Archive for the ‘ Commentary ’ Category

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick strongly denied the allegations against his team on Saturday, and it appears that this latest report may further reinforce the innocence of his football team.

The story surrounding “Deflate-Gate” just got a little more interesting Monday night.

FoxSports’ Jay Glazer had a source on Monday afternoon that told him a Patriots locker room attendant went somewhere else with the footballs in question, adding further fuel to the fire in the league’s investigation that has sparked an unbelievable reaction and exploded into a media story that has gotten out of hand.

Per Glazer’s Tweet, the league seemed to have “a person of interest”, with evidence that may have potentially offered some credence in this whole investigation against New England, who have been battling these allegations since winning the AFC Championship last Sunday after defeating the Colts 45-7 at Gillette Stadium.

Tweeted Glazer, “Breaking news: sources tell @FOXSports the NFL has zeroed in on a locker room attendant w Patriots who allegedly took balls from officials locker room to another area on way to field. Sources say they have interviewed him and additionally have video. Still gauging if any wrong doing occurred with him but he is strong person of interest.”

And that’s where the story takes quite the turn.

Late Monday night revealed exactly where the attendant went, and it appears he went exactly where many people kidded he might have gone on his way out to the field.

He went to the bathroom.

According to the website, surveillance footage shows he was in there for 90 seconds, which isn’t anywhere near the amount of time required to change the air pressure in a bag of footballs, check them, and put them all back in.

As a matter of fact, it’s barely enough time to do his business and get out of there.  Which now leads to the next investigation the league should look into.

Did he wash his hands before he gave the balls to the officials?

Either way on Monday night, Kraft told the media that if the Patriots are cleared of any wrongdoing in this investigation he expects the league to apologize for putting his organization’s integrity and credibility into question.

Needless to say, it looks like if the report is true, he may potentially get his wish.

Bill Belichick Goes After a Reporter About SpyGate Question

Bill Belichick came out on Saturday for an impromptu press conference and was there for one reason and one reason only, to set the record straight about accusations that have clouded his team’s win over Indianapolis after being accused of deflating footballs.

One reporter asked about SpyGate on Saturday, and Belichick didn’t back down.
(USA TODAY Images)

But one reporter tried to tie in the team’s past history of run-ins with the NFL that cost them a previous penalty back in 2007 in the infamous “SpyGate” incident.

Belichick didn’t back down, and went right after him.

“I mean, look, that’s a whole other discussion,” said Belichick after the reporter tried to question him following an earlier statement that the team tries to err on the side of caution when it comes to the rules.  “The guy’s giving signals out in front of eighty thousand people, O.K.? So we filmed him taking signals out in front of eighty thousand people like there were a lot of other teams doing at that time too, O.K.? But forget about that. If we were wrong, then we’ve been disciplined for that.”

The reporter then said that the team didn’t err on the side of caution then.

“The guy’s in front of eighty thousand people,” Belichick shot back.  “Eighty thousand people saw it, everybody’s sideline saw it, everybody sees our guy in front of eighty thousand people. I mean, there he is. So it was wrong, we were disciplined for it, that’s it. We never did it again, we’re never going to do it again and anything else that’s close, we’re not going to do either.”

And that was the end of that.  But it clearly showed how Belichick feels about that incident, and it’s pretty obvious that it’s still a sore subject given the fact it was a widespread practice by other teams as well.  But give him credit for hitting those questions head on during what was quite the epic press conference on Saturday.

Belichick Fires Back, Should Deflate Accusations

Belichick was out in front of the media on Saturday, and he came out swinging. (USA TODAY Images)

The Patriots have been quiet on the “deflate-gate” topic following Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s initial meeting with the media this week, and it appears after having some time to try and get it down to the bottom of what might have happened, he pulled a surprise news conference Saturday and hit the issue head on.

Belichick came out swinging on Saturday, armed with some pretty solid information after the team conducted its own study this week to get down to the bottom of why the accusations of illegally deflating footballs came to be.

During his extensive and thorough explanation, Belichick said the team simulated their same game day preparation, putting the footballs through the same “vigorous” preparation they’re normally put through to get the grip to where quarterback Tom Brady likes them.  What they found was that caused the psi to rise approximately one pound.  They found that process, which artificially raised the air temperature within the football, coupled with the difference in temperature over the course of the game, caused an outcome that provided a logical explanation for the drop in air pressure and subsequent accusations.

Belichick was holding a trophy at the end of last week’s game and less than 24 hours later saw his team accused of deflating footballs.
(USA TODAY Images)

“So we simulated a game day situation in terms of the preparation of the footballs and where the footballs were at various points in time during the day or night as the case was Sunday and I would say that our preparation process for the footballs is what we do, I can’t speak for anybody else, it’s what we do and that process, we have found, raises the psi approximately one pound,” explained Belichick on Saturday.  “So that process of creating a tackiness, a texture, the right feel, whatever that feel is, it’s a sensation for the quarterback – what’s the right feel – that process elevates the psi approximately one pound based on what our study showed, which was multiple balls, multiple examples in the process as we would do for a game.

“It’s not one football. When the balls are delivered to the officials’ locker room, the officials were asked to inflate them to 12.5 psi, what exactly they did, I don’t know, but for the purposes of our study, that’s what we did. We set them at 12.5. That’s at the discretion of the official though, regardless of what we ask for, it’s the official’s discretion to put them where he wants.”

Belichick went on to explain that the process of the potential air pressure change is similar to what people experience on a day-to-day basis with their vehicles when the light about low pressure in their tires comes on, and then goes away once the car gets going.

“It’s similar to the concept of when you get into your car and the light comes on and it says low tire pressure because the car’s been sitting in the driveway outside overnight and you start it up and you start driving it and the light goes off, it’s a similar concept to that,” said Belichick. “So the atmospheric conditions as well as the true equilibrium of the ball is critical to the measurement.  At no time were any of our footballs prepared anywhere other than in the locker room, or in an area very close to that.  Never in a heated room or heated condition, that has absolutely never taken place to anyone’s knowledge or anyone’s recollection and I mean, that just didn’t happen.”

Belichick went on to say that he’s embarrassed at the amount of time they’ve spent on this instead of their preparations for the Seahawks next Sunday, but that he felt it was more important to let everyone know that they’ll continue to do everything right the way they always have.

“So I just want to share with you what I’ve learned over the past week,” said Belichick.  “I’m embarrassed to talk about the amount of time that I’ve put into this relative to the other important challenge in front of us. I’m not a scientist. I’m not an expert in footballs. I’m not an expert in football measurements. I’m just telling you what I know.

“I would not say that I’m Mona Lisa-Vito [My Cousin Vinny Reference] of the football world as she was in the car expertise area, all right? And at no time was there any intent whatsoever to try to compromise the integrity of the game or to gain an advantage, quite the opposite. We feel like we followed the rules of the game to the letter in our preparations, in our procedures, and in the way that we handle every game that we competitively play in as it relates to this matter.

“We try to do everything right, we try to err on the side of caution, it’s been that way now for many years. Anything that’s close, we stay as far away from the line as we can. And in this case I can say that we are, as far as I know in everything that I can do, we did everything as right as we could do it. And we welcome the league’s investigation into this matter.”

It was the most emphatic fans have seen him in a long time, and hopefully after what they’ve learned, the league will close the book on the matter so the focus can shift back to where it should be, and that’s on who is about to become the World Champion next week.

Belichick On Deflated Footballs: “I Had no Knowledge Whatsoever”

“I had no knowledge whatsoever about this situation until Monday morning.” – Bill Belichick

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick met with the media on Wednesday and was surprisingly candid during his opening statement as it related to the “Deflate-Gate” story that continues to rage on following the team’s victory over the Colts on Sunday.

Belichick told the media that he was unaware of the situation until Monday morning, saying he had no knowledge and that he’s learned more about ball pressure in the last three days than his entire 40-years of coaching.

“When I came in Monday morning I was shocked to learn of the news reports about the footballs. I had no knowledge whatsoever about this situation until Monday morning,” said Belichick (via PFT).  “I’ve learned a lot more about this process in the last three days than I knew — or had talked about — in the last 40 years that I’ve coached in this league. I had no knowledge of the various steps involved in the game balls, the process that happened between when they were prepared and went to the officials and went to the game, so I’ve learned a lot about that. Obviously, I understand that each team has the opportunity to prepare the balls the way they want, give them to the officials, and the game officials either approve or disapprove the balls, and that really was the end of it for me, until I learned a little bit more about it the last couple days.”

One thing we know about Belichick over the years has always been his philosophy as it pertains to ball security, which is why in practice he’s always made the footballs as bad as possible with the intention of giving players the worst situations to deal with so that they could be ready for any type of condition on the field.

That was a point he made as he addressed the media, and that he has never had any sympathy for players who complain about the condition of the football.

“Let me just say that my personal coaching philosophy, my mentality, has always been to make things as difficult as possible for players in practice, and so with regard to footballs, I’m sure that any current or past player of mine would tell you that the balls we practice with are as bad as they can be,” said Belichick.  “Wet, sticky, cold, slippery, whatever. However bad we can make them, I make them. Any time that players complain about the quality of the footballs, I make them worse, and that stops the complaining.

“So we never use the condition of the footballs as an excuse. We play with whatever, or kick with whatever we have to use, and that’s the way it is. That has never been a priority for me, and I want the players to deal with the harder situation in practice than they’ll ever have to deal with in a game. Maybe that’s part of our whole ball security philosophy.”

Belichick also went on to say that moving forward, the Patiots will make sure the footballs are inflated higher than above the minimum limit to prevent any potential situation where they would fall to a level below the minimum limit.  But his general response was consistent to what he’s always said about the weather, or any other situation. The condition of the footballs has never mattered, and that they’ll play with what’s out there.

“I can tell you that in my entire coaching career I have never talked to any player, staff member about football air pressure. That is not a subject that I have ever brought up. To me, the footballs are approved by the league and game officials pre-game, and we play with what’s out there. And that’s the only way that I have ever thought about that.”

Belichick didn’t add much beyond that, saying that they’ll continue to cooperate with the league, and that he’s disappointed the stories are centering around this and not the two terrific victories from his football team.

“The National Football League is investigating the situation. We have cooperated fully, quickly and completely with every request that they have made, continue to be cooperative in any way that we can. I have no explanation for what happened, and that’s what they’re looking into, so I can’t comment on what they’re doing. That’s something that you should talk to them about.”

“It’s really unfortunate that this is a story coming off two great playoff victories by our football team and our players, but again we’ve been cooperative with the NFL investigation. We’ll continue to do so, and we’ll turn all our attention, focus on the Seattle Seahawks.”

He ended the press conference shortly after, following a flurry of questions that were mostly responded with, “I’ve told you everything I know” and “I don’t have an explanation for what happened.” It ended shortly after that.

REPORT: NFL Finds 11 of 12 Patriots Footballs Under-inflated

It appears that things just got interesting.

According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen of, the NFL has found that footballs used by the Patriots against the Colts Sunday night were indeed under-inflated, with 11 of the 12 footballs used by the team in the AFC Championship game found to be under-inflated by two pounds each.

The findings only add further fuel to the fire on this discussion, which has been dominating most of the stories in the media since New England advanced by blowing out the Colts 45-7 at Gillette Stadium to clinch the Conference Championship.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that 11 of the 12 balls used by the Patriots Sunday night was under-inflated.
(USA TODAY Images)

Mortensen reports that one source within the league is, “disappointed … angry … distraught,” after spending considerable time on the findings earlier Tuesday and the big question now will be what penalty will be handed down by the league, and who they’ll hold responsible.

It’s interesting to note that the majority of the officials, who handle the ball after every play, didn’t seem to notice and one report from Newsday said the investigation stemmed from linebacker D’Qwell Jackson’s second-quarter interception.  After giving the ball to a member of the Colts’ equipment staff, that person noticed the ball seemed under-inflated and he then notified head coach Chuck Pagano. Colts GM Ryan Grigson was then notified, followed by Grigson taking matters into his own hands and notifying league officials, who then notified the on-field officials at halftime.

If changes were made, they didn’t slow down the Patriots, who ran off 21 points in the 3rd quarter.

The next question will likely be trying to figure out exactly when the balls were altered, if that was indeed the case.  The league rules specifically put them in the hands of the officials, who are the ones who open them and they’re checked at that time.

From the offiical NFL Rule book: “The home club shall have 36 balls for outdoor games and 24 for indoor games available for testing with a pressure gauge by the referee two hours prior to the starting time of the game to meet with League requirements. Twelve (12) new footballs, sealed in a special box and shipped by the manufacturer, will be opened in the officials’ locker room two hours prior to the starting time of the game. These balls are to be specially marked with the letter “k” and used exclusively for the kicking game.”

The balls are required be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch, although it’s unclear what the number was that the league found during their investigation.

The team didn’t comment on the reports, although Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski each dismissed the news, with Brady laughing off the report on the radio, while Gronkowski added his thoughts on Twitter.

Obviously what happens now and what penalty the league imposes remains to be seen.  It’s enough to make you wonder, if Brady doesn’t throw the interception, does this story even come to be considering the officials seemingly didn’t notice anything abnormal?

As Greg Bedard mentioned on Twitter, the next thing that will need to happen – at least in fairness to New England – will be having each of the footballs the Colts use tested as a comparison.  If that investigation finds no alteration to any of the balls they used, that obviously wouldn’t be good news for the Patriots.

Needless to say, it doesn’t look like this story will be going away anytime sooon.  If nothing else, it’s likely only going to become that much more heated in the days ahead.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Spotlighting Tom Brady’s Interception Targets

Gronkowski may be the player who Brady has been picked off when targeting him in each of the team’s first two postseason contests, but he wasn’t the player with the highest total during the 2014 regular season. (USA TODAY Images)

After seeing Tom Brady throw an interception in each of New England’s postseason games, the fact that both came on targets to Rob Gronkowski prompted an internal discussion here that had us wondering how many times that’s happened during the regular season, and if it was, in fact, Gronkowski who was Tom Brady’s biggest vice in 2014.

As it turns out, Brandon LaFell edged him out during the regular season, with four of Brady’s nine interceptions coming when he targeted the veteran wide out.  Gronkowski accounted for three of them, while Danny Amendola and Brian Tyms each were on the other other end of one throw each.

Here’s a look as well as what week each happened in:

9/29 at Kansas City Chiefs – Brandon LaFell (2)
11/2 vs Denver Broncos – Danny Amendola
11/16 – at Indianapolis Colts – Brian Tyms
11/16 – at Indianapolis Colts – Rob Gronkowski
11/23 – vs Detroit Lions – Rob Gronkowski
12/7 – at San Diego Chargers – Rob Gronkowski
12/14 – vs Miami Dolphins – Brandon LaFell
12/21 – at NY Jets – Brandon LaFell

Gronkowski so far has been the receiver targeted over New England’s first two postseason games when Brady’s been picked off.  Interestingly enough, prior to the interception he threw to him just over a week ago against the Ravens, Brady hadn’t been picked off targeting Gronkowski since back on December 7th against the Chargers.

Notice one name that’s missing?  That would be Julian Edelman, who has been the guy that Brady had the most success targeting during the regular season. Edelman had the highest completion percentage from Brady at 69% of the team’s’ five leading receivers, with Brady targeting him 134 times with 92 completions.

Wilfork Helps Woman Trapped in Her Jeep After Championship Win


Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork has always been known as a compassionate person, and following Sunday night’s AFC Championship victory he showed even more why he’s one of New England’s most beloved players on and off the field.

According to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, Wilfork spotted an accident on Rte. 1 near Gillette Stadium where a woman rolled her Jeep Wrangler onto its side.  The veteran defensive tackle reportedly pulled over and helped pull her out of the vehicle and stayed with her until Massachusetts State Police arrived shortly thereafter.

After Wilfork left, the woman was charged with driving under the influence and arrested by police.

Wilfork told the website that seeing the accident just after winning a Conference Championship made him reflect on what was important.  But in the end, he and his wife, Bianca, were just glad to have been there to help.

“You kind of reflect on life a little bit,” he said. “Here I am, we won the most important game of our season, and flashing right in front of your eyes is the life of someone who is in danger. … After I drove off, my wife and I kind of talked in the car and said there are things that are a lot more precious in life than games or anything you accomplish in life. There are things out there that are more important. It showed last night, even though we won the AFC championship, it was life and danger. We were just happy to help.

“I don’t want anything from it. If I saw it a million times, I’d do it a million times no matter what the situation would be.”

LeGarrette Blount Puts Himself in the Record Books

Blount had another big game against the Colts Sunday night. (USA TODAY Images)

Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount has to be shaking his head a little and counting his blessings knowing how differently things could have turned out.

Blount was a free agent this past offseason and signed a contract with the Steelers that seemingly ended his tenure in New England.  But following internal issues where Blount wasn’t “the guy” in Pittsburgh, it lead to a conflict between the two sides that eventually resulted in his release.  After it happened, it didn’t take long for the Patriots to jump at the opportunity to strengthen their backfield with a guy who had enough familiarity to immediately contribute.

Blount dominated the Colts in last year’s postseaoson as well. (USA TODAY Images)

Sunday night was a shining example of how sometimes things work out for the best, and the Patriots now have a player who can pound out tough yards heading into their match-up with Seattle one week from Sunday.

Blount didn’t miss a beat against Indianapolis, looking just as dominant as he was a year ago against them when he racked up 166 yards and four touchdowns in a huge 43-22 Divisional playoff win at home.  Sunday night it was more of the same, with Blount piling up 148 yards and 3 touchdowns while carrying the ball 30 times, including quite a few where he lowered his shoulder and pounded defenders backward.

“He ran good,” said Bill Belichick after the game.  “Really he made some great cuts in not good conditions. He found yards when there weren’t a lot there and he’s a tough guy to tackle. He’s really a quality back. He made some great runs tonight. There were several times when he took nothing and turned it into something. Then when we had something, he got it and usually a little bit more. I thought he showed a lot of determination on the goal line to get the ball in the end zone. That was really an outstanding performance.”

It was more than outstanding, and it ended up being historic.  Blount’s three touchdown performance moved him into first place time all-time in franchise history for postseason rushing touchdowns, with Blount now totaling seven for his career.  That moves him ahead of both Curtis Martin and Tom Brady, who had previously held the mark tied with five each.  Blount also set a franchise record for rushing attempts with 30.

Blount’s also the first player in NFL history with multiple postseason games with at least three rushing touchdowns.

“I thought he ran the ball strong, tough,” said Blount’s teammate, Shane Vereen.  “I wouldn’t want to tackle him. I think he ran the ball well.”

Vereen also said that Blount’s a player who is well liked, which considering the fact players in Pittsburgh pushed for his release, clearly this is a place that he feels more at home and his attitude and performance certainly reflects that.

“[Laughs] We love LG whether he has 250 yards or five yards,” said Vereen.  “He’s a great player, a great teammate. He’s accepted around here and everybody loves him.”

And they’ll love him even more if he keeps running the way he did Sunday night.

Brady Now the NFL’s Postseason All-Time Leading Passer

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been known for his playoff success since winning his first Super Bowl back in 2001, and on Sunday night he further cemented himself into the NFL record books during the Patriots 45-7 demolition of the Indianapolis Colts.

Brady became the league’s postseason all-time leading passer Sunday night, passing Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning early in the first quarter.  He entered the game needing just 10 yards to eclipse Manning for the top spot, which happened just three minutes into the game thanks to a 5-yard completion to Julian Edelman on their second possession after they recovered a muffed punt by the Colts.

Brady continued his assault on the NFL record books Sunday night against the Colts. (USA TODAY Images)

The best part was the Patriots eventually scored on that drive, with LeGarrette Blount taking it in just five plays later for his first rushing touchdown of the afternoon to put New England up 7-0.

But that wasn’t the only mark Brady set.  He moved into second place all-time behind Joe Montana after throwing his third touchdown pass of the night. It was the 7th time he’s done that in the postseason behind Joe Montana, who has done it nine times.

Sunday also marked Brady’s 28th career postseason start, which extends his NFL record over Brett Favre (24), and it was his 9th career Conference Championship Game start, which was a new NFL record.

However, more importantly the win gave Brady his 6th career Conference Championship victory which is a new NFL record, moving him ahead of John Elway, who had won five.  It was also Brady’s 20th career postseason victory, extending his own NFL record.

After the game Brady was pleased with the achievement but wasn’t ready to think about it yet.

“I haven’t had much time to reflect,” Brady told reporters after the game. “I think we’re right in the middle of it. It was a great team win. We needed it from all three phases and to make it to this point is a great accomplishment for our team. Hopefully our best is yet to come.”

Even Now, Tom Brady Still Gets Nervous, But Patriots Need Another Big Performance

Tom Brady is hoping to advance this weekend against the Colts. (USA TODAY Images)

Back in 2002 in his first playoff appearance, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady played with reckless abandon against the Oakland Raiders and didn’t appear to show much in terms of nerves.

He was confident, he was cocky, and he certainly didn’t look like a first year quarterback during their championship run that season.  That approach served him well, and the result was an upset of the ages after Brady beat the Raiders, the Steelers, and eventually took care of the St. Louis Rams to clinch the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy.

That’s the type of player he was in 2003 and 2004, which is a span that was certainly one of the more impressive runs we’ve ever seen a team have.  Fast forward 10-years later, and Brady is surrounded by a group that has the team in their 9th AFC Championship and with seemingly enough talent to complete the job. There’s a great mix of veteran players and youth on this football team, and Sunday will require the veterans to help keep the younger guys focused at the task at hand.

On the offensive side of the football, Brady is that guy. While he’s surrounded by veteran players like Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell, it’s still going to come down to the 15-year quarterback to help them move on. The Colts are playing relatively well offensively and are likely going to put up points, which means that Sunday’s battle against Indianapolis is going to again put Brady in the spotlight against a team that he’s dominated in past match-ups.

Obviously on paper, it’s easy to say that the Colts have no shot and to just punch the Patriots’ ticket to Arizona.  One big thing that could change all that would be for Andrew Luck to come into Foxboro and play the way that Brady did in Pittsburgh during their final Super Bowl run during the 2004/05 postseason when they went into Heinz Field and stomped the Steelers 41-27.  Brady played a pretty flawless game after going 14-of-21 (67%) for 207-yards and two touchdowns.  It wasn’t a great game by any means, but he didn’t make any mistakes.  Not to mention the fact Deion Branch had a big game while catching 4 passes for 116 yards including a 60-yard touchdown.

In that game New England’s defense played well, picking off Ben Roethlisberger three times, including one by Rodney Harrison that he returned for a touchdown.   At the time the Patriots were ranked 9th defensively in the NFL while Pittsburgh had the league’s top ranked defense.  The bad news for the Steelers was the fact New England turned the tables, forcing mistakes while not making any of their own against a team that many thought would knock out the Patriots.  Instead Bill Belichick’s team ended up in Jacksonville, where they went on to beat the Eagles to win Super Bowl XXXIX.

The Colts could be that team this weekend, and that’s what the Patriots need to avoid.  All eyes will be on Luck, who already did the unthinkable and knocked Peyton Manning out in Denver last weekend.  His confidence is likely pretty high heading into Foxboro, and as much as Indianapolis would love to see him help his team advance, he also has the benefit of being a player with nothing to lose since either way that team heads into the offseason with plenty of optimism and a bright outlook heading into 2015.

That’s a dangerous combination.  Brady doesn’t play defense, so the two won’t really be battling head-to-head.  But should Luck’s offense start putting up points, it will be up to Brady to answer.  This is going to be a critical time for Brady to play well and he’ll need to play with that same confidence and ability that endeared him to the fans here in New England.

Brady said the experience of being there in the past will help him, but it won’t matter unless he plays well.

Tom Brady admitted on Wednesday that the nerves are still there even now.
(USA TODAY Images)

“Well, I mean at some point you don’t have the experience and that’s certainly [like] when I was younger and it didn’t matter much to me when I was younger,” said Brady.  “As you get older, experience is definitely good as long as you play well. It’s a game like all the other games; I think it’s just, there’s a finality to this game and obviously only one team advances. It was the same as last week, so we’re very fortunate to be in this position; to have a chance to play in it.

“I think more so than anything, you’re just excited for the opportunity to be able to do it. It’s hard to do and our team found a way to get there this year, so hopefully we can take advantage of the opportunity.”

Brady’s now 37 years old with that opportunity sitting in front of him.  Win, and they’re heading to another Super Bowl with a group that certainly has enough talent to compete with anyone, which they’ve shown after a rocky beginning.  After starting the season 2-2 and being written off by many experts throughout the league, the Patriots went on to lose just one more meaningful game the rest of the season against Green Bay.  In that game they held their own against a team that could very well become Conference champions themselves this weekend should Aaron Rodgers upset Seattle, and it could set up an opportunity for redemption on a neutral field.

But that will only happen if Brady takes care of business against Indianapolis, and he admitted that like last week against Baltimore, it won’t be easy.  They won their first meeting in week 11 42-20, but Brady didn’t exactly have his best game.  He threw two first half interceptions and New England went into the locker room up just 14-10 at the half.

Jonas Gray came out and rushed for 101 yards in the second half and Brady missed just two passes over the final two quarters after finishing 9-of-11 for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns, and it was that performance that helped carry New England to a win.

This time around he’ll likely be hoping that he’ll play a more complete game.  Brady said on Wednesday that while familiarity helps, they’ll need to be at their best.

“Obviously, you want to play your best, you’ve got to be at your best physically and mentally, so whatever it takes for us to get there over the course of the next four or five days is what we have to do,” said Brady.  “I just try to stress that to everybody and hopefully we can go out and execute as well as we can on Sunday.”

Regardless of how Luck plays, the Patriots need Brady to put together a solid outing.  Aside from an interception toward the end of the first half last weekend against the Ravens, Brady put together a pretty good performance, and it was one of the better postseason games he’s played in a while against a tough defense.

Brady admitted there will be some nerves, but the preparation they put in this week will be the difference between starting the offseason next Monday, or boarding a plane to play one more game.

“I think that’s part of playing sports,” said Brady when asked if he still had that “nervous energy”.  ” Being in a competitive situation like we are, I don’t think that ever goes away. You never know what’s going to happen on game day, you work as hard as you can to kind of prepare for everything and like I said, to be physically and mentally right, but 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 and if it does, great; if it doesn’t happen the way you want it to, which is most of the time, you’ve got to figure out something to do. I think that’s where a lot of the nerves come into play, the anxiousness of just the anticipation of what’s going to happen versus what we’ve prepared for, so you just have to prepare for a lot of things.”

Hopefully it will equal another strong effort on Sunday.

Notice: Undefined variable: bprev in /home/httpd/vhosts/ on line 57

Notice: Undefined index: preview in /home/httpd/vhosts/ on line 3