* The Asterisk is Back!

People are obviously getting bored with the whole scene in Arizona, as a fresh and new storyline has emerged from the media minds – The Asterisk!

You probably saw this link this morning below to the AP article with the director of the National Institute of Sports Reform saying that the Patriots deserve an asterisk for the Spygate scandal. It means nothing that this gentleman is a Giants fan and season ticket holder. (Ironically, he’s originally from New England and roots for the Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins.)

That’s just the start, the humble and creative Jay Mariotti also attacks this fresh story writing:

We didn't pardon Martha Stewart or Sammy Sosa. Why does Belichick get a hall pass from the global media? Why isn't he required to explain himself? He was smacked with a $500,000 fine, the highest ever handed an NFL coach. The Patriots were fined $250,000 and stripped of a No. 1 draft choice. Some of us wondered aloud if an asterisk should be attached to a perfect season, just as an asterisk should be affixed to Bonds' home-run total.

Yeah, Belichick gets a hall pass all right. What is the fascination with making Belichick “explain himself?” What is that going to accomplish? The Patriots were punished to a degree never seen in NFL history, and yet the self-important types like Mariotti insist during Super Bowl week that Belichick come cowering to them and explain everything. The Dan Patrick radio show talked about how the Patriots perhaps shouldn’t get an asterisk for their wins this season, but perhaps their previous wins are tainted.

If people have an issue with how the matter was handled and the fact that the tapes were destroyed without anything being revealed about what was on them, shouldn’t they take this up with the league? Why are they demanding more from the team? The team did everything the league asked, they turned over the tapes, they took the judgment, ended up giving their first round pick and paid huge fines, Belichick apologized – via a press release, and all involved are “moving on.” Some self-important guardians of the gate are unable to.

This topic was picked up by Dennis and Callahan on WEEI this morning, as Gerry also wants an explanation. He then went off onto an ill–conceived rant about how he knows that the Patriots were stealing signals for the purpose of using them in the same game. He insisted that the Patriots were stealing the signals in the first half and deciphering them all in time to use for the second half of games. He cites as proof the fact that the Jets changed their signals in the second half. If the Jets had time to come up with a completely new set of signals, then certainly the Patriots had time to figure out their first half signals.

Makes sense, right? Err, not really. Wouldn’t it make sense for the teams to have several sets of signs already prepared, so they can change them up at any time, rather than making a new set in 10 minutes during halftime?

Howie Long had some great comments on this matter:

"Do you honestly believe the New England Patriots were the only team filming other teams' sidelines?" Long said during a press conference Tuesday leading up to Super Bowl XLII here Sunday. "Let's be real. They say a memorandum was sent out. A memorandum that said what? 'We really mean the rule that was in place last year. We really, really mean it.' I don't know if that's a box (the NFL) wants to open.

"I'm also not naive enough to believe that the Patriots were even close to being the only team doing that. I think it's a far more common practice than anyone wants to talk about. And if you're offended by that, and if you really want to dive into that, then dive into the whole league.

"I think it's kind of a code that (NFL coaches) don't talk about it. It's the white elephant in the room that everyone walks around."

Jimmy Johnson related a story the other day about how when he went to Miami, they told him about how they had discovered a way to manipulate the time limit on conversations to the quarterback headset – a huge advantage.

Leonard Shapiro warns Patriots-haters not to expect any Spygate talk in FOX’s telecast Sunday, as the network doesn’t want to get into the topic. Another good quote from Long in there:

You have a commissioner who came in as Wyatt Earp and he's laying down the law. And I also believe that if they (the Patriots) didn't already have two No. 1 picks, I'm not sure they (the NFL) would have taken a No. 1 pick away from them.

Charles Bricker says teams have always cheated because its a way to get an edge, and that Belichick is not alone.

Media Day, Part II

Yesterday was really the second media day, as this time it was at the team hotels, rather than at the stadium.

On Patriots Daily, Christopher Price has a look at why people shouldn’t make snap judgments about Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin. He also has five things to look for this week.

Gerry Callahan says that win or lose, good or bad, the Patriots will make history on Sunday. I’ve got a few Super Bowl storylines you’re not reading over in the Metro. Josh Egerman has Tedy Bruschi talking about how special this Super Bowl is to him. The AP has the head of the National Institute of Sports Reform – who just happens to be a Giants fan and season ticket holder, saying that the Patriots records this season should be marked with an asterisk.

Bob Hohler has the family of Marquise Hill still struggling to come to terms with his death. Shalise Manza Young has more on Hill, who, shortly before he died, told Randall Gay that the Patriots would win the Super Bowl this year.

Rob Bradford has a mini-feature on offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who has coached 24 season with the Patriots, and still has the zeal for the job to come in at 3:00 am most days. Jackie MacMullan also checks in with a profile of “Scar.” Farinella has more on the longtime Patriots offensive line coach who is a father figure to some of his players. Jim Donaldson has more on Scarnecchia, who will be 60 in two weeks, but shows no signs of slowing down.

Karen Guregian has Laurence Maroney getting some love from Barry Sanders. Mark Farinella has Maroney feeling right at home in this week of hype. Kevin Paul Dupont looks at the importance of Kevin Faulk to the Patriots. Rich Garven says that the Patriots running game has picked up the pace after a slow start to the season.

Mike Reiss has Chad Johnson saying that he’d love to play for the Patriots. John Tomase outlines the 19 steps to perfection that the Patriots will have taken if they can win on Sunday. Robert Lee has a look at the challenge that the Patriots secondary will face on Sunday. Tony Massarotti says that comparing the Giants to the 2001 Patriots is a flawed argument. Jeff Goldberg looks at New York in an unfamiliar role as an underdog to Boston in a sports rivalry.

Christopher L. Gasper has a look at Matt Light, who makes humor a big part of his life. Nick Tavares has Matt keeping things Light. Young looks at the offensive line, which has quite a protection racket going. David Heuschkel checks in with the Pats defensive line. Tavares says that Jarvis Green shouldn’t be overlooked

Steve Buckley has Tom Brady talking about the fact that he knows that Eli Manning is getting advice from big brother Peyton this week. Tomase looks at the Giants tactics of being the Men in Black at the Super Bowl, and what effect it has on the Patriots. Dan Shaughnessy says that Plaxico Burress’ prediction just gives the Patriots another score to settle. Heuschkel says that the Patriots have just shrugged off the prediction from Plaxico.

Michael Vega examines the Patriots’ strategy on kickoff coverage. Guregian notes that Brady’s ankle was not on the injury list yesterday. She also has Moss talking about why he isn’t a member of the Green Bay Packers right now. David Brown says that the Patriots will have plenty of work to do this offseason.

Bradford has a quick look at Stephen Neal and his wrestling background. Rich Garven has more on Neal, who is past the individual glory and focused on team success now. Egerman has Neal going from the mat to the field in his career. Buckley checks in with Matt Cassel, who is ready to step in at QB whenever he is called upon. Brown has more on Cassel, who feared he’d never get a shot at the NFL after being a college backup. Hector Longo looks at the Super Bowl long snappers. Dan Ventura has a look at Kelley Washington, who has been huge on special teams for the Patriots this year. Chris Kennedy has James Sanders stepping into the role of safety which was thought to have been Eugene Wilson’s to keep.

Guregian’s notebook has the wacky Donte’ Stallworth setting ground rules for Super Bowl week with his alter ego, Nicco. Gasper’s notebook has more on Brady’s ankle, and notes the Bruschi retirement rumors. Farinella’s notebook has Moss talking about his desire to stay in New England. Heuschkel’s notebook also has Moss hoping to retire as a Patriot. Toland’s notebook has Brandon Meriweather living a dream as a rookie in the Super Bowl. Egerman’s notebook has Brady’s ankle not even getting a mention on the injury report.

Giants

Jennifer Toland has Grafton native Steve Spagnuolo trying to come up with a plan to beat the Patriots. Steve Conroy examines the Giants 1-2 punch at running back in Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. Jim McCabe has a look at offensive lineman David Diehl, who has played all over the line in his five seasons with the Giants. Dom Amore looks at the wounded veteran who has been an inspiration to the Giants this season.

Ventura checks in with former Patriot Grey Ruegamer, now with the Giants. John Powers has Bradshaw overcoming a troubled past to get on the right track with the Giants. Shawn Courchesne paints Tom Coughlin as an organizational man.

Ventura has Plaxico Burress still talking a good game yesterday. Mark Blaudschun checks out the Giants secondary. Bradford has Donovan McNabb offering some advice to Eli Manning for playing against a Belichick defense in the Super Bowl. Amore has a pair of Southern Connecticut alums having a big influence on Eli Manning.

Conroy’s notebook has a look at Giants rookie tight end Kevin Boss. McCabe’s notebook has Burress showing up late yesterday, but sticking by his prediction. Amore’s notebook has Burress sitting out practice yesterday as well.

Elsewhere

There’s a pretty big game at the Garden tonight as the Celtics take on the Dallas Mavericks. Marc J. Spears says that the Mavs are happy to hand the bulls-eye that has been on their back over to the Celtics. Check the rest of the Celtics coverage at CelticsLinks.com

Check the Bruins at BruinsLinks.com and the Sox at RedSoxLinks.com.

Want to get an early start to spring, and see the Sox for their first regular season game on US soil? Come check out the BSMW TravelClub trip to Oakland for the first few days in April.

Day Three Wrap

The Boston media is out in force in Arizona this week, but not all those who have covered the team all season are out there for the biggest game of the year.

GateHouse Media, which operates eight daily newspapers (and dozens of weekly papers) in Massachusetts, including the MetroWest Daily News, the Quincy Patriot Ledger, the Brockton Enterprise and the Taunton Daily Gazette, has declined because of cost reasons to send any reporters to the Super Bowl in Arizona. That means writers like Douglas Flynn, Eric McHugh, and Glen Farley, who have been on the Patriots beat this year are home this week while their papers run wire copy stories from the AP.

Christopher Gasper had a chat from Arizona on Boston.com today. Hector Longo says that Steve and Zak DeOssie are on top of the world this week. Manny Ramirez will be at the Super Bowl, apparently thanks to the Patriots. Peter Gelzinis chastises Mayor Menino for talking about the parade plans for the Patriots next week.

Michael Silver examines The Belichick Way. Ira Miller has a look at the Patriots coaching staff. Len Pasquarelli focuses on Dante Scarnecchia. Charles Robinson writes about the kinder, gentler Tom Coughlin.

Peter King offers up his thoughts on Eli Manning, and five things from today.

Jason Cole says that Jason Cole lets his play do the talking. Wright Thompson and Jemele Hill each have articles on Randy Moss.

SI.com also has Dr. Z’s Positional Breakdown for the game.

Tonight’s Patriots/Super Bowl Programming

6:00PM, NESN – Globe 10.0
6:30PM, CSN – Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight – 30 minute special live from Glendale
7:00PM, NFLN – NFL Total Access at the Super Bowl – Live from NFL Experience
8:30PM, NFLN – Playbook Hosted By: Sterling Sharpe & Brian Baldinger
Topics:
* A look at the Patriots’ defense and how they will try to generate pressure to keep Eli Manning off-balance.
* Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg explains why the Patriots might be able to slow down the Giants’ run game.
* Why could the Pats secondary be exposed by the Giants?
9:00PM, NFLN – Super Bowl Classics – Super Bowl XXV: New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills
9:00PM, CSN – Road to Perfection Special – 1 hour live special from Glendale
10:00PM, NESN – SportsDesk
10:00PM, CSN – Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight – 30 minute special live from Glendale
11:00PM, NESN – SportsDesk
11:00PM, NECN – Sports LateNight
11:30PM, NESN – Globe 10.0

Mid-day Links, Day Three

Tom E. Curran talks to Bob Kraft about how the Patriots were constructed.

Mike Sando has part one of an exploration into whether Tom Brady is the greatest QB of all time.

Len Pasquarelli examines how Bill Belichick’s defensive system cherishes veteran linebackers.

Cold, Hard Football Facts has New York’s blueprint for victory. Pat Kirwan would like to take the Giants, but his head says otherwise. Troy Aikman says that the Giants best plan might be to just let Laurence Maroney run wild. Ron Borges says that the Giants are going to have to play a whole lot better if they have any chance of beating the Patriots. At least he doesn’t pick the Patriots to win 73-0.

Don Banks is impressed with how Randy Moss has conducted himself in interviews with the Patriots. Mark Kriegel is also impressed with the new Moss. Clark Judge is waiting for Moss to show up in a playoff game. Jim Corbett has Moss hoping to play a key role on Sunday. Pasquarelli reports that because of a technicality in the CBA, the Patriots cannot talk to Moss about an extension until the start of free agency.

Jemele Hill says that the ladies love Teflon Tom. Alex Marvez examines the celebrity-level scrutiny that Brady is now under.

Kevin Hench is puzzled by a Matt Cassel quote about how he’d rather play four quarters and lose Sunday instead of one snap and win. Scott Zucker checks in with Lonie Paxton.

Gregg Rosenthal has 16 reasons the Patriots will win Sunday. He also has 16 reasons the Giants will win.

Jason Cole has an unhealthy fascination with Logan Mankins’ beard.

Down to Business

Morning Links submitted by guest blogger Brian. Reach him here.

One would think Media Day has special significance for some, especially those who dabble in the realm of sports media; unfortunately, that’s just not the case for me. Media members from every possible outlet throughout the country are allowed free reign to make wedding proposals, ask Bill Belichick music and movie questions, and in particular this year, try to elicit 19-0/dynasty comments from your New England Patriots. However, amidst a media contingent nearly double that of the Giants, the Pats players didn’t stray much from addressing the one-game season, albeit with some “humorous” back-and-forth throughout the course of the day. It’s unfortunate, because I was starting to like the jovial, endearing Bill Belichick we have seen the past few days, but I for one am excited to get down to business and start breaking down this game in the coming days. Sadly, no more images of Brady’s potential future wife.

Patriots

Over at Patriots Daily, Dan Snapp echoes my feelings exactly, and while wanting to start the game amidst the hype overkill, it is a great problem to have if you’re a Pats fan.

Dan Shaughnessy gets us started with a recap of the scene with snippets on Bob Kraft, Belichick, Brady, and Moss. Karen Guregian touches on the charming and talkative Randy Moss yesterday, who discussed his desire to retire a Patriot, as well as his plans to make his presence felt this Sunday far more than his previous two playoff games. John Tomase takes a look back at Moss’ big game against the Giants back in week 17. Shalize Manza Young has more on Moss enjoying his long-awaited first Media Day. Josh Egerman has Moss and Robert Kraft reflecting on the process that brought Moss to New England. Mark Farinella has more on the chatty and upbeat Moss from Media Day. Dave Goldberg takes a broader approach to the Patriots players performance yesterday, saying almost all of Belichick’s veterans are an extension of the coaching staff both on the field and off. David Heuschkel takes a deeper look into Belichick’s press conferences, and how the local media has adapted to dig deeper for meaning into his daily pressers.

Mark Farinella has Brady coming off as the real winner yesterday, with his smooth and thoughtful responses on every topic. Tony Massarotti talks more about Brady’s performance yesterday, as he handled all types questions with ease. Barry Wilner highlights the two “seasons” the Patriots endured this year, as the first half was filled with blowouts and superlatives, while the second half of the season had close games and “blueprints.” Troy Bown…remember him? Steve Solloway has Brown discussing his fifth Super Bowl with the Patriots, and reflecting back on previous games where he had a much larger role. Mark Farinella has Brown appreciative of the opportunity to be at yet another Media Day, even with his diminished, aka nonexistent role. Shalize Manza Young has more on Troy Brown’s emotions yesterday. David Brown has an interesting piece on Vince Wilfork’s freakish athleticism. Steve Buckley has Tedy Bruschi thinking back to Media Day in 2004, when he took on Warren Sapp for disparaging comments about guard Russ Hochstein. Tony Massarotti has Asante Samuel playing the role of Ty Law as shut-down corner in the Super Bowl. Buckley also does a nice piece on Jarvis Green’s friendship with Marquise Hill, and how the team has tried to keep him in their thoughts in Arizona. Jim Donaldson does a piece on Patrick Sullivan, the son of former owner Billy Sullivan, and his feelings on the Pats success since the Kraft family took over.

Yesterday was also a day of both teams trying to scrape up some bulletin board material, and neither team is going to have a shortage of that, thanks in part to some loose lips and ridiculous book promotions through the local media. See what happens with two Parcells disciples? Karen Guregian has the Pats players planning to do their talking on the field, after hearing about Plaxico Burress’ prediction of a 23-17 victory for the Giants. Dan Ventura has some of Burress’ coaches and teammates unaware of his victory prediction. For all you superstitious Pats fans out there, turn away now, as the Boston Globe and Herald were yesterday promoting books celebrating the Patriots undefeated championship season. In fact, Carol Beggy has a brief piece on the Herald’s “hypocrisy” for calling out the Globe yesterday, while they themselves had a championship book available through Amazon.com as well. The Giants also have a championship book on the website for pre-order. Riveting material here for the respective bulletin boards. Although John Tomase has a quick hit on the Giants choice of black suits upon their arrival in Arizona, as it represents a funeral for the Patriots perfect season.

Jennifer Toland’s notebook has more on the wedding proposals during the circus yesterday. Guregian’s notebook has the Pats secondary discussing the challenges they face in trying to contain Plaxico Burress, who burned them in the first game this season. The Projo’s notebook touches on Brady’s ankle, as well as the front office enjoying the moment of Media Day, and of course references the book pre-sale issue. Heuschkel’s notebook discusses Dean Pees and some potential bad blood between him and the former Uconn coach in 2003, and Matt Light accusing Bob Costas of coaxing Osi Umenyiora into his comments on “Inside the NFL” last week.

Giants

Don Amore has a piece on the spark Ahmad Bradshaw has provided the Giants. Shalize Manza Young has more on Burress’ prediction and some Pats non-reaction. Don Amore also has Burress confident in his team’s chances this weekend. However, Steve Conroy has the Giants glad that everyone is, wait for it…”disrespecting” them, and not giving them a chance as they fly “under the radar.” I’m sorry, but you can’t have it both ways, and it looks like the Giants want to have every angle possible, from “nobody gave us a chance,” to guaranteeing victory by a certain score. I guess this is what happens when the media gives all 53 players a chance to answer 300 pointless questions. Amore has a nice piece about the support Eli Manning received from John Mara following their playoff loss to the Eagles last season. Robert Lee discusses the story of Zak DeOssie, son of Steve DeOssie, and former ball boy for the Patriots during their Super Bowl run in 2001, now long-snapper for the Giants against his hometown team. I’ve always found this to be a fascinating story, as the elder DeOssie has done a nice job in balancing pride in his son with his allegiance to the Patriots. Although it would be nice to be a fly on the wall during some private conversations about football between the two. Conroy’s notebook discusses the changed Tom Coughlin this season, and the flu that has passed through the Giants locker room this week.

Red Sox

Oh yea, the Johan Santana sweepstakes came to close yesterday too, with the Mets landing the best lefty in the game. Gordon Edes talks to some Red Sox executives about the deal yesterday, and doesn’t get the sense they are terribly disappointed they didn’t make the deal, especially since he won’t be wearing pinstripes. Michael Silverman applauds the Sox front office and baseball ops for pushing the envelope with this deal and keeping Santana away from the Yanks.

Celtics

And the Celtics played last night too! Minus the services of Ray Allen and KG, the Celts rallied for an absolute beating of the Miami Heat down in Florida, 117-87. Steve Bulpett breaks down the impressive performance from the Celtics bench last night. Marc Spears has more on the big win coming after the heartbreaking loss to Orlando on Sunday. Bulpett’s notebook has Ray Allen headed to the hospital to receive fluids for the flu. Spears notebook also discusses Allen’s flu, along with the potential landing spot for Damon Stoudamire.

Over on the BSMW Full Court Press, Shirley Coshatt compares the ’08 Celtics to the ’86 Celtics.

Bruins

The Bruins also played and won in Boston last night, 3-1 against Nashville. For complete coverage of last night’s game, check out www.bruinslinks.com.

That’s all for this morning, Bruce will be posting updates throughout the day. Feel free to shoot me any comments at [email protected]

Day Two Wrap and TV Listings

According to the Boston Business Journal, the Patriots official web site broke some new ground on Sunday night.

Mike Reiss offers some Media Day thoughts.

Bob Lobel catches a Golf Cart ride to Media Day.

Patriots Football Weekly also had a blog from media day today.

Greg Garber says that Junior just wants the ring.

Len Pasquarelli looks at Tedy Bruschi coming full circle since his stroke.

Don Banks talks to a veteran AFC insider about the Patriots plans for Sunday.

Jay Mohr says that this game stinks. Unless you like the Pats.

——————————————————–
Tonight’s Patriots/Super Bowl TV Schedule

6:00PM, NESN – Globe 10.0
6:30PM, CSN – Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight – 30 minute special live from Glendale
6:30PM, NFNN – Put Up Your Dukes
* Cowboys WR Terrell Owens
* Fox’s Pre-game team, Terry Bradshaw, Jimmy Johnson and Howie Long
7:00PM, NFLN – NFL Total Access at the Super Bow
* San Francisco 49ers QB and Total Access Super Bowl XLII Correspondent Trent Dilfer interviews Patriots QB Tom Brady
* Joe Buck and Troy Aikman
8:30PM, NFLN – Super Bowl Classics – Super Bowl XXXVI: New England vs. St. Louis (complete game re-air with U2 halftime show and original network announcers and graphics)
10:00PM, NESN – SportsDesk
10:30PM, CSN – Road to Perfection Special – 1 hour live special from Glendale
11:00PM, NESN – SportsDesk
11:30PM, CSN – Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight – 30 minute special live from Glendale
11:30PM, NESN – Globe 10.0

Also:

7:00PM, NESN – Predators @ Bruins
7:30PM, CSN – Celtics @ Heat

Media Day, Cervasio Leaving NESN

The Patriots have finished up their media day obligations. Some notables:

The woman in the wedding dress proposing to Tom Brady.

Richard Seymour making Ellis Hobbs do pushups.

Randy Moss wants to retire as a Patriot.

Pierre Woods interviewing Tom Brady and the Patriots QB turning the tables on the fellow Michigan alum.

Tedy Bruschi’s name being misspelled (“Brushci”) on his booth. Even though he played his college ball for Arizona.

Here are some more accounts of Patriots media day:

Globe Double Coverage Blog

SI’s FanNation Live Blog

ESPN’s Hashmarks Blog

Gregg Doyel‘s media day blog.

Other items:

During the latter part of the media day session, WEEI’s Dale & Holley had Terrell Owens on as a guest…

The Boston Globe has 35 media credentials in Arizona this week.

Gregg Easterbrook continues to insist that the Patriots record this season AND their past Super Bowl wins are tainted by Spygate. The horse is dead, Gregg.

Peter King has some thoughts on Phoenix, and whether Randy Moss will be back with the Patriots next season.

Football Outsiders has a new version of Too Deep Zone posted.

Some photos of radio row from the Arizona Republic.

The caption for this first photo is:

Former all-pro Freddy Sperlis shares his thoughts.

freddy_sperlis.jpg

We also have this shot of some locals:

gresh.jpg

Tina Cervasio to leave NESN

NESN announced today that Tina Cervasio will leave the network when her contract expires in March.

“Tina expressed to us a need to be closer to her family and travel less,” said Joel Feld, NESN vice president of programming and executive producer. “We are appreciative of everything she has done for NESN and wish her the very best.”

“These last two years working with NESN and covering the Red Sox have been both a privilege and an honor,” said Tina Cervasio. “At this time in my career, I have chosen to pursue other opportunities that would afford me the chance to be closer to my family. I want to thank everyone that I have worked with, both at NESN and the Red Sox. It was an extraordinary experience that I will never forget and will look back upon with great pride. I would also like to thank my colleagues in the Boston media who made the rigors of covering sports in New England a joy.”

Cervasio joined NESN in March 2006 and has served as the network’s Red Sox game-day reporter for the past two seasons.

Noon Update

Got in the car this morning just in time to flip on WEEI and hear Dennis and Callahan talking about Roger Clemens and steroids. They did have an interview with Robert and Jonathan Kraft, which was mildy entertaining/interesting, but baseball and steroids talk…Super Bowl week?

Paul Schwartz has Plaxico Burress predicting a 23-17 victory for the Giants.

Dan Shaughnessy had a chat on Boston.com today.

Gene Wojciechowski says that to understand Bill Belichick, we need to look at what he did in Cleveland.

Mike Sando offers up a great spreadsheet on the Patriots roster.

Mike Reiss has a Super Bowl media day mailbag.

If you’re looking for food ideas for your Super Bowl party, the food blog Slashfood is running a Super Bowl category all week long.

This afternoon is, as mentioned, media day. The Patriots go first. You can actually watch much of it at NFL.com

Try And Keep Up, Will You?

They’re checking the loose threads over at Patriots Daily.

Christopher L. Gasper has a feature on Patriots Pro Bowl nose tackle Vince Wilfork and his wife Bianca, who make up quite a team together. Tony Massarotti has a look at Junior Seau, who will become the oldest defensive player to play in a Super Bowl. Jim Donaldson has Matt Light proud to be Tom Brady’s left-hand man. Chris Kennedy also checks in on Light. Mark Farinella has Light cracking up the crowd at his press conference yesterday. David Heuschkel has a look at Mike Vrabel, who is finally enjoying the national recognition after a versatile career with the Patriots. Rich Garven says that quiet efficiency is what marks Vrabel’s play.

Frank Dell’Apa has a look at Ty Warren, who tries to keep a low profile, even though his career has taken off. Shalise Manza Young has more on Warren and his rise from humble beginnings. Nick Tavares has Warren unaffected by the media storm of the Super Bowl. John Tomase has Rodney Harrison talking about the reception he got in the Patriots locker room when he returned from his four game suspension to start the season. Tomase also has Harrison still angry at Bobby Wade for what he perceives as an intent to injure him. Jeff Jacobsalso has a piece on Harrison, who addresses a wide range of topics, but backs off a bit when asked about HGH and steroids.

Karen Guregian has Bill Belichick at the top in terms of finding ways to gain an edge, even with the injury report. Dan Shaughnessy writes about the polite, relaxed Belichick that we’ve seen over the last few days and demands to know who invaded his body. Joe Posnanski revisits Belichick’s time in Cleveland, though from a little bit of a different angle than you might’ve read before. Joe Fitzgerald looks at Belichick as a leader of men. Jennifer Toland has another look at former colleages Belichick and Coughlin facing each other in this title game. Farinella has Patriots players singing the praises of their coach and the organization.

Michael Vega compares Wes Welker to Dustin Pedroia and how the impact that Welker has had this season is similar to that of the Red Sox rookie second basemen. Robert Lee also has a look at Welker, who has always defied his critics. Michael Felger checks in with former Patriot Joe Andruzzi, who is now cancer free, and serving as an inspiration to his former teammates on the Patriots offensive line. Bill Burt says that all ex-Patriots were served as much humble pie as this group has gotten. Josh Egerman looks at the contributions of the Patriots practice squad.

In a story sure to make the Patriots and their fans cringe, Donovan Slack and John C. Drake report on plans for the Patriots victory parade, which is an issue because it might interfere with Super Tuesday election balloting. What’s next? The Globe announcing a book on the Patriots perfect season? Oh wait, they’ve already done that. You can pre-order 19-0: The Historic Championship Season of New England’s Unbeatable Patriots on Amazon.com now. The Giants wish to thank the Globe for providing bulletin board material…Some Patriots fans aren’t too happy with this already.

Guregian has Michael Irvin talking about the importance for the Giants of taking Randy Moss out of the game early. Gaspar reports on Randy Moss and his attorneys agreeing to keep the Florida restraining order in place while Moss finishes the football season. Laurel J. Sweet also has an update on the situation. Peter Reuell has a former Belichick classmate scoring four Super Bowl tickets. David Brown has the mind games starting already for the two clubs.

Robert Lee in the ProJo has The Patriots Story part III. Sean Smith recaps the Patriots season. Young notes that some members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins seem to be warming up to the Patriots. Garry Brown says that the Patriots and those Dolphins actually share a number of ties. Christopher Price has Don Shula talking about how to stop the Patriots. Tom Yantz talks to a few high school coaches of Patriots and Giants players for their reaction on their former pupils.

Mike Reiss has sort of a Super Bowl notebook, which leads off with Dolphins kicker Jay Feely talking about his Michigan teammate Tom Brady. Among the items in Don Amore’ snapshots is the revelation that the Giants had a pillow fight on their flight to Arizona.

Ron Hobson remembers Mike Holovak.

The Globe notebook has Tom Brady with a slight limp at practice yesterday. Guregian’s notebook has Brady’s teammates happy to see him at practice yesterday. The ProJo notebook has more on Brady getting back on the practice field. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on Brady. Kennedy’s notebook reports that it was a solid practice for Brady. The Telegram notebook has Harrison healthy and ready to go. Farinella’s notebook has Brady going the distance in practice.

Giants

John Powers has Amani Toomer happy to get another shot at the Super Bowl. Dom Amore has Plaxico Burress saying that his injury has actually made him a better player.

Mark Blaudschun has a look at Giants punter Jeff Feagles, who started his career back in 1988 with the Patriots.

You can also check in with the New York Sports Pages for more stories and coverage.

Jim McCabe’s notebook has the Giants showing unity by wearing black suits on their flight to Arizona. Amore’s notebook has a few Giants with the fever – literally.

We’ll try to be back with links throughout the day. Keep up with site on your mobile phone browser at m.bostonsportsmedia.com

Check here for your other sports news:

CelticsLinks.com

BruinsLinks.com

RedSoxLinks.com

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.