PHOENIX (AP) -Former New England linebacker Andre Tippett hopes his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be a good omen for the Patriots on Sunday.
As New England's executive director of community affairs, Tippett had plenty of support from the Patriots' Super Bowl traveling party as he waited to learn whether he was headed to Canton.
``Everybody, from day one when we got here, they were like, 'Hey, we're looking to do something special - you on Saturday and us on Sunday,' `` Tippett said on Saturday. ``It couldn't have happened at a greater time.''
Surrounded by family, team employees and fans, Tippett watched the Hall of Fame announcement on television in the lobby of the team's headquarters hotel in nearby Scottsdale.
``When they said, it, man, the whole lobby just broke out in an uproar,'' Tippett said. ``It was overwhelming a little bit. I looked soft for a little while, but that was OK. It was a good thing. It was cool that people were able to share that with us.''
Tippett immediately jumped into a car for the long drive to downtown Phoenix, where he met with the media. He said his cell phone buzzed the whole way. ``I've gotten a ton of text messages from (linebacker Mike) Vrabel and (quarterback Tom) Brady and a couple of the other guys,'' Tippett said.
It was a big change from a year ago, when Tippett was passed over after reaching the finals. He retired in 1993 and waited 10 years for election.
``Last year was tough, but the nice thing about it, I was home alone, so nobody saw me lose it,'' he said. ``When I saw the class and didn't make it, you know, I've gotten this far, you might as well put me in.''
But Tippett said he thought reaching the finals a year ago was a signal that ``I was worthy.
``That gave me hope for the next year, and here it is a year later, and I'm in the Hall of Fame.''
RED STATE, BLUE STATE: While his home state is hosting the Super Bowl on Sunday, Republican presidential candidate John McCain will be in the heart of New England Patriots' territory.
The Arizona senator planned to arrive in Boston on Sunday shortly before the Patriots play the New York Giants in the Super Bowl in Glendale.
Massachusetts is the home state of McCain's rival, former Gov. Mitt Romney, and is among the 21 states holding its primary on Super Tuesday.
But McCain said his schedule is more about the election than his football allegiances.
``I'm reasonably confident about carrying Arizona. There are some states that I'm not that confident about,'' McCain said when asked why he wasn't flying home to see the game.
Perhaps he's hedging his bets on being with winners Monday.
After a rally early in Boston, McCain planned to head to New York and New Jersey.
INSPIRING THE GIANTS: Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, who lost both legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq, watched the Giants' practice with his son, Jaelen, at the Arizona Cardinals' headquarters in Tempe on Saturday. Gadson has served as an inspirational figure this season for the Giants. The elder Gadson served as an honorary Giants team captain, along with Hall of Famer Harry Carson, for the NFC title game.
TOMLINSON HONORED: San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson on Saturday won the Bart Starr Award for serving as a positive role model to his family, teammates and community.
Tomlinson's Touching Lives Foundation promotes youth football camps, and it helps provide Thanksgiving meals for needy San Diego families and Christmas gifts for sick children. It also presents scholarships to 30 college-bound students each year.
Named after NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr, the award is voted on by NFL players at the end of the regular season. Other finalists were Chicago wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad and Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner.
SLOW STARTERS: The New England fans shouldn't worry if the Patriots don't score in the first 15 minutes on Sunday.
The Patriots did not score in the first quarter of their three Super Bowl victories.
They scored 14 points in the first quarter against Green Bay in the 1997 Super Bowl and three against the Chicago Bears in the 1986 game - and lost both times.
SHOWER UP?: Forecasters say there is a 60 percent chance of rain in Glendale on Sunday, with the temperature expected to reach 58. Good thing University of Phoenix Stadium has a retractable roof.
THE POINT AFTER: If New England wins, Brady would become the first Associated Press MVP to win a Super Bowl since St. Louis' Kurt Warner in 1999.

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