FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Veteran defensive tackle Vince Wilfork was a guest on sports radio WEEI’s “Dale and Holley” program on Thursday, and here are a few notable sound bites:
Motivated by doubters. “It was so much coming into this game that had us fired up, no matter if people looked at us as some bums early in the year. Then all of a sudden we’re the greatest team. Then all this mess came up, whatever it is [with underinflated footballs]. We felt like that people were trying to distract us. All it did was bring us even closer, make us want to win even more. ... At the end of the day, this was the best, best win of my career just because of the stuff we’ve been through, the distractions people tried to throw at us, the loopholes we’ve been through, the losses we’ve been through, the way people doubted us all year. It’s so easy to sit back and say ‘F’ everybody. The only thing that matters is the New England Patriots, what’s in that locker room, the organization, and our true fans. We proved a lot of people wrong.”
What bothered him the most from doubters. “When they tried to say [Tom] Brady isn’t as good as he is. That’s one of the things that really pisses me off. To have the best quarterback in the game, and for people to say he isn’t who he is, it’s so freaking crazy. It bothers me. I think it bothers me more than it bothers Tom. I’ve seen this guy every day, been with him for 11 years, and I’ve seen the work he puts in. ... For people to judge that and kind of say ‘he’s losing this’, they’re out of their mind. Here’s a guy who went out and torched up the best defense on the biggest stage."
Tight-knit team. “We’re a big family. This team was one of the tightest teams I’ve played with, other than college. I think at this level, to have everybody feel the same way and have everybody geared toward the same thing, it’s harder than college. ... We played our tails off for one another.”
If he thought the Seahawks would run at the end of Super Bowl XLIX: “Yeah, I did. I expected they were going to run the ball. At the same time, the defense we had in was the perfect defense for the situation if they did choose to throw the ball. ... Malcolm [Butler] made a helluva play. He sealed the deal for us. There wasn’t one doubt in my mind, even when they were on the 1-yard line, that we were going to lose the ballgame. ... The last four drives it was punt, punt, punt interception. When you talk about defense winning championships; that’s defense. A lot of times, they were talking about how great their defense was. They are a great defense, but at the same time, we’re not too shabby ourselves. So to finish the game the way we did defensively, and to seal it defensively, that’s the best feeling a defensive player can have.”
‘Got to have it moments.’ “No matter what we’ve done all year, no matter how many minutes you play in the game, it may come down to one play or a couple seconds. You have to be at your best. We call that ‘got to have it’ moments. That was a ‘got-to-have-it’ moment for us.”