Vince Wilfork seizes the moment

The Patriots have been highly successful in Vince Wilfork’s eight years with the team. But the defensive tackle is only wearing one Super Bowl ring, which he won in his rookie season in 2004.

Wilfork fully grasps the opportunity he has to earn his second ring in two weeks after the Patriots defeated the Ravens, 23-20, yesterday in the AFC Championship game.

“It’s a special feeling,” Wilfork said. “To be in this situation was a great feeling but you have to cherish this moment. This is America’s game, this is America’s sport. Everyone is going to be watching. Everybody was watching tonight. Even whoever we face in the Super Bowl, guess what, they had a chance to see us, this game a little bit. You have so many people just watching this football game. All the eyes are on you. Every move, every interview, every play: you have to make the best of it. Hopefully you can prepare well and walk away with a ‘W.’ Like I said, I’ve been on both teams – a win and a loss. I hate losing, especially in this game. I’m going to have to do everything I can to help my teammates and I’m pretty sure that it won’t be hard to get that same attitude from these guys.”

Early in his career, Wilfork expected that trips to the Super Bowl would be an annual occurrence. After a string of disappointing postseason performances, Wilfork has come to appreciate how difficult it is to reach this point.

“Everybody plays this game for this moment,” Wilfork said. “This is what we play for. At the beginning of the year, you have 32 teams at the bottom and everybody is climbing the ladder to get to this moment right here. Luckily, we got to this moment. It’s been tough. Nothing’s been easy. We had to deal with certain situations, but you know, this team handled it pretty well. They never gave up. They’re very, very passionate about what they do. They love this game and I can take the field with anybody like that.”

Wilfork was a monster today, leading the way for the much-maligned defense’s best effort of the season. He had six tackles (three for a loss) and a sack. The Ravens running game never got going, partly due to Wilfork’s constant presence in Baltimore’s backfield.

“It’s just a good football game,” Wilfork said. “You saw a great football game tonight. You’ve seen a classic of two football teams that didn’t want to budge. (It was a) physical football game and plays being made, but not many. Every yard was tough. That’s what you saw tonight. You saw just a great, great effort and it came down to the last couple of seconds. But, two guys don’t want to have to lose. I’m happy to be on the winning side.”

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