Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addresses the media on January 30, 2008.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The scene shifted back to the Patriots team hotel for media availability on Tuesday and two of the team's more celebrated members took the opportunity to respond to Plaxico Burress' guarantee of victory.
Tom Brady and Randy Moss both were asked about Burress' comments from Monday in which he predicted a final score of 23-17, presumably in favor of the Giants. The quarterback wasn't so much disappointed by the guarantee as he was in the score itself.
"We're only going to score 17 points?" Brady said with a smile. "Does Plaxico play defense? I wish he said 45-42, or something like that."
Moss took the words a bit more seriously. "He's entitled to say anything, but the only thing about a prediction is that you have got to make it happen," Moss said. "I think the pressure is more on them now since they've guaranteed this victory.
"We're going to go out there and try to execute a game plan. We've prepared very hard for the last week and a half and we still have a couple more days to get out there and tone some things up, but making a prediction that you are going to go out there and make it happen are very tough words to back up. So like I said, we'll see when the game clock is zero on Sunday."
Unlike most Super Bowls when the teams simply exchange verbal bouquets in an effort to not offend the opponent, this one seems to be taking on a different tone. Burress' guarantee is just one example of so-called bulletin board material being tossed around, but Bill Belichick doesn't believe any of that has any effect on the game.
When asked about the importance of such talk, Belichick simply stated: "You probably talk about it a lot more than we do."
Belichick was asked what impact Patriots owner Robert Kraft has had on the team's season and used the opportunity to throw significant praise toward his boss.
"I think it all starts, of course, at the top. I appreciate what Robert did to bring me to the Patriots, giving up a No. 1 draft choice. He's given me a lot of support," Belichick said. "He's given me the opportunity to run the program the way I feel like it needs to be run in terms of the way we do things. Scott [Pioli] and I have been able to put together a roster, put together a team, that we felt like was competitive. Robert has given a lot of support on that, financially and of course our facilities there have been upgraded tremendously since I got there in 2000.
"We have a good relationship. We spend time together in and out of the office. Philosophically we are on the same page. I appreciate his support that he's given me in the eight years that I've been there and even in 1996 … I got to know Robert and the Patriots organization there and I'm sure that had a lot to do with my return in 2000. That's when I first got to know Robert and it's been over a decade. He's a good man to work for and he's a good friend."
Seely content to role on
For whatever reason, special teams coaches rarely get consideration for head coaching vacancies. Knowing that, Eagles assistant coach John Harbaugh took on a new role with the team's secondary last fall after having led Philly to great special teams success for nine seasons. Earlier this month the decision paid off when Harbaugh was hired to replace Brian Billick in Baltimore.
But don't expect New England's special teams coach, Brad Seely, to take a similar route in an attempt to advance in the coaching ranks.
"I really haven't," Seely said when asked if he'd thought about taking a job as a position coach to spice up his resume. "I enjoy what I do. I like doing what I do and I've never really thought about doing what he did."
Seely also can't really explain the seeming bias against special teams coordinators despite the fact that the coaches oversee players from all areas of the team.
"I think that's perception that we don't do the same thing as offensive and defensive coordinators so that's just been the way it's been," Seely said. "I was really happy to see John get that position and I wish him a lot of luck because I know he's a really good coach and I think he'll do a great job."
As has become custom at major sporting events, the respective mayors are backing their teams. New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino placed a friendly wager on the outcome of Super Bowl XLII.
If the Giants win, Mayor Menino will send 100 cups of New England Clam Chowder from Legal Sea Foods, 42 pounds of coffee from Dunkin' Donuts (in honor of Super Bowl XLII), 12 dozen Boston Cream Pies and 12 Dozen Parker House Rolls (in honor of Tom Brady's No. 12) from Boston's Omni Parker House Hotel, 100 Old Tyme hot dogs and 100 Alfresco chicken sausages from Kayem, 20 pizzas from Sal's, five cases of Brigham's "Boston You're My Home" Ice Cream, five cases of "Cherry on the Top" Frozen Yogurt Bars from Elan and 100 servings of Stonyfield Farm Organic Yogurt.
If the Patriots win, Mayor Bloomberg will send 42 pastrami and corned beef sandwiches from Carnegie Deli, 42 "Big Blue Cheese Eli Mann-Eater Burgers" from Gallagher's Steak House, one case of beef cocktail patties and one case of chicken cocktail patties from Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill in the Bronx, a selection of five pizzas from Goodfella's Pizzeria on Staten Island, 42 pounds of rugelach, 42 pounds of assorted layer cakes and 42 black and white cookies from Junior's, one 2.5 gallon tub of lemon ice and one 2.5 gallon tub of ice of the flavor of Boston's choice from the Lemon Ice King of Corona, 100 servings of Manhattan clam chowder and one bushel of Blue Point Oysters from the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant and 20 pounds of "Super Steak" from Peter Luger Restaurant and six bottles of Peter Luger steak sauce.
Additionally, Modell's Sporting Goods and Wilson Sporting Goods will donate a quantity of 2,008 footballs for youth sports programs in the city that wins the bet. Food will be donated to charity in the winning city.
Belichick took the podium for his Wednesday press conference at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa wearing a Rutgers lacrosse sweatshirt with the number 23 on the left sleeve. "It's my son's," he said with a smirk. "He used to wear my stuff. Now I'm getting into his closet." … While continuing to focus his efforts solely on preparing for the Giants, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels acknowledged that should a team, such as the Redskins, approach him after the Super Bowl he would consider his options of becoming a head coach. "After this game is over with if there is something that comes up then I think you take every opportunity and look at it and weigh all the pros and cons together just like I did the first time," McDaniels said. "Then you make a decision and you go with it. That's what I want to say about it." … McDaniels also said that the New England offense doesn't use early-game scripted play calling that's a part of many West Coast systems. "We really don't do much of that. We kind of have an idea what we want to get done early in the game and we try to take advantage of what [the defenses] are doing and figure some things out along the way in the first quarter." … One school of thought on defending Moss is to get physical with him at the line of scrimmage to take him out of rhythm early. Wide receivers coach Nick Caserio has heard such theories, but doesn't think stopping the All-Pro playmaker is nearly that easy. "I think everybody is kind of entitled to their opinion. I think one of the things about Randy, actually one of the better things he does is he's able to get off the line of scrimmage fairly well. I think there are going to be times when the defense is going to win and they get him and there will be times when he gets the defense. I think there have been plenty of examples of that this season." … Wes Welker acknowledged some similarities between the high-octane offense he played in under Mike Leach at Texas Tech and the one he had a breakout season in with the Patriots this fall. "Absolutely. They are very similar in a lot of ways. It definitely prepared me and got me ready to get ready to play at the next level." … Belichick said his team has definitely made the adjustment to Mountain Time and that one benefit of the change would be a shorter day leading up the 4:18 kickoff on local time.