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Patriots Unfiltered Wed Sep 22 | 11:55 AM - 02:00 PM

The calm before the desert storm

In terms of player activity, it's been fairly quiet around Gillette Stadium the past few days.

But there's certainly been a buzz in the front office, as the New England Patriots finalize their plans to go to Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona, just outside of Phoenix.

Since winning the AFC Championship Game Sunday evening, Patriots players have had some time off to rest, recuperate, and reconnect with family and friends who want to accompany them to the NFL's title game next week.

"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," head coach Bill Belichick told reporters late Monday. His team returns to the practice field Thursday.

"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."

Before that, however, the team must take care of personal matters, such as securing tickets, accommodations, and other necessities for their parties' trips out west.

"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 [before Thursday]," Belichick continued. "

"We got the process started and I'm sure everybody got a lot of calls [Sunday] night. We all did, but we'll take care of that in the next couple of days. 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."

As Belichick hinted, the Super Bowl can be a two-week distraction for many teams. But having been through the experience so many times, the Patriots are perhaps better prepared than any current team to handle the demanding schedule of events leading up to the game.

"We've done it before. I think really it's pretty well organized," said Belichick. "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," he added. "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, Belichick acknowledged that his team needs the extra time to prepare for an opponent they barely beat just a month ago in the regular season finale.

"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. The coaching staff, of course, we'll be busy preparing for the players when they come in on Thursday. [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."

Having to face a team they recently played helps in the preparation process, according to Belichick.

"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 [last month], 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."

One thing Belichick doesn't have time for, he says, is savoring the moment – at least not during these next two weeks.

"I think the event is a great event," he said of the Super Bowl in general. "I think it's well run and it's an honor to be a participant in it. I take a lot of pride in this organization [the Patriots] 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."

Maybe in two weeks, once the dust settles out in the desert.

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