NEW ORLEANS — Thanks to Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal for the most incredible tidbit of the week: The names of the opposing defensive coordinators are Lovie and Romeo.
With that, we give to you on the eve of Super Bowl XXXVI the most feel-good story that we can possibly muster. Call this an early Valentine’s Day present from all of us, and we hope you all love Sunday’s game. Sincerely.
By just being here in this Super Bowl, the Patriots have done more for this organization than they will ever realize.
Assuming no injuries or other unforeseen calamities, by game’s end, look at what Patriot Nation will be able to proclaim, win or lose:
Tebucky Jones has been in more Super Bowls than Sam Madison.
Bill Belichick has been in more Super Bowls than Bill Parcells.
Brandon Mitchell has been in more Super Bowls than Vonnie Holliday.
Rod Rutledge has been in more Super Bowls than Todd Heap.
David Patten has been in more Super Bowls than David Terrell.
Richard Seymour has been in more Super Bowls than Tony Brackens.
Forget Super Bowl XX. Denver got creamed worse in a New Orleans Super Bowl than New England did.
Mike Jones is no longer a Ram. Patten or Troy Brown will get that one extra yard this time.
Terry Glenn sued the NFL this week, and the story barely made someone’s “Patriots Notebook” column.
It’s truly metaphysical. Of the last four New Orleans Super Bowls, the Patriots have been in three of them.
Bill Russell. Bobby Orr. They all beat a St. Louis team in a league final. The count right now stands Boston 4, St. Louis 3, the exact score of the May 10, 1970 hockey game played in Boston that afternoon.
The Patriots will still manage to play a Super Bowl with a running back named Edwards.
Belichick and his top lieutenants were all there at Super Bowl XXI and Super Bowl XXV. And Super Bowl XXXI, of course. These guys know how to get there, and they know how to win one of these suckers. Best of all, this time they all actually want to win.
Curtis Martin will be watching this Super Bowl, not playing in it.
Same for Tom Tupa.
Same for Sam Gash.
Same for Dave Wohlabaugh.
Same for Chad Eaton.
Same for any ex-Patriot who had the stupidity to leave this organization of their own volition.
And who have not been back to the Big Show since they last went.
Except Gash. He was hurt.
And except Todd Collins. He got a Vince with these Rams. But where is he today?
Bobby Grier and Chris Palmer are as far away from this moment as it gets.
The Pats are matched up against Charlie Armey’s team, but they got here without him.
Next year, the Patriots play in a palace. The Jets still play in a swamp, in a stadium named after the New York Giants, the real football team in New York.
If the Patriots hold the Rams under 45 points, they can take comfort in thinking that that’s better than their last Super Bowl foes did with the Rams this year in the postseason.
Bob Kraft is one of the top executives in the NFL. How does that compare to everyone’s perception of Georgia Frontiere?
You can take Schaefer out of Foxborough, but you’ll never take Budweiser out of St. Louis.
Not that you’d want to.
Yours truly has been to both Michigan Stadium and the Rose Bowl. Let’s pray that the Rams think Tom Brady will wilt in a big game.
Brady ought to be asked this question: “What’s more exciting, seeing your team win a Rose Bowl and finish 12-0 and national champions, or winning a Super Bowl?” Remember, this is a kid who said that this Super Bowl “might” be the biggest game of his life. The key word is “might”.
Brady is up for this game. This time, he went up against another quarterback named Drew and got the starting job, by gum.
The Patriots must be on the verge of something special. How come? Two of the top beat writers for the Red Sox are down here filing daily reports. Guess Gordon Edes and Sean MacAdam can fight that Bambino curse only so long before giving up and moving on elsewhere.
Oh, and Globe hockey maven Kevin Paul Dupont is here. Globe Celtics beat writer Peter May is here also. The way things are going, it looks like we’ll see the Herald’s Kevin Mannix or Michael Felger hanging out in the Fenway dugout come World Series time.
Myra Kraft will have a cow over her husband’s football team. Georgia Frontiere will have a cow over her hairdo.
Back to a list of who’ll be watching instead of playing.
Shawn Jefferson. Shame.
Terry Glenn. Opposite of shame. We let the wrong guy split.
And who’ll be with us in spirit.
Anyone who got creamed by Chicago sixteen Super Bowls ago.
The Portland man who died of a heart attack after Adam Vinatieri’s overtime snow kick.
Here’s to the greatest radio broadcaster in the NFL, Gil Santos, who lives down the street from my late dad’s sister.
And to his stout partner and hopefully a Canton (Ohio, not Massachusetts) resident someday, Gino Cappeletti. May his heart be strong enough to join his brilliant partner in a brilliant call of a brilliant game.
And may these two men be able to proclaim to all of New England about 9:30 Sunday night who the new world champions of professional football are.
Their team. Our team. Champs.
Love your sweetheart on February 14. But love the Patriots on February 3.