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Despite experience, Tom Brady still manages nerves

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady might be in his 15th NFL season, and preparing to play in his 28th career playoff game and ninth AFC championship game, but that doesn’t mean the nerves go away. Sometimes that leads to some up-and-down mood swings in the days leading up to a game.

“I get pretty edgy,” Brady acknowledged Wednesday in a news conference leading into Sunday’s AFC championship against the Indianapolis Colts.

“I just think there’s a high level of pressure every week and the pressure is on from the moment … it’s like watching the games on Sunday, you watch the first game – Cowboys-Packers – and it’s kind of fun. Then all of a sudden you watch the Denver game, Indy play, and as soon as that game ends it’s like, Boom! The clock starts. It’s a race to see who can prepare the best over the course of the week.”

Brady joked that his wife, Gisele Bunchden, has asked him about his mood leading up to games by saying, “What’s your problem?”

He detailed how the last four days or so have been along those lines.

“There are not many opportunities you get during the season to have a time where you don’t know who your opponent is. Obviously after we won on Saturday, you have that little moment of time where you’re not really preparing for anybody,” he said. “Then as soon as you know the opponent, the anxiousness starts building and building and building.

“You do everything you can through the preparation to get an understanding of what the team is doing and how you’re going to play and which plays you’re going to install and how you’re going to run the plays, and did you execute the plays? All those things lessen the anxiety because you can go out and perform and build confidence in what you’re doing. It’s kind of the ebbs and flows of the week. Sometimes I’m in a good mood. Sometimes I’m in a [expletive] mood … bad mood.”

Brady laughed at that point, realizing that his news conference was being aired on live television. He had been asked about nerves earlier, acknowledging that he manages them weekly.

“I think that’s part of playing sports, being in a competitive situation like we are, I don’t think that ever goes away,” he said. “You never know what’s going to happen on game day, you work as hard as you can to try to prepare for everything to be physically and mentally right. No one can predict what’s going to happen. You have your vision of the way you want things to turn out on a particular play or scheme, or something like that. If it does, great. If it doesn’t happen the way you want, which is most of the time, you have to figure out something to do. I think that’s where a lot of the nerves come into play, and the anxiousness and anticipation of what’s going to happen vs. what we prepared for. You have to prepare for a lot of things.”