Bengals and Rams Kick Off Super Bowl Opening Night

The first Press Conferences for Super Bowl LVI were held virtually, today. The Cincinnati Bengals, who will fly into LAX tomorrow, are making their first Super Bowl appearance in 33 years. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams are hosting the Super Bowl in their home, SoFi stadium. It’s the second straight year a team has hosted the big game, after the Buccaneers hosted last season at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. This had never occurred in the first 54 Super Bowls.

Bengals QB Joe Burrow deflected questions about his style and swagger, though he was more willing to comment on his move from Ohio State to LSU, as well as the impact of Coach Ed Orgeron, who “gave me an opportunity to continue to build my skills and show them off to the world. I owe my whole career to him.” Burrow won the Heisman Trophy and a national championship with the Tigers as a senior, which led to being drafted with the first overall pick in the 2020 draft.

Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow

Bengals Rookie Kicker, Evan McPherson, who played three seasons at the University of Florida, spoke about the importance of his faith, as well as the importance of his mentors growing up, including his parents, his soccer coach, his brothers, and his fiancée. He also admitted that his celebrations look a little different from those of some of his teammates, as he usually “kicks back” with an iced tea and playing video games (primarily Fortnite) with his friends and brothers after a big victory.

Cincinnati Bengals K Evan McPherson

Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor credits some great draft classes, including Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, combined with the consistency of the veteran players and their mindset, for bringing this team to the Super Bowl after winning only four games last season. Coach Taylor calls this young team “a very mature team” which was built “with a lot of guys who played in championships in college, whether it was LSU, or Clemson, or Alabama, or Ohio State, and a lot of these free agents we’ve signed have been part of playoff teams before, so these guys know they belong on this stage and we know we’re gonna get their best on Sunday.”

Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor

Bengals Running Back Joe Mixon talked about how “it’s like a dream to be playing in this game. For me to be in this position, for my team to be in this position, you can never take this moment for granted, and you’ve got to count your blessings.” He also spoke of the team’s end zone celebrations. When Mixon started his rookie year in the NFL, the team “didn’t have guys here who got excited about making plays. I always wanted to bring excitement to the game. Now that we’ve got guys who want to put on a show, it’s a great thing to see. It’s infectious. It’s great for the players and great for the fans. Ja’Marr is the best on the team in doing that type of stuff.”

Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon

Bengals Wide Receiver Ja’Marr Chase commented on Joe Burrow’s change in his swagger since they first met at LSU. “He wasn’t a very social person, because he was around new people, I’m assuming. As practice went by, I saw how tough he was, I think his confidence grew as we started winning, his swag just started to take off.”

Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase

Rams Quarterback Matthew Stafford spoke about how “Pressure is a privilege… because something is expected of you.” He also gave credit to “all the great players that got us here. Everybody has had such a huge role in this.” But he wasn’t limiting the thanks to just his current teammates. “We’re playing not only for the guys in this locker room, but also the people in Detroit. They supported me and pushed me. So many guys I’ve played with, I’m a representation of those experiences with those players, and everyone who helped get me here.” Today happened to be his birthday. How is he celebrating? He’s not. He explained he’ll have “plenty of time to celebrate after this week.”

Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford

Rams Head Coach Sean McVay commented on having the home team advantage. “We had two weeks of preparation. We got a lot of good stuff in, probably 80% of the game plan is in, now we’ll just put some final touches on it the rest of the way.” Coach McVay is also impressed with how his team has responded from some adversity. Reflecting on lessons he learned from his Super Bowl appearance with the Rams in 2019, he said you “look in the mirror, take accountability, and you keep moving. What are the things you learned, being able to make adjustments in the game. You’re always trying to learn, always trying to improve. Move forward from the good and from the bad. I’m very grateful for it, how difficult it is to be in these situations. I’m surrounded by great players and a great coaching staff. Let’s prepare to the best of our ability, and once the game is kicked off, let’s be in the moment and let’s see what happens.”

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay

Rams Cornerback Jalen Ramsey played with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2016-2019, including two Pro Bowl appearances and a trip to the Playoffs. The Jags traded Ramsey to the Rams midway through the 2019 season. When asked to reflect on the changes in his life over his career, he said, “I’m a father now. I’m in a different space in life right now. I went through a team that didn’t want me. I learned to trust the process, be completely present.”

Los Angeles Rams CB Jalen Ramsey

Rams Wide Receiver Cooper Kupp spoke about playing in his first Super Bowl. “Not being able to play in that 2019 Super Bowl. offered a pretty cool perspective for me of the importance of enjoying the process of what this NFL season is. This year, being able to play alongside the guys I get to play alongside, the coaches that come in here, just being about to enjoy the journey every step of the way. Being able to play for a world championship is an incredible thing, and I don’t take that lightly. The most important things were the people I got to spend that time around. That’s the stuff I really enjoyed.”

Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp

Rams OLB Von Miller talked about being able to share his own Super Bowl experiences with the younger players, having made it to the big game with the Broncos in 2015. He also reflected on how tough it is being a new parent, and being away from his son. “Every day, there’s a new sound, a new laugh. You don’t want to miss those days, but daddy has to be here to pay for college. It was hard to leave my firstborn son in Denver. The last time I saw him was Dec. 7, and before that was in October. These huge gaps are killing me, but we just have one more game. My whole offseason will be centered around my son. I want to put the golf clubs in his hand at ten months!”

Los Angeles Rams OLB Von Miller

Rams Wide Receiver O’Dell Beckham, Jr. talked about a tattoo he has which says: “Pressure: I live for it.” He also reflects on lessons he’s learned since he was drafted. “There’s been a lot, I always talk about living life without regrets. For me it’s been about the lessons, and how do you learn about the lessons. There have been a lot of moments where I look back as a 29 year old and reflect back how could I have acted differently.” He also spoke about the aftermath of “The Catch,” a one-handed grab early in his career with the Giants. He says he literally watched his life change after that catch, calling it “unreal.” To this day, he still has more Instagram followers than any other NFL player (even Tom Brady).

Los Angeles Rams WR O’Dell Beckham, Jr.

Florida National News is in Los Angeles to cover Super Bowl LVI. Stay tuned for coverage leading up to the big game on Sunday, 2/13.

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