Bill Belichick: “This game is about this game. It’s not about something that happened four years ago”

January 31, 2012 – 9:00 am by Chris Fedor

Last time Bill Belichick was in the Super Bowl, he took an undefeated New Engalnd team to Arizona to play against the New York Giants. There was a ton of pressure on the Patriots four years ago. They were heavy favorite over the Giants; his star quarterback, Tom Brady, arrived with a gimpy ankle; Belichick had never lost a Super Bowl as a head coach; and his team’s quest for perfection was something that loomed large. By now you know the story.

The Hoodie left the Valley with a blemish on his team’s record and his first ever Super Bowl loss as a head coach. This weekend he will have a chance to avenge that loss as he searches for his fourth Lombardi Trophy. It’s something Belichick is dismissing and his players are speaking the same language, but Belichick is a competitor and some of his players played in that game as well. They can say what they want, but the loss in Super Bowl 42 looms over this game and the Pats would be crazy to not use that as even more fuel to the fire of playing in the big game.

Bill Belichick joined WEEI in Boston to talk about the Super Bowl, how this Super Bowl is different from others in the past,  loss against the Giants in Super Bowl 42, the status of Rob Gronkowski, and what he thinks of Eli Manning and his development as a quarterback and leader.

How this Super Bowl is different from others in the past:

“Well the first time is a little bit different because it was a one week game. After we beat Pittsburgh then we played in New Orleans against the Rams the following Sunday. It was just one week and when I look back on that now going what we’re going through this week and next week it’s hard to imagine those two weeks being compressed into one but that’s the way it was. As far as this game relative to the other games I think the preparation is similar. It takes a couple of days to get through some of the logistics and figure out exactly how you want to set things up most efficiently. Your travel, your practice set up, and all that. Once you get out there I think that’s pretty consistent as far as your practice routine, the media requirements, and all the things leading up to the game so it definitely helps from a preparation standpoint to have gone through it but each one is different and every situation is different. It all comes down to Sunday and what team is able to perform the best out there on that stage. Everything is pointing towards that.”

On the Super Bowl loss against the Giants in 2007:

“I think the Giants are the Giants and they’ve been pretty consistent through the years going back to the ’07 season. We played them every year since then in the preseason. The coaching staff is similar, they changed coordinators, but there’s some carry-over with some of the players there and overall I would say the schemes they’ve used for the last few years are similar even though  they’ve had different guys in that position and offensively with Tom (Coughlin) and (Eli) Manning, there are a lot of similarities as I’m sure they would say the same thing about us offensively as well. Again there’s so much that has happened, there’s so many new players and new faces and that’s a lot of water under the bridge in those four years. I think this game is about this game. It’s not about something that happened four years ago.”

If he has a feel during the season that he has a Super Bowl caliber team:

“I think you feel that sometimes. I think you definitely know that some teams are better than others or some teams in certain situations are better than others but again it’s all relative to the competition and that’s really all it’s about. It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you are relative to the team you’re playing that week. Both teams can be down a little bit or both teams could be better than what they’ve been in the past. It’s such a current, comparing teams, comparing games, and comparing situations, it’s a nice conversation but really every one is different and certainly when you’re in the moment you have to treat the one you’re in that’s what everything is. It’s not about something else but sure there’s times where you feel better or not as good about where you are at that particular point but that doesn’t mean that things can’t go well or if you feel good they can’t not go well.”

On Rob Gronkowski’s dad going on a radio station and saying his son has a high ankle sprain:

“Was that from Dr. Gronkowski? (Host: If that takes any focus away?) We’re just really focused on what we do and there are a lot of things that get said outside of our team by lots of people and we can’t worry or control those. What we’re most worried about is what we do and where we’re trying to be, how we’re trying to get there, and what we’re going to do to get there so we worry about what we can control whether everybody else does is out of our hands.”

On Eli Manning:

“I think he’s a really good quarterback. I mean he’s done a good job for them. I thought San Francisco defended him very well last week and I’m sure San Francisco feels like if they hadn’t fumbled two punts they’d probably be playing this week. I don’t think they have too many second thoughts about the way they played defensively. Although there’s always a play or two you’d like to have back. Manning is a good quarterback, he’s accurate, he throws a good deep ball, he uses his outlet receivers well, he’s quicker and more mobile in the pocket than people give him credit for, he’s a hard guy to tackle in the pocket, he has good, quick feet and if he has to run he has the ability to escape out of there. Not that he’s looking to run but he will use it as another weapon if he needs to. His decision making has been good, his accuracy has been good, and he’s one of the top players in the league no question about that.”

Listen to Bill Belichick on WEEI in Boston here

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