New England Patriots

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 20: Brandon Copeland #52 of the New England Patriots and Stephon Gilmore #24 tackle Chris Carson #32 of the Seattle Seahawks during the first half at CenturyLink Field on September 20, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

By Alex Barth,

Any one of us who grew up a football fan has had that moment in the backyard. You know the one – five seconds left in the big game, the crowd going wild. It may be just you out there on the lawn, but in your mind the entire nation is watching.

For Patriots linebacker Brandon Copeland, that ‘moment’ will become a reality on Sunday, when the Patriots face the Kansas City Chiefs.

“It’s fun. These are the reasons you play football,” Copeland told reporters on Thursday. “Big games against great opponents, great challenges…[I’m] looking forward to the challenge.”

Copeland hasn’t had many ‘big game’ opportunities so far in his NFL career. A UDFA out of Penn, he spent the first two years of his career on the Tennessee Titans practice squad, before stints with the Detroit Lions (2015-2017), and New York Jets (2018-2019). Those aren’t exactly franchises known for recent success.

ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 29: Brandon Copeland #51 of the New York Jets looks up after warming up before an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on December 29, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

Before joining the Patriots, Copeland’s teams were a combined 27-33 in games he played in. He’s never won more than nine games in a season. In 2016, he took part in his lone playoff game, a 26-6 Lions loss in Seattle in which he played 26 snaps.

Given that history, it’s easy to see why the 29-year-old might get a little wide-eyed at the chance to play the defending champs on national television.

“I think it’s definitely a marquee game. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t,” Copeland said. “As an NFL player, me, personally, especially my career being an undrafted free agent, I’m excited for every game…Clearly when we’re playing elite talent, highly popular players, it only adds to the anticipation and the potential excitement for the game.”

MORE: Cam Newton & Patrick Mahomes

This isn’t just a rare experience for Copeland, either. “These are the games that, you know, again, I know not only am I excited, my family’s excited, we’re all excited for the opportunity,” he said. “We know others will be watching and that’s a great thing.”

Copeland stressed that he knows at the end of the day, what ends up on the scoreboard is ultimately what matters. Still, for a guy who was a UDFA, and spent two years on practice squads before spending five more on teams stuck in the mud, this is a way to see all his hard work come to fruition.

“These are literally the reasons why you sign up to play the game,” Copeland said. “These are the games you want to be in.”

For more on the game, check out the Patriots Preview podcast below.

Click here for 98.5 The Sports Hub’s complete coverage of the Patriots

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at