Stevie Wonder to perform at Super Bowl pregame

Updated: December 5, 2005, 8:17 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Motown fans miffed by the NFL's choice of the Rolling Stones for Super Bowl halftime entertainment are getting at least some satisfaction: Stevie Wonder will perform during the pregame show at Ford Field.

Wonder will play three or four songs during the pregame show before the game Feb. 5, Lori Lambert, vice president of strategic marketing for Universal Motown Records Group, told The Associated Press.

Other artists -- still to be announced -- also will be featured in the pregame show, Lambert said.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league was not prepared to make an announcement about the pregame show.

However, he said, "we would be thrilled to be able to work with Stevie Wonder again."

Wonder performed during halftime in 1999. The NFL's announcement last week that the Rolling Stones would provide the halftime entertainment prompted an uproar in Detroit, the original home of Motown Records, which gave the world such artists as Wonder, Smokey Robinson, the Supremes and the Four Tops.

McCarthy said it was always the league's intention to honor Motown in the pregame show. But halftime, he said, is bigger than Detroit.

"The Super Bowl transcends the host city and even the country," he said.

McCarthy noted that the 1998 Super Bowl in San Diego featured a Motown tribute in honor of the label's 40th anniversary. Performers included Robinson, Martha Reeves and The Temptations.

New England Patriots: Has winning spoiled Patriots fans? Judging by the lack of crowd noise Sunday, defensive end Richard Seymour thinks so.

"It's really disappointing," Seymour told the Boston Herald following the Patriots' 16-3 victory over the Jets. "The loudest they ever got was when there was a Victoria's Secret model [Gisele Bundchen] on the scoreboard. They don't know when to cheer. You look up and you see half of the stands empty."

When asked why the Gillette fans were so quiet, Seymour said: "They're spoiled."

Brady named Sportsman of the Year: Quarterback Tom Brady was named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year, a year after the Boston Red Sox became the first major pro sports team to receive the award.

The last Boston-area athletes to receive it in consecutive years were Carl Yastrzemski of the Red Sox in 1967 and Bill Russell of the Celtics in 1968.

Brady has led the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles in four years and was the MVP of the first two victories. Brady completed 27 of 37 passes for 271 yards in Sunday's 16-3 win over the New York Jets.

"Tom Brady is the consummate winner," Sports Illustrated managing editor Terry McDonell said. "Against the steepest odds and on the grandest stage, he refuses to believe his team can be beaten. That character extends to his teammates and his fans."

The issue will appear on newsstands Wednesday.

"It's certainly a well-deserved honor and, to me, I would just add maybe 'person of the year,'" Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "His makeup, his character and the way he carries himself on and off the field, in and out of football, is, I think, exemplary in all phases."

The last pro football player to receive the award was Joe Montana of San Francisco in 1990.

Minnesota Vikings: Vikings punter Chris Kluwe will miss Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams with an injured right knee.

Kluwe was carted off the field in the third quarter of the Vikings' 21-16 victory over the Detroit Lions after spraining his left ankle when Lions' safety Vernon Fox ran into him while trying to block a punt.

But coach Mike Tice said Monday that Kluwe injured the knee on his kicking leg in the second quarter, and that would keep him out against the Rams.

"We'll bring a couple of punters in and go down to the Metrodome, kick tomorrow and see how that goes and then make a decision on that," Tice said.

Cornerback Fred Smoot, who has missed the last four games with a broken collarbone, could return this week as could All-Pro defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who missed the Lions game with a sprained right knee.

"Smoot is getting close, if not this week, next week and Kevin Williams is getting close," Tice said. "We'll see tomorrow. He's going to do some things on the field and we'll see how he's doing. We'll evaluate him again at the end of the week."

St. Louis Rams: Rams interim coach Joe Vitt said that linebacker Dexter Coakley's left leg injuries could threaten his career.

Vitt said he talked to Coakley at length Sunday night after the player dislocated his ankle and broke his leg in the Rams' 24-9 loss to Washington. The coach said a metal plate will be placed in Coakley's leg for stability.

"The only thing I told him is that I'd do everything I could humanly possible to make sure that wasn't his last snap yesterday," Vitt said. "I'll do everything I can to try to help him do whatever he wants with his career.

"Hopefully, we'll be together somewhere. Special guy, special guy."

The 33-year-old Coakley is in the first season of a five-year, $14.5 million, free- agent contract with the Rams.

Houston Texans: Safety Marcus Coleman was told to stay home and miss Sunday's game against the Ravens after missing a walkthrough on Saturday morning, the Houston Chronicle reported.

"Marcus wasn't here because he was disciplined for not filling his team obligations," Capers told the paper after the 16-15 loss to the Ravens.

It was the second time in three seasons that Coleman was forced to miss a game after violating team rules. In 2003, Coleman and outside linebacker Antwan Peek were ordered to miss the Buffalo game for violating team rules.

"He had repeated violations before that one, but this is a one-time thing," Capers told the paper. "That's why this is a deactivation, not a suspension. I expect him to be back on the practice field Wednesday."

New Orleans Saints: Despite vowing never to return, Saints owner Tom Benson did indeed make it back to Baton Rouge for a Saints' game.

Benson's suite was heavily guarded following his last visit when he was involved in an altercation with a TV cameraman and a fan, the Times-Picayune reported.

Benson's party left the stadium long after most of the crowd had departed. He avoided any interaction with Saints fans by ducking into a vehicle parked steps from the elevator.

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