Mike McCarthy’s column today for The MMQB.com about his experience coaching the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl three years ago mostly covers old ground, though he also offers a couple of game-day insights he hadn’t previously shared publicly.
Among the details McCarthy writes about are several well known among Packers fans.
Primarily, there was defensive end C.J. Wilson playing the piano to accompany the singing of players in the team hotel for about a half hour the night before the game in a key team-bonding moment, and having the players fitted for Super Bowl rings that night also as a show of confidence.
But McCarthy also wrote of something new: The game-day timing issues that make the Super Bowl different than other games.
First, he wrote that the Packers' coaches emphasized to the players to conserve their energy before the game because of the unusually long time from when they take the field through the national anthem and other festivities before kickoff. He said Mike Trgovac, the Packers’ defensive line coach, warned him about that from his experience as Carolina’s defensive coordinator in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
“We usually want our guys up and toeing that white line and ready to go,” McCarthy wrote, “but it was the opposite for the Super Bowl. We told them to sit down and relax because it’s different from a normal game. Players and coaches tend to get programmed to the length of time prior to kickoff because we’ve been in so many games during our careers. We know when the national anthem is running a little long, and we know it’s a few minutes longer to kickoff for Monday Night Football. With the Super Bowl, it’s much longer and those were the preparation stress points we talked about.”
McCarthy also wrote about how he handled the Super Bowl's extended halftime. He said he didn’t want the players to feel like they were sitting around too long, so he gave them time to themselves immediately when they got to the locker room, rather than after meeting with the coaches, which is the team's customary practice.
The strength and conditioning staff made sure the players received food, liquid and rest right away, and then the coaches met with the players for the final minutes of halftime.
“The in-game challenges are what every coach knows he has to deal with going into every game,” McCarthy wrote. “The Super Bowl is different and you have to plan accordingly.”
McCarthy said his biggest mistake at the Super Bowl was not making more time to celebrate the Packers' win on the field with his family and players. As the game ended, a couple of players doused him with Gatorade, and McCarthy spoke briefly with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, receiver Greg Jennings and a couple of other players.
“After that I was pushed onto the stage for the trophy presentation,” McCarthy wrote. “My family was nearby on the field, but I couldn’t really talk to them. Receiving the Lombardi Trophy was an amazing moment, but I couldn’t wait to hug my family. Unfortunately, that moment was brief and incomplete because we were interrupted by multiple people trying to get interviews as I came off the stage. Sadly, unlike many of our coaches, I don’t have a picture with my family on the field as the confetti fell during that historic moment.”
Here's the link to the entire column: http://tinyurl.com/l2a28zf