Picture this. It's January 20, 1991. Candlestick Park, San Francisco, the NFC Championship game — me and my squad, the New York Giants, are facing off against the San Francisco 49ers.
There are 78,000 fans in attendance. Another three million are watching on TV. The Giants are losing 13-12, and it comes down to kicker Matt Bahr. If he makes this field goal, we're in. If he misses, we're out.
The snap, the hold, and then the kick, followed by four seconds of suspended anxiety. Are we in or are we out?
Everyone must have muttered a quick prayer and there it goes — through the uprights.
Giants win!! We are in!
The Super Bowl — a childhood dream of mine — is just a plane ride away.
A few days ago, Bill Parcells was on the NFL Network giving his analysis on that day we won the NFC Championship in San Francisco and a trip to Super Bowl XXV. One thing he said that rang true about beating the 49ers that day was the plane ride down to Tampa. What a great bonding experience ... one that will last for a lifetime.
Play-by-Play of the Day-by-Day
As a player headed to his first, second, or even his fifth Super Bowl like Mr. Tom Brady, the feeling is like no other. As soon as you hit the ground, the magic starts!
The schedule tries to be as normal as possible, yet at the same time it's as far from normal as possible. How could it not be? It's the Super Bowl! As a team, you have a condensed schedule while sticking to certain obligations to the NFL as well as individual sponsors. It's fast-paced and that's why you'll see a lot of players taking videos of their experiences. It's a blur. Here's what the week typically looks like for a player.
Monday and Tuesday
The first two days aren't really work days in terms pre-game preparation. Monday and Tuesday players are busy with media meetings, team meetings, picking up tickets, greeting family, collecting swag, posing for pictures, and — oh yes — thinking about the opponent and the game itself.
Wednesday typically will be the first true work day of Super Bowl week. Teams usually have a crisp two-hour practice with the offensive installations going in, plus about three hours or so of film study.
Thursday will look identical to Wednesday with the exception of defensive installation going in for the game. Curfew typically also starts that night, usually with players required to be in their rooms by midnight.
Practice today will be shorter than the previous two days. The focus will be on special teams and short yardage / goal line.
Saturday is normally a walk-through. The teams will go to the stadium, check out the lockers rooms and get to spend about 15 minutes on the field. Then there are a few team meetings, chapel, and early to bed (there's bedcheck, but trust me, everyone at that point is chilling, ready for the big day).
Looking back on it now, it seems easy. Then again, now you have triple the media and double the fans — not to mention the family's desire for tickets. By Saturday, players can't wait to just play, run down the field, and act like a fool.
Here's the decisive moment where the Giants won Super Bowl XXV:
Call it what you want — "The Steel Curtain," "Hogs," "The Greatest Show on Turf" — but there's only one game and only one winner. The victory lasts a lifetime.