Former Rival Discusses Challenge of Facing Patriots' Mystique

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When you take the field against the New England Patriots, whether in the Super Bowl or any given Sunday, it’s not just the 11 men on the field that you’re facing. A big part of the challenge is overcoming the sheer intimidation from the NFL’s resident dynasty.

WBZ NewsRadio’s Adam Kaufman caught up with former Denver Broncos offensive tackle Ryan Harris to discuss what it’s like going up against Tom Brady, the New England Patriots and, perhaps most intimidating of all, the mystique that surrounds New England’s football team.

“The only way you beat the Patriots is by not falling for the mystique of the silver helmets and Tom Brady’s voice and, you know, seeing those blue jerseys.”

So, what percentage of the struggle, in facing a team like the Patriots, is dealing with that ‘mystique?’ “It’s more than any other team,” Harris said.

“I remember the first time I was on the sidelines in Foxborough and I heard [Tom] Brady screaming at [Rob] Gronkowski,” Harris explained. “I’m like ‘Oh, my God, it’s Tom Brady!’ Then, I’m thinking, those guys are thinking that on the field too.”

“Then you add James Harrison – he gets in that stance… he’s got a black visor on, you can’t see his eyes, you don’t know where he’s going,” Harris said of his former teammate, now Patriots LB. “He’s breathing hard, he’s screaming things, just to get in your mind.”

“That’s a tough mental place to be, no matter what side of the ball you’re on,” Harris said.

Harris, whose Broncos team overcame the Patriots in the 2016 AFC Championship on the way to winning Super Bowl 50 said there is a way to avoid falling victim to the hype.

“If you can just focus on your game and play the play that’s being called and respond to adversity, which will happen, you will beat the Patriots. You’ve got to be detail-oriented, you can’t fall for the mystique and you gotta be strong, mentally.”

Here’s the full interview:

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