New England Patriots wide receiver Donte Stallworth addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on January 25, 2008.
Q: Six years in the league. I assume this is what you came here for?
DS: Yeah, this is it. This is the biggest game of the best sport in the world and this is what you fantasize about growing up as a little kid, playing in your backyard and things like that. This is it. [We'll] try to get a good week of preparation this week and go down to Arizona with a plan and be all about business once we get down there.
Q: Thinking back to your rookie year, you mentioned your team was on the verge of making the playoffs and then lost five of the last six.
DS: We started off the year 7-2 or 6-2 and we had to win one of our last four, and those lost four games were against - record-wise-against the worst teams, all the worst teams in the NFL, and we lost every game. I've always understood after that year taking it [the] one game at a time approach that Coach [Bill] Belichick preaches here so much, as it's paid off for us up to now.
Q: Following up on that, yesterday and today is just scratching the surface of what Super Bowl week is about. What's your anticipation of going through that for the first time?
DS: I've always been a big football fan, NFL fan, since I've been a little kid, so I've seen the whole circus that goes on. It's all fun and good, but we all understand what's really at stake here and what's most important. Guys have family issues, as far as tickets and getting your family down there and hotel rooms and all of that stuff. We've tried to get all of that stuff taken care of before we even leave to go to Arizona. The most important thing is just focusing on the game, especially, like I said, this week during the game preparation of this week, and then once we get down there it's definitely all about business. I'm focused. I already left a voicemail on my phone, in the locker room after the game, after we won the game here Sunday, saying, "Hey, I don't have any tickets. Don't call here asking me." And I haven't gotten any calls, so that's good. I guess they got the point.
Q: When other teams scheme to take away Randy Moss, how do you and the other receivers react to that?
DS: You just have to step up. You know that Tom's [Brady] going to find the open guy every time, so you just have to know that whatever situation it may be, if it's first down, first series, or it could be late in the game on third down, Tom's going to find the open guy. Every play, you just have to do your job and try to get open.
Q: Seeing as how you studied psychology, can you define what pressure is or what psychologists would say pressure is?
DS: You know what? Bill made a great point about this about five, maybe six weeks ago. I'm trying to remember exactly how he described it. He said, "Put a 2x4 on the floor and walk across it. Do you feel any pressure? No, you don't. You put it 300 feet up in the air [and] walk across the same 2x4, do you feel any pressure then? You shouldn't, it's the same 2x4, but your mind is letting you know, hey, if I slip or I fall, any miscalculation of a step, that's it for you. You stay focused on walking across that 2x4 and then there's no pressure."
Q: Why do you suppose it is - and some people in the locker room have said this - as the season goes on and you perform well and have accomplished more, that pressure actually increases. Why does the pressure go up when you perform well?
DS: It starts with the media. I think with us winning every game this year, which hasn't been done before, people were talking about it midseason, as far as us being able to go undefeated and all this other stuff, but I've always felt like pressure is what you allow it to be. It's pretty good - a really great description, I would say, what Bill gave us a couple of months ago about that 2x4. Pressure is only what you allow it to be, and these guys here have played in… I think it's 109 Super Bowls now. So I don't think they'll be worried about any pressure. They've done a good job here of just keeping distractions away. We had a couple days off after the game to get all of that stuff out of the way and most of the guys were able to do that. Like I said, right now we're focusing on the game, focusing on our preparation.
Q: Yesterday Plaxico Burress had a press conference in New Jersey and he said they felt their wide receiving corps was just as good, if not better than yours. Do you have any take on that?
DS: No. Plaxico is a really good receiver. I know him personally. He's a competitor. He's a great player, and he's out there to make plays for his team, just like we're trying to do for our team. We're not playing against those guys. I'm not going to be covering Plaxico or anything like that any time soon, so comparisons don't mean anything right now.
Q: Is this the best receiving corps you've played on, though?
DS: Yeah. Obviously when you have a guy like Randy [Moss], and Wes [Welker] is being able to work the slot really well, and Jabar [Gaffney], it's not only the receivers. It's the whole team. We wouldn't be able to do what we're doing if the guys up front weren't giving Tom a whole lot of time, and obviously Tom getting us the ball, so it's not only receivers. But talent-wise, we're pretty deep in talent.
Q: Was there ever a time when you had to reconcile the expectations you had when you came in as a free agent and then the role you had with Wes Welker and Randy Moss?
DS: No. No, I think that whatever role it was that I was going to have to play here, I was fine with that. I knew that the main objective was I was tired of being home for New Year's and being home for the holidays. I've been playing pretty much up to this point, as far as through the holidays and things. Now I'm in the big show, so everything that's gone on, I've had a good time. I think now is the ultimate payoff, so [you] just continue to work hard and try to study your opponent as well as you can and try to leave Arizona with a good feeling.
Q: Are you guys the least bit concerned about Tom Brady and his ankle?
DS: Well, Bill actually brought me in his office earlier this morning and asked me if I wanted to move to quarterback, and we're going to put in a whole new offense. He wants me to run the option. We brought in the coach from Nebraska, Tom Osborne, so I've met with him and we have the option going. Tom's going to go ahead and let me take the reigns for this game.
Q: On Sunday you said you weren't sure if you wanted to bring Nikko with you to the Super Bowl. Have you made a decision on him yet?
DS: Yeah, I'm going to leave him here for awhile. He's the one that goes out and plays in the game. I'm not really an overly aggressive person, but he is, so I'll let him handle the game. I'll take care of the preparation and let him play in the game.