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Bill Belichick says week at Air Force Academy 'tremendous opportunity'

COLORADO SPRINGS -- Now that the New England Patriots have settled for a week spent at the Air Force Academy, Bill Belichick shared his thoughts on why he views it as a “tremendous opportunity” for the team.

The Patriots arrived there late Sunday night/early Monday morning after their impressive 41-16 win over the Denver Broncos, with Belichick saying during his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI, “It was great last night to get on the bus and come down here and get off the bus and go to bed. That same bus ride would have put us at the Denver airport and a long flight ahead of us. I think everybody feels a lot better this morning than we would have felt at the end of that flight.”

As for what Belichick thinks players and staff can learn from being at the Air Force Academy, he said in the interview, “It is a highly competitive institution that is very difficult to get in, and very difficult to achieve a standard they require to graduate as an officer in the United States Air Force. They do a tremendous job of training men and women to serve and defend our country, and they’re highly skilled in operating the most advanced, powerful equipment in the world, as well as having great discipline and leadership, and being in top physical condition to perform their jobs.

“It’s a great institution and a great opportunity for us to work in that type of environment that demands that high level of performance on a daily basis. So we’ll try to make the most out of it.”

Belichick said the Air Force Academy has been “very accommodating” to the team while adding “we have a tremendous amount of respect for the job they do and how they do it, and look forward to observing it and being around the high quality that they put out every day.”

An added benefit for the Patriots is training in altitude. Their game against the Broncos was played at an altitude of 5,195 feet, while Estadio Azteca in Mexico -- where they will face the Raiders on Sunday -- is at 7,503 feet.

In the radio interview, Belichick touched on transportation, medical facilities, video operations, information technology and facilities to rest and recover as some of the main challenges in relocating their operation for a week.

“We’re moving a lot of people here -- players, coaches, support people, and everyone has a role, everyone has an important job in this,” he said. “Put the team in Colorado for a week and then try to win at the end of the week, it’s a big operation and people who are working very, very hard to make it as seamless as possible.

“There will be some challenges, some things we’ll have to work through or work around, that won’t be exactly the way we’d ideally like them, but we’ll figure out the best way to make things as efficient as possible.”