Ted Karras hasn’t forgotten Bill Belichick’s lessons as he navigates his first postseason with a team other than the Patriots.
The former New England lineman now is a captain with the Cincinnati Bengals, centering the offensive line tasked with protecting superstar quarterback Joe Burrow.
As the Bengals prepare to visit the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday in the AFC Championship Game, Karras recalled some of Belichick’s playoff coaching points during an appearance on ex-Patriots teammate Chris Long’s “Green Light Podcast.”
“The main thing, Bill would always say home-field isn’t really an advantage,” Karras said. “He would put up the stats in meetings and show scores of home teams getting blown out in the playoffs. I remember that was an early thing. I think he always had a meeting called ‘playoff myths,’ the two biggest things being home-field doesn’t matter and playoff experience doesn’t matter.”
The Bengals busted both of those myths last season, winning two road playoff games with a roster that had minimal postseason experience before ultimately losing in Super Bowl LVI. Cincinnati is attempting to pull off the same feat this year after routing the Buffalo Bills on the road in the divisional round.
Karras, who played five of his first six seasons in New England and won two Super Bowls, said the Bengals’ culture is “way different” from what he experienced with the Patriots. But he does see strong similarities between Burrow and his old QB, Tom Brady.
“Very similar demeanors as far as, you need your QB to be pretty cool with everybody,” Karras told Long. “I’ve been very spoiled with quarterback play in my career, and it’s an interesting comparison where Tom was in his 40s and still a superstar and Joe Burrow’s 26 and a superstar, and they have a great relationship with everyone.”
The Patriots and Brady — whose Tampa Bay Buccaneers were blown out by Dallas in the wild-card round — both will be watching Sunday’s Burrow-Patrick Mahomes showdown from home. The winner of that game will face either the Philadelphia Eagles or the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVII.