Media Roundup: Inconsistent NFL Power Rankings, And Why The Red Sox Are Almost An Afterthought

SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 01: Adrian Gonzalez #23 of the San Diego Padres connects for a three run home run during the third inning against the San Francisco Giants October 1 2010 in San Francisco California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In this edition of his Media Roundup, Bruce Allen examines some of the inconsistencies in the weekly NFL power rankings and explains why the Red Sox hot stove is not as hot as years past.

I've got a pet peeve about these "Power Rankings" that media types feel compelled to put out each week during the season. It really doesn't matter the sport, all of them are pretty much the same.

You know the deal -- the writer ranks the teams in the league from top to bottom. Good concept in theory, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

Perhaps there should be some sort of explanation with them, that tells you the criteria involved in coming up with the list each week. Does the ranking indicate how good (or bad) the team was that week, or overall that season?

I'll give you an example. Last week the Patriots sat at 6-1 -- all alone with the best record in the NFL. That prompted many creators of these power rankings to place the Patriots at the top spot. Were the Patriots, in fact, the best team in the NFL at that time? I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone -- even the most diehard, footy-pajama-wearing Patriots fan -- that could look you in the eye and say that New England was the best team in the NFL. They probably weren't even the best team that week, coming off the win over Minnesota.

Yet, simply because they had the best record seven weeks into the season, the experts felt compelled to put them atop their list. Record was the only reason.

This week, after a loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Patriots are still tied for the best record in the NFL, but have plummeted across the board in the "power rankings." For example, Peter King dropped them to 5th this week. FOX dropped them to 6th. NBC had them 7th. All of those outlets had the Patriots at number one last week.

So you're telling me that the team YOU anointed as the "best" team in the NFL last week, is now the seventh best team a week later? A wild swing like that after only one game can only mean you have no clue about what you're doing. That, or the whole thing is simply a reactionary farce designed to get people talking.

Shoot, I fell for it again.

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In listening to sports radio this week, it has been very clear that Glenn Ordway and WEEI are trying to drum up interest in the Red Sox. Each day this week, Ordway has made it point to say how he believes the next few weeks are going to be "fascinating" when it comes to the Red Sox, and that the season starts "now."

In past years, that might well have been the case. Hot stove interest in the Red Sox has always been strong, and even though it is Patriots season, they play one game a week, which leaves plenty of time for discussion about the Red Sox. The problem this year is that you have two very compelling winter sports teams in action. For much of the last 20 years, neither the Celtics nor the Bruins have done much to capture the attention of the region. The last three years have been different, and even more so this year, as both teams have gotten out of the gate quickly and look to be playing well into the spring once again.

The Red Sox are almost an afterthought at this point. I think part of that stems from a fan base that believes that GM Theo Epstein is determined to build a team through prospects that are not yet major league-ready, and he is unwilling to move them in trades, and that there is nothing on the free agent market that fits what Epstein's philosophy is. The term "bridge year" is being thrown out there once again by some in the media, but at the moment it unclear where the bridge would be connecting to.

Ordway has been advocating a trade for San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, and insisting that Epstein needs to pretty much do whatever it takes to acquire a "game changer" like Gonzalez. This is one thing that Tony Massarotti has been dead-on correct on -- by not overextending themselves to sign Mark Teixeira, the Red Sox set themselves back for years to come.

With staggering ratings on NESN, and a sellout streak that seems a good bet to end this coming season, the Red Sox need to do something to recapture the interest of the Boston sports fan. They've got more competition than ever, both in their league, and in their own city, and patching together a team or taking chances on washed up or injured players isn't going to cut it. So I guess I agree with Ordway that a big move is needed, but there have been minimal indications that the Red Sox are willing to make such a move. Until they do, interest in the team will continue to wane.

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The Boston Globe's Red Sox coverage took a hit this week when Amalie Benjamin announced that she would be leaving the beat, though remaining at the paper to work on features and other duties. Since Benjamin isn't leaving, it would seem that perhaps someone internally might be moved into the role, unless the paper has the funds to make another outside hire.

Benjamin is getting married next month, and it would seem to make sense that now was a good time for her to get off the road on a full-time basis.

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