FOXBORO, Mass. — You won’t know it by looking at his stone-faced glare, but there will be some butterflies in Bill Belichick’s stomach in the moments before the AFC Championship Game.
Belichick, who’s now in his 43rd season as an NFL coach and 19th in charge of the New England Patriots, admitted Friday he still gets nervous before each Patriots game.
“Yeah,” Belichick said. “Every week.”
Are those nerves heightened ahead of a game as important as Sunday’s — a road matchup against the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs with a trip to Super Bowl LIII on the line?
“They all count in this league,” Belichick replied. “Just let me know the next game that doesn’t matter so I can take that into account. Just let me know the ones that don’t matter, and I’ll make sure I don’t get excited for those.”
He added: “(I get) nervous, yeah, sure. You want to go out there and do well. There’s an anxiety. We all have things in the game that we have to do.”
This will be the Patriots’ 13th AFC title game since Belichick took over as head coach in 2000 and their eighth in the last eight years. A win would mean a ninth Super Bowl appearance in the Belichick/Tom Brady era and make them the first team since the early-1990s Buffalo Bills to win three consecutive conference championships.
“You want to perform them well and not let your team down, because everybody’s counting on you to do your job, and you’re counting on everybody else to do theirs,” Belichick said. “You don’t worry about everybody else. You just worry about doing what you can do and make sure you don’t screw up what you’re supposed to do and what you’re responsible for, because nobody else can do that.
“That’s your job, and we all have jobs to do. And we all want to do them well.”