By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- 98.5 The Sports Hub host Michael Felger is known all too well in the New England area for his toasty takes and his occasional antagonistic negativity. It's a persona that may sometimes rub sports fans the wrong way, but considering his place in the Boston sports media hierarchy, it's clearly working.
But Felger was not always a perpetual volcanic eruption of misery. In fact, there have been times in his past when he was downright -- dare we say -- optimistic.
And there's video to prove it.
WBZ-TV sports producer Joe Giza always likes to dig into the archives and share his findings with the Twitter world. And most recently, he dug up a clip from Aug. 31, 2003, when Felger was a guest on "Sports Final" with Bob Lobel. Felger, who at the time was covering the Patriots for the Boston Herald and had actually made the decision to utilize all of his shirt buttons, was downright giddy when discussing the prospects of the 2003 Patriots. The fella could hardly keep the smile off his face when gushing about the wonders of Bill Belichick and all of the wonderful additions the Patriots made.
See for yourself:
"Just overall, I'm finding it very hard to not be overly optimistic about this team," a Felger said with a boyish enthusiasm, clearly long before his sports soul had been blackened. "I mean, I'm really trying to temper myself, because there are things that you saw in that preseason that were so encouraging. I mean, their starting defense gave up one touchdown to the starters."
Lobel pushed back, reminding Felger that the preseason is, essentially, meaningless.
"Yes," Felger said, displaying a hint of the combative tonality that he now brings to the radio every day. "But I also know what Bill Belichick can do as a coach, and I think this league is all about coaching right now. And the Pats have one of the best. These guys that they signed are legit. You have to hold yourself to not be overly optimistic. ... If they won 12, 13 games, it wouldn't surprise me. I'm not calling for it, but if they won 12, 13 games, it wouldn't shock me. It would not."
Jeez. What a honk. Just pathetic to see this footie pajama-wearing bobo getting to talk about the Patriots on TV. Just another "In Bill We Trust" disciple. Useless.
Felger would, of course, inform you now that he was pretty accurate. If anything, he wasn't optimistic enough. The Patriots ended up going 14-2 that season, losing 31-0 in Week 1 to Buffalo and then in Week 4 to Washington. They rattled off 12 straight wins to end the regular season, then they defeated the NFL co-MVPs in the AFC playoffs -- first Steve McNair and the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round, then Peyton Manning and the Colts in the conference championship. They then defeated the Carolina Panthers in a highly memorable Super Bowl.
It was a pretty good year for the local football team, and just by talking about it in August, Michael Felger was on the verge of fainting from excitement. If only we knew at the time that we were living in a bizarro world.
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