Tom Brady wore a black wool stocking cap and a big smile. Bill Belichick sported a full suit.
The guy in the shark costume Nick Bellore Jersey , well, he was just trying to not wear out his welcome.
The New England Patriots were the first team on stage Monday at Super Bowl opening night, the kickoff to the week of buildup to the big game. They gathered at Xcel Energy Center, the hockey rink and home of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, for their first on-site media obligation after landing in Minneapolis in the afternoon.
The Philadelphia Eagles, whose charter flight arrived Sunday, had the second half of the NFL’s annual assembly of hundreds of reporters, camera operators and just-for-fun ”journalists” surrounding players and coaches with a ticketed crowd looking on from the seats.
Brady led his team out of the tunnel in the set made to resemble a giant glacier in honor of the host state’s wintry climate. Swarmed by a 12-deep pack of media at his podium in advance of his eighth career Super Bowl, Brady was asked often about his family ties to the area and his desire to keep his children from criticism and scrutiny. He fielded a query about his most attractive teammate, nodding to Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski.
And, of course, he fielded a few football questions.
As the Patriots filed out, Belichick met his Eagles counterpart, Doug Pederson, for a handshake and a photo op that produced a jarring juxtaposition of their wardrobe selections. Pederson had on a white polo shirt with jeans and a cap.
Belichick even flashed some smiles during his interview session, including questions from former figure skating star and lifelong Patriots fan Nancy Kerrigan. Working the room as a special correspondent for ”Inside Edition,” Kerrigan later asked Amendola about his favorite Super Bowl party food.
”Nachos,” Amendola quickly responded.
Eagles center Jason Kelce sported an Elmer Fudd-style wool cap with earflaps that the entire team was given as host-community gifts upon landing. He looked ready for an ice fishing expedition.
”If you’re in Minnesota, you might as well do as the Minnesotans do,” Kelce said.
Every player and coach on the team is required to be present, so they don’t get fined, as Marshawn Lynch reminded the football world during his appearance with the Seattle Seahawks three years ago . That includes the injured players not in concussion protocol, so ACL reconstruction patients Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and left tackle Jason Peters were part of the crowd, too Mikko Rantanen Jersey , even though their knees won’t let them play in the big game.
”We’re all in the building every day. Carson, I think he shows up at 5:30 or 6, something like that,” Peters said. ”We’re just all embracing it and trying to help our position out.”
The aforementioned guy in the shark costume, wearing a credential for ”TYT Sports,” was attempting to dive into Patriots center David Andrews’ deepest fears. Andrews readily called himself a ”scaredy cat” and acknowledged a fear of clowns.
”Clowns are out,” he said. ”Birthday parties. Circuses. Clowns are a no go.”
In the thick of the throngs of media on the floor was 39-year-old Patriots linebacker James Harrison, the oldest active defensive player in the league who’s at his third Super Bowl after reaching two with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He wasn’t interested in reflecting on that or much of anything else.
”I’m just blocking this out,” Harrison said, after declaring the questions from reporters the most annoying part of his Super Bowl week. ”Football is always the focus in my head. I’m running through defenses right now. I’m not really listening to what you’re saying.”
Wait, why such malignant thoughts about media night?
”Because it’s unnecessary. It’s useless,” Harrison said. ”You ask me questions that don’t matter, that don’t have any consequence or nothing about the game.”
Patriots guard Shaquille Mason was more of a willing participant in the silly side of the event. Asked what precious metal Harrison reminds him of, Mason replied, ”some kind of iron.”
Up in the seats was Patriots bushy-bearded defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, in blue jeans, a leather jacket and a pencil stuck behind his ear. Leaning back in a seat as if he were a hockey fan watching a game, Patricia complimented a reporter for his focus in asking a repeat query about his impending hire as Detroit’s head coach. Patricia predictably declined to entertain any questions about the Lions.
”I am very concerned right now about making sure our players have the best possible experience,” Patricia said.
He meant the Super Bowl itself. Media night, well, for most of the coaches, players and even some of the media itself, that’s one to get over and get through.
”Can we go home now, coach?” one player playfully yelled to Belichick as he walked by his podium.
To which Belichick replied, ”I don’t know. We haven’t heard the whistle yet.”
Wade LeBlanc is a journeyman. His 10-year career has featured stops with seven different organizations and even one in Japan Authentic Nail Yakupov Jersey , where he thought he was finished.
In the left-hander’s second stint with Seattle, it appears he’s finally found a home.
LeBlanc (4-0) allowed one run over seven innings after inking a contract extension with the Mariners earlier in the day, and Seattle beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-1 on Tuesday night for its eighth straight victory.
The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani was activated from the 10-day disabled list and went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his return. He had been sidelined since June 8 with a Grade 2 ulnar collateral ligament sprain.
“I think it was huge that I got all those at-bats in the simulated games,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. ”It’s a different game up here in the big leagues. Maybe still not quite there yet, but just keep on working hard, come back tomorrow.”
The Mariners announced they signed LeBlanc (4-0) to the extension before his start and the soft-tossing left-hander showed them they made a good decision. LeBlanc allowed three hits, struck out four and retired his final 11 batters.
”It’s huge,” LeBlanc said. ”It’s life-changing money, obviously, but for me, I’ve never been the kind of guy to know where my family and I are going to be the next year this early.”
LeBlanc’s contract reportedly extends him through the 2019 season, with a base salary of $2.75 million and incentives that could raise that to $4.75 next season, and contains club options valued at $5 million with a $450,000 buyout the three following seasons.
It rewards LeBlanc after he’s provided an unexpected source of stability to the Mariners’ rotation. Seattle is 9-3 in games he’s started and he boasts a 2.90 ERA since moving to the rotation on May 3.
”It’s good to feel wanted,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. ”I know Wade’s been everywhere in his career, but we’re definitely seeing the best of Wade LeBlanc right now. I’m looking forward to having him in the future. He’s done an unbelievable job for us.
”The best part about these deals with a guy like that that’s bounced around, is that he’s earned it. And that’s really what makes you feel good and allows you to sleep at night.”
LeBlanc was signed by the Mariners in spring training after he requested his release from the Yankees, who signed him to a minor league contract.
Alex Colome picked LeBlanc up by stranding Kole Calhoun after his one-out double in the eighth and Edwin Diaz earned his American League-leading 33rd save with a clean ninth inning.
Kyle Seager was 2 for 4 and drove in a pair of runs with a bases-loaded double in the first. Nelson Cruz provided insurance with a solo homer in the eighth.
Andrew Heaney (4-6) tied a career high with 10 strikeouts, but was tagged with three runs in the first inning to fall behind and was handed the loss.
“Andrew was terrific tonight,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ”The walks were probably the one negative for him in the first inning.
”He pitched a great game, gave us a chance to win. We just couldn’t get any kind of pressure offensively.”
Andrelton Simmons’ homer in the fourth was all the Angels could muster offensively.
Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon stole third base in the eighth inning to put him at 300 career stolen bases.
ANGELS: Angels outfielder Chris Young exited in the first inning with a left hamstring strain, the club announced. Young stumbled to the ground while fielding Seager’s double to right field and fell to the ground in noticeable pain, staying there until leaving the game with trainers.
MARINERS: Servais said Erasmo Ramirez’s bullpen on Sunday went well and the right-hander will move on with his throwing program.
ANGELS: RHP Garrett Richards (4-4) will be activated from the 10-day disabled list and start against the Mariners on Wednesday. He’s been out since June 14 with a left hamstring sprain.
MARINERS: RHP Mike Leake (8-4) will make his 18th start of the season and third against the Angels on Wednesday. The 30-year-old has lasted seven-plus innings seven times this season and boasted a 2.57 ERA in June.