INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Leaving the Kansas City Chiefs is the best thing to happen to Brian Waters in his 12 years in the NFL.
It's been quite a climb for the soon to be 35-year-old Waters.
"I'm happy for Brian," said backup lineman Nick McDonald. "Twelve years and he wins his first playoff game this year."
McDonald is at the opposite extreme, a seldom-used player with a shot at his second Super Bowl ring in his two seasons. He made the Packers as a free agent out of Grand Valley State in 2010, but was a healthy scratch in all 16 games and four postseason games. He played in six games with the Patriots this season, including two in the playoffs.
"The good luck charm," Waters called him.
"We know that is a key part of being successful as a football team," Waters said, "to make sure that Brady stays clean and gets an opportunity to get the ball out to those special players that we have out there in the skilled positions."
The line has done a good job of that, limiting opponents to 32 sacks in the regular season and one in two playoff games.
New York's defensive linemen are healthier now and "are doing a lot more things as far as how they are scheming up and moving people around," Waters said.
But he's a knowledgeable veteran who studies the individual strengths and weaknesses of opponents. And he's a powerful blocker.
Especially if he gets too tight a grip and the officials don't call a holding penalty.
The main thing to worry about when trying to beat his block?
"One of the first guys that greeted me through the door was Dan Connolly," Waters said, "but he was one of the guys that I was going to be competing with for the job. That just showed that this team is all about team. It's not about individual stuff."
Connolly lost out on the spot at guard, but became the starting center when Dan Koppen suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener.
"I have a great respect for Brian and when he came in I didn't see it as threatening at all," Connolly said. "The way it worked out I still got to play and he got to play, so everything worked out in the end."
On Sunday, they'll line up side by side, working hard to protect Brady and win a Super Bowl, a missing piece from Waters' exceptional career.
"Talking to other players who never got the opportunity to experience this, it's definitely something where a lot of guys feel a void, but you also have to take solace in that fact that not too many people get to play this game," Waters said.
Finally, he has his chance.