Q. After the fake direct snap last week one of the commentators said that you deserved an Academy Award. Are you ‑‑
TOM BRADY: I think I said that.
Q. Are you preparing for a life in <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Hollywood</st1:place></st1:city>?
TOM BRADY: No, I’m not quitting this job yet.
Q. And afterwards?
TOM BRADY: And after football, God, I hope that’s a long time from now. I hope I don’t have to decide that. I’m still a young guy. I’m only 30 years old, so maybe down the road. I don’t think I could… If Peyton (Manning) goes into it, I know that I couldn’t, you know, get close to that. So he’s taking all those jobs.
Q. Tedy Bruschi talked about how this team has endured a year of distractions, whether it was Spygate or the latest with Randy Moss or the constant scrutiny of going undefeated. What is it about this team that’s allowed it to bond or come together or deal with the distractions this season?
TOM BRADY: Well, I think it’s pretty simple. There’s a sign when we walk in the door and right at the top of the sign, it’s, "What’s Expected of You" and No. 1 is "Do Your Job." And every time you walk in and you see that, you understand that you’ve got to show up and put whatever else is going on in your life to the side and focus, and you have a responsibility to your teammates to do what you need to do.
I think as a player it makes it pretty simple. You show up and if you’re a quarterback, you play quarterback and do what’s expected of you, and if you’re the offensive tackle you do the exact same. You don’t have to come in here and worry about what the guy next to you is doing or what he’s going through — although as friends and I think the camaraderie we have as teammates here, it’s been a special thing to be a part of.
But at the same time, you rally around each other, and it’s almost like this is a safe haven for everybody, as well. We don’t have to come in here and be ‑‑ We just have to be each other, and you have to be teammates and you don’t have to be anybody else to anybody who may be making demands on you. So it’s probably a nice place for a lot of people to come.
Q. You’ve grown pretty close to Randy Moss obviously this season; how have you helped him get through this past week?
TOM BRADY: Well, he’s a very mature and responsible man. I think he’s dealt with whatever it is in the past — The fact of the matter is nobody knows anything about what happened except Randy and whoever else was involved and everyone chooses to let Randy speak on it because he’s the only one who has true knowledge of the situation.
So it’s not right for me to speak about it or other teammates or coach. We all support him. I know what kind of guy he is and I know the relationship I have with him and how important it is to me. As a teammate of his, I want him to know that I’m here to support him no matter what he’s going through, because we all face challenges in our own lives and you need support from the people that care about you to work through those things.
Q. In your mindset, in big playoff games, there always seems to be a guy that kind of comes out of nowhere and makes a big play, a big game‑turning play. Do you expecting that from your team this week?
TOM BRADY: Which guy would that be?
Q. I don’t know, you tell me.
TOM BRADY: I don’t know. I don’t know which guy hasn’t made big plays this year. I think everybody who is really a part of this offense has stepped up at different times to make great plays, and I think if you’re out on the field, that’s truly what’s expected of you whether it be Randy or Donte‘ (Stallworth) or Wes (Welker) or Jabar (Gaffney).
The running game I think has been a big part of the success here down the stretch and the offensive line, the consistency that we’ve had up front has been critical to the success of our team. I wish I had somebody that they probably weren’t paying attention to, but unfortunately I think most of the guys that are taking the field for us they are going to be pretty honed in on.
Q. How tough is it two days before the game now to deal with the anticipation leading up to the game and when the game does get here, honestly how tough is it for you to keep the adrenaline in check?
TOM BRADY: Well, I think we’ve dealt with big games all season. There’s a build‑up to the start of the season and there’s build‑up to a Monday Night game in Cincinnati and there’s a build‑up to an undefeated game against the Cowboys and a build‑up against the Colts in week nine and our Monday Night home against Baltimore and the home game against Pittsburgh and the last game against the Giants. I think this team’s done a good job with the emotions of playing games, night games with a lot of things on the line, a lot of things at stake. You probably take the same approach that you try take and just be prepared to play and know that you don’t want to waste a whole lot of energy on things that are not related to the football game. So make sure all of the guys are in bed early tomorrow night and be ready to play on Sunday.
Q: Are you excited?
TOM BRADY: Everyone is going to be excited. I’m probably the one that needs help on that the most, with just the excitement of the game and the excitement of the season on the line, because you realize there might not be an opportunity for you to get back together as a team and play again, so you try to put everything you can into it and whether it be adrenaline or I don’t think anyone is going to not be motivated for this game. I think everyone is going to be ‑‑ hopefully play our best game.
Q. How much of being a good decision‑maker at quarterback comes from time on the job and how much comes from God‑given talent?
TOM BRADY: That’s a great question. You know, I think decision‑making is critical to any quarterback play. And the more that you do it, just like any situation you’re in, the more times you face certain situations, hopefully you make the best decisions you can.
And at quarterback, you’ve got to make them in two seconds and you’ve got to make a lot of decisions very quickly. But the more you do it, the more comfortable you understand what needs to be done and in our offense I think that’s what’s been great for me over the years, is to be in the same offense for eight seasons and the carryover and the coaching with Josh (McDaniels) being here for another, really, in his third season as coordinator; and with Coach Belichick, understanding the system, so that you can just become comfortable with every situation that you face whether it be in practice or in situations that may come up in games.
I know we’ve been a pretty good situational football team in games over the years, and I know that’s because we’ve practiced diligently at whatever it might be, a fourth-down situation or a field goal at the end of either half.
There’s a lot of situations that come up that need quick decision‑making and the more you practice them obviously the better you’ll be at them.
Q. Everyone I’ve ever spoken to about Junior Seau, whether a coach or player, has always had something to say about what they have learned or how intense he is. Have you gotten to know him very well, and what have you been able to learn from a guy like that?
TOM BRADY: Yeah, he’s as great a leader as you could possibly have on a football team. Not only is he a great player, but in terms of motivation, the way he works, he’s 38-years-old but you would think he’s 22 by the way he practices. He gives motivational speeches ‑‑ I think he’s been through a lot in the NFL. He’s been in a lot of big games, been in a lot of big situations. I think he’s great at kind of conveying his thoughts to the rest of the team. He always has a lot of positive things to say. So I know he’s excited about this game, as he should be, especially playing against his former team.
Q. Does he give you guys a lot of motivational speeches?
TOM BRADY: Always, oh, yeah, before every game. He’s the one that usually talks to the team — and guys listen. He has a great way of kind of inspiring us.
Q. Which is more fun, putting up 42 points in a first half or winning on the final possession?
TOM BRADY: You know, the ones that you win on the final possession are the ones that are the most fun afterward. I think the Baltimore game when we won, I look back on that game, and God, that was fun. Now when I was going through it, that entire drive, I wasn’t thinking how fun that was. I was having a [heck] of a time in Buffalo, midway through the fourth quarter when we were up by as many points but it’s a little bit different when you’re in those pressurized situations and your focus is kind of laser-sharp and you’ve got to continue to make the plays to be able to win. And if you can do that, you can pull it off, those are the ones you certainly remember at the end of the season.
Q. Just wondering, thinking way back to your first Super Bowl against the Rams, it was reported that you had taken a nap in the locker room prior and now you’re talking today about the adrenaline and keeping it in check; what’s changed over the years?
TOM BRADY: I think I was naive back in the day. My first couple years, I didn’t realize — I thought it was easy. I got to the Super Bowl, hey, this is no problem, you start a few games, you’re in the Super Bowl and U2 is out there playing on the field. It was a great environment and I think we all look back on that Super Bow.
Any time it’s your first time in those experiences and everything felt like it was so out of control, you can look back and realize how much fun it was.
Now you kind of know what to avoid so you lose a little bit of that naiveté as Mr. Kraft would say and you just focus on whatever you need to focus on. The adrenaline, it comes and it goes. I think for me, the more prepared and the more comfortable I feel with what we’re doing, I think the more relaxed I’ll be.
I think adrenaline is a little bit different because you get very excited when you run out in front of 75,000 people, and especially in a game like this, and those just emotions play out.
Q: And the TV audience.
TOM BRADY: Yeah, and them, too. We’ll keep those away.
Q. Can you talk about how pressure affects you; good, or bad?
TOM BRADY: Pressure in the sense of playing the position?
Q. Position and in some of the biggest games.
TOM BRADY: Sure. I think the important part for a quarterback in dealing with that is you have to be able to deal with those pressurized situations in practice. When they come up in the games and we had the two‑minute drill that we practiced yesterday against our own defense that I was trying to score ‑‑ I was trying to score like it was the San Diego Chargers — and we did.
I think you can look back on that drive with confidence when you get there, if it happens to come up on Sunday, you say, you know what, we just did this three days ago. It’s not like you have to prove it to yourself over and over again. So even though those situations have a lot of pressure to them, because you have the confidence that you can deal with it, I think that allows you to go out and play with anticipation and awareness and instinctiveness, rather than dropping back and going, wow, I wonder if I can figure this out and I don’t know who is going to be open and I wonder what coverages they’re going to play and are they going to blitz me.
I think as long as you go through and practice it, you can play with the speed that you want. We always talk about playing fast, and I think a big part of that is the preparation that allows you to understand what you’re seeing so that you can go out and execute at a very high speed, because that’s what it takes.
Q. Do you feel more pressure having the number of weapons this year that you do?
TOM BRADY: Like I said, I think Coach really keeps the pressure on us as a team, and the players keep pressure on each other to perform and you keep pressure on yourself so you don’t lose your job. That’s a great motivator for all of us. And the more that you can practice with that type of mentality, I think you can really just hone your skills. I mean, you can’t all of a sudden go out there and go, oh, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday don’t mean so much because we’re not playing and all of a sudden Sunday go out and go, God, I’m nervous out here, how do I deal with this? You have to be able to put that pressure on new practice so when you actually get in that environment and it means something, that you’ll have the confidence to know that you’ll be able to go out and execute.
Q. You mentioned that your locker room is a safe haven for you, and you also mentioned that you don’t see the end of your career, you’re only 30 years old. The more success you have, the longer you’re in the league, the smaller your world gets., the less you’re able to do. Can you explain how your life has changed as it gets tinier and tinier and tinier?
TOM BRADY: I think in a lot of ways, I think for myself, for other athletes, you’re right, as you grow older and I think for most people, you probably — people in your life that were once a part of your life move on to do different things and there’s other people that become even more important in your life because you share experiences with them and you grow with them and they are a part of your life.
So, you’re right. It has continued to get smaller and I think the people that I trust becomes less and less, and I think that’s why when I come into this locker room and I come around this environment, whether it be coaches that I’ve been with for eight seasons for teammates like Kevin Faulk and Tedy Bruschi who have been through a bunch of experiences with me, both on the field and off the field, I can rely on those guys for anything I may need.
Q. Do those two things pull in different directions on you to some degree, knowing that at the end you’ll have peace and quiet but you’ll never have the competition again?
TOM BRADY: Yeah, and I think you enjoy both parts of it. I think with everything in life, there’s give and take and you have to understand that, you know, if there’s a take, you’ve got to give, too.
So we’ve got, as athletes, I always feel what better job would you ever want? I remember sitting up 10 rows from the top of Candlestick Park watching down with binoculars looking down at Joe Montana and Steve Young growing up, and I was this kid with a dream and now all of a sudden I’m the one on the field.
To think back on those days and how it’s progressed to the point where it’s at is extremely fulfilling, and I think the competitive nature of this business is what continues to drive you as an athlete. I look back on those things always with great memories and I think I always try to focus on the positive because life’s too short for all of us and you just have to enjoy every day, and especially as an athlete, and especially in whatever anyone does, you’ve just got to be ‑‑ Just try to truly enjoy what you’re doing and there’s no doubt that do I that.
Thank you, guys. Enjoy the game.
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Q. Kevin, you’ve been through three of these rodeos; can you just give us your thoughts entering the game? Are you excited at the preparation, does it help being here before?
KEVIN FAULK: A little. It helps a little bit. But at the same time — being in three different right now, that’s the last thing on your mind. The only thing on your mind is worrying about the opponents you are facing because it’s a big game.
Q. You’ve been in this game a long time and you’ve seen some retired guys who probably are not walking so well; do you talk a lot in the off‑season, not during the season of course, about how long to keep going, and how much is it worth, even though you’re at the pinnacle right now of where you’re going into Sunday, but what do you guys talk about when it comes to long‑term health?
KEVIN FAULK: Of course you talk about it. You ask guys who you are close with how they are feeling, how your bodies feel. What we love to do is play football and when that time comes, you’ll know, your body will let you know. Your thought process, your family members that you trust, they will let you know.
Q. You were named captain this year and you have obviously taken that responsibility seriously. What has that meant to you to be a captain, especially in a season that’s gone as well as this one has to this point?
KEVIN FAULK: It means so much to me. It’s one of the most important things in my life. When the guys ‑‑ when Coach announced it, it was such a surprise to me, but at the same time I knew how hard I’ve worked to get to this point throughout my whole career and just being able to hear your name being called as captain is just a very special honor.
Q. Now that you’re on the doorstep of history, you’re undefeated, how much bigger is the fear of failure among your teammates and yourself?
KEVIN FAULK: You don’t think about it. You live in the moment and continue on doing what you’ve been doing.
Q. How do you not think about it?
KEVIN FAULK: Your process is thinking about winning the game, thinking about going to the next week and knowing that you have to play better than what you did the week before. Because if you play the same way you played the week before against a different opponent, you may not win the game.
Q. Can you talk just about L.T.’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, that’s one of your strengths; what do you admire about him in the passing game?
KEVIN FAULK: Oh, just being able to do everything. Not just catching the pass, but being able to pick up the blitz. Being able to run the ball four or five times in a row and come back and run a 15‑yard wheel route down the field, catch it and run 40 yards and come back and pick-up a blitz pick‑up. Everything he does you can tell how hard he works during the off‑season and during the season and that’s why he’s L.T.
Q. Tedy was saying this has been a year of distractions. As a team captain, how proud are you of the way the team has dealt with distractions all year and lot let them distract you?
KEVIN FAULK: Very proud. The season is not over and we’re still in the season and we’re just trying to be able to bond as a team together. Whatever comes about, just be stronger and just come together as a team and put that product on the field.
Q. Is there any way that you guys turn something that most people might see as a negative, turn it as a positive on the field to motivate you guys?
KEVIN FAULK: Every negative you can turn into a positive, it’s just the way you do it.
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Q. What are the benefits of having been here before, and what do you have to protect yourself against since it’s so familiar?
TEDY BRUSCHI: I think the benefits of us being here before–this is I think my sixth. This is my sixth AFC Championship, and I think you learn how to prepare for these games. You realize it’s a big game, it’s the game that gets you to the game that you want to be in. You realize that it’s big, it’s huge, it’s probably one of the biggest games that a lot of people in our locker room have ever been associated with. But you learn how to prepare from your experience. You really try to break down the biggest games you’ve had in your career to the simplest forms, how do I prepare better to help us do a better job on offense or defense.
Q. You’ve seen Tom Brady operate under pressure in Super Bowls, but what are guys saying to each other when they see him on film during the week or just see him in practice and see him in the Jaguars game and saying to each other, what is going on here with this guy?
TEDY BRUSCHI: I think early on this season when we saw a lot of the early stages of Brady [throwing] to his new crop of receivers this year, we would look to each other on the sideline and sort of raise our eyebrows and say, ‚well, this can really be something special,” and a deep ball to [Randy] Moss or to [Wes] Welker or [Donte‘] Stallworth and you look to your defensive teammate and say, "Wow, these guys are pretty good," and they do it in the game and you see those deep balls and the triple passes or whatever they do.
I don’t want to say you get used to it towards the end, but every time you see it you get excited and it really pumps some life into the defense.
Q. Has Rosevelt Colvin’s absence hurt the performance of the defense? You look back at the last couple of games and you didn’t play up to par especially in the long drives last week. How much is that he being out and you guys having to play a little bit more?
TEDY BRUSCHI: I guess I can really answer that question as a linebacker group as a whole, we are five guys in there rotating and everybody doing different things and everybody had their roles. And when you lose a cog, you have to adjust. And of course Rosey was making big plays for us, the sacks, the interceptions, the forced fumbles, and you minus that from an equation, of course other guys are going to have to do different things and we have to adjust defensively especially as linebackers.
One thing you miss [is] his production out on the field and his presence in the locker room because he’s one of the favorite guys we love to joke around with and makes the backerhood a lot of fun.
Q. How physically fresh do you feel and how fresh do you feel the defense is, because it seems like at the end of the season, you started to get things going defensively and in the first half, the offense seemed to be doing work forcing the other teams to catch up; how do you feel this time?
TEDY BRUSCHI: Well, it’s Friday. It’s Friday, so we’ve had a few extra days to rest and recuperate. I think I’d be the first to tell you as I get older along in your career, 34, 35, 18 years like Junior [Seau] has been in the league, it takes a little bit longer to recuperate.
But physically, I think we are feeling well. This week was a good week of preparation, and we had full pads one day of very physical practice, and yesterday and today were also good preparation days.
So physically, come Friday, Saturday, you start to feel good again and get ready to do it on Sunday.
Q. In other years were you more worn out?
TEDY BRUSCHI: I guess when you’re a rookie or second year player, towards the end of the year you sort of still feel like a young man. But I think you get to ‑‑ towards the end of every year now, especially I think as every player gets into double‑digits years, it gets tougher and tougher towards the end of the year, yes.
Q. As a leader on this team, what lengths have you gone to press upon younger players to let them know the season will be a waste if you don’t win Sunday?
TEDY BRUSCHI: I haven’t. I haven’t, because that’s not something we’re going to emphasize. Because it would sort of encapsulate our entire season up to this week of preparation or practice or anything like that. We can’t really worry about what’s going on in the past.
If you’re thinking about what’s going on in the past, all right, you think about the regular season, we’re 17‑0 and yes and all that, and oh, man, if we lose this game. We don’t think that way. We are right in the middle of this right now so all we think is how we prepare the next practice or day or meeting to help us win this game. You don’t want to have that type of finality attitude right now in terms of preparation. You just want to look at the AFC Championship as a football game against the Chargers.
Q. Are you feeling any extra pressure as you get closer and closer?
TEDY BRUSCHI: No, I think our experience will also help us in the fact that we have been on win streaks before. There are a lot of people in this locker room who have won 21 games in a row who have won world championships before, and so we’ve gone on streaks before, do we think about, ‚oh, man, if we lose, the streak will be over?” We don’t think about that. We just think about the next game and that helps us dealing with pressure, if there is any.
Q. You mentioned it gets tougher the number of years that have passed, but looking at the games you’ve played in at this level, does it also become more precious?
TEDY BRUSCHI: Absolutely. I would be the first to tell, I’m not in the beginning of my career anymore. I’m in my 12th season now and how many can you possibly play?
I’ve had great examples in my career, Willie McGinest and Junior played 18 and they have taught me a lot of things on how to take care of yourself and really have longevity in this league.
One thing you learn as you get older and experience season after season after season is that the bigger the games get, the better feeling when you win them because you don’t know if you’ll be back.
I was in the Super Bowl in 1996 losing to the Green Bay Packers and you come away from that game feeling like, ‚we’re a great organization, I’m part of a great team, we’re going to go far.” All of a sudden we’re looking for a new head coach and we go down on a downward spiral until we turn it around again.
Q. If Tomlinson is limited on Sunday you’ll obviously see more of [Michael] Turner and [Darren] Sproles. Do you see that as an advantage or disadvantage?
TEDY BRUSCHI: Well, each one of those running backs brings different challenges. We really respect Turner as a returner. We think he’s a very strong runner that breaks a lot of tackles and between the tackles, he may be the best of the three for his because of his yard per carry average and the way he’s able to run through the tackles and break those tackles.
Sproles is his own little individual player. He’s a guy that sort of can scatter around and you never know where he’s going to be on screen passes, kickoff returns, punt returns. He’s a guy that poses a totally different threat. So each one of those running backs brings a formidable threat that we have to stop.
Q. During the last two playoff runs, Rodney Harrison has not been available for you guys. What does it mean to you guys to have him in the lineup and available this year?
TEDY BRUSCHI: Well, to me, to me Rodney is our tone setter. He really sets the tone for us. Probably the most physical and violent teammate I’ve ever been a part of, and his aggression he uses to his advantage.
He’ll be the first to tell you that sometimes he’s a little too aggressive. For us to have him is a big plus. He can do so much. He can be a linebacker, he can be a safety, a defensive back and cover one of the best tight ends in the league. I think he can do everything that this coaching staff has ever asked and that’s a big plus for us to have him.
Q. What’s made this team so good at coping with distractions?
TEDY BRUSCHI: You know, I hate to say it, but we are sort of used to dealing with them. I think this year has been a year of distractions since opening day, hasn’t it? To tell you the truth, week after week there’s something different we have to deal with.
The way we do that is we sort of feed off of it. If we feed off the distractions and we come closer for it, we just bond together. Whoever is being scrutinized, whoever is the target for any type of criticism, we rally around that person whether it is our head coach or our all‑star wide receiver or whoever it may be, some types of problems that sometimes you don’t know about, we will rally around our teammates in the face of criticism and become stronger for it.
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