"I don't think so. I think our guys, we have a bunch of guys who have played in big games. Obviously for our newer guys who haven't played a ton there will be some element of newness but yeah, you package that with the new stadium and the nature of the rivalry, it will certainly be a new flavor."That is a diversion from the Chip Kelly faceless opponent mantra and one I am not sure I like yet.
Yes, he went on and attempted to diffuse that a little bit with another quote:
"The same things we always do. I know that's not a great answer but we try to prepare the same for everybody and our guys have set a very high standard and our expectation and their expectation are extremely high. Anytime we're not knocking those standards over we'll improve and that'll start with how we prepare but the actual structure of how we do things won't be any different."Nonetheless, Helfrich acknowledged a "rivalry" as if this rivalry is somehow different than the other 11 they will have this season.
Rivalries are for fans, not necessarily teams. A team should never approach a game with animosity towards the opponent. Allowing the opponent to occupy any space of the mind aside from the traditional preparation.
When you allow a team to occupy an angry side of your mind; or some other emotional reaction to the team, you give them a power that they would not otherwise possess.
I love to hate on the rivals and love to see them lose. Make no mistake about that. But I am not playing Saturday and I liked Chip's approach. Every team is the same. Every game is a Super Bowl.
Was this a chink in the armour? I doubt it, but it is something to look for as the season continues to unfold.