BC fires football coach Frank Spaziani

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BC fires football coach Frank Spaziani

BOSTON Boston College has fired football coach Frank Spaziani after four years of progressively worse records and two straight seasons without a bowl appearance.

New athletic director Brad Bates made the announcement on Sunday, a day after the Eagles (2-10, 1-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) finished the season with a 27-10 loss at North Carolina State.

"A personnel decision of this magnitude affects many people and is never taken lightly, but I felt a change was necessary," Bates said in a news release sent shortly after an e-mail to season ticket-holders.

The decision was widely expected, and Spaziani all but spoke openly about his understanding that it would be his last year. Asked on Saturday if he would make his case to stay, Spaziani told reporters in Raleigh, N.C. after Saturday's game, "I do have a case."

Spaziani, 65, spent 12 years as a BC assistant, the last 10 as defensive coordinator, before taking over when Jeff Jagodzinski was fired for interviewing for an NFL job. The Eagles won eight games his first season, seven the next and four last year.

A New Jersey native who played for Joe Paterno at Penn State, Spaziani had three years remaining on a contract that paid him 1.1 million per year.

Including the bowl game he coached after Jagodzinski was fired, Spaziani had a record of 22-29 at BC.

"It is with gratitude that we recognize the many contributions Coach Spaziani has made to Boston College during his 16 years in Chestnut Hill," Bates said. "He displayed unwavering dedication and loyalty to our institution and our football student-athletes, while consistently representing Boston College with class and dignity. He and his staff have devoted countless hours to our student-athletes and the BC community. We thank them and wish them well."

Bates was hired last month to replace Gene DeFilippo, who retired after 15 years. The new AD said he would begin searching for a new football coach his first major hire in the job immediately.

"We will be seeking a leader whose vision of our football program mirrors the mission of our university, who values the development of our student-athletes and whose goal is to return our program to national prominence," he said. "Our fans and the entire University community value the rich tradition of Boston College football, and we are committed to making it a successful program."

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady can be his own worst critic. That's why last week, after beating the Texans in the Divisional Round to move on to the AFC title game, he wasn't thrilled. He didn't play up to his standards. The offense struggled at points. He wore his frustration like a five o'clock shadow.

Winning is not everything for Brady, most weeks. He has an idea of how he should perform, how the Patriots offense should perform, and when those ideals aren't met, he's generally displeased. 

PATRIOTS 36, STEELERS 17

On Sunday, after beating up on the Steelers, 36-17, that wasn't the case. It was a sound performance, but it wasn't perfect. It was explosive at times, but it shined a light on areas where the Patriots will need to continue to improve. 

Despite its imperfections, Sunday was no time to brood about plays missed or lessons learned the hard way. Screw it, Brady seemed to say. They were going to the Super Bowl. It was OK to smile.  

"It was a good day," Brady said. "I mean, we're going to the Super Bowl, man. [Expletive], you've got to be happy now."

The Super Bowl berth is the ninth in franchise history -- more than any other club -- and the seventh with Brady and coach Bill Belichick. By throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns on 32-of-42 passing, Brady tied Joe Montana for the most postseason games (nine) with three touchdown passes. 

Brady will also claim the record for Super Bowls played when he and the Patriots head to Houston. And if they win, he'll tie Charles Haley for most Super Bowl wins for a player (five).

Those are lofty numbers made even more significant, perhaps, due to the fact that Brady wasn't allowed to start this season as his team's quarterback. He was asked during Sunday's postgame press conference if it was personally satisfying to get back to the Super Bowl despite having to serve a four-game suspension due to Deflategate.

"Well, that's because of the hard work of a lot of people from my coaches to my teammates to our families that support us," he said. "It takes a lot of people, a lot of hard work and a lot of effort over the course of many months. This didn't start at 6:40 tonight.

"This thing started in April. It really started before that in free-agency when we were picking up guys like [Chris] Hogan and drafting guys like Malcolm Mitchell and guy who were in rehab like [LeGarrette Blount] and [Dion Lewis] and [James Develin] and Nate [Solder]. It's a lot of hard work. There are only two teams left standing, and I'm happy we're one of them."

They're going to the Super Bowl. He has to be happy now.