Bloodlines provide Vinatieri leg up in drama department

Kicker says he's a `bit tamer' than 2nd cousin Evel Knievel

Patriots skip walk-through


Super Bowl

February 06, 2005|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Winning two Super Bowls with field goals has allowed Adam Vinatieri to continue his family's flair for the dramatic.

The New England Patriots' kicker is a second cousin of Evel Knievel, the 66-year-old retired motorcycle stunt man.

"I have motorcycles, but I don't jump them over buildings and cliffs and stuff like that," Vinatieri said. "I'm a little bit tamer."

No one has been more clutch with the Super Bowl title on the line than Vinatieri.

His 48-yard field goal as time expired lifted New England to a 20-17 upset of the St. Louis Rams in 2002. His 41-yarder with four seconds remaining capped the Patriots' 32-29 win over the Carolina Panthers last season.

"When you think of New England and those who rise to the occasion, Adam is at the top of the list," quarterback Tom Brady said. "Hopefully it doesn't come down to a clutch kick again. But if it does, we feel like we have a great edge."

Final prep for Patriots

The Patriots skipped their walk-through yesterday.

"It's been two weeks since our last game," said coach Bill Belichick, who has bypassed the final walk-through before several games late in the season. "We've pretty much hit everything we needed."

The team took a bus to Alltel Stadium for photos, and many players brought cameras or camcorders. Players' families and children also joined them. Injured cornerback Ty Law got around on a motorized scooter.

Belichick posed for a picture with coordinators Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel - perhaps for posterity's sake. Weis is leaving to take over as coach at Notre Dame, and Crennel is expected to be hired as the Cleveland Browns' coach.

"It's great to be here," Belichick said. "Great to be a part of it."

McNabb wants to be No. 2

Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb, who is attempting to become the second black quarterback to win the Super Bowl, remembers watching Doug Williams break new ground by leading the Washington Redskins to the title 17 years ago.

"That was kind of an open door for African-American kids to have dreams and aspirations of playing in the NFL, not only in the NFL, but in the Super Bowl," said McNabb, 28. "It can happen to you."

In pursuit of Brady

The Eagles' best chance of rattling Brady might come from defensive end Jevon Kearse.

A free-agent addition from the Tennessee Titans, Kearse led Philadelphia with 7 1/2 sacks and 21 quarterback hurries. He will line up against right tackle Brandon Gorin, a first-year starter who is playing because of a back injury suffered by Tom Ashworth in October.

"You just want to try to make [Brady] nervous," Kearse said. "We just want to get close to him, put our hands up and do whatever it takes. Just keep constant pressure on all game and not let up. We're a big part of the game plan."

In his past five playoff games, Brady has been sacked only five times.

Not counting on man-to-man

Eagles receiver Terrell Owens said he doesn't expect the Patriots to play man-to-man coverage despite his injured ankle.

"I don't think this is a situation that [Belichick] is going to want to put his guys in," said Owens, who has not played in a game since Dec. 19. "If he wants to see me test my ankle, then I welcome man-to-man."

Red Sox, Eagles the same?

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, an avid Boston Red Sox fan, made a connection between Philadelphia fans and the ones for the New England baseball team.

"Much like Red Sox fans, Eagles fans have not enjoyed a lot of historic success," he said. "They keep coming back with passion for the team, hoping for the reward of the championship."

The Eagles have never won the Super Bowl, which will be held for the 39th time today. The Red Sox are three months removed from winning their first World Series in 86 years.

End zone

Eagles safety Michael Lewis beat two-time defending champion Dwight Freeney in the EA Sports Madden Bowl on Thursday night. After upending the Colts defensive end, Lewis hoisted the trophy and quickly exited to make curfew. ... The Patriots' Vince Wilfork has a subtle link to the Ravens. The rookie nose tackle was the 21st overall selection in last year's draft, which was one of the picks the Ravens traded to New England to move up in the 2003 draft to take quarterback Kyle Boller. ... According to The Florida Times-Union, Super Bowl tickets for the 50-yard line are selling for as much as $6,900 each on the Internet.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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