Players will have vast numbers of plays memorized and will be ready for any and all eventualities.
Given the relentless nature of Super Bowl preparations, do players ever have the time to take a step back and just enjoy the moment?
Niners quarterback Brock Purdy says there is a “fine line” between serious preparations and having fun, but believes it is important to remember what being there means to him.
“Obviously, studying and being prepared for every little situation and circumstance and being ready to answer those questions, right, but also being able to enjoy the game,” he says.
“We are in the Super Bowl. You dreamed of those as a kid growing up. You wanted to play – every kid’s dream is playing in this game. This is something we’ve all dreamed of growing up and [we’ve] got to be grateful for it and have fun with it.”
Purdy, dubbed ‘Mr Irrelevant’ after being picked last in the 2022 NFL Draft, has blossomed into a high-level quarterback in his second year in the league.
The 24-year-old etched his name into 49ers lore by leading the team to one of the biggest comebacks in NFC Championship Game history, overturning a 17-point halftime deficit against the Detroit Lions.
It was the latest chapter of a thrilling season in which Purdy has ascended to become one of the faces of the league.
“Earlier this year, there was not a lot of talk or buzz really about myself,” he said.
“Not that I listen to it and buy into all of it, but it’s almost like: ‘Alright, I still have to go and play with that chip on my shoulder and prove to my teammates that I can be the guy for the team.’
“I feel like I had some stuff to prove still.”
San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan has developed a potent offense around Purdy this season, with legendary quarterback Tom Brady telling CNN the youngster has done “a hell of a job.”
Shanahan’s father, Mike Shanahan, led the Denver Broncos to two consecutive Super Bowl titles during 14 seasons as head coach.
In total, Shanahan Sr. coached for 20 years in the NFL, including stints with the Los Angeles Raiders and the then named Washington Redskins (now the Commanders).
When asked ahead of the Super Bowl about his own achievements and legacy on the sport and the 49ers franchise, Shanahan said it’s something he’s “never thought about.”
“When I think of legacy, I think of my dad,” he adds. “Even though it doesn’t look like that when I FaceTime anymore, I still feel like I’m somewhat young and it just doesn’t really work that way with me. I don’t think it works that way with a lot of people.
“You’re just trying to win that game and that game is always the next one and finally, we are in a game where this is the last one of the year and these are the ones that count. So yes, you understand that and are aware of that, but that stuff you don’t really have time to spend thinking about.
“It’s nice, hopefully, when the game over, you can sit back and think about that stuff and enjoy it which is what you usually do at the end of the year. You think about a lot of stuff … When you come back to get ready for that next year, when it’s all said and done, I guess you can talk about legacy.”
The 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday.