When the Patriots make their way to Mile High Stadium on Sunday, it will be Tom Brady's 10th AFC Championship Game in his 15 seasons as a starting quarterback. No player in the history of the NFL has more conference championship game appearances, and there are 27 franchises that don't have as many as Brady does.
The Patriots have made five consecutive AFC title games, and though it may seem like an annual rite of passage at this point, Brady told WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show that even he never thought that he would be in the NFL's version of the final four as often as he has.
"It’s beyond what I’d ever imagined in my wildest dreams," Brady said. "I remember the first one I ever participated in, which was in Pittsburgh. We had to fly there on a Friday. I missed Friday of practice so I could do a press conference at the site of the game. It was the first time it really felt like, wow, this is a big deal.
"Fifteen years later, to be a part of 10 of those, I never imagined that any of this was ever even possible. I just knew that I loved the game, and I played with so many great teammates who have, like I said, sacrificed so much. When you play with teammates like I have and you see what they go through over the course of the season, what they deal with in their lives personally, how that reacts to them professionally, kind of the blood, sweat and tears you put into it, you never take it for granted."