Defensive Tackle Brentson Buckner is one of the leaders on the Carolina Panthers team and knows what it is like to go to a Super Bowl and lose. Buckner was on the losing end of Super Bowl XXX, when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17. That was 1996, but the memory remains clear in Buckner's mind.
"It hurts. It really hurts, at first, it was like, at least I'm here. But when that clock hits quadruple zeroes, and you're on the losing end that's the worst feeling in the world because the world forgets about you. Everybody goes to the winners. You almost feel like you'd rather have lost in the (conference) championship game than to get to the Super Bowl and lose, because at the end, nobody remembers second place," said Buckner. "When that clock hits quadruple zeroes, and you're on the losing end that's the worst feeling in the world because the world forgets about you. Everybody goes to the winners. You almost feel like you'd rather have lost in the (conference) championship game than to get to the Super Bowl and lose, because at the end, nobody remembers second place."
Buckner believes that this Panthers team has something that most NFL teams don't have humility.
"The guys here play with a lot of humility. We don't have big egos," Buckner said. When you talk about us, we want people to say we're a good team. We don't want people to say the Panthers' defense is good, or the offense is good; we want to be recognized as a good team."
Buckner has grown-up a lot since he last Super Bowl game he was in his second NFL season, and 24 years old. Now he's a 10-year NFL veteran at 32, and he said that he has learned what is important.
"I learned that I'm not going to the Super Bowl. I am the Super Bowl. By that, I meant that I'm not part of the 'in' crowd. My first time, I wanted to go to all the parties. I wanted to meet people. This is the Super Bowl. That's what you hear about," said Buckner, "But you have to realize that you can't be a fan. You've got a game to play. You're the reason people are coming there. You're not there for the parties. You're there to win the game. When you win, you can go to all the parties you want after that."
Buckner said that he's thankful for the extra week off.
"I would rather have the week off because there is just so much going on around this game that if we were playing this week, we would lose focus," Buckner said. "You've got to take care of getting your tickets (for family and friends). You've got to make sure your family is getting there. This week off gives you a chance to get that all out of the way. Then you still have another week to concentrate and get ready for football. I relish having the extra week."
Buckner knows that Super Bowl Sunday is something special to not only the teams playing the game but the whole world.
"It's crazy. I'll never forget sitting there and waking up that morning. Every channel you turn to on the television, it's all about you. And then you realize, 'I'm the only show in the world today. Everyone is waiting to watch me play," Buckner said. "When you come out of that tunnel for warm-ups, it's like the world woke up and came to watch you play. It's one of the greatest feelings I've ever had. Other than when my children were born, I don't know any greater feeling."