Answer by Delanie Walker, NFC Champion with San Francisco 49ers (2012)
The intensity goes up just a little bit more. Once you get into the playoffs, everybody's reenergized. They've recovered from their injuries, they're focused, and everything moves a little faster. You have to watch more film, stay after practice a little longer, you have to lift weights, you have to make sure you're in shape. That goes for catching balls after practice, running more routes, making sure you get with the quarterback if you're on offense and on defense, they sit together and watch film together.
It's very intense. It's more draining because the focus level is higher.
Answer by Will Smith, I play for the New Orleans Saints
It's different because you have two weeks and the stakes are super-high. Not to make fun of any other team, but it's not like you're playing the Cleveland Browns. You're playing another team that's possibly just as good as you or maybe even better than you, and you have to prepare!
During these next two weeks, these guys will just prepare and prepare and prepare to play the big game in New York. So it's a lot of preparation, and the stakes are extremely high, and you know everyone is going to be watching all over the world, and it's a lot of pressure.
It's a somewhat tough two weeks, but once it's over and you win you kind of relax a little bit.
Answer by Brian Billick, Head Coach, 2001 Super Bowl Champs Baltimore Ravens
Because the week is like no other week your players have ever experienced. Traveling to the game on Monday, the media demands early in the week, the families coming on Wednesday, everything is different. Even the game itself with the long pregame and half times is totally different. Players can get swept up in the confusion if you don't regulate it.
Answer by Steve Weatherford, Super Bowl Champion with the New York Giants (XLVI)
You prepare your entire life for a situation and opportunity like the Super Bowl, and for me, it was an unbelievable experience to get the opportunity to play in it.
But I didn't want to treat it any differently than any other game, because every game that I play as a professional athlete is a blessing and opportunity. You don't want to put any more emphasis on the Super Bowl because then you might do things that typically you wouldn't normally do.
You just want to go out there and play within yourself, and not try to be more than what you are. That's when mistakes will be made!
More questions on NFL:
- What do players think about an outdoor Super Bowl in a winter climate?
- What are some memories of being in the Super Bowl as a player or part of a team?
- How is preparation for a Super Bowl or playoff game different for an NFL player?