The week that was

The Big Story – Super Bowl: If I make it to Sunday I will have seen all 57 of them. Regarding this one, not exactly sure what to make of the Eagles-Chiefs match-up. But I do know a lot will be made about their being Andy Reid’s last two teams. Wonder if they’ll mention that since Andy got pushed out in Philly they have done what he couldn’t do there: win the Super Bowl, with a chance for another on Sunday. Of course KC has won one and been to two more in the Reid era there as well.

And then there’s the overdoing it on the Kelce brothers, KC tight end Travis and Philly center Jason.

Sports 101: In the wake of Denver trading for Sean Payton to be their new head coach last week, how many Super Bowls were won by the last four teams to trade their head coach to another team during the reign of Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick and Jon Gruden in their new location and how many SBs were won by their new team with them as coach?

Thumbs Up – Tom Brady Retires: Congrats on an All-World career and thanks for all the great memories.

Thumbs Down – Tom Brady Retires Again: Now, unlike after the first retirement, be a man and thank Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick and the entire organization properly for what they did for your time in New England.

Random Thoughts Regarding Said Retirement: To ever pompous ex-WFAN guy Mike Francesa’s declaration on First Takethat Peyton Manning was a better “regular season” QB than Brady, as my father used to say, hokum.

The numbers say the following.

On Manning’s side, he had five MVP Awards to Brady’s three. He also was the QB on the 2000-09 All Decade team and had the record-setting 55 TD pass season of 2013.

On Brady’s side, he was the QB for the 2010-19 All Decade team, he has more wins as a starting QB (243 to 186), and despite playing 68 more games he has fewer losses than Manning (73 to 79). That means he has a far better winning percentage (78.2 to 70.1). Brady, also, oh by the way, has the record for most TD passes, passing yards and completions in league history. And despite playing those 68 more games Brady threw 41 fewer interceptions (211 to 252). And if Manning had played the same 333 games and maintained his one-pick-per-game average Manning would have 111 more interceptions. Given how important a factor turnovers are in winning and losing, that edge probably accounts for much of Brady’s W/L percentage edge.

And most importantly, Brady also has the better head-to-head record at 11-6.

Case closed – slam dunk.

As for Joe Montana being the better Super Bowl QB, maybe, but which would you rather have, seven rings and three near misses or four rings and no losses? And in a final category: By winning 10 Conference championships to the paltry four won by Montana and Manning he is by far the best overall QB in the playoffs of them all.

Mark It Down: On the day Kyrie Irving got traded/dumped by the Nets to Dallas, the Mavs were 28-26 and the sixth seed out West. I’m betting they finish below .500 and land in the play-in round by year’s end.

Passing of the Guard: In the “stars always get the big call” NBA, was it bad officiating to miss Jayson Tatum clearly whacking LeBron on his miss that let the Celtics-Lakers game go to overtime two Saturdays ago? Or a sign that Tatum’s stature is now such that he’s going to get those calls going forward? Especially in light of Lebron’s falling on the floor begging act that made him look like his fortune just got wiped out by an evil computer genius in a Mission Impossible movie.

Do I Care About – The NFL Pro Bowl? No. Now no longer content with being the worst of the All-Star games and dumbest to play in because of the injury risks, it’s fallen farther into irrelevance because of these factors: (1) It’s been “re-imagined” as a flag football game. (2) And that makes it so embarrassing to play in they had to go down the QB list to Ravens backup Tyler Huntley,who threw two TD passes all year, before they could find a QB who wasn’t faking an injury to get out of playing in it. Bailey Zappe was probably next behind Huntley. I give it three years until it’s re-imagined to the dumpster of dumb ideas.

I Disagree With:Ben Volin. Sorry, Ben, you saying in the Boston Globe that ticky-tack calls by the zebras interfered with or ruined the 49ers in their drubbing by the Eagles in the NFC title game is wrong. It happened because the SF defenders played like undisciplined boneheads with late hits and running into the punter to hand Philly a gift score at the end of the first half to make it 21-7 instead of the one-score 14-7 game it should have been. And Kyle Shanahan looked like a whiner constantly yelling at officials instead of at his own guys for hitting guys after they went out of bounds.

Sports 101 Answer: Among the Colts, Jets, Pats and Raiders, only the Baltimore Colts won a SB (in the year after trading Shula). Meanwhile the Patriots (after getting Coach B), Miami and Tampa Bay won a combined nine SBs after trading for their new HC. So history says Denver will likely win the deal getting Payton, even for a first- and second-round pick.

Prediction: The game will come down to how the best QB in football deals with arguably the greatest sacking defense in history. I suspect those quick hitters over the middle to Travis Kelce will be even more important than usual. As will their screen game, which is always among the best in the NFL. Philly 23-21.

Email Dave Long at

Quality of Life 23/02/09

Brrr, cold, part 1

The bitter cold temperatures last weekend posed challenges for firefighters across the state. WMUR reported that a fire truck used to respond to a fire at a building on Liberty Street in Manchester became stuck when the water that was dispensed to put out the fire quickly iced over on the street. Additionally, one of the responding firefighters fell on the ice, and another firefighter suffered frostbite, the report said.

QOL score: -1

Comment: Last month ended with one of the warmest average low temperatures recorded for January: 24.1 degrees, beating the past record of 23.9 degrees set in January 1932, WMUR reported.

Brrr, cold, part 2

In other fire department news, the Manchester Fire Department responded to 56 emergency calls related to broken water pipes and fire sprinkler systems resulting from the extreme cold in the 24-hour period between 7 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4, and 7 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 5, according to a department press release, and more followed once the frozen pipes began to thaw.

QOL score: -1

Comment: Manchester Fire Department recommends using passive techniques to defrost pipes and discourages methods involving blowtorches or open flames. When in doubt, it’s best to contact a licensed professional.

A reminder that cold can be fun

Two ice sculptures tied for first place in the live ice carving competition that took place at the 5th annual Concord NH Winter Festival on Jan. 28: an aquatic scene with three fish sculpted by Eric Knoll, and a howling mother wolf and wolf pup sculpted by Michael Legassey. The event was hosted by Intown Concord and included food vendors and other fun for the people who came to watch the competition.

QOL score: +1

Comments: Ice can be lovely when you’re not scraping it off your car.

More help

Catholic Medical Center, New Hampshire’s contracted provider of The Doorway of Greater Manchester, has partnered with Easterseals NH Farnum to provide substance misuse treatment services after hours, on the weekends and on holidays. According to a press release, the program, known as the Extended Doorway, is open at Farnum (140 Queen City Ave., Manchester) Monday through Friday, from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.; Friday, 5 p.m., through Monday, 8 a.m.; and on holidays. “As the Extended Doorway for Catholic Medical Center, we are able to catch people at the peak of their motivation to get help,” Annette Escalante, Farnum senior vice president, said in the release.

QOL score: +1

Comment: Services can be accessed on site or by calling 622-3020.

QOL score: 50

Net change: 0

QOL this week: 50

Get going

A new commissioner joins the DOT

Meet the New Hampshire Department of Transportation’s new commissioner, William Cass.

What is your background in transportation?

I graduated from UNH with a degree in civil engineering, and I started right out of UNH working for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. I’ve worked my whole career here, 37 years. Most of my career track has been through project development. I started out in highway design as an entry-level civil engineer and worked my way up into several management and leadership positions. Ultimately I was the head of the preliminary design section, which was charged at the time with implementing the 10-year plan and starting out those projects. From there I became the chief project manager and then came down to the executive office as assistant director of project development, then director of project development. Most recently, prior to becoming the commissioner, I was the assistant commissioner and chief engineer for the last seven years.

What does your job as commissioner entail?

It’s overseeing all aspects of the department. Right now we’re in some legislative sessions … [because] we have the budget coming out. I spent most of my day today over at the legislature having some introductory meetings with some committees, giving them an overview of the department and what it is and what it is we do. Other than that, it’s handling departmental issues, which could range from personnel matters to project-related issues, to constituent issues or any manner of activities that require a commissioner-level decision.

What would you like to accomplish as commissioner?

I’ve come into this probably with more of an internal focus than an external focus, like focusing on the morale of our workforce and on telling the story of how incredibly talented our people are and how amazingly dedicated they are to what they do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I view myself as a consensus-builder. I really want to pull people together, build consensus, work collaboratively and use the best of everybody’s abilities. We have some amazingly talented people … with a pretty diverse set of disciplines, whether it be in engineering or operations or traffic signal maintenance or administering federal programs. Giving them the opportunity to shine and do what they do best is really how I approach things. I value everybody’s opinion and perspective on an issue or whatever it is we’re dealing with.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’re up against right now?

We have a lot of challenges, as a lot of other agencies do right now, with workforce development. We’re dealing with some historic vacancy rates and having a lot of trouble recruiting and retaining trained workforce. The other thing that kind of goes hand in hand with that is inflation, both in terms of construction projects as well as in our own materials that we buy, [such as] road salt, gasoline and diesel fuel. All of those have been [subject to] supply chain issues and the overall impacts of inflation.

What do you find rewarding about this work?

The biggest reward is being in public service … and being able to accomplish things and see projects get completed. Being able to drive over that bridge that we’ve replaced and having been a part of making that happen is really rewarding.

What would you like people to know about the department?

How hard-working and dedicated and committed everybody here at the department is, and the care that we take to do a good job for the people of New Hampshire. When we have storms, there are people working around the clock on winter maintenance. If it snows all night, they are out there all night. I don’t know if everybody realizes that. So, if you’re reading this, next time you pass a snow plow, give them a thumbs up or something and let them know that you appreciate them, and remember that we are working with a reduced workforce, so please be patient with us.

Featured photo: William Cass. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 23/02/09

Historic awards

The Manchester Historic Association has selected five honorees for its 31st Annual Historic Preservation Awards. According to a press release, the awards recognize and support the efforts of individuals, businesses and organizations that have made significant contributions to the preservation of buildings, neighborhoods, traditions and other historic resources in Manchester. The honorees include the city’s recently restored Civil War Memorial at Veterans Park for the City Landmark Award; Michael and Lynn Murphy for the Homeowner’s Award; Linda Murphy of Bare Knuckle Murphy’s Boxing for the Adaptive Reuse Award; Grace Episcopal Church’s Grace House for the Stewardship Award; and Justine “Brownie” Gengras for the Lifetime Achievement Award. An awards celebration will be held on Tuesday, May 23, at Saint Anselm College in Manchester. Visit

Historic places

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources has added three properties to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places, according to a press release. The properties include Blazing Star Grange Hall No. 71 in Danbury, built in 1911 under the leadership of the group’s first female master; the Dudley Gilman Homestead in Belmont, built by Revolutionary War veteran Corporal Dudley Gilman in circa 1785; and the Milford Town Hall and Library Annex, built in 1869 and designed by prominent Boston architect Gridley J. F. Bryant. Visit to learn more about the properties.

Statewide report card

The New Hampshire Statewide Assessment System will be administered to students from March 7 through June 16 to track and evaluate educational progress in the state. According to a press release, the testing will measure English language arts and math proficiency among students in grades 3 through 8 and science proficiency among students in grades 5, 8 and 11. SAT exams will be administered to high school juniors between March 22 and April 4, depending on the district. “Assessment data allows school districts to create targeted strategies for students performing at the lower end of the achievement scale, as well as accelerated students that are highly advanced, which is vitally important in the aftermath of the pandemic,” Frank Edelblut, education commissioner, said in the release. “Understanding the data helps to improve teaching, identify supports and determine whether interventions are necessary — knowing that the needs of our students are our top priority.” The New Hampshire Department of Education has partnered with to provide free tutoring and test preparation services to students in grades 6 through 12. Visit for details on how to access those services.

Leadership NH

Leadership New Hampshire is accepting applications for its intensive statewide leadership program. According to a press release, the program connects and educates a diverse cohort of emerging and established leaders in the state to increase civic engagement and strengthen communities. Over 10 months, from September 2023 to May 2024, participants will attend 12 seminar sessions across the state, exploring topics such as the justice system, education, culture and arts, government and politics, health care, the environment, and the economy. Applicants should demonstrate passionate commitment to New Hampshire’s future, accomplishment in their field, involvement in community activities and the time and energy to devote to the sessions. The application submission deadline is March 15. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by June. Visit or email

Arts partnership

Kimball Jenkins, a community arts and cultural center in Concord, has partnered with Queerlective, a statewide group based in Manchester, as a fiscal sponsor to help the group in its mission to provide more support to New Hampshire’s diverse creative community and create inclusive and safe spaces where the arts can be used for personal and community growth. “Queerlective has been a leader in producing art happenings and events that center queer,

BIPOC and underserved communities,” Julianne Gadoury, executive director of Kimball Jenkins, said in a press release. “Kimball Jenkins is honored to serve as a fiscal sponsor, which will allow people who are part of these communities, and most closely connected, to lift up and amplify their voices and needs in the most authentic way possible.” Visit and

New mascot

New Hampshire Technical Institute, Concord’s Community College, has introduced a new design for its mascot, Leroy the Lynx. According to a press release, the design, created by NHTI visual arts student Valerie Deforge and selected by a campus-wide vote, depicts Leroy with bold lines, fresh colors and expressive motion. “Our new design pays homage to our historical Leroy the Lynx and evolves us into the modern era of collegiate community and competition,” Amber Gavriluk, NHTI’s marketing officer, said in the release. “Leroy represents the new rallying point around which our students, faculty, and staff can feel belonging in our diverse community. And this new design offers a strong brand identity and personality that can lead us boldly into the future.” NHTI will replace previous mascot designs with the new one over the next year.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation will host a public informational meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m. at the Community Building in Loudon (29 S. Village Road) to discuss proposed improvements at the intersection of Route 106, South Village Road and Chichester Road in Loudon. According to a press release, these would include widening the road and adding signalization to the intersection. Visit to learn more.

Canterbury Shaker Village, a completely preserved Shaker village established in 1792, received a nearly $110,000 matching grant award from the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program to fund construction of a new roof for its Dwelling House, a National Historic Landmark. The project is expected to begin this spring, according to a press release.

New Hampshire residents pursuing post-secondary education in medicine, nursing or social work are invited to apply for the Yarnold Scholarship. Funded by a trust established by Rollinsford couple Alice M. Yarnold and Samuel Yarnold, scholarships are awarded to 30 to 40 students each year in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, according to a press release. Interested students may call Yarnold Scholarship administrative representative Laura Ramsdell at 766-9121 to receive an application.

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