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Dan Patrick ready 'for battle' vs. cold weather at Super Bowl LII

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Dan Patrick's mental preparation for Super Bowl Sunday involves reflecting back to an ice fishing trip he did 25 years ago in Minnesota.

"It gave me a perspective of what this is like and what this means," said Patrick of the cold.

Patrick's chilled bones will be on display for millions of viewers when he and Liam McHugh co-host NBC's pregame show for Super Bowl LII. For the first two hours, Patrick will be stationed outside at a snow hill at Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. He will feel Minnesota in its full winter glory with temperatures expected in the single digits.

"Dan's not as tough as he once was, but we still think he can stand out in the cold for more than half-hour," said Sam Flood, NBC's executive producer for production.

"I've got my hand warmers, my hat," Patrick said. "I'll be ready for battle."

Indeed, this won't be a normal Super Bowl from a warm-weather locale. Setting the unique scene in Minneapolis will be a focal part of the story. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be among the personalities NBC is using to showcase outdoor winter activities leading up to a game that will be played indoors.

"The cold is an element of these surroundings, the feelings, and who these people are," Patrick said. "Hopefully, we do it justice."

The cold presents some different challenges for NFL Network. During the last 3 1/2 hours of its 8 1/2-hour pregame show, the panel will be operating from an enclosed studio outside of U.S. Bank Stadium. In normal Super Bowls, producer Andy Gregg says, the fans entering the stadium "become a big part of our atmosphere."

"They carry us through the last part of the show," Gregg said. "I can't say for sure, but since it is going to be so cold, I don't think there's going to be a ton of foot traffic Sunday."

Gregg said NFL Network will adjust accordingly. There won't be any shortage of material. Features include Melissa Stark sitting down Bill Belichick; Mark Kriegel examines the history of backup quarterbacks in the Super Bowl and explains why Nick Foles may just have a chance to dethrone Tom Brady; the story of former Vikings head coach Bud Grant and the first family of Minnesota football; and in keeping with the cold theme, there will be a taped segment of Steve Mariucci and Michael Irvin going ice fishing.

NFL Network also will have the unique perspective of Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald as a guest analyst. He grew up in Minnesota.

NFL Network pregame show comes on the air at 9 a.m. ET, and runs "longer than the normal American workday," Gregg said. It is a massive undertaking with preparations occurring year-round.

Then again, it is the biggest day of the NFL season, especially for the former players who now serve as NFL Network's analysts.

"The guys always are hyped for the Super Bowl," Gregg said. "It almost feels like it is a game-day for them. It's our biggest show of the year, and they're ready to go."

New dimension: NBC will debut a virtual 3D graphic element during its coverage of the game.

"We did body scans of six players," said game executive producer Fred Gaudelli. "During the game, when we do graphics on the players -- not all the time, but a few special ones -- you'll see the players themselves in full three dimensions with their information designed into the shot. So we're really excited to take a look at that."

Gaudelli also said NBC also will have more ultra slow motion cameras for the game. "They always seem to be the cameras that really provide that definitive view on the big plays of the game," he said.

Hometown game: This isn't the usual Super Bowl week for Michele Tafoya. The NBC sideline reporter has lived in the Minneapolis area since 1994.

So she is balancing family duties along with getting ready for the game.

"I was just thinking, 'OK, what time do I have to be in the carpool lane today?' Because I have to pick up my kids from school," Tafoya said. "It kind of cuts both ways. It's a luxury in that I get to spend extra time at home, and that is a premium to all of us who are on the road all season long. We miss a lot of stuff. So I'm trying to take advantage of the fact that it's home, and I am doing a lot."

Dream game: Al Michaels, who will be calling his 10th Super Bowl, always had hoped to call the first Super Bowl to go to overtime. But that possibility was eliminated last year with New England's overtime win over Atlanta.

"So the only thing I'm rooting for this year is triple overtime and the longest game in the history of football," Michaels said.

Guests: Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh will serve as a guest analyst during NBC's pregame, halftime and postgame coverage. ... Carolina tight end Greg Olsen will join ESPN's panel for Sunday NFL Countdown.

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