INDIANAPOLIS -- For what is thought to be the first time in Super Bowl history, the New England Patriots simulated game conditions for Sunday by taking a 31-minute "halftime" break during Wednesday's practice.
After practicing for an hour, the Patriots went inside the locker room for 30 minutes as they will during halftime of Super Bowl XLVI before returning to the field to finish out the second half of the practice.
"We were trying to simulate the best we can," Bill Belichick said Thursday in a pool report. "It's not perfect but it's the best we could do. Practice, take a break, come back out and restart."
"Coach Belichick is a genius," said Patriots running back Stevan Ridley. "He's special. That was Coach Belichick doing his thing.
"To come up with that idea shows you what he's thinking about. He knows what's going to work and he's been around longer than any of us, and he's doing everything he can to get us prepared."
Even when the players came in at halftime of the practice, Belichick spoke to them as if it were halftime of the Super Bowl.
"We were sitting in there and we had a halftime talk like it'll be Sunday," Ridley said. "He wanted this to be like a game experience, as close as we could get."
No other team ever is believed to have engaged in such a practice before the Super Bowl, but New England wanted to simulate Sunday's game conditions as much as possible.
"That's Coach doing what he always does, practicing us like it's a reality," Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis said. "But a lot of guys are going to have to get their body used to that -- stopping and starting again. Guys needed to get adjusted. It's like stopping the engine, letting the car get cold and starting it up again. That's what we did. Coach is preparing us for everything."
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady also applauded the tactic.
"It was great. It was the first time we've done that," Brady told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio. "I think guys have a little more understanding of what we're going to be dealing with in four days."
"It's like two separate games," Brady said of the extended halftime break in the Super Bowl. "You have to bring a different level of energy to the second half of the game."
In addition to simulating a halftime break at practice, the Patriots brought photos from their team facility and put them up at the team hotel for a "home" feeling the week before the Super Bowl.
Adam Schefter is ESPN's NFL Insider. ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss contributed to this report.