Matt Slater, Patriots WR, Following In Father's Footsteps To Super Bowl
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Patriots receiver Matt Slater knows better than to take a Super Bowl trip for granted.
His father, Jackie Slater, was an offensive lineman for the Los Angeles Rams who played in the Super Bowl after the 1979 season. The Rams lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Jackie Slater never went back to a Super Bowl in a Hall of Fame career that lasted until 1995.
"I think that was one of the biggest things that he kind of missed on his career is he never won a world championship," Matt Slater said. "I knew how much that meant to him because he was a huge team guy."
Dad already has offered son some advice about handling the pressure in the week leading up to the game.
"He told me just to do everything I can to prepare myself for the game on Sunday so that I can live with no regrets," the fourth-year player from UCLA said. "And realizing that this opportunity is not guaranteed to me in my career again, so just to do everything I can to take advantage of the opportunity and maximize it so, at the end of the day, I have no regrets at all."
Matt Slater wasn't around when his father played in the Super Bowl — he was born in 1985 — but Jackie's vivid memories have connected Matt to the experience.
"Even to this day, he talks about the game, and he can almost call off every play to you and just remember the ebb and flow of the game," Matt Slater said. "It meant a lot to him. Unfortunately it didn't work out for him, but it's definitely a memory he has and will have as long as he lives."
MJD REPLACES OCHO: The Ochocinco News Network will be reporting from the Super Bowl even if its namesake, wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, is a participant when the Patriots play the New York Giants on Sunday.
With New England coach Bill Belichick not likely to spring Ochocinco for any broadcast duties, in his place will be Jacksonville Jaguars All-Pro running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who has a background in radio reporting for SiriusXM NFL Radio.
The wide receiver created OCNN three years ago and has built a social media network that serves an audience of about 1 million, the network says.
"MJD is the right guy to take on this task, and I have all the confidence in the world in him," said Ochocinco.
Jones-Drew won the NFL rushing title this season and will transform OCNN into MJD TV as he covers Super Bowl media day — will there be pointed questions for a certain No. 85 on the Patriots?
"Really looking forward to not just helping out Chad while he's playing in the Super Bowl, but getting a chance to ask the questions most reporters don't," said Jones-Drew. "It's a really cool thing OCNN does out there each year, but this time around, fans will get a little taste of MJD TV."
Jones-Drew will be joined by Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who will be working for OCNN for the second straight year, as well as national OCNN contest winner and Boston resident Cassidy Quinn Brettler.
PUMPIN' UP THE VOLUME: Super Bowl quarterbacks Tom Brady and Eli Manning are hardly what you'd call brash or loud-mouthed. So it might take a bit of creativity to pump up the volume this week.
Leave it to New York's tabloid newspapers to get things rolling: The Daily News and Post both had front- and back-page photos and headlines Monday about what Brady said at the New England Patriots' send-off rally before flying to Indianapolis.
The Post's back cover blares "TOM'S TAUNT," and another headline reads, "Brady tells pep rally: Come back for bigger party after Supe."
The front cover shows a picture of Brady in his helmet and uniform, his mouth agape, and carries the tag, "Patriot games: Tom talks trash."
Not to be outdone, the Daily News teases its story with a box on the front page showing a head shot of New England's QB and its own all-caps title, "BRADY'S BASH." It also reads, "QB already planning Super parade" — with the word "already" in italics.
That paper's back cover carries a picture of Brady and a main headline reading, "PARTY OF JIVE," then speaks directly to Manning and his teammates, saying, "Hey Giants, Brady already talking about a victory bash."
The outlandish and bragging (wink, wink) statement by Brady that brought all of this attention?
Speaking to a crowd of about 25,000 Patriots fans at the team's stadium Sunday, Brady said: "Hopefully we'll have a lot more people at our party next weekend."
SALUTE TO SERVICE: Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams and Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh are the finalists for the NFL's first Salute to Service Award.
The winner will be recognized at the inaugural NFL Honors event that will air on NBC on Saturday and the USAA will make a $25,000 contribution in the winner's honor to the aid societies representing all five military branches.
Adams served in the U.S. Navy from 1942-46. As Tennessee's owner, he frequently has recognized the service men and women of nearby Fort Campbell, home to the Army's 101st Airborne Division, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Night Stalkers) and the 5th Special Forces Group (Green Berets).
Harbaugh was instrumental in Baltimore's decision to institute a Military Appreciation Day, an annual event which was established during his first training camp with the team. Since then, an estimated 2,000 service members have enjoyed preferred seating and opportunities to meet with players and coaches during Ravens' camp.
TICKET PRICES: More than 2,100 Super Bowl tickets are currently available on the Official NFL Ticket Exchange by Ticketmaster.
Ticket Exchange said the average ticket has sold for $4,346. The list price for its highest remaining ticket is $15,343, while the lowest is $2,375.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cliffbruntap