“We’ve been winning for a long time, they’ve been winning for a long time,” Brady said. “You win for a reason. We’re extremely well coached, they’re extremely well coached. We try to be tough and physical, they’re certainly very tough and physical. They play smart, they make big plays. ... all those things you need to do to be a good football team the Steelers are and they have been.”
The Patriots and Steelers had some memorable playoff battles, particularly in the early 2000s. New England posted postseason wins over the Steelers en route to Super Bowl titles in 2001 and 2004.
“We’ve had some great battles against them. The ‘04 [AFC] Championship game was a great game. As meaningful as they come,” Brady said. “It was freezing cold weather. I have a lot of great memories because we won the game. Earlier that year we got our butts kicked in Pittsburgh, got beat 31-0.
“It’s been a great rivalry for us. They’ve got a lot of great players, great coaching. They’re been one of the most successful franchises for a long time. We’ll have to be at our best [on Sunday].”