Jacket, Cavalier coaches enjoy NFL's biggest day

Feb. 02, 2014 @ 04:59 AM

Amongst the commercials, day-long pregame shows and hour-long halftime show, tonight's Super Bowl XLVIII will include a football game. The title game between the NFL's best offense, Denver, and the league's best defense, Seattle, will be a chance for Lee County's two high school football head coaches to relax, for once, while watching a game.

Southern Lee's Don Simon will be getting together with his Cavalier coaches to enjoy the big game.

"We'll be watching as fans. I don't watch it any other way," said Simon.

Lee County's Burton Cates will be watching the Super Bowl with some friends.

For most of the NFL season though, Sundays aren't for lounging on the couch for football marathons. Both coaches have more pressing matters on their minds on Sundays.

"I really don't watch many (NFL) games until after our season's done," Simon said. "We're at work on Sundays during the season."

The Cavalier coaching staff is looking at last Friday and looking ahead to next Friday during the weekend to make the most of the four days of prep time starting Monday.

Any time a coach can spare to take in a pro or college game, Cates said, "we're looking at things on offense, defense and the kicking game and we're looking for things that can work on Friday nights."

At the same time, poor examples, largely by off-the-field decisions, are out there for young aspiring stars to learn from.

"It can be a double-edged sword, sometimes," said Simon.

Simon said he's always talking about the action on TV with his players each Monday. He's mainly a Dolphins fan, having grown up in, then coached in, South Florida and remembering Miami's 1972 perfect season, while having some Minnesota Viking loyalty from his time in college at Dakota State University in South Dakota.

Talking partly about on- and off-field situations in which "pros" might not be the best professionals, occasionally a high school coach's job becomes tougher.

"You know the kids are idolizing someone, so sometimes as a coach, we're undoing some of what they see guys do on Sunday," said Simon.

Even with no pressure on, can a coach help but to take a few notes? Even from the likes of Peyton Manning?

"Needless to say, Manning is one of the all-time greats," Cates said. "You look at his hard work, his work ethic, that's why I pull for him."

Cates also credits, and sees as keys tonight, receiver Wes Welker and the Bronco offensive line, which hasn't allowed a sack in the playoffs.

"There's no doubt, (Manning) is the guy," said Simon. "When you look at his work ethic, when you're coaching a team he's certainly a guy I want my players to look up to."

Super Bowl Sunday is an unofficial holiday for football coaches as much as it is for plain-old football fans.

"We're going to have a good time just getting together with friends," Cates said.

"The Super Bowl's come a pretty long way since back in 1967, needless to say."