Football

ESPN to Pats: Get lost

As if we required further confirmation that the 2023 New England Patriots rest with the NFL’s dregs, ESPN told the league to make them disappear on Dec. 18.

On that Monday night the Kansas City Chiefs were scheduled to be in Foxborough for ESPN’s weekly showcase. It didn’t require a Master’s degree in TV broadcasting – or more than a cursory knowledge of football – to hear that dog yapping.

Rather than risk falling behind a C-SPAN interview with Donald Trump’s toupee artist, ESPN wisely called the NFL and played its flex card.

Flex scheduling is the NFL’s vehicle to make sure their TV rights holders can avoid such late-season disasters as this edition of the Patriots. On Dec. 18, Monday Night Football will now feature the Philadelphia Eagles, a legitimate Super Bowl contender, against the Seattle Seahawks, a pretty good team whose coach still has nightmares about his last Super Bowl appearance.

The Eagles may hammer hapless Pete Carroll and his club, but it is highly unlikely that it could be uglier than what awaits the Patriots in their feeble attempt to avoid humiliation trying to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and his crew.

Instead Kansas City and New England will play at Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon at 1.

CBS must be downright giddy over that move.

At least that bit of flex scheduling took the focus off Bill Belichick’s future and Mac Jones’ benching. The bemoaning over those topics has become too dreary to endure for more than 30 seconds at a time. Naturally, that won’t stop us from more bemoaning as the season slogs its way to the finish line.

This Sunday the Patriots will host the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers. Historically speaking, Foxborough is where Chargers’ dreams come to die.

Playoff losses are plenty difficult to digest under the least difficult circumstances. The Chargers have had a knack for turning Foxborough into hell’s freezer.

The 2023 Chargers, despite the presence of a hotshot young quarterback, Justin Herbert, are only 4-7. Their offense is potent. Their defense has shown itself capable of making undeserving opponents seem potent.

That will not be a problem this week.