How do you prepare for a Super Bowl? Former winners on emotions, build-up and gameday
Jason Kelce: "I was already starting to think about things that led me to this point in my life, all the things that I've overcome to get here... But once you get out on the football field, you are right back to business."
By James Simpson
Last Updated: 28/01/20 9:35am
Ahead of Super Bowl LIV, two former winners - Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce - told Sky Sports what the two weeks preparing for the big game are like.
Both offensive linemen were starters for the Philadelphia Eagles as they beat the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII, and, speaking on Pro Bowl weekend, they gave their insight ahead of Sunday's matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.
49ers: Road to the Super Bowl
The San Francisco 49ers are headed to their seventh Super Bowl, looking to win a record-equalling sixth. But how did they make it there?
With two weeks of preparation, how do players balance their emotions, stay focused and approach gameday?
At a Pro Bowl practice session in Orlando, Johnson and Kelce told Sky Sports what the build-up is like...
Chiefs: Road to the Super Bowl
The Kansas City Chiefs have reached their first Super Bowl in 50 years - but how did they make it there?
Sky Sports: After winning the Championship game, what are those first feelings? How do you balance the excitement with staying on track?
LJ: "Well you know you are Super Bowl bound, so after the game is over, that's the first thing you are thinking. You celebrate the win.
"Then I think we had a meeting where we address what's about to come up and all the obligations we are going to be under, the practices, the media.
"They said really just to make sure you are watching the simple things: the sleep, what you are eating, hydrating and pay attention to the stuff that you need to."
JK: "Obviously winning the NFC championship game and going to the Super Bowl was a huge emotional high. Really exciting - especially for those of us like myself have never been to the Super Bowl before. That was the first one we'd been to at that point in our careers.
Who are the Super Bowl finalists?
What do you need to know about the 49ers and Chiefs, the two teams competing in this year's Super Bowl?
"So after we beat Minnesota at home in the Linc [Lincoln Financial Field] to clinch that spot as one of the final two teams in the Super Bowl, everybody's excited. Not just players and fans but the whole city is revved up.
"I think we were already fortunate to have a couple of guys who had been - Chris Long and Malcolm Jenkins had both won one before and they were really good at calming down these emotions and keeping us grounded and really relaying the fact that: 'listen, everything that's going to allow us to win this game is going to be what allowed us to win these previous - at that point 18 - games'.
"So the biggest thing that teams do wrong is that guys get really fired up and the emotion is so high that you lose track of the basic fundamentals and the little things that allow you to be successful on game day - and that really is throughout the week.
"It's hard, Super Bowl week, with all the media and there's one thing after one thing after one thing and really you've got to try and block as much of that out as you can."
Super Bowl LIV on Sky Sports
Follow all the action of Super Bowl LIV between the 49ers and the Chiefs with Sky Sports!
How do you feel emotionally during the two weeks of preparation and keep calm knowing it's the biggest game of your career?
JK: "You just try to stay out of a lot of stuff in the media for the most part. You're going to have those thoughts naturally as a human being but for me, right after the NFC Championship game - I was already starting to think about things that led me to this point in my life, all the things that I've overcome to get here and how well the season's gone as a team.
"You're thinking about all of that stuff but once you get out on the football field, you are right back to business."
LJ: "See that's the thing - we try to avoid all those things and what people are talking about because at the end of the day all you can control is what you do on each play. So eliminate that, eliminate the noise and really, we treated it like a normal game as far as practice and meetings.
"The media stuff is a little bit different but other than that, people visit their families a little bit then get to the rooms and get to bed at a decent hour."
How do you adjust for that extra week to prepare compared to a usual game?
LJ: "The extra week is good for rehab and getting guys right - I think that’s why they do it, to get everybody healthy so that's big from a recovery standpoint.
"But really I think we have similar practices - maybe not as hard - but still meetings and we still try to maintain it’s not an ‘off’ week. We are just priming up for game week."
Jones '1,000 per cent' ready for Super Bowl
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones says he expects to play without restriction in Super Bowl LIV against the San Francisco 49ers.
On gameday, what is your mindset?
JK: "You just try and do your standard routine. You just try and do what you've done every single other game. You get ready the same way.
"For me, it's not like I'm superstitious but I kind of always have a general way of doing things before the game and I stay true to those, try to stay out of my phone as much as possible, stay away from any tweets or whatever, and really just focus on doing my job."
LJ: "It's such a long season so by the end of it, man, you're so ready. You’re ready for what's coming.
"As far as anticipation goes, I thought I'd be more nervous for gameday. Yeah I was, but it was kind of like ‘I'm ready for it’ because it's a long season and it’s here now. No more waiting."
Finally, when the ball hit the turf and the game was over, how did you feel?
LJ: "It was great - just really seeing how it affected the people, how happy it made the city of Philadelphia and the fans that had waited there long before any of the Eagles players ever got there.
"That was great and then you realise it's back to work in a few months! But you always cherish the people that you won it with and the people that got you there."
JK: "Yeah I mean... That was crazy, especially the way our game ended. Tom Brady dropped back, threw a Hail Mary attempt and it was like one of those movies.
"Literally, I felt like I was in a movie where the ball was just staying up there forever and even when it hit in the end zone, I was watching it meander down not just drop down. And everything was silent, I couldn't hear a fan, anything. I was so in my own head at this moment.
"I'm running on the field the moment the ball hits the ground like: 'there's no way this just happened', I'm looking for flags anywhere, for officials waving anything down, thinking there's no way this game is over.
"That's a pretty spectacular feeling."
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For 90 minutes of Super Bowl LIV build-up from Hard Rock Stadium with Rob Ryan and Josh Norman, join us on Sky Sports Action, Main Event and Mix from 10pm on Sunday, February 2.