Super Bowl Teams Put Plans in Place
INDIANAPOLIS - Peyton Manning thinks the outcome of Super Bowl XLIV might go a long way toward being decided before the game kicks off.
"Having played in the game three years ago, I can speak to how important it is to prepare," the Indianapolis Colts quarterback said with an eye toward the Feb. 7 clash against the New Orleans Saints in Miami. "You have to try to get ready to play, then use the time next week to get even more prepared."
Jim Caldwell, in his first season as Colts head coach, agrees that maximizing every meeting and practice will be critical. "Like many things, I think the mental is to the physical 10-to-1," he said.
Caldwell installed his game plan this week and kept players to their accustomed schedule as if they were playing this Sunday. He is aware of the distractions that can occur after his team arrives in Florida on Monday.
"We won't have the kind of focus and concentration we'd like to have for an extended period of time," he said. "We can have it in spurts, but here we have it for an extended period of time."
New Orleans counterpart Sean Payton, asked about the implementation of his game plan, said he was using the two weeks to introduce "different aspects from an emphasis standpoint.
"Always you're looking to reach out and make sure you have all your bases covered, and periodically during practice you cover some things that take place in this game that are different than normal games. The pregame is much longer. Halftime is much different."
Former NFL coach Jon Gruden had one week to prepare the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before they won Super Bowl XXXVII. He says the best way to treat this period is as if it were a regular-season bye week.
"You try to implement the game plan early and tune it up the second week," he said.