Finally, sun. Still a little chilly but I'll take it.
We headed to the NFL Media Center in Jacksonville today. The two head coaches held their final press conferences followed by Commissioner Paul Tagliabue's state of the league address.
I missed Andy Reid but I guess I didn't miss much. He fielded seven questions in nine minutes and was gone, stopping only to pose with the Lombardi Trophy when hwas finished, as is the Friday-before-the-Super-Bowl custom.
Bill Belichick followed and he was on his game. If how the two head coaches performed on this stage has any effect on the outcome of the game, the Patriots will win in a blowout. Belichick got into some Xs and Os (as well as some Ys, Zs and Fs), was witty and thoughtful. Then, he pulled the ultimate move. Instead of stopping to pose with the Lomabardi, Belichick blew by it and left the stage. In the background one could hear an NFL official saying, "Bill Belichick has elected to not pose with the Lombardi Trophy."
It was perfect. Belichick has never felt comfortable with this portion of the Super Bowl tradition. Back in 2001, he followed Mike Martz of the Rams who pretty much made love to the trophy. When it was Belichick's turn, he refused to touch the trophy, barely looking at it. This time he outright shunned it.
I don't blame him. There's plenty of time to pose with the Lombardi after one wins it. If you don't win, there's no reason to have your picture taken with it -- before or after. For all of Belichick's regiment there's a rebel inside who has no patience for such things.
I was wrong about the media and Tagliabue's address. After all the week's bitching, I though no one would ask why Jacksonville was chosen to host a Super Bowl. They did, and to Tagliabue's credit he didn't dance. Simply put, the NFL awarded a mid-market city that put its financial neck out for a football team and its stadium.
I missed Tag's speech live in order to get back to the team hotel in time to do our last Patriots.com Radio show of the season. I really enjoy doing those shows, mostly because of the people who listen. We have emailers from literally all over the world and they love their Patriots. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank them.
Friday night is always when the Commissioner's Party is held. This one was at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. What is a huge field house was transformed into an elegant nightclub complete with Cab Calloway's son performing with his big band. As is always the case, the food was plentiful and drink was flowing, unlike the movement in and out of the main room. Apparently no thought was put into that part of the set-up. Only one tunnel led from the entrance foyer to the main room and it quickly went from tunnel to funnel. It was slow going and when Magic Johnson showed up around 9:30 and was gracious enough to stop and take a picture with anyone who asked, it was gridlock.
Tomorrow is packing day. All the Patriot offices at the hotel, which take up the entire conference area, will be turned into the after-game party Sunday night and they'll need all the time they can get to make the switchover. Here's to that party being a celebration.