Acting as if he's been here before
A giddy Brian Waters approaches his first Super Bowl with restraint and determination
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It is not uncommon for players to be toting around video cameras to record the buzz that surrounds the Super Bowl, even as they are the subject of interviews.
As virtually every player comes to realize if he spends a decent period of time in the National Football League, it isn't easy to make it to the ultimate game, enduring a rugged regular season and the pressure-packed intensity of the playoffs to get there, no matter how good a team.[+] EnlargeAP Photo/Steven Senne"This is probably the most excited I have been in a long time, since the birth of my children," said veteran guard Brian Waters of playing in his first Super Bowl.
So once arriving for the week of Super Bowl festivities, it's no surprise that players want to capture every moment on video -- in between practices and film sessions -- for posterity. That's especially true for veterans, and even more so for veterans who have never made it to the Super Bowl.
Brian Waters is one of those veterans. He toiled in Kansas City for 11 seasons, and even though he was named to five Pro Bowl squads and was an All-Pro twice, Waters never even got a sniff of the Super Bowl. Three times he helped lead the Chiefs into the playoffs, and each time Kansas City went one-and-done.
But that has all changed this year.
Waters, who signed a free-agent deal with New England on Sept. 4 about six weeks after Kansas City released him, will be leaving Sunday with the Patriots for the Super Bowl in Indy. But there is one thing he won't be packing.
A video camera.
"No, that's not me," Waters, 34, said Friday after the team's final practice at Gillette Stadium in advance of the trip to Indianapolis.
That's because Waters, a garrulous 6-foot-3, 320-pounder, doesn't want anything to distract him from the task at hand, which will be trying to defeat the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5 and bring another Lombardi trophy to Foxborough.
He'll be excited, for sure, but he said he can't let that excitement about being on the big stage for the first time affect his preparation.
"I want to focus on the details of the game," said Waters, who earned his sixth Pro Bowl selection this year. "I'm trying to take care of the other things [such as ticket demands, family travel plans, etc.] now. I have to forget about all of that [in Indianapolis] and fight my emotions and be ready to play the game."
Certainly Waters, in his 12th season, is not going to be fooled by anything the Giants' defense will be trying to do. He's been around too long for that. He knows what to expect from each of the Giants' formidable pass-rushers, from long-armed Jason Pierre-Paul to the quick Justin Tuck to the quick and strong Osi Umenyiora.
He had a firsthand look at New York's pass rush when the Patriots hosted the Giants on Nov. 6, a game New England lost 24-20. There will be no surprises. Each team has a good feel for the other. Execution will be the key, especially as the Pats' offensive line tries to make sure quarterback Tom Brady remains upright against, among others, Pierre-Paul, who ranked fourth in the league with 16.5 sacks this season.
"We'll do whatever we have to do to get the job done," said Waters, adding that he is confident the play calling of offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien and the guidance from line coach Dante Scarnecchia will put the offensive linemen in a position to succeed.
"You just have to take care of the guy in front of you, make sure you know who you're going against," despite any Giants defensive line shifts, Waters said.
Without question, Waters is happy he wound up in New England. He said he had several other options after the Chiefs released him.
"There were a lot of teams contacting me, but it came down to finding the right team and the right situation that would give me the opportunity to do things," Waters said.[+] EnlargeIcon SMIWaters, who is in his first year with the Patriots after 10 with the Kansas City Chiefs, has been "a great addition to the team," said left tackle Logan Mankins.
Once the Pats expressed interest, it didn't take Waters long to make up his mind.
"This is one of the premier organizations in the league, from the owner [Robert Kraft] on down," Waters said. "I felt very comfortable with the people here. It was an easy decision for me."
It was an easy decision for Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Scarnecchia to work Waters into the mix. Indeed, only eight days after he signed with New England, Waters was in the starting lineup for the season opener in Miami.
And with other members of the offensive line suffering injuries of varying degrees, Waters was the only member of the unit to start every game, turning in solid performances in both the run game and the pass protection of Brady.
"He's a good player," left guard Logan Mankins said about Waters on Friday. "He's come in and has done the job. He has done everything we've asked of him. He's a really good football player. He was a great addition to our team."
And now, Brian Waters can add "Super Bowl participant" to his résumé.
"This is an unbelievable deal," he said. "This is probably the most excited I have been in a long time, since the birth of my children probably. God knows this has been unbelievable and I have been truly blessed. I appreciate my teammates, and these guys welcomed me here and just gave me an opportunity to do something special."
One more win, and it will be even more special.
Steven Krasner is a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com.
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