- The Washington Times - Monday, January 26, 2004

HOUSTON (AP) — The New England Patriots have a pronounced advantage in experience at the most important position. Jake Delhomme doesn’t see it that way.

In his mind, he’s been to the Super Bowl many times already.

Delhomme often pretended he was Joe Montana leading his team to another Super Bowl victory when he and his boyhood friends played in the yard at his Louisiana home. It was one of his favorite fantasies.

“I played this game a great deal,” Delhomme said yesterday, after the Panthers’ first Super Bowl week workout. “I can remember playing at halftime of Super Bowls, going out and throwing a couple of touchdown passes and practicing my dance out in the front yard.”

He’s got a Super Bowl dance in the works?

“No, I don’t have a dance, I can promise you that,” he said, laughing. “I did that when I was young.”

New England’s Tom Brady already has won a Super Bowl and knows exactly what to expect. He threw for 145 yards and a touchdown in New England’s 20-17 victory over St. Louis in the Super Bowl two years ago.

Brady thinks that experience is a huge advantage.

“I think I have somewhat of an idea of what I’m getting myself into this year,” Brady said. “A couple of years ago, it was just so chaotic from that third week on. And then being in the Super Bowl, it was almost like, ‘When is this season going to end?’”

Morgan the tough guy

Carolina linebacker Dan Morgan traces his toughness to when he was a skinny 9- or 10-year-old getting harassed by a pair of neighborhood bullies in his Philadelphia neighborhood.

“My dad saw it and he told me, ‘If I see that happen to you again and you don’t do nothing about it, you’re going to be beat up by me, not the kid,’ ” said Morgan, who has filled out to 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds. “So I went out there and took care of business and beat both of them up.”

With a father like that, becoming a linebacker was a natural.

“My dad, he always taught me those values — just being tough and not letting anybody mess with you,” Morgan said.

No hard feelings

As a teenager in Akron, Ohio, Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel watched Bill Belichick come under fire and ultimately fail as the Cleveland Browns’ coach.

Belichick sparred with the media and ignored fans’ chants of “Bill must go!” as the losses piled up. He was fired after the 1995 season, his fifth in Cleveland.

Now, Vrabel is trying to win his second Super Bowl in three years with Belichick as his coach.

“I remember seeing him on television and seeing the press conferences and reading the stuff in the papers,” Vrabel said, referring to Belichick’s rough stay in Cleveland. “That’s definitely not the image I think of him now. He’s probably grown a lot and changed. I’m definitely happy I’m here.”

MVPs return

Three former Super Bowl MVPs are throwing a tailgate party for the military.

Troy Aikman (1993), Terrell Davis (1998) and Marcus Allen (1984) will play host to the Ultimate Low Carb Tailgate Party on Saturday with 50 members of the 147th Fighter Wing of the Texas Air National Guard. The players also will offer zero-carbohydrate cocktails and low-carb food recipes on a Web site.

“It’s great to have members of the armed forces at the party,” Aikman said. “It’s a chance to honor the things they’ve done for this country.”

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