Saying his team ''followed every rule to the letter,'' New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick described in detail how his team prepares its footballs on game day and defended his players from chatter that they made it to the Super Bowl by cheating. ''At no time was there any intent whatsoever to try to compromise the integrity of the game or to gain an advantage,'' Belichick said in an unscheduled availability on Saturday afternoon, eight days before the Patriots will play the Seattle Seahawks for the NFL championship. Anything that's close, we stay as far away from the line as we can.'' Speaking once again with authority on a topic he previously professed ignorance of, Belichick said the team conducted an internal study on the process of getting game balls ready. I'm not an expert in football measurements,'' Belichick said.
After three days of light, make that very light, workouts, Team Irvin and Team Carter are ready for Sunday night's Pro Bowl. Tony Romo will start at quarterback for Team Irvin, Andrew Luck for Team Carter in the second year of a format concocted to bring some life to an event that had become a show of halfhearted effort, little defense and practically no blocking. Not that it was anything close to a regular NFL game, and not even in the same stratosphere as what will be happening on the same field a week later when Seattle and New England meet in the Super Bowl. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford joked that he could make a deal with Lions safety Glover Quin that Quinn would allow Stafford to throw a touchdown, and Stafford would throw Quinn an interception.
For all the importance placed around finding the right quarterback, the trade that brought Marshawn Lynch to Seattle part way through the 2010 season could be considered the most important transaction Pete Carroll made in the makeover of the Seahawks. Lynch provided the Seahawks an attitude that spread through the locker room. ''I kind of love his act,'' Seattle general manager John Schneider said. All that Lynch has provided the Seahawks makes it seem unfathomable that next Sunday's Super Bowl against New England could be his finale in Seattle.
Richard Sherman gave Tom Brady an earful and trolled him on Twitter a few years ago. This Super Bowl between the New England Patriots (14-4) and Seattle Seahawks (14-4) will feature some epic yapping from some of the best trash-talkers in the NFL. ''I think people get a skewed view of Tom Brady, that he's just a clean-cut, does-everything-right (guy), and never says a bad word to anyone, and we know him to be otherwise,'' Sherman said.
The Baltimore Ravens intend to cut ties with defensive tackle Terrence Cody, who's under investigation for animal cruelty. The Ravens made no reference to the investigation Friday, when it issued a one-sentence news release that said Cody's contract will be terminated after the Super Bowl. A team spokesman, however, said, ''We are aware there is an investigation.'' The 26-year-old Cody is the subject of an ongoing probe launched by the Baltimore County State's Attorney's office. According to Cody's agent, Peter Schaffer, Cody took his dog to a veterinarian for treatment and the pet subsequently died.
Ryan Grigson is putting the ball squarely in the NFL's court. The Colts general manager has gone silent on the hottest topic in the NFL ahead of next week's Super Bowl: whether the New England Patriots intentionally deflated footballs in Sunday's 45-7 victory over Indianapolis that gave them the AFC championship and a trip to Arizona to face Seattle. I can't do that,'' Grigson said Friday when asked if the Colts notified the league about a potential deflation problem. I'm sorry.'' Grigson spoke shortly before the NFL said that evidence shows the Patriots used underinflated footballs during the first half of the game.