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Sideline View: Matt Chatham Talks About His Super Bowl Experiences

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A three-time Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots, Matt Chatham talks about his experience during Super Bowl week.

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Lost in the hoopla surrounding Tom Brady's best chance of winning another Super Bowl title is the fact that the Patriots team is one of the youngest in the league. Prior to the season, New England started the 11th youngest roster.

Historically, Patriots teams have been able to lean on the veterans in order to understand how to conduct themselves during the Super Bowl week. This year is slightly different as only Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork have won Super Bowls with New England. All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis has resorted to asking Wilfork, Devin McCourty, and Brandon Browner for advice on how to approach the big game.

To understand what this team is about to go through, we've reached out to three-time Super Bowl champion linebacker Matt Chatham. Chatham was on the Patriots roster from 2000-2005, helping to secure the Patriots dynasty. He founded and runs the football website "Football by Football", a website written and controlled by former players.

Linebacker Jerod Mayo explained to Pats Pulpit that the team is approaching this game as a regular game. Back in 2011, Bill Belichick made a point of loosening up the roster during the media week after the 2007 version of the Patriots was too uptight. Chatham explained how the earlier teams approached the big game.

"First time around might have been a bit more 'whoa'," Chatham said over e-mail. "But because it was such an extremely fast week with [the tragedies on September 11th, 2001 forcing the league to reschedule the week's game at the end of year, and eliminating the bye week].

"I'm also looking at that then as a young player, but to the best of my recollection, I don't think we had a ton of guys who had been [to the Super Bowl]. Just the [1996 Super Bowl Patriots] guys, I guess. We were probably aided by the quick week; it was into business as usual pretty quick.

"[In 2003 and 2004, we] felt like old-pros at it; always a business trip feel. It wasn't terribly different than a normal road game feel- just the hotel has a bit more buzz to it. I think that helps. If you're not wandering out too much from the hotel once the practice week starts, it can feel just like a regular road game."

Mayo echoed this sentiment, so perhaps head coach Bill Belichick's methods haven't changed too much.

"You know, I think the coaches do an excellent job of keeping us isolated from a lot of the outside things going on during Super Bowl weekend," Mayo said. "I think that's huge, as guys look at [the Super Bowl] as a business trip. And that's what it is."

While it's easy to say the approach to the week would reflect any regular week, the fact that it's on the road with so much activity makes it difficult to stay focused. It's possible the Patriots extended road trip earlier in the season, when they went directly from Green Bay to San Diego, will help in the mental approach for the Super Bowl.

When evaluating the value of a week long road trip, it seems teams really benefit from the bonding forced by the situation.

"The one thing different here was that I ended up watching film with a lot of other people at the hotel, instead of home alone on DVD or in my individual position meeting room," Chatham explained. "[The week allowed for] more of a communal feel, [like] bouncing ideas off one another as we watch. Not that it doesn't happen anyway, but I remember more of that during the hotel week."

At this point in the season most of the playbook development is done. While the Patriots have spent the past few playoff games adding wrinkles into the game that Seattle will have to scheme for, it's unlikely that New England will have an entirely new concept in store for the Seahawks.

Instead, the Patriots will likely use the time to ensure the current plays on file will be used to their best advantage against Seattle.

"[To the] best of my recollection, you'd have a hard time finding a play or scheme in any of three [Super Bowls] I played in that wasn't either run or related to something run in earlier games," Chatham said. "It's more a matter of finding out which ones are most relevant to this opponents weaknesses, then maybe packaging or disguising it so it's not entirely obvious what you're doing.

"Much of [Super Bowl week] is self-scouting. You can be a victim of the excessive time if you get too cute."

The Patriots have made it this far into the season with a combination of suffocating defensive play up the middle of the field, while blanketing the top opposing receiver with Darrelle Revis, and brutally efficient offensive play that exploits match-ups and uses thumping running backs to set up the play action pass.

This week will be about preparing to finish what this team started earlier this year- after all, it's just another day in the office.