IV. 'If I see somebody scared, they ain't going outside'
The day of the Super Bowl brought a mix of emotions for players. Everyone was confident in their preparation for the game, but the level of overall anticipation made for a pregame scene unlike any that the players had experienced.
Ware: I remember walking into the locker room, and, like, it was quiet. You know how Von [Miller] is. Von had music, usually had music playing, all the guys bouncing around. It was, like, quiet. … Everybody had their headphones on, like really focused. I was like, We're going to win this football game. There's no reason why we're not going to win this football game. Look how focused all these guys are. Peyton comes in — it was like the calm before the storm.
Anderson: I was ready to go. I harped on preparation. Not only did I harp on it, it was demanded from Peyton and Coach Studesville. … Hours before the game, pregame warmups, in the locker room, myself [and running back] Ronnie [Hillman], we were ourselves. We were ourselves. We were relaxed and ready to go.
Talib: Every pregame I'm always nervous. I'm always thinking of all my assignments … saying my prayers in my head and all that stuff. I'm always nervous pregame. But Super Bowl, it was definitely to the next level. Nervous is good. Mike Tyson said he'd be nervous all the way up until he hear the bell, you know what I'm saying? I'm telling my kids that — nervous means you care about the results, you care about what's going to happen, right?
Norwood: It's not the same [as any other game]. It's the biggest stage. You're trying to warm up for pregame warmups and you see Lada Gaga like [doing] her little mic check over there.
Talib: I think Roby or somebody ran into, like, Usher or somebody. We came out the tunnel and one of the DBs ran into somebody. … I remember there was so many celebrities on the field. It was star-studded. It was everything that you watch on TV and that you expect. It was all that. It was all that. It was probably more celebrities at that game on the field than at my second Super Bowl with the Rams. … Every time you look, you had to lock in. I'm trying to warm up and I just look and see somebody. Oh, s—, there go — nah, let me lock in. Let me lock in.
Ware: We were so prepared that year. A ritual that I always had is I would always slap the locker room nametag that said Ware on it. And I would say, God, it's me and you today. Let's go. … To be honest with you, I can't even remember nothing after that of being scared or feeling some type of way. It was like He really took over.
Talib: I remember pregame [in the] locker room, I was just walking around and, man, I'm looking in boys' eyes. I'm looking in boys' eyes — Who's scared? If I see somebody scared, they ain't going outside. I remember the whole time walking around the locker room. Pregame, I like to just be to myself, I kind of laugh and joke a little bit. For whatever reason, I was on that kind of vibe the whole time.
Ware: He did. … He was there and just saying, Are you ready? What's up? You get your mind right! Just going through every single person and saying, Are you ready?
Talib: I said, Von! Let me look in your eyes, bro. He said, What you see? Nothin'? I said, Nothin', bro! I promise. He was just like, Yeah. He was playing that Michael Jackson. Dunnn-duh-duh-dah-dahhhh-dah-da-da-dah. That was his first time playing that. I was like, Oh, yeah, he in the zone, bro. He had a great week of practice. He was healthy. He was feeling good. …
I felt like everybody had their job that day, and it was my job to make sure that we was on that — that we weren't going to get out-physicaled today. This a physical team, they finna run 12 plays on us and try to bully us. But nah, they finna know that we ain't on that. They ain't gonna smell no fear on this side. I felt like that's what God woke me up and put me on.
Ware: As soon as it was time to go, usually you hear a lot of clasps, like pads [clacking], pads popping [and normally] everybody's like, YEAHHH IT'S TIME TO GO. Everybody just, like, got up. It was the craziest thing to me. And we just walked out real quietly. And I'm like, Dude, we're like gladiators in a stadium. We're about to go to battle. And everybody's like, I'm going to die today. If we don't win this war, we're going to die today. I'm telling you, it was that feeling. It was that feeling of, It's time to go to battle, and we're going to win this thing.