All things considered, 2010 wasn't a great year for Boston sports.
The year began with the Patriots getting trounced by Baltimore in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs; the Celtics dropped Game 7 of the NBA Finals to their archrivals, the Los Angeles Lakers; the Red Sox missed out on the postseason; and the Bruins, well ... lets not talk about the Bruins.
2010 might be most remembered as the year that Michael Felger officially took over as the big man on campus on the Boston sports media scene.
You had your run, Glenn Ordway. Bob Ryan, you're still great, but you've been passed as well. Bob Lobel ... wait, where is Bob Lobel these days? (Answer: He's hosting a radio show in New Hampshire.)
This year, when upstart 98.5 The SportsHub passed sports radio monolith WEEI in the ratings game, Felger was leading the charge, defeating Ordway and his previously unbeatable afternoon drive program, "The Big Show." Felger is also seen nightly on Comcast SportsNet New England, and can still be read on the CSNNE.com website as well, giving him three platforms from which to spout his opinions.
Felger has pretty much done it all in his career here in Boston. From his early days at the Boston Herald where he covered everything and anything, and onto the Patriots beat, where he first came into prominence as an early supporter of a young quarterback named Tom Brady, and took on the likes of Nick Cafardo and Ron Borges on the then-huge Sunday night Sports Final program on WBZ-TV.
Felger quickly became a regular on WEEI, and jumped to ESPN 890 when that station came online. He honed his skills as a talk radio provocateur before the limited audience of that station, and replaced Greg Dickerson as co-host of Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight on CSNNE beside Gary Tanguay.
Couple the nightly CSNNE appearance with passing Ordway and company in the afternoons, Felger can lay hold to being the biggest sports media personality in the city of Boston.
His opinions probably enrage you at times, and he's wrong about a lot of things, but he keeps you listening, and is never boring, except perhaps when he's predicting the doom of the Patriots for the 500th time this week.
If you're a fan of Boston sports, you can't get away from Felger, even if you try. He's everywhere.
So what's next for Felger? Does he aspire to be a national figure? Does he want to be the next Woody Paige or Skip Bayless, spewing dumb "takes" before a national audience? Could he go the route of a Tony Kornheiser and get a national radio program?
With how far he has come in the last ten years, it seems he can go as far as his ambition with take him.
With the Patriots heading into the final regular season game of the 2010 season having already sewn up a first round bye and homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, there is clearly just one topic for the fill-in sports radio hosts that are manning the microphones this week: fear.
What AFC team scares you most? (Answer: apparently all of them.) Shouldn't you be scared of a Wes Welker-like injury this Sunday against Miami? Shouldn't the Patriots streaks come to an end - winning streak, home winning streak, interception-free streak, turnovers forced streak, etc? Caller, talent wins in January, are you convinced that the Patriots have more talent than the Jets, Steelers, Ravens, Colts or even Chiefs?
The next two weeks should be a blast. Another sign of Michael Felger's influence - all the fill in hosts on 98.5 clearly try to be like Mike, stirring fear, panic, negativity and keeping the audience stirred up. The downside is that none of them have anywhere near Felger's talent for those things.
Links Of The Week
Media Awards for 2010 - Richard Deitsch of SI.com lists out his awards for the year in the world of sports media.
WEEI.com’s Thing of the Year: How Twitter changed everything - Tom Layman writes about how Twitter took over sports in 2010.