T.O, T.O, T.O. It seems like everyone is talking about the flamboyant Eagles receiver, Terrell Owens, and whether or not he will suit up against the Patriots on Super Bowl Sunday. Chris Snowof The Boston Globe and Michael Parenteof The Woonsocket Call report the charismatic superstar may take the field, despite his own doctor's refusal to give him clearance.
ESPN.com runs an Associated Press article explaining why the Eagles trainers will be more likely to sign off on a T.O appearance than the outside doctor who treated the injury. For the outside doctor, there is great risk, but no reward. Comparatively, for the Eagles staff there is some risk, but also the potential for great reward. In other words, the outside doctor is covering his liability bases, and the final say will come from the Eagles.
Jay Glazer of FoxSports.com reports that Owens has taken a step closer to a return by successfully performing running cuts, a task thought to be greatly indicative of his health.
Tim Layden of SportsIllustrated.com discuss Owens' claim that he is spiritually healed, and what, if anything, that has to do with the condition of his badly broken ankle.
John Clayton of ESPN.com reminds us that Philly QB Donavan F. McNabb has done just fine without the stud receiver, and one should not forget the ability McNabb has to win games on his own.
Karen Guregian of The Boston Herald believes T.O's presence is necessary, if only for the drama it will bring to the world's biggest stage.
In his Herald notebook, Michael Felger contends the Patriots will have plans in place for both scenarios: a T.O return, or a continued T.O for T.O.
Another topic that will be greatly scrutinized as we move towards next Sunday is whether or not this run of success qualifies the Patriots as a dynasty. According to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, Tedy Bruschi does not believe the Pats have reached that level of distinction yet.
Also in the Globe, Snow provides his Eagles notebook, in which he introduces tight end L.J. Smith. Smith, a second-year man out of Rutgers, was technically a back up to Chad Lewis. However, because the Eagles often employed a two tight end set, Smith caught 34 balls and five touchdowns, which is roughly the same offensive production the Patriots got from starting tight end Daniel Graham this season. With Lewis injured, Smith will be asked to step up in the big game.
To bolster the tight end position, the Eagles have brought Jeff Thomason out of retirement. Thomason has been out of the leagues for two years, and was most recently working construction. Paul Doyle of The Hartford Courant introduces Thomason and looks back at some historical performances by similar replacements in the postseason.
In the Herald, Felger looks at the Patriots ability tobalance the salaries on its roster. Last week, former Patriots Lawyer Milloy blasted the Pats organization for being cheap. Felger points out, Milloy's comments are largely baseless, as the Patriots are about as close this season ($79.3 million) as one can be to the league's $80.5 million dollar salary cap. What Felger also highlights, is the Patriots refusal to allow single players to occupy large chunks of the payroll, considering 18 players, most of whom constitute the backbone of the team, make between $1 and $3 million dollars.
Kevin Mannix of the Herald credits the Patriots ability to change personnel on the fly. Interestingly enough, there are not a great numbers of starters who started in the Super Bowl three years ago, yet the Patriots have continued to improve since that time.
USA Today's Jarret Bell looks back at Bill Belichick's days as Cleveland Browns head coach, where the coach had a sub-.500 record over five seasons, and a frosty relationship with the media.
Larry Weisman of USA Today details the current spending spree Eagles fans are on. Eagles fans have been waiting desperately for a return to the Super Bowl, and have been throwing money at eagles merchandise since the end of the NFC Championship game Sunday night.
Tom Curran of The Providence Journal says Belichick has a fan in former NFL great Jim Brown. The two have known each other since Belichick coached the Browns, Brown's former team.
In his notebook, Curran reports confirmation from Tom Brady Sr. that his son, as well as Graham and Mike Vrabel were all extremely sick Saturday night before the frigid win in Pittsburgh.
Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant reports from yesterday's conference call with Bruschi, who says returning to the Super Bowl year-after-year is anything but boring.
Lenny Megliola of The MetroWest Daily News reports on Jacksonville businesses as they brace for the massive influx of football fans with wallets that awaits the relatively small U.S city.
The Standard Times is running an article by John Smallwood of The Philadelphia Daily News asserting all doubts about Belichick have been erased.
In the Call, Parente examines Brady's newfound penchant for throwing the ball downfield. Brady completed a career-high 57 passes of 20 yards or more. The emergence of a running game (read: Corey Dillon) has freed Brady up from his previous duties of short, run-like passes, and allowed him to take more shots deep. As
ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli discusses the Patriots no-nonsense mantra, and believes Belichick and his staff will employ a fairly straightforward game plan.
Reuben Frank of SI.com introduces us to Eagle receiver Greg Lewis. Lewis, a frighteningly fast reciever out of Illinois, has emerged as a deep threat for Philly during the playoffs, catching balls of 52 yards and 45 yards in the two playoff games.
Finally, Kevin Hench of Fox Sports.com gives his guide of how to fill two weeks between the conference championship games and Super Bowl XXXIX.