A Day in the Life of a Super Bowl Player

Broncos lineman Zane Beadles gives the tick-tock of his Super Bowl Wednesday: media, meetings, an all-out practice and, oh yeah—finding his sea legs
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By Zane Beadles

7:00 a.m.: I get up to the ring of the hotel telephone after 10.5 hours of sleep, which, let me tell you, is amazing. I’m in a king-sized bed at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City. It’s a standard hotel room, with a little couch and a nice little desk area. It’s nothing big, but it serves its purpose for the week. The wake-up call comes from the hotel staff under request by the team.

7:20 a.m., breakfast: Breakfast is in a large, wide-open ballroom in the hotel with a buffet, a salad and fruit station, and an omelet table. That’s where I load up—five eggs, chicken, bacon, watermelon, cantaloupe, hash browns. The staff is very professional; they let us do our thing and don’t really treat us like they're fans. It’s a safe haven for us where we can relax and hang out. I sit with the offensive line guys, an extremely close group. Sometimes tight ends or quarterbacks sit with us, or every once in a while a defensive line guy will join. Players are tired and starting to get going, so many of them are drinking coffee or tea, and then after breakfast packing in that first mouthful of chewing tobacco. I stick with tea.

7:50 a.m., team meeting: This meeting is very brief, with coaches giving us information on our obligation for the media of the day. We’ve got a 45-minute session on the boat, which is a 30-second walk from the hotel. Sometimes, in these scenarios, the team takes an opportunity to give us a heads up if there’s a sensitive topic going around. They’ll say, “Be ready to answer this.” But I think our PR people are pretty confident and happy about how we conduct ourselves. They just say, “Good job on Media Day. You guys did great, so keep that up.”

Zane Beadles meets the media. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

Zane Beadles meets the media. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

8:30 a.m., media sessionon boat: I show up downstairs at the hotel in a T-shirt, not thinking about the cold walk to the boat. Big mistake. [The Broncos’ media sessions take place on-board a cruise ship, the Cornucopia Majesty.] Then I’m stumbling around on the boat trying to find my seat because it’s moving a little bit—I have to get my sea legs. I do an interview with some guys from London who ask me about the possibility of an NFL team locating there. The guy has a son who’s playing American football at a university over there and they have their championship game Sunday, so asks, ‘What kind of advice would you give him for a game like this?’ I say, “At the end of the day it’s another game, so prepare the same way and play the way you have all season and you’ll like the way it ends up.” It’s pretty shocking to me how many media members there are at the Super Bowl and how diverse the group is. I didn’t imagine this… You always hear stories about how it’s a circus. But unless you experience it you can’t really wrap your head around it.

9:00 a.m, position meetings: For the next two hours we sit in a brief offensive meeting in a large ballroom, followed by long position meetings. Offensive coordinator Adam Gase stresses the need to go out and have a good practice, to be physical, execute well and to have the right attitude. In our offensive line meeting we go over the new verbiage being installed, various tweaks to the game plan, and we watch tape. Unlike a lot of teams, there’s nobody who flashed on Seattle’s tape, because they’re all special. They have a lot of guys who can be game-wreckers, and that’s what makes them a very good team. There aren’t one or two guys you can focus in on.

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Position meetings usually are when we bring up who did what in the media that week, and the corresponding fine. As offensive linemen, we try to stay out of the media as much as we can, so anytime somebody has a big media thing we chat about that. I can’t speak much about the system, but it’s our deal. We donate some of the money to charity and we split the rest among ourselves and do something fun together at the end of the season. One last hurrah before everybody parts ways.

11:45 a.m., lunch: I run up to my room and grab the jacket I didn’t wear because I’m an idiot. Lunch is chicken breast, peas and carrots, red potatoes with garlic and cheese, watermelon and water. It’s a quick lunch because practice is at 2 p.m.

12:45 p.m., bus: The ride to the Jets facility takes 45 minutes. Everybody gets his own half-row to himself, so most guys listen to music, study film on their tablets or call people who’ve tried to call them the previous night or that day. It’s your time to relax and get your mind ready for practice. I try to call a buddy, then listen to a Kings of Leon shuffle.

2:00 p.m. practice: Being in a new facility is one of several things that make Super Bowl week unique. Everybody has his practice routine, and most guys have it down to a science; you know, with this many minutes I need to be done with this and so on. A change of venue throws you off your rhythm because you don’t know where everything is. At practice we work over recorded crowd noise played over speakers, and we always do it loud. Peyton Manning is demanding and businesslike, just like he’s been all season long. Nobody wants to leave anything out there. There’s very much a sense of that in every drill that you do, you’re trying to work on the finer points of things more than ever. John Fox brings us together at the end of the two hours and says it was a good practice with great energy.

In the cold tub. (Zane Beadles)

In the cold tub. (Zane Beadles)

4:15 p.m., weight room: We do four circuits: shoulders, chest, core, back. The same zeal for detail we had on the field carries over to the weight room. Afterward we have two options—take the first bus back to the hotel or stick around and hit the cold tub, the hot tub or the sauna. Like many guys, I stick around and do everything. I’m sitting in the cold tub when I finally get a chance to look at Twitter and catch the best news of the day. Colorado Governor Hickenlooper has decided to temporarily name the 50-some 14,000-foot peaks of the Rockies after the 53 active Broncos in the Super Bowl. Everybody thinks that’s pretty cool when I share the news. If we win, I’ve got to go take a picture on top of my mountain. [Beadles gets Mt. Harvard, Colorado’s third-highest peak at 14,421 feet. Hickenlooper says Beadles and the other offensive linemen “are as formidable as the line of Collegiate Peaks.”]

6:30 p.m., return to hotel: The offensive line decides on a New York pizza place that’s come highly recommended: John’s. We have two breakfast pizzas, a sausage, supreme and cheese delivered to the hotel. We meet in a players lounge set up for us here in the hotel and get to work. The pizza’s really good, and we’d been looking forward to having some good New York pizza since we got here. We chat about families and go over the experiences we’ve had here so far. Two linemen, Chris Clark and Manny Ramirez, visited the memorial at Ground Zero on Tuesday, a place I visited in the offseason two years ago. It’s such an impressive tribute, and you have to hold a lot of respect and sympathy for what went on there on that fateful day. That feeling touches your heart. It’s a very somber experience, but I think it’s one every American should go through.

Chowing down, New York style. (Zane Beadles)

Chowing down, New York style. (Zane Beadles)

7:00 p.m., wind down: After dinner, we play a version of spades for several hours before retiring to our separate rooms. It’s a long day—12 hours of movement at the end of a 22-week season of football. The whole body aches, but the bye does some good, and the adrenaline that comes from just being here pulls you through. I don’t think it’s really set in yet—just how special this is.

Zane Beadles is a fourth-year guard out of Utah. He was named to the Pro Bowl last season and was the Broncos’ 2012 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. This is his first Super Bowl.