Growing up Adrian Peterson always knew when it was Super Bowl Sunday. This time around, the former Georgia Southern legend and current Chicago Bears running back will have a whole new perspective on the National Football League’s title game.
“It’s a dream come true,” Peterson said Monday from Miami, where the Bears will face the Indianapolis Colts Sunday in Super Bowl XLI. “As a kid you dream about it, and now you are actually going to be on the field.”
Since he joined the NFL ranks five years ago, Peterson said getting to the big one has always been Chicago’s main goal. The Bears finally did it this year, winning the NFC championship in their third season under coach Lovie Smith to give Chicago its first trip to the Super Bowl in 21 years.
“It’s hard to get here, so when you do, you have to maximize it,” Peterson said.
The Bears are seven-point underdogs, but Peterson is keeping mum on Chicago’s chances Sunday.
“I think it’s going to be a great game,” he said. “It’s two good teams playing, so we’ll see. We are just going to continue doing what we’ve done for the last 20 weeks. It’ll be about who plays the best in all three phases — offense, defense and special teams.”
Peterson’s play on special teams — where he sees most of his time because the Bears are loaded with running backs — has been outstanding this season, especially in the NFC Championship game when he forced a fumble and hammered former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush.
Peterson’s success in the NFL is no surprise to the Georgia Southern nation and the world of Division I-AA football, which witnessed him lead the Eagles’ famed triple-option offense to back-to-back national titles in 1999 and 2000. He’ll be looking to join Earthwind Moreland and Fred Stokes as the only former Eagles to sport Super Bowl rings. Add that to the fact this year’s Super Bowl is in Peterson’s home state – college football’s all-time leading rusher hails from Alachua, Fla., – and this dream is even sweeter for Peterson. He also has relatives in nearby Ft. Lauderdale and has been flooded with ticket requests.
“I have a lot of family coming down, and I’ll be able to spend some time with them and allow them to enjoy the experience also,” he said.
But once Sunday rolls around, it’ll be all business for Peterson, who reached the Super Bowl before his older brother Mike, a linebacker for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Does he tease Mike about beating him to the top?
“No,” he said laughing. “I haven’t said anything about it.”
As his lifelong dream inches close, Peterson said it’s impossible to envision what stepping on the field Sunday is going to feel like. “I can’t even imagine it,” he said. “I know it’s going to be exciting.