FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Quarterback Tom Brady could potentially be playing in his final career home game for the New England Patriots in Saturday’s wild-card matchup against the Tennessee Titans, but he said he hasn’t allowed himself time for sentimental thoughts.
“I’m not much for nostalgia. I’m just pretty focused on what I need to do. This week has felt pretty much like every other week for the last 20 years,” Brady said Thursday.
The 42-year-old is in the final year of his contract, and the Patriots are prohibited from assigning him the franchise tag, which creates a scenario unlike any he has experienced in his career — the possibility of this being his final home game for the Patriots.
Brady was asked Thursday whether he allows himself to consider those possibilities.
“I haven’t thought about those things. I wouldn’t be thinking about those things anyway. It’s felt like a normal week for me,” he answered. “I just approach practice like I always have, and try to do the best I can do. That’s what I’m going to do this weekend as well.”
Brady said he hasn’t been aware of others talking about it because, “I haven’t turned a TV on. It’s probably not the best after we lose to turn the TV on and listen to all [the] shows and stuff like that. There probably wasn’t too many great things happening. I tried to lay low this week.”
Brady arrived for his midafternoon news conference in a lighthearted mood, playing with a reporter’s recording device, before later answering one question about his 30 playoff victories with a sarcastic touch by asking, “Is that good?”
To get his 31st playoff win against the Titans, Brady knows the Patriots can’t play like they did in a surprising loss to the Miami Dolphins in the regular-season finale.
“This team gives you a lot of challenges. They’re going to force us to really be tied together,” he said. “When we haven’t been this year, it hasn’t looked very good. When we have been tied together, it looks pretty good.”
Brady described the mood around the team as “excited and focused.”
“It’s playoff football. Everyone knows what’s at stake. You certainly have to earn it to move on,” he said. “A lot of plays come up over the years when I think about playoff football. If you’re on the wrong end of one of them, it’s your season. If you’re on the right end, you move on. You don’t know which play that’s going to be. You can’t take anything for granted. Guys are working hard and trying to do the right thing.”
As for the Patriots playing in the wild-card round for the first time since 2009, having lost the chance for a first-round bye last week, Brady took a big-picture view.
“It doesn’t matter. If we win, then what’s the difference?” he said. “We just have to go win.”