Five minutes with Dominic Rhodes
With the big game a day away, Dominic Rhodes talks about switcing hotels, focusing on the game and the impact he can have on Super Bowl XLI.
Editor's note: Graham Bensinger is talking to Colts running back Dominic Rhodes for five minutes every day during Super Bowl week to get his thoughts leading up to the big game. Here is their conversation from Saturday.
Graham Bensinger: What have you been doing today?
Dominic Rhodes: I'm just trying to get the mind right. I spent a little time with the family at the hotel pool. I'm trying to stay as focused as I can because this is a big time opportunity.
Bensinger: How much does relaxing allow you to get your mind off of the big game?
Rhodes: It does a lot for me. There's always something going on with the family. The kid is always running off trying to do something. It's good for me because I'm not sitting in my room thinking about the game all day. I can focus on some other things and put the game on the backburner for awhile. That way my mind isn't so tired by the time we get to the game.
Bensinger: I know your son came in Saturday. What did he have to say about the game?
Rhodes: When he came in, I had to be at the hotel. I haven't gotten a chance to talk to him since he's been in. I've called my mom and she hasn't answered her phone. Right now, I don't know where they are.
Bensinger: How was the practice Saturday?
Rhodes: Basically, Saturday was a walk-through practice. We don't wear any helmets. We just go out there and walk through a couple of plays. It was a 30-minute practice where we went over a few keys points.
Bensinger: What did Coach Dungy say to you Saturday?
Rhodes: We had a meeting with him Saturday evening. He told us that we need to do the same thing we've done in the last three games. He feels that God has a purpose for us. Every game we've had adversity and fought through it as a team. We think it's our time. It's our time to win. That's what he preached to us. If we do our jobs, we'll win.
Bensinger: What was the environment like in the meeting?
Rhodes: It was a calm environment. Everybody seemed very focused and ready for the task at hand. We're a confident team. We can definitely win this game.
Bensinger: Obviously, you've been preparing your whole life to get to this point. That said, how strange is it? It's Saturday, February 3rd and you just had a team meeting before the biggest game of your life.
Rhodes: I was just going over that in my head, man. That was our last team meeting of this year. Saturday was our last practice. This has been such a special year for me, my teammates, and coaches. Honestly, I still have not brought myself to the realization that I'm in this game. I don't think it will until I step on that field. I'm waiting to take all this in when I step on that field. I'm ready for the game, not the circus that surrounds it. I want to be in that stadium whenever it's announced, "Welcome to Super Bowl XLI." Until I get there, I don't think I'll realize what's going on.
Bensinger: As Peyton Manning preached, did the team's hotel floor stay quiet?
Rhodes: Besides players running from floor to floor and meeting to meeting, our floor was pretty quiet. Nobody could be on it except for the players. That's what the team decided and that's how we kept it. We preached keeping things normal like at home. We wanted everyone to be professional. Both teams are being professional. You'll see one of the better Super Bowls that we've had in awhile.
Bensinger: How was the hotel change?
Rhodes: It was crazy. We were told on the plane [coming to Miami] that it was going to take us 45 minutes to get there. It only took us like 15 or 20 minutes. I guess they were discouraging people from trying to find us. Most of us are pretty happy to have the change because we're getting away from the circus at the hotel. Most of us were saying, "I wish we could have done this yesterday!" We did not need to be there any longer. The demands of your family can take a toll on you.
Bensinger: I'm sure the police escort that accompanied the team bus helped, also.
Rhodes: Oh yeah, it helps when you have a police escort going anywhere. They make sure you have no stops and no backed up traffic.
Bensinger: Anything special that you do the night before a game?
Rhodes: I don't do anything special. I do what I'm supposed to do which is to make sure I get rest and prepare myself mentally for the game. I try to go over everything in my head that I want to do out there on the field. I just have to stay focused on helping my team win and making big plays. I'm just a guy that believes that God gave me a great talent to play football.
Bensinger: What will be running through your head going to sleep Saturday night?
Rhodes: I have the opportunity to go out and do something that not many people have done. I could be a big-time factor in this game. My whole mindset is to go out and win the Super Bowl MVP, man. If I win the MVP, we'll win the game.
Graham Bensinger is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. Visit his Web site at: TheGBShow.com. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
CONVERSATION: DOMINIC RHODES
• Monday: Return to Indy
• Sunday: Sweet victory
• Saturday: Final preparations
• Friday: Ready for the game
• Thursday: Avoiding distractions
• Wednesday: Enjoying South Beach
• Tuesday: Welcome to Miami
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