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Ask PFW: Super Bowl LIII Week edition

Fans' questions answered in our weekly PFW mailbag 


Do you know where the Patriots will be practicing in Atlanta for the Super Bowl? Do you also have a schedule? Joe Milane

Yes, we do. As NFC Champions and the designated home team for Super Bowl LIII, the L.A. Rams will utilize the hometown Atlanta Falcons' headquarters in Flowery Branch, Georgia, a little less than an hour northeast of downtown ATL.

The AFC Champion Patriots, meantime, are much more centralized. They'll be practicing all week right across the street from their hotel headquarters on the campus of Georgia Tech, a major college football program with excellent facilities.

Both teams' practice schedule details are not made known to the general public because fans and media are not allowed to watch those sessions, with the exception of an officially assigned pool reporter and select members of the clubs' internal media. Erik Scalavino

Will Jeremy Hill and Isaiah Wynn be in Atlanta for the Super Bowl? Leo Beauregard

Mostly likely, yes. In the past, teams generally bring their entire roster down to the Super Bowl, including practice squad members and those on injured reserve (as Hill and the rookie Wynn are). This is so that every player on the squad can feel as if he's getting as much of the Super Bowl Week experience as possible, regardless of whether or not he's actually on the active roster for the big game. Erik Scalavino

Last year the Patriots broadcast the entire week before the Super Bowl. I have tried to find out if they are doing this again this year. Any information would be appreciated. Thank you. Barbara Anderson

You're referring to the Not Done Network, an ambitious project we launched last year in Minnesota on and select cable channels in the New England area. For Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, we are doing a much more streamlined version of that effort, which we've dubbed Patriots Right Now. While not on-air 24 hours a days like last year, there will be programming at various times throughout the day this week, which you can watch on and the many Patriots social media platforms. Hope you can tune in and enjoy a taste of what the Super Bowl experience is like here in Georgia. Erik Scalavino

Hey, guys. Love your show and was really pumped about the Patriots win over the K.C. Chiefs. I couldn't help but notice that after the interception off [Julian] Edelman's hands in the 4th quarter (eight minutes remaining), [Kansas City's] Anthony Hitchens blasted Edelman. Not only did he hit him in the head while defenseless, but it seemed pretty unnecessary since Julian was behind [the player who intercepted the ball] and clearly couldn't get to him anymore. There has been no mention of this and so I wanted to know if you guys saw this and what your thoughts would be on it. Should there have been a penalty/ejection? Greetings from Germany. Erik Krater

Actually, we did mention this particular play during one of our radio shows in the days after the win over the Chiefs. We all agreed that it was a borderline illegal hit that probably should have been flagged, but there were a number of calls or non-calls that occurred in that game – as there are in most games – which you could look back on and question endlessly.

In the final analysis, the Patriots won the game, and that's what should matter most at this point. Erik Scalavino

I feel that yes, all plays should be reviewable. However, if you challenge a play that you feel should have been penalized or not (pass interference, roughing the passer or kicker, etc.) and you fail to overturn the call on the field, your team shall receive a 15-yard penalty. This would be an additional penalty to what was called.

So, if you get a roughing-the-passer called and you felt there was no roughing of the passer and it is not overturned, it will essentially be a 30-yard penalty. This would prevent teams from just trying to pick up ticky-tack calls and will lean more toward challenging the obvious missed calls.

This would only be enforceable when challenging a play that involves a penalty called or lack of a penalty called. This is a page out of the NHL. If you review a play, specifically an off-side call, and replay shows there was none, you will get a two-minute bench minor. Same when challenging an illegal stick. If the NFL would adopt something of this nature it will solve a lot of their ills. What do you think? Joe Connolly, Seabrook NH

I am fully in favor of a proposal Bill Belichick has submitted at NFL Annual Meetings in recent years, which would allow for all plays to be reviewable. I would not be in favor of expanding the number of challenges teams are allotted per game, and teams are already docked a timeout if they lose a challenge, so, I'm not sure I like penalizing teams further with yardage losses.

Given the way the Saints lost to the Rams, with an egregious combination of pass interference/helmet-to-helmet not having been called on one play late in the game, I have little doubt that this offseason, at the NFL Annual Meeting, if the Patriots don't resubmit their proposal to make all plays reviewable, some other team or teams will. There seems to be consensus that something needs to change in this regard, and the non-call against the Saints might just be the catalyst for it. And not a moment too soon, as far as I'm concerned. Erik Scalavino

I am not sure if I missed something, or if I am off base, but it seems to me that there has not been enough said about Sony Michel rushing for over 100 yards in the AFC Championship game. True, a lot of credit has been given to the running game in total, as it should, but what about that performance by Michel? Michael Hylen

Again, you should be tuning in more frequently to our slate of programs on radio, because if you did so the week after the AFC Championship Game, you'd have heard us discuss how the game plan unfolded exactly as we predicted it would (for three-plus quarters, at least) the week leading up to the game – namely, that the running game, led by rookie Sony Michel, would be the focal point of the offense.

Other media outlets also spent time writing about and discussing the running game as a key factor for the Patriots to win. So, I'm not sure where you're getting your Patriots news, but plenty of people were talking about Michel and the running game for the past month. Erik Scalavino

Unfortunately I can't take credit for it, but I heard Nate Burleson refer to the Patriots backfield as "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," which I think is tremendous and awesome and hope it sticks. So, my question is, between [James] White, [Sony] Michel, [Rex] Burkhead, and [James] Devlin, who is what horseman? Thanks! Connor Hart

Unfortunately, Burleson can't take credit for the nickname, either. Sportswriter Grantland Rice first assigned the sobriquet to a Notre Dame backfield quartet in 1924.

However, I like the idea of recycling it for a modern Patriots audience. I'll cast the rookie Michel as Death, because of the way he's been able to kill the clock with his effective carries, particularly over the past month. Destruction goes to Develin, whose lead blocks are some of the most devastating you'll see. White is Pestilence, since he can be such a pest to opposing defenses. Famine belongs to Burkhead, due to his ability to be effective running and catching the ball, which starves defensive coordinators of options to defend all four of them. Erik Scalavino

That [Dante] Scarnecchia will be in the Patriots Hall of Fame is a certainty. Do you feel there any chance he becomes a Pro Football Hall of Fame candidate? Robert Kline

I agree that New England's longtime offensive line coach, who has spent the majority of his decades-long coaching career with the Patriots, is a likely eventual inductee in the Patriots' Hall. It's less common for assistant coaches to get consideration of enshrinement in Canton, however. I believe Scar is deserving of both honors and, knowing him as an acquaintance, would love to see him be recognized one day by either institution. Erik Scalavino

With the quality of the candidates for the Patriots Hall of Fame, do you see a scenario where the Patriots have a season where they might elect more than one person per year? With their success the last two decades, it might make sense to have a year where more than one deserving person makes it. Stephen Libby

As I'm not currently on the selection committee, I can't say for certain what the Hall will or won't do in the future. However, I understand your point, but there are two ways to approach it.

First, as you say, there's an abundance of potential candidates who'll be eligible in the near future. It could be an even bigger event than usual and exciting for fans to see more than one player inducted each summer.

On the other hand, this unprecedented run of success that New England has enjoyed might have an expiration date, or at least slow down, in years to come. If and when the lean times return, it might make more sense to keep the inductee number to around one per year, to ensure that there are induction ceremonies on the schedule for many years down the road.

Whatever the Hall committee decides to do, it will be a good problem to have to solve. Erik Scalavino

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