Super Bowl 2012: Vince Wilfork Is The 'Elder Statesman' Of The Patriots Defense

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addressed the media via conference call on Tuesday to discuss a number of things regarding his team's Super Bowl XLVI matchup against the New York Giants in two weeks.

In a transcript provided by the official Patriots website, Belichick took some time to comment on Vince Wilfork, who was the unofficial MVP of New England's win over the Baltimore Ravens in last Sunday's AFC Championship Game. Belichick was asked about what Wilfork's performance and leadership mean to the Patriots defense.

Vince, he's really the elder statesman on the defense in terms of time with the New England Patriots. There are other players that have played longer but not necessarily on this team. He's got a great work ethic, very unselfish, does whatever we've asked him to do. We've put him in a lot of different positions: nose obviously, on the guards, outside on the tackles, gap schemes, two-gap techniques, stunts. Whatever it is, he's a very smart football player, he's instinctive, works really hard, very unselfish, does a great job with the younger players in terms of helping them improve and things to work on, things to make them more aware of his experience and impart that on them. Again, very unselfish, very supportive of all the other players on defense – linebackers, the defensive backs – and trying to tie it all together and play good team defense. He's given [to] us on a lot of levels, on the field, off the field, as a captain in individual meetings and some group settings. He does a good job of all of that. I think the most important thing is just the way he goes about it. He doesn't talk as much as just demonstrate how to prepare, how to practice, how to do your job, how to be alert, how to communicate, the different line calls and things like that. That really is, I think, the best way for a player to lead is by first of all doing his job very well so everybody can see how it's done and try to emulate that.

Fans of the Patriots have been touting Wilfork for some time, but the AFC Championship Game proved to NFL fans at large what a vital component the big man is to the team.

For the latest Super Bowl updates, be sure to follow this StoryStream. Also be sure to check out Patriots blog Pats Pulpit and Giants blog Big Blue View.

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