FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — The New England Patriots were back at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday as they start to get ready to take on the Los Angeles Rams.
Players who spoke to reporters said while it was fun celebrating their dramatic AFC Championship win, they’re turning their attention to the even bigger game on the horizon.
“We enjoyed it that night and then you’ve got to flip the switch pretty quickly,” running back James White said. “We play all year long to get to this game right here, so you want to put your all into it, study up on the Rams, get to know them as best as possible so we can all play our best performance yet.”
“I think a lot of us are hungry to get back in this game and get to it,” linebacker Kyle Van Noy said. “We’re ready, we’re excited, and it was a good team win, but we’re focused on this next one already.”
Players seemed happy to start focusing solely on football after having to figure out the logistics of the Super Bowl, such as ticket reservations and travel plans for their families.
Team members have only a limited number of tickets to give out and that can be an issue for players like Shaq Mason, who grew up in Tennessee and went to college at Georgia Tech, where the team will be holding practices next week.
“I think I had like 40 requests,” he said. “So, it was just my family and a couple of my roommates from college and that was it.”
“The best word to use is ‘no,'” Van Noy said. “I think most people understand the situation, and I get to play favorites – no, I’m kidding. But honestly, I’m just excited to have my family attend.”
Despite this being the Patriots’ third Super Bowl in a row and their fourth in five years, they don’t feel that added experience gives them an edge over the Rams.
“I wouldn’t say it’s an advantage at all,” Mason said. “It’s one game, and everybody’s going to be up for the game. So it’s whoever puts their best display out there that day.”
One of the iconic images of the AFC Championship was an elated Tom Brady running into Van Noy’s arms after the offense scored the game-winning touchdown. Van Noy on Wednesday shared the story of when he first met Brady, who’s getting ready to play in his ninth Super Bowl.
“I was super tired that day because I flew in super late from Detroit coming in, so I think I got in at 1 that night, and I got in about 5:30 in the morning,” he recalled. “It was right before the team meeting and I had to run to go to the restroom because I was in meetings for so long.”
“I’m washing my hands or whatever and I get done and Tom comes up and kind of shakes my hand like, “Hi, I’m Tom Brady.” And I’m like, “You’re an idiot. Of course…” and kind of told him, “My name is Kyle Van Noy.” But those little things are why he’s where he’s at. Those little things that people don’t pay attention to, those detailed things, that just separates him. He’s really good at what he does, he’s very detailed and that’s what makes him Tom.”