Bill Belichick has a famous saying: "The best ability is availability."
And this year's New England Patriots have plenty of ability.
New England didn't list a single player on its initial injury report Wednesday as it prepares for Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams. According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, you have to go back five years to find a Super Bowl team this healthy.
How rare is it that the Patriots don’t have a player listed on their initial injury report? Per @ESPNStatsInfo, in the last five Super Bowls, every team had at least one injury listed on its initial Super Bowl injury report.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) January 24, 2019
Five years ago brings us to Super Bowl XLVII, when the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers both entered the game with fully healthy rosters. (Ironically, that was the year Ray Lewis claimed he tore his triceps the night before the Super Bowl but played through it.)
Since then, every Super Bowl team has dealt with injury adversity -- including the Patriots, who didn't have Julian Edelman and Dont'a Hightower in Super Bowl LII and were missing Rob Gronkowski in Super Bowl LI.
But New England has been virtually injury-free this postseason, which has helped Belichick's squad score a combined 78 points in back-to-back wins over the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs.
That's a testament to the Patriots' medical staff and strength and conditioning staff, which both have the team in excellent shape entering the 21st week of the grueling NFL season.
"I really lean heavily on (strength and conditioning coach) Moses (Cabrera) and his staff on that part of it," Belichick said Thursday at his press conference, "on the training part of it, the conditioning, the volume that we do, the intensity that we do -- he's very good at that."
The Rams aren't exactly banged up, either: Kicker Greg Zuerlein and safety Blake Countess were the only two players listed on their injury report Wednesday. So, don't expect injuries to be an excuse on Feb. 3 in Atlanta.
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