Brad Hoover is looking for ecxcuses as to why his 2003 Carolina team lost to the Patriots. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Brad Hoover is looking for excuses as to why his 2003 Carolina team lost to the Patriots. (Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Another day, another accusation from a Super Bowl loser.

Former Panthers fullback Brad Hoover, who was part of the Carolina team that lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII by a 32-29 score, told 610 WFNZ on Thursday that believes something was fishy regarding New England winning that game.

“Can I prove they cheated? No,” Hoover said of the Patriots. “But deep down in my heart, I think they did.”

Hoover pointed to the halftime changes the Panthers were able to make that allowed them to score as many points as they did in the second half.

“At halftime, we changed our whole offensive game plan, and that’s one of the advantages of having that long intermission,” Hoover said. “How did they know what we were doing? The play in the second half was a lot different. We were able to put a lot more points on the board, and I think that’s a part of it.”

Hoover is just the latest member of that team to accuse that New England team of cheating, a group that includes former Carolina GM Marty Hurney.

Of course, Hoover didn’t mention the fact that Carolina kicker John Kasay kicked the ball out of bounds late in the fourth quarter that allowed the Patriots to gain terrific field position at the start of what would turn out to be the game-winning drive. Or the fact that several reports point to the fact that “several” members of that Panthers team used steroids that season, and that their drug use was apparently so rampant it alarmed Congress.

But that’s not important.

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

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Aqib Talib has been enjoying everything about Super Bowl week in Santa Clara. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Aqib Talib has been enjoying everything about Super Bowl week in Santa Clara. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — This has been a week for Aqib Talib to soak it all in.

The veteran corner, who turns 30 on Feb. 13, is taking in all the vibes from his first Super Bowl experience.

“It’€™s a lot of fun,” Talib said. “You have to have the fun, lock in and work and then you have fun, lock in and work. You just have to balance it. We’€™re all enjoying it.”

He’s been enjoying himself on and off the field, as his three interceptions in practice on Wednesday would suggest.

“They have cameras at practice? [laughter],” Talib said with a big grin. “I did. I was able to make some plays on the ball. We had a good look from our offense from our scout team offense. I was able to make some plays on the ball.”

Earlier in the week, Talib gave props to Bill Belichick in New England for helping him understand and appreciate the professional approach of a winner in the NFL. But, on Thursday, the final day of player availability before the Super Bowl, he made it clear Belichick let his team have its share of fun on the field.

“It’€™s a lot similar,” Talib said comparing Belichick to Broncos coach Gary Kubiak. “It’€™s a lot similar, you’€™d be surprised. People think New England is like a military school and boy school and don’€™t talk. It’€™s not like that ‘€“ they have fun over there as well, it’€™s just a tight knit group. Bill just doesn’€™t mess with you all. He just doesn’€™t mess with the media.”

Talib let everyone in on another secret on Thursday. Belichick nearly gave him a chance to help Tom Brady.

“Actually, when I first got to New England, I think my first practice maybe, Bill kept me after practice for like 20 minutes and Tom threw me like ten routes: stop routes, fades, a couple slants the first day I got there. I guess I didn’€™t look good enough because he never did it again,” Talib laughed. “I feel like I caught all of my passes though. I was working hard out there but I still want to know what happened with that, Bill. He definitely kept me after practice though and Tom threw me about a good 10 routes.”

The Patriots weren’t the first team to try Talib out on offense.

“In Tampa, I was this close, I was young too. I was young and flying around. I was this close to getting an offensive package. I came to work late on a Monday. Raheem Morris called me up to his office and said, ‘€˜I had a 15-play script for you on offense,’€™ and ripped it up (laughter). That’€™s Raheem Morris, he’€™s my dog. He was going to give me an opportunity.”

Why all the attention to offense for a guy that’s made his name as one of the best corners in the game?

“Because I used to play offense. I used to love playing offense,” Talib said. “I played offense in high school, in college, and I don’€™t get to play it in the league. So when I get the ball I have to score my touchdowns like I’€™m on offense. I just like offensive guys, they don’€™t practice tackling like that. It would be wrong to let those guys tackle me when I get the ball. That’€™s kind of how I go about it.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia


SAN JOSE, Calif. — As he was concluding his interviews with the Carolina Panthers, rap legend Snoop Dogg video bombed Mike Petraglia as he headed out the door of the San Jose Convention Center.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Luke Kuechly speaks Thursday at the final media availability in San Jose. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Luke Kuechly speaks Thursday at the final media availability in San Jose. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

SAN JOSE, Calif. — As he was making his rounds through both the Broncos and Panthers media camps on Thursday, Snoop Dogg made a point to stop by and say hi to Luke Kuechly and pay him some might high praise.

“You’re the best linebacker in football, man,” the rap legend said. “Take it from Snoop.”

All the humble linebacker could muster with a wide grin was “thanks, thanks a lot!”

Snoop is not alone. There are many in the game right now, both on and off the field who think that the Boston College product might just be the best all-around linebacker in football. That has prompted the conversation of where Kuechly, who left after his junior year in 2012, belongs in the great pantheon of Boston College football players. Matt Ryan was selected by the Falcons third overall in 2008. Four years later, it was Kuechly going ninth overall to the Panthers.

“I don’t know about the best player. We’ve had a lot of good guys come out. We’ve had some linebackers that have come out. Bill Romanowski was a great player. Mark Herzlich‘s been a great player. Matt Ryan and Gosder Cherilus and Anthony Castonzo and I’m sure I’m missing guys. Those guys came out and did a great job.”

But of all the great NFL talent that Boston College has produced, Kuechly pointed to another BC product that had a much bigger impact in the CFL than the NFL.

“Doug Flutie to me is Mr. BC,” Kuechly said. “He’s got a statue in front of the stadium. He’s won the Heisman. He’s going to go down as one of the players that has one of the all-time plays in college football history. Doug Flutie, if you talk about people from Boston College, Doug Flutie, I think, is still the guy.”

While that was all nice and flowery, there are a lot of Patriots fans who still fume when they see the All-American smile. That’s, of course, because of his WWE hold on Rob Gronkowski in the end zone on the game’s last play in Nov. 2013 on a Monday night game that allowed the Panthers to escape, 24-20.

“”Of course, of course, everyone was giving me grief for it,” Kuechly said. “We had a couple of guys that we played with that are Massachusetts guys that are big Patriots fans. You go to school in Boston, there are going to be buddies that are off the team that you’re friends with so. They’re giving me some grief for it but it’s all fun and games.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

SAN FRANCISCO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia wraps up the final day of media availability for both the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers prior to Super Bowl 50, to be played Sunday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Petraglia spoke to Luke Kuechly about his days at Boston College and Aqib Talib about his days in New England. The star of the day in both Santa Clara (Broncos) and San Jose (Panthers) was legendary rapper Snoop Dogg.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

SAN FRANCISCO — Tom Brady will be at the Super Bowl after all.

Joe Montana, not Tom Brady, named quarterback of the Super Bowl 50 Golden Team. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Joe Montana, not Tom Brady, named quarterback of the Super Bowl 50 Golden Team. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO — Tom Brady will be at the Super Bowl after all.

Brady will be on hand to be honored as a past Super Bowl MVP, a source confirms to WEEI’s Ryan Hannable. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal’s Kevin Clark.

The NFL is honoring all previous 43 winners of the award and, despite speculation that Brady would skip the event, the Patriots quarterback will be on the field as a three-time winner.

Brady was the MVP of Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XLIX. Brady and his his childhood hero Joe Montana have three apiece to lead the way. The only other players with multiple honors are Terry Bradshaw (XIII, XIV) and Eli Manning (XLII, XLVI).

Thursday’s report comes on the heels of the news this week that Montana beat out Brady as the Super Bowl 50 “Golden Team” quarterback.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

2007 Patriots team far more superior than current Panthers squad.</p>
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While it is unlikely Tom Brady will comment on Roger Goodell’s recent remarks on the NFL doing “spot checks” and not a research study taking PSI readings from footballs in random games over the course of the the 2015 season, his dad is doing the talking for him.

Tom Brady Sr. doesn't know if his son would attend Super Bowl 50. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Tom Brady Sr. doesn’t know if his son will attend Super Bowl 50. (Elsa/Getty Images)

While it is unlikely Tom Brady will comment on Roger Goodell’s recent remarks on the NFL doing “spot checks” and not a research study taking PSI readings from footballs in random games over the course of the the 2015 season, his dad is doing the talking for him.

“What the league did this year was what we do with a lot of rules and policies designed to protect the integrity of the game and that is to create a deterrent effect — that we do spot checks to prevent and make sure the clubs understand that we’€™re watching these issues,” Goodell said on The Rich Eisen Show Tuesday. “It wasn’€™t a research study. They simply were spot checks.”

Goodell didn’t say if the league would be releasing the data.

“That’s laughable. It’s just laughable,” Brady Sr. said in an interview with Christopher Gasper of The Boston Globe. “I don’t unfortunately think it was in the league’s best interest to release something that exonerated Tom. All the rest of it is nonsense. It’s air.”

It’s been a long year for both Brady and his family. The quarterback’s dad wished it would have ended differently on the field.

“It’s been a crazy, difficult year. It’s disappointing we didn’t cap it off in Santa Clara,” Brady Sr. said.

As tough as the year has been on everyone, Brady Sr. said he and his wife are trying to not let it affect them on a day-to-day basis.

“My wife and I have decided as it affected us last year, we’re not going to let it affect us moving forward,” he said. “We’re trying to forgive an obvious plastering of our son’s reputation. We’re trying to say, you know what, forgive and forget. As a Christian, it is eating me up inside. It ate my wife up. It’s had to do. It’s easy to be bitter.”

As of Wednesday night, Brady Sr. did not know if his son would attend Super Bowl 50, as part of the NFL honoring the previous Super Bowl MVPs.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable