No injuries were reported as both teams put in final practice sessions Friday in anticipation to Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta’s futuristic Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Rams and Patriots are ready – no, make that, roaring – to go.
That includes Todd Gurley, who has been troubled with a nagging knee injury, but Rams’ head coach Sean McVay told the NFL Network he has no injury concerns regarding his star running back. “Todd is feeling good, 100 %,” said McVay. “We expect him to play a big role in this game.”
Gurley played a minor role, picking up just 13 yards on the ground in L.A.’s 26-23 overtime win against the New Orleans Saints two weeks ago. “We just weren’t able to run it as much as we’d like to because New Orleans did a nice job stopping us. Then, we were in some two-minute situations at the end of the game and the end of the half where you’re more inclined to throw it. He should be good. But I think really our team, as a whole, is feeling really good just having two weeks since our last game and looking forward to the challenge and competing to the best of our ability.”
Don’t’a Hightower missed practice on Thursday but Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick said the linebacker was back with the team Friday, easing fears he won’t play on Sunday. “He did everything today,” Belichick said on the NFL Network. “You could hear him talking out there, and that’s usually a good sign with him. He has plenty of energy.”
The Patriots earned a spot in their third straight Super Bowl after winning the coin flip in overtime and marching down the field for the game-winning touchdown in a 37-3 victory over Kansas City in the AFC title game.
There are many storylines going into this Super Bowl, including the youthfulness of the Rams coach. McVay is more than 30 years younger than New England coach Bill Belichick, making history as the youngest head coach ever in the NFL biggest game of the year.
Not only is he the youngest head coach in the Super Bowl, but McVay, at age 33, is the youngest coach in the NFL.
On the other side is a quarterback eight years older than McVay who wants to play until he’s 45. Brady, with a win, would become the only player in history to win six Super Bowls. He’s looking to do it 17 years after his first on in 2002. At 41, Brady will become the oldest quarterback ever to lift Lombardi Trophy if he wins another crown in an illustrious career.
“When you’ve been in the position I’ve been in, you just count your blessings every day,” said Brady, playing in his ninth Super Bowl.
Along the ride, enjoying Brady’s good fortunes has been 66-year-old Belichick, who has won five Super Bowls as a head coach and two more as an NFL assistant.
While Belichick is twice the age of McVay, and the Patriots have a dynasty on the sport like no other, despite a controversial call that likely would have put the Saints in this year’s NFL final, Rams’ youthful quarterback Jared Goff points to the win over New Orleans in the deafening Superdome as a game real game changer.
“They’ve played in a bunch of big games,” 24-year-old Goff said of New England. “But we were inexperienced against New Orleans and we put that one away.”
Despite being underdogs, the Rams remain confident they can come away with a victory. “Certainly, we respect the Patriots, but we’re coming here with the expectation of winning a game.”
What You Need to Know Before SP LIII
Date: Feb. 3, 2019
Time: 3:30 p.m. on West Coast
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
Odds: Patriots -2.5
Stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App and CBS All Access
Announcers: Jim Nantz and Tony Romo in the booth, Tracy Wolfson and Evan Washburn on the sidelines.
Who will sing the national anthem?
Atlanta-born R&B legend Gladys Knight has been tapped to sing the national anthem.
Who will perform at halftime?
Maroon 5 will headline the Pepsi Super Bowl LIII halftime show.
The band has sold more than 53 million albums worldwide and has recorded such hits “She Will Be Loved,” “Harder to Breathe,” “Moves Like Jagger,” “This Love,” “One More Night.” “Payphone,” “Sugar,” “Maps,” and “Animals,” and “Makes Me Wonder.”