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Report: Fire alarm at Patriots’ team hotel goes off early Tuesday morning

01.27.15 at 9:46 am ET
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PHOENIX — According to Jeff Darlington of NFL Media, the fire alarm at the Patriots’ hotel went off for about 10 minutes at 1 a.m. MT early Tuesday morning. He added someone at the front desk said it was “an anomaly.” There were no problems at the hotel.

The Patriots are staying roughly 40 minutes from downtown Phoenix, in Chandler, Arizona.

New England will now hold its media day at 10:30 a.m. MT at the US Airways Center.

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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Super Bowl XLIX,

Tom Brady on being compared with all-time great quarterbacks: ‘I don’t ever see myself on that level’

01.27.15 at 6:00 am ET
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Tom Brady said Monday night he doesn't consider himself with some of the all-time great quarterbacks. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Tom Brady said Monday night he doesn’t consider himself with some of the all-time great quarterbacks. (Elsa/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The comparison has been made — Joe Montana and Tom Brady.

Brady will be playing in his sixth Super Bowl on Sunday, which is two more than Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Jim Kelly and Roger Staubach, and one more than John Elway. Brady’s 127 completions for 1,277 yards are both Super Bowl all-time highs, and his 20 postseason wins are also the most all-time, four ahead of Montana.

Even with those records, Brady doesn’t consider himself in that class of all-time great quarterbacks.

“€œIt’€™s very flattering any time you’€™re mentioned with great players and guys that I idolized growing up,”€ Brady said Monday night. “I don’€™t ever see myself on that level. I can be a pretty tough critic on myself.”

“I respect all the guys that have played this game before. I understand how challenging it is to play the position,” he added. “There’€™s a lot of guys that do it at a high level currently. There’€™s a lot of guys who have played it at a really high level in the past. I have a lot of respect for those guys and what they’€™ve been able to accomplish.

“Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana won four. A couple guys have won three, Troy Aikman’€™s won three, so it’€™s tough to do it every year. Everyone starts at the bottom and everyone’€™s trying to claw their way to the top, and there’€™s a lot of attrition that sets in. It’€™s a tough challenge, it’€™s a tough journey and to be one of the last two teams is a great accomplishment. Only one of the two teams is going to feel good this time next week, so I hope we’€™re that team.”

Even with playing in as many Super Bowl games as he has, Brady is talking like it is his first — very humble and very excited. The Patriots quarterback needs two touchdown passes to tie Montana for most in Super Bowl history.

“To have an opportunity to play in this game is really unbelievable,’€ Brady said. “€œI never thought I’€™d have the experience to play in one of these. To think that it’€™s my sixth time, is, I can’€™t imagine that that was ever –€” I didn’€™t think I’€™d ever play anything professionally. Certainly to make it to the Super Bowl is a pretty amazing experience to do once, and six times, it’€™s very, very special.”

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Joe Montana, Super Bowl XLIX, Tom Brady

What’s on tap Tuesday for Patriots, Seahawks in Phoenix?

01.27.15 at 5:00 am ET
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PHOENIX — One of the most anticipated days of the week leading up to the Super Bowl is here — media day. Each team will have an hour of time for availability, which is being held at the US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix. It is the only access the media will have with each team during the day.

10:30-11:30 MT Patriots media day
12:15-1:15 MT Seahawks media day

Here are a few of the bigger WEEI stories and radio segments from Monday in Arizona:

One Scout’s Take: Expect bruising Super Bowl between Patriots, Seahawks. By Chris Price
No Turning Back: Robert Kraft offers dramatic defense of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady. By Chris Price
Seahawks expect Kam Chancellor to lower the boom on Rob Gronkowski. By John Tomase
Robert Kraft defends Patriots, says NFL should apologize if league finds them not guilty of any wrongdoing. By Chris Price & Ryan Hannable
Bill Belichick on Dale & Holey (audio): Green Bay/San Diego trip helped prepare Patriots for Super Bowl.
Tedy Bruschi on Dale & Holley (audio): Patriots won because they outplay and out coach.

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Super Bowl XLIX,

Mike Petraglia, Chris Price examine why Robert Kraft came out swinging Monday in defense of his team

01.27.15 at 3:55 am ET
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PHOENIX — After landing in Phoenix Monday afternoon, Patriots owner Robert Kraft took to the podium to make a passionate defense of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the organization over the charges of cheating in Deflategate.’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down why Kraft made the statement and the reaction of Belichick and Brady, who followed Kraft to the podium.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Chris Price, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots

Patriots guarding against some sneaky Seahawks special teamers

01.27.15 at 1:03 am ET
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Matthew Slater says the Patriots are ready for anything the Seattle special teamers might throw at them. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Matthew Slater says the Patriots are ready for anything the Seattle special teamers might throw at them. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

CHANDLER, Ariz. –€” Over the course of the 2014 regular season, the Patriots were able to distinguish themselves as having one of the best special teams groups in the league. New England was able to deliver game-changing special teams plays almost every week, including blocked field-goal attempts, blocked punts and important returns.

Kicker Stephen Gostkowski was the second-best kicker in the league, converting 95 percent of his field-goal attempts. Meanwhile, punter Ryan Allen was 12th in the league in punting, and his work in a December win over the Chargers was enough to win him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. Chris Jones, Chandler Jones, Vince Wilfork and Jamie Collins all blocked field goal attempts, and punt returner Julian Edelman‘€™s 12 yards per opportunity was second-best in the league. Overall, Football Outsiders had the Patriots as the fifth-best special teams grouping in the league.

At the same time, the Seahawks also had a relatively steady and dependable group of special teamers over the course of the 2014 season. They were 19th in the NFL per Football Outsiders, but they’€™ve taken it to the next level in the playoffs. In their divisional playoff win over the Panthers, defensive back Kam Chancellor jumped over the pile twice in hopes of trying to block field goals. Punter Jon Ryan — while working as a holder –€” executed a perfect fake field goal that ended up going for a touchdown in the NFC title game. And kicker Steven Hauschka delivered a well-executed onsides kick to help set up the win over the Packers as well.

According to Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater, the focus this week for New England will be  playing with “a lot of alertness”€ against a sneaky group of Seattle special teamers.

“€œI think that we have to understand that every time our unit takes the field, we have to expect them to be trying to make a big play to swing momentum,”€ Slater said. “It’€™s our job to either stop that big play from happening or create one ourselves.

“€œWe’€™ve watched a lot of film on these guys. We have to be prepared situationally moving into the game. When you talk about trick plays, you never can predict those. At the end of the day, we’€™re going to have to play fundamentally sound and be able to react if something like that does come up.”

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Matthew Slater, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks

Bill Belichick on Pete Carroll: ‘One of the great coaches in my time’

01.27.15 at 12:26 am ET
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Bill Belichick has great respect for Pete Carroll. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images).

Bill Belichick has great respect for Pete Carroll. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images).

CHANDLER, Ariz. — They are coaches with admittedly distinct and polar opposite demeanors. But Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll find themselves coaching against each other in the Super Bowl because of their common thread. Both coaches have teams that finished 12-4 and earned the top seed in their respective conferences. And both coaches are highly respected in their organization.

And Belichick, as he made clear on Monday at the team’s headquarters at the Sheraton Wild Horse Resort, certainly has respect for the coach he replaced in New England in 2000.

Belichick knows his team is eager to put the silliness of Deflategate behind them and have an intense week of preparation.

“I’€™m sure we’€™ll have a great week of preparation,” Belichick said. “We know we’€™re going to have our hands full with the Seattle Seahawks. There is no way that I could in a brief amount of time express the amount of admiration and respect that I have for that organization, in particular Pete Carroll. I think that Pete’€™s one of the great coaches in my time. We kind of came up together in the same vintage and have similar experiences as coordinators and head coaches at various places along the way.”

Ironically, Carroll and Belichick have both coached the Jets and Patriots. Carroll coached the Jets for just one season in 1994. Belichick was coached them twice without coaching a single game. In February 1997, after Super Bowl XXXI, Belichick was named interim coach for six days before the Patriots and Jets worked a deal for Bill Parcells to take over. When Parcells left after the 1999 season, Belichick was named head coach for one day before resigning. Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick have travelled fascinating parallel paths, a fact Belichick referenced Monday in paying respect to the job Carroll has done in bringing his team back to the Super Bowl.

“I never worked with Pete,” Belichick said. “Of course, I followed him into New England. And what he’€™s done at USC and now in his five years with Seattle is beyond impressive. I tried to study him closely and learn from many of the things that he and his organization have done. I’€™ve watched them build that organization very carefully. And although we haven’€™t competed directly with them since early in 2012, it’€™s very obvious to me now why they were the world champions last year and why they are here again this year.

“They have an outstanding organization. They are very well coached. They have a lot of great players. They’€™re very disciplined. They’€™re tough. They play very consistently. They are a great fourth quarter football team. To say in short, they do everything well most all of the time. We’€™re going to have to absolutely play our very best game this season to be able to compete with them.

“Again, no way that I could express how much respect I have for that organization and for Pete and the job that he’€™s done. I’€™ve tried to learn a lot from watching and studying and observing many things about that organization and the way that he coaches the team. I really feel like it’€™s an honor to compete with the Seattle Seahawks, with Coach Carroll and his outstanding staff this week. We know it’€™s going to be a great matchup. We look forward to it. We know it’€™s going to be tough.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks

Report: Gillette Stadium video shows employee take 24 footballs into bathroom for 90 seconds

01.26.15 at 11:18 pm ET
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PHOENIX — Another passing hour, and another development with Deflategate.

According to Pro Football Talk, there is video surveillance from Gillette Stadium that shows an employee taking two bags of footballs into the bathroom on the way to the field for 90 seconds prior to the AFC championship. The source says 12 were the Colts’ and 12 were the Patriots’. Finally, the source adds the video was discovered by the Patriots and turned over to the NFL early in their investigation.

This comes after earlier in the day a Fox Sports report said the NFL is looking into a Patriots’ locker room attendant.

Robert Kraft made a strong statement earlier in the night when he maintained the Patriots did nothing wrong, and expects an apology from the league if they find the team had was indeed innocent.

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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Deflategate, Super Bowl XLIX,
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