Last night was probably the highlight of the week from a having fun point of view. With the families and sponsors in town, the Patriots hosted a welcome party in the team hotel. I'll tell you folks, the Patriots marketing department outdid themselves getting the party planned and ready and really making the Patriots guests feel special. From the moment they arrived at Foxboro Stadium Thursday morning, every detail – from a spread of Dunkin Donuts coffee and food to the police escort for the buses to the airport – was all aimed at saying thanks. Thanks to the sponsors for their support and thanks to the family members for putting up with our ridiculous schedules. This is the big pay off.
Most people headed over to Bourbon Street after the party. From Wednesday to Thursday there was a marked difference in crowd size. New Orleans had swelled in a day to probably five times the people and counting. It was the typical wild scene with partygoers in various stages of drunkenness. A drenching rain made it a semi-early night for some, while other crammed into the nearest bar.
I like Bourbon Street for the most part but I don't understand why it has to be so filthy. Don't get me wrong, I'm far from a neat freak but even I have to make an effort to not think about the biohazard that is this most famous street. Keep the drinking, keep the strip clubs with names like "World Famous Sex Acts," keep the tourist traps and the overall tawdry image, just make it cleaner. With all the money pumped into this city, an ongoing clean-up program could easily be instituted that would help people not believe they have to throw away their shoes when they get back to their hotel room. I mean, I stepped in a puddle last night and I could have sworn I felt something grab at my foot. Create some jobs and clean the street.
That's my social commentary for the day.
As for today's activities, the day started out again with a Bill Belichick press conference. No other players of coaches were available, however, and the presser was held at the NFL Media Center instead of the team hotel. A large room was set up with a podium up front. Next to the podium was a table with the Lombardi Trophy and a Patriots helmet. That trophy sure will look good in the lobby of CMGI Field.
No new news was to be had today. Besides the Brady/Bledsoe decision, this has been a very low-key Super Bowl week when it comes to breaking stories. Belichick did mention something he learned from John Cooper who is best known as the head coach of Ohio State. "Win the surest way," said Cooper and it's something Belichick has ascribed to throughout his coaching career. Sounds logical; the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
Mike Martz had his press conference immediately after Belichick in the same room. It was interesting to contrast the two head coach's styles. While Belichick isn't one to give out too much information, when a question is asked he is willing to talk about, he does so at length. Martz is much more succinct bordering on curt. I can see how some might take that as a sign of arrogance. He's definitely more at ease with the media.
Both coaches were asked to pose with the Lombardi Trophy after they spoke. Belichick simply stood behind the trophy while Martz picked it up, holding it close. That's good for the Patriots – it's bad luck to touch the Lombardi before it's yours. Here are some other little known reasons why the Patriots will win on Sunday:
- Troy Brown played Isaac Bruce in the 989 Sports video football game "Gameday" yesterday and won. The winner's team of that annual contest has never lost the Super Bowl.
- No head coach whose last name ends with a "z" has ever won the Super Bowl.
- Patriots.com is better than stlouisrams.com.
- There are very few if any rams in the city of St. Louis while New England is full of patriots.
- The Patriots team hotel is around half the distance from the Superdome than the Rams hotel. You can be sure Belichick will use the 10 minutes saved in travel time wisely in game preparation. Add on the fact that the Patriots played their AFC Championship game before the Rams, and that gives Belichick at least a two hour game planning advantage over Martz. That's all he needs.
- The NFL Experience is now open for business. I'll go check that out tomorrow.