An Early Super Bowl Primer

By Tony McClean
Updated: January 26, 2005

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — So now it comes down to the Eagles vs. the Patriots in Jacksonville for Super Bowl XXXIX on February 6th. While we get set for a week of hype, hype, and more hype, BASN will take an early look at the game before we make our pick next week. In reading this primer, you may get an early sense of who’ll we think will take the Lombardi Trophy home.

T.O. OR NO T.O. Chad Lewis’ foot injury in the NFC title game win all but accelerated the Terrell Owens rumors for Super Sunday. Not to mention having Andy Reid all but guarantee that No. 81 will at least suit up in Jacksonville during the George Halas Trophy ceremony. Conflicting reports have T.O. well ahead of his training schedule and or still feeling soreness. It’s probably safer to say that he’ll either be a non-factor or the world’s largest decoy.

AN EARLY LINE Following the end of Sunday’s conference title games, the Patriots emerged as a 6-point favorite over the Birds. Some feel it will be even larger come game time. But keep this in mind: A certain New England team wasn’t given a chance to defeat the St. Louis Rams about three Super Bowls ago. There’s no doubt that the Pats appear to be the better team, but all football fans should know that they’re far from unbeatable.

THE LAST MEETING Way back in Week 2 of the 2003 season, these two teams met at Lincoln Financial Field. They were both coming off Opening Week shutouts (Pats lost 31-0 at Buffalo; Eagles fell 17-0 to Tampa at Philly). In the 31-10 win by New England, Tom Brady threw three TD passes and the Pats’ D sacked Donovan McNabb seven times. The loss led to Rush Limbaugh’s racist comments about No. 5 a week later. Philly would go on to win 11 of their next 12 en route to another NFC East crown. You already know what the Pats did after that game.

DILLON DELIVERS One major reason why the Patriots are a tougher team to deal with is the Corey Dillon factor. No. 28 takes the pressure off QB Tom Brady and makes New England’s offense even more potent. The AFC title win was almost a highlight reel of how explosive their offense is and can be. It will be interesting to see what will happen to the offense once Charlie Weis leaves to go the Golden Dome.

OTHER FOOTBALL THOUGHTS — Note to Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank: Give Red McCombs a call and see if he’s really serious about dealing Randy Moss. While he has very serious baggage, giving Michael Vick another explosive weapon could be the one thing that gets Atlanta back to the Super Bowl sooner than later.

– Hampton All-American WR Jerome Mathis helped increase his NFL Draft status at the Village’s Gridiron Classic in Florida last weekend. He scored on a 26-yard reception and a 38-yard flanker reverse. Mathis, whose North squad lost 24-21 to the South, finished with two receptions for 59 yards and two carries for 49 yards, totaling 108 yards of total offense. He also had a 35-yard kickoff return.

– Mathis is also among some of the prominent HBCU gridders slated to attend the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on February 23rd. Others scheduled to attend are Howard DB Ronald Bartell, North Carolina A&T C Junious Coston, FAMU QB Ben Dougherty, Bowie State S Atcheson Conway, Grambling DE Kenneth Pettway, Bethune Cookman DB Nick Collins, Norfolk State WR Howard Gilmore, and Morgan State WR Tommy Manus.