The Green Bay Packers received a upraise pep talk on Saturday from motivational speaker Doctor Kevin Elko, which was followed by another surprise.
Coach Mike McCarthy then had each player fitted for a Super Bowl championship ring, a distinctly unusual gambit in such a superstitious sport.
"No disrespect to the Pittsburgh Steelers," McCarthy reportedly said. "We respect their football team. We respect the way they play. They're a good tough physical football team. But we fully expected to win this game. This is our time. We talked about it the first day we watched film two weeks ago. You could see the confidence building during the week."
Linebacker A.J. Hawk told the press: "Well, I liked it. It made things real for us."
Center Scott Wells agreed: "We're a confident bunch and we knew we had a tough challenge. But the message all week has been about us. It wasn't about them. We knew if we played our game well, we would win this game."
Some players reportedly spent a long time imagining what it would be like to slip on the victory ring.
"It was the night before the game," linebacker Desmond Bishop added. "And we could see that it was right there. Everything we wanted was right there in our hands, literally and figuratively."
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore