Today is the last day for the media to have access to all the players and coaches. If there's one guy who I'm sure is elated this part of Super Bowl week is over it's Corey Dillon. It never failed, every time I listened in to what questions he was fielding they had to do with his leaving Cincinnati and how people perceive him.
I understand that most of the media doing the asking haven't been around him all season like the New England contingent but that stuff is out there. A simple search of the world wide web will find a host of stories already written on the subjects. Yet there is Dillon having to explain over and over why he wanted to leave Cincy, how he can't control what people think of him, etc., etc, etc. For someone with a supposed short fuse he handled it all gracefully -- better than I would have.
Weather was still gloomy with occasional downpours but at least it's starting to get warmer. Big improvements are expected for Friday.
This is also the day most of the Patriots guests arrived in town. The buses started rolling in around 4:00 PM and from that point the team hotel began buzzing. Players must have been done with all their work-related stuff fairly early because many could be seen greeting their families and then heading out.
Later, the Krafts put on a welcoming party for everyone they moved down. It was held in the same tent used for the days' press conferences next to the hotel. This event is always one of the more lively. Everyone's adrenaline is running high, especially the new arrivals. Making the mood even more festive were the Patriots cheerleaders. Even though they weren't on the job per se, it was pretty obvious who they were. Guys were lining up to have their picture taken with them but don't worry, if your husband or boyfriend is down here without you, I'm sure he wasn't one of them.
When the Krafts arrived, it was pretty much like royalty entering a room. Let's face it, when it comes to New England they are the first family of football. They were swarmed with well-wishers and people simply wanting to say thank you. They left around 9:30, most likely to some other engagements.
The role of the team owners during Super Bowl week is not merely to hang out with their team. They are almost like visiting ambassadors, not just of their sport, but also whatever other business interests they might have. For example, Robert Kraft was sure to mention to the Mayor of Jacksonville that he would be interested in discussing how to expand his use of the Jacksonville harbor for his paper importing concerns. That's the type of positive fallout a Super Bowl can and should bring to the host city and Kraft understands his responsibility as a representative of the NFL and really, the economy.
As Spiderman says, with great power comes great responsibility. No one understands that more than the Krafts.
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue makes his state of the league address at 11:30 on Friday. You can catch it live on Patriots.com. Maybe some of the media will have the nerve to ask, why Jacksonville? I doubt it.