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Mangini, Fox, Phillips: What It’s Really Like To Prepare For A Super Bowl

Mangini, Phillips, Fox: What It’s Really Like To Prepare For A Super Bowl

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. First, we will take a look at preparation from a coach’s perspective. Stay tuned for stories on the player’s perspective and the executive’s perspective in the coming days.

Eric Mangini:

The goal of preparing for the Super Bowl is to try to make it as much like a normal game as you possibly can. 

You do get the extra week of preparation, which is similar to a bye week, but you lose a lot of time (and there are a lot of distractions) in the second week due to Super Bowl commitments. So you want to get most of your work done in week one.

John Fox:

You watch every game of your opponent because you’ve got all the time to prepare. You really leave no stone unturned and you know your opponent pretty well at the end of those two weeks.

Unlike any other game, including the championship games, the preparation time on game day in the Super Bowl is different. 

Typically you go into the locker room about 12 minutes before kickoff. You finish warming up and guys hang out in the locker room and do their business for a few minutes before you call the team up and you go out. 

Well, in the Super Bowl they kick you off the field for basically 50 minutes before they bring you out. 

What is really goofy is that you’ve had two weeks to prepare and a million meetings, but in that 50 minutes there’s just nothing to do. You really do have to prepare your guys and say, “Okay guys. This is going to be different,” and figure out how to occupy your time.

Remember, all that emotion and anxiety your players have for the game isn’t being released on the field while you’re kicked off the field for pregame festivities.

Halftime is about normal. It’s a little longer but there are things to do at halftime. You’ve got adjustments to be made, guys might get IVs depending on where you’re playing. We played the Super Bowl in Houston while I was in Carolina and I had about eight guys get IVs, so we were thankful for the extra time at halftime. 

The most awkward thing is that you have to have your guys prepared to have something occupy your time because you’re sitting there for a long time. And that is not like any other game.

Wade Phillips:

Gary Kubiak had us prepare everything the first week and put everything in immediately. That way during the second week, with all the distractions for the players and coaches, we were repeating what was already in. That was the key to our preparation.