New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addresses the media during his postgame press conference at Gillette Stadium on January 20, 2008.
TB: (Turning to Junior.) He's always a tough act to follow.
Q:Last week we talked about your two incompletions and today you had three interceptions. Was it just the pass rush or
TB: I think it was a good team. I don't think we executed as well as I thought we were capable but we got the win and we were able to put together some important drives. Have to try to make some corrections and move on.
Q:Do you ever lose confidence or start to question yourself? I know the answer to this, but I'll let you--
TB: No, I've been in a lot of games. They made a great play on the first one. Kind of got in between what I wanted to do. The second one [I was] just trying to get the ball to Donte and got his hand on it, it popped up in the air and [Drayton Florence] made a great catch. The third one, I just lost track of [Antonio] Cromartie. That's what they do, they make you pay. It's a difficult defense to play against. I think they challenge you in a lot of ways. But at the same time I thought we made enough plays to win and I thought the defense played outstanding.
Q:What does it mean to be going back to the Super Bowl, for you and for the team?
TB: It's exciting. It's exciting. You know, there's been so much energy expended each week with the expectations and the pressure our coach puts on us. [I'm] glad we have the week off here, regroup a little bit and try to elevate our game for one last performance. Whoever it is, it's going to be the toughest game of the season. I'm glad it's warm weather but weather won't be a factor. Should be exciting. Every time I've played in the Super Bowl, I've cherished that and it never gets old and standing up there and accepting the Lamar Hunt Trophy for the team for the fourth time is pretty outstanding.
Q:As tight as this game was for a while, is there a comfort that you've won a lot of these kinds of games?
TB: It's nice to know you can win the close ones. It's nice to know you can win the ones when you face some adversity and you've got to be mentally tough. It's nice to have the blowouts, too. Any way you get the win is great. I think you come into a game like this, you want to play your best and I don't think we necessarily played our best but at the same time, you have a chance to redeem yourself and play in the biggest game of the year. It was so disappointing last season. I remember leaving the bus at Indianapolis and just reflecting on how close we were and how disappointing it was knowing that there was another team that was going instead of us. And now we can look at where we are now and be proud of what we've accomplished thus far but realize there's a greater challenge ahead.
Q:What does it say about you and your offense that you can bounce back from a tough day and pull it out when you have to?
TB: I think we have really found ways to overcome some adversity in the season. We've had some games come down to two minute drives. I don't think we played as well as we were capable. We couldn't just get drives going. It just felt like everything was a struggle today. They made some plays early and really got some momentum, and I think we got a better feel. We really ran the ball well, especially late in the game. I don't know how much time we had when we got the ball there at the end, seven minutes or eight minutes 9:13, to not let them get the ball back is pretty impressive to do against a defense that has been playing great all day. They are a very physical defense, and Kevin [Faulk] made some huge third down conversions. Laurence ran the ball extremely well. That's what we needed.
Q:Can you talk about the tight formations in the second half, why that worked well?
TB: We were just trying everything. We were struggling a little bit early and I think we put the big guys on the field, tried to run the ball and got Laurence going a little bit.
Q:How about your defense and what they did to keep them out of the end zone, especially after you turned the ball over a couple times?
TB: Yeah, a great performance by the team and the defense. To hold the Chargers to field goals was extremely important. We always had the lead there, and the mentality is that when you're always winning, you just don't feel like you need to press when you go out there because you have the lead, and I think the defense was just exceptional today. I hope they play that way in a couple of weeks.
Q:Before CBS signed off today, Phil Simms said he didn't think he would ever see the day when an NFL team went 18 0. Did you ever think you would see that day?
TB: You know, I never really thought about that. I think you enter the season and you're hoping to put together a bunch of great wins, and you realize there's challenges every step of the way. And to not have a letdown like most teams have we had a few letdowns or times where we didn't play our best but we overcame them. 18 0 is a great feeling.
Q:Talk about Junior [Seau] and what he brings?
TB: Junior is 100 percent emotion, I wasn't in here for most of what he said but I'm sure it was emotional. I think he's got a lot of wisdom and a lot of experience, and he's an extremely mature man who has been through some tough times. And the excitement of getting to the Super Bowl early in his career he sets the tone in practice. You would think he's trying to find his way on to the active roster the way he practices. It's exciting for us to be around a guy like that, to learn from him and to understand what it takes and to do everything you can do to help the team win.
Q:What is it about the their defense?
TB: That's just what they do. The balls I don't know what [Quentin Jammer's] vertical is, but he got up there on that one and made a great play on the first interception. And then Cromartie, like I said, any time you throw the ball in his area, he has great ball skills and intercepted that one. When the ball is in the air, they usually get their hands on it and when they get their hands on it, they usually don't drop it.
Q:Can you talk about the context of the year and all of the things coming up around the team, does it make the win mean more?
TB: It's been an emotional season coming down the stretch, it feels like it just builds and builds and builds. We clinched the first round bye late in the season and still had to find ways to motivate ourselves. The Giants game was an extremely emotional game and one that [we] won at the end, then we had to wait two weeks to play Jacksonville and then another long week to play this one. I think everybody could use a little bit of rest and just to recover a little bit and try to get as ready as we can for this last one. This will be a very emotional game, I can promise you that, and then we're all looking forward to a vacation.
Q:Did you sense the team was a little flat, your team?
TB: I just don't think we executed as well as I thought we were capable. I thought the energy was there, the emotion was there. We just didn't perform the way that I thought we were capable. But, you know, we found ways to put the ball in the end zone, got some turnovers from our defense and they played extremely well. I know the defense wasn't flat. They played great. The special teams played great. Offensively we just couldn't really get the drives started and that became a bit of a problem. But we made enough plays in the end.