Success is spelled T-E-A-M
FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) -- There's a certain way of doing things in New England, and players fall in line or they don't stay long.
Work hard. Know your responsibilities. And, most of all: No one is more important than the team -- not even a cover-boy quarterback with a supermodel on his arm and matching Super Bowl MVP trophies on his nightstands.
"Any person that thinks he's above anything isn't going to fit in, and they're not going to last," Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi said Friday before the team left to play the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game.
"If we think there's a guy like that, we're going to let you know about it," Bruschi said. "We've had that talk with a lot of guys."
Did anyone ever have to have the talk with Tom Brady?
"No. That's just who Tom is," Bruschi said. "Tom is a guy that wants to work. Tom knows that he can't win a game all by himself: Somebody has to block, somebody has to tackle, somebody has to catch the ball that he throws. I think he knows that more than anyone."
One of the guys
A sixth-round draft pick and a fourth-stringer as a rookie, Brady quickly realized that the way up the depth chart was to work hard and keep his mouth shut. He isn't about to change now, even though he's met the Pope, hung out at the Playboy Mansion and been the guest of the first lady at the State of the Union.
"Those guys, they see all the ... stuff that might be said. Those guys know me pretty well and I think they know what makes me tick," Brady said.
"You go out, you put the work in like everybody else. You hold yourself accountable.
"You gain respect from your teammates by working hard, and preparing, and not asking anything more of them than you would ask of yourself."
Brady will lead the Patriots against Pittsburgh on Sunday in a rematch of the 2002 AFC championship game that New England won 24-17 en route to its first NFL title. It's also a rematch of the Steelers' Halloween night victory that ended New England's record 21-game winning streak.
In that one, Brady threw two interceptions and the Patriots ran for just 5 yards in a 34-20 Pittsburgh win.
Steelers rookie Ben Roethlisberger threw for 196 yards and two touchdowns to keep alive a win streak of his own: He has now won 14 straight since taking over as starter.
"We most definitely have all the confidence in the world in Ben. We're 15-1 because of him," cornerback Deshea Townsend said.
Asked whether Roethlisberger could handle the defensive schemes devised by Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Townsend said, "They said the same thing the last time."
Roethlisberger will need to bounce back from a bad game against the New York Jets last week, when he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown and another near the end of regulation. But he also led late scoring drives that ended with a game-tying touchdown pass to Hines Ward and Jeff Reed's winning 33-yard field goal in overtime.
"To throw two interceptions and come back in overtime and still drive us down the field and lead us to the game-winning field goal speaks volumes about the kid," Ward said. "I mean, he showed that determination all year. So I have all the confidence in the world he's going to come out and have an excellent game."
A Pittsburgh victory would make Roethlisberger the first rookie quarterback to lead his team to the Super Bowl. Brady was in his second year when he did it, after barely playing as a fourth-string backup to Drew Bledsoe in his first year.
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