After speculation raged for two weeks about whether Dwight Freeney could play on an injured ankle, Freeney came out looking good in Super Bowl XLIV, recording a sack in the first half.
But in the second half, Freeney struggled, spent more time on the sideline and didn’t do much when he was on the field.
The problem may have been the extended Super Bowl halftime: NFL halftimes usually last 12 minutes, but Sunday’s halftime, featuring a performance by The Who, lasted 31 minutes. During that lengthy halftime, Freeney said, his ankle started to get stiff.
“I don’t know if you saw me on the sidelines,” Freeney told reporters about his attempts to get warmed up at the start of the second half. “I kept on running back and forth to get it going again. I re-taped, and tried to figure out ways to keep it warm. The problem is, once it gets stiff, it’s tough to bring it back.”
Give Freeney credit for toughing it out on an injured ankle, and playing most of the game: By ESPN’s count, Freeney played 27 of 39 pass plays and eight of 18 rush plays. But Freeney wasn’t the same player in the second half that he was in the first, and the lengthy Super Bowl halftime may have been the reason.