When quarterback Jared Goff gets asked about running back Todd Gurley's play, he almost always compliments the running back on being a good teammate.
Goff seems to bering this up unprompted. After the Rams' Divisional round victory over the Cowboys, for instance, Goff responded to a question about having Gurley back by saying, "Todd is so special — such a special player, person, teammate." And he said it again when replying to a question about Gurley's injury perhaps being a blessing in disguise since it brought C.J. Anderson to L.A. by saying, "He's one of my favorite teammates of all time and he's a great dude."
Head coach Sean McVay has also continually praised Gurley as a team-first guy, particularly in the context of the recently-formed partnership with Anderson.
So when Gurley stands at the podium on Friday night and gives arguably his most entertaining, insightful press conference of his four years in the league, it stands to reason that the things he's saying are genuine.
Like this response to a question about not getting more touches in the Rams' NFC Championship game victory over the Saints:
"I don't ask no questions. I just do my job. We got the win, that's all that matters. I can not play one snap."
And then, he made a joke, but it didn't really seem like he was joking.
"I don't care if Jake McQuaide is the Super Bowl MVP," Gurley said with a laugh, referring to the Rams' longtime long snapper. "I've got one more game left. I don't care what nobody's talking about. Y'all can call me hurt. Y'all can call me whatever, but we're going to the Super Bowl."
Check out photos from walk-thru as the Los Angeles Rams prepare for their matchup against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.
That's the phrase right there — we're going to the Super Bowl. You can tell it means a lot to Gurley, especially after he called his own performance last week "sorry" to multiple media outlets. But when Gurley continues what he's saying, again, it just seems genuine.
"What do y'all not understand? It's not about me. This sport has never been about me. It's never been about one player," Gurley said. "Todd's only going to be with the Rams so much longer. It's going to be another dude that comes in just like me. This whole game is bigger than me. It's not just about me. Why is Todd not getting the ball? Why is that? Because there's only one football and there's 11 guys. Only one guy can touch the ball each time. It's way bigger than me."
That's the Gurley that Goff must see behind the scenes to so consistently praise about being a great teammate — someone who knows that if the team wins, then everybody benefits. We all know McVay has his 'We not me' philosophy that's so engrained within the Rams culture, but this is how that really manifests itself.
But that doesn't mean Gurley's unaware of his own ability, and that he doesn't have confidence in himself. Take what he said about his performance in the NFC title game.
"That's just a part of the sport, no matter what sport you play — and life, period. You know what I'm saying? We're all going to have our downs, but you enjoy it even more when you do you do something great or you have that success," Gurley said. "I know who I am. I'm comfortable with myself. I'm the best. I'm the best at my position. I've been that way all my whole life, so it's like I'm going to keep striving.
"I know what I can do. I know what I'm capable of and my teammates know what I'm capable of. We're all in this together, you know what I'm saying? So, it's just like — 24-hour rule. You know how it goes — 24-hour rule, leave it in the past. 'Hey, let's go. We've got another game.' Going against the GOAT. It's a good feeling, great feeling."
And not the Rams aren't just playing Patriots quarterback Tom Brady — they're doing it on one of the world's biggest stages. Gurley has gone to the Super Bowl before, but usually it's just to watch his friend. He specifically mentioned Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor and defensive end Chris Long from last year, and then former Patriots Malcolm Mitchell from the year prior.
"So it's just like, I'm just so happy — so happy for my friends. That's what I care about is just other people having success and I can be able to just live through them guys," Gurley said. "Just being at those games, man, it's crazy. It's like you get the chills. You're mad [because you're not playing yourself], but you're so excited for your friends.
"I just remember, just like each [time], I'm just like, 'I'm going to be there. I'm going to be there.' And it's like, I'm here," Gurley continued. "It's crazy, but it's a great feeling. It's a great feeling. Then like I said, all those guys I just named, they're calling me now. They're like, 'Yeah, let's go, man. We going to be there. I'm going to be at the game.' It's a good feeling when you can just enjoy this with your family, your teammates, your friends. It's a dream. They got to live their dream and now I'm doing the exact same thing they [were] doing."
So, this is Todd Gurley. The man who wants nothing but the best for his teammates. The man who feels genuine happiness for his friends when they have success. The man who wants to win a Super Bowl — and doesn't care how.
"I've been 4-12, you know what I'm saying? Like, I've been broke. I got money," Gurley said with a laugh — though, he wasn't really joking. "I've had terrible seasons. I'm in the Super Bowl. It's a blessing. It's a blessing from God. It's like no better feeling than to be able to be at the bottom and you're at the top because you always wanted to be in that position and to be in that position is a great feeling. It's a motivator. You don't want to go back."