glengarry Glenn Ordway

If you’re a regular reader of The15Net.com, you’re familiar with the phrase ‘Boston Sports Media is an incestuous cesspool’.

This has never been more true in the case of the most recent “retirement” (Kathryn Hahn Wink Dot JPG) of Glenn Ordway, 21st Century radio’s answer to “What if Eddie Andelman’s Sons Don’t Take Away His TracFone?” Glennie always loathed Eddie, which is amusing because Ordway is what he loathed.

“Retirement”

A Steve Buckley comparison to WEEI Ordway 2.0 could be elderly Willie Mays falling on his face during the ’73 World Series, but OMF isn’t close ratings-wise for any playoff. OMF Ordway is staggeringly bad, but Glenn’s bloated ego is worse. He’s 1510 The Zone Eddie Andelman, just not as interesting. Ordway’s legacy is more complicated than Steve Buckley’s Athletic fluff job and Pissant Alex Reimer’s fawning piece on the unvisited WEEI.com would have you believe. Boston media might be the only free market where competition doesn’t improve the product. Boston media is insular. They don’t want to improve, compete, or be criticized; they want to keep their gigs without any heavy lifting. That is Glenn Ordway’s Boston Media legacy. Chisel that one on his gravestone.

The lack of anyone in mainstream media to offer criticism – spare me Charred Finn and Pissant Reimer, PR flacks under the guise of media critics – enables this. Paraphrasing Finn as done on the late BJBSJournal.com: Boston Sports Media is a family. A Crime Family.

Glenn Ordway was smug Senator Geary after meeting Michael in Tahoe. I’m not saying he murdered a prostitute in a brothel, caller; I’m just asking the question. (That’s how you do it, right, Glenn?)

“Here’s the thing Mister Corleone; you can never have, enough pitching!”

Ordway was a man with no term limits in a one-party state. Never as smart as he thought, Ordway was caught off guard and gassed for Mike Fucking Salk at the end of his first run at EEI. He was relegated to the internet – a platform he once mocked – to do shows with guests bribed with expired gift cards.

OMF Ordway 2.0 never mattered. He was handed a guaranteed contract given by inept, desperate Entercom management, and he mailed it in daily. Ordway 2.0 was Pablo Sandoval.

LJ loves Glenn, he really does, Craig.

Ordway is the Godfather of modern Sports Media in Boston. That’s not a compliment.

Sheesh.

He double-dipped on his duplicity by going all-in on a ticket scalping scheme with his friend/co-host Fred Smerlas in the mid-nineties with the “Patriots Tailgate” glorified tent at Rodman Ford – a vendor Ordway had in his hip pocket – where they marked up tickets to Parcells/Bledsoe era games at Foxboro Stadium by multiples of multiples in exchange for lukewarm hot dogs and potato salad while Steve DeOssie sweated on patrons inhaling his cigar smoke.

Ordway was a staunch Bledsoe over Brady guy and mocked his audience for suggesting otherwise. Good call, Fredo.

(040308, Boston, MA) the man of the hour Glenn Ordway at the annual Whiney Awards hosted by Glenn Ordway at the Wang theater. Thursday, April 03, 2008. (Staff photo by Stuart Cahill)

Ordway gave Dan Shaughnessy and Ron Borges additional prominent platforms. He did the same for Alex Reimer and John Tomase. Two-thirds of the Unholy Trinity of current Boston radio, Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti, were regulars on the old Big Show. The Big Show was dreadful performance art. Facts didn’t matter, strawmen and fabricated narrativez did. The Whiner Line existed in no small part because the hosts weren’t funny or smart enough to create their own material. Ordway made a living for close to 50 years making fun of athletes, managers, coaches, and GMs, yet when BSMW’s Bruce Allen offered mild, thoughtful criticism of him on a website Glenn claimed nobody read, he would spend segments railing against Bruce and his Boston Sports Media Watch site. No one was more thin-skinned than the Big O.

Well, that didn’t work as planned.

Ordway the Program Director repeatedly killed Ordway the host, failing to see where media was headed as early as 2001 and derisively casting aside bloggers like Allen, Bill Simmons (I know, I know) and Dave Portnoy as losers in their mother’s basements. I’ll guess Ordway didn’t possess the self-awareness to see the irony when he was relegated to his wife’s attic for the Big Show Unfiltered podcast, which was less successful than The Gerry Callahan Q-Anon Hour sponsored by Shea Concrete, The Greg Bedard Podcast or Entitled Town.

Despite this, Ordway owns a house overlooking the ocean in Cohasset, proving a sucker is born every minute.

Ordway took a farewell tour when he got fired for Mike Salk 8.5 years ago,but yet again Ordway is getting thrown out on his ass due to illness: Listeners are sick of him. (Apologies for recycling a Howie Carr joke.) For most, getting fired again for underperformance after being replaced by Salkie and then being teamed with two ex-jocks on a fourth tier radio station would be shameful, but Glenn Ordway is incapable of shame.

OMF ‘is the sound you make when you see your show came in fourth, Again.

Ordway was an exceptional opportunist, give him that. He was an outrage profiteer, feasting on the misery of his customers. If that is a talent, he’s talented. If Ordway is the Godfather of anything, he’s the Godfather of Gaslighting.

He’s Exhibit A for the prosecution in the landmark Turn Off Your Radios case before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Seriously. Turn off your radios.