News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 30, 2012

Patriots first to arrive in Indy

Tom James
Tribune-Star Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — Welcome to Super Bowl Week.

With the New England Patriots arriving in town at 5 p.m. Sunday and the New York Giants expected to touch down at Indianapolis International Airport around 2:15 p.m. today, Super Bowl XLVI fever will ratchet up quickly this week.

New England coach Bill Belichick and six of his players — quarterback Tom Brady, offensive guard Logan Mankins, linebacker Jerod Mayo, wide receiver Matthew Slater, offensive guard Brian Waters and wide receiver Wes Welker — met with the media Sunday evening at the team’s downtown hotel.

The Patriots and Giants are both scheduled for press conferences today, New England at 3:30 p.m. and New York following at 4:30, at their respective hotels. Super Bowl Media Day is Tuesday at Lucas Oil Stadium (Patriots at 10 a.m. and the Giants at noon). Fans will be allowed in the stadium to watch Media Day this year, a Super Bowl first.

Practices will begin in earnest Wednesday, New England working out at the Indianapolis Colts’ headquarters on the northwest side of town and New York heading to the southeast side for sessions on the University of Indianapolis campus. All practices are closed to the public and media.

• Sunday scene — Former Colts coach Tony Dungy arrived in town Sunday, making a quick tDungy — who is an analyst for NBC Sport’s Super Bowl coverage on the network’s pregame, halftime and postgame shows — also wanted to try his hand on the zip line, which is set up above Georgia Street across from the Indiana Convention Center.

NBC late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon was also reportedly spotted touring the Super Bowl Village. The network will begin airing his show from Indianapolis on Wednesday. A special live version of the program will be broadcast on Friday night.

• Evacuation — The Super Bowl Fan Plaza was evacuated for for about an hour Sunday afternoon due to high winds in the area.

No injuries or mishaps were reported. Sunday night concerts went on as scheduled.

• Colts news — Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is expected in town today to finalize a contract to become the Indianapolis Colts’ new offensive coordinator.

Arians has been a member of the Steelers’ offensive coaching staff for the past eight seasons, the last five as the team’s offensive coordinator. He previously has been an assistant with Cleveland and the Colts (1998-2000).

During his first stint in Indianapolis, Arians was the team’s quarterbacks coach and was credited with helping to develop a young Peyton Manning. He has also been singled out for his work in Pittsburgh with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano is also reportedly in talks with Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler to be the new Indianapolis defensive coordinator. Butler is scheduled to visit with Pagano in Indianapolis on Tuesday to hash out the details, although Pittsburgh officials figure to make a counter-offer in an effort to keep him on Mike Tomlin’s coaching staff.

And finally, Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay used his Twitter account early Sunday morning to refute a report that team officials had decided weeks ago to release QB Peyton Manning and move on without the four-time NFL Most Valuable Player.

The NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora had quoted sources Friday that claimed Indianapolis was on the verge of cutting its ties with Manning possibly as soon as next week.

“No he hasn’t been released nor was a decision reached weeks ago,” Irsay tweeted.  rip downtown to visit the Super Bowl Village.