Day three of the pre-Super

Day three of the pre-Super Bowl hype. Michael Holley says the Patriots have a fan of their style and system in Don Shula. Eric McHugh writes that there is plenty of work for the Patriots to do to get prepared for the Super Bowl. Buddy Ryan, architect of the ’85 Bears defense tells Michael Smith that this Patriots defense is right up there, he says if they win on Feb 1st, this would be the second greatest defense of all time in his eyes.

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Jim Donaldson once again tries to draw attention to himself, leaping off the Tom Brady bandwagon, trying to incite panic and saying:

Just when I thought Tom Terrific was on the verge of approaching the postseason-stardom level of Joe Cool, Brady produces a performance more reminiscent of Drew Bledsoe than the legendary Montana.

Donaldson must figure that saying dumb things works for people like Woody Paige, so why shouldn’t he get a slice of that pie as well? A guy who should know, Bill Walsh, tells Nick Cafardo that the Brady comparisons to Montana are appropriate. Alan Greenberg looks at some more honors for Bill Belichick and Richard Seymour. Michael Felger in his Patriots Insider looks at some tough offseason calls the Patriots will have to make with guys like Ty Law, Damien Woody and Ted Washington. While the points are valid, why not let us enjoy the next two weeks before we have to worry about that stuff, huh? Michael Parente gives us three things you need to know about the Panthers. McHugh says Belichick sometimes gives the Patriots an unfair advantage. More on the Panthers comes from Hector Longo, who tries to bring us up to speed on the NFC champion. Rich Thompson looks at the value of Mike Vrabel. Dan Shaughnessy says a matchup with the Panthers just doesn’t have that much excitement. Gerry Callahan’s pay column tells us that the Patriots cannot play the no-respect underdog role any longer. Yeah. We knew that, thanks. Parente’s notebook tells us there is still no official word on the injury to Tedy Bruschi.

A-Rod will not go away. There was a buzz on the Internet and sports radio yesterday because of an ESPN report that the two sides will resume talks on the blockbuster deal. Denials were swift in coming. Bob Hohler has that story and other Red Sox news from yesterday. David Heuschkel also has a short report on the matter. Tony Massarotti reports on deals for Kim and Nixon, and his notebook has Theo Epstein shooting down the A-Rod reports.

The Bruins beat the Rangers for the second day in a row, thanks to two goals from rookie Carl Corazzini. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Stephen Harris have the details. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at the club claiming center Craig MacDonald off waivers from Florida. Harris’ notebook has a look at split decisions on suspensions for a pair of Bruins.

The Celtics also won last night, escaping Miami with an 86-84 win over the Heat. Details are at Fox Sports New New England.

John Molori has a look at the job done by Phil Simms and Greg Gumbel in Sunday’s CBS broadcast of the AFC Championship. He also looks at petty comments made by Michael Wilbon.

ESPN has College hoops tonight, while ESPN2 has Knicks/Rockets at 9:00. ESPN Classic has the Bill Russell “SportsCentury” at 8:00 & 11:00.