The Slater family finds important lessons in rewatching Super Bowl defeat
|04.11.12 at 6:43 pm ET|
‘’I watched a little bit of it, only because my dad made me watch it,’ he said with a rueful smile. ‘But, it was tough to watch it. We got so close. We were winning with four minutes left in the game. You could taste victory. A lot of effort and heart and soul was put into that [game], to get to that point. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out. But we can’t dwell on that. It’s time for us to look to 2012.’’
Slater was unsure why his father ‘ former Rams offensive lineman Jackie Slater — made him watch the game again.
‘I don’t know — you’ll have to ask him,’ he said. ‘I think he wanted me to really relish what we were able to do, get into that stage, and it was something to be proud of. At the same time, learn from that experience and try to improve.’’
When reached by phone on Wednesday, his father had a simple explanation for the mandatory viewing.
‘It wouldn’t make a lick of sense to reach the pinnacle of your chosen profession and not look at the things that you and your teammates did well, and then also see the things that ultimately foiled you,’ Jackie said. ‘If you can do that, you’ll have even more of a clear vision when you start to try and pursue that same goal again.’
When it comes to taking another look at a Super Bowl loss, Jackie can speak from experience. He was part of a Rams’ 31-19 loss to the Steelers in Super Bowl XIV, and said going back and watching it again (as painful as it might be) helped his development as a player — particularly, the insight on his game from analyst John Madden.
It certainly paid dividends for Jackie, who would go on to a 20-year career in the NFL and a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
‘Experience is the very best teacher,’ Jackie said. ‘For me personally, after playing in Super Bowl XIV and having John Madden make the comments that he made about my performance — which were all positive ‘ that helped keep me driven and focused in an attempt to try and get back to the zenith of my profession.’
According to Matt, the goal going forward is to shake off any feeling that the 2012 Patriots are a Super Bowl team. The process of climbing the mountain toward the summit will begin again soon enough.
‘’I think it’s important for us as a team to understand: we’re not a Super Bowl team at this point. This is a new team. This is not the 2011 team,’ he said. ‘We shouldn’t come in there expecting for teams [to say] ‘Oh, that’s the Patriots. They were in the Super Bowl last year.’ We have to re-establish an identity. There are new players. We have to create an identity for this 2012 team. We’re going to have to earn everything all over again. So we’re back at ground zero now. We have a lot of work to do.’’