Saturday is typically a quiet day for the teams. For the Patriots there was a change to the routine we've seen in past Super Bowls. After the team picture, which was taken at the team hotel instead of the stadium as was the norm, Bill Belichick gave his players the day off instead of holding a walkthrough. It was a late announcement, reportedly due to how satisfied he was with the week of practice and where he deemed his players' heads at.
Even at the team picture the mood was loose, not just for the players but also their head coach. I couldn't help thinking of the last time the Patriots were in Arizona for the big game. There was an incredible amount of pressure on them to reach a place no team had ever been, 19-0. I've heard from several players over the years since and they all agree they felt it. I've also heard them say that it seemed things were over thought for that one. Perhaps Belichick remembers that too and was determined to have his team to stay loose. We'll soon see.
The Patriots arrive at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona prior to Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, February 1, 2015.
Also in a departure from past Super Bowls, neither team moved out of their hotel rooms to undisclosed locations the night before the game. Not sure of the reason but it could simply be that with the demand of this game there just weren't two hotels with enough space for them.
Gameday. The Valley of the Sun finally lived up to its moniker today. The roof is open at University of Phoenix Stadium and both teams' players are making their way to the field for warm-ups. The stadium operations seem well prepared, at least from what I experienced coming in with the media. We arrived around 1:30 ET, 11:30 local time and even then the press box was at least half filled. Everyone is expecting a close one. I do too but I'm hoping by the third quarter is something along the lines of 50-0, Patriots. Not sure if I can take another dramatic finish. The six Super Bowls I've been to have come right down to the wire. They aged me like nothing else. I think in Super Bowl years I'm around 82.
Ready to go. I'll fire up Kirsch Words at 6:15 ET. Pop in when you have a chance. Let's do this.