New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2008.
BB: Good afternoon. How are we doing? It's great to be here and to be coach the team that's going to Super Bowl XLII. It's a great privilege and honor to be a part of that. We're certainly looking forward to it. We know what we're dealing with, with the Giants. We had a great game with them last month and it looks like they've done nothing but get better. Today we're just trying to get a lot of our arrangements and stuff like that out of the way and we'll really start digging into the Giants in the next couple of days. We know that will be a big challenge for us but [we're] certainly thrilled to have the opportunity to meet it and we look forward to having a good week of preparation here before we head down to Arizona. It was a great win yesterday for our football team and our franchise. [I'm] happy for everybody, for Robert [Kraft] and the ownership. The players certainly played outstanding and stepped up and made big plays in the fourth quarter, especially when they had to. All the other people that have contributed to our success this year, all the support people and the assistant coaches, all of them have done a great job. It's given us the opportunity to try to do it one more time. We're excited about that, looking forward to it and at the same time [we] understand what a huge challenge this will be playing the Giants. Unfortunately, it counts as a road game for them. I guess we're the [designated] home team.
Q: How much of a help is it, from a time frame stand point, the fact that you played this team just a few weeks ago?
BB: It definitely helps. It makes it go a lot faster. If it had been Green Bay we would have spent a lot of time just getting the material ready to analyze and start to look at it. Since it's the Giants, we did a lot of work on them, as you mentioned, and we'll certainly look very closely at the last four games-- our game, you know, break that down, and then their playoff games against Tampa, Dallas and Green Bay and look closely at those four. A lot of it at least we have a good recollection of and we did have most of the match ups that we'll have [in this game] occurred in our game in December, so that's good. We'll have something to work from. It's not an advantage. Both teams are working with the same information, but there's a lot more familiarity then there would be with a team that we hadn't played all year. Actually, this will be our third game against the Giants this year counting the preseason game.
Q: Can you talk about Eli's [Manning] development?
BB: He certainly played well against us. We saw that first hand. He had a great night. They're an outstanding football team. They really are. They can do it all the way across the board, especially on offense. Good backs; very productive passing game; good offensive line. So they can run it; they can pass it; they score points. They take care of the ball well, they're a physical team and Eli has done a terrific job managing that team and particularly playing on the road and winning big games and winning playoff games.
Q: Did you spend some time addressing the team today on what to do this week in terms of organizing their logistics?
BB: Yeah, a little bit. Most of it wasn't done by me, we've had people in our organization who have done a little bit of advance work on that and we have the information from the league and schedules and so forth and we have a little bit of a history of doing this. Most of that information was presented to the players and a lot of it is information they have to give back to us and it all has to be put together and so forth and so on. It's not really my area of expertise, but we have other people who have done a good job on that. Our organization has been in this game before, so we have a little bit of history on how to do it and what some of the things that work well are and what maybe are some of the things are that we don't want to do.
Q: Having been in this situation before, is that an advantage for you?
BB: Right now, it's really just each individual person has to handle their own individual situation. Friends, family, tickets, rooms, whatever travel logistics there are, and we want to try to get those out of the way in the next couple days. We got the process started today and I'm sure everybody got a lot of calls last night, we all did, but we'll take care of that in the next couple of days, particularly the players and coaching staff of course, we'll be busy preparing for the players when they come in on Thursday. We'll try to get the information ready for them, but that's really what these next couple days are for the players and the organization. [When] we go on Thursday, we want to be ready to really focus and get down to work on the Giants and we'll need all the time and preparation we can get with them.
Q: Are you leaving on Sunday to go to Arizona?
BB: That's the plan. Weather permitting.
Q: Will you do the late morning press conferences?
BB: I don't know - whatever - I'm sure Stacey [James] will announce that, whatever it is.
Q: What sticks in your mind about the last game you played against the Giants?
BB: It was a tough, hard fought, very physical game.
Q: What is different, standing here right now today versus the other three times that you went to the Super Bowl?
BB: Every game's different; every year's different. As I've said before, I have three children and they're all different. They're all special. This game's special; the other ones are special. They're all different.
Q: What's different about this one?
BB: Everything. It's a new opponent; it's a new year; we have different players; we're playing the Giants [who] we didn't play before in any of these games. Everything is different.
Q: What about the perfection carrot, dangling out there?
BB: It's a one-game season. We're just trying to beat the Giants. That's all that matters. It's not what their record is or what our record is or what kind of car anybody is driving or anything else. It's about who plays better in two weeks and it's preparation for that game. That's what these two weeks will be about for us.
Q: What does it say for the Giants that they have been able to play so well on the road this season, especially these last three games?
BB: Yeah, it's awesome. You have to give them all the credit in the world. It's like Pittsburgh two years ago. Pittsburgh did the same thing two years ago, went on the road and won as a Wild Card team and as we always say, now's the time when you want to be playing your best football, in January. The Giants, I think, have certainly done that. Again, similar to the Steelers in '05-- they did the same thing. They're the best team. We'll have to play our best game against them. They're the best team we've faced all year. They're on a hot streak right now, playing great in all three phases of the game. They're well coached, I think Tom's [Coughlin] done a terrific job and the general manager, they've put together an outstanding football team and we certainly had our hands full in a very competitive game down there. It could have gone either way with a play or two, so we know what we're in for, it's… this will be a tough one.
Q: The players have been emphasizing the 60-minute theme this year. Did that come from right after the Indianapolis game last year?
BB: No. It's always been like that.
Q: The players this year have, maybe it's just us, but they reiterated that over and over again this year like it has been…
BB: I'm not disputing what they're saying. You're asking me if it's been an emphasis point more this year and I'm telling you no. What do you think we said in '01? Just 45-minutes today fellas, that's all we need. Just give me three good quarters. Don't worry about that first one or that fourth one. Of course not. We've always said [60 minutes]. I respect what the players say. Maybe there has been more of an emphasis, but it's not conscious on my part. It's something we always talked about and it's something we've always emphasized.
Q: Do you think they executed that better this year?
BB: You can't argue with the record. I wouldn't say it's perfect. I don't think we've gone out there and played 60 minutes of good football, no. We didn't play 30 good minutes in the second half against Miami. There's always things we can improve on and do better. I don't think we've played a perfect game, --not by any stretch of the imagination-- but that's still our goal. We still want to go out and play and it goes for the coaching too. I think I've made plenty of mistakes in every game and made them yesterday and made them in all the games before that too. We can all do a better job. That's our quest every week, to prepare and then go out and perform as well as we can every week, or in this case every other week, but go out there and perform as well as we can and get our best product out there. I don't think we've done it yet. Maybe it's not realistic that we will do it [but] we're going to keep trying.
Q: Can you talk about the role that Kevin Faulk has played in the offense?
BB: We've talked about it time and again. Kevin, he's an awesome football player and he's one of the most unselfish players I've ever coached. He's a great team player that not only does his job but helps everybody else do theirs, and he's a very versatile player, in the kicking game, running the ball, catching the ball, blitz pickup, making adjustments. He's a smart instinctive guy and he's been a very valuable player since the day I got here. He's been used in a lot of different roles but nobody works harder than Kevin, nobody's more conscientious and nobody has a better attitude then Kevin Faulk. He's a pleasure to coach, he's a great competitor and he's a great producer. I know everybody's happy when he's out there on the field. That's not taking anything away from any other backs, Sammy Morris or Laurence [Maroney] or anybody else because those guys have played great for us this year, too, but Kevin's - everybody has a lot of confidence when he's out there and they should because he's been very consistent and very productive.
Q: When you view the final drive that you're offense had, even though it didn't result in points, do you consider that drive as important as a scoring drive because it helped you win the game?
BB: Absolutely. Without a doubt. Again, it's situational football. It wasn't about scoring points at that point in the game; it was about maintaining possession of the ball and running out the clock. Offensively, we did it. We got good execution. We were in a couple of long-yardage situations that we didn't want to be in that we kind of dug out of. We had some good blocking, some good running, good running after the catch and good decision making --guys staying in bounds-- and good blocking by the offensive line, tight ends and full back, all of those things. It was the way you want to end the game, with the ball possession. Kneeling down-- that's the way you'd like to win every game.
Q: Do you personally take pride in the success of this franchise and this team the way things have gone over the last seven years?
BB: I take a lot of pride in this organization and the fact that I'm a part of it. I'm proud to be a New England Patriot. I'm proud to work for Robert Kraft and I'm proud to wear our insignia. Absolutely. That being said, right now I don't think is a time to sit and reflect and go back over what has or hasn't happened in the past. Right now we've got a huge challenge ahead of us and that starts with the whole preparation for the entire event. The travel, the logistics, the scheduling and so forth and we have a huge challenge in terms of facing the New York Giants. That's really were I'm focused and where our team needs to be focused right now. There will be a time and a place maybe to do that at some other point but not right now. Not for me anyway.
Q: How much does the NFL's Super Bowl schedule inhibit your preparation?
BB: I don't think it inhibits you at all. We've done it before. I think really it's pretty well organized. There's a lot going on but it's the way it is every year and we've been fortunate to be through it in the past. There's certain obligations, but there's plenty of time to do what we need to do, to meet and to practice and our families come down there at the end of the week prior to the game. I think everything is done as well as it can be done. It's a week that everybody wants to be a part of. That's what you work all year for is to play in this game, so we're all happy to be playing in it. At the same time, this isn't the end, there's still more to climb on this mountain and the Giants are a huge obstacle. We know we're not going down there to have fun. It's a business trip. We're going down there to win and we're going to prepare to win. I think the event is a great event. I think it's well run and it's an honor to be a participant in it.
Q: Chargers center Nick Hardwick called Richard Seymour a dirty player. What's your reaction to that?
BB: I'm surprised. That's the last thing I would say about Richard.