Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are five days into preparations for the Indianapolis Colts. Though in his final news conference of the week, the 14th-year Patriots head coach explained that Sunday’s AFC Championship Game will come down to more than being ready for it.
Only so much can be studied and practiced before then.
“I think you always get to that point at some point,” Belichick said. “At some point, you get as far as you can go. You want to get your team to that point, and then you let the game unfold.”
The 6:40 p.m. game at Gillette Stadium will mark Belichick’s ninth conference title appearance as the Patriots’ coach, and it will also mark New England’s second meeting of the year with Indianapolis. But being in a familiar position against a familiar team doesn’t necessarily make the game itself familiar.
“No matter how much preparation you do, it’s still going to be different in the game,” Belichick said. “It’s like going back to Dwight Eisenhower’s quote: ‘Preparation is everything until the battle starts, and then it doesn’t mean anything.’ Then you’re reacting to what happens in the game, or in his case what happens in the battle. So, it’s an important part of going into it, but really, once you’re in it – I mean, it has relevance, don’t get me wrong. But the game then becomes the game, and you’ve got to deal with that. I think you can only prepare to a point, then once it starts, then it’s going to change. To some degree, it’s going to change.”
It will be a different game than the one that saw New England defeat Indianapolis, 42-20, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 11. It just remains to be seen how.