While Emmanuel Sanders is heading to his third career Super Bowl, many of his 49ers teammates will play in their first when they take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 2 in Miami.
In an interview with ESPN's Josina Anderson moments after the 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, the veteran wide receiver explained how his mindset changed from his first Super Bowl appearance to his second, and how that will impact how he approaches Super Bowl LIV.
"It's a blessing. It's a blessing," Sanders told Anderson in the 49ers' locker room. "Truthfully, I'm going to enjoy this one, but at the same time, only thing is, we gotta go out and win it. So Miami is gonna be fun, but we gotta go and handle business.
"I remember in 2010 when I went to the Super Bowl, I said 'I want to make it to the Super Bowl,' and then we went out there and lost. And then in '15, I said I want to win the Super Bowl and we ended up winning it. Right now, my mentality is we gotta go win the Super Bowl. It's good to make it, but we gotta go win it. That's the only thing on my mind."
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The #49ers wide receiver was clearly crunk as I caught up with him already sitting down celebrating at his locker when I walked up to him. These days and post game interviews are what makes all the hard work the best. Running into guys I’ve covered for years living out the heights of their careers at the happiest time. Fun interview. #lace for the #nfc #championship game #packers @ #49ers #nfl #football #winter #white in the #bay #sanfrancisco #greenbay #chantilly #lace #heels #woman #professional #selflove #bun #sleek #hair #fashion #runway #simkhai #red #lipstick #entertainment #california #miami #superbowl
Sanders' first Super Bowl appearance came in his rookie season, and he caught two passes for 17 yards in the Pittsburgh Steelers' loss to the Packers in Super Bowl XLV.
Five years later, Sanders caught six passes for 83 yards to help the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium.
Now, he will try to help the team that calls Levi's home win its sixth Super Bowl in franchise history.
So what advice would Sanders give to all the first-time Super Bowl participants on the 49ers?
"Lock in," Sanders told Anderson. "Obviously, this week is going to be big because when we get to Miami, it's going to be a frenzy, so this week, we've got to practice like it is Super Bowl week just so we can stay focused.
"Then next week still have that same mentality, but we know it's going to be crazy out there. All the times that I've been, that first week was the most important week, so that's my message to the guys, just like Kyle [Shanahan] said."
Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).