CALISTOGA (CBS13) — For Dick Vermeil, this Calistoga vineyard is about as far away from an NFL football field as one could get.
The softness of the landscape stands in sharp contrast to the hard-nosed world he lived in as a successful head coach in college and the NFL.
“I can remember everything that took place,” he said.
How could he forget? The year was 1999 and he led his St. Louis Rams to victory in Super Bowl 34. It was a win that didn’t erase a bitter defeat in Super Bowl 15 when his Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Oakland Raiders.
But this championship was sweet.
“Well this was a great football team; it took 3 years to build it,” he said.
A lot has changed since then, but the chaos of Super Bowl week is still much the same.
“Friday night is sort of lockdown night—many people take all the players to a different hotel, because the wives and family normally come in on Friday. You want ’em away from the distractions,” he said.
One distraction this year that’s hard to ignore is whether this will be Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s final game.
It’s something Vermeil knows a thing or two about, since he stepped down right after winning that Super Bowl with the Rams. It was a move he would later regret.
“Well I made a mistake the second time I retired when I left the Rams,” he said. “I made an emotional decision; I thought it was the right thing to do.”
Vermeil thinks Manning will retire after this game and will also feel a little emptiness.
“You know, I miss it,” he said. I miss the relationships; I miss the competition. But you know there’s a time when you’re too old to do it as good as they pay you to do it.”
At time, just like in the vineyard, to harvest a new day while never forgetting the days gone by.
“Even now to this day, I watch a Super Bowl and I say, geez, I can’t believe I was on the field twice in that same environment,” he said.