FOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady famously fell asleep in the locker room prior to the start of Super Bowl XXXVI. Since that game kicked off, he's been putting together one of the greatest careers in the history of the NFL.
What happens before a game that allows him to settle in and gear up to perform at such a high level?
"I can't say I've really recognized anything out of the ordinary," said left tackle Matt Light, who is in his 11th season as Brady's teammate.
Running back Kevin Faulk, the only player on the Patriots with a longer tenure on the team than Brady, said, "To me, he's normal, calm, just waiting to get to business."
Everyone has their own pregame routine, and Brady's teammates have noted that he spends a chunk of his time reading the playbook while sitting at his locker. There are other times when he wants to get up, move around and play catch with someone.
Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer might see Brady as much as any player before the game, though it can depend on the day. There are times when Hoyer doesn't see much of Brady, and there are other days when they'll break down the game plan together in the locker room. (Hoyer's own pregame routine consists of throwing to receivers about two hours before kickoff and not getting into his full uniform until about 15 minutes before taking the field for the full stretch.)
"Sometimes, we might sit there and talk about what we're expecting from the game," Hoyer said. "Everybody has their own way [to get ready for the game], and you really don't want to mess with anyone's routine. I know that I wouldn't want people coming up and bothering me if they really didn't need to, so I try not to do that to them, either."
Hoyer has taken part of the final steps of Brady's pregame routine since joining the team in 2009. They run onto the field together (quarterback Ryan Mallett has joined the action this season) a little more than an hour before kickoff, and Jay-Z's "Public Service Announcement" plays on the Gillette Stadium speakers when they're at home.
Brady and the quarters jog down the sideline, throw a little bit at the 50-yard line and then join up with the receivers to go through the route trees. After that, the whole team joins in on the pregame stretch.
Because Hoyer takes part in that routine, he always checks in with Brady when they arrive at the stadium before the game. There's a timetable of pregame events on the board in the locker room — some of it is more team-specific, but it also includes the time of the national anthem and kickoff, among other things — and Hoyer runs through it with Brady to see what time he wants to finally hit the field.
Then, of course, it's showtime.
"He's extremely focused, and he gets us focused," wide receiver Matthew Slater said. "He realizes the task at hand, gets his mind right and gets the job done."