‘FINISH’ banner hangs over the exit of the Hilton Miami Airport Hotel.
After days of partying, and sightseeing in Miami and South Beach for families and friends of the Bears, we all felt a little more tense this Saturday night around dinner time. The confidence is there, but we all faced the reality that tomorrow is the big day. The look in the players’ eyes is relaxed, but focused and determined. You can just feel that little upturn of concentration. And you know the relaxed mood is keeping that upturn of concentration tame, so nobody peaks too early. We all want the energy to peak at game time. No overconfidence. It’s about feeling prepared … and knowing that you deserve to win.
Just before dinner, I watched a Comcast special on the Chicago Bears preparing for Super Bowl XLI. When it was time to eat, I left the hotel room without my credentials, so I had to turn back and pick up the lanyard with identification because you don’t easily get back to your room if you don’t have your credentials. With my credentials in hand, I rushed back to the elevators on my floor because I could hear the elevator car reaching my floor. The doors open and I am face-to-face with Lovie Smith and his wife, MaryAnne. I wished him “good luck” and he politely and seriously said, “Thank you.” I continued on to the hotel dining room. That’s where I crossed paths with Desmond Clark (#88), who ended up sitting at a table near the table where I would be sitting. I also wished him “good luck,” and said I hope our collective energy helps the team’s energy. He said, “believe me, it does.”
I met up with my family and we were seated at the table right next to Virginia McCaskey and her sister-in-law Kathleen. I thanked her for the great weeklong event the Chicago Bears had prepared for the friends and families of the Bears. I said, ‘this week couldn’t be any better.’ She winked and said, “well, there’s one more thing.” I said, “I am counting on that.”