By Hector Longo
PHOENIX, Ariz. — A rock-solid, very crisp, New England Patriots practice, with the players in helmets and shells (mini, soft shoulder pads), marked the end of preparation yesterday for Super Bowl XLII.
Pool reporter Dan Pompei of Chicago noted the team practiced for an hour and 20 minutes in the seasonable weather at Arizona State University.
Bill Belichick reported, "We're ready to roll. We're ready as we're going to be."
Former Cleveland Browns legend Jim Brown spoke to the team before practice at the coach's request for extra motivation. All that remains is a team photo today before tomorrow's festivities kick off.
Belichick met the media for the last time earlier in the day.
"I think the players have done a great job all season long of coming in and working hard each day," said Belichick. "They've been very consistent, tried to do their jobs and put the team first.
"This is the biggest game of all for our football team. It's the next game and it's the Super Bowl. It's for the championship, so I can't think of a bigger game than that."
A little dose of Belichick in Coughlin
New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin showed some ambiguity that would have made Belichick gush — OK, smirk — when the subject of Plaxico Burress and his health was broached yesterday.
"It's a day-to-day thing with Plaxico right now," said Coughlin. He was better yesterday than he was the day before, and hopefully he'll be better today. He does have the ankle, which has been an issue all year long."
Expect Burress to be going full bore tomorrow night.
One last shot at Phillips Exeter
Some memories simply never fade.
How about Zak DeOssie of the Giants this week talking about one of his best friends, Tom Kennedy, coming out to Arizona this weekend for the game?
"You remember him, he's the guy who threw the no-hitter my senior year when we beat Exeter," said DeOssie, the Big Blue pride of Phillips Academy showing through as he cherished the opportunity to recall a smacking of his prep rival.
Kennedy and his mom, former Lawrence Mayor Mary Claire Kennedy, hit town yesterday in support of DeOssie.
"Can't wait to see them," said Zak, who hosted a special dinner for all his guests last night.
Anyone for 'Funky Cold Medina'?
Phoenix is abuzz as fans and celebrities flood into Sky Harbor Airport. Athletes and noted personalities are seemingly on every corner downtown.
Does it get any better than this?
Last night, Majerle's Bar and Grille, owned by ex-NBA star Dan Majerle, hosted an end zone block party, featuring live performances by Tone Loc, Young M.C. and the Digital Underground.