Metro is live from Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, Minnesota this week and right up through the big game between the Patriots and Eagles this Sunday.
Metro Boston's Matt Burke and Metro Philadelphia's Evan Macy will be filing reports in the build-up to the biggest annual sporting event in the world. Follow Matt Burke on Twitter @Burke_Metro and Evan Macy @Evan_Macy.
Sunday, Feb. 4
Finally, GAME DAY!!!
The reigning champion New England Patriots will battle the Philadelphia Eagles today at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for the right to be called Super Bowl champions for the 2017 season.
Fans are trickling into the US Bank stadium as we speak and the indoor facility is being treated to a Hootie and the Blowfish concert on the big screen (might just because of the excitement in the air, but they're actually pretty good).
The sizable big screens in the stadium flashed Tom Brady and Bill Belichick for a few seconds last hour, and they were showered with boos ... meaning this looks like an 85-percent pro-Philly crowd. This was expected, given how championship-starved the Philly fan base is and how the Patriots are playing in their fourth Super Bowl game this decade.
Friday, Feb. 2
The big news last night was the Rob Gronkowski was officially cleared to play in Super Bowl LII as he had been in concussion protocol. He did not go into the hit from the AFC title game that left him unconcious, only saying that he wasn't going to talk about being, "shaky up." ('Shaky up' is Gronk speak for 'Shaken up').
One note for Eagles fans attending the game on Sunday - you are allowed to wear your underDOG masks into US Bank Stadium.
"For those Eagles fans headed to Super Bowl LII, yes, you can pack your dog mask. We'd ask you kindly take it off as you walk through security," Brian McCarthy, of NFL PR, tweeted out Thursday.
Thursday, Feb. 1
We're now just three days away from the big game and things are getting real. So real that it's Minus-4 degrees in downtown Minneapolis right now. After yesterday's heatwave with temps actually reaching above freezing, we're back into typical Minnesota winter weather today.
The game is obviously indoors Sunday, but the forecast for Minneapolis calls for a high of 9 degrees and a low of Minus-1 on Super Sunday.
Much of the football discussion right now centers on the health of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is still in the concussion protocol. He was a limited participant in practice Wednesday and wore a red jersey.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick touched on that and several other topics yesterday at the Mall of America. Here is Belichick talking about the contributions of wide receiver Brandin Cooks this season and some photos of Patriots players discussing the latest biggest game of their lives.
Rex Burkhead pic.twitter.com/540nlFqdex— Metro Sports Pics (@metro_pics) February 1, 2018
Stephon Gilmore pic.twitter.com/Trldk3xBKh— Metro Sports Pics (@metro_pics) February 1, 2018
Wednesday, Jan. 31
The Mall of America and Radio Row were jam-packed today with athletes and celebs.
We're now just four days away from the big game!
Minnesota has been an excellent host city so far, with fans braving the cold temperatures to take a part in the many NFL displays around the city.
Everyone has been - dare I say, NICE. That Midwest kindness is quite the clash with the abrasive nature of the Boston and Philly fan - but it's worked so far.
The kind folk of Minneapolis have been a little "freaked out," however, about all the helicopters zooming in and around buildings this week. There are also armored vehicles everywhere. As the Twin Cities Pioneer Press put it this morning: "Parts of downtown Minneapolis are looking a bit like the Green Zone in Baghdad."
Can't have enough security measures for a big event in this current climate.
Tuesday, Jan. 30
Minneapolis is beginning to buzz with activity for Super Bowl week with many local fans (Vikings fans jaded from their loss to the Eagles in the NFC Championship game) visited the many NFL displays throughout the city. Here is a look at some of the displays set up in Minny thus far.
Fans from Boston and Philly will be treated to relatively mild temperatures this week as on Wednesday it is likely to get to above 32 degrees. The only snow currently in the forecast is set for Saturday, with less than an inch.
Monday, Jan. 29
Tom Brady had an out of the ordinary Monday morning, cutting short his weekly interview with WEEI early in the morning before addressing thousands of Patriots fans at Gillette Stadium in a send-off rally for the Super Bowl.
Brady was peeved with the sports radio station for what part-time host Alex Reimer said last week on the air while discussing Brady’s documentary, “Tom vs. Time.” Reimer described Brady’s 5-year-old daughter as “an annoying little pissant” and was suspended indefinitely by WEEI for the remark.
“I’ve tried to come on this show for many years and showed you guys a lot of respect,” Brady said on “Kirk and Callahan” Monday (Reimer is often a guest on the show). “I’ve always tried to come on and do a good job for you guys. It’s very disappointing when you hear [the comments about my daughter]. My daughter or any child certainly don’t deserve that.
“I really don’t have much to say this morning. Maybe I’ll speak with you guys some other time,” Brady said before hanging up.
Brady was obviously in much better spirits at the rally as the sizable crowd showered him with cheers.
“Thank you guys for your support all year,” Brady said. “It’s been an incredible journey. We have one more to go. It’s going to be fun. Patriot Nation is stronger than ever. We have one more to go … We love you. Patriots out!”
Brady had the 12 stitches removed from his throwing hand last week and is good to go for Super Bowl LII.
Things are still murky, however, when it comes to Rob Gronkowski – who was limited in practice last week. Gronkowski is still in the concussion protocol. If he is cleared by an independent neurologist by the end of this week he is expected to play in Super Bowl LII.
Gronkowski is not allowed to speak with the media until he is cleared from the concussion protocol, much to the dismay of the national news media who view Gronk as the only true “quotable” player on the Pats.
... And we're off
The Patriots arrived in Minneapolis Monday, while the Eagles came a day earlier.