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Dan Shaughnessy

They asked for it

Nothing out of bounds among media queries

Email|Print| Text size + By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / January 30, 2008

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Miss Nevada is standing next to me. She's raising her hand, trying to get Tom Brady's attention. I like her chances.

I am standing on the top step of the aluminum bleachers, approximately 30 feet away from Brady, who is answering questions posed by about 200 reporters. To my left, there's a guy decked out in some kind of Carnac the Magnificent costume. He is trying to shout over all the other reporters every time Brady finishes an answer.

Miss Nevada does not shout. She just stands there in her bare-midriff outfit, sash across her chest (that's how I deduced that she is Miss Nevada), hand raised, emerald-green eyes trained on Brady. I wonder if she is cold. But I do not wonder if she's going to get an opportunity to ask her question. Instincts and anecdotal evidence tell me that Brady is going to notice Miss Nevada in this sea of guys shaped like sacks of inner tubes.

Sure enough, the first time Brady's head rotates in our direction, he points to Miss Nevada.

"I was wondering," she starts. "Being Tom Brady, you must get proposed to a lot. How many marriage proposals do you get a year?"

"It just happened over here," says Brady. "Beautiful woman from Mexico." (She was wearing a wedding dress when she asked Tom to marry her, but he told her, "I'm a one-woman man.")

After a pause, Brady says, "How many marriage proposals?"

"Per year," Miss Nevada says in her squeaky voice.

"Not too often," he says. "Not too often. That's in the future. But not this week. We're focusing on football this week."

Brady knows the drill. This is his fourth Media Day. Clowns to the left of him, jokers to the right. For one solid hour. It's part of the drill, and the Patriots know the drill very well.

There's a little kid asking questions for ESPN. There's a guy with a monkey hand puppet, asking questions in Spanish. There's nitwit Deion Sanders asking questions for the NFL Network. There's Medford's Maria Menounos, wearing a credential over her Tom Brady jersey.

Bill Belichick is wearing sandals (must have woken up and asked himself, "What would Jesus do?"). I wonder if he is cold.

Coach Hoodie answers the same tired questions patiently for the third day, and for the third day, it appears that he's going to skate without a single Spygate question.

Wrong. It won't be a clean getaway. About 45 minutes into Belichick's session, Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer asks, "Did you feel the franchise was treated unfairly by the league in relation to Spygate?"

"Next question," says Belichick.

Bob Kraft has his own station on Media Day. He's wearing his classic "Gatsby" shirt (blue with the white collar). Reluctantly, he takes on a Spygate question, about how it affected his relationship with Belichick.

"We had just won a great game and that was not my first choice of what would happen," he said. "But I think we covered that pretty well. I'm not sure all the facts are out on that and we all know that it had no impact on any game this season. We've moved on from it."

Someone starts to ask another question, but Kraft has more to add - rare for anyone in Patriot Land when Spygate is raised.

"But it did do one thing," says the owner. "It helped solidify the relationship that Bill and I have developed, because we did stand together and he explained to me and he has my full support."

Asked if the scandal tainted the first three Super Bowl wins, Kraft shakes his head and says, "We're here this weekend celebrating that. I try to talk about something I know something about."

At his podium, Randy Moss is telling reporters that he is the fastest and quickest Patriot receiver. A few feet away, Junior Seau, wearing another great hat, is presented an "Entertainment Tonight" Award by a woman in a very short dress. She steps up to the stage and kisses him on the cheek before moving on to the next station.

At the other end of the field, Marshall Faulk is sitting on the NFL Network stage and turns around to yell at Tedy Bruschi, who is answering questions from his small stage. Bruschi assures Faulk that the NFL Network is the source of his football news.

The hour is nearly over. Brady is still talking.

"This Super Bowl is entirely different. We lost out the last two years, kind of heartbreaking losses in both years, especially last year. To get back here, everybody feels the energy and excitement of this environment.

"The perfect season, to be 19-0, that's great. If we win the game, we get both."

He answers a question from a little kid no more than 4 feet tall. He answers a question about Joe Montana. He answers a question about Tom Petty.

At 11 a.m., a godlike voice announces that Patriots Media Day is over. Brady is gone. Belichick is gone. Kraft is gone.

Miss Nevada is still there. The Giants will be arriving in another hour.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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