Q. You guys came out of preseason and training camp and you talked a lot about Super Bowl. Does it feel like now it’s a reality? Are you surprised by the route you took to get there?
NICK COLLINS: It’s been a long journey. That’s all we’ve been preaching since Day 1. Now that it’s here, it’s a great feeling. We want to go there and get the job done.
Q. Why was this team so confident from the start that it could make it this far?
NICK COLLINS: Because the way we finished the season last year, we felt like we had an opportunity last year to go all the way and fell a little short. We just came in with the mindset that we can go all the way and everybody buying in. It’s been paying off this year.
Q. When they switched to the three‑four, were you thinking that you were going to have kind of a Troy Polamalu-style role? How do you see your role in this defense compared to him?
NICK COLLINS: Two different styles of players. He gets to do his own thing. He’s been in the league for a while, has that freedom. I’m still learning. There’s a lot I still want to learn about this system, so I’m just going to keep preparing myself every year to get better.
Q. But did you think you would have that role?
NICK COLLINS: Not at all. We play two different styles of games. He do what he do, and I do what I do.
Q. Inaudible question
NICK COLLINS: Of course. I think all safeties, all cornerbacks try to watch each other and try to learn from the older guys, try to add something to your game to make your game that much better. So we feed off each other.
Q. This team has piled up a huge number of picks over the last three or four years. Is it all just really good ball skill players back there, systems? What’s gone into that big number?
NICK COLLINS: Guys cashing in on their opportunities. Being a defensive guy, you don’t get a chance to get the ball as much as you want to. A lot of us played in high school, played running back, quarterback, receiver, so we kind of have that ball skill in us. So it just makes our job a little easier. Once we see the ball, we’re able to just make plays and bring it in.
Q. What do you think of the way Sam Shields played yesterday and came up with two picks like that?
NICK COLLINS: The guy played phenomenal. Just to come the way he came from being a receiver, this is his first year really playing corner, to step up in a big game like that, just to show the determination that the guy has. And once he came in, he accepted coaching. That was the major part of his success, coaching from Joe Whitt, from the veterans and just buying in.
Q. What did you think of that play by B.J.?
NICK COLLINS: I didn’t really get to see it. Because as he’s running in, I was behind him. I saw the ball fall in the end zone, so I was trying to go to the ball. By the time I turned around, whatever he had done, you know ‑‑
Q. You didn’t say I’m going to do this?
NICK COLLINS: Whatever comes to your mind at that point. He just made a big play. I don’t know what to say. It was great for him, for us, period, for the organization. I’m just glad I was a part of it.
Q. What do you think of Roethlisberger?
NICK COLLINS: A big guy that can extend plays, just a winner. He knows how to win games. He’s been in this position a couple times, so for us, it’s just going in and playing with the same intensity that they’re playing with.
Q. In the first half they ran the ball down the Jets throat. That is the first thing you guys say you have to stop, right?
NICK COLLINS: I didn’t watch the game. I was just too excited for what we had accomplished as a team. But I heard they did a nice job running the ball.
But it’s going to take every guy in that locker room on that defensive side to go in with the mindset of stopping the run. You know, we preach that every week. We’re just going to have to find a way to get it done.
Q. When a guy like Roethlisberger extends plays, how much tougher does that make your job in the secondary?
NICK COLLINS: It makes it a little tougher, but at the same time we feel we can match‑up with anybody. As long as we can keep our eyes on our guy, we’ll be successful. We preach it, we practice it, so it’s nothing new.
Q. With all of the coaches here from Pittsburgh, did you have a lot of conversations and did the Steelers come up a lot with those guys?
NICK COLLINS: Of course the Steelers are going to come up a lot. What, they have six Super Bowls? So of course it’s going to come up a lot. You know, they know how to win games. A lot of teams try to mimic what they have accomplished, so they’re a great football team.
Q. How well has Clay Matthews played this year?
NICK COLLINS: Phenomenal. He’s a beast. The guy just has a motor that just never stops. He just wants to be the best at his position. I’m just, like I said before, for all these young guys, I’m just glad to be a part of it and witness it.
Q. Did that trickle down to the rest of you guys? Seeing his motor as you said, is it infectious?
NICK COLLINS: Everybody has that motor on that defensive side. We’re relentless. We want everybody on that defensive side to get to the ball and make something happen. It shows every Sunday. If you watch our game from Week 1 to now, you see 11 guys out there busting their butts to get to the ball.
Q. You made the comment that you wanted to celebrate this championship with the team and move on?
NICK COLLINS: Shoot, it’s time to move on now. We won it last night. I think most of the guys celebrated for a little while, but this is business. We want to go down there and keep the same mind frame that we’ve had all year. Just stay focused and stay humbled.
Q. What has last night and this morning been like for you? Maybe tomorrow, getting friends and family taken care of, and ticket requests, all that stuff?
NICK COLLINS: It’s going to be really easy. Just have a game plan. Once you have a game plan, everything else will be easy, who you’re going to take and where they’re going to be and just move on. Everybody wants to see you be successful. So my family’s just trying to leave me alone and let me stay focused.
Q. We’ve talked about Polamalu. You’ve been to three Pro Bowls. Do you think this is an opportunity for people to see how good of a safety you are being in the Super Bowl?
NICK COLLINS: Of course. You know, coming from a small school, a lot of people really don’t know me, I should say. But I’m just a football player. It’s not about me. I’m a team player. I just want everybody that I have been around to be successful and that’s my main focus.
To come in every year for all the new guys, the up-and-coming guys, that I can play a role in them being successful. That’s how I approach every year.
Q. Do you remember coming in in ’05, a quiet guy? How has your role changed in the locker room?
NICK COLLINS: A lot. A lot of people have been here, it’s been a roller coaster. People have been in, people have left. But at the same time I’ve had some people that have been helping me out along the way: Charles Woodson, my coach, Coach Perry, Joe Whitt, all those guys.
They prepare you very well and they teach the game so that you can understand it. It just made my game that much better that I can go out there and understand what an offense is doing and trying to do. It’s been paying off. I’d just like to thank those guys. Those guys are great teachers.
Q. What did you see of the reactions of the guys that have been around here 10‑plus years? What did you see from those guys that have waited so long for this opportunity?
NICK COLLINS: A dream come true. The guys have been working so hard for so long. It’s finally paid off. The guys in that locker room were so happy for those guys. It’s only a couple of those guys that got 10‑plus years. You know, after that, there are guys that are maybe six or seven.
It was a dream come true. I’m just glad I can witness it and just be a part of what’s about to happen. We’ll see in a few weeks.