The coach agreed to a midnight curfew for the big week. It was a time that was suggested by the team's leadership core and respected veterans, but after a 24-10 loss to the Broncos in the Super Bowl some wondered if it caused Carolina to play tight.
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At the NFC Coaches Breakfast on Wednesday, Rivera said that some of the same captains brought it up in a postseason dinner Rivera had.
"The truth is they thought we were a little more strict than we needed to be, which was interesting," Rivera said, via The Charlotte Observer. "And as I look at it, yeah, let them relax a little bit more. Let them not feel like they have to be somewhere."
Denver, according to the Observer, did not enforce a curfew for the first two nights in San Francisco.
Rivera can beat himself up all he wants. The actual truth is that he handled a locker room full of personalities beautifully. He deserved Coach of the Year for the rise of Cam Newton alone. Rivera brought in fascinating speakers during the week, he let his players say whatever they wanted and by all accounts, they still managed to have a great time at the hotel. Remember all the stories about 'Club Shiznit' and the nightly hangout sessions? This was not a team placed on a pre-dusk lockdown.
Carolina's loss in the Super Bowl can be blamed on a lot of things. Their offense couldn't adjust to a blistering pass rush. Newton did not play extraordinarily well. Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips called the game of his life, and Gary Kubiak managed a one-sided team with poise down the stretch.
Rivera can certainly put the curfew change in his bank for next time, but we hope he isn't losing sleep over it.