SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- In the modern era, the only team to beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl was the Philadelphia Eagles' NFC East rival from New York, the Giants. New York managed wins after the 2007 and 2011 seasons. Both times, a relentless pass rush on New England quarterback Tom Brady was a key to the upset wins.
But six years after the Patriots' last loss in a Super Bowl, one of Philadelphia's chief pass rushers doesn't see much his team can learn from how to attack Brady with success.
"Times have changed so much since then. People find new ways to attack," said Philadelphia defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who admitted doing some homework with one retired Giants defensive end who was roaming the media gathering on Monday. "I just spoke to Osi (Umenyiora) about it and he did stress to me what it took to get after Tom. I think the main thing is going to be to stop the run. If they can run the ball and throw the ball, it's going to be a long day."
Butler out on Monday
Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler didn't participate in Monday's "Opening Night" media circus because of an illness. The team announced early in the day that Butler would be out. The team didn't have any further announcement of Butler's status.
Gronkowski still out
New England tight end Rob Gronkowski was kept out of Opening Night. Gronkowski returned to practice on Saturday, but he's still in the concussion protocol, which limits him from speaking to the media.
Gronkowski was on stage during the Patriots' sendoff Monday morning in front of fans.
"You can't replace a Rob Gronkowski but everybody can rally around him," Amendola said. "We're really lucky to have him and hopefully he can play this weekend."
Warm Welcome, From Some, In Minnesota
Much was made after the NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia about the unruly behavior by some Eagles fans toward the Vikings faithful that made the trip east. Stories of getting hit by full beer cans, and being rained down upon by profanity and even bodily fluids painted an ugly picture of the fan base in green.
Prior to the Eagles' arrival in Minnesota, jokes were plentiful on social media about giving fans from Philadelphia a taste of what Vikings fans had experienced in their city, and on Sunday Eagles safety Chris Maragos tweeted that he and teammates had been refused service at three Twin Cities restaurants that learned they were from Philadelphia.
On Monday, some Eagles offered a defense of the majority who fill the stands at Lincoln Financial Field.
"I was busy playing the game, so I didn't see all that. But I love our fans. They provide a great atmosphere," Eagles defensive tackle Beau Allen said. "I think it's a shame that there was some tough interaction with fans. I don't think that's a representation of our entire fan base at all."
Asked if he's experienced any hostility since the team arrived in the Twin Cities on Sunday, Cox said he'd seen nothing but Minnesota nice.
"We love you guys," yelled one woman in a purple Vikings hat at the media gathering.
"We love you too," Cox responded, with an apparel tip. "But you need to have some green on."
Old Home Week for Eagles' Allen
The Eagles don't need a local to travel with them to point out the interesting sights of the Twin Cities this week. They brought one with them from Philadelphia. Allen, a fourth-year defensive tackle for the Eagles, is from the Minneapolis suburb of Minnetonka, and has been helping his teammates acclimate to his home state.
A Jucy Lucy, for the record, is a double cheeseburger with a molten layer of cheese cooked in between the two beef patties - a Minneapolis specialty that President Barack Obama sampled on a trip here.
For Allen, the biggest challenge this week has been trying to determine how many tickets he needs for the hordes of family who want to see him play on football's biggest stage.
"I want my family to come see the game. Not necessarily my entire family, but we'll see," he said. "They've all been battling it out to see who gets the tickets. We'll see who's the last one standing."
The Eagles had to beat the Minnesota Vikings to get to Minneapolis, dashing the dreams of many locals who wanted to see a hometown Super Bowl. For Allen, who played four years at Wisconsin before being drafted by the Eagles in 2014, there was nothing bittersweet about beating the Vikings.
"I grew up a Packers fan. I was a huge fan of Brett Favre and my mom's family is from Wisconsin, so they kind of adopted me into rooting for the Packers," he said. "My dad is from Minnesota, so we kind of had a Vikings-Packers rivalry. There was nobody supporting the Vikings from the Allen family last week, not even close."
New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola said he has one ritual before a game -- eating a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich. He'll down one either before the game or at halftime for energy.
"My pregame meal on Sunday will be spaghetti, which it always is," Amendola said. "Probably some sweet potato wedges and some broccoli. I always have, I have a superstition that I always carry with me every game, peanut butter and Nutella sandwich right before the game, and maybe if I have to save it for halftime energy, that's what it is."
Belichick honors his father
New England arrived in Minnesota on Monday afternoon, a day after Philadelphia. When he came off the team plane, head coach Bill Belichick was wearing a black fedora. Asked at Monday night about the choice of headwear, Belichick said it was his late father Steve's hat.
"That was my dad's hat, so I thought I would toss that one on today because I felt good about wearing it," Belichick said. "Minnesota is a good place to have a hat, so that did the trick."