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."
Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Texans game:
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
RB Rex Burkhead (ribs)
OT Marcus Cannon (ankle/concussion)
TE Rob Gronkowski (groin)
WR Danny Amendola (concussion/knee)
WR Phillip Dorsett (knee)
CB Stephon Gilmore (groin)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
WR Chris Hogan (knee)
LB Elandon Roberts (thumb)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)
WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)
DT Vincent Valentine (knee)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
G Jeff Allen (ankle)
CB Kevin Johnson (knee)
TE Stephen Anderson (concussion)
RB Alfred Blue (ankle)
WR Will Fuller V (shoulder)
CB Jonathan Joseph (shoulder)
G Xavier Su'a-Filo (knee)
DE J.J. Watt (finger)
CB Marcus Burley (knee)
T Chris Clark (wrist)
WR Bruce Ellington (concussion)
TE Ryan Griffin (concussion)
While a football game should be the furthest thing on people's minds after a natural disaster, the earthquake that measured 7.1 on the Richter scale and struck near Mexico City, killing more than 200, has led to the NFL reviewing whether the Patriots-Raiders game scheduled there for Nov. 19 at Estadio Azteca can take place.
“The initial information from that review is the stadium is remarkably in good shape, and that’s a testament to the construction and the safety devices that were put in place when that stadium was built 50 years ago,” NFL vice president for international Mark Waller told NBCSports.com's Pro Football Talk. “The stadium is actually built with four gaps in it to allow the stadium to move in the event of an earthquake.”
Social media images showing what some thought was a crack in the stadium actually showed expansion joints that are a safety feature allowing the stadium to withstand an earthquake.
For the second consecutive year, the Raiders are giving up a home game to host a game at the stadium. They defeated the Houston Texans there last season.
“The Raiders have the people of Mexico City and the surrounding areas in our thoughts and prayers following today’s earthquake,” the Raiders said in a statement. “Mexico City is a special place for the Raider Nation, and the most heartfelt sentiments of the Raiders family go out to all of our Mexican neighbors in this time of need.”