Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Sunday, January 9, 2011.
BB: Well, we're full speed ahead now on our preparations for the Jets. It was really a pretty exciting game last night. Both teams were right there at the end. [It] looked like it could have gone either way. The Jets made the plays they had to make at the end of the game and won it. That's kind of what we all think of playoff football as being – two good teams playing right down to the wire. So, now we can get ready for them. We split with them this year. So, now it will be best two out of three, it's probably the way it should be. We'll find out which team is going to advance next week. Big challenge for us. I don't think the last game or even the first game, either one of those games is going to mean a whole lot. Both teams know each other well. We're ready for a whole new week of preparation. Even though we're familiar with them and they're familiar with us, it feels like every time you play a team, games go a lot differently. We're not expecting anything other than starting this game off and trying to do a better job than the Jets do on Sunday afternoon.
Q: What stands out to you as different about the Jets from what you saw when you played them Dec. 6?
BB: They're pretty much the same team. Obviously, they didn't have a good night that night. But, they do a good job running the ball. They've got big play receivers and tight ends. They do what they do on defense – a lot of man coverage and they're pretty physical on the front line. [They're] very good in the kicking game. Good return game – that was a big play for them last night on the kickoff return after the Indianapolis field goal. They're a solid team. Their record reflects that. I don't think they're a whole lot different than really what they've been all year. They do a lot of things well.
Q: How does the atmosphere of the playoffs change the dynamics for two teams that are so familiar with each other?
BB: I think everyone knows what the importance of the game is. I don't think it changes a whole lot. We all know this is a one-game season. They know it. We know it. Both teams prepare for it that way. Both teams will give it their best, and we'll see what happens.
Q: What's the most important thing for a young player or rookie to know about the difference in football at this time of year?
BB: If you lose, you go home.
Q: Do you think there is any lingering emotional effect on the Jets considering the way you guys beat them and how badly it was in the last meeting?
BB: You have to ask them that question. We're just worried about trying to get our team ready to go. We know it will be a tough game. The Jets beat Indianapolis in Indianapolis. They deserve to be where they're at.
Q: You mentioned familiarity. Is it hard for teams at this time of the year to change anything or does the familiarity really come into play?
BB: You've had 16, 17 games, whatever it is, not counting preseason and another 100 and some practices, so I think everybody probably has got a lot of options in their playbook or in their system. It's a question of what you want to do, what you feel like is best to choose from and the inflections that you have – how you match up and how you want to play against the team that you're up against. I'm sure they have a lot of options at this point.
Q: That game last night ended at around 11 p.m. ET. Did you start working right away or did you sleep on it and get started this morning?
BB: I'm not really much of a night person.
Q: Did you watch the game until the end?
BB: Yeah, I did, yeah. Great game. Terrific game.
Q: When a team is coming off that kind of emotion and experience in that game and you all have had the bye week, is there any concern about them being able to take that momentum into this week having had that game while you all had the bye?
BB: I think the most important thing is the week of preparation and how the teams prepare on Sunday. I think that's what it really comes down to. I don't think what happened last week or in some game in December or some game in September or some game in October, I don't think that's going to have too much bearing on it. I think what happens between now and kickoff and how the teams perform once the game starts, I think that's what will decide the winner.
Q: Have you seen a growth for Mark Sanchez from the beginning part of the season through the middle to where he was last night and how he's able to be effective?
BB: I thought he did a good job last night. [He] made some clutch plays that they needed to make there at the end of the game. He's obviously a good quarterback; he's led them to the playoffs two years in a row.
Q: When you saw the Colts kick the field goal in the final minute, did you think they had won the game?
BB: I think in this league, you don't think it's over until the final gun goes off. Whether we're playing in the game or whether I'm watching the game, till it's over, we've seen a lot of things happen at the end of the game. That's why the ratings are so high. People don't turn off their sets, [they] watch and wait and see how it turns out.
Q: Obviously, the playoffs mean an amped up level of attention on this game. How do you prepare a young team for the amplified amount of reporters and media coverage?
BB: I'll have to give them a lot of guidance on how to deal with that. We've been pretty well covered all year. I wouldn't say that we haven't had a lot of coverage over the course of the year. We understand that it's the playoffs, but we deal with it every week.
Q: From a preparation standpoint as coaches, when you prepare for a team for a third time in the season, how does that change the dynamic or the challenge that you have from a game plan perspective?
BB: I just think you have that extra game that you usually don't have. You might've played them once and so you know what you did in that game, there is a reason for the things that you did, [there] definitely is a reason for the things they tried to do against you. So, the second time around, you want to show it a little bit differently and do the same things or you feel like you need to alter your approach a little bit or how you want to handle it. Now, this time you've got that second game in there, so I think it's a lot easier for your opponents to see or for you to see whichever way it's going – two games are pretty much the same thing or how different was the approach from one game to the next and then trying to anticipate what would be the next move. And of course nobody knows for sure what that's going to be, so you have to prepare for a lot of different things. In the end, you still have to put your chips on something. You have to anticipate what you think is most likely to occur. You have to allocate some practice time and game planning to whatever you happen to think that is. You have one more game to go on than you would normally have in a normal division situation, division game.
Q: Last week, Rex Ryan said he thinks that you help Tom Brady with studying and game preparation more than what Peyton Manning gets in Indianapolis. What do you think about that statement?
BB: I really don't think a whole lot about stuff like that. I just try to coach our team. I think you have to ask Rex or somebody else about that, whoever said it, whatever the context was, I don't know. I'm worried about getting our team ready.