Wakeup Call: Visit to Foxboro 'biggest game in Texans' history'

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Wakeup Call: Visit to Foxboro 'biggest game in Texans' history'

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Friday, December 7.

BASEBALL
  I'm sure a three-year, 75 million offer from the Mariners isn't what Josh Hamilton had in mind when he hit free agency, but it may be the best one he gets. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

  Or is it? (Hardball Talk)

  The other crown jewel of this year's free-agent class, Zack Greinke, may soon have one less suitor. (Hardball Talk)

  The Phillies finally get their center fielder, but Ben Revere came at a pretty high price. (CSN Philly)

  Whether or not they get a new third baseman is entirely up to Michael Young now. (CSN Philly)

  Turns out Jason Bay's deal with Seattle isn't guaranteed. (Hardball Talk)

  The Indians have dropped out of the Justin Upton megatrade talks, which may be on life support, anyway. (Hardball Talk)

  Don't let the Orioles' offseason silence fool you. Dan Duquette still thinks he has "a pretty good ballclub". (CSN Baltimore)

  To paraphrase Robin Williams: Spending 756,000 on the uniform Don Larsen wore during his World Series perfect game in 1956 is God's way of saying you have too much money. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
  Maryland coach Mark Turgeon warns everyone not to be fooled by the Terrapins' 7-1 record; "our perception is a lot better than reality right now". (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
  Manti Te'o keeps bringing home the hardware. (AP)

  As expected, Barry Alvarez is climbing back into the saddle and will coach Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. (AP)

  But it's just for one game, as Alvarez -- now the Badgers' A.D. -- searches for a replacement for Bret Bielema. One name he's already crossed off his list: Former Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, who's committed to his job as head coach at Pitt. (AP)

  I, for one, could have sworn Butch Jones was Colorado-bound. But no. (AP)

  The president of the University of Texas appears solidly in Mack Brown's corner. (NBC's College Football Talk)

HOCKEY
  There could be more -- a lot more -- to the latest breakdown in negotiations than meets the eye, especially since one unnamed player claims a) the majority of the rank-and-file was ready to accept the league's offer Wednesday until Don Fehr told them to hold out for more, and b) the same player echoed Michael Neuvirth's previous statement that "this lockout is not about the majority of players . . . but about several superstars with big contracts". (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

  The owners clearly sense a rift in the ranks, judging by comments like "there are some members of the players' association that understand our perspective" and "our proposal was rejected by the union's leadership". (Pro Hockey Talk)

  That being the case, Gary Bettman's dramatic rendering of the owners' anger and disappointment could be part of a bigger strategy to drive a wedge between Fehrsuperstars and the rest of the players. (Pro Hockey Talk)

  Just like Fehr's earlier sunshine-and-lollipops "peace is at hand" speech was probably a P.R. move designed to put public pressure on the league to come back to the table. Because, as Dale Arnold pointed out on Twitter, when you're close to an agreement you don't go to the microphones and talk about how close you are to an agreement; you keep negotiating and get it done. (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
  So that's twice the Knicks have the played the Heat and twice the Knicks have won . . . and this time it was by 20 points, in Miami, without Carmelo Anthony. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

  And it had LeBron James channeling his inner Bill Belichick ("gotta play better") afterwards. (Pro Basketball Talk)

  Dirk Nowitzki's comeback is progressing a lot slower than expected. (Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
  If you're looking for someone to toe the Belichikian, don't-feed-the-noise line, Andre Johnson's not your guy. He's calling the Texans' Monday night visit to Foxboro "the biggest game in the history of this franchise". (CSN Houston)

  And Bradie James says he's playing in it. Period. End of story. (CSN Houston)

  That's eight in a row for Peyton Manning and the Broncos, as they made quick work of Oakland last night. (AP)

  Adding injury to insult, the Raiders lost Darren McFadden when he re-sprained his right ankle late in the game. (CSN Bay Area)

  Roger Goodell says the NFL will do what it can to help the Raiders get a new stadium in Oakland. (AP)

  It's official. Ben Roethlsberger will start Sunday. (AP)

  We repeat: Don't invite Payton Hillis and Joe Thomas to the same dinner party. (AP)

  At least one media member doesn't think this latest train wreck of a Jets season will cost Rex Ryan his job. Mike Tannenbaum, on the other hand . . . (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

  49ers CEO Jed York has Jim Harbaugh's back in the Great Quarterback Debate. (CSN Bay Area)

  As part of ongoing domestic disputes involving Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and the mother of his two children, Suggs was required last month to surrender several firearms. (Pro Football Talk)

Haggerty: Jacobs may not be beloved, but he's Hall of Fame-worthy

Haggerty: Jacobs may not be beloved, but he's Hall of Fame-worthy

If it was based solely on his 42 years as owner of the Boston Bruins, it might be debatable as to whether Jeremy Jacobs would have been selected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Bruins have won one championship and been to a handful of Stanley Cup Finals during Jacobs' long stewardship, of course. They also enjoyed the longest running playoff streak (29 years) in NHL history, though it began before he purchased the franchise. Altogether, the B's have won one Cup, four conference championships, two Presidents' trophies, 15 division championships, and 35 Stanley Cup playoff berths during the Jacobs Era.

MORE BRUINS

But Jacobs didn't make the Hall of Fame solely on his accomplishments with the Bruins organization. He's being inducted in the "builder” category, which is defined as "coaching, managerial or executive ability, or ability in another significant off-ice role, sportsmanship, character and contributions to his or her organization or organizations and to the game of hockey in general.”  In addition to overseeing the Bruins over the last four-plus decades, he has been a power broker at the league level for just as long.

"I am flattered to be included in with this great group of 2017 inductees, and I am humbled to be included with the legends of hockey that went before me,” said Jacobs. "Owning the Boston Bruins for 42 years has been one of the most rewarding honors of my life. I am indebted to our team's leaders and players, but most of all, to our fans, for giving me a broad and deeply appreciative perspective of the game."

The 2011 Stanley Cup victory was the overriding on-ice moment in his stewardship of the team, and the Jacobs family has had a major, altruistic impact in Boston. No one should overlook the Boston Bruins Foundation, which has touched so many lives with the $28 million that's been awarded to those in need since its inception in 1993.

Unfortunately, Jacobs will always have a reputation with a large portion of the Bruins fan base that his ownership wasn't willing to spend enough for truly competitive teams. At times he was viewed as an absentee owner living in Buffalo, overseeing the team from afar while Harry Sinden ran the operation. Those fans hold that grudge even today, despite the Bruins consistently spending to the salary cap ceiling while fielding competitive teams. They view Monday's Hall of Fame announcement as something akin to Montgomery Burns being inducted into the Springfield Hall of Fame.

Cam Neely disagrees.

"As a player, I knew of Mr. Jacobs' passion for the Bruins,” said Neely, who has served as Bruins president for nearly a decade after a Hall of Fame playing career highlighted by his years in Boston. "Over the past decade while in the front office, I have seen firsthand his dedication to winning, by consistently providing the Bruins the resources that we need to compete for Stanley Cup Championships and also his unmatched commitment to growing the game of hockey."

That commitment to hockey is a key factor in Jacobs' Hall of Fame selection.

Jacobs was unanimously voted in as chairman of the NHL Board of Governors in 2007, and he's been a major driving force in each of the last couple of oft-contentious CBA negotiations. While Jacobs clearly had a hand in the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season due to a labor dispute, and in the lockout-shortened season of 2013, those CBA negotiations ultimately led to the imposition of a salary cap and a pathway for small-market NHL teams to survive as the cost of doing hockey business continues to go up.

Without Jacobs as an often hawkish, hard-line owner, there's a chance that a team like the Western Conference champion Nashville Predators might not have been able to survive in the NHL, and it's highly doubtful they'd be able to be as competitive as they are now if teams like Toronto, New York and Chicago could outspend everybody else. So there's no denying the seismic impact that Jacobs made at the league-wide level with his leadership and commitment to growing the game, and that the NHL is better off for the battles waged in collective bargaining while he's been in a position of power.

If you polled every single Bruins fan on the street, it's unlikely he'd be a populist choice for the Hall of Fame. The lean budgetary years durinhg the playing days of Neely, Ray Bourque and others will always be part of the Spoked B history. Some will hold those grudges forever, which is part of makes us who we are as a fan base.

But faithful, rabid fans continue to stream into TD Garden, continue to spend money to support their favorite hockey team, and continue to provide the kind of support that's led to a 338-game home sellout streak. It's a sign Jacobs and Bruins ownership continue to do things very right, even if we shouldn't be scheduling any popularity contests anytime soon.

O'Connor: If C's get George, would Griffin be a better fit than Hayward?

O'Connor: If C's get George, would Griffin be a better fit than Hayward?

The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor discusses the potential decision the Celtics could have in free agency between Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin. If the Celtics are able to sign Paul George, is Griffin a much better fit?