Patriots' LB Tedy Bruschi addresses the media from the Super Bowl Team Headquarters in Scottsdale, AZ on January 27, 2008.
*(on expectations and feeling invincible)
*"Even ourselves - within this team - we don't consider ourselves invincible. The minute you consider yourself invincible, you are letting your guard down. If you think you can't be beat, that's the wrong thought to have. I think you have to respect your opponent, first and foremost, and if you don't then you will be beat. The way you do win football games is by doing the things that help you win. It's preparing during the week and playing good football. If you don't recognize that and if you don't do that, it's possible that we can be beat."
*(on if the Patriots have spoiled fans by winning by large margins)
*"I don't know about spoiling people, but you'd have to ask them. It was something that I wasn't used to. I wasn't used to 52-7 or 52-14 or anything like that. What I've been used to my entire career are the games we've experienced the last two months. That's what I'm used to - to have to grit your teeth and win in the fourth quarter. That's what I think this football team is all about."
*(on extra significance to this game due to being undefeated)
*"I hold each and every World Championship as a special place in my heart. Going to every Super Bowl - even the one in 1996 where we lost to the Green Bay Packers - those are experiences you'll never forget. But, to help this team get back to this point is a sort of a victory for me in itself. I have been working with the American Stroke Association a lot, and I know this is a victory for all stroke survivors, as well. I realize the whole grasp of things I've been able to accomplish. People have talked to me about being an inspiration to them, and a lot of stroke survivors talk to me. I respect that and I am humbled by it. It is something that I am proud to call myself - a stroke survivor."
(on if he receives letters from other stroke victims)
"Constantly. Letters, fan mail, emails. They tell me their story and how (mine) relates to them. My doctors tell me that their patients light up every time they tell somebody, 'This is the same thing Ted Bruschi went through. If he can get back to playing professional football, then you can be a normal, functioning human being also.'"
*(on if there has been one particularly inspirational letter)
*"How much time do you have? There were so many that were. Most of the letters are really heartfelt letters. I don't receive your average, everyday fan mail. To tell you the truth, I receive stories of adversity, whether they are cancer survivors or stroke survivors. If any of them tell me they have been able to draw inspiration from what I've been able to do, it's incredibly honoring."
(on the excitement of being here)
"I would have liked to have seen sunshine out here instead of rain. We left snow and came to rain, but it's sort of fitting I guess. It starts to hit you now. You can feel the excitement now with all the attention and all the exposure. With the police escorts, all the red lights are now green when you're driving around town. I think the excitement from all the players is evident now. As the week progresses, it will just become more and more."
(on if this is the time when pacing yourself become important)
"I think so. I think it's important for all of us to exhale a little bit now that we're here. We need to enjoy each other's company for a day or two because it is still early in the week. Guys have plans to go out to dinner and spend time with each other. A little time with the fellas is going to be fun. I think we have time for that now. But, realizing that when the time comes - following media day - it will be time to get back to work."
(on how special it is to be in Arizona where he played in college)
"I still feel so close to the state of Arizona that (I knew early) we're practicing at the Arizona State facility. It was our archrival in college. We referred to them as the 'Scum Devils,' and they had names for us also. Being here on this campus is ironic to me. When coach (Bill) Belichik told us we were practicing at the Arizona State facility, it gave me a little chill. But still, the entire state of Arizona is a state I feel very fond of."
*(on how he fared playing ASU)
*"My last collegiate game was against ASU at Sun Devil Stadium, where I tied the career sack record when I sacked Jake Plummer with a minute left in the fourth quarter. I remember that. I remember all of those times. I remember we were down 10 or 14 points with five minutes to go and we came back to win. We had a lot of success against Arizona State. I am not disgruntled about being here because they beat us a lot, because we [also] did have a lot of success."
(on if there was a particular game after his stroke that told him, "I'm back.")
"With me, it was a progression. I had to make my first tackle. Once I made my first tackle, I would consciously get up and say, 'Okay, there's a tackle.' I would have two or three 300-pounders on top of me laying on me, and my wife told me that if I came back there is a 'three-second rule.' I can't be on the ground for more than three seconds. Things like that. I had experienced 'firsts' all over again after coming back form the stroke, knowing it had never been done before. No one had ever done it before. I don't know if any one ever thought about it being consciously possible. I knew I had to experience these things before I felt like I'd be back to that regular player. As the season progressed… That first season back had a lot of 'firsts' for me. I had a good game against the Tampa Bay Bucs. I forget the statistics, but in terms of a moment for me when I really thought, 'I'm back and am the player that I was,' the confirmation for me came when I started (winning). I mean, we are here. 'Pro Bowl-caliber' are words we don't consciously think about in our locker room. We would rather be championship-caliber. I really wanted to make myself a championship-caliber linebacker. Through the playoffs the last three years and finally getting here now, I think I can say - not us - but I'm all the way back."
(on what his biggest risk was in coming back from the stroke)
"I think the one thing they had to watch out most was that they had to monitor the device in my heart. What they told me was that I was in a data-free zone. There weren't really tests that I could base myself off of. No one had really done this before. Every couple weeks I would go in and visit my doctors during the season and do an ultrasound of the heart or an echocardiogram to monitor the progress. After the first couple, it was sort of nerve-racking. What if it dislodged or it didn't take or anything like that? My doctors pretty much assured me that it wouldn't. But, when you talk to people in the medical profession, words that they use are 'shouldn't' or 'we don't think it will happen.' But, there is always that slight possibility. Hearing that, that sort of plants a seed in your mind that this could happen, that this could happen or this can possibly happened. I think those tests and seeing those tests are really confidence builders for me, and that it was going to be okay."
(on the Giants' late surge)
"Watching film prior to our first game and then now watching film prior to the Super Bowl, I really recognize an incredible mental toughness that they have now. They had some before, but I think that going on the road three times in the playoffs and winning the way they did - especially in Green Bay - you can really see it through the film. They really do respond to adversity well no matter what the score is or situation is or how much time is on the clock. They really just focus on what they have to do to win the game."
*(on what he makes of his Hall of Fame chances)
*"Guys, that is just a question I won't even entertain right now. I'm sorry."
*(on Hall of Fame chances for other Patriots players)
*"If anyone on this team seriously answers this question for you, I'd be seriously surprised. And if anybody does, let me know. Then I'll have to talk to them."
(On if he can relate to the Bills' Kevin Everett)
"I think I just feel a little bit more after what I went through. When I was a younger player, you see things happen and you genuinely hope that they will be OK. When you have gone through adversity of your own, you can really relate to what they are going through. Not just Kevin Everett, but also Mike Alstott. When we played them in the preseason - it was the night he announced he was having neck problems and was going to be put on IR - I searched him out after the game and told him I was thinking about him and that I wished him well with whatever he decided. Of course, he is retired now and a lot of those things I can relate to. I can empathize with the player."
*(On if he has paid attention to Everett's situation)
*"I have been knee-deep in the football season, but I have tried to. Really, it's what I've seen on the TV and the announcement he made before we played them in Buffalo. It was humorous that night because you feel so great for him. He is making an announcement to his teammates, he is trying to get the crowd fired up, and then he says, 'Okay, let's go beat the Patriots!' Then you realize what side you're on. It's great to see him, though. I saw him walking in the locker room one time talking to his teammates, and that's an incredible story this year."