FOXBORO — Much of New England seems to be upset Roger Goodell will not be in attendance Sunday for the AFC championship game as he will be in at Atlanta for the second straight weekend for the NFC title games.

But the Patriots players don’t seem to care at all.

Roger Goodell won't be in New England on Sunday. (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

Roger Goodell won’t be in New England on Sunday. (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Much of New England seems to be upset Roger Goodell will not be in attendance Sunday for the AFC championship game as he will be in at Atlanta for the second straight weekend for the NFC title games.

But the Patriots players don’t seem to care at all.

“I could not care less,” wide receiver Chris Hogan said. “I’m focused on Pittsburgh and their defense and studying them as much as I can this week, watching them as much as I can so I can go out there on Sunday prepared.”

Special teams captain Matthew Slater isn’t concerned about it, either.

“Not necessarily, I mean the game is going to be played and whoever is in attendance is in attendance,” he said. “We’re just worried about trying to play well.”

Hogan is also just glad to still be playing football this time of year considering this is his first playoff appearance.

“On a couch watching football, wishing that I was in this position,” he said of what he was doing last year at this time. “I’m fortunate to be in this position now and I’m going to go out there and give it everything I have to help this team win.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Matthew Slater wasn't bothered by Mike Tomlin's comments. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Matthew Slater wasn’t bothered by Mike Tomlin’s comments. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — While the Patriots had little reaction to Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video from after Sunday’s game in the Steelers locker room, they were reminded of the NFL’s social media policy.

The policy states players cannot post to social media 90 minutes before the game and not until postgame interviews are over.

“I believe there’s one for the NFL, and we were reminded of that,” receiver Chris Hogan said. “I’m not sure what the timing is, but obviously, I don’t think we’ll see guys doing that in the locker room.”

Special teams captain Matthew Slater added: “Yes, we have a team policy on that. [It’s] strictly enforced, and we go from there.”

Despite Steelers coach Mike Tomlin calling the Patriots a-holes in the video, Slater said the video will not impact how how views him.

“I have a lot of respect for Coach Tomlin,” he said. “I appreciate the way he preps his team. I’ve had a good working relationship with him over the years, and it will continue to be that way.”

The Patriots will also not be using the video as motivation for Sunday, as it is the AFC title game after all.

“We’re playing in the AFC championship game,” Slater said. “If you can’t get motivated to play in this game, then you’re in the wrong sport.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — Even before the Patriots practiced this week there was a good sign as wide receiver Chris Hogan walked through the locker room on Tuesday with no sign of a limp.

This comes after the receiver left Saturday’s game against the Texans with a thigh injury and didn’t return.

Chris Hogan appears good to go for Sunday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Chris Hogan appears good to go for Sunday. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

FOXBORO — Even before the Patriots practiced this week there was a good sign as wide receiver Chris Hogan walked through the locker room on Tuesday with no sign of a limp.

This comes after the receiver left Saturday’s game against the Texans with a thigh injury and didn’t return.

“I’m feeling good,” Hogan said. “I just had a little minor setback in the game. I am working back every single day. Feeling better everyday.”

The receiver, who was having a great game until getting injured (four catches on four targets for 95 yards), said he likely would have returned if the game were closer.

“There was if I had to get back in there,” he said. “Just with the training staff and coaches it was the right direction.”

Hogan is looking forward to getting back on the field, as this is his first playoff experience.

“Man, it’s an all or nothing kind of thing,” he said. “We were fortunate enough to win the last game and now we’re moving on. Everything that we have to win this game, we’re putting everything we have into it. Whatever we feel as players, as coaches, that we can do to help the team win we are going to do it this week.”

Given the fact Hogan spoke on Tuesday, it’s a good sign he will be available on Sunday.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Terry McAulay will work as the referee for Sunday’s AFC title game between the Patriots and Steelers, according to FootballZebras.com.

Terry McAulay will referee Sunday's AFC title game.  (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Terry McAulay will referee Sunday’s AFC title game. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Terry McAulay will work as the referee for Sunday’s AFC title game between the Patriots and Steelers, according to FootballZebras.com.

McAulay began his NFL career as a side judge in 1998 before becoming a referee in 2001. However, New England games have been few and far between for McAulay as of late: This will be the first Patriots game for McAulay since Nov. 8. 2015, a contest at Gillette between the New England and Washington. Overall, it’s just his second Patriots’ game since the start of the 2014 season. (Here’s a closer look at his career, via Pro Football Reference.)

This is a complete list of who has worked as the referee for each Patriots’ game this year and the corresponding penalties for each contest, not counting the flags that were offset or declined:

Sept. 11 at Arizona: Tony Corrente — 8 penalties, 69 yards (Cardinals — 6 penalties, 58 yards)
Sept. 18 vs. Miami: Craig Wrolstad — 7 penalties, 65 yards (Dolphins — 5 penalties, 49 yards)
Sept. 22 vs. Houston: Walt Coleman — 3 penalties, 15 yards (Texans — 6 penalties, 43 yards)
Oct. 2 vs. Buffalo: Pete Morelli — 9 penalties, 74 yards (Bills — 6 penalties, 60 yards)
Oct. 9 at Cleveland: Bill Vinovich — 5 penalties, 61 yards (Browns — 5 penalties, 35 yards)
Oct. 16 vs. Cincinnati: Ronald Torbert — 6 penalties, 55 yards (Bengals — 7 penalties, 46 yards)
Oct. 23 at Pittsburgh: Craig Wrolstad — 4 penalties, 40 yards (Steelers — 10 penalties, 85 yards)
Oct. 30 at Buffalo: John Parry — 10 penalties, 116 yards (Bills — 12 penalties, 84 yards)
Nov. 13 vs. Seattle: Gene Steratore — 7 penalties, 61 yards (Seahawks — 8 penalties, 60 yards)
Nov. 20 at San Francisco: Jeff Triplette — 5 penalties, 40 yards (Niners — 10 penalties, 68 yards)
Nov. 27 at New York Jets: Brad Allen — 2 penalties, 15 yards (Jets — 6 penalties, 66 yards)
Dec. 4 vs. Los Angeles: Jerome Boger — 8 penalties, 46 yards (Rams — 4 penalties, 30 yards)
Dec. 12 vs. Baltimore: Ed Hochuli — 5 penalties, 48 yards (Ravens — 8 penalties, 47 yards)
Dec. 18 at Denver: Walt Anderson — 4 penalties, 30 yards (Broncos — 5 penalties, 49 yards)
Dec. 24 vs. Jets: Gene Steratore — 3 penalties, 20 yards (Jets — 6 penalties, 77 yards)
Jan. 1 at Miami: John Parry — 7 penalties, 64 yards (Dolphins — 9 penalties, 73 yards)
Divisional Playoffs: Jan. 14 vs. Houston: Pete Morelli — 5 penalties, 50 yards (Houston — 5 penalties, 75 yards)

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Tom Brady says what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room — the Patriots PR team must not know that. https://t.co/gmzG8CdTfx pic.twitter.com/oAPrr23rj9

— Sporting News (@sportingnews) January 17, 2017

Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger sounded mad and disappointed, but not overly upset about Antonio Brown’s now infamous Facebook Live video that captured coach Mike Tomlin ripping the Patriots.

Ben Roethlisberger wasn't thrilled about what Antonio Brown did. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t thrilled about what Antonio Brown did. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger sounded mad and disappointed, but not overly upset about Antonio Brown’s now infamous Facebook Live video that captured coach Mike Tomlin ripping the Patriots.

On Tuesday, Roethlisberger called the locker room “a sacred place,” which is one of the reasons he had an issue with what Brown did.

“I know he’s excited. Everyone’s excited. They want to share it with the world and with fans and all that stuff. And it’s hard, because you are excited. You’re happy, and you won a big game, and you made a big play to win the game,” he said.

“But I am a little disappointed that he did that, because that is a sacred thing. Coach talked, and then I talked. And you don’t want everyone to know what’s going on in there in the family.

“It is what it is. I think it’ll get addressed tomorrow by coach. And we move on — that’s the way it has to be,” he said. “It’s not like this is some make-or-break thing for us, it just is something that’s kind of disappointing, and we move on from it.”

Roethlisberger called in “water under the bridge,” and anticipated it would be addressed by Tomlin sooner rather than later.

“It’s just more disappointing than anger,” he added. “I’m not angry at [Brown], it’s just disappointing that that sacred time was kind of violated a little bit, and that he wasn’t paying attention to coach and myself talking after the game.

“That’s all. Like I said, it’ll be water under the bridge here for me when we’re done talking about it.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price