For most of the Patriots, these next two weeks are something they’ve experienced at least once before, if not more. So, what’s the best way to avoid all the potential distractions and hoopla associated with the Super Bowl?
“Not talking to you [media] guys,” linebacker Kyle Van Noy laughed.
He was joking, of course, because he and many of his teammates gave generously of their time today when reporters were allowed into the locker room. They each explained how, for the past two days, they’ve been given the opportunity to deal with fielding requests from family and friends to attend Super Bowl LII in Minnesota – a process that can seem overwhelming to the uninitiated. But to most players on this team, it’s old hat.
“Easy. Not hard at all,” linebacker James Harrison declared. “No, you just take the papers, fill them out. That’s it.”
“The Patriots organization does an incredible job,” wide receiver Chris Hogan explained, “of getting us all the information we need. Obviously, guys have to handle their own business, take care of all the logistics, and hopefully, you can do that as quickly as possible so that you can move on to the most important thing. We have a job to do, and that’s play the Eagles and win a football game.”
“I’ve got a tight-knit group of family and friends. They’re excited when they get invited,” wide receiver Danny Amendola smiled. “We got all that done now, so, it’s good. Now it’s all football time, 100 percent: getting into the playbooks, installation [of the game plan], getting your body right, getting treatment, and getting ready.”
Even though much of this roster played in last year’s Super Bowl and others even in Super Bowl XLIX, that experience is both relevant in some cases and irrelevant in others. Players agreed that success in the Super Bowl ultimately comes down to how well prepared one team is and how well it executes on game day.
“Personally, the experience of playing a couple of Super Bowls prior to this will give me – I feel like, the sooner I can calm my nerves down, the better I’ll play,” Amendola continued. “All the other theatrics of the game, it’s all pretty irrelevant. It comes down to playing great football between the whistles. That’s what I’ve learned. That’s what my experience is.”
“You can either let it take you or you can take it to the two weeks. I’m going to take it to the two weeks,” Van Noy promised. “We know what to expect, but at the end of the day, you have to perform. So, there’s really no upper hand, you just play the game and prepare at a high level.”
Two weeks may seem like an eternity in the beginning of the process, but by the time kickoff arrives a week from this Sunday, the players say they don’t know where the time has gone. So, it’s important they take full advantage of every minute from now until then.
“I think it flies by a little bit,” Hogan admitted. “These games creep up on you really fast. You have to take advantage of the time we have this week and next week.”
“It kind of comes quick,” linebacker Elandon Roberts agreed. “Because you’re preparing, you’re preparing, you’re preparing, and then, once you get there, that’s it.
“Obviously, it’s all the marbles right here, all you work for. You have to think back to what got you here, doing your job, not getting overwhelmed and whatnot. As long as you can do that, that takes away most of [the nerves].”
“Honestly, it’s a dream-come-true to play in a game like this,” Van Noy concluded. “I wouldn’t want it ever to feel like it’s too big. We’re playing a kid’s game and everybody wants to win. That’s what we’re trying to do.”