While millions eagerly watch the Super Bowl, the number of individuals who have the opportunity to participate is incredibly limited. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, formerly an offensive lineman, is fortunate to be among this select group.
As a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, Duvernay-Tardif was a participant in the 54th Super Bowl held in Miami in February 2020, where the Chiefs took on the San Francisco 49ers. The match ended with the Chiefs, and Duvernay-Tardif, emerging victorious, an experience which Duvernay-Tardif recalls vividly, from the actual game to the preceding days.
Without a doubt, the player affectionately known as LDT, has cherished every single moment of that Super Bowl experience.
In football, players may argue that the Super Bowl is just another game, but for LDT, that’s untrue. Typically, the weeks leading to the game are routine, with consistent habits proving beneficial. A normal game week involves playing every Sunday, with teams flying out the preceding Saturday. Teams would usually arrive at the hotel around 5:30 PM local time, have meetings at 7:30 PM, follow the same diet, retire for the night, wake up next day and reach the stadium three and a half hours before kickoff. But with the Super Bowl, the routine is disrupted. Suddenly, the stadium is never empty due to security, music, and early fans. This requires adaptation, to perform under such circumstances. The pre-match hours and days can potentially be nerve-racking. For their game held in Miami, a city full of distractions, it was crucial to find their bearings.
During a regular week, Monday and Tuesday are lighter days, usually filled with rest and post-match analysis. But with Super Bowl, the first two days are pretty hectic: dealing with media, interviews, and fewer team activities. It was a fine balance between enjoying the Super Bowl momentum and not thwarting the regular preparation. After settling down in Miami and handling initial media engagements, it was back to usual practice routines from Wednesday, with regular meetings and training sessions to restore normalcy.
On the game day, LDT woke up determined and prepared. There was familiarity as the locker room set-up was identical to their home set-up. The arrival at the stadium gave a typical game day feel while acknowledging the massive scale of the event. Each day, en-route to the training, there would be fans with posters and banners, and each team movement was accompanied by a police escort, adding to the surreal vibe of the event.
As a master strategist and a great leader, Coach Andy Reid had prepared them for every detail of the game. Even the halftime duration was meticulously planned. It typically lasts about 10 minutes, but during Super Bowl, it’s about 25 minutes. This unusual downtime required additional warm-ups to avoid cramps, something the team had prepared for pre-game.
The end of the game, knowing they would secure a win, is the moment that sticks out the most in his memory. As the game neared its conclusion, they scored a touchdown to increase their lead and eventually had to execute a quarterback sneak to consume the remaining seconds, leading to the end of the game. A sense of accomplishment washed over LDT, realizing the hard work of the entire team and the flawless execution of a play, they hadn’t practised since training camp. It was purely surreal when the quarterback launched the ball far into the stands. It was a moment of realization that they had indeed won the game. To top it all, his parents and girlfriend Florence were allowed onto the stadium after the win. Their encounter was an embodiment of raw and pure emotion, making it a remarkable sports moment.