Sometimes Tom Brady sits on the bench after a series and confers quietly with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Other times he paces the sideline unleashing expletives.
From student to screamer and everything in between, the super-competitive Brady does whatever he can to come out with a win.
“I don’t think I ever lose track of plays or things that I need to do to help coordinate our offense when we’re on the field,” he said Wednesday, talking calmly at a podium. “I just think the emotional part is a really important part for me and I think that’s always been a part of the way that I play.”
That emotion is sure to be on display Sunday night when Brady tries to lead the New England Patriots to their sixth Super Bowl in 14 seasons when they host the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game.
Passion has been part of Brady’s game throughout his 15-year NFL career.
He’s head-butted opponents and teammates, trash-talked defenders and yelled at his own players and coaches. This season, lip readers could easily spot the curse word he repeatedly let fly in the waning moments of a loss to the Green Bay Packers.
“I need to be emotional out there to play at my highest,” Brady said. “I try to rest up all week and I’m actually pretty mellow most of the time, as you guys know. It’s just for those three hours on Sunday that you get to let it rip, which is really, I think, when you can be yourself.”
That’s worked very well.
Brady is 160-47 in the regular season and 20-8 in the postseason. He’s thrown for more completions and touchdowns than any other quarterback in postseason history.
So if his teammates must listen to his shouting — in frustration or as motivation — it’s a small price to pay for so much success.
“That’s just Tom,” defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. “Everything he does, he wants it to be perfect. He strives for greatness.”
“Tom does whatever he feels he needs to do for us to win,” safety Devin McCourty said. “Nothing Tom does surprises us.”
And his intensity is infectious.
“When you see Tom do it,”‘ said tight end Rob Gronkowski, a very demonstrative player himself, “it definitely gets you going.”
Brady may be confident and competitive, but he also gets nervous.
With Sunday’s game determining if his season will continue or end, the butterflies should be there.
“That’s part of playing sports. Being in a competitive situation like we are, I don’t think that ever goes away,” he said. “You have your vision of the way you want things to turn out on a particular play or scheme or something like that and if it does, great. If it doesn’t happen the way you want it to, which is most of the time, you’ve got to figure out something to do.
“I think that’s where a lot of the nerves come into play, the anxiousness of just the anticipation of what’s going to happen versus what we’ve prepared for.”
The Patriots (13-5) are preparing for the Colts (13-6) after overcoming two 14-point deficits to beat the Baltimore Ravens 35-31 in a divisional game.
New England routed Indianapolis 42-20 in the regular season, but the Colts are 7-1 since then.
“All the games take on a little bit of a different feel,” Brady said. “Any time you play a team a second time around, you hope you can go in there and do a lot of the same things that you were successful with and, obviously, they know that too, so that’s always the chess match.”
One thing that won’t change is Brady’s intensity.
“He’ll do whatever he can, whatever is in his power, to encourage us to play better, to motivate himself to play better and at the end of the day, for us to win the game,” special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “Whatever that takes, if that’s him yelling at us, going crazy, then so be it.”
Why does he behave like that?
“My wife asks the same thing. She says, `What’s your problem?”‘ Brady said. “But I get pretty edgy. I just think there’s a high level of pressure every week.”
There wasn’t much on Wednesday, when he casually answered reporters’ questions. But he did slip into his Sunday slang in one unguarded moment when asked about his nerves this week.
“Sometimes I’m in a good mood, sometimes I’m in a (expletive) mood — bad mood. Sorry,” he said on live television, then laughed.
Then he was told the broadcast might be on a seven-second delay.
“Oh, is it?” Brady said. “Good.”