FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots are all about talking trash and lining up a week's worth of bulletin-board material when discussing their upcoming opponents.
OK, well, maybe not in real life. But when they're dishing it out about Madden 11, all bets are off.
It's only a matter of time until the Patriots set up their third annual online tournament, and in the meantime, the competitors' focus is fixed on 2009 titlist Brandon Meriweather, who has been holding onto his championship belt with pride.
"I'm the best, man," Meriweather said. "What else is there to say? I'm the best. You line them up, I'll spank 'em. I am the best."
Meriweather used the Vikings to skate through last year's single-elimination tournament, which also featured linebacker Tully Banta-Cain, running back Fred Taylor, running back Laurence Maroney, wide receiver Randy Moss, linebacker Jerod Mayo (who lost to Meriweather in last year's title game), linebacker Gary Guyton, cornerback Darius Butler, safety Patrick Chung and running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who won the 2008 crown.
Banta-Cain, one of the team's most seasoned players, is anxious to get it back going.
"[Meriweather] got lucky last year," Banta-Cain said. "All eyes on me, baby."
Meriweather wasn’t having any of that.
"Luck is in the eyes of the beholder," he said. "From what I know, you create your own luck."
Either way, the Patriots will set up the next tournament shortly, likely during their Week 5 bye when they aren’t as busy. That’s when the trash talk will take a backseat, and they can prove it on the virtually-simulated field.
"We're going to have a tournament hopefully soon," Banta-Cain said, "and we'll get to the bottom of it."