FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady arrived at the podium for his weekly news conference and noted the larger-than-normal presence. He then said, "I'd much rather be doing this than watching soap operas."
One of the biggest takeaways from Brady's 15-minute session with reporters came at the end when he was asked about playing in another AFC Championship Game and how that experience might help him.
"I've been very fortunate, I think this is my sixth AFC Championship Game," Brady responded. "I've been in a great place, where a bunch of teammates have really committed themselves to each other to make it to this point. We've put a lot of work in, there have been a lot of practices and meetings and so forth. To get to this point is very challenging. Every team is talented. Every team has the same rules. There are 32 teams that start the year with the hopes of being in this position. The team that's going to win this weekend is the team that plays the best. There is nothing that anyone will say or do before Sunday at 3 o'clock that's going to have an influence on the game other than the way you prepare and the way you're rested, and the commitment to practice that we bring to the table.
"The game can't get here fast enough. There is a lot of anxiousness kind of leading up to the game. You think about the game. It's the only thing really on your mind. Hopefully we can go out there and do a great job. I'm looking forward to it."
Brady then was asked to reflect on his first AFC title game, following the 2001 season.
"It was quite a bit different because this press conference was on a Friday in Pittsburgh," he said. "I flew there with Lawyer Milloy after practice. It was a great memory of mine that Lawyer and I really had a chance to bond with each other and are still great friends to this day. A lot of it stemmed from that trip."
A few more quick hits from Brady:
1. Ability to avoid distractions. "I think Coach Belichick does a great job of getting the team ready and understanding that this is a football game, something we’ve been doing here for the last six months. A big part of what we’ve done all year is really avoid the distractions and the things that come along with the hype and the build up of certain games, whether it’s a Sunday Night Football Game or Monday Night Football game or last week’s [playoff] game. We’ve certainly been in a lot of big games this year, so once the ball is kicked off we’ll be prepared to play as we always are. I think a big point for this team is to make sure we’re doing the things that we need to do over the course of the week so that we can be at our best when it matters the most."
2. Missing almost an entire season with injury & Peyton Manning. "He’s a great friend of mine. I’m certainly hoping for the best. The NFL is a better place with a guy like Peyton Manning in it. I think we all appreciate the ability to go out there and play every week. Certainly nothing you take for granted because you never know -- this could be your last day. To have the opportunity to play in a game like we’re playing in this week and prepare for a game like this is something that is exciting for all the players involved. When you don’t have that opportunity, it sucks. You sit at home and you watch and listen to every news station and sports station talking about the game. It’s great for us to be playing in it."
3. Playing against Ed Reed. "You don’t fool Ed too often. Every once in a while you see him out of place but it’s very, very rare. When you break the huddle, you find where he’s at and you make sure you’re not lobbing the ball up in his zones, because as you saw in the Houston game, he’s going to go up there and make the plays. He’s just an exceptional player. I don’t think there is a weakness that he has. Coach Belichick has a meeting with the all the quarterbacks and you talk about strengths and weak points of a player, and a guy like Ed and Ray Lewis, there’s no real weak points. You just have to be careful with the ball around them and understand that this is a team that really can get turnovers and they’ve gotten turnovers against us when they’ve played us. I’m sure that will be a huge difference in the game."