Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll raved about Robert Kraft on Friday at their joint press conference. (Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll raved about Robert Kraft Friday at their joint press conference. (Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Although Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick are very much different coaches in terms of style, they are both very successful.

Carroll is going for his second straight Super Bowl win on Sunday, while Belichick will attempt to earn his fourth.

They are also connected by current Patriots owner Robert Kraft, as Kraft hired both coaches to coach the Patriots with Carroll coaching in New England from 1997-99.

“I would say, about Robert [Kraft], I had a wonderful experience with Robert,” Carroll said Friday. “He was one that showed great interest in his people and I’€™m sure he and Bill, as Bill said, have a great relationship and communicate on a regular basis. I think that was the reason that I was hired in New England. I’€™ll forever be grateful for that.

“The character that he’€™s demonstrated, the class that he’€™s demonstrated in the years that followed to support me and my career as I went on ‘€“ the best thing that has ever happened is that he sent me to USC. He didn’€™t realize that at the time, but I’€™ll always be grateful for the time we spent together and will always take pride in watching the great success that these guys have had together in historic fashion for the New England franchise.”

Carroll went on to coach at USC after being fired by Kraft and was there from 2001-09, winning two national championships during his time there.

Belichick too has a lot of his success in the league because of Kraft and he taking the chance to give up a first round pick in 2000 to take him away from the Jets and bring him to New England.

“Obviously, I wouldn’€™t be here without his support,” Belichick said. “He gave up a number one draft choice, actually a little bit more, in order to bring me to the Patriots in 2000. I’€™ll be forever grateful for that. Without him, I wouldn’€™t be sitting here today. I would say that’€™s really a no-brainer. It’€™s meant everything.”

Kraft has been at least a part owner of the team since 1985 after being a season ticket holder since 1971. Belichick discussed how much passion he has for the Patriots at length and how much he values the community.

I think the intangible that Robert brings to the New England Patriots is his passion,” said Belichick. “The passion that he has for the football team, the football team’€™s relationship with the community as it extends to the entire New England area. It’€™s a local team, it’€™s a regional team, and we have great support from all the New England states as well as great national support.

“But the passion that he brings, he’€™s there on a pretty regular basis with the team, with the players, with the coaches, with the staff. He’€™s an integral part of everything that we do.”


Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

PHOENIX — Bill Belichick‘s respect, love and admiration for his father is well documented. And while he paid respect to his late father Steve again on Friday, the Patriots coach didn’t want to forget about his dad’s better half.

Answering a question of both coaches about how many family members would be on site, Belichick initially said all of his family will be at University of Phoenix Stadium, adding “my personal family, too.”

Pete Carroll offered his answer before Belichick piped up, “I have one correction on that. My 94-year-old mom won’€™t be here. She’€™s in Annapolis. I know she’€™ll be yelling at the TV set all game. But I do miss that she won’€™t be here.”

Jeannette (Munn) Belichick gave birth to Belichick on April 16, 1952 in Nashville, Tenn. She was the supportive mom featured in the 2009 Bill Belichick documentary “A Football Life” on NFL Network. Jeannette traveled with husband Steve and son Bill to Annapolis, where young Bill was raised and Steve took up shop for 45 years as an assistant coach at Navy.

Later, Belichick and Carroll were asked who was the one person that taught them the most about coaching. Belichick’s answered was a no-brainer.

“For me, I’€™d have to say my dad,” Belichick said. “I’€™ve had the opportunity to be around a lot of great coaches as an assistant coach, other assistants and, obviously, for a number of great head coaches, and interacted with many others. But, in the end, my dad had a big influence on me.”

As for historical legacies on the line Sunday, neither coach was willing to go down that road Friday.

“With all due respect, for us, whatever we have or haven’€™t done in the past, the Super Bowls we’€™ve won, the ones we didn’€™t win, championships and so forth, really, it’€™s not about that right now,” Belichick said. “This is about an opportunity for this team at this time to be special this year. Again, whatever did or didn’€™t happen, we don’€™t really care now at this point; we care about what happens on Sunday and what we’€™ll leave as the legacy and what the mark of this team is. That’€™s the passion that this group of players and coaches have for each other. So it’€™s really not about anything that has happened. It’€™s about what’€™s going to happen Sunday. That’€™s where we’€™re at.”

“These are opportunities that come up that you guys kind of put together to see the storyline to it,” added Carroll. “This is really this game, and this opportunity is rare in itself and unique in itself. If there’€™s reason to look back and say, ‘€˜We did this,’€™ and, ‘€˜We did that,’€™ and make connections and storylines for all that, that’€™s really for you guys to do that. That has nothing to do with what’€™s going on and it’€™s not really our focus at all ‘€“ it’€™s this great matchup that we have. We have family in, it’€™s a great time to be together, it’€™s a great celebration for everyone, and it’€™s fun for it to be shared so I enjoy them here.’€

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

PHOENIX — One of the first observations Bill Belichick made about his Super Bowl opponent after they beat the Packers in the NFC championship was their tenacity.

On Friday, during a joint press conference with counterpart Pete Carroll, Belichick went even further.

Each coach was asked if there was a quality about the other he wish he or his team had. Belichick admitted that there have been many times this season where his team has played very well in stretches but not consistently for an entire game, something that Belichick believes is crucial to a Patriots win on Sunday.

“I think when I’€™ve watched Pete’€™s teams play through the years ‘€“ most particularly with Seattle ‘€“ the thing that impresses me the most and the thing that I guess I would like to do a better job of is just the way that his teams play for 60 minutes,” Belichick said. “They play from the opening kickoff to the final whistle or the final gun. They play from the snap of the ball until the whistle blows at the end of the play. They play extremely hard down after down after down, week after week, year after year. They compete relentlessly as well as any team or any organization I’€™ve ever observed.

“They just compete relentlessly on, not even 60 minutes ‘€“ it’€™s even longer, like last week against Green Bay. But it’€™s from the opening kickoff to the final gun and they’€™re just never going to let up in any phase of the game: offense, defense, special teams, the receivers, the defensive backs, the linemen, the quarterback. Everybody just competes at such a high level for every single second that they’€™re out there, and I think that’€™s a great credit and attribute to Pete and his staff.

The players they brought in there, they’€™re just relentless in the way that they play. And so I think that any coach wants his team to play that way and I think that Seattle and Pete really are the model for that. They do a better job than anybody. And I’€™m not saying that there aren’€™t other teams that are in that category or very close to them, but I put them at the top.”

Carroll had the chance to answer the question and paid respect to the consistency of Belichick.

“What I’€™m always impressed by is the consistency the performer or team can have over a long period of time and sustain. The fact that these guys ‘€“ some of the numbers that you throw out, like having the first round bye 10 times in your time at one club, all the championship opportunities and all of the Super Bowls.

“The ability to continue to show, regardless of the personnel and regardless of the coaching staff ‘€“ who some have gone on to do great things ‘€“ and players that have come and gone too, they’€™ve maintained the consistency of championship-level play, and that’€™s Bill; that’€™s Bill’€™s direction and the leadership and I think that that’€™s something that anybody in our world would like to be able to share and understand, and that’€™s winning over a long period of time, showing you got it, you got it together, and you’€™ve kind of done something really special with special areas. So I think he’€™s done a fantastic job in that regard and that’€™s something that I would like to be able to demonstrate someday.”

With a win Sunday, Carroll would become the first coach since Belichick to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles, and just the seventh coach in history to accomplish the feat. Chuck Noll is the only coach ever to do it twice.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Pete Carroll (left) and Bill Belichick hold court during Friday's joint news conference. (Mike Petraglia/

Pete Carroll (left) and Bill Belichick hold court during Friday’s joint news conference. (Mike Petraglia/

PHOENIX — Bill Belichick isn’t worried about how his substitutions will be handled in light of his four-man offensive line and tackle-eligible formations in the playoffs so far.

NFL director of officiating Dean Blandino corrected his Super Bowl referee Bill Vinovich Thursday on how to announce ineligible receivers that enter a game.

There will be a hand signal from Vinovich indicating which player is not eligible, as opposed to a verbal indication, as was the case against the Ravens. However it’s handled Sunday, Belichick isn’t worried.

“€œWell, I’€™ll start and say that’€™s not my job,” Belichick said. “Whatever the officials do, that’€™s their protocol and their mechanics. Whatever that is, you should direct that, as far as I’€™m concerned, to the league.”

Blandino was told by a reporter Thursday that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll thought the hand signal was something new. Blandino said it was not. Carroll clarified his feelings Friday.

“€œI don’€™t have any problem with the way we expect it to be handled,” Carroll said. “They’€™ll do a great job and we’€™re very tuned into it. Bill’€™s done a job of challenging me with some really unique and innovative ideas in how to move people around. They do have to be on their toes, but they’€™re ready to do that and they’€™ll do a great job. I don’€™t think there’€™s going to be any issue with that in terms of this game at all.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

PHOENIX — As a part of his state of the league address on Friday, commissioner Roger Goodell addressed Deflategate and the ongoing investigation by Ted Wells.

Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed Deflategate during his state of the league address Friday. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed Deflategate during his state of the league address Friday. (Elsa/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — As a part of his state of the league address on Friday, commissioner Roger Goodell addressed Deflategate and the ongoing investigation by Ted Wells.

Goodell said the investigation is centered around underinflated footballs used in the AFC championship game and if it was done deliberately. He said Wells and his team are hard at work on investigating the matter and release the findings when it is complete. He said they will do it “thorough” and “fair.”

“We take seriously anything that impacts the integrity of the game,” Goodell said.

“We have made no judgments on these points and will not compromise the investigation by engaging in speculation,” he added.

He added later in the press conference: “We don’t know enough in this investigation to know who is responsible, or even if there is an infraction”

Goodell said it didn’t matter how much of an advantage was gained by the possible use of underinflated footballs. He said rules are rules, also mentioning penalties, fines, suspensions and draft picks as possible measures of discipline.

The commissioner was asked if footballs have ever been tested in the middle of a game before for PSI, like they were at halftime of the AFC title game. He said he didn’t know the answer to that question.

Goodell was also asked about the comments made by Patriots owner Robert Kraft of he and the league owing him an apology if the investigation finds the Patriots did no wrong.

Goodell didn’t directly address the comments, but said the league needed to address the matter.

“This is my job, this is the job of the league,” said Goodell.

He was later asked about him being in a photo with Kraft the night before the AFC championship game and said he was there with sponsors, saying it was not unusual to do such a thing.

He added: “Professionally I have a relationship with [Kraft], and I also admire, respect and think very highly of him.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

With Tom Brady and the high-powered Patriots offense facing off against Richard Sherman and the Seahawks‘ Legion of Boom defense in just two days, NFL insiders and analysts across the nation are offering their predictions. And to no surprise, they’re almost split on their opinions.

At ESPN, the Pats are a heavy favorite, with nine of 13 experts choosing New England. Merril Hoge, Ron Jawowrski, KC Joyner, Chris Mortensen, Adam Schefter, Mark Schlereth, Seth Wickersham, Keyshawn Johnson, and Mike Ditka are all leaning toward a Patriots victory. Meanwhile, Eric Allen, Mike Golic, Tom Jackson, and Cris Carter are predicting a Seattle win.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

At CBS, the Pats are also favored, but only by a 5-3 majority. Pete Prisco, Jason La Canfora, Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson, and Jamey Eisenberg are predicting the trophy will return to New England, while. Jared Dublin, John Breech and Dave Richard are looking for a repeat victory by Seattle.

SB Nation‘s experts, meanwhile, are leaning toward the Seahawks. Joel Thorman and Matt Ufford are the only two analysts picking the Pats. Ryan Van Bibber, Stephen White, David Fucillo, and Danny Kelly are predicting a Seattle win.‘s experts are also giving an edge to Seattle at an 8-6 margin. Adam Schein, Marc Sessler, Chris Weaseling, Dave Dameshek, Gregg Rosenthal, and Elliot Harrison are predicting a Patriots victory. Meanwhile, Bucky Brooks, Aditi Kinkhabwala, Charley Casserly, Gil Brandt, Kevin Patra, Charles Davis, Brian Billick, and Conor Orr are looking for another Seattle win.

Following are more Super Bowl XLIX predictions from around the country:

Adam Schein, Patriots 31, Seahawks 27. “New England is angry, talented and motivated to change the conversation. You never go against Bill Belichick in a big spot.”

Neil Greenberg, Washington Post: Patriots 23, Seahawks 20. “The key for New England will be to keep the pressure off Brady and for him to complete the short passes while getting the ball to their best playmaker, tight end Rob Gronkowski.”

Sean O’Donnell, Bleacher Report: Seahawks 27, Patriots 24. “Both of these teams are extremely well put together, and we should expect a highly intense game that will most likely be decided in the final minute. The nod here goes to the squad that is more likely to force its opponent to play into its strengths, and that team is Seattle.”

Several analysts and experts were asked for their predictions by Middays with MFB. Their predictions are below:

Alfred Williams, former Broncos lineman: “I am picking the Seattle Seahawks to wax the New England Patriots by a minimum of 13 points, because attitude counts in this game, and they have more.”

A.J. Feeley, former NFL quarterback: Patriots 24, Seahawks 20. “My boy Brady is going to get his fourth Super Bowl and go down as the best quarterback of all time.”

Anthony Munoz, former Bengals offensive lineman: Patriots 27, Seahawks 21.

Barry Sanders, former Lions RB: Patriots 35, Seahawks 34.

Bill Romanowski, former Boston College and NFL linebacker: “I think the team that scores the most points is going to win. I know that’s a little hard for some people to understand. And I think the Patriots will score more points.”

Chris Cooley, former NFL tight end: Patriots 24, Seahawks 17.

Hugh Millen, Seattle radio and TV personality and former Patriots quarterback: Seahawks 27, Patriots 25 — “I think this defense is going to do enough against those relatively average receivers for the Patriots.”

Jack Youngblood, former rams linebacker: Patriots 37, Seahawks 21 — “I’m going with Brady.”

Joe Theismann, former NFL quarterback: “I think New England wins by seven.”

Justin Tuck, former Giants defensive end: Seahawks 27, Patriots 21.

Mike Haynes, former Patriots and Raiders defensive back: Patriots 28, Seahawks 20 — “I think they’re going to win in the fourth quarter. I think they’re going to win using the running game.”

Ickey Woods, former Bengals running back: Seahawks 28, Patriots 24.

Jim Miller, former NFL quarterback: Patriots 27, Seahawks 24.

Pat Kirwan, former NFL executive: Seahawks 24, Patriots 21.

Scott Hanson, NFL Network: I’m leaning toward the best defense in this game. I think Seahawks by a field goal.”

Deion Branch, former Patriots and Seahawks receiver: Patriots 17, Seahawks 10.

As for WEEI’s hosts, Gerry Callahan (28-24), John Dennis (27-24), Christian Fauria and Lou Merloni predicted the Patriots to win. Kirk Minihane went with the Seahawks, 24-20.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Middays with MFB to discuss Deflategate and preview the Super Bowl.

Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Middays with MFB to discuss Deflategate and preview the Super Bowl. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Schefter discussed how the close relationship between Patriots owner Robert Kraft and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be affected by the Deflategate controversy.

“The majority of fans outside of the New England area, they don’t like the Patriots, they don’t want to believe the Patriots, and they think the Patriots did wrong,” Schefter said. “And you have this public at large that wants to see New England hung for this. And then you’ve got Roger Goodell’s biggest supporter owning that football team. So it leaves Roger Goodell and the NFL in a real no-win situation. … The challenge here may be if there is any evidence to make sure that all sides are satisfied with the outcome of this particular case.”

Last Saturday, coach Bill Belichick held a press conference addressing the controversy and passionately defending his team and organization.

“No. 1, Bill Belichick truly believes that his team did no wrong,” Schefter said. “There may have been something that went on, but I don’t believe that he had any idea that anything happened. I really believe that.”

Added Schefter: “I think [Belichick] wanted to make it very clear that he didn’t know about it and I think No. 2, he wanted to put everything that he had out there defending his team in the strongest manner possible so that they could go to Scottsdale and then say, look, I did two press conferences last week, I answered all these questions, and before the week kicks into high gear, he’s got it out of the way.”

With Deflategate still dominating the national media, Schefter discussed how the Pats should approach the Super Bowl in the midst of the controversy.

“You can’t go into a game thinking of the enormity of it,” Schefter said. “You can’t think that this game has more significance on our legacy and this season than anything else. … It has a ginormous feel. It feels different, but you can’t approach it that way, you just have approach it like it’s Week 1 or Week 8 or Week 12 or whatever it may be.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

NFL Network analyst and former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest checked in with Middays with MFB on Friday to preview the Super Bowl. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Putting the controversy aside and looking forward to Sunday’s game, McGinest was not willing to predict a Super Bowl winner.

“Anything could happen, I mean, it’s tough to try to predict,” McGinest said. “Look at all the games that nobody could get right this year. What I’m saying is, this is a heavyweight matchup. I love the way these two teams match up. The two right teams are here.”

Added McGinest: “There’s no excuses [for the Patriots]. The No. 1 thing going into this year from last year is health. They’ve got a lot of guys healthy outside of Jerod Mayo. Pretty much the defense is together and they’re ready to play. Offensively, all hands on deck. When you look at the mentality and the way they’re playing right now, beating teams in a lot of different ways. Whether it’s the ground game against Indianapolis, whether it’s the pass attack, spread offense vs. Baltimore, the defense playing a lot of man — Browner, Revis — they’re taking guys away. … It’s exciting.”

When asked for his response to Deflategate and the Patriots legacy, the three-time Super Bowl champion said that nothing should take away from what the team has accomplished.

“You talk about Deflategate, you break all those scenarios down,” McGinest said. “OK, they took the footballs at halftime, they went on a 28-0 run after that. I mean, I understand that this team knows the rules probably better than any organization in the league, and do they use it to their benefit? Yeah. Do they certain things that are cutting edge or pushing the line? Maybe. But is that the reason for all the Patriots’ success as far as the players, what they put into it and coach Belichick’s success? No, it’s not.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler