Tom Brady hates losing so much that he remembers what it felt like the last time he played a football game in the Bay Area -- and that was almost nine years ago.
"The last time we played in Oakland it wasn't a pleasant flight home," Brady said. "Hopefully, we can redeem ourselves this time around."
The Raiders, still stinging from a loss in the "Tuck Rule" game in the playoffs the previous season, beat the Patriots 27-20 in November 2002 at the Coliseum en route to an eventual AFC title.
Through a quirk of scheduling, and the fact Brady was out for the season after knee surgery when the Patriots visited the 49ers and Raiders in 2008, he hasn't played anywhere near his hometown of San Mateo since.
What Brady has learned since then, a philosophy ingrained by coach Bill Belichick, is how to put losses behind him. Neither the loss in 2002, when he was sacked four times, nor a 34-31 defeat in Buffalo last week, when he was intercepted four times, will have any bearing on what happens Sunday at O.co Coliseum.
"What happened last week, win or lose, it never matters going into the following week," Brady told Bay Area reporters by conference call Wednesday. "It's entirely different. You put the game in the past because it's not going to help you prepare for what you're going to face the next weekend.
"We're going to go out there and execute our plays as best we can. There's nothing we did last week that can
Brady has already passed for 1,327 yards this season, the most of any quarterback in NFL history over a three-game span, with 11 touchdown passes. But he also has five interceptions after throwing just four all of last season.
For all the big numbers, Brady, in his 12th NFL season, is also known for his meticulous preparation.
"His attention to detail has been remarkable over the course of his career," said Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour, a teammate of Brady's from 2001-08. "He came in as a sixth-round draft pick (out of Michigan) and just worked it off. That's a sign for everybody, talent alone doesn't get it done. There has to be work ethic and doing the little things that make you successful in this business."
Linebacker Ricky Brown, who went to training camp with New England before being cut and returning to the Raiders, cited the Patriots' work ethic and said Brady was the nucleus.
"Tom Brady is a phenomenal player. He's one of those special guys in the league, and for as hard as he plays on Sunday, he also plays that hard throughout the week," Brown said.
In contrast to Jason Campbell, who has gone through NFL head coaches and coordinators at a dizzying rate, Brady has had only Belichick as a head coach.
In a recent NFL Network documentary on Belichick, the two were shown discussing an offensive game plan almost as equal partners, although Brady leaves no doubt who's in charge.
"There's no other coach I'd ever want to play for," Brady said. "He's tough on us, he expects the most every day in practice, he has very high expectations. There's an expectation he sets you have to live up to every day or you don't fit in.
"Coming off a loss like last week, he works on getting us prepared for the Raiders. He says, 'This is what we need to do to win, this is what will get us beat.' That's all players can hope for every week."
Brady is looking forward to the Coliseum environment, while joking about what his family will be walking into Sunday.
"They can't wear any Patriots gear or anything. They'll be in disguise," Brady said. "They don't want to be harassed too much. There's been so many stories about the Black Hole. It's a great place to go to games. I've been to them when I was younger. It's a great environment for football."