This has been a pretty relaxed week for Patriots coach Bill Belichick as he has actually been upbeat and quite engaging at his press conferences, but he is still business as usual on the practice field. He has been thinking about everything possible that the team will be facing in Sunday’s game — including the longer than usual halftime.
To simulate this he had his team practice for an hour on Wednesday, and then go into the locker room for 31 minutes to simulate what it will be like Sunday night. The team then went back out to the field to finish the practice session.
Even when the team went into the locker room in the middle of practice, Belichick spoke to the team as if it were halftime of the Super Bowl. He wants the players to be as comfortable and ready as possible Sunday night.
“Coach Belichick is a genius,” said Patriots running back Stevan Ridley. “He’s special. That was coach Belichick doing his thing. To come up with that idea shows you what he’s thinking about. He knows what’s going to work and he’s been around longer than any of us, and he’s doing everything he can to get us prepared.”
Benjarvus Green-Ellis also agreed with Ridley.
“That’s coach doing what he always does, practicing us like it’s a reality,” said Green-Ellis. “But a lot of guys are going to have to get their body used to that — stopping and starting again. Guys needed to get adjusted. It’s like stopping the engine, letting the car get cold and starting it up again. That’s what we did. Coach is preparing us for everything.”
Belichick has seemed much more relaxed this week than any of the prior four Super Bowls. It could be a number of reasons, but I believe he genuinely likes his team this season and feels like they ‘get it’. Everyone on the team has bought into the system and the team has continually improved each week this season. Back in 2008 there was all the pressure of the undefeated season, this time around there isn’t all that hype which could have been a distraction.