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.

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

BOSTON -- Prior to this year, the Celtics hadn't been to the Eastern Conference finals since 2012. That trip served as a curtain call of sorts for the last great C's dynasty.
 
But this one, which ended with Cleveland's emphatic 135-102 Game 5 victory Thursday at TD Garden, is very different.
 
Rather than closing another chapter in the Celtics' longstanding legacy of greatness, it could serve as the beginning of a new narrative in the franchise's steady growth.
 
"For us to be in the Eastern Conference finals after the first year of this team really being together, adding additions like Al Horford and Gerald Green . . . I can go down the list of guys that we needed to learn to play with, and for us to talk about where we wanted to be and actually make it, it's a big-time accomplishment," said Avery Bradley.
 
Boston has been among the younger teams in the NBA, with the 31-year-old Green being the oldest player on the roster.
 
But what the Celtics lacked in experience, they made up for with great effort.
 
"The great thing about this is the experience," Bradley said. "We were able to go to the Eastern Conference finals, learned a lot about being in this position, and I feel like it's going to help us for next year."
 
But as we all know, the Celtics will look to strengthen themsevles this offseason, which means there's a very good chance they'll have a different look when they gather again in the fall.
 
How different is anyone's guess.
 
"It's difficult every year whenever you don't have guys back," said coach Brad Stevens. "I think you share a bond (over the course of a season)."
 
Stevens and this group have been together for eight months. Eight months of struggles, successes, frustrating defeats and euphoric victories that brought them to the conference finals, which is where their season came to an end.
 
But as disappointed as the players and coaches are inow, there's definite excitement about this franchise in the very near future.
 
Boston has the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft, with all indications -- for now -- pointing to Washington's Markelle Fultz as their choice.
 
And their top first-round pick from a year ago, Jaylen Brown, seemed to steadily improve as the season progressed. It was one of the few times in his life where minutes weren't just handed to him, which he admits was a learning experience unlike anything he had ever had, yet he adjusted and played better as the year went along.

"I've had ups, I've had downs, I've had opportunities, I've had mistakes," said Brown. "So I've been learning and growing and improving all year and I'm going to continue growing and improving and prove people wrong, prove doubters wrong."
 
Having the season end the way it did has indeed left a bad taste in the mouths of many Celtics.
 
"I can use it as fuel," Brown said, adding: "I want to get back to the same place I'm at now."
 
Bradley, who was on the 2012 team that lost to the Miami Heat in the conference finals, knows the Celtics are going to do whatever they feel is necessary to give them the best chance at competing for a title.
 
"It's out of our control as players," Bradley said. "We had a great year together. If guys are here, if guys aren't, we all wish the best for each other.

"But I do feel this is a special group. We all gave our heart every single night, played as hard as we could. I respect all my teammates, and I really appreciated playing with all the guys I had a chance to play with this year; a special group."