PHOENIX – Mercury Morris and three other members of the 1972 undefeated 17-0 Miami Dolphins took part in a Reebok sponsored press conference Friday morning at the Phoenix Convention Center to discuss the athletic apparel company's new "Perfectville" television ad campaign.
Morris, fellow running back Jim Kiick, kicker Garo Yepremian and Hall of Fame guard Larry Little took photos in front of a faux road sign that said, "Welcome To Perfectville, Pop. 1, Founded 1972." Reebok has already shot a pair of TV spots that are ready to run after Super Bowl XLII, first on Reebok.com and later regular TV. The commercial will either welcome New England as a second resident to "Perfectville" or show Miami's continued spot as the only perfect team in NFL history.
Not surprising for an event featuring Morris -- who gave Reebok the inspiration for the commercial with his original comments to "tell me when [the undefeated Patriots] are on my block and ready to move in" -- Friday morning's discussion included plenty of entertaining quotes from the running back and his perfect mates.
"Get this shot, you may not see it again," Morris said to cameramen in somewhat humble style while pointing to the "Pop. 1" portion of the sign.
But the excitable Morris and Co. soon turned up the talk especially when the topic of comparing the two teams came up. So, could the '72 Dolphins beat these potentially perfect 2007 Patriots?
"I feel we can beat anybody," Kiick said before pondering whether the fictional matchup would be played under modern rules or the more physical style of the early-'70s. "Do you put a skirt on [Tom] Brady or do you take it off?
"We think we're the best team."
Even the more quiet but still very much intimidating Little took his shots.
"If they go all the way we'll be 1A and they'll be 1B," Little said. "They'll be like our little brother."
And if the Patriots fall to the underdog Giants on Sunday, Morris and Co. will continue to stand alone.
"If they lose they'll be like the  Bears. 18-1," Morris said emphatically.
Bill's final thoughts
Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick took part in his final press conference prior to Super Bowl XLII as he met with the media at the Phoenix Convention Center Friday morning. Speaking just a few feet from a table displaying the Patriots and Giants helmets sandwiched around the Lombardi Trophy, Belichick did not stop to take photos with the NFL's ultimate prize.
"We're winding down our preparations for the game and I know the players and the coaches and the entire organization, we're very excited to be participating in this game," Belichick said to open the presser. "We're looking forward to Sunday afternoon, of course recognizing the big challenge we have against a great Giants football team that's playing extremely well at this time of year – [in] the last month since we saw them. Hopefully we'll be able to put our best game out there on Sunday and perform as well as we possibly can."
At one point Belichick was asked about plans in New York to have a post-Super Bowl parade on Tuesday and whether he might have any comments on those plans.
"Right now our thoughts are on the game Sunday afternoon against the Giants and really that's where everything's going to be settled," Belichick said. "I know there's a lot of talk about somebody said this, somebody said that, somebody else is doing this, some other town is doing that -- whatever it is. This game will be decided by the team that performs the best on Sunday and that's the way it should be and that's what it will come down to."
YAC downWhile the New England secondary has been criticized for allowing opposing passers to move the ball with regularity at times throughout the season, safety James Sanders thinks the group is coming together at the right time.
"There are plays when we've given up catches but we've limited the yards after catch. We've defended well but I think we could be a little more consistent," Sanders said. "At times you see our big-play capability with Asante [Samuel], Ellis[Hobbs], Rodney [Harrison] and myself from time to time. But at the same time there are plays where teams get a 15-yard comeback or a 15-yard in-cut, but we limit the yards after catch. Of course you would like not to give up those passes, but at the same time not giving up any yards after catch is a big deal in this league. I think last game when we played San Diego they had a couple completions, but out of 19 completions Philip Rivers had they only had 24 yards after the catch. So that was a plus. I think we can improve week in and week out. Hopefully we improve this week."
Fighting wordsIn talking about Logan Mankins strengths and mentality as a player, Tom Brady talked on Thursday about his blue-collar work attitude and a mean streak that he brings to both practice and games. Mankins usually finds one Patriots defender in particular to mix it up with on the practice field.
"Whenever there is a fight in practice Logan is involved," Brady said. "And it's usually he and [Richard] Seymour."
Who starts those fights?
"Ah, well, probably Logan. I don't start anything," Seymour said with a coy smirk.
Hobbs on historyNever one to avoid a question, Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs was asked this week when he realized the 2007 team might have special, historic potential.
"A lot of us, you would think we were crazy for saying this, but in the beginning," Hobbs said. "There's not too many times you can get a high-caliber team, powerful team like we do as far as name-wise and the history and records that we have as individuals and as a team you put us all together collectively. We knew that if we could just go out there and stay focused on the task at hand day in, day out, week in, week out, that we could establish something special. But it had to happen one day at a time, one step at a time."
Hobbs also admits that he's thinking about the history and 19-0 season that's on the line Sunday evening at University of Phoenix Stadium.
"Most definitely, it's history. It's something that will forever be established. You can say after us that there have been other teams that have done it down the line, but we were the first. That's something special. To be a part of that, and to understand intimately what we've been through to accomplish what we have so far, we feel as if we've traveled too far of a road to let ourselves down now."
NotesBelichick was asked for his thoughts on referee Mike Carey and the crew that will be officiating Sunday's big game. "I am more concerned about our job and how well we play and coach and perform on Sunday and we'll let the officials do their job. If I have a question, I will throw a flag," Belichick concluded with a smile. … ESPN's public relations department sent out a release with its analyst's predictions for Super Bowl XLII. Twenty-five personalities picked the Patriots to win, while just five went with the Giants. Former Bears coach Mike Ditka had maybe the most honest and amusing reason for projecting a 31-28 New York win. "I haven't picked the Patriots all year, so why should I start now?" … Belichick kept his comments regarding the re-ignited "Spygate" controversy to a minimum. "That's a League matter. I don't know anything about it." … The Patriots will travel to University of Phoenix Stadium on Saturday for an official Super Bowl XLII team photo but will not take part in a walkthrough on the game field. … New England's Friday injury report included only Brady as probable with a right shoulder injury. Jabar Gaffney, who had been dealing with a shoulder injury, participated fully in Friday's practice. … Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown spoke to the Patriots before Friday's practice at Belichick's request. … Pro Football Writers of America voters will meet Saturday morning to select the 2008 Pro Football Hall of Fame class, selecting from a group of 17 finalists that includes Patriots great Andre Tippett. The Class of 2008 will be announced on Saturday at 2:30 p.m MT.