Super Bowl LIII officially kicked off its week of hype on the evening on Monday, January 28, 2019, with Opening Night. Held at the State Farm Center in Atlanta, Georgia, the event (formerly known as ‘Media Night’) was a typical mix of pre-game hype, amusement and yes, some news. For the New England Patriots and the Los Angels Rams, this was one last opportunity to soak in the pageantry of being a participant in the Super Bowl. With practices set to intensify on Tuesday, leading right up to the ‘big game’ on Sunday, media and fans alike had the opportunity to learn a bit more about the participants in Super Bowl LIII.
As expected, Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski amused reporters with a joke regarding his favorite number (it might be ungentlemanly to elaborate further on that). Players on both teams were asked to solve Rubik’s Cubes and even read fortunes from fortune cookies. In one of the night’s most bizarre requests, Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers actually ate a cricket. Aside from the large media contingents, spanning the entirety of the globe, Patriots fans well outnumbered Rams fans in attendance. Despite there being less of them in number, Rams fans proudly supported their team as they set for battle with New England on Sunday.
Here are some of the highlights from Opening Night for the Los Angeles Rams:
Wade Phillips had the Line of the Night
Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips had a pretty clever response to a question about facing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in Sunday’s game. When asked about the best way to prepare for Brady.
“Get an earpiece with Tony Romo in it, so Romo can tell him what is going to happen before each play.”
Rams DT Ndamukong Suh believes that he is sometimes unfairly portrayed in the media. When asked what people get wrong about him:
“They think I’m a villain on and off the field. Just don’t take my play as who I am.”
From one Rams Quarterback to Another
Former Rams quarterback Kurt Warner (now an analyst for NFL Media) asked current Rams signal-caller Jared Goff what was the most unusual request he’s had this week:
“I had people asking me if they could sell my tickets. And I’m using all of them.”
Good to Go!
The health of Rams’ running back Todd Gurley has been a recent point of speculation. Gurley had just five touches in the NFC Championship Game. However, Rams coach Sean McVay and Gurley himself said that was more of a result of game flow than any ailment. Gurley reiterated that point Monday when asked about his current outlook. Todd Gurley asked about his health by Deion Sanders:
“It’s good, man. Super Bowl LIII”
It appears that Gurley will be ‘a-ok’ for Sunday.
Ready, Willing and Able
Despite some confusion around his previous remarks, Rams’ cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman was very clear on his assessment of the Rams chances of winning Super Bowl LIII. When asked about Super Bowl Sunday, Robey-Coleman responded by saying:
“I’m not trying to make any guarantees or I’m not trying to speak ahead of myself, but we have the team, we have the players. We’ve been through a lot…and we’re hungry.”
Still the One?
Rams RB C.J. Anderson has never been one to shay away from his fond feelings of respect for Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady. When asked if he would be willing to say anything nice about the Patriots, Anderson responded by saying:
“Oh yeah, Tom Brady he’s the GOAT!”
The New England Patriots will face the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on February 3, 2019.
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the New England Patriots and the NFL. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC