TB: It was relatively easy. We practiced yesterday and everyone was a little tired after practice. So it was nice to get on the flight, get over here and get ready to try to win a football game.
Q: Are you expecting snow [referring to his winter hat]?
TB: Thank you, I’m going to get you one.
Q: Does coach let you watch game film on the plane?
TB: It was mostly sleep because we have some work to do today so I think a lot of guys kind of took advantage of some rest. It was a decent flight and I think everyone feels pretty good. It seems like everyone’s excited to be here.
Q: Does it feel any different playing in England than it does playing at home?
TB: Certainly the double-decker busses that you see [are different] and certainly a lot of support we’re getting from you guys and the fans. I know I misspoke the other day. There’s a big event tomorrow for all the fans that I guess a lot of the players are going to. But yeah, it definitely has a different feeling. I think a lot of the players kind of come together on a long flight and to be here for three or four days together will be a lot of fun for all of us. Hopefully the fans really enjoy the game.
Q: Have you seen any crazy reactions from football fans in England?
TB: We have pretty crazy fans in America so there’s probably not much that I haven’t seen at this point.
Q: Why is it more difficult for the NFL to go global than it is for other sports?
TB: I’m not sure. Everybody has their cultures and traditions and certainly a lot of countries play basketball. Football is a bit unique to America. I know there are certainly other countries that understand the game play and a lot of people watch the game based on what you hear about people watching the Super Bowls and so forth. But, there’s a lot that goes into American football with the rules and the equipment and the amount of players that you need and referees. Growing up as a kid we played two-hand touch which I’m sure all the American kids do. I know this country is dominated by soccer, or football. I hope so, one day. It’s a great sport. There’s a reason why all of us chose this particular sport and there’s the team element to this game and structure of the game and scheme of the game is so critical to our success. You look at a sport like basketball where it’s much more – you throw the ball to one guy – and not that they don’t have plays, but at the end of the day it’s a lot of, you get the ball to Kobe Bryant a the end of the game and he wins the game for you. Football’s not really like that. Every single guy has an important role and unless that person does that role then it doesn’t usually end up being a good play. I hope so. I hope it continues to grow and that’s why we’re here. We’re here to kind of be ambassadors for the NFL and I think the players understand that. The players are excited about that. But at the same time we realize our main goal is to win a football game because it’s going to be a much longer flight home if we don’t take care of business.
Q: What do you take from your experience here in 2009 that will help this week?
TB: I wouldn’t say much. I think this is a different team, different experience that’s really unique to this particular game. The stadium, everyone will get used to that pretty quickly. But it’s a great venue for us to play in. Most important is using these next few days to prepare and not necessarily get distracted by all the different things you could possibly go out and do because it’s not like this is a vacation. If this was a typical road trip for us, we’d land on a Saturday and get prepared that night and go out and play the next day. We have a few extra days, so hopefully we use it well and prepare well and not really as a sightseeing-type tour for us, which, it’s certainly not that.
Q: What do you remember about beating the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI and could you have possibly predicted the success to come in the following 10 years?
TB: That was a, it doesn’t seem like long ago, but other times it does seem like a long time ago. How do I feel about that experience? That was a long time ago. It was a lot of hits ago. I mean, you win the Super Bowl, it was my second year in the league and you never forget that. That’s something that’s embedded in your mind and heart for the rest of your life. We had so many great teammates that were a part of that and guys that I’m still friends with. We played one of the best teams that I’ve ever played against. I think that’s really where Patriot football and team football really kind of started for us in New England. It took a team effort to win that game. It was, like I said, an exceptional team we faced and they had some Hall of Famers on that team, some guys that were playing at the height of their careers and we found a way to beat them. We lost to them earlier that season, so it was a very memorable day, very memorable night. Certainly since then it’s been more than I could ever ask for as a person, as a player and I’m sure all my teammates feel the same way.
Q: What is it like to lose after having such success and how do you get over the Super Bowl loss from last year?
TB: Well, I think you realize that, you’re right, when you win like we did early in my career here and in our careers, you don’t take it for granted. I think as time’s gone on, you realize now how challenging that was because we’ve had some great teams since then, we just haven’t had the chance to win a Super Bowl. We got there twice, but didn’t really close the deal. As a team you realize all the small things that go into preparing each week and the process that you put into each game so that you can perform at your highest level when it matters the most. Losing sucks and especially to lose the Super Bowl at the end of the season like we did last year, it’s a very disappointing feeling but at the same time you have mental toughness to move forward and not allow that to have any impact on what we’ve done this season. We’re still growing as a team. We’re not even to the halfway point. I think each step along the way we’ve learned and we’ve gotten a little bit better, a little more prepared and hopefully this week is our best game this season.
Q: Marcel Dareus said about you yesterday that, ‘You don’t hear him coming. You don’t see him coming. He’s just in your face all game.’ Do you have any comment on that?
TB: I’m in his face all game? Oh, well I just try to focus on my job. I think there are a lot of things that go on outside of what I do that the other players on my team are focused on and I certainly have supreme confidence that they’re going to be able to do that. So that frees me up to be the player that I need to be because my team needs me to be at my very best and that’s what I try to do every single day. I think that’s what all of us as teammates try to do. You try to be accountable to the guy next to you so that you free them up to do their job. That’s why teammates like
Q: Do you have a favorite Patriots team from over the years? Which players are impressing you from this younger group?
TB: There have been so many that I have been lucky enough to play with. Guys that are, all of them are a little bit different so it’s hard to pick, really, a favorite guy. Troy Brown, who was an incredible receiver for us and our team, got elected to our Hall of Fame this season. He’s one of the greatest teammates I’ve ever had. Randy Moss had one of the greatest receiving seasons of anybody to ever play the game. Wes Welker’s been a dominant receiver for the last six years and is one of my best friends. All those guys add something different and bring something different. They have really unique skill sets, but I think what sets them apart is the emotion and the character that they bring to the team. Their leadership ability really [transcends] their physical ability, which allows them to reach heights that not many guys in the NFL reach. I’ve been very fortunate to play with those guys and I appreciate them and all the work they do to prepare themselves so that they can be at their best, not only for myself, but for all of my teammates.
Q: Are the younger players like
TB: I think so, I think so. They’re always excited about anything. When you’re 23-years old or 22-years old, there’s not much you’re not excited about.
TB: Maybe not until after the game. That’s when you really have to keep a tight leash on those two guys.
Q: Do you have plans to go out in London at all?
TB: We’re staying here tonight, so I’m sure everybody will have some different plans. Mine calls for sleep.
Q: Is there any extra preparation you have put in for an aggressive Rams’ defensive line?
TB: The offensive line is really focused on what they need to do. This is a very good defensive line that we’re facing, one that puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback from their scheme standpoint but also from their playmaking ability, [Robert] Quinn and [Chris] Long are exceptional pass rushers and they’ve really proven that over the course of a couple seasons. It’s a very good defense and I think they challenge you in a lot of ways. We have to be at our very best. We’ve been inconsistent at times throughout the season which has led to a very mediocre record from us, but at the same time our goals are still ahead of us and this would be a very important win for us if we can get it going into our bye week next week.
Q: Do you see this as an important game in that you have started out with several road games and the team is banged up but you could go in to the bye to get healthy and play two straight weeks at home?
TB: Sure and that’s what happens. You go this long and guys are playing with bumps and bruises and certainly nobody’s 100 percent at this point. Everyone looks at that bye as a point where, ‘Man, if we could just get to the bye week, get a little bit healthy and we could hopefully put together a great stretch of games.’ So you look at this game as a very critical point and critical game in our season where if we can just get to 5-3, we feel like we’re at a decent point where we’ve learned a lot form the last eight games. We’ve learned what we do well. We’ve learned the things that we don’t do so well. You can move forward with mental toughness and playing Patriot football, the way we need to the rest of the year when football season really gets going.
Q: Can you use the experience from the Seattle game to get ready for a long road trip?
TB: Yeah, that was basically the same distance, just opposite direction and that was, we played decent football for most of that game and then let the lead kind of slip away there at the end. Hopefully we play better than we played at that particular moment and that particular game. We’re excited for this game. This is a different game. It’s a different challenge and I think we’ve been preparing since our game ended against the Jets last Sunday and I think all the players seem to be excited about this weekend.
Q: Fans here say rugby is tougher because they don’t play in pads. What are your thoughts on rugby?
TB: I have a lot of respect for those guys. They are some tough guys. It’s a great sport. I’ve always enjoyed watching. I had a lot of friends playing rugby growing up but I don’t understand the rules so much. It wouldn’t be my type of game where you have to run fast. I’m lucky enough to be in a situation where I kind of stand there and throw to the fast guys. It’s a great sport. It’s a physical sport. Our sport is very physical. I think the size and the speed our players move at – yeah, you have pads, but you still feel it. The more physical you are as a team, the more success you have.
Q: How would you feel about having a permanent team based outside the United States?
TB: I’m not sure, I don’t make any of those decisions. If it was up to me, maybe one day if I was the owner of a team it would be. But I think it’s a great thing that we’re here. It’s a great thing that people get to experience American football and why I think we enjoy it so much. Whether it ever happens on a regular basis, those questions are probably for other people, but I know this experience is fun for us players and we look forward to the opportunity of sharing our game with people who probably don’t get to see it very often. And maybe there are more games in the future – that, I think would be the ultimate goal for everybody.
Q: Given your experience here in 2009, have you given some advice to the younger players on how to stay focused?
TB: I think our coach does a very good job of that, so I kind of leave that to the coaches. There are some things as a veteran on our team and the captains always to speak to the younger players about what we’re going to experience. But you know, we let coach handle a lot of that stuff.
Q: How does the Wembley Stadium atmosphere compare to the stadiums in the United States?
TB: It’s a beautiful stadium. It’s a very big stadium. It was loud last time, from what I remember. The fans were into it. There were a lot of whistles and horns, which we’re really not used to in the States very much. Communication is always an issue for offensive football. We worked with some sound this week to get used to not being able to communicate as well. You never really know when they’re going to be cheering to so you have to prepare for both – without crowd noise and with crowd noise. It’s a really beautiful stadium and I remember how much I enjoyed the last time I played here.
Q: Based on your success over the last decade have you noticed a large Patriots fan base in the UK?
TB: I hope so. That would make logical sense for the New England Patriots to have some fans here in England. Hopefully we give them reasons to cheer over here. We’re going to go out and try to play really well. The better we play, the longer they’re going to scream and it’ll feel great if we can come out with a win on Sunday.
Q: Have you been switching helmets the last couple of weeks? If so, what was the thought process behind that?
TB: I’m just trying some different things out, nothing really in particular. You may see the old one back this weekend. We didn’t have very good games the last time I wore that helmet. Time to go back to the old one.
Q: How does St. Louis’ defense play compared to Seattle’s? They have a lot of speed.
TB: Yeah, a lot of speed and play-making ability at corner, very similar to Seattle. I think they have three guys – [Bradley] Fletcher, [Cortland] Finnegan, [Janoris] Jenkins – that all play very aggressive. They’re different teams but similar in style that they rush the quarterback and expect the ball to come out quick. So when you’re a secondary player it’s not like, ‘Oh man, I have to cover for very long.’ So whenever the quarterback’s dropping back, they’re going to try to lock onto that receiver and jump routes and be aggressive and they’ve been doing that all season. They have confidence in their cover ability so we’re going to have to try to protect long enough for our guys to get away from them or else it’s going to be a long night.
Q: Did you watch the London Olympics this year? If you were not playing football, what Olympic event do you think you would be good at?
TB: Oh man, of course I saw the Olympics. I think the U.S. won the most medals, which I think was pretty cool for the American fans. I heard how great of an experience it was here and how England really embraced the Olympics and everyone really enjoyed it. I don’t think I’d compete in anything other than football. I’m glad I chose this sport. I’m not the most athletic person in the world, but I have a decent arm – good for an NFL quarterback, but not many other things – maybe a baseball pitcher but that’s not an Olympic sport.
Q: Why do you think the team has had issues in late, close games this year?
TB: Hopefully we’ve learned from that and I think I’ve said a few times that our execution hasn’t been the best in those situations. We’re 4-3. We’ve had some where we’ve done better than others there in the fourth quarter of these games. We had a pretty good fourth quarter last game. We showed some resiliency, a little bit of toughness. I hope we learn from that and do a better job going forward. That’s when the defense makes it tough on you, when they really have to tighten the coverage and tighten the pass rush and try to get the ball back. We’ve have a couple games where we haven’t done a very good job of that.
Q: How tired were you after last week’s game? I know I was tired from watching it.
TB: Yeah, we were exhausted too, all the way up until we got home. It was one of those games that you’re glad you win because you put a lot of energy and emotion to it and you have the ups and downs of the games and then after the game you feel like you played two games when it goes that way. Hopefully we’ve learned a lot of good things from it. Hopefully we’ve gained some confidence that we can win very close games and win games in overtime. Defense made critical plays when they needed to. Offense did. Special teams did. You go into a game like this and you understand if it’s going to be close, you have the confidence you pull it out and that if you need a play, someone’s going to make one.
Q: Can you describe what Matt Light meant to you and how
TB: He was an incredible player for a long time. I had so much trust in him and confidence in him, as everybody did because of the way he performed and played for us for a decade. He was everything you look for in a teammate. I think Nate, having a year to watch – he played a lot last year as well at right tackle. But to see the way that Matt played and the way that Matt prepared and now, to play next to
Q: If you could pick two teammates to take a road trip with across the U.S.A., who would they be and why?
TB: Oh man. As a single man or as a married man?
Q: That is for you to decide.
TB: I’ve got some great friends on the team. It would be a bus, it couldn’t be just two, there would be a lot of guys. I have some great teammates and guys I’ve developed such strong relationships with and I think that’s the thing that you enjoy the most. The games are really important and you love that. But also, when you play football and you work hard and you’re bleeding, you play with broken bones and you look at the guy next to you and you have so much respect for him because he’s doing the same thing. Someone like Wes Welker, who is one of my best friends, is small in stature but has a bigger heart than anybody on the team. Those are guys who are lifelong friends and lifelong relationships because you know you can always count on someone like that.
Q: Can we expect a documentary show after you retire?
TB: Probably not for me. It’s going to be hard to find me when I retire. I’m going to be somewhere warm and sunny with no phone.
Q: Do you have plans on how much longer you plan to stay in the game?
TB: I don’t know. Hopefully that’s a long time from now, but I love football. I love the sport. Hopefully I can play for a long time. This is all I know. It’s all I really have done. It’s all I ever look forward to. It’s just, there’s nothing better than it.
Q: Was there anything surprising from what you remember about the Wembley Stadium playing surface?
TB: Not from what I remember. No, it’s actually very good, very solid turf. I know when we played on it last time we thought it would be a little slippery from watching the previous game but I think it rained that game. I don’t know what the forecast is for this game. I think there’s always a chance of rain here in London, right? But yeah, it was nice turf from what I remember. We practice on grass quite a bit even though we play on an artificial surface; we practice on grass all the time. I think all the players prefer playing on grass. I certainly do. It’s nice when you have these grass games because it softens the fall a little bit when those guys are landing on top of you.