“This could never get old,” Tom Brady told his old teammate Willie McGinest during an interview at Super Bowl LII’s Opening Night.
It’s the first of Brady’s eight Super Bowl media day events in which he’s shown up with black gloves on each of his hands, continuing to pour gas on the fire as it relates to the status of his right throwing hand.
Brady is clearly playing in Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night; he was removed from the team’s injury report over the weekend. Just like everything else at media night, it’s a spectacle made for TV.
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“How could you not have fun doing things like this?” Brady said later on.
Brady, whose mom is originally from Minnesota, is clearly excited about playing a Super Bowl in a state where he frequented on vacations growing up.
“I love coming back here,” Brady said. “It’s a great state. It’s pretty unbelievable to actually be playing here. I didn’t think about it at all until a couple of weeks ago; I said ‘Mom, do you realize if we win, where the Super Bowl is?’ She said ‘of course I do.’”
Brady even shed some light on what it takes to make Bill Belichick smile. It’s not a long list, but any mention of the United States Naval Academy, lacrosse, former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor and rock star Jon Bon Jovi are sure to bring a smile to the coach’s face, Brady said.
Asked if he has a man-crush, Brady said he had three: Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski.
Amendola said he can only recall Belichick smiling on two occasions: after each of his first two Super Bowl victories as a member of the Patriots.
How can Amendola make sure he sees Belichick smile for a third time?
“We’re gonna have to score more points than them [the Eagles],” he said.
Belichick exited Air Kraft today wearing his late father’s fedora, a look which he indicated may have been suggested by his girlfriend, Linda Holliday.
“She might have a little bit to do with it,” Belichick said. “Minnesota is a good place to have a hat.”
Speaking with McGinest, who played for the Patriots from 1994-2005, Belichick said he hoped he had plenty left in the tank.
“I hope so,” Belichick said. “It’s very exciting to be here, it’s a great challenge to play against the Eagles. They’re a tremendous football team.”
McGinest was the first draft pick New England made under Robert Kraft’s ownership in 1994. Still tight with many members of the Patriots’ organization, McGinest said he was even in Kraft’s will during a roundtable segment on the NFL Network (whether he was serious or not is unclear).
The coverage on NFL Network was hosted by Chris Rose, who dubbed the Super Bowl the “Patriots Invitational” as Kraft joined the set, which also featured NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner.
“Would you call me RKK or Robert,” Kraft asked of Warner after he began a question towards him with “Mr. Kraft.”
Warner lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI as a member of the St. Louis Rams. New England was a 14-point underdog entering the game, which it won, 20-17, for the first championship of the Brady-Belichick era.
“To be very frank, I just wanted to win one [Super Bowl] to begin,” Kraft said. “But you know, it’s addictive. Once you win one, you want to do everything you can to try to keep it going. I’m very fortunate to have a head coach and a quarterback together for 18 years.”
Kraft added of his ownership, “We don’t get in the way as best as possible.”
Kraft also said that his favorite movie is “The Godfather” and that his motto is “He who is wise learns from everyone.”
James Harrison may be playing in his first Super Bowl as a member of the Patriots, but he’s well-versed in the media circus thanks to three previous trips with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Harrison owns the longest interception return for a touchdown in Super Bowl history, a 100-yard return in Super Bowl XLIII against the Arizona Cardinals.
The youngest of 14 children, how does Harrison divvy out his allotment of tickets?
“If you pay for ‘em, you get ‘em,” Harrison said.
Brandin Cooks and David Andrews also had their podium appearances televised. Other Patriots players to have their own podiums included Duron Harmon, Brandin Cooks, Matthew Slater, Stephon Gilmore, Devin McCourty, James White and Patrick Chung.
Chung was a late addition for Malcolm Butler, who was scratched from the event due to illness.
Rob Gronkowski, though he was on stage at the Patriots sendoff rally at Gillette Stadium this morning, did not participate in Opening Night. Gronk did not say anything on stage at Gillette, either, as he continues to recover from a concussion he suffered in the AFC Championship Game. He’s been removed from the injury report.
Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia didn’t have his own podium, but still held a brief Q&A with NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders – with a pencil atop his ear. Sanders asked Patricia, who is expected to be named head coach of the Detroit Lions after the Super Bowl, if he’d be keeping his trademark beard once he fills that role.
“Right now, I’m just hoping the beard looks good enough for Philadelphia,” Patricia said.