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A day to ignore decorum

A reporter asked Panthers coach John Fox on Tuesday what as the weirdest question he had been asked during Super Bowl hype week, a notorious time for weird questions. Fox thought for a moment and realized there was nothing out of the ordinary.

Then someone in the horde at Reliant Stadium asked: "Hey, John, Viagra or Levitra?"

Fox smiled.

"That's the weirdest question right there," he said.

Welcome to Media Day, that celebration of silliness the NFL stages each year to drum up interest in advance of Super Bowl Sunday.

"It's almost like the Final Four," said Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers, who also played basketball at North Carolina, "except with a whole lot more media asking a whole lot more weird stuff."

Patriots rookie Dan Koppen read cue cards for Spike TV. Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi was challenged to a spelling bee by a 13-year-old Nickelodeon reporter with spiky canary-yellow hair.

"Spell Delhomme," Justin Phillips challenged Bruschi. Delhomme is Jake Delhomme, the Panthers quarterback.

"D-E-L-H-O-M-E," Bruschi responded. He missed an "M," and as the last letter spilled from his lips, the youngster pounced: "Wrong!"

Later, Delhomme admitted he couldn't spell Bruschi.

Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri was talking about what it's like to kick the winning field goal in the Super Bowl and other assorted football issues. Suddenly, a kid wearing an orange and green cape, black tights, green shorts and a black mask swooped in with his microphone. "Pick Boy" was in the house.

"Adam, you're having the best hair day of your life, you've got to put on a helmet, it's going to screw up the hair," Pick Boy said breathlessly. "What do you say to the coach?"

Vinatieri smiled.

"Well, you've got to put the helmet," he said. "My hair doesn't give me a lot of protection."

"How do you fix the hair when the helmet comes off?" Pick Boy wanted to know.

"A lot of gel," Vinatieri shot back.

Panthers punter Todd Sauerbrun got an international taste of weirdness when a reporter from a German television station approached him. He was asked to say in German, "The ball is not round."

"Der ball ist nicht runde," he said.

He then was told his last name in German translates to "sour water."

"That was interesting," Sauerbrun said. "It's something to tell the kids about, I guess."

GIVE US A CHANCE: Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel said they think the NFL should adjust its tampering rules to give assistants on the most successful teams a better chance to land head coaching jobs.

"That's just something that should be revisited by the commissioner after the year is over," Weis said. "I just think it's something that has to be revisited because it's truly not an equal playing field."

Weis and Crennel were highly regarded candidates for seven vacancies but were prohibited from accepting them while the Patriots were in the postseason. All the openings have been filled.

TAKE COVER: Weekend rain forced the Patriots to move their practice to the Texans' indoor facility adjacent to Reliant Stadium. No rain is forecast for today.

_ TIMES WIRES

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