Advertisement
Sports

Rams coach Sean McVay says you can feel the magnitude of Super Bowl event

ATLANTA GEORGIA JANUARY 28, 2019-Rams head coach Sean McVay, left, and Patriots head coach Bill Beli
Rams head coach Sean McVay, left, and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick meet on stage during media day in Atlanta.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

He was barely a quarter of the way through a one-hour media session on the opening night of Super Bowl week, and Rams quarterback Jared Goff was holding steady.

“You’ve seen it on TV, you see the crazy questions that come in,” he said. “Try to enjoy it.”

Rams coach Sean McVay, at a podium to Goff’s left, was beginning to develop a scratchy voice.

“This is exhausting already,” he joked.

Advertisement

Monday night’s gabfest at State Farm Arena kicked off a week of buildup for the game Sunday against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“The magnitude of this event, I don’t think until you get here you can really feel it,” McVay said. “You want players and coaches to certainly enjoy this because it is a blessing to be here.

“But after this our focus goes back to the Patriots and figuring out a way to continue to put together a good plan and sharpen ourselves for the rest of the week so Sunday we can peak at the right time.”

Advertisement

The Rams will not be on the practice field until Wednesday. Asked if players had a curfew, McVay indicated one would be put in place as the week progressed.

“It’s really kind of a buildup,” he said. “Our players are so good, you talk to some of the veteran leaders, you want to allow them to enjoy it.

“What I think has been helpful for our team, we treat these guys like grown men, and they demonstrated the ability to handle themselves that way. So the first couple days that hasn’t been something that we needed to really talk about.

“Once we get going and we’re back I think really the guys would do that on their own, and that ownership that they have is what makes it unique.”

Taylor Bengals coach?

Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor reportedly will be hired to coach the Cincinnati Bengals after the Super Bowl.

Asked to address those reports, Taylor said, “There’s not much to talk about” right now.

“I coach for the Rams,” he said, “and we’ve got the biggest game we’ve all ever been a part of, so that’s an easy approach to take.”

Advertisement

It is not difficult to remain focused on the task at hand, Taylor said.

“For the focus to not be on that would be a disservice to everybody who put in the effort,” he said, “so it is not hard to be focused and do whatever we can to win this game.”

Brady memento

Ndamukong Suh has played against Patriots quarterback Tom Brady multiple times, but the defensive lineman still remembers the first time he sacked the future Hall of Famer.

As a Detroit Lions rookie in 2010, Suh sacked Brady during a Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit that featured both teams wearing throwback uniforms.

“Actually have a poster of that in my mom’s house,” Suh said.

Creating separation

Kevin Demoff and Rich McKay have a lot in common.

Advertisement

Both grew up in Los Angeles with famous football dads. Both attended Ivy League schools and went on to run NFL teams. And both know what it takes to oversee a massive stadium project, a venue worthy of the Super Bowl.

Demoff is chief operating officer of the Rams and son of agent Marvin Demoff, who has represented a host of star players, among them John Elway and Dan Marino. Kevin is part of a team overseeing construction of the new stadium in Inglewood, which will host the Super Bowl in 2022.

McKay, son of legendary USC coach John McKay, is president of the Atlanta Falcons. Super Bowl LIII will be played on their home field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“Rich has always been terrific with us, offering up advice on building a stadium and managing a stadium construction project,” Demoff said. “What’s most important, and how you work with architects … but also how you build a team. As someone who combines the business and football aspect of it, Rich does it as well as anybody does.

“Very parallel paths. They got to the Super Bowl right up to opening the stadium. We’re a year away [with the Inglewood stadium opening in 2020] but we’re fortunate to be in the same boat.”

Then again, in the most epic collapse in Super Bowl history, the Falcons blew a 28-3 third-quarter lead in losing to the Patriots two years ago.

“There are a lot of parallels between these two franchises,” Demoff said. “I hope they’re not exact parallels a week from now.”

Devilish designs

Rams safety John Johnson attended Boston College, so he got his fill of the Patriots. He admired them, but he wasn’t exactly a fan.

Los Angeles Times sports writer Sam Farmer gives a tour of his “office” -- the Super Bowl media center where he’ll be working during the week of the big game.

“I was always a fan of just how they go about their business,” he said, “but I grew up a Cowboys fan.”

As for his college friends?

“There’s a lot of them that want to see the Patriots win,” said Johnson, who made the pivotal interception in overtime in the NFC championship game against the New Orleans Saints. “They want to see me shine, of course, but there’s a lot of friends that want to see the Patriots win.

“They’ve been rooting for the Patriots most of their lives. Almost everyone I graduated with was a Patriots fan, even if they were converted once they got to Boston.

“Hopefully, I can go out and be the little devil on the shoulder and cancel the party.”

Sign up for our daily sports newsletter »

gary.klein@latimes.com

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein

sam.farmer@latimes.com

Follow Sam Farmer on Twitter @LATimesfarmer


Advertisement