ATLANTA — It some ways it was a scene out of another sport — like boxing or MMA.
Jared Goff, Tom Brady, Aqib Talib, Devin McCourty, Sean McVay, and Bill Belichick all on the same stage at the same time.
It was essentially a crossover event to end Los Angeles’ portion of Super Bowl LIII Opening Night and begin New England’s, televised live on NFL Network.
With the two quarterbacks sitting next to one another, host Chris Rose kicked it off by asking Brady what advice he’d give to Goff — seeing as how Brady was once a young signal-caller playing in his first Super Bowl.
Brady, matter of fact as ever, replied, “I’m not giving him any advice. Are you crazy?”
That got a laugh from the crowd.
“Nah, they’ve got a great team,” Brady continued. “I’ve got to go against that guy [Aqib Talib] all night. So that’s what I’m concerned about. And I know how great of a player he is. They’ve got a great defense — best D-line in the league, a couple of the best intercepters probably to ever play this game. So I’ve got my work cut out for me.”
Goff shared that he was a little too young to recall Brady’s first Super Bowl win back in the 2001 season, but did remember Super Bowl XXXVIII, which the Pats won over the Panthers.
Talib and Brady were teammates for a season and a half, with New England acquiring the cornerback midway through 2012. And Brady told a story of Talib’s first day with the Patriots.
“The day that we got him, I remember coach Belichick brought him over to see if he could play receiver after practice,” Brady said.
“He got me all excited — I thought I was gonna have a receiver package,” Talib chimed in, grinning. “Tom was throwing me passes — so I can really say I caught passes from Tom Brady, though.”
“He could’ve been as good a receiver as he is a corner,” Brady said, adding that Talib is a “great athlete.”
Former wide receiver Nate Burleson — now of both NFL Network and CBS Sports — then asked Belichick what has impressed him the most about McVay’s first two seasons as the Rams head coach.
“Coach McVay’s done a great job with that football team,” Belichick said. “He’s been there two years. They’ve led the league in scoring basically both years, won a ton of games. They’re very well coached, they’re fundamentally sound, they’re tough, they can play in all situations. You saw them come from behind against the Saints last week. And he’s got a great staff, he’s got great players, great organization. And they’re here for a reason. They’re a very good football team.”
Peter King of NBC Sports reported in his Football Morning in America column on Monday that Belichick has sent McVay congratulatory texts after wins this season. Asked about those texts and the relationship between him an Belichick, McVay downplayed the report a bit before speaking highly of the Patriots’ consistency atop the league.
“Yeah, you know, I think that got a little overblown where I was just so appreciative of somebody of his nature to even take the time to send a text after we had won a game earlier this year. And to get a chance to have a platform, to be able to get a chance to meet people like coach Belichick that are willing to share and help — that means a lot,” McVay said. “And when you look at these guys and what they’ve done in terms of the consistency, where that’s really the truest measurement of performance where nobody’s done it better than they have over the last handful of years. And that’s why you have so much respect and appreciation for them.”
While everyone was polite and cordial on Monday night, all the men who shared the stage will be looking for the best way to defeat his opponent for the rest of the week leading up to Super Bowl LIII.