Colts Running Back Discusses Team's Upcoming Trip to the Super Bowl
It has been four years since Colts running back Joseph Addai's rookie season, a year in which the Colts made a historic run to Super Bowl XLI and received instrumental contributions from the then first-year back. This year, Addai has been just as helpful in the backfield, and the Colts once again are preparing to go to the Super Bowl. In last week's 30-17 victory over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship game, Addai rushed 16 times for 80 yards, giving the running back an average of five yards per carry. On Wednesday, Addai stepped to the podium and answered questions about the team's preparation for Super Bowl XLIV.
Q: What will it be like facing the New Orleans Saints?
Addai: "It is going to be a good thing. I'm familiar with the area, but I look at it as just another game. Same question I had (earlier in the season) about when we were going to play the Texans, since I'm from Houston. This is my fourth year; I don't look at it that way anymore. For us, it's just trying to win the game. So yes, (it's nice), but at the same time we are trying to do what we've been doing all year, which is winning games."
Q: What do you expect from the Saints' defense?
Addai: "To bring their 'A' game. They've been doing a great job all year, getting around the ball, stripping the ball, but I think if we go out and do what we've been doing all year we'll be alright."
Q: How do you feel physically at this point in the season?
Addai: "Honestly? I know I feel a little sore. That's what everybody's feeling right now. But it's one more game, that's more than enough motivation. There is one more game, and it is a big game, but regardless of football you never feel 100 percent during the season. That's kind of a non-factor for me and the rest of the guys. We have just one more game and we want to grind it out, grind it out, because you will feel a lot better after the game."
Q: Was it encouraging how the Colts ran the ball against the New York Jets last week?
Addai: "Anytime you get a chance to run the ball well it builds confidence. And having a good running game against the Jets going into the Super Bowl brings confidence not only for the running backs but the whole team."
Q: What is it like watching quarterback Peyton Manning orchestrate and following his lead?
Addai: "I think I noticed it when I first came here. I was a big fan of Peyton's. I think everyone who is older, younger, or the same age is a fan of his just because of the things he does. Just watching him over the years, just watching how he does it on TV, and being able to be a part of it is a good thing. But me, I think I have it the best because I have a chance to see how he does it not only in the games, but also in practice."
Q: And what is it like watching Manning's mind work?
Addai: "It's kind of, you really don't believe it. We need a drive, bam, he marches down the field. (Then it's) kind of like, 'Why didn't we do that at first?' But when it matters, and when it really counts, he can make it happen. All the guys around him really believe in him and what we are trying to do, so it makes it that much easier."
Q: After receiving some criticism a year ago, do you feel like you have been vindicated with your strong play on the field this season?
Addai: "I'm human. All that, I think after the fact, Donald (Brown), the No. 27 pick comes in, right after that it was like, 'Okay, what are you going to do?' And a lot of people look at it in a bad way, but me, I look at it like we can both do a good job. When Donald came in, he came in and asked a lot of questions, kind of like when I came in and was a rookie and Dominic (Rhodes) was here. Same situation. Dom helped me out, (Edgerrin James) even helped me out even though he wasn't here. So who am I to not to give that back to Donald? Regardless, what might have been said before that, after that, Sunday is when it counts. So I think we both work great together, and we have been doing that and we are going to try and do the same thing in the Super Bowl."
Q: How important will the ground game and controlling the ball be against the Saints?
Addai: "Regardless of who we play, Saints, Vikings, Seattle, it always comes back to us. It is never about the other team. We respect them by bringing our 'A' game…It is about what we are trying to do…It's lets get cued in and work on our fundamentals. That's been our mindset the whole year, so it wouldn't change at this time."
Q: Are there a certain amount of yards you want to gain to keep New Orleans off the field?
Addai: "Like I said, it is really about what we are trying to do. It is not about going in there and trying to have a different game plan. Our game plan has been the same since preseason up until now, so it's really not that much of a change. You want that balance, but regardless, we are going to do what we do."
Q: Do you pay any extra attention to the Saints since you are from the area?
Addai: "Let's not even look at football. Let's just look at Hurricane Katrina and that whole situation, because you have to pay attention to that. They've been doing a great job for the city. We have all these things going on in the world and you have something to turn to, and I think that's a good thing. Hats off to them. I'm excited that they did win the NFC; it does a lot for the people in New Orleans. I was in Baton Rogue when Katrina came, and I got evicted, so I can only imagine what happened in New Orleans. It really touches a lot of people that are from that area and are fans of theirs, (not just) because of football, but what happened around that time and is still going on."
Q: What are you personal memories from Hurricane Katrina and how did the disaster affect you?
Addai: "We kept on putting off games, we had to cancel our first game and had to use LSU as a place to bring some of the folks from New Orleans. Me, myself, my area was flooded, two weeks without light, electricity, none of that stuff. So I can only imagine what it was like for the people of New Orleans and what was going on. I feel like them getting to the Super Bowl is a good thing for them. As far as the fans, and everybody else in New Orleans, it is a hard thing to come by, and you have to adjust, and having your home team kind of doing it, picking up that slack for you helps a lot."
Q: Finally, what do you remember from your first Super Bowl appearance with the Colts when you were a rookie?
Addai: "A lot, lot of distractions. I think the team that can minimize that will be better off. You have to take a lot of things into consideration. You have family that wants to share that moment with you, you have fans who want to share that moment with you, but they don't understand. For me, (the hoopla surrounding the) Super Bowl is for everybody except the two teams playing in the actual game. If we go into it like that, our situation will be better."