Our Sympathies To The Ryan Family

It was mentioned in the previous post about the sudden passing of Bob Ryan’s son over in the Middle East. Some more details are now available, as the Globe has posted an obituary for Keith Ryan.

The younger Ryan was 37 years old, and was serving as an attache for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency over in Pakistan. He apparently took his own life.

Our thoughts and sympathies again go out to the entire Ryan family. In addition to Bob and his wife Elaine, Keith leaves behind a wife, Kate and 8-year old triplets Conor, John, and Amelia, as well as a sister, Jessica. .

The sentiments of David Scott are certainly echoed here.

Wrapping Up Day One

From Bill Burt‘s blog today:

Word had circulated around the media room this morning that Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan’s son had died in Afghanistan.

I don’t have any details, just that it happened. There were a lot of reporters stunned by the news. It would a nice if you could keep Bob and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

We’d like to also send our condolences to the Ryan family for this terrible news.

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Mike Reiss had a chat from Arizona today.

Michael Silver has the story of Tom Martinez, Tom Brady’s personal throwing coach since he was a teenager, who is battling severe health problems, and will be watching the Super Bowl from home.

Don Banks says that the Patriots realize the increased significance of this Super Bowl.

Dennis Dillon has Wes Welker going from pest to asset for the Patriots.

In baseball news, Gordon Edes reports on the Red Sox acquiring relief pitcher David Aardsma from the White Sox in a trade.

Sports Media Journal has an interesting interview with Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.

Wondering who the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee is made up of? Yup, Ron Borges is still the New England representative.

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Here’s the Patriots/Super Bowl related programming on TV tonight:

6:30pm, CSN – Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight – 1 hour live special from Glendale
7:00pm, NFLN – NFL Total Access at the Super Bowl (including Patriots press conference)
9:00pm, CSN – Road to Perfection Special – 1 hour live special from Glendale
10:00pm, NFLN – Total Access at the Super Bowl (including Giants arrival press conference)
10:00pm, NESN – Sportsdesk
10:00pm, CSN – Sports Tonight – 1 hour live special from Glendale
11:30pm, NFLN – Total Access at the Super Bowl

Monday PM Links

Here’s a few links from today’s national Super Bowl coverage:

Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback leads with Tiki Barber insisting he has no regrets about walking away from football and the Giants last season.

Bill Moore of Football Outsiders breaks down the week 17 matchup between the Giants and Patriots. Gil Brandt also looks back at that game for clues to this week’s rematch.

Don Banks explains why the Patriots cannot lose this game.

Judy Battista in the New York Times, has a look at how the Giants haven’t left Bill Belichick.

Lauren Farrelly of CNBC looks at the business side of Bob Kraft and the Patriots, and talks to Michael Holley about the team.

The classy and talented Mike Freeman dubs this Super Bowl the Jackass Bowl because of the two head coaches.

Len Pasquarelli examines how the spirit of Marquise Hill lives on in the Patriots locker room.

Tom Weir has a look at the friendship between the Giant’s Justin Tuck and the Patriots Adalius Thomas, which goes back to their hometown.

Ira Miller has a look at Urban Meyer and the role the Florida coach has played with the Patriots.

John Walters lists the best sporting moments between Boston and New York. Alan Abrahamson says that the rest of the country is sick of Boston vs. New York.

Randy Hill gives us a tour of the Phoenix/Glendale area for Super Bowl week.

Mike Celizic says that this Super Bowl merits all the hype.

Mike Florio offers 10 Things to get you up to speed with this Super Bowl.

Hub Arkush explains how the Giants/Patriots matchup is a fitting end to a remarkable NFL season.

ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown on Super Bowl

Some comments from yesterday’s edition of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown:

On The Giants and Concern about Tom Brady…

Emmitt Smith: “Tom Brady’s boot is not really my concern; if I’m the Giants my biggest concern is that I wanted to play the Patriots today. Not next week, today. And the reason why I wanted to play these guys today is because the way we went on the road and beat Tampa Bay, the way went on the road and beat Dallas at Dallas and the way went to Green Bay and took care of business in Green Bay. We were on such a nice roll that this bye week could be the interrupter that we did not need. And so now what we needed to do is stay focused at home, be physical last week in practice, then go to Arizona and sharpen some skills, put finishing touches and go to Super Bowl and play our best football of the whole entire season.”

Keyshawn Johnson sits down with Bill Belichick

On being undefeated going into Super Bowl …

“I think it’s a story for the fans and the media. Kind of like an old wise man Teddy Bruschi said a couple years ago…We got a one-game winning streak, 16 or 18 times….we take one game at a time, and that’s where we’re at now. It’s a one-game season and there’s only one team to look forward to and that’s our preparation for the Giants.”

On Randy Moss…

“I had never worked with Randy before and in working with him, he’s very professional, he’s consistent, he works hard, he’s very intelligent, he’s the same guy every day. He’s been great to work with, he really has. He’s been a great leader; he’s been a terrific teammate Monday through Sunday and a great example for all the players.”

When you look back at this season, what do you want to be remembered for…

“I’d like to be remembered for this next game and right now that’s where it’s all at. I think there’s a time to reflect back somewhere down the road, but right now is not the time.”

On what a fourth Super Bowl win would do for Belichick’s Legacy …

Mike Ditka: “If they win the super bowl and go 19-0, I have to think in my mind that he has to be considered the best coach of all time.”

On the biggest reason the Giants got on their Super Bowl run …

Smith: “I think its been coach Coughlin … I think he’s done a tremendous job of finding the balance that most coaches need to find … He found a balance between being a hard-nosed coach and giving a little leeway to his players, so they can feel comfortable with where he’s at. He’s also gotten great productivity out of his team because he’s found that balance … He’s also given the power back to the players, to police themselves in the locker room and allow that leadership to rise from the inside out.”

Today’s “Look at Me” Candidate

We appear to have an early favorite for today’s winner of the “LOOK AT ME” media award. This award is given to the writer or media person who submits a body of work for no other reason than to draw attention to themselves, and hopefully get linked to on sites such as this one, which will generate more views and publicity for the writer.

While normally I’m loathe to give this free publicity away to people who are clearly begging for it, this week promises to have no end of this type of work.

This morning’s strong candidate is Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times. (Free registration may be required)

You might be familiar with Plaschke for his riveting performances on the ESPN atrocity Around The Horn, which is nothing more than a bunch of sportswriters yelling at each other. (Why not just put a live webcam in the media lunchroom?)

In his column today, Plaschke makes the contention that:

Tom Brady is football's, well, um, Alex Rodriguez.

Meaning, a hyped player, who will be in the Hall of Fame based solely on numbers, but is not the greatest at his position. His argument is that Brady can’t tie the shoes of such true greats such as Johnny Unitas, Otto Graham, Bart Starr, Sammy Baugh and Joe Montana.

Some of his arguments are ludicrous:

He doesn't have fire in his eyes because today's teams don't need it.

Has he ever actually seen Brady play?

He consults with such unbiased sources as John Unitas Jr. in making his case. The younger Unitas says: “I hear all these people talking about Tom Brady and I just sort of smirk.”

No doubt Plaschke is sitting back right now with a smirk on his face, waiting for all the attention that is sure to come his way. If there is a surefire way to get attention these days, it is to insult something about Boston sports.

Patriots Hit Arizona

Michael Felger looks at the Patriots offseason moves, which are the reason they are playing in the Super Bowl this week. Jackie MacMullan has the Globe front page feature story on Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson, who formally kicked off his “One More” Foundation last week, and has embraced his faith ever closer as he reaches the high point of his career. David Brown talks to former Giant Myron Guyton about what he remembers about Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin from his playing days in New York. Mark Farinella has the Patriots veterans dishing out advice on handling Super Bowl week.

Over on Patriots Daily, we’ve got some of the highlights from the initial press conferences by the Patriots as they arrived in Arizona.

Bob Ryan watched every move by Tom Brady at the Gillette Stadium sendoff for the Patriots yesterday, and muses about how Brady “long ago ceased to be just another good NFL quarterback, and who is a major part of Celebrity America.” Mike Underwood (No, Felger hasn’t changed his name) has Brady not limping at the sendoff. Maggie Cassidy has more on the Gillette sendoff. Jennifer D. Jordan reports on the sendoff for the ProJo. Christopher Price has Brady without a boot or limp at the sendoff. Alan Greenwood has a walking, talking Brady easing the fears of Patriots fans.

Christopher L. Gasper has the Patriots landing in Arizona, where Brady was naturally the focus of attention there as well. Karen Guregian also focuses on Brady after the Patriots touched town in Arizona. David Heuschkel has Brady saying he’ll be ready to go on Sunday. Jennifer Toland has Brady not concerned about his ankle at all. Chris Kennedy also has Brady feeling good upon arrival.

Mike Reiss has the Patriots ready for business upon arriving in Arizona. Rob Bradford has the Patriots veterans relishing the moment of arrival for Super Bowl week. Paul Doyle gives us seven storylines you’ll be sure to see this week. Dom Amore has the Patriots not at all surprised to be facing the Giants once again. Guregian looks at the solid core of 10 players who have been on the roster for all three Super Bowl victories this decade for the Patriots.

Tony Massarotti examines how deeply Bill Belichick has put his stamp on this franchise and on his players. Chris Kennedy also looks at how Belichick has created a winning culture with the Patriots. Ryan Trepanier has a look at Mike Vrabel, who has been an absolute steal since coming over from Pittsburgh prior to the 2001 season. Price has NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger telling us that we should expect a different looking Patriots defense for this game than what we saw in the regular season finale. Tom King has the Patriots showing plenty of respect for Eli Manning.

Elizabeth Merrill on ESPN.com has a feature on Wes Welker. Steve Buckley talks to 20 people and decides that the whole country doesn’t hate the Patriots after all. Jim Donaldson has part II of The Patriots Story for the Projo. If you missed it, Shalise Manza Young had part I over the weekend.

Reiss has the obituary of former Boston College and Patriots head coach Mike Holovak, who passed away at the age of 88 this weekend. The Herald also remembered Holovak, and Bradford writes about the great impact that Holovak had on the Patriots organization.

The Globe notebook has Bill Belichick in a light mood upon arriving in Arizona. Dan Ventura’s notebook has the Patriots offensive line ready for the huge challenge they’ll face on Sunday. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on the passing of Holovak.

Celtics

The Celtics played without Kevin Garnett for the first time this season yesterday in Orlando, and while the team was still game, they came up short when new Celtics-killer Hedo Turkoglu hit a 25-footer at the buzzer to give the Magic a three point win, 96-93.

Marc J. Spears has Doc Rivers proud of his club’s effort yesterday, but not interested in moral victories at this stage. Steve Bulpett has the Magic getting the final say in this one.

Alan Siegel examines how Garnett has carried the Celtics to the top of the NBA standings. Tim Weisberg looks at Ray Allen’s struggles this season. Bulpett notes that the Celtics might be wavering on Damon Stoudamire because they’d prefer to somehow get Sam Cassell from the Clippers.

Spears’ notebook has more on the injury that sidelined Garnett. Bulpett’s notebook has Garnett not happy with having to sit out this one.

Bruins/Misc

Fluto Shinzawa and Steve Conroy have the Bruins’ Marc Savard scoring the winning goal in yesterday’s NHL All Star Game. Conroy’s notebook has a look at Tim Thomas’ All Star experience.

Jessica Heslam has a look at WEEI rebounding nicely in the ratings book.

Gordon Edes has an informative account of the New York Baseball Writers dinner, where Dustin Pedroia was presented with his Rookie of the Year award from Craig Biggio.

We plan on stepping up the coverage this Super Bowl week, so check back often for the latest updates, links and happenings.

New Outshines the Old

(Morning Links provided by David Vidinha. Dave can be reached here.)

“I don’t play for Minnesota anymore; I’m in Boston,” Those were the words of Kevin Garnett after he ran triumphantly around the court holding up the front of his jersey for the crowd to see.

The ’06-’07 Celtics stepped onto the hardwood at the TD BankNorth Garden to take on the ’07-’08 Celtics last night. Former Celtics Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, and Gerald Green, who were shipped to Minnesota in exchange for Kevin Garnett, nearly pulled off a huge upset. The Celtics who looked rather sluggish for a majority of the night nearly fell to the league’s worst team. Garnett who briefly left the game in the middle of the 4th quarter with an abdominal injury, returned to the bench and decided not to err on the side of caution, a la LDT, deciding to come back and play last night after the team’s trainer told him otherwise. Garnett ultimately put the nail in the coffin of his old team when he stole the ball from Telfair with 1.8 seconds left, sealing a 87-86 victory and pushing the C’s NBA best record to 34-7. Over in the Herald Mark Murphy describes last night’s contest to the meeting of an ex-spouse and a current spouse. Bob Ryan tells us that the Celtics essentially pulled off a Brady last night in winning a game that they did not deserve. Last night’s game brought some friendly competition to close friends Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins. Antoine Walker was another former Celtic on the floor last night, he describes his situation as he plays for the league’s worst team.

Patriots

As the buildup to Super Bowl XLII mounts, the angst of the Patriot fanbase mounts. Where is Tom Brady? The collective hopes of this Patriot nation are lying in the wings, our star quarterback injured and missing from practice for TWO days, what are we going to do. Is it possible that Matt Casel may have to lead the Patriots when they step onto the field at the University of Phoenix stadium to take on the team of destiny, the New York Giants? As one fine gentleman told me at the gym the other day “this is all just a plan”. According to this guy “Belichick has this thing all planned out, he wants to catch the Giants sleeping”. Really? Somewhere in the middle of those two extremes lies the truth about this “BootGate”. Mike Reiss sits down with an orthopedic surgeon to describe exactly what is a “high ankle sprain”, in the meantime there’s quarterback controversy brewing in the Pats locker room. After staring at the arrangement of clothes and cleats in Brady’s locker, Karen Guregian sits down with Brady’s longtime passing coach and mechanics guru Tom Martinez to get his take on this “mess”.

According to a source of the boys at Cold Hard Football Facts, Brady sprained his ankle during practice BEFORE the AFC Championship Game. Also, he was sporting a 101-degree fever. Take it for what it is but it does lend some credence to Brady’s “shaky” performance last Sunday.

Even with Vrabel gone, Felgie had the opportunity to speak with Pats Pro Bowl tackle Matt Light, Light responded to the recent comments made claiming he was a dirty player. Osi Umenyiora checks back in with some more comments about Matt Light, also saying that “If they put on their bulletin board that I called Matt Light a dirty player, if they need that for motivation, then they’re in the wrong game.” Osi says he was mainly trying to bring light (no pun intended) to the fact that the Patriots are a “dirty” team. Speaking of dirty, Vince Wilfork continues to throw fuel to the fire of those who call him “dirty”. The league made another deduction from his earnings this week, this time for attempting to decapitate Chargers running back Michael Turner. Tony Massarotti has something to say about everyone in the league crying that the Patriots are being “dirty”. Keeping with the big guy in the trenches theme, Michael Vega has Bill Belichick discussing the play of center Dan Koppen

There’s no quarterback controversy on the opposing sideline as baby brother Eli Manning has played mistake free football thus far in the playoffs. Belichick was asked to compare the Manning siblings. Ralph Vacchiano in the NY Daily News has big brother Peyton saying that this will not be Eii’s only trip to the Super Bowl. In case it is, Peyton is now trying to buy up as many tickets as possible for his brother’s “super” appearance.

Seeing shades of the “Tyra Banks Show” fat suit experiment, a Globe scribe dressed up in full Giants garb and hit the streets of Boston. What resulted was a “surprising” reaction.

As always, be sure to head over to the best Patriots blog on the web, Patriots Daily for all the rest of your Patriots coverage.

Red Sox

The Red Sox were able to come to terms with Kyle Snyder signing him to a one-year $835,000 contract. This means that Kevin Youkilis is now the lone player left that’s eligible for salary arbitration.

While this year’s Patriots team and even to some extent Celtics team has garnered all the attention of the Boston sports faithful, the team over in the Fens has yet to make a peep. History has showed that the Sox have done all in their powers to steal some thunder from the other home teams, this year though that has definitely not been the case. As Bruce Allen tells us this year’s “Hot Stove” has been rather cold.

Misc.

In case you’re still interested in the Dana Jacobson saga from earlier in the week, the Big Lead has come through with some pics of her “acting a fool” at the Mike and Mike Roast. Most notoriously is her swigging Belvedere vodka straight from the bottle (as mentioned hundreds of times this week by John Dennis). My favorite part has to be the fact that the pourer is still on the bottle. These are just a few of the things that led to the suspension.

Vrabel on 890 ESPN with Mike Felger

Mike Vrabel was on with Mike Felger this afternoon on 890 ESPN Boston, and several people have asked about the ending of the interview. Here is the last part of of the segment:

Felger: Is that your least favorite part of it? (referring to Media day during Super Bowl week)

Vrabel: Well, I’ve never liked talking to the media, you know that.

Felger: Well, you know, I’m not so sure, you know Mike, I see you on TV, I see you all over the place, I mean, I don’t know, I think you’re pretty good at it.

Vrabel: Well some of those are some of those are mandatory; I really like Greg Dickerson, as a person,

Felger: Because he (won’t?) challenges you…

Vrabel: I think I like to do that little segment with Greg, because I think he’s a nice guy, I think he genuinely wants us to do well, as people and as players, and you, on the other hand, I don’t know if I can say that.

Felger: It’s unbelievable, why you guys have this impression that I don’t want you to do well.

Winter: I think you bring in on yourself there, Felgie

Felger: I don’t. I don’t. I think you want your ass kissed.

Vrabel: Who are you sitting in there with?

Felger: Kevin Winter.

Vrabel: Oh, hi Kevin. Now why can’t you let Kevin… I think you sit here for 10 minutes, you couldn’t let Kevin ask one question. It’s like “The Mike Felger Show, I have to ask all the questions.” Even though I got done talking with Kevin, been talking with Kevin for the last hour and a half, yet you can’t let him ask a question.

Felger: Go ahead Kevin.

Winter: I’m done. You asked them all!

Felger: See, he doesn’t got any.

Winter: I actually…I…

Vrabel: Kevin, that was your opportunity, I gave you an opportunity, and…

Winter: Mike, I uh, listen, my best part is any time we can go and just make fun of Felger, that’s where I actually am at my best.

Vrabel: Well, at least I can hear you ask the questions.

(Laughter)

Felger: Michael, have a good weekend, have a safe trip down there, we’ll catch you next week.

Vrabel: No, no you probably won’t. No, I think this is our finale.

Winter: Everyone is saying that…

Winter: We’re going to jump in at the hotel, we’re going to pull you guys aside, and do a little one-on-one.

Felger: It’s just not the case. Check the fine print of the contract.

Vrabel: You know, it’s been fun, it’s been real, but it hasn’t been real fun, Mike, I appreciate it.

(Laughter)

Felger: Mike Vrabel, we’ll see you

(Silence)

Winter: He’s gone!

Felger: Fine.

Winter: Everyone wants to get rid of you in a heartbeat.

Felger: Why do they all think I want the team to lose? You know?

Bradshaw and Johnson on Super Bowl Matchup

FOX held a conference call to preview Super Bowl XLII with studio analysts Terry Bradshaw and Jimmy Johnson. Here are some of their thoughts on the game:

Bradshaw and Johnson on whether the Patriot’s ‘Spygate’ controversy will have any affect on their legacy, should they defeat the Giants:

Bradshaw: “They’ve earned every game. They beat the teams on the field. ‘Spygate’ from week 1 is not even a thought as far as I’m concerned. Ever since the first week I’ve learned from people in the NFL about how so many people do things like that and even Belichick had kicked the Jets video staff off the sideline. It’s not even a thought. It shouldn’t be considered.”

Johnson: “Having coached for nearly 40 years I can sit and talk for days about all these types of stories and all the things that coaches have done. There really wasn’t a whole lot there. I think the media made more out of it than they should have.”

The duo responded to how players and coaches should act and prepare for the big game:

Johnson: “As far as the coaching staff and players, I always wanted the practice routine to be the same as far as when we were working in pads, when we were working in shorts and when and what we ate. I wanted our routine going right on up until game time to be exactly the same as it would be for just a Sunday night game.”

Bradshaw: “Prior to this year’s NFC Championship game I asked (reporter) Pam Oliver how the players for the Giants in the locker room were. She said they were loose and having a good time. To me, if you’re comfortable and loose, you should have confidence because you’re there. You’ve beaten everybody, you’re there. If you have that approach and you’re not uptight you’ll be able to perform at your best. It doesn’t mean you’re going to win but you’re going to play your absolute very best.”

Johnson and Bradshaw breakdown the head coaches and their public persona:

Johnson: “From reading articles and watching press conferences, you see a certain image of Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin. I don’t know if their persona is what they portray. I know Bill Belichick much better than Tom Coughlin. Belichick is an outstanding, good person one-on-one. He’s jovial, he has funny stories and he has a great personality and I’m sure Tom Coughlin is the same way when he’s in a comfortable setting. What you see in the press conference or on television is exactly what you’re going to get if you see them one-on-one.”

Johnson: “One thing that both of these coaches have done is adjust. Tom has adjusted his approach to the players as far as his personality. Everybody knows about Belichick and how he changes his schemes week-in and week-out. He adjusted the offense to fit Tom Brady. He knew he had a great talent there and he wanted to utilize that talent so he changes the scheme offensively.”

Bradshaw: “With Coughlin, it wasn’t so much schematics as it was becoming more open minded about his approach with his players. He became more approachable while still being firm. You can see now the results. We see Belichick back in the Super Bowl and we see Coughlin in the Super Bowl and I think a lot of that has to do with Tom (Coughlin). Rules are good and they are important and they need to be enforced because athletes want that.”

Brady a No-Show at Practice

On Patriots Daily, we enlist the help of old friend Albert Breer in breaking down the Giants three playoff games.

Mike Reiss has the Patriots choosing to let Tom Brady rest his sore ankle and not participate in practice yesterday. Karen Guregian has Brady as the invisible man at practice yesterday, as his clothes were spotted in his locker, but the QB was nowhere to be seen on the practice field. Jennifer Toland says that Bill Belichick was not offering details on Brady’s ankle. Mark Farinella says that the boot was not spotted at Gillette yesterday. Neither was Brady. Dan Shaughnessy says that Brady will start in the Super Bowl, but that we should all prepare for a lot of nonsense and speculation between now and then. Jeff Jacobs notes that we’re dealing with “paparazzi journalism” when it comes to Tom Brady. Christopher Price has the Patriots keeping quiet on Brady. Mike Lowe says we probably won’t ever learn the extent of Brady’s injury. David Brown compares Brady’s boot to when Cinderella lost her glass slipper.

Michael Felger examines how what the Patriots have done this decade is more impressive than the Cowboys of the 90’s, and also goes 10 questions with former Pats tight end Christian Fauria. Douglas Flynn says that the game could come down to the Giants’ soaring confidence against the Patriots’ experience. Joe McDonald examines how Adalius Thomas has actually been a perfect fit for this Patriots defense. Jeff Horrigan looks at the size advantage that Plaxico Burress enjoys over Ellis Hobbs and what the Patriots cornerback plans to do to try and counter it. Farinella notes that Mel Mitchell was placed on IR yesterday, leaving the Patriots an open roster spot.

Michael Vega looks at the Patriots having to deal with a lot of “cheap” talk over the course of the entire season. John Tomase has more on this topic, with the Patriots deciding to leave the talking to others. He also specifically addresses Richard Seymour‘s situation with San Diego center Nick Hardwick. Price looks at whether the Patriots just play ‘hard’ ball with their opponents. Jennifer Toland has more on the allegations against the Patriots. David Heuschkel has Matt Light choosing not to comment on Osi Umenyiora’s allegations that he played dirty. Chris Kennedy has Seymour disputing the dirty play charge from Hardwick. David Brown has more on the “cheap” talk about the Patriots. Jeff Howe and Farinella have more on Seymour defending himself.

Bob Hohler has a piece on Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes, who has been through some tough stretches both professionally and personally. Steve Buckley has Tom Coughlin trying to get his Giants to stay quiet during this two week period, and just focus on the game, and playing as a team, Bill Russell-style. Dom Amore says that the Giants aren’t satisfied with just being in the Super Bowl. Sarah Green says that the Giants could make this an epic game.

Jessica Heslam profiles Patriots fans and Giants fans and finds that the New England supporters are “smarter, classier and healthier and own pricier homes than the riff-raff who root for the New York Giants.”

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has WBZ-TV touting its Super Bowl coverage and access over the next week.

The Globe notebook has Belichick praising the Giants for their playoff improvements and talking about his relationship with Tom Coughlin. Guregian’s notebook has Randy Moss talking about his web site about what the Super Bowl means to him, and she also has Rodney Harrison dispensing advice to the younger players. McDonald’s notebook has more on Brady’s absence from practice. Flynn’s notebook also has the Patriots keeping Brady’s injury under wraps. Toland’s notebook has the Patriots gettting a sendoff at Gillette Stadium as they depart for Arizona. The Standard-Times notebook has Seymour seeing some of the ’01 Pats in these Giants. Flynn’s notebook provides us with some reading material leading up to the Super Bowl.

Celtics

It’s reunion night at the Garden, as the Celtics host the Minnesota Timberwolves, who boast six former Celtics on their roster, mostly notably Al Jefferson and Antoine Walker. It will also be Kevin Garnett’s first regular season game against his old team.

Marc J. Spears and Steve Bulpett have Garnett viewing this as just another game for all involved. Mike Szostak has Garnett just thinking about the present, not the past, as the Wolves come to town. Bill Reynolds says that he never realized just how great Garnett truly is.

Binyamin Appelbaum reports how Celtics fans can make playoff reservations right now. Bulpett’s notebook has Jefferson’s star rising in Minnesota, while Spears’ notebook has Garnett topping the polls in the All Star balloting and being named a starter for the East.

The Bruins were 4-1 winners over the Islanders last night. Check the coverage at BruinsLinks.com.

Join us for the Sox return to the US, as they open the main part of the regular season in Oakland, including the A’s home opener (You’re almost guaranteed to see Josh Beckett pitch one of those games) on the BSMW Travel Club trip to the games.