INDIANAPOLIS -- Through all the losing and fruitless seasons during his time in Cincinnati, Chad Ochocinco could've easily pondered if he'd ever get a shot at the Super Bowl with the Bengals.

Not so, though.

"I never thought of it like that," the Patriots wide receiver said Tuesday. "But what I always do is always work, always work. Guys know how I am -- a workaholic. And that's the way I've always approached it. Maybe in a little different way. I'm a little buoyant, a little flashy at times. But that's what drove me."

So now, Ochocinco is in his first Super Bowl, hoping to punctuate his first season in New England. He hasn't had much production, just 15 catches for 276 yards -- both career lows -- and a touchdown. He's had a couple of notable drops and didn't pick up the offense all that quickly.

He's also shunned the spotlight, refusing to speak with the media much. But even with all that, he insists this season hasn't been tough on him.

"No, not really," he said. "If it was emotionally draining, I think I would have spoke out like I did in the past. I took this as a challenge, as a lesson. I think it was a test from you-know-who upstairs -- God. Will he be able to handle himself in different circumstances when he's not that guy, if he's not that main focal point? And I think I did extremely well."

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So well that he wouldn't trade a season with 100-plus catches for the situation he finds himself in this week.

"I'd rather be right here," Ochocinco said. "I've already put up all the numbers. I've already done that. One of the things I was really happy about was that this is one of the few times, or really the only time, that I won't be home at the Martin Luther King parade."