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Tomlin, Whisenhunt try to keep 'sense of normalcy' as Super Bowl nears

TAMPA, Fla. -- Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin plans to "wing it" in his final team speech before the Super Bowl. Arizona's Ken Whisenhunt knows exactly what he wants to say.

The coaches are completely aligned on this, though: The buzzword leading up to Sunday's matchup is "normalcy."

Tomlin and Whisenhunt held their last media sessions Friday before the big game. After a walk-though at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, both coaches will give their players some down time for the rest of the day.

"I think the biggest thing that you have to do is you have to keep a sense of normalcy with your players," Whisenhunt said. "By and large, players in the NFL are creatures of habit, and if you can keep that as normal as possible, there's a comfort level that goes with that."

Avoiding last-minute distractions is always a key at the Super Bowl. Several teams in the past have been disrupted by off-the-field incidents -- Stanley Wilson, Eugene Robinson and Barret Robbins are among players who ran into trouble.

"Losing that focus in that time is always a concern," Whisenhunt said. "I think because we have had a couple of games this year when we have lost our focus and it didn't work out very well for us, that it puts us a little more on edge to keep that focus."

Tomlin also wanted "normalcy" for his Steelers. Many of the Steelers played in the Super Bowl victory three years ago, and Tomlin hoped their experience in handling the buildup will help them again.

"Performance always defines preparation," he said.

Tomlin didn't express any concerns about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The star was drilled in the back during the AFC Championship Game and spent a lot of time stretching his torso during a practice this week.

"Ben's fine, he's going to play," Tomlin said.

As for a final speech to his players, Tomlin said he would wait for the right words to hit him.

"I make a conscious effort to wing it," he said.

Whisenhunt has a different approach for his last message. He draws on his time working as an assistant to successful coaches, such as Bill Cowher.

"When Coach Cowher used to stand up and talk, I wrote all of that down. I told Coach Cowher that I have notebooks with little tabs in there from when he spoke before the championship game, when he spoke before the Super Bowl, when he spoke at the mini-camp meeting, all of those things," Whisenhunt said.

"I've been in situations that I've learned from, and when we get into this type of situation, I use those things to help me get an idea of what direction I am going."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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