It's been fairly quiet around Gillette Stadium since the Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl by defeating the San Diego Chargers 21-12. 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, Ariz., 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 said. "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 its trip 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 said. "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.
"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 pointed out, the Super Bowl can be a two-week distraction for many teams. But having been through the experience three previous times already, 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. That's what you work all year for is to play in this game, so we're all happy to be playing in it."
But one thing Belichick doesn't have time for is savoring the moment - at least not until the game is over.
"I don't think this is a time to sit and reflect and go back over what has or hasn't happened in the past," he said. "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."
--Bill Belichick spent 12 seasons on the Giants coaching staff and was the defensive coordinator for New York for its victories in Super Bowl XXI and Super Bowl XXV.
--Super Bowl XLII will mark the third time that the Patriots and Giants have met this season at the third different venue. The teams met in the final preseason game, the final regular season game and now the final postseason game. The Patriots won both prior meetings.
--Super Bowl XLII will mark only the second time that two teams who met in the final game of the regular season, will meet again in the Super Bowl. The only other time it happened was in 1977, when the Cowboys and Broncos met in the final week of the regular season, then played each other in Super Bowl XII.
--"It's great to be here and be coaching a team going to Super Bowl XLII. It's a great privilege and honor to be a part of that. We're certainly looking forward to it. We know what we're dealing with the Giants. We had a great game with them last month. It looks like they've done nothing but get better. I'm happy for everybody - for Robert (Kraft) and ownership. The players certainly played outstanding and stepped up and made big plays in the fourth quarter, especially when they had to. And all the other people that contributed to our success this year - all the support people, the assistant coaches and all of them, have done a great job and given us the opportunity to try to do it one more time." - Bill Belichick on going to his fourth Super Bowl in seven years.
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