From The National Post
NFL Game Day: Patriots' zero hour has arrived.
Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots know they can’t hide from history any more.
With a win over the New York Giants this Saturday night, the Patriots will achieve the first perfect regular season since the inception of the 16-game schedule in 1978 and the first undefeated campaign since the 1972 Miami Dolphins went 14-0.
And the Patriots, to varying degrees, are acknowledging that concept as they prepare in a short week for their date with destiny at the Meadowlands.
“I think we all realize what a win would mean, but a win’s always big,” Brady said in front of his locker at Gillette Stadium. “A win is always important for us and we’ve prepared pretty hard over the last four months, as every team prepares pretty hard. Being 16-0 would be a very special achievement, one that no other team has ever achieved and we’re finally at that point.”
Aside from a possible 16-0 regular-season mark for the first time ever, other records have fallen like dominoes for the last month. The Patriots have established new team records in nearly every single offensive category, including points, net yards and first downs.
“It’s just records, just something for the media to talk about,” Patriots safety Rodney Harrison said. “It’s something for us to talk about once we retire and once we’re old men. It has no bearing on what we’re going to do this week in terms of preparation and what we need to do and how we need to stay focused on the rest of the season.”
And in some cases, like margin of victory, New England stands on the brink of setting a new NFL standard.
Additionally, if Brady can find Randy Moss for two more touchdowns through the air, two more individual records would be set. Brady would eclipse Peyton Manning’s 49 touchdowns passes in 2004 and Moss would fly by Jerry Rice’s 22 touchdown catches in 1987.
“We’ve got a lot of records at stake, the most important one being the 16-0,” Brady said. “I hope we achieve that. It’d be a great feat for the team. We’d go down as the only team to be 16-0 so that’s the goal I’ve got in mind.”
Belichick, who quickly dismissed the first question about a possible perfect season in October, can finally focus on one final game that would complete the historic run. The Patriots play the Giants and then will have a bye week before playing their first playoff opponent.
“This is the last game so from that standpoint, right now, there isn’t another game,” Belichick said. “We don’t know who it would be against so this is a good team to focus on. They are a good football team, they’re a playoff team, and they’re a tough physical team that we saw earlier in the year and had some exposure to in pre-season.”
The Patriots reserves beat the Giants reserves, 27-20, on Aug. 30 at Gillette Stadium, the last game of the pre-season before New England opened its still unblemished regular season.
“I don’t think we’ll have any trouble getting our attention, any of our attention, players, coaches or anybody against the Giants,” said Belichick, who gave out short inspirational notes before last week’s Miami game that reminded the team that the records mean nothing right now. “We have a lot of respect for the Giants, they’re a good football team [and] they’ve proved it all year long.”
Brady, known as a perfectionist among teammates and coaches, feels while the team’s record is perfect, there are improvements to be made in the its play.
“I really feel you can have a perfect record,” Brady said. “I don’t know if anybody’s perfect. I haven’t experienced that. We all make mistakes and we all try to learn from them and try to work hard to achieve your goals. We set very high goals around here, as every team does. I just think we’ve been fortunate this season in a lot of ways.”