As a California native, Jared Goff appreciates a warm climate.
The Rams quarterback was raised in north Marin County, attended college in Berkeley and now plays in sunny Los Angeles.
On Friday, outside the gargantuan Mall of America, snow was on the ground and the temperature was about six degrees.
“Coldest weather I’ve ever been in in my life,” Goff said, sitting on a couch inside the mall. “It has to be. It’s freezing.”
As he did on the field throughout the Rams’ turnaround season, Goff appeared poised and comfortable while making his way through interviews in the third-floor area that is serving as radio row during Super Bowl week.
Inside the heated and packed four-level mall — which includes an amusement park in the middle — Goff wore jeans and a brown polo-style shirt that featured the logo for his promotional sponsor for the day, Buffalo Wild Wings. Goff, 23, is already a veteran of the Super Bowl-appearance process: He did it after declaring for the 2016 NFL draft, and following his rookie season.
“You’d like to still be playing, obviously,” Goff said. “I don’t think anything replaces that. But it’s fun to be here and meet people and see people and build relationships.”
Goff will remain in the Minneapolis area for Saturday’s “NFL Honors” show, which features coach Sean McVay, running back Todd Gurley and defensive tackle Aaron Donald as possible award winners.
Goff is not up for any honors, but his improved play was instrumental in the Rams’ run to the NFC West title and their first playoff appearance since 2004. Goff passed for 28 touchdowns, with only seven interceptions, as the Rams transformed from the NFL’s worst offense to the league’s highest-scoring unit.
Nearly a month removed from a wild-card round defeat by the Atlanta Falcons, Goff said he was happy “with a lot of things” and not happy with others.
“We want to play into January and into February,” he said, “but there’s a lot of good things that I feel like I did and that all of our team did that’s good to build on.”
Since the loss to the Falcons, Goff has spent a weekend with friends in Las Vegas and participated in the Pro Bowl in Orlando.
“It was cool,” he said of the annual all-star exhibition, “and I got a chance to meet some of the quarterbacks around the league and learn some things.”
He also has welcomed and cared for his new Golden Pyrenees puppy, Quincy.
“He’s 10 weeks old,” Goff said, pulling out his phone to proudly show some photos. “Just ruining my house right now.”
After going 0-7 as a starter in his rookie season, Goff spent a short time last offseason working with quarterback trainers Tom House and Adam Dedeaux. He plans to do it again this offseason but added that there have been no major overhauls in his mechanics.
“People always ask me, what did you change?” after the 2016 season, Goff said. “I didn’t change anything. I just continued to be myself and continued to try and get better.
“And I’ll do the same this offseason.”
The Rams’ staff has changed since the end of the season.
Quarterbacks coach Greg Olson left immediately after the playoff loss to become the Oakland Raiders’ offensive coordinator, and Goff praised Olson for helping him develop.
Offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur this week accepted an offer to become the Tennessee Titans’ offensive coordinator. The position includes play-calling duties, which McVay handles for the Rams.
“It’s tough,” Goff said of LaFleur’s departure. “He’s a guy that I built a good relationship with and was excited to continue to work with, but I’m happy for him.
“Bummed that I don’t get to work with him anymore but happy for him and excited to see what he can do with Tennessee. But it will give me more of a chance to work with Sean. I’ll get more one-on-one time with Sean, which will be good.”
This will be the first time as a pro that Goff will not be required to learn a new offense, which he said “will be big not only for me,” but for the entire team.
“Coming back into an offseason where there’s no install… it’s all ‘Hey, this is the play call. This is what we ran last year,’” he said. “It’s right back into picking up where we left off. And that will be nice to continue to build that rapport with all the receivers and Todd and the O-line. It will be great.”
After Goff had finished his final interview on radio row, he walked past the crowd that lined the area. He was not as recognizable to fans as Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum or the blue-haired Jenny McCarthy, but he still registered with some.
As he prepared to leave the mall, Goff put on a black parka and placed the hood over his head. He then pushed through the glass doors and walked with his representatives and a friend to a waiting SUV.
The next four Super Bowls will be played in Atlanta, Miami, Tampa and Los Angeles.
Goff is definitely warm to the idea of playing in a few.