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article imageTeams cope with calm before Super Bowl storm

By Jim SLATER (AFP)     Feb 2, 2014 in World

Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos players and coaches counted on routines to get them through the final hours before Super Bowl 48 kickoff on Sunday night.

Preparations that began with pre-season training camps in mid-July were set to culminate in the National Football League's championship extravaganza at East Rutherford, New Jersey.

"We're ready to go," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "I don't know if it's loose, but we're where we are supposed to be. This is how we always prepare. This is the exact routine we always do and the guys did it perfectly.

"It has been great. It has been exactly what we hoped to get done. We are physically right and mentally right and we’re ready to go."

Denver Broncos coach John Fox said he was not worried about the long hours between waking up and a 6:30 pm (2230 GMT) kickoff.

"We’ve played a lot of (night) games. This is just another one," Fox said. "It gets bigger on the outside, that's true all through the playoffs, and this is probably the ultimate of that, but they have listened and managed it pretty good."

Denver's 37-year-old Peyton Manning, who could become the first starting quarterback to win Super Bowl titles with two different teams after leading Indianapolis to victory in 2007, has stressed maintaining routine to his teammates, only a handful of whom have ever been to a Super Bowl.

"As far as pre-game rituals go, I don't do anything crazy like eat gummy bears four minutes before kickoff or something like that," Broncos backup quarterback Brock Osweiler said.

"But as far as the quick review I do before kickoff, all of that is going to be the same. Peyton has preached it -- keep your schedule as regular as possible."

Seahawks tight end Zach Miller once had pre-game lucky rituals but not so much anymore.

"Every time I thought I had a good superstition it was proven wrong, so now I have virtually none," he said.

Sunday plans for Broncos tight end Julius Thomas were to relax and re-read the team playbook and turn off his portable telephone.

"I'm going to stick to what I've been doing all year -- I'm going to get into the playbook and go through it. I'll make sure I get good rest," Thomas said.

"Normally I shut my phone off around Saturday evening. That's when I stop looking at it. There’s a lot of texts that come in, mostly just well wishes, but I just want to get away from it and focus."

Getting a good night's sleep was key for most players.

"I’m going to relax and sit back and prepare as much as I can to get ready," Seahawks blocker Russell Okung said. "I never have trouble sleeping before the game."

Both teams kept to routines Saturday, the Broncos switching team hotels and the Seahawks staying put.

"Once we leave and go to a different hotel, that’s when it’s time to get your mind right and get away from everything and really think about the opportunity we have to win a Super Bowl and be considered world champions," Denver defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said.

But even with all of the attention to detail, there was no escaping the idea that one team's title dreams were on the verge of coming true and another's would be dashed.

"I try to not get out of my comfort zone too much and just stick to the basics... getting up, eating breakfast and going about my usual stuff," said Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan.

"I try not to make things bigger than they are, but it is the biggest game of the year."

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