|02.02.12 at 8:17 am ET|
Only at the Super Bowl could Chad Ochocinco be a significant national story on back-to-back days following his 15-catch, one-touchdown season. Yet even the enigmatic receiver’s comments have been relatively tame. Fear, notes the Associated Press, has rendered the week of Super Bowl hype far, far lamer than a not-so-long-ago era when players would call each other horses and cross-dressers.
Here are the details from WEEI.com’s coverage on Thursday morning, broken up by frequency of Super Bowl appearances:
— Tom Brady has been dominant this year when facing opponents for a second time. He’d like to continue the trend in the Super Bowl. Chris Price details that point of pride and more from Brady’s press conference on Wednesday.
— Price also looks at the bond between Brady and Tom Martinez, the man who has guided Brady’s emergence from an unimpressive high school quarterback to one of the game’s all-time luminaries. Martinez needs a kidney transplant, and was touched by Brady’s sentiments about him.
— Brady, said Wes Welker, has a toilet in his house that would startle even the Jetsons. (Perhaps Brady attended a Seibu Lions game after that franchise reaped the benefits of the Red Sox’ $51.11 million posting fee for Daisuke Matsuzaka?)
— Matt Light is back on his feet after suffering through a gastrointestinal affliction earlier in the week. Now, the left tackle’s goal is to keep Brady on his feet against the Giants pass rush, as Mike Petraglia explains.
— Kevin Faulk says that he is cherishing his opportunity to be in a fifth Super Bowl.
— Jerry Rice is the greatest regular season and playoff receiver of all time. No shock there. But Kirk Minihane says that a strong case can be made that the second-best Super Bowl receiver of all time is none other than Deion Branch. More on that here.
— Price says that Vince Wilfork has the Patriots defensive line playing its best football of the year.
THE NEW GUYS Read the rest of this entry »
|02.01.12 at 4:53 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — Sunday will mark the second time this season the Patriots have met the Giants. New England has won all four of its “second meetings” this season, having knocked off Miami, Buffalo, the New York Jets and Denver.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has had good outings when facing a defense for the second time in the 2011 season. In those four games, Brady went a combined 102-for-154 for 334 yards, 13 touchdowns and two interceptions. That averages out to a pretty respectable performance — 26-for-39 for 334 yards with three touchdowns and 0.5 picks.
The first time around against the Giants, Brady went 28-for-49 for 342 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions in a Nov. 6 loss to New York at Gillette Stadium.
Making improvements between a first and second meeting are a point of pride for Brady and the Patriots.
‘Over the course of the season, whether it was from one Denver game to the second Denver game, or the first game of the year to the last game of the year, we’ve always tried to make improvement,” Brady said Wednesday when asked about making improvements when playing a team for a second time in a season.
“Maybe early in the year you try out some combinations of players and plays and so forth, and then you realize that they don’t work so you don’t use them anymore and you go to the stuff that does work and you try to do those things more consistently. I think that’s where we’re at the point now. We’re doing the things that we do a decent job of and we just try to improve those things so we’re at our best for this particular game.’
One way that Brady wouldn’t be able to replicate those numbers is if the Giants are able to get after him in a consistent basis. The New York defenders have dropped hints about being able to rattle Brady by being around his legs and making sure he doesn’t get too comfortable in the pocket, but the quarterback didn’t sound too fazed by the prospect when he was asked about it on Wednesday.
‘You hear that every week from teams that you play that they want to get to the quarterback and hit the quarterback,” Brady said. “That’s just what defensive football is all about. It wouldn’t be the Super Bowl if they weren’t talking about coming to knock me down and trying to knock me out.
“[The Giants have] a very good pass rush. I’ve seen it game after game this year. They can get to the quarterback. They can hit the quarterback. They can force the quarterback into some bad decisions and some bad throws. We’re going to try to eliminate those. We really can’t afford too many of those on Sunday. We had too many of those the last time we played them, and we’re not going to be able to win the game making mistakes.’
In the wake of the AFC championship game, he apologized for his performance, saying he “sucked.” (He was apologetic for the remark on Wednesday, noting that he “didn’t want to take away from what the team had accomplished.”) Brady dropped another s-bomb on Wednesday, saying he’s happy to be back in the Super Bowl for the fifth time in his career, saying it “sucks” to be sitting at home and watching the game.
‘It’s great. This is everything that you ask for as an athlete and as competitors,” he said. “As a competitor you want to be here, you need to be here. This is why we’ve worked so hard over the years ‘ high school, college, pros ‘ to prepare for games like this. It’s a fun game. I’ve had an opportunity to be in a few of them, and it’s hard to imagine the football season ends in five days for us, but it does. It’s been a great season for us, and hopefully we can make it extra special with a win on Sunday.’
Here are a few other highlights from his Wednesday press conference:
|02.01.12 at 4:26 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — It may not come under the category of breaking news but Patriots left tackle Matt Light – protector of his quarterback’s blind side – knows keeping Tom Brady upright will go a long way toward determining whether the Patriots win their fourth Super Bowl title on Sunday.
‘Every guy upfront has a job to do,” Light said. “We just go out there and play the game that we learned. Keeping [Brady] upright is a big part of that.’
Light was actually asked if he feels like Brady’s guardian angel.
‘I’m not sure how he categorizes me, but I’m pretty sure guardian angel is a far cry from that,” Light joked.
‘We are going to do what we have done all season. We are going to have a great week of preparation. We are going to go out there and be technically sound at what we do and we’re going to go all out.’
His offensive line coach – Dante Scarnecchia – has watched Light enjoy one of the more productive and protective years of his 11-year NFL career.
“He’s had a nice year,” Scarnecchia said. “He’s been very consistent and he’s worked really hard. And he’s been a good a leader as he’s always been. And between Matt and Logan and Brian, we have three guys there with a wealth of experience. Very tough guys. Very great workers. The young guys, they would do well to try and emulate those guys, their work ethic and the way they play. And they do. As the result of that they make us all better. They make us all better. They make me a better coach, and they make those guys better players.”
Brady, Light and Kevin Faulk are the last three players remaining from New England’s first Super Bowl title in 2001.
‘It’s hard to believe that in one career you can go to this thing five times,” Light said. “It never gets old and is always a lot of fun. To have guys that have been with you the whole time is something you never forget.
‘Every game could be your last go-around, that’s why you embrace it all. This is an awesome week for everybody. You want to play this one like it is your last.’ Read the rest of this entry »
|02.01.12 at 3:03 pm ET|
Still looking for tickets to Sunday’s Super Bowl? Well if you’re a member at the wholesale store Costco, look no further than the store’s website. The site already features movie tickets, ski lift tickets and tickets to major sporting events, and now it has not only single Super Bowl tickets available but package deals that includes hotel rooms and a pregame party with Archie Manning.
For $2,999.99, you can get a seat in the upper level of the end zone. That’s $500 more expensive than a ticket in the same area from popular ticket reseller StubHub.com, but Costco does throw in the pregame party with Eli Manning‘s dad, along with other amenities.
“Our goal is to become one of the [ticket] options that pop into our members’ minds when it comes to these types of events,” said Kristin Lovik, an assistant buyer for Costco.com.
Other package deals include two tickets for $9,999.99, which also gets you a hotel room in Indianapolis for four nights, the pregame party, as well as admission to the Taste of the NFL, which is a charity dinner that includes a raffle and player signings. There also a $15,499.99 deal with better seats.
|02.01.12 at 12:47 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — After this Sunday, only two players in NFL history will have played in more Super Bowls than Kevin Faulk.
Super Bowl XLVI marks the fifth Super Bowl appearance for the veteran running back, who is tied with a handful of players with five appearances (including teammates Matt Light and Tom Brady). He was a part of Super Bowl XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX and XLII, and is now only surpassed by Don Beebe and Mike Lodish, both of whom made it to six.
Whether it’s been New Orleans, Houston, Jacksonville, Glendale or Indianapolis, he says he’s never taken these trips for granted, and this year is no exception.
‘You’re always thankful, because you never know when these moments are going to come again. You have to cherish everything. No matter what’s been happening,’ Faulk said. ‘I get calls from people saying, ‘This is your fifth Super Bowl. You must not care about it.’ They don’t understand how you get to this position. How you work to get to the position where you are. Each and every athlete on both teams, to get to this game, that’s why you work for the opportunity.
‘I don’t care what Super Bowl it is. Just the excitement factor. Knowing what you’re about to get into. Knowing what’s at stake. Knowing that’s what you want to play for at the end of the year, that you’re the two teams at the end of the year who are still playing.’
The 35-year-old running back — the only player on the New England roster who predates Bill Belichick as a head coach — doesn’t have the same level of production that he used to. (Aside from his injury-shortened 2010 campaign where he only played two games, after coming off the physically unable to perform list, he posted career-low numbers this year in both rushing and receiving.) But he remains the most well respected player in the Patriots’ locker room.
‘I think he’s a Patriot type of player,’ Brady said of Faulk. ‘He’s tough, smart and he plays well under pressure. He’s made some huge plays for us in our biggest games. The last time we played the Giants in the Super Bowl, he had a huge game. If you look at the plays he’s made over the years — catching the ball out of the backfield, blitz pickup ‘ he can really do everything. It’s great to have a guy like that in the backfield who understands what you’re trying to do on every play.’
|02.01.12 at 12:45 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — The Pro Bowl is a joke.
What used to be a semi-serious event has turned into a parody of a parody, with the most recent example being the 59-41 AFC win over the NFC last Sunday. Aaron Rodgers ripped (though did not call out by name) the effort of some NFC players on ESPN Tuesday, calling it “embarrassing” and “disappointing.”
Bill Belichick was asked on Wednesday for his thoughts.
“What I’m going to say wouldn’t be probably what I should say,” Belichick said.
OK. Care to elaborate?
“I’ll just let that one go.”
Last chance, Bill. Won’t be much Death of the Pro Bowl talk between now and Sunday night.
“What it was and what it is now is a lot different.”
We’ll leave it at that.
|02.01.12 at 12:35 pm ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — While he spoke for over 20 minutes at Tuesday’s Super Bowl “Media Day,” Chad Ochocinco was intent Wednesday on setting the record straight on how he feels about his first year with the Patriots, a year he hope won’t be his last.
He made no secret about his desire to come back to the Patriots next season for the second year of his three-year, $11.5 million contract, which includes a $4.5 million signing bonus agreed to in July.
“You [expletive] right. Can I curse? Don’t bleep it, I’m just being me. [Expletive] right,” Ochocinco told reporters Wednesday morning.
“Let me address this, the New England Patriots is an elite organization where everything is in house and always stays in house, it’s like Fort Knox. There are no leaks, no sources, so claimed, going around the league. There’s no such thing. So, with the media, with the fans, with everyone else, is their public opinion on what they feel might be the problem. They don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. Nobody does,” he said.
Ochocinco caught just 15 passes and one touchdown this season, his first with Patriots after a late summer trade from Cincinnati landed him in Foxboro.
Is the system difficult, Ochocinco was asked.
“No, there’s no system [problem],” he said “I’m extremely intelligent, extremely intelligent. Football sense, life, the way I carry myself, the things I do, we can all see I have sense, I’m smart. It’s just that it didn’t play out the way it was supposed to play out.”
Ochocinco was also asked about his relationship with quarterback Tom Brady.
“We’re dating,” he joked with a straight face. “First year of a marriage is always rough, always rough. I’ve always had the chip on my shoulder, that’s my style, it’s the way I am. If I don’t have the chip, I’m going to create it by saying something to someone who had to deal with me that week. I’m just going to be quiet.”
Brady praised Ocho’s work ethic on Wednesday once again.
‘This playoff run, this Super Bowl is very meaningful. Many would say it didn’t go the way I would like it, not up to my expectations. Everybody can see that, but I don’t think this season negates a career of what I consider greatness, worth of fun. To get to this point quietly, most people call it bittersweet, but it’s a blessing. People will play this game for years, for years and many names, many greats without having a chance to sniff the Super Bowl. To be able to be here, regardless of how this season went is a blessing, period. Especially where I’ve come from, what I’ve been through. To get to this, not just this stage, but the NFL in general. I’m happy, it could be my last one. There’s no reason to hang my head, there’s no reason to be upset. It is what it is and I’m still smiling. I’ve been smiling all year.’
Would it be hard for him to watch the Patriots win the Super Bowl if he doesn’t play?
‘Why would it be hard? When you’re part of a team, I mean there’s nothing hard about it at all,” he said. “There’s always a way to be yourself in the ‘Patriot Way.’ Look at Aaron Hernandez. Aaron Hernandez is nothing but me in the ‘Patriot Way.'”
While conforming to the “Patriot Way,” Ocho insisted he is still enjoying his first Super Bowl week as a participant.
‘Yeah, most definitely. I can still have fun,” Ochocinco said. “I sort of have to feel my way through it first. This season’s been, it’s more of a feel my way through it. It’s a learning process. You just can’t come into something new and just bust the door down and say, ‘Hey, I’m here.’’ Read the rest of this entry »