Super Bowl LIV week kicked off on Monday with players and coaches of the teams speaking to the media on Opening Night. Today, we will wrap up yesterday’s comments. What do some of the comments mean, in regards to Super Bowl LIV? Where do most players look to find inspiration? Let’s recap all that and more, with the highlights from opening night of Super Bowl LIV week.
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Former NBA player Kobe Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash on Sunday. When the news broke, the Chiefs were on the team plane travelling to Miami. Many players tweeted out how shocked they were to see this news on the plane. Due to this sudden tragedy, many players were asked about Bryant by the media during opening night.
For starters, these guys gained inspiration from Bryant. Patrick Mahomes said he never met Bryant, but “he made a huge impact on my life for sure.” In addition, Mahomes mentioned he often watches videos of Bryant on YouTube the day before games.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman added, “he was a friend of mine, he was a mentor. He meant a lot to this world.” This echoed want many said on Monday, as far as, Bryant being someone all athletes could look up to, not just basketball players.
Tyrann Mathieu got to the point when asked about this sudden passing. “I’m shocked and sad. I thought guys like him lived forever.”
In Super Bowl LIV, many players will look to attack and play with an energy that Bryant constantly carried.
Respect and Friendship
We have talked about the respect that fellow tight ends Travis Kelce and George Kittle have for each other. Here are some of the highlights of what each player had to say about the other entering Super Bowl LIV.
Kelce: “There’s a reason he is labeled as the first team All-Pro. The tenacity he plays with, the energy with both blocking and receiving. And then, he is an animal with the ball in his hands.”
Kittle: “I think he is the best red zone threat in football. When you turn on the film, you see the passion he plays with and how much fun he has on the field. He kicked down the door for how good a tight end can actually be.”
Both Kelce and Kittle enjoyed spectacular days when the Chiefs and 49ers faced off last year in Kansas City. Now, they will hope to take it to another level on Sunday in Super Bowl LIV.
Much of the NFL media was eager to talk with Mahomes. A large crowd of people with cameras and microphones waited for over 30 minutes before the star QB arrived.
He was asked about what winning Super Bowl LIV would mean for Andy Reid. “I think it would be amazing to win the Super Bowl for him. For him to have that work ethic every single day, to have the amount of success he has had, you want to win it for him, us and Kansas City.” Many players, not just Mahomes, hope they can get it done for Coach Reid.
Bryant’s death was not the only one that recently touched the Chiefs quarterback. A young St. Joseph native, Whitney Wells, passed away from a brain tumor last month. Mahomes said she had an impact on him. “The way she fought every single day… she still had a positive mindset. Being able to see her and her support for the Chiefs, I knew that it was a blessing to be where I’m at. I wanted to show her support every single day, just like she did to us.”
The young kids look up to Mahomes heavily. One young reporter shared a special moment with the QB on Monday night: https://twitter.com/NFLonFOX/status/1221964681390252032
Mahomes was asked about learning from Alex Smith to begin his career. “Him being the person that he was, he taught me a ton. How to go about the week and game plan, he also talked about reading coverages and tips to see who’s blitzing. Those little things are so valuable and it has taught me how to achieve success at such an early age. He was just a great person in general.”
Bold and Brave
Of course, there have been plenty of respectful remarks made of the opponent from each side. However, there are still the slights and jokes being made too.
Frank Clark was brought to Kansas City to replace Dee Ford. Clark talked about the 49ers defensive line and Ford. “The whole defensive line I know really well. We trained together out in Hawaii. I want them to do well, but just not this Sunday. Wait until next season.”
Clark stated, how he is good friends with Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner. But of course, he is “not too fond of Dee Ford.” Clark is saying what most Chiefs fans are likely thinking entering Super Bowl LIV. For how much the loss hurt when Ford lined up offsides in the AFC Championship Game the year before, guys that lived through it have even more fuel because of it.
Speaking of friends, Mathieu says Clark and him are like “Bonnie and Clyde”. They are truly a family.
Finally, Coach Reid was asked about the 49ers run game. He was quick to mention that you cannot count out Jimmy Garoppolo. This is something we have continued to mention over the last week.
“I wouldn’t slight Jimmy because Jimmy can throw the ball. You look at his numbers, he’s up there. And it is in every situation. Spags and our defense are working hard on that.”
Be on the lookout for more Super Bowl LIV and Chiefs content throughout this week. Check out our latest episodes of the FPC Chiefs Podcast. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.