Browner tells Pats to hit Sherman, Thomas where it hurts

Brandon Browner is telling his New England teammates not to hold back against Seattle's Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.

In an interview with ESPN, Browner talked about the toughness both Sherman and Thomas showed in the NFC championship game playing with injuries. Sherman suffered a sprained elbow, while Thomas suffered a separated shoulder.

But Browner said he would also target those injuries.

''I'm going to tell my teammates go hit that elbow, or go hit that shoulder,'' Browner said in the interview.

Asked if he would tell his teammates that, Browner said, ''Most definitely.''

''Try and break it if you can. You're going to be my best friend after the game, but at the end of the day I know you want the Super Bowl as bad as I do,'' Browner said.

Asked about Browner's comments, Seattle players didn't seem to take offense.

''I would expect nothing less. This is the Super Bowl. What do you expect?'' Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. ''I understand the fans want it to be classy, said publicly, and everything to be said politically correct, but that is the truth of the matter. We want this game just as much as they do and they want this game just as much as we do. I expect nothing less from Brandon Browner. We go after them in an aggressive fashion just as much as they are going to go after us.''

BELICHICK DEFLECTS PRAISE: Bill Belichick wouldn't answer any more questions about deflated footballs, but he was in a joking mood by the end of his 15-minute news conference.

After former NFL tight end Johnny Mitchell, who now works for ESPN Brazil, softened the coach with endearing praise before asking him how he'd like to be remembered, Belichick replied: ''If we have an opening on our staff, if you'd like it, we'll put you out in front there.''

The dour Belichick even cracked a big smile and everyone laughed out loud.

''I appreciate the compliments, but again, it's really not about that right now for me,'' he said, regarding his legacy. ''What it's about for me is this week and our matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.

''What did or didn't happen in any of other five, six Super Bowls I coached, five Super Bowls as a head coach, three that I was involved in as an assistant, this now being the ninth one, this is the one that is really important.''

LIGHTING THE WAY: In a season during which the NFL has seen more controversy than it could ever anticipate, it would not surprise anyone if the Super Bowl were decided by a replay challenge being upheld or overturned.

So the NFL is making sure it has the best possible technology for those replays.

This season, University of Phoenix Stadium became the first NFL venue illuminated with high output LED Lighting. Not only does such lighting dramatically reduce energy usage by more than 75 percent, but the Ephesus LED system provides much more light evenly distributed throughout the playing surface than ever before.

For the Super Bowl, Ephesus Lighting engineers expect to provide nearly 20 percent more light than ever for an NFL game.

''The way we are lighting the field for Super Bowl 49 will allow NBC cameras to get more clarity and a greater depth of focus,'' said Joe Casper, founder of Ephesus Lighting.

''As a result they will be able to zoom in tighter on replays and super slow motion without the flicker-effect or blurriness that is often associated with zooming in. This should help replay officials have the best possible pictures to make the right call.

''When we went into the sports LED lighting business we wanted to focus on three attributes,'' Casper added. ''We wanted to improve player performance, give the fans at home and at the game a better experience, and reduce energy usage. The ability to help referees make the right call is an added benefit that may help change the outcome of a game for the better one day.''

NEW HATS: The first thing Seahawks and Patriots players received as gifts when they reached Phoenix were new hats.

As they got off their charters at Sky Harbor Airport, they were handed special New Era hats that feature reflective material both on the top of the cap's visor and the under-brim. When exposed to a camera flash, even from a phone, it emboldens the Super Bowl logo and the date and location of the game.

Even Patriots owner Robert Kraft readily accepted one, and tight end Rob Gronkowski reached back to get an extra souvenir.

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Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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