Patriots

Morning sports update: Tedy Bruschi on why Patriots captains told Bill Belichick not to rest players during the 2007 season

"You are actually having conversations with the organization and your head coach, making sure you're on the same page."

Tedy Bruschi
Tedy Bruschi after the Patriots won the AFC Championship in Jan. 2008. Barry Chin/Globe Staff

The Bruins lost to the Islanders in overtime of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoff matchup on Sunday, 4-3. The series is now tied 1-1 and resumes on Thursday in New York at 7:30 p.m.

Also on Monday, the Red Sox lost to the Astros, 11-2.

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the Celtics face the Nets in Brooklyn for Game 5 of the two teams’ first-round series. The Nets lead the series 3-1, and can eliminate the Celtics with a win.

Tedy Bruschi on the pursuit of 16-0: Though it remains a story with a heartbreaking ending for Patriots’ fans, the 2007 season was one of the greatest regular season accomplishments in NFL history.

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That year, with Tom Brady and Randy Moss setting records, New England went 16-0 before embarking on an ultimately painful playoff run, losing to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

Still, the season remains the closest thing to a team achieving perfection in the last 40 years of the NFL. Former New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who played for the 2007 Patriots, was recently asked for his opinion on the subject following comments from Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes about the potential of going 20-0 in 2021.

“The only record I have my eyes set on breaking, which would be new this year, would be going 20-0,” Mahomes told Bleacher Report on Sunday. “It’s not really a record to be broken I guess you would say—19-0 is the record right now—so being able to go 20-0 and being the first one to do that, that would be awesome.”

“I love hearing him do it,” Bruschi said of Mahomes’s comments during an interview on ESPN. “I personally want to see if it can be done. I think that it can be done. We came close, but Patrick Mahomes is just expressing the way he feels. I like the team goal, it emphasizes the team, winning every single game.”

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“Tom Brady, it’s something that he would never say publicly, but it’s the way he thought,” Bruschi said of Brady’s mindset when the two played together in New England. “It’s the way we always thought about winning every single game.”

Bruschi compared the possibility of a Chiefs run to perfection with his own experience in chasing an unbeaten record.

“There’s an amount of pressure that you don’t understand,” Bruschi said of being unbeaten late in the season. One interesting subplot, according to Bruschi, is how the team manages itself late in an unbeaten season.

“You are actually having conversations with the organization and your head coach, making sure you’re on the same page,” Bruschi explained. I remember being in captain’s meetings with Bill Belichick and the other captains about, ‘Are we on the same page here? Don’t take us out [of games], because we want to win every single game.'”

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“When you’re worrying about winning every single one, it’s just a different type of pressure that a lot of players don’t understand,” Bruschi added.

Asked a follow-up question from ESPN host Mike Greenberg, Bruschi elaborated on the 2007 Patriots’ meetings with Belichick:

I’d say after Week 15, just to make sure we were on the same page about what we wanted to achieve, a number of captains in there — myself, Brady, other players — saying, ‘Bill…we know that you’re a big fan of football history, we are also, and we want to be the ones that set this mark. There’s a lot of talk out there about whether we should rest or not. We do not want to rest, don’t take us out, let us finish the job because we have enough in the tank to do this.’

The Patriots cruised past the Jets and Dolphins in Weeks 15 and 16 before falling behind by 12 points to the Giants in the second half of Week 17. Instead of resting starters, the Patriots went all-out and rallied for a 38-35 win.

And as Bruschi noted, no matter how talented a team is, luck plays a role.

“During a quest for a perfect season, it’s not all going to be dominance,” said Bruschi. “People look at the 2007 Patriots, a team that I was on, and think we beat everyone by 20, 30 points. There were multiple games — down to the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth quarter, down to the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter — good players, good coaches, good fortune.”

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Trivia: Name the three quarterbacks who completed passes for the Patriots in the 2007 regular season?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: One is obvious, one played for USC in college but never threw a touchdown pass for the Trojans, and one never lost a high school football game playing for De La Salle High School in California.

More from Boston.com:

Boston College returns home with the National Championship: On Sunday, Boston College women’s lacrosse defeated Syracuse 16-10 to win the National Championship for the first time in program history. It was a particularly satisfying victory for the Eagles, who had been to the previous three consecutive title games.

Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open: After being threatened with expulsion from the tournament by officials for her refusal to attend press conferences, the 23-year-old announced that she was withdrawing to focus on her own mental health.

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“The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that,” Osaka wrote in a statement.

On this day: In 2013, David Krejci’s pair of goals helped pace the Bruins to a 3-0 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Penguins. The game set the tone for what turned out to be a Boston sweep.

2013 Bruins Penguins Boston Globe
– Globe Archives

Daily highlight: Portugal’s Dany Mota nailed an always impressive bicycle kick to open the scoring in the European Under-21 Championship quarterfinal on Sunday. Portugal went on to defeat Italy, 5-3.

Trivia answer: Tom Brady, Matt Cassel, and Matt Gutierrez

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