Jan. 26, 2004
News from home today was that is was minus 12 degrees. Yikes! It was around 65 and sunny in Houston. Don't hate me because I'm warm.
Transportation is going to be a challenge this week. Houston is not like New Orleans – where the Patriots have played all three of its former Super Bowls – in that you can't walk anywhere. The team has arranged all kinds of rental cars and pick-up vans for the players, staff and families and that would be fine if everyone stuck to a schedule. Yeah, right. If the rest of the Patriots Super Bowl world is anything like our little sliver, there's more changes being made than Michael Jackson plastic surgeries.
On top of that, it seems like every road in Houston in under construction. I hear that a lot of these projects were supposed to be finished before the throngs arrived, but I guess Houston isn't that different than Boston. What's going on pales in comparison to The Big Dig but for the first-time visitor driving a car, getting around will definitely be an adventure.
Today was a pretty mild media day. There was some talk among members of the fourth estate that the Panthers were deliberately taking a more low-key approach to the week than the Patriots. Antowain Smith had a party at a nightclub called the Roxy last night. I guess a lot of his teammates were there with him and some local media outlets made mention of it beforehand. All of a sudden, it was Patriots run amuck while the Panthers were at Bible study.
Don't worry Patriots fans, everything's under control. I saw Antowain this morning and he looked as fine as can be. If there's one thing we don't need to worry about this team it's that they won't treat why they are here or their opponent with the utmost respect. We're supposed to believe that after a season if discipline and focus, the Patriots are going to arrive in Houston and act like a bunch of drunken Japanese businessmen at a karaoke bar? (I apologize for resorting to such a blatant stereotype but the image was just too vivid.)
Went over to the Media Center today located in the George R. Brown Convention Center and took in the John Fox press conference. He is Bill Belichick with a softer face. I mean, both guys tell you absolutely nothing but Fox doesn't seem to be so irritated when he's telling you nothing. There's not as much brow furrowing but they are definitely cut from the same cloth.
I also listened in on some of Jake Delhomme's presser. Like Fox and Belichick, Delhomme as much of the humility and team mentality of his counterpart, Tom Brady. If there's one thing Delhomme needs to work on that Brady seems to have down is eye contact. Check out a Brady press conference and you'll see him engage the questioner with his eyes. Delhomme, still getting used to the attention, tends to look down out of what seems to be a bit of shyness. Don't be fooled, however, he's every bit the competitor.
The big event tonight is called a Houston Salute. It's being held at Reliant Stadium. Paul Tagliabue will be there along with former President George Bush and the former Red Sox/Yankee Roger Clemens among others. Yanni will be performing so I won't be there.
That's OK because tomorrow is Media Day at Reliant Stadium. That's when anyone with a microphone who's never covered anything remotely resembling football can ask a question of football players. I'll need my sleep to make sure I capture the essence of the Nick at Nite person asking Tedy Bruschi what's his favorite cartoon.
It's supposed to get into the 30s tonight. Brrrr.