New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says he is prepared to play in Sunday's AFC Championship Game, a game that by any measure is among the top 20 to 25 biggest games he has ever played in.
"Oh, yeah, it's definitely a game that has my attention," said Brady. "Is it a huge game? No, it's not a huge game. I've played in four Super Bowls. Come on. But this is a game that I suppose sticks out a little more than an average one. Am I nervous or do I have butterflies or anything? Not at all. But I guess you could say that I'm not completely overlooking the game."
Brady says it's hard to rank all of his biggest games.
"Well, my first high school start was a very big game," he said. "And my senior year I had a start with a bunch of college scouts there. That was huge. And then my first college start, as well as my first bowl game. Oh, my first NFL game, of course. And my first playoff game. My Super Bowl that year — all the announcers said how that was the biggest game of my life. Then the other AFC titles games and Super Bowls, which I've already mentioned. My first game back from ACL surgery. Really all the games when we were zeroing in on 19-0. Where am I? I've lost track. I guess I'm comfortable saying this game against the Ravens is in the top 35 biggest games I've played."
While the AFC Championship Game is of moderate significance to Brady, it rates a little higher for other Patriots.
"This is the 7th biggest game I've ever played in," said receiver Deion Branch.
Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said the Ravens matchup is his 9th biggest game: "So I'll be fairly ready."
Brady's opponent across the sideline, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, admitted the AFC title game is the biggest game of his life.
"I'm probably going to shit my pants," he said. "Everywhere. And I mean both literally a figuratively shit my pants."