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Bill Belichick Press Conference - 1/27/2008

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media addresses the media during his press conference at Patriots team headquarters for Super Bowl XLII in Scottsdale Arizona on January 27, 2008.

(opening comments)
"On behalf of the organization it's a privilege to be here playing in the Super Bowl and representing the AFC. We certainly have a lot of respect for the Giants. It's an organization that I have quite a bit of history with and have a lot of respect for those people - John Mara, Jerry (Reese), Tom (Coughlin), the job they have done and the football team they have. I certainly have fond memories from the years that I was there but for this week we will turn the page and it should be a great competition on Sunday. We have obviously seen them in the postseason games and the last regular season game. They are an outstanding team and do a lot of things well. We have a lot to get ready for. We know we are going tave to play our best game Sunday to be competitive with them. We're looking forward to getting going down here. We had a good week of work in Foxboro. I don't know whether the weather is that much better, but whatever it is, we'll deal with it, but we're happy to be here and it's a privilege to represent the AFC."

*(on pacing his players this week so they peak at the right time)
*"That's a good question. It's something that you kind of have to get a feel for. You don't want to leave it on the field during the week, but at the same time, you don't want to be running around the day before the game having a lot of questions on 'what are we going to do on this and what are we going to do on that?' You just try to pace yourself through it both physically and mentally, keep everybody fresh, but at the same time keep new challenges coming at them on a daily basis so that its just not review, review, review. We're trying to keep a little bit of interest and some newness in what we do on a daily basis. It's not that easy to do really. We have a lot more time than we normally have during the week to prepare so we have to try to figure out what's the best way to present that material and pace ourselves through it."

*(on Tom Brady's physical condition and the practice schedule planned for him this week)
*"We'll update our injury report on Wednesday when we are required to do it by the League."

*(on the rally at Gillette Stadium Sunday and the emotions when the plane touched down)
*"The emotions were that we were surprised that it was raining. It wasn't in the forecast. It was a great morning. That whole lower bowl halfway around the field was pretty much filled. There was a light snow so it was a little bit of a romantic setting there. It was a snow like we have had in some of our games, a little chill in the air and a great enthusiastic crowd. I got to the stadium several hours before the rally started and people were already starting to arrive. It was a great sendoff and we certainly appreciate their support. They have been awesome all year, every year. We're proud to have them as our fans and hope that we can represent them well this week."

*(on how much he disdains meeting with the media every day)
*"Not at all. I think you have a job to do and you are our connection between our football team, our fans, and the people who have an interest in the game. I respect the job that you do and hope that you respect the job I do. I understand that sometimes I can't give you everything that you are looking for, but I do know that this is the conduit of information from the team to the fans and the fans are what drive the game. I'm all for it. Nobody is more in favor of this game than I am."

*(on if he prefers to have played a team earlier or not in his preparation)
*"We really don't give it too much thought. During the course of the year we have both of those situations. Sometimes there are teams we haven't played and there are other teams we have like in the division or maybe in preseason like the Giants. We played them in preseason and later in the regular season. Every game has its own challenges, its own special circumstances - the players that are available, the situations that the teams are in for the previous games that have been played, and so forth. Even if we played a team before some of the matchups are the same, a lot of times the game goes a lot differently than it did the previous time the teams played. We look at it independently and whatever it is, we deal with it. It's the same for both teams."

*(on his relationship with Giants head coach Tom Coughlin)
*"Tom and I go back to our days with the Giants. Tom was the receivers coach when I coached the secondary the last two years in 1989 and '90. We worked together on a daily basis, doing one-on-ones, seven-on-seven, passing drills and those kinds of things. I think we had a real good off the field relationship talking about different techniques, strategies, coverages, routes and so forth. Tom went to Boston College and off to Jacksonville and we maintained a good relationship through those times as well, talking about different things that came up that did not conflict one way or the other, even with the Giants. We've played them every year in preseason, I think, since he has been there. We've had a regular home and away preseason series with them. I have a lot of respect for Tom. He is a hard working guy. He's smart and he's tough. He's loyal and demands a lot out of his players and I respect the way he coaches his team and certainly the success they've had this year. I think he does a tremendous job. I'm happy for his success - not this week, but in all the other games."

*(on Eli Manning and his play in recent weeks)
*"Eli is a good quarterback. For a young guy, he has come in and had an outstanding career for the Giants. Ernie Acorsi drafted him and I spoke to Ernie about that, how strong Ernie felt about him and he's certainly lived up to all those expectations. I think he can make all the throws, manage the team, do all the things you need to do as a quarterback to help your team win. He's done an outstanding job of that. I think some of the throws he made last week in the championship game against Green Bay, given the conditions and the tight coverage that the Packers had on their receivers, he did an excellent job in that game. I really don't see how you could do too much better than he did, especially given the conditions and the magnitude of the game. I also thought he played well against Dallas, Tampa Bay, and, of course, he had a great night against us. We couldn't do much to stop him with four touchdowns and they moved the ball up and down the field. We have a great deal (of respect) for Eli and what he's done, especially in the latter part of the season."

*(on how he has built a culture with the Patriots that never results in media leaks or bulletin board material and what degree has it contributed to the team's success) *
"I wouldn't have any way to measure it. I'm not even sure specifically what we are talking about. I'd just say that as a team and organization we try to prepare the best that we can each week and go out and play our best. Football is important to all of us. Our jobs are important, the team is important, and our teammates are important. We try to put as much into it as we possibly can and go out and perform as well as we can. We only play once a week in this sport so there is nothing really to save it for. You point everything in your week's preparation for it and we want to try to go out there and do our best, whatever that entails. I know it doesn't always look like that, but that's what we are trying to do."

*(on how he keeps the players level headed and focused after every win)
*"I think we have a real good core of players. They work hard. Football is important to them. They take their jobs seriously and they want to win. I don't really know how much of that comes from the organization or the coaches or the team or anything. That's the way most of our players are anyway. That's the way they would be no matter what they were doing as it relates to football. That's the way they were in college when we drafted them or we scouted them. It's not like we've felt we've taken too many guys into our program and said, 'we're going to have to do an hundred-and-eighty with this guy.' For the most part, most of those players - the Mike Vrabel's, the Rodney Harrison's, the Tom Brady's, the Tedy Bruschi's, the Logan Mankins' -- you can just go right down the line -- Troy Brown -- I could rattle them off. I could name 53 of them right here that work hard, come to work every day, want to find out how to do their job better, can take constructive criticism and go out there and work at it even it things do not go right, try to correct it, get it straightened out, and come back and do it better the next day. I think most of that comes from within the players and I think they deserve the credit for it."

*(on what the records and accomplishments will mean if they do not win Sunday)
*"I'm not really here to talk about last week, last month, last year. This is a one game season and all of our focus is on the New York Giants next Sunday and that's really all there is. Anything else at this point, whatever it is, and I'm not saying it's insignificant, doesn't really matter and certainly doesn't affect any of our preparations or anything we're doing this week. We've got one single sole purpose and that's to play our best against the New York Giants on Sunday. Everything else is basically irrelevant to that task."

*(on if the trip to the Super Bowl gets any easier after all that he has made)
*"It's the trip you want to be on, I'll say that. I don't think it's easier because you know you are going up against a great football team. The New York Giants are playing their best football of the year right now and we had a tremendous game with them a month ago. We know how hard it's going to be and how good they are, how well prepared they are, and how hard they work and how talented they are. That's not easy at all. At the same time, you spend all season working to get to this point - the mini-camps, the offseason programs, all the two-a-days in training camp, the preseason games, the grueling 16-game regular season schedule in the National Football League, the playoff games, the AFC championship - it's all done to be at this game and to be here this week. We are proud to be here. We are excited to be here, but at the same time, we know there is a lot of work left to do. We know we are playing a great football team in the New York Giants and we know how hard that will be and how well we will have to play in order to be competitive on Sunday. That's the balance, but we are glad we are here and glad we have an opportunity to meet that challenge."

*(on if the non-football peripheral items are easier to deal with)
*"We've had a couple of things I would put in that category over the course of the year. It seems like we have them every week and I know other teams in the League do too. That's just part of it. We understand that. Again, I'm into preparations for this game. Everything else we don't want to distract us from our main job. Our job is to get ready to coach and play on Sunday."

*(on what he saw in Junior Seau that made him think that he did not need to retire)
*"When I talked to Junior it was a year ago. We talked about what our situation was at the Patriots at that point and what his situation was. We were able to work things out and I'm glad we did. Unfortunately, he broke his arm last year and wasn't able to finish the season, but he came back this year and had a great year all the way through. He was with us for mini-camps and training camps and the entire year. He is one of the most respected players in the League. He has earned a tremendous amount of respect on our football team and in our organization and the entire community. The fact that he was elected captain this year when it was only his second year on the team is a little bit unusual. The way the voting went was also kind of unusual in that he had the exact same number of votes from the offensive and defensive players. I think that shows the widespread support that he had within our football team. If you know Junior, it isn't really surprising because he brings a great professionalism and energy to our football team. I am glad we had him. I am glad it worked out. He has been a pleasure to coach every day. I've had the opportunity to work with him pretty closely as a linebacker on a daily basis and he is a tremendous guy to coach, as are the rest of the group, but he is a special one."

*(on if this was the most aggressive offseason and what role it played in the team returning to the Super Bowl)
*"Any time you have a team made up of a lot of people like we do, it's hard to say how much is this and how much is that. It's how it all comes together. The offseason wasn't anything that was orchestrated. We approached last offseason the way we approach every offseason and that was to try to improve our football team. Sometimes you get different opportunities to do that, whether it's in the draft, whether it is to sign a free agent, whether it's trades or a combination. Sometimes it's more or less than others depending on your team's situation and what is available and sometimes a salary cap situation. That's just the way it worked out this year and I'm happy with the players we got. I think they've worked hard and done a good job for us. You never know who is going to be available. You never know who you are going to be able to trade for or how things are going to work out in free agency. You just have to go along and sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it can come together in a hurry like it did in the Randy Moss trade, which happened probably within ten hours. Then sometimes you can be 'that far' away from it happening and it never comes through. It's a very unpredictable and unscientific period. We just try to do the best we can to improve our football team in whatever way we can."

*(on Tedy Bruschi's comeback and his role in it)
*"Tedy is a tremendous football player, a great competitor and he is a great person. He has been a captain for us and a strong leader on our team since I have been here. That goes all the way back to his rookie year in '96, which was the year I was here. It was his first year coming in from Arizona and we were trying to find a role for him defensively and in the kicking game and converting him from a down lineman. He has had a big impact on that organization since the first day he got there. What he went through after the '04 season and heading in '05 was something that very few people really go through, especially at that age. I know there were difficult times for him and times that he didn't ever think he would play football again. We are all happy it worked out the way it did. Tedy, kind of like Junior, had a great energy and enthusiasm for the game and for competition that inspirational to all of us, not just the younger players, but I think every player and coach on the team that works with Tedy feels that same positive vibe that he gives off. It's awesome just to have him as a part of our organization. He has been invaluable."

*(on if Sunday's game is the most important game he has ever coached)
*"Of course it is an important game. It's the world championship. It's the Super Bowl. I've coached in other ones. Those were important, too. At that time they seemed like the most important. I think whichever one you are in is the most important. Maybe at some time there will be a time to reflect and look back on it, but right now there is no game more important than this game against the New York Giants and I'm going to put everything I have in it and try to do the best I can to do my job and help prepare the team. I am sure the players will do the same thing. At this point in time, which is where we are, it's number one on the hit parade."

*(on how Tom Brady keeps his outside life from becoming a distraction to his football)
*"Tom is great to work with. Nobody works harder, is more prepared or more professional than Tom Brady. I've loved every minute and every opportunity I've had to coach Tom since his rookie year. There are a lot of different forums. He is just great to work with. However he manages his life, I'd say he does a real good job of it."

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