Focusing on game will be a full-time chore
Even though there are two weeks between the AFC Championship game and the Super Bowl, the preparation in Foxborough has been pretty typical for the Patriots, who subscribe strongly to the “it’s the same as any game’’ approach.
That figures to change once the team lands in Indianapolis today at 5:15 p.m.
More media, more attention, more potential distractions. Spending a full week on the road for a football game isn’t standard operating procedure. Then again, there is hardly anything standard when it comes to the Super Bowl.
“I’ve tried really hard to control everything to this point, try to get all the administrative stuff out of the way and focus on the details of the game as much as possible,’’ offensive lineman Brian Waters said.
“I have a feeling that things will change once we land. It’s something I’m going to fight real hard to control my emotions and try not to peak at the wrong time.’’
Waters, in his first season with the Patriots after 11 in Kansas City, has never played in a Super Bowl. Wes Welker has. In fact, he tied a Super Bowl record by catching 11 passes (for 103 yards) four years ago against the Giants. He knows what the week involves. Most of the extra stuff he could do without.
“The game is big enough for me, and all I really look forward to and all I concentrate on,’’ Welker said. “Everything else is just kind of noise, and I think the fun part is getting there a week early and kind of getting away from everything and really concentrating on the game and the task at hand.’’
Like Welker, Logan Mankins is taking a businesslike approach.
Asked if there was anything about the Super Bowl experience that he was looking forward to besides the game, the left guard said, “I don’t think so. From my stance, it’s all business this week. If we win, it will be fun. If we lose, it won’t be.’’
A spectator send-off will take place at Gillette Stadium today at noon. Gates open at 10:15 a.m., with the AFC Championship game replay being shown on the stadium’s video screens. Admission is free . . . Fans can get their pictures taken with the AFC Championship trophy today at the Hall at Patriot Place from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. . . . The Bears named Phil Emery their new general manager; Patriots director of pro personnel Jason Licht was the other finalist . . . Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis was asked about his fondest Super Bowl memory growing up. A game? A play? A player? “When I was a kid, I just wanted to go out and play,’’ he said. “I’d see the guys on TV and I always felt that I could do it, too, so I would just go out and play in the backyard, in the front yard, in the street, wherever, get a ball and go.’’