According to Peter King, the Patriots are coming up on "arguably the toughest five-game stretch in NFL history":
[It] begins on Sunday at Carolina (7-9 last year) and continues through Oct. 16 with games at Pittsburgh (15-1), at home against San Diego (12-4), at Atlanta (11-5) and at Denver (10-6). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no other NFL team has ever had a five-game run in which four games were on the road and the five opponents averaged 11 wins or better in the previous season.
That brutal slate of games has some New England players thinking there's a conspiracy against them. "The league doesn't want us to threepeat," says safety Rodney Harrison. "What type of schedule has anyone ever had like that?"
"[The league] wants parity," adds linebacker Mike Vrabel, with a snicker. "We got the memo on that one. I think Paul Tagliabue delivered it himself."
Oh, Rodney Harrison. You make me laugh.
Meanwhile, I was reading Entertainment Weekly because the show I'm currently obsessed with was on the cover, and came across this:
STP appraise diamonds in the rough
Even though the quartet has disbanded, the Stone Temple Pilots legacy lives on in baseball dugouts nationwide. Both the Boston Red Sox' Bronson Arroyo and Florida Marlins' Jeff Conine recorded versions of STP's grunge anthem "Plush" for recent CD releases. "I'm totally flattered that these guys did our song," says former Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo. Adds his brother (and ex-STP guitarist) Dean DeLeo: "it brings a whole new meaning to stepping up to the plate." [Note: this is why I don't normally read this magazine. But let's soldier on.] But are these covers fair or foul? The DeLeos weigh in.
Conine gets a mixed review, but here's Bronson's:
On the field: Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who recorded an entire album of his rock & roll favorites, Covering the Bases.
Scouting report: "Technically speaking, this is a really good vocal performance," says Robert, who offers a possible tip as to why: "Getting on the mound in front of 40,000 people is pretty intense and vulnerable. So is being a vocalist."
Final score: A home run! "I'm favoring Arroyo's version more--feel-wise and technically speaking," says Robert. "Well done, man."
A caveat: one of them also said, of Conine's rendition, "I like the slide guitar solo. It's a nice touch."
The slide guitar solo.