Most of the country may have been rooting against the Patriots, but inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, it felt like Foxborough South. The Rams took the field for warm-ups and in player introductions to a serenade of boos, a fairly uncommon occurrence for a Super Bowl.
So much for southern hospitality.
The Patriots, meanwhile, enjoyed what felt like a home-field advantage. Each time Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan or Bill Belichick was shown on the large video screens that ringed the building, the crowd erupted in a roar. The number of Patriots jerseys in the stands and in the concourse before the game appeared to outnumber the Rams by at least a 5-1 ratio.
Ex-HC of NYJ forgets Jets
Bill Belichick was the head coach of the Jets for one day, or as he infamously wrote on a napkin when he resigned, “the HC of the NYJ.”
This past week, he wouldn’t even mention the Jets by name while discussing the influence former Giants and Jets coach Bill Parcells had on his career.
“We worked together as assistants,” Belichick said, “and then I worked for him in three different organizations. The Giants, the Patriots and another organization.”
Belichick also cracked a little joke about the Jets during an interview with WEEI in Boston the day after winning the AFC title game. Said Belichick, “Adam Gase has already outlasted me.”
Edelman: Gotta earn Tom's trust
Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman has become the Patriots’ top receiver, but he said it took “a while” to earn Tom Brady’s trust. Edelman thought he got off to a good start in his first pro game, against the Jets in 2009, when he caught eight passes for 98 yards. He said he thought he and Brady “had some stuff going” but learned he had to keep working to stay in Brady’s good graces.
“I learned you got to continually earn his trust,” Edelman said. “He’s constantly trying to improve. If you don’t, he’s done [with you].”
Edelman is the only player not named Jerry Rice with more than 100 postseason receptions. He had seven catches for 93 yards in the first half of Super Bowl LIII and finished with 10 for 141 yards.
Brady says Bledsoe was a big help to him
It’s been nearly two decades since Tom Brady’s career was launched and the Patriots’ dynasty was created, and former Jets linebacker Mo Lewis played a huge part in it. Lewis delivered the hit on Drew Bledsoe in Week 2 of the 2001 season that opened the door for Brady. Bledsoe suffered a concussion and had internal bleeding in his chest.
“That was a tough situation,” Brady recalled this past week. “Drew was seriously hurt. That was a major, major injury. Thankfully, Drew was able to come back and was able to regain everything. You have an injury like that, you don’t know if you’re ever going to play again.”
Enter Brady, who became the Patriots’ quarterback that day and never relinquished the job. He helped New England win a championship that year against the Rams and played in his ninth Super Bowl on Sunday.
Brady paid tribute to Bledsoe — who went on to play for the Bills and the Cowboys — for helping him early in his career.
“Drew went back in the game after that hit,” Brady said. “He was so tough. I learned a lot from him about toughness, about mental and physical toughness. He was a great role model for me to look up to when I first came in the NFL.''