Top five annoyances of the week

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Top five annoyances of the week

By Michael Felger

Five things I'm annoyed by this week:

1. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady claiming they aren't watching the Jets on HBO's Hard Knocks.

I call bullcrap, especially when it comes to Belichick. The material is too good, too rich. There are too many opportunities to make fun of people he and the Patriots truly dislike, from Rex Ryan to Mike Tannenbaum to Woody Johnson. Why would he pass that up?

Then there's the whole business of getting a glimpse at what the Jets are up to. You mean to tell me Belichick once went to the trouble of directly defying the NFL by taping the Jets coaches on the sidelines, but he wont turn on the TV and get a free look into their meeting rooms?

Spygate cost him 500,000.

Whats HBO cost?

Whatever it is, it seems to me Hard Knocks provides better "value."

2. Pink hats cheering for the return of Johnny Damon.

Weren't you the same frauds who booed him out of Fenway Park a few years ago? Oh, that's right. He was a Yankee! I forgot. You expected him to leave that 12 million on the table just because he played for the Red Sox.

Get a clue.

3. The assumption that Brett Favre will have the Vikings back in Super Bowl contention.

Brett Favre had a tremendous season in 2009. No question about it. But do you understand what an aberration that season was for him? He was garbage just one year before, throwing as many interceptions in the final THREE GAMES for the Jets (seven) as he did all last season for the Vikings. And, yes, he had another good year for the Packers in 2007, but that one was preceded by back-to-back seasons in which he stunk (20 touchdowns, 29 interceptions, 70.9 QB rating in 2005; 18 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, 72.7 QB rating in 2006).

Based on his recent track record, then, Favre is much more likely to crap the bed this season than have another MVP-caliber campaign. Those are just the facts.

Not that you'll ever hear them on ESPN.

4. The fact that I'm beginning to think the Patriots could be really good this year.

I know the preseason means less than nothing, but I can't help it. ThePatriots have that "look" right now. I've seen it before, and I knowenough to respect it. They're sharp. They're more energetic. It lookslike they have some young kids who can play. Questions remain atoutside linebacker, defensive end and on the coaching staff, but who inthe NFL doesn't have questions?

I came into training camp believing the Pats would reside outside of the league's elite this season. Now I'm not so sure.

5. The Jets.

Between Tannenbaum bragging about player acquisitions (Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, etc), Ryan bragging about his scouting ability (enough with "the Terminator" already) and special-teams coaches bragging about getting a punt blocked in the flipping preseason opener, Hard Knocks is becoming insufferable. Entertaining, but insufferable.

We get it, guys. You've got some good players. You might have a good team. Good job. You don't need to remind us every five minutes.

E-mail Felger HERE and read his mailbag on Thursdays. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

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.