FOXBORO, Mass. — Some notes and nuggets from Monday’s New England Patriots media availability:
— Thursday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs will be the 15th Patriots season opener Tom Brady has started. Despite that experience, the 40-year-old quarterback still expects some butterflies in the lead-up to kickoff.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Brady said. “You know, I think everybody does. Everyone works hard and it?s very unpredictable. You never know what?s going to happen. We, as players, feel like that, too. We?re prepared, we?re confident, but you?ve still got to go out there and do it, and you?ve got to do it against a team that you?ve studied but not much this year.
“You know they?re working on stuff, we?re working on stuff, we try to execute at a high level and they do, too. Yeah, there will definitely be nerves and being anxious, but that?s part of football. And, once you get out there and start going, those things calm down.”
— The Patriots enter the season as overwhelming Super Bowl favorites, but the Chiefs are no slouches. They posted a 12-4 record last season, finishing second in the AFC before bowing out in the divisional round, and most of their 2016 roster remains intact.
The matchup of Super Bowl hopefuls is typical for the NFL’s season-opening showcase, which last year featured a championship rematch between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers.
“It?s a big game, and it?s an important one,” Brady said. “You know, we?re playing one of the best teams in the AFC. Last year, they were the second seed. (The league tries) to make this game big. They get good teams playing, and we know we?re going to have to play a great game in order to win.”
— The Patriots will unveil their fifth Super Bowl banner before the game, but Brady will have his mind on other, more pressing matters. Championship celebrations are old hat to him at this point, anyway.
“I don?t even know if we?ll be out there when that thing comes down, but that?s kind of for the fans,” he said. “I mean, this team has thought about the 2017 season. That was great. We celebrated and had a great time, but I mean, this team has to earn its own.
“Everything we get, we?re going to have to earn. Our goals are ahead of us, and we?re going to have to earn it. Every team starts at the same place. It?s a challenging season. We?re starting a marathon. It?s going to take a lot of good football to get where we need to be.”
Wide receiver Danny Amendola shared a similar “it’s for the fans” sentiment but admitted he will “take a peek” at the new banner after he takes the field for the first time.
“Then get back to work,” he said.
— Amendola, who has been with the Patriots since 2013, gave his take on how Brady has been able to maintain his exceptional level of play as the QB enters his 18th NFL season.
“He’s good because it’s his lifestyle,” Amendola said. “His whole world revolves around winning football games, throwing good passes and getting his teammates to play better. He’s a great teammate and an amazing player.”
— As part of their Super Bowl LI celebration, the Patriots will wear these commemorative jersey patches Thursday night:
Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images