Today marks the day during Super Bowl week known as Media Day. Things really start to pick up after today, and there are always a few interesting soundbites that come out of media day and this year I’m sure will be no exception. We’ll have to see what tidbits emerge as the memorable soundbites of this Super Bowl. Last year we had Warren Sapp wandering around, ripping Russ Hochstein. Who knows what’s in store this year.
The griping about Jacksonville as a Super Bowl location has begun in earnest. On WEEI, they’ve decided things are so bad, that they need to take it upon themselves to provide Patriots fans with a good time down in Jacksonville…at $150 bucks a pop. For that modest fee, you can get into the party they’re having Friday night. This party is being promoted endlessly on The Big Show. They set it up by telling fans there are no bars in Jacksonville, their party is basically your only chance to have a good time. I’ll cut them some slack (just a little) because the money is going to a good cause.
Tom E Curran in his online blog at Projo.com yesterday had the following to say about some of his colleagues:
Media whining about Podunk Jacksonville is under way. "The hotel's are dingy." "The rides to the hotels are too long." "It's cold." "My feet hurt." "Where's the sun?" "No free computer bags this year?"
Hey, if fate had dealt you a different hand you could have been living on the beach in Sri Lanka a month ago. Shut up about the inconveniences.
The best part is this: the Super Bowl media party is allegedly on the 17th green at TPC Sawgrass. Anyone want to bet that someone will complain how inconvenient it is to walk all the way out to the famous green on the tiny bridge?
Apparently that message of reality didn’t hit Curran’s colleague at the ProJo, Jim Donaldson, who writes an entire piece about bad Super Bowl locations, putting this one at the top. He talks about Detroit in 1982 even though it was terrible, this is worse. He’s looking forward to returning to Detroit next year. Jeff Jacobs has a very different view from a sports writer, he writes about a young man covering sports for the New Britain Herald from a wheelchair. Matt Straub is not covering the Super Bowl this year, but he’d like to someday, I’m sure, and I don’t think you’ll hear him complaining. Dan Shaughnessy advises Patriots fans to just stay at home. If you have tickets and rooms, he suggests you sell them and buy a plasma screen TV. He says it’s not only the city that makes this event bad, but Eagles fans as well. Jon Couture says that Philadelphia fans often go too far. Lenny Megliola today compares the NFL to the Soviet Union under Khrushchev. He says the league forcing its propaganda down our throats, and that the Patriots are all programmed and brainwashed.
How about some actual football articles? Corey Dillon was the center of attention yesterday, at least judging by the number of articles written about him. Michael Felger says that while everyone knew Dillon would pan out on the field, no one quite knew it would all work out this good for all involved. Tom E Curran writes that Dillon doesn’t look back at all on his days in Cincinnati, he’s only focused on the here and now. Alan Greenberg says that Dillon is just savoring this whole Super Bowl experience. Lenny Megliola says that while Dillon is certainly enjoying his Super Bowl, he could do without all the surrounding hoopla. Michael Parente also looks at what the addition of Dillon to the Patriots has meant for both the player and the team.
Nick Cafardo takes a look at the Patriots receivers as a group as each has a unique story to tell about their journey to the NFL and the Patriots. Mike Reiss focuses on Deion Branch and how the third year receiver has always had the confidence that he was going to do big things. On the other side of the ball, Kevin Mannix looks at the “no-names” in the Patriots secondary and how they’ve gotten the job done. Steve Conroy also looks at the Patriots defensive backs, and how they’re looking to come up big for the third game in a row. Bob Hohler has a nice piece on Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel, who got his degree last summer and hopes to set an example for others by doing so.
Karen Guregian writes that will all the attention being given to whether Terrell Owens is going to play, Richard Seymour has almost become a forgotten man. Despite two Super Bowl MVP awards, Rich Thompson writes that Tom Brady is focused on the Eagles, not on adding to his legacy. Tom E Curran looks at the difficulty of getting a question answered in the the media hoard. Mike Reiss looks at how the Patriots are approaching their preparation.
In the Herald’s subscription only columns, Gerry Callahan picks up on his Patriots Monday interview with Tom Brady yesterday and examines how the Patriots quarterback always manages to keep his head and know exactly what to do…on and off the football field. When it comes to preparing for games, Brady says that is is easy “to pass the test when you know all the answers.” Michael Gee compares the two quarterbacks, Donovan McNabb and Brady, and notes that each has gotten better over the course of their career by “becoming more like each other, or at least more like the stereotype of each other.” Steve Buckley writes about Mike Vrabel getting his degree…a very similar piece to what Bob Hohler wrote today, but still a feel-good story.
Felger’s notebook has Bill Belichick again dissatisfied with the conditions at the practice field his team has been assigned to during Super Bowl week. Cafardo’s notebook has more on Belichick’s objections to the slick practice field. Curran’s notebook looks at the demeanors of the Patriots and Eagles as they arrived in Jacksonville. Greenberg’s notebook looks at Tom Brady’s enthusiastic leadership. Parente’s notebook has former Patriots and Eagle Irving Fryar speaking on the comments made by Freddie Mitchell.
Bob Ryan looks at Eagles coach Andy Reid, who has some pretty impressive credentials of his own heading into this game. Ron Borges files a Super Bowl Insider column which looks at Terrell Owens’ practice session, Freddie Mitchell’s big mouth and the Broncos plan to use a Belichickian 3-4 defense at times next year. George Kimball looks at how Chad Lewis’ injury has meant opportunity for L.J. Smith. John Altavilla has a look at safety Brian Dawkins. Jim McCabe looks at Eagles linebacker Dhani Jones, who was a teammate of Tom Brady while at Michigan. Dan Ventura writes that Donovan McNabb is enjoying his time in the Super Bowl spotlight. Steve Conroy and Mark Blaudschun look at the Eagles defensive backs, agreeing that they are a strong group. Sean Smith recaps the Eagles entire season, game by game.
Kimball’s notebook looks at a light practice for Terrell Owens. Blaudschun’s notebook has the Eagles embracing their role as decided underdogs for this game. Altavilla’s notebook looks at the status of Owens and Mark Simoneau.
Get your Philadelphia perspective at Philly.com
Bill Griffith looks at long time Patriots play-by-play man Gil Santos, who remains enthusiastic about calling games for the team he first broadcast for in 1966. I admit to being a Santos fan, however my memories of him are not Patriots. I was too young to remember his first stint with the team, so my introduction to Gil was during Celtics broadcasts on channel 56 during the 1980’s. These days, you can really appreciate the job that Gil and Gino Cappelletti do when watching the NFL films game recaps on NFL Network or on DVDs. The producers of those shows often mix in audio from each team’s broadcasters and the differences are startling. The Colts announcers in the game from a couple weeks ago were just silly. “No…that play’s legal…they worked it to perfection all week in practice!!! The refs did it to us again!!!” The Steelers crew wasn’t much better. Gil and Gino get excited and they do make their fair share of miscues, (who doesn’t) but overall, I’m glad they’re ours.
On FOX New England Sports Tonight last night Gary Tanguay, Greg Dickerson and Glenn Ordway were discussing how the Patriots are perceived by the national press as boring because they don