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Mark Thomas

Super Bowl XLVII: The WAIT is on

Posted February 2, 2013
Updated February 3, 2013

There are two nightmares that every NFL football player has.

One is that your college team has informed you that you still have eligibility. They ask you to come back to play for one more game, but it never works out. Either you can’t get your pads on or you can’t remember your plays.

The second is getting to play in the Super Bowl, but in this recurring dream, almost without fail, you’re running late. The players are running onto the field and your coaches are yelling at you to hurry up.

Both dreams have one common theme.

You work so hard day after day to prepare for a game, and for whatever reason, you’re not prepared. How can something like that happen? Football players are meticulous creatures of habit. And their worst fear is not being ready, not being on time, not being prepared.

There’s only one DAYdream that every NFL football player has on a consistent basis. And that is playing in a Super Bowl. On Sunday, the 49ers and the Ravens are going to get the opportunity to live out their dreams.

But before that happens, they have to endure the most frustrating time of their careers right now: THE WAIT.

That period of time from your pregame walk through on Saturday to Sunday at 6:30.

Every player in the NFL gets to buy two Super Bowl tickets, whether you’re playing in the game or not. After my first season in 1998, I went down to Miami to see my parents, who had just moved down there from Smithfield.

The Super Bowl that year was being played at Joe Robbie Stadium between the Broncos and the Falcons. I gave my tickets to mom’s boss. I had no intention of going to the game.

I called Ken Oxendine, the Falcons backup running back, to see if I could stop by his hotel to say hello. It was the day before the biggest game of his life, so I didn’t know what to expect.

It was very unusual. He was sitting in his hotel room with his family and former coaches. They were all sitting there just staring at him. There was some light conversation, but it just seemed that nobody wanted to bother a guy that was going to play in the Super Bowl.

Ken said the clock seemed like it was standing still. He didn’t want to take a nap and get stiff. He didn’t want to walk around the hotel and get bothered by fans. He didn’t know what he wanted to do other than get time to speed up.

He said, “People think that I’ve been preparing for this game for the last two weeks, so what are a few more hours. The reality is that I’ve been preparing for this game my WHOLE LIFE, and it can’t get here fast enough.”

Crazy, the one thing that every NFL player wants, the chance to play in a Super Bowl, is right there, and the WAIT is killing him.

I think the 49ers are going to beat the Ravens by 10 in Super Bowl XLVII. I think.

But there are two things I know. When the ball kicks off, both teams will be at their mental and physical peaks, ready to play.

And second, there will be one team who is going to have the opportunity to have all there DAYdreams come true!

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