Jim Basquil and Greg Garber talk about who should get more credit for the Patriots' success, Tom Brady or Bill Belichick.

John Clayton discusses Marshawn Lynch at media day, Brandon Browner getting the chance to play against his former team and what Rob Gronkowski remembers from playing against the Seahawks in 2012.
PHOENIX -- With an enormous backdrop of controversy, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick's Super Bowl media day session was a wide-ranging affair.

And Belichick, in a hoodie and flip-flops, cracked a smile or two along the way.

None bigger, perhaps than when Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo's 4-year-old daughter Chya asked the often-bristly coach "what stuffed animals do you like?"

[+] EnlargeBill Belichick
AP Photo/Gregory PayanBill Belichick did not address questions related to deflated footballs but did talk about stuffed animals and his favorite Joe Pesci movies at Super Bowl media day.
Belichick's response; "What stuffed animals do I like? I like a little puppet where you can kind of put your fingers in and it's a little monkey and then he can talk and move his fingers and nod his head and kind of talk back to you."

Overall, Belichick still had the wall up for questions about the NFL's investigation into how 11 footballs were measured as under-inflated at halftime of the Patriots win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game. He answered each one of those questions, as well as the questions about the effect of the controversy may have on the team with, "We're focused on Seattle."

On his relationship with quarterback Tom Brady, he said: "Tom and I have been together for 15 years, so I would say our relationship covers a lot of ground. We played golf together for three days at Pebble Beach last year."

On the last three movies he had seen; "Last three movies I saw: Unbroken, American Sniper -- those two for sure. I think back to what I saw in the summer, but those two for sure."

On what his favorite movie is starring Joe Pesci: "Home Alone. Definitely Home Alone. No question about that. Home Alone and Home Alone 2 over the Christmas holidays. My Cousin Vinny. Put them all in there."

Advice for young players and coaches "would be enjoying playing because that's a much shorter window. You'll have plenty of time to coach throughout the rest of your life, but you can only play this game for a fairly short period of time and it's a great game to play. So if you have an opportunity to play it, play it, and then when that's over, if you want to coach it, there'll be plenty of time left for that."

On whether he has pregame rituals he said; "No, not really."

Asked who the best quarterback he had seen run the no-huddle offense, he said; "Johnny Unitas."

And asked, again, to give advice to any young coaches, Belichick said, "I'm just trying to coach my team. I'm not trying to run anybody else's life."

Darrelle Revis soaks in 'surreal' scene

January, 27, 2015
Jan 27
PHOENIX -- New England Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis was at podium No. 1 for Tuesday's media day, and he naturally was the No. 1 draw for many of the New York-based reporters in attendance at the Super Bowl. His lack of empathy for Jets fans made some quick headlines in New York.

Revis was still soaking in the Super Bowl scene as he met with reporters.

"Right now," he said, "it's so surreal to me."

[+] EnlargeNew England's Darrelle Revis
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports"There's some guys that play 13 or 14 years and never make the playoffs. It's humbling, but at the same time, it's a great experience," Darrelle Revis said.
Then Revis reminded himself, and the large crowd of reporters around his interview podium, that there is still one more step "to accomplish our ultimate goal, which is holding the Lombardi Trophy up.”

"That was the No. 1 goal for me, just winning a Super Bowl," he said. "Every year, that’s what we play for. You know I had a bump in the road, having an ACL injury. That kind of twisted my mind up a little bit because it was more so me focusing on my health. Once I focused on my health to make sure I could get back where I need to be and playing at a high level, I was confident and determined. Just focus and get with the right team and that’s what I did.”

Revis, who faced the Seahawks last season as a member of the Buccaneers, acknowledged doubt that he'd ever play in a Super Bowl.

"Especially going through eight years of not really accomplishing what you really want to accomplish as an individual player and also as a team goal," he said. "That’s basically getting to the Super Bowl and actually winning it. I can speak for myself personally and I’m sure I can speak for a lot of guys in the NFL who don’t make it to the playoffs. There’s some guys that play 13 or 14 years and never make the playoffs. It’s humbling, but at the same time, it’s a great experience. It just shows that we worked so hard to get to this place that we are at now.”

He reflected a bit on the journey to this point, calling it an "awesome regular season."

"Our schedule was very tough. We played against some great quarterbacks, some great teams," he said. "We found a way as a team, as a unit, to go out there and stick together and play just tough football and play great ball and we did that. Overall, we had ups and downs. There was the controversy with Deflategate and all of that, but that’s adversity. Adversity strikes every time and I think as a team, as a whole, we’ve handled that well."

Josh McDaniels happy to stay with Patriots

January, 27, 2015
Jan 27
PHOENIX -- After interviewing for head coaching jobs with the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers earlier in January, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is staying put in 2015. At some point, however, he'd like a second chance to be a head coach.

"I would love to do it again," he said Tuesday at Super Bowl XLIX media day. "I think the most important thing to me is to just be in the right situation and just be in a place where I feel good about being. There are a lot of great teams and great places out there. I happen to be in a good situation for myself right now and for my family. If it comes up again and is the right spot, then I would love to do it again and give it another shot.”

McDaniels' first shot, with the Denver Broncos, ended abruptly after two seasons (2009-10).

“There are so many things that I learned there," McDaniels said in a moment of reflection. "I think one of the things that I really learned in Denver is the value of being a good listener. When you do something like that for the first time you feel like you have to run through everything and be in charge of too many things and sometimes that is a significant negative.

"I have tried really hard in St. Louis [as offensive coordinator in 2011] and then here back in New England; we really gather ideas, we listen to one another and try to do the best thing for the offense ... in this particular situation it has really been a great thing. Our atmosphere on our staff has been very healthy and a big part of that is that we have a lot of guys that can contribute and it doesn’t come from one source. I made a lot of mistakes there. I think it was a great learning experience for myself. Hopefully I have grown from that and will continue to grow.”

Best of Super Bowl XLIX media day

January, 27, 2015
Jan 27
Tuesday's Super Bowl XLIX media day with the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks may not have had as many crazy stunts or ridiculous questions (see, John Clayton's top media day moments) as it has in past years, but it did showcase two of the game's top quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Russell Wilson, some of the most outspoken players (Richard Sherman) and some of the most repetitive players (Marshawn Lynch), who reminded us 29 times, "I'm here so I won't get fined."

Check out the full chat of Tuesday's media day, and read more of's content on Super Bowl XLIX here.

Below are some of the best moments, photos and quotes from media day in Phoenix:


Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch answers questions, kinda:
Patriots QB Tom Brady stays cool under pressure:
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is prepared for the Pats:
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski reads aloud from a novel:
Patriots owner Robert Kraft is mobbed by the media:


Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis:
"No, actually I don't miss the Jets. I can only focus on the here and now."

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on which NFL rule he would change:
"I just wish everyone would stop fining my man Marshawn."

Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork on Marshawn Lynch:
"Every time he runs it's like he doesn't have [the] ball in [his] hands."

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett on his beard:
"Moses had one, Genghis Khan had one, Jesus had one ... it was long, too."

Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount on the Seahawks:
"They like to hear themselves talk. Let 'em talk."


The calm before the media day storm. Cameras already lined up for Tom Brady. #SuperBowl #MediaDay

A photo posted by ESPN Pro Football (@nflonespn) on


Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman:




Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen discuss the NFL's investigation into the Patriots' use of underinflated balls during the AFC Championship Game, which investigator Ted Wells says will take several more weeks.

Blount not worried about Seattle D

January, 27, 2015
Jan 27

PHOENIX -- Running back LeGarrette Blount knows the statistics about the Seattle Seahawks' defense and how it allowed a league-low average of 15.9 points per game during the regular season, but he's equally as confident in the New England Patriots' offense.

"I don't care about them being the top defense, that doesn't bother me," Blount said at Super Bowl XLIX media day. "They were good enough to get here, just like we were good enough to get here. They're not immortal. They can be beaten."

Blount's comments caught the attention of some reporters, as the Patriots seldom share such confidence publicly.

If Blount has a big day Sunday, it would be the exception more than the rule. A big part of the Seahawks' defensive success has been limiting opposing running backs, as Seattle ranked third in the NFL during the regular season by holding opponents to an average of 81.5 rushing yards per game.

Blount is welcoming the challenge in the Super Bowl.

"Obviously they're a pretty good defense. They were good enough to get here, they were good enough to get here last year, so we are going to put a plan together to hopefully make sure we come out victorious," he said.

(Read full post)

Patriots owner: Players not affected

January, 27, 2015
Jan 27

PHOENIX -- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft downplayed the impact his public defense of the team might have on players leading into Super Bowl XLIX.

"By and large, except for our quarterback, they're not paying much attention to it. I think they think it's a bunch of hogwash," Kraft said Tuesday at media day.

Kraft mostly deflected questions relating to what he said Monday, when he requested an apology from the NFL should it not find definitive evidence that the Patriots tampered with their footballs.

Kraft relayed that he had debated speaking publicly on the topic, making the decision to do so after sitting next to his son, team president Jonathan Kraft, on the flight to Phoenix. That's when he wrote his remarks.

When told the league's investigation into the underinflated footballs has affected some fans' enjoyment in the Super Bowl, Kraft shook his head.

"I'm one of them," he said. "I'm a fan at heart. I want to enjoy this game, and I want to make things clear how we do things. I believe in my guys and we're going to have a fun time the rest of this week and have a great game Sunday."

Kraft said he received positive feedback internally about his remarks, but didn't want to detail what was said.

"I think they were appreciative, but I don't think it was a surprise," he said. "This business is a very complicated, hard business that can be very cruel at times. It's like family, a marriage ... it's important to always be together on the same page even when you might have minor disagreements.

"I can tell you, we at the top of the Patriots, my family and our key people, are all one. That was the message I tried to express yesterday."

(Read full post)

Kraft: Title game party for sponsors

January, 27, 2015
Jan 27

PHOENIX -- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft isn't about to start a war of words with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who said Sunday that the Patriots wouldn't be disciplined by the NFL for underinflated footballs because of Kraft's close relationship with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Sherman said the close ties between Kraft and Goodell were reflected in how they were posing for pictures at Kraft's home the night before the AFC Championship Game.

"I think Richard Sherman is a very smart marketing whiz," Kraft responded Tuesday at Super Bowl XLIX media day.

"If you go into the facts of what he said, the NFL always used to pay for a big party for the AFC Championship Game. We've been privileged to own the team for 21 years, and this was our 10th championship game. When the league stopped giving the parties, we started doing it. This is our third one."

Kraft explained the party at his home was for the Patriots' lead sponsors, which ultimately helps the NFL and the club grow revenues.

"I think Mr. Sherman understood that he's the biggest beneficiary, because they get over 50 percent of the revenues. So he didn't go to Harvard, but Stanford must be pretty good because he figured it out," Kraft said.

(Read full post)

Seahawks, 2003 Patriots share similarities

January, 27, 2015
Jan 27

Wire photosTy Law was All-Pro in 2003 for the Patriots. Richard Sherman was All-Pro this season for the Seahawks.
Russell Wilson leads the 2014 Seattle Seahawks into Super Bowl XLIX in his third season as a starter, just as Tom Brady led the 2003 New England Patriots to Super Bowl XXXVIII in his third year starting. But that’s just where the similarities begin between the 2014 Seahawks and 2003 Patriots ...

No. 1 seed in conference
The 2003 Patriots finished the regular season 14-2 and were the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

The 2014 Seahawks finished the regular season 12-4 and were the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Both teams started slowly. The 2003 Patriots were 2-2 before winning their final 12 regular-season games. This season's Seahawks were 3-3 before they won nine of their last 10 regular-season games.

Accurate quarterbacks
Tom Brady threw 23 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions in 2003, a ratio of 1.92. That was the seventh-best touchdown-to-interception ratio in the NFL.

Russell Wilson threw 20 touchdown passes and seven interceptions this season, a ratio of 2.86. That was the seventh-best touchdown-to-interception ratio in the NFL.

Dominant defenses
The Patriots allowed 14.9 points per game in 2003, the fewest in the NFL and their second fewest in franchise history.

The Seahawks allowed 15.9 points per game this season, the fewest in the NFL and their third fewest in franchise history.

Both defenses relied on shutdown cornerbacks. Ty Law was first-team All Pro in 2003 for the Patriots, and Richard Sherman was first-team All Pro this season for the Seahawks.

Unheralded receivers
Deion Branch led the Patriots with 57 receptions in 2003, which tied for 42nd in the NFL.

Doug Baldwin led the Seahawks with 66 receptions this season, which tied for 42nd in the NFL.

The 2003 Patriots ended their season by winning Super Bowl XXXVIII, the same way the 2014 Seahawks hope to end their season in Arizona.

Mosi Tatupu suffered from CTE

January, 27, 2015
Jan 27

Former New England Patriots running back Mosi Tatupu, who died of a heart attack in 2010 at age 54, suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease that has been linked to football-related head trauma.

Tatupu's former wife, Linnea Garcia-Tatupu, told the Boston Globe that when she found out last year about the existence of some of Tatupu's brain tissue from his autopsy, she donated a preserved sample to Boston University's CTE Center, where researchers are studying the disease and have discovered evidence of it in the brains of about 140 former athletes, including many football players.

Testing on Tatupu's brain tissue revealed the presence of an abnormal buildup of a protein, tau, in a manner that is unique to CTE.

After Tatupu's death in 2010, former teammates remembered him as a player who always seemed to be smiling, who had a special connection with fans (who created a cheering section called "Mosi's Mooses") and who was a unifying presence in the locker room.

But according to Garcia-Tatupu, her ex-husband's genial disposition began to change toward the end of his 13-year tenure with the Patriots. He became "aloof and forgetful" and developed a heavy drinking problem, according to the Globe report. His behavioral changes ultimately led to a divorce after 20 years of marriage.

The couple's son, Lofa Tatupu, played linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks from 2005 to 2010.

"If I knew then what I know now, would I have encouraged Mosi's dream? Would I have encouraged Lofa's dream?" Garcia-Tatupu told the Globe. "I wouldn't have. The risk is not worth the reward."

(Read full post)