HOUSTON – Stephen Belichick attended his first Super Bowl in 1987 when his father’s New York Giants beat the Broncos.
The younger Belichick had an extremely obstructed view. He wasn’t born until late March, two months after the game.
From that first Super Bowl experience through this Sunday, Stephen will have been to 10 Super Bowls – the 1986 and ’90 seasons when Bill Belichick was the Giants defensive coordinator, 1996 when Bill was Patriots secondary coach for Bill Parcells and the seven for which Bill has been Patriots head coach
The stakes this time are raised for Stephen. As the Patriots safeties coach, the players under his supervision will be trying to shut down one of the most prolific offenses of the past several years, the 540 points Atlanta scored tie them for eighth all-time in a single season (see full story).
Patriots: Can Brady be labeled a 'system quarterback?'
HOUSTON – Tom Brady's career, at this point, is virtually unassailable. Even if the Patriots fail to win their fifth Lombardi Trophy on Sunday, Brady holds records for most playoff starts, most playoff completions, most Super Bowl appearances, and he's tied for the most Super Bowl titles as a quarterback.
Those who once banged the drum that Bill Belichick has made Brady's career into what it is have to acknowledge that the 17-year veteran is among the two or three best of all time to play his position -- if not the best.
One of the final flimsy attempts for those who insist on denigrating Brady is to call him a "system quarterback," but even that's worth little more than a dismissive chuckle. It implies that the scheme, the brainpower behind Brady's weekly offensive plans, is the sole reason for his success
While that assumption ignores his individual skill set -- his accuracy, durability, ability to process information pre and post-snap, his unfailing effort throughout the calendar year to ensure that he's as prepared as humanly possible -- it also contradicts itself in its attempt to take away from Brady (see full story).
Falcons: Quinn recipient of the Salute to Service Award
HOUSTON – Falcons coach Dan Quinn already is a winner this week, two days before the Super Bowl.
The second-year head coach in Atlanta has been chosen the Salute to Service Award recipient by the NFL and USAA.
Quinn won for his commitment to supporting the military and their families and will be recognized at the "NFL Honors" TV program Saturday night during which The Associated Press will announce its NFL individual award winners.
"Coach Quinn truly embodies the spirit of our Salute to Service Award," said Vice Admiral (Retired) John Bird, USAA's senior vice president of military affairs. "Though he has no direct ties to the military, he's made it his personal charge to show appreciation for their service and sacrifice (see full story)."
- The Associated Press
Falcons: Atlanta celebrities pumped up for Falcons
ATLANTA – The New England Patriots have the Super Bowl history and experience going for them Sunday, but they can't compete with the Atlanta Falcons when it comes to an entourage of celebrity fans.
The Falcons have been known for having fickle fans who abandon the team when it struggles, but this season, the sidelines have been overflowing with rappers, actors and athletes from other sports.
Rapper T.I. says he's no bandwagon jumper. The lifelong Falcons fan says he remembers when Deion Sanders high-stepped into end zones, Michael Vick dashed by defenders and the "Dirty Birds" danced to the Super Bowl in 1999.
Those were some of the most memorable moments in Falcons history, but there were many more forgettable years. No matter the outcome, T.I. remained faithful (see full story).
- The Associated Press