BOSTON (CBS) — It’s the middle of February, and though the sting of that Super Bowl loss is still fresh, there’s a lot of reason for optimism surrounding all four of Boston’s major sports teams.

Bill Belichick’s decision to not use Malcolm Butler against the Eagles remains a perplexing mystery, but looking ahead to the near future of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the Patriots really should be right back in the Super Bowl next year.

“They didn’t lose their offensive coordinator. Josh McDaniels is coming back,” WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton said. “Brady is back. Belichick will be back — and Belichick, by the way, wants to coach for another five years. At least another three to four to five years. So that right there is good, because people had him leaving next year. … And Brady and McDaniels fit like a glove.”

The retention of a coordinator is one thing, but getting back the likes of Julian Edelman (zero games played in 2017) and Dont’a Hightower (five games played in 2017) should provide a major boost.

“You add in Edelman coming back, Hightower coming back, you get Derek Rivers joining the mix, who could be an impact player, they should be back in Atlanta next year in the Super Bowl,” CBS Boston’s Michael Hurley said.

Moving on to the two winter teams, the Celtics still rank second in the East. The reasons for optimism surrounding Brad Stevens’ team are obvious.

But surprisingly, it’s been the Bruins stealing Boston’s attention over the past couple of months, and it has them set up for a potentially deeper run than the Celtics.

“The Bruins right now are on fire. They are on fire. And you’re just hoping they’re not peaking too early,” Burton said.

“There’s no LeBron James in the NHL,” Hurley noted. “There’s no LeBron James standing in the Bruins’ way. And I think it’ll be a fair fight, any series they get.”

And then there are the Red Sox. They won the AL East last year but lost the ALDS to Houston in just four games. Everyone waited to see what kind of offseason splash they’d make. They did make a change at manager — going from John Farrell to Alex Cora — but are bringing back essentially the same roster from last year.

The lack of buzz has some people keeping their expectations low for 2018. But Burton brought up a contributor who could make a huge difference.

“Let’s not forget — people are forgetting about Tony La Russa,” Burton said of the Red Sox’ vice president and special assistant to the president of baseball operations. “Now he’s a guy that the Red Sox hired, he’s on the outside looking in. He’s got a lot of wisdom. We’ll see what happens with him.”


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