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Tom Brady admits to being ‘anxious’ for matchup with Steelers

Tom Brady, right, and backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo

Tom Brady, right, and backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo loosen up during the Patriots' workout Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, in Foxborough. Credit: AP / Steven Senne

Tom Brady has seen it all.

At this stage of his life and career, nothing intimidates the New England Patriots quarterback on the football field. He’d be lying, though, if he said he didn’t feel a bit uneasy heading into a critical game. But it’s not nervousness, he said.

“No, I think you just get anxious for games, because there is a big buildup to them and you prepare pretty hard,” Brady said Friday, two days before the Patriots will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. “So you finally get out there and play, because you feel like you’ve built up the whole week on the practice field and you’ve talked about a lot of situations and you’ve just got to see how they play out. I think it’s just more anxiousness.”

Much of this week’s talk has centered on the two Super Bowl champion quarterbacks who will square off Sunday at Gillette Stadium: Brady and Ben Roethlisberger, two of the most talented signal-callers in the NFL.

Their offenses have been on a tear, and their rosters are littered with stellar talent. The Patriots’ offense was ranked fourth in total yardage with 386.2 per game and third in scoring with 27.6 points per game.

New England is the “gold standard,” according to Roethlisberger, having won four Super Bowls with Brady as the quarterback. But even as the underdog, the Steelers are a formidable opponent because of the “Killer B’s” — Ben, (running back Le’Veon) Bell and (receiver Antonio) Brown.

But Brady, 39, has never shied away from a challenge. In fact, he thrives on it.

Asked what intimidates him on the field, the future Hall of Famer said: “I don’t know if intimidate is the word. I think you always go into the game understanding what gets you beat and cautious of the things they do well. I don’t think it’s necessarily intimidation. I think what helps you win and lose is really good performance and execution and so forth.”

There’s nothing easy about advancing to this point, Brady pointed out. There’s a deep-seated passion one must have for “the whole process” — and it starts with preparation.

“You just can’t skip through all of those things and get right to the game,” Brady said. “You’ve got to go through the whole thing and you’ve got to go through the whole week; the film study and all the practices, all the meetings, walk-throughs. It’s a lot to prepare for, especially against a great defense. [They are] a team that’s won eight or nine straight and are playing as well as they’ve played all season, scoring points. We’ve got to limit them on offense after they played great last week. It’s a tough test, so we’re going to need to be our best.”

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