Why did he do it?

Coverage of the Ken Powers plagiarism investigation – John Strahinich of the Boston Herald reports on the story, giving BSMW a mention and providing an excerpt from the Peter King column and the Powers column. The Globe goes with the AP Version of the story. If you weren’t aware, the Telegram & Gazette is also owned by the New York Times company, as is the Globe. The story has become a national one, with papers and news outlets all over the country picking up the AP story.

We still haven’t figured out “why” this happened. Ted Sarandis on WEEI last night referenced Powers’ medical history and wondered perhaps if there was a reaction to some medication or something like that which could possibly be involved here. Another theory is that Powers had King’s article up on his computer and was using it to fact check and “accidentally” cut and paste it over his own, and then sent it along to his editor unwittingly. That theory goes on to say that the editor then changed some of the verbiage of the column to be less “web” like and more “newspaper” like. (Not knowing it was someone else’s work) Some passages do appear to have been “cleaned up” a little bit. However, that theory seems a bit far fetched as well. There are just too many subtle wording changes to make that plausible. There just doesn’t seem to be any logical reason why this happened.

Many of the media types I’ve had contact with in the last day have expressed shock, disappointment and even some anger over this incident. All valid responses, as is pity, I believe. You have to have some feelings for a man who has pretty much thrown away his career. Some believe that he will be given a slap on the wrist, perhaps demoted off the Patriots beat and back down to local sports, but I don’t know if that would work. As mentioned above, the T&G is owned by the NY Times company, who, because of the Jayson Blair episode is not likely to treat this incident lightly.

Update (10:30 AM) WEEI’s Dale & Neumy show reported that Peter King has called the Telegraph & Gazette and asked them not to fire Powers. A classy move by King, but I don’t know if it should hold weight with Powers’ employers. What was done was egregious beyond any offense to Mr. King for using his material. It was offensive to his employers, who expect honest work from him, offensive to his readers, who need to be able to trust that what they’re reading is what it is claimed to be, and offensive to media colleagues everywhere who spend the time and effort to come up with their own material.

Super Bowl Madness

There’s no way I’m getting to all the links. For example, I counted 28 stories in the Boston Herald sports section alone on the game. The Globe weighs in with 16. The ProJo has at least 10.

Nick Cafardo has a look at the resurgence of Ted Johnson, who since going AWOL after being told he wouldn’t dress for the 2002 season opener, has really revitalized his career. Kevin Mannix says that the Patriots approach has no room for me-first individuals. Jackie MacMullan looks at Rodney Dangerfield…I mean Harrison, who is on a constant quest for respect. Tom E Curran writes that Harrison has been an impact player for the Patriots — in every sense of the word. The Hartford Courant has a new-look web page, and Alan Greenberg has a look at the Patriots defense, which isn’t flashy, but always manages to sparkle in big moments. Ron Borges has the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) coming out strongly against Terrell Owens playing in the Super Bowl. Jim Fennell has a piece on Bill Belichick, noting that the Patriots coach traces his NFL lineage not through Bill Parcells, but through Paul Brown.

Michael Felger says that the Patriots run of success is more impressive than those of past eras. He has a quote from Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Ham of the Steelers who says what the Patriots have done in this era is more impressive than his Steelers of the ’70’s. He also got a few words with Chuck Noll about the Patriots. Rich Thompson has Terry Bradshaw saying that the Patriots defense is among the best ever. Steve Conroy has former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson praising the job done by Bill Belichick and the Patriots. George Kimball says that the staff that Belichick has put together could rank up there with some of the greatest coaching staffs in league history as there are likely many future head coaches on board. Steve Buckley (subscription only) tells us that with a win on Sunday, the Patriots will become the second greatest dynasty in Boston sports history, only behind the great Boston Celtics squads with Bill Russell.

Michael Parente has a good piece on linebacker Roman Phifer, who has spent his time in New England jetting back and forth to the West Coast to be with his son. The Super Bowl could mark the end of a long, production NFL career for Phifer. Lenny Megliola looks at the confidence that just oozes from Tom Brady, and projects that given his interests, he’s going to be a candidate for political office someday. Buddy Thomas says that the Patriots don’t get a lot of individual respect, but that they don’t deserve it either, based on individual numbers and statistics. It’s almost as dumb as a comment by Tom Jackson on ESPN Tuesday night where he said (verbatim) “I hate to think that they (the players) miss out on 2 to 3 Pro Bowls because they have this team concept in mind”. Mike Reiss looks at the Patriots’ Super Sophomores, the 2003 draft class. Dan Shaughnessy has a profile of Patriots punter Josh Miller. Jeff Jacobs looks at how Charlie Weis is handling his dual roles, especially on college signing day.

Andy Smith of the ProJo notes that if you live in the Providence viewing area, and bought an HDTV for the Super Bowl…you’re out of luck. He cites a “long-standing squabble between Cox Communications and Providence-based LIN TV, which operates both Channel 12 and Fox Providence.” Jonathan Comey has advice and alternatives for those who aren’t interested in watching the Super Bowl on Sunday night, including his grandmother. After looking at Gil Santos on Tuesday, today Bill Griffith looks at Eagles play-by-play man Merrill Reese.

I thought we might be done with the “Jacksonville is not suitable to hold a Super Bowl” stories, but Gerry Callahan (subscription only) has another for us this morning. It’s what you’ve heard everywhere else. The people are nice. The city is spread out too far. There’s no place to get a drink. Not enough rooms. Not enough cabs. Too much construction in the city. Bill Simmons had more on that yesterday in day three of his Super Bowl blog. He tells us how bad it is, and that ESPN sent him there to tell us all that.

It’s MY JOB to tell you these things. I’m here and you’re not. If the roles were reversed, I would want you to tell me one thing: “Is it fun there?” And the answer, honestly, is no. The weather stinks and it’s impossible to get around. That’s the bottom line. Everyone here is shaking their heads and saying, “Can you believe this?” These are the things you need to know. That’s why ESPN sent me in the first place.

Actually, I don’t care if it’s fun there or not. Seriously…why does the average fan care if the reporters are having fun or not? It’s not at all on my radar when I’m thinking about the Super Bowl. I don’t wake up at night wondering if Nick Cafardo is having fun in Jacksonville. If ESPN is sending Simmons to Jacksonville to report on the fun factor…I think there are better uses for his talents. Simmons goes on to suggest that Las Vegas should be the home to the Super Bowl every other year.

Pickin’ the Eagles.

Jon Meterparel has an ally in picking the Eagles over the Patriots. Sterling Sharpe was on ESPN radio this morning and gave some “sterling” analysis. He says that the Pittsburgh Steelers moved the ball up and down the field “at will” on the Patriots defense. He said that the Eagles will not go the way of the Colts, because they have “athletes with attitude”, in Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and Terrell Owens and that Andy Reid will win his initial Super Bowl because Mike Holmgren did and John Gruden did, and they’re all from the same coaching “tree”. In fact he said that Holmgren and Gruden are helping Andy Reid by looking at film and finding weaknesses in the New England Patriots. Not a strategic reason in that whole breakdown. Meteraparel meanwhile, is hanging his hat on his assertion that Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson will devise and “exotic scheme” that will confuse Tom Brady and cause him to throw a “few” interceptions.

Net Results

The Celtics got themselves a 21 point win over the New Jersey Nets last night, 110-89. Peter May, Carolyn Thornton and Steve Bulpett have the details. Mark Murphy has Gary Payton saying that there is a new Paul Pierce in evidence these days. Bulpett’s notebook has an update on the speedy recovery of Al Jefferson, a topic also pursued by Thornton’s notebook. May’s notebook has Bob Cousy praising the play of Jason Kidd.

Tonight

ESPN has NC State/UNC at 7:00. NESN has game four of the 2004 ALCS at 6:00. TNT has Cavs/Heat at 8:00 and Spurs/Lakers at 10:30.

KEN POWERS UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR BLATANT KING RIP OFF

This Ken Powers stuff is unbelievable.

The T&G did issue the following statement in today’s paper:

Substantial portions of a column originally written by Peter King and published Jan. 24 on the Sports Illustrated Web site were printed Jan. 30 in the Sunday Telegram under the byline of Ken Powers, a staff member of the Telegram & Gazette.

The Telegram & Gazette takes plagiarism seriously and is conducting a full investigation. We apologize to our readers and to Sports Illustrated.

How egregious was this plagiarism? The Peter King article is his Jan 24th Monday Morning QB article. Power’s original article has of course been pulled off the T&G site, but thanks to the power of the Internet, the article is still out there in cyberspace should you know how to look for it. Ready for some snippets? (Thanks to Jeff for helping put the comparisons together)

King: Remember the last time these two teams met? Very controversial day for both.

Powers: The last time the Patriots and Eagles met was a contentious day for both clubs.

King: Sunday, Sept. 14, 2003. Second game in Lincoln Financial Field history. Each team was 0-1, and each had fallen to 0-1 in rather humiliating fashion. The Patriots got shut out in Buffalo 31-0, just four days after whacking very popular defensive captain Lawyer Milloy because he wouldn’t take a major pay cut. The Eagles had been shut out by Tampa Bay 17-0 in the Linc’s first game ever.

Powers: It was Sunday, Sept. 14, 2003, the second game in Lincoln Financial Field history. Each team was 0-1, and each had fallen to 0- 1 in rather humiliating fashion. The Patriots had been shut out in Buffalo, 31-0, just four days after releasing very popular defensive captain Lawyer Milloy because he refused to take a substantial pay cut. The Eagles had been shut out by Tampa Bay, 17-0, in the first game in the history of the stadium.

King: The Patriots were in their Philadelphia hotel rooms — kickoff wasn’t until 4 p.m. ET — when the first one was uttered. ESPN football analyst Tom Jackson looked straight into the camera and said the New England players hated coach Bill Belichick. Because Jackson is such a respected voice in football, and because ESPN is such a media power, the statement made the rounds among the Patriots by the time everyone got to the stadium that day. Whatever has been said in the intervening time about the New England players just shrugging their shoulders over Jackson’s statement is a bunch of bunk. Many in the organization were stunned, and Belichick was really surprised. You have to remember that, at that time, Belichick was embattled after cutting Milloy. Whispers about a rerun of Belichick’s Cleveland days were circulating around the media.

Powers: The Patriots were in their Philadelphia hotel rooms – kickoff wasn’t until 4 p.m. – when ESPN football analyst Tom Jackson looked straight into the TV camera and said the New England players hated coach Bill Belichick. Because Jackson is such a respected voice in football, and because ESPN is such a media power, the statement made the rounds among the Patriots by the time everyone arrived at the stadium that day. Whatever has been said since that day about Patriots players just shrugging their shoulders over Jackson’s statement is a bunch of bull. Many in the organization were surprised, and Belichick was stunned. At that time, Belichick was under fire for cutting Milloy. Whispers about a rerun of Belichick’s Cleveland days were circulating through the media.

King: Since that morning New England has gone 33-3.

Powers: Since Jackson made his bold, brash statement the Patriots are 33- 3.

King: That afternoon, as the Patriots were finishing a 31-10 whipping of the Eagles, dropping Philly to a barely-with-a-pulse 0-2, a chant rose up from the crowd. The fans wanted A.J. Feeley to play quarterback instead of Donovan McNabb. “Of all the things you could possibly do as a fan,” Mitchell told me last week, “chanting for A.J. to play over Donovan was about the dumbest.” But that’s what the fans were doing, and McNabb and the falling Eagles just had to sit there and take it — with their bye week ahead, meaning they had to stew about their 0-2 record even longer.

Powers: As the Patriots were finishing a 31-10 whipping of the Eagles, dropping Philly to a barely-with-a-pulse 0-2, a chant rose up from the crowd. The fans wanted A.J. Feeley to play quarterback instead of Donovan McNabb. “Of all the things you could possibly do as a fan,” an Eagles player said last week, “chanting for A.J. to play over Donovan was about the dumbest.” But that’s what the fans were doing, and McNabb and the falling Eagles just had to sit there and take it – with their bye week ahead, meaning they had to stew about their 0-2 start even longer.

King: McNabb had a bad throwing thumb at the time of the 2003 meeting with the Pats, which was part of the reason he was stinking up the joint. All he’s done since is have his best regular season ever, and take this star-crossed team to its first Super Bowl since the Dick Vermeil days.

Powers: What those vocal Philly fans didn’t know then was that McNabb had a bad throwing thumb, a large part of the reason he was stinking up the joint. All he’s done since is have his best regular season ever, and take this star-crossed team to its first Super Bowl since the Dick Vermeil days.

King: Since that evening Philadelphia is 28-6.

Powers: Since that evening, Philadelphia is 28-6.

King: Three conference titles among the two franchises over the past two years, and a combined record of 51-9 since those Waterloo moments. All in all, they’re the two best teams in football over the past two seasons — two Swiss-watch-run organizations with excellence from the top on down. Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, a Bostonian, once tried to buy the New England franchise and is good friends with the Kraft family, who now own the Patriots. Both Lurie and Bob Kraft learned the hard way that the best approach to running a football team when you really don’t know football is to get a masterful coach on the premises and let him run the show. That’s what Lurie did with Andy Reid in 1999, helped by business-wise GM Joe Banner. And that’s what Kraft did with Belichick in 2000, helped by football-wise director of player personnel Scott Pioli.

Powers: The teams have combined to win three conference titles over the past two years, and have a combined record of 51-9. They’re arguably the two best teams in football over the past two seasons. They’re also two of the best-run teams, and the owners have a history. Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, a Massachusetts native and Clark University graduate, once tried to buy the New England franchise. He is friends with Patriots owner Bob Kraft, whose wife, Myra, is the daughter of the late Worcester philanthropist Jacob Hiatt. Both Lurie and Kraft learned the hard way that the best approach to running a football team when you really don’t know football is to get a masterful coach on the premises and let him run the show. Lurie did that in 1999, hiring Andy Reid. Lurie’s ownership of the Eagles is aided by his partner, business-wise GM Joe Banner, also a Bay State product. Kraft did it with Belichick in 2000, and also is helped by football-wise director of player personnel Scott Pioli.

King: The Patriots will try to pound Corey Dillon. McNabb will move Brian Westbrook everywhere and try to get him to make plays in the open field. But the New England defense is as disciplined as a unit can be. Philly’s defense is second in that category. I think it’s going to be a great game, without many mistakes. The only bad thing is we have the silly two-week gap before the game.

Powers: The Patriots will try to pound Corey Dillon. McNabb will move Brian Westbrook everywhere and try to get him to make plays in the open field. But the New England defense is as disciplined as a unit can be. Philly’s defense is second in that category. It all seems to add up to being the perfect recipe for a great game without many mistakes. Don’t you wish they were pulling on the shoulder pads and buckling up the chinstraps today instead of next Sunday?

Ouch. Seriously, what the hell was Powers thinking? Did he think no one would notice? Peter King is perhaps the most-read football columnist in the country. What is there to “investigate”? His previous body of work? The T&G already issued its statement and apology. Powers has probably thrown away his career here.

It’s all about the Muted Underlings

Yesterday I wondered what the hot topic for media day was going to be…I should’ve known. I’m an idiot. It’s the assistant coaches of course. I actually did think of that, but was like nah, that’s just too obvious an angle. Do other areas have this fascination with assistant coaches? Or is it because they’re not allowed open access to them that the Boston media obsesses over those guys? They talk about them constantly and when there is a chance to speak with them, they fall over themselves writing about them. Could it be that by not allowing access, Bill Belichick actually gets his assistants more attention? I’m talking more than just today though. Today it is understandable, as Charlie Weis and probably Romeo Crennel are in their last week with the club. It’s an overall thing. The assistant coaches are an obsession with certain writers and it goes well beyond just Super Bowl media day access. I’ll likely take some heat for this first paragraph today, but before you fire off that vitriolic email…think beyond today, think about the overall obsession with the assistants and whether it’s like that anywhere else. That’s the only point for consideration I’m making today.

Since this is ostensibly a site about watching the media, a rather big story is brewing and has flown under the radar thus far. Ken Powers, the Patriots beat writer for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette has been pulled off of the Super Bowl coverage and is being investigated for plagiarism. Joe Strupp of The Editor and Publisher – a journal that covers the newspaper industry – has the details of the story. Apparently a Peter King Sports Illustrated story from Jan 24 is what Powers is accused of lifting material from. You may recall that I had an online run in with Mr Powers a few weeks ago. I guess we’ll be waiting for an apology. (Irony intended) I’ll have more on this in a bit, including a comparison of the two articles.

So into the articles on the assistants we go. Nick Cafardo has a piece on how successful teams handle losing members of their coaching staff to other teams, as will be happening to the Patriots. Michael Felger looks at guys that have been talked about as successors to Crennel and Weis, Eric Mangini and Jeff Davidson. Bob Ryan has a look at Romeo Crennel, as seen by the Patriots defenders who to a man, think he’ll be a great head coach. Steve Buckley (subscription only) also writes about Crennel today, comparing him to “Joe Morgan getting his first shot as a big-league manager. He is Raymond Bourque playing on a Stanley Cup winner. He is Susan Lucci, finally winning a Daytime Emmy on her 19th try.” And now, Romeo Crennel will be a head coach. Ron Borges says that Crennel to the Browns is such a done deal that he is trying to line up assistant coaches, and that Dallas offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon is on his wish list. Mike Reiss has Crennel deflecting talk about the Browns for now. Jackie MacMullan looks at Charlie Weis, who is getting a little nostalgic in his final days in the NFL. Karen Guregian also writes about Weis, who seems to be one part Bill Parcells, one part Bill Belichick and his own man as well. Mark Blaudschun also has a piece on Weis as he prepares to start his college coaching career next week at Notre Dame. Jim Donaldson also files a brief piece on Weis’ last week.

Reiss also has a piece on the four coaches on the staff that are holdovers from the Pete Carroll days. Rich Thompson and Bob Hohler each file articles on Mangini, who deserves a world of credit for the job he has done working with a depleted secondary this season. Jim Fennell also takes a look at Mangini for the Union Leader. Blaudschun also has a short piece on Jeff Davidson, as does Dan Ventura. Ventura also delivers an article on offensive line/assistant head coach Dante Scarnecchia, who, other than a two year stint with the Colts, has been with the Patriots since 1982 and has seen just about everything.

Tom E Curran says that the Patriots are not a dynasty, but they’re close. Kevin Mannix looks at the owners of the two teams in the Super Bowl, who have a lot in common beyond the fact that they were both at the first ever game in Patriots history, and later Patriots season ticket holders. George Kimball has a further look at the two owners. After comparing the NFL and the Patriots to the Communist Russia yesterday, Lenny Megliola today looks at all the things that would happen should the Patriots lose the game on Sunday. I guess Lenny is at least trying to be creative…Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has an article on Troy Brown, who manages to keep himself busy between offense, defense and special teams. It was interesting to hear Brown speak a few times yesterday making reference to if he decides to come back next season, meaning that the thought of retirement has at least crossed his mind. Bill Burt says that a Bryan Cox hit launched this Patriots era of greatness. Is he sure it wasn’t a Mo Lewis hit?

Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider has the Patriots unconcerned that the media views them as a boring team. He also looks at interest in some of the Patriots assistants from Nick Saban in Miami. Alan Greenberg looks at the many receiving options available to Tom Brady. Hector Longo looks at the intelligent nature of the Patriots players, and gets a little laugh at his own expense at the end of the column. Stephen Harris looks at Richard Seymour, whose status for Sunday is still unknown. Bob Hohler says that Seymour is slowly seeing improvement in his injured knee. Jonathan Comey looks at Willie McGinest and suggests he could be a Hall of Fame candidate before it’s over. Michael Parente examines the camaraderie among the Patriots offensive line. G. Wayne Miller talks to people not interested in football or the Patriots.

Felger’s notebook looks at Tedy Bruschi finally getting that elusive Pro Bowl nod, being selected to replace Ray Lewis. Cafardo’s notebook looks at Stephen Neal finally getting a chance to play in the Super Bowl, after not playing in the last two Patriots appearances. The ProJo notebook also looks at Neal. Curran has a number of items in his print blog as well. (What’s a print blog, and how is it different from a regular blog?) Greenberg’s notebook expresses the opinion that Richard Seymour will not play in the Super Bowl. Parente’s notebook has Crennel only focused on stopping the Eagles.

Eagles Links

Dan Shaughnessy writes about Freddie Mitchell, suggesting he could share the same Super Bowl fate as Fred Williamson. John Altavilla also writes about Mitchell. Stephen Harris and Kevin Paul Dupont look at Terrell Owens, who said yesterday that he will play on Sunday, and not just to serve as a decoy. Jeff Jacobs labels Owens a ” Shameless self-promoting Showboat”. Jim Donaldson says all eyes…and ears…are on Owens. Steven Krasner writes about Owens’ claim that God healed him for this game. Frank Dell’Apa looks at lineman Corey Simon, who is a Florida native and dealing with having the Super Bowl in his home state. Karen Guregian looks at Freddie Mitchell, who unfazed by the maelstrom he created last week, is still talking. Michael Gee (subscription only) says that the Eagles have in many ways created a mirror image of the Patriots, starting with the personnel man, the head coach and the assistants. Lenny Megliola says don’t forget about Donovan McNabb, he seems to be getting overshadowed by Tom Brady this week. (How’s that?) Jim Fennell has an article on an Eagles fan in NH. Dell’Apa also has a piece on Hugh Douglas, one of three Eagles enjoying their second go-round in Philadelphia.

Kimball’s notebook has Donovan McNabb and the rest of the Eagles enjoying every moment of the Super Bowl experience. The Globe notebook has McNabb talking about soup and his Mom. Krasner’s notebook looks at Mitchell not getting a booth during media day.

Get your Philadelphia perspective at Philly.com

Bill Griffith has a look at life on radio row at the Super Bowl.

Michael Vega and Mike Shalin look at Boston College beating West Virginia 62-50 to move to 19-0 on the season. Shalin’s notebook looks at Jared Dudley playing 40 minutes despite tweaking his ankle late in the game. Shalin also touches on BC trying to work with NESN and WEEI to make sure its games are broadcast more regularly. Vega’s notebook says that injured guard Steve Hailey may rejoin practice later this week.

Mark Murphy looks at the Celtics exploring the trade market with Walter McCarty and Gary Payton the names most commonly being referenced. Paul Harber looks at how Ricky Davis has filled the sixth man role perfectly for the Celtics. Murphy’s notebook covers the weak Atlantic division.

FSN has Celtics/Nets at 7:00. NESN has game three of the 2004 ALCS at 6:00 – the last game the Red Sox would lose all season. Sorry if I spoiled it for you. ESPN has Cincinnati/Louisville at 7:00 and Duke/Wake Forest at 9:00. ESPN2 has Texas A&M/Oklahoma at 8:00 and Nuggets/Trailblazers at 10:00.

Media Day

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.

Eagles

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

Media Stuff

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