With Super Bowl week finally upon us, The 33rd Team reached out to some of our members who have been a part of previous Super Bowls to get their perspective on how to prepare for the most important game they’ll ever be involved in. In the first part of this series, we took a look at preparation from a coach’s perspective. Now, we’ll take a look at managing the moment of Super Bowl week from a player’s viewpoint. Stay tuned for our last installment on an executive’s perspective of the game, which will be released later in the week.
The outside distractions are significantly heightened. Very rarely do you have to set up your family to travel on an away game. Before the Super Bowl, you’re dealing with setting them up to come with you, getting squared away with the hotel, making sure you have the right amount of tickets or trying to get tickets from other players, and even managing your extended family.
It’s much more involved. That’s one thing I have always appreciated about the Super Bowl being two weeks from the championship game. In the first week, you’re practicing at home, everything is staying mostly normal and you’re allowed to focus. Then in the second week, you’re polishing game plans and the practices are out in the state that you’re going to play in. It’s definitely unique in its challenges, but I think that extra week makes it significantly better to have that amount of time to get it scheduled.
Does playing at home give the Rams a big advantage?
I would think playing at home gives the Rams an advantage. Obviously, the first time this ever happened was last year. I knew some of (Tampa Bay’s) guys and it sounds like it made it significantly easier. I think the Rams are saying, “Man, we hit the jackpot.”
I can imagine it being a big advantage in terms of not having to leave your house and not being worried about travel. Your kids are still doing the same stuff and everybody can be in the rhythm of their life. Very little is being changed or shaken up, which I think would be significant.
There’s a difference between a playoff game and the Super Bowl. Nerves might be a little different and there’s a lot of distractions pre-game before the Super Bowl. The preparation is also different. You have two weeks to prepare for the Super Bowl, which entails receiving an inordinate amount of information. In other words, you’ll have a 17 game breakdown and a breakdown by division. It’s very extensive.
Whereas in the earlier rounds of the playoffs, the coaching staff won’t know who you’re playing until the games are done. It’s always going to be a grind regardless of the game, but you won’t look at all 17 games unless you’re preparing for the Super Bowl.
All of this is what makes the playoffs so gripping. From the optimism within the building to the stakes of single-elimination, this is the best time of the year.
- You have an extra week to study. Don’t over-analyze what you expect to happen because then you won’t respond well to unexpected schemes by the opponent.
- You won’t win every play. The opponent will win many, many plays, and they’ll be hopped up — very excited. Don’t blink, don’t get down. Know you have the next series to make plays.
- Imagine a huge 100’ curtain around the playing field. Nobody is watching. Just shred that defense like you would in practice.