PHOENIX – There was Barrel Boy, who's walked around the Super Bowl Opening Night, he said, for 16 years. There were international reporters who asked players to translate foreign languages, or throw soft balls into a basket for the right to wear a sombrero. There were plenty of national reporters who wanted to get the latest on the Philadelphia Eagles on this Monday night, a mix of zany and serious and, well, the Eagles players and coaches – all of whom were there and ready for the fun.
A lot of the answers are the ones you would expect from a team well-coached in the media response game:
"It's one day at a time with us."
"We just want to get a little bit better every day."
"The Chiefs are a great football team with a Hall of Fame head coach and a Hall of Fame quarterback."
"This is just another game."
"We're keeping the main thing, the main thing."
But there were also some nuggets to be found in the mayhem of 1 hour, 20 minutes of media availability at The Footprint Center with an arena filled with fans – and, yes, there were plenty of "E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES" chants – and it was just a fun night for all.
So, without further ado ...
On Monday, the Eagles took over the Arizona Cardinals' Training Facility for a team weightlifting session to kick off the week of prep ahead of Super Bowl LVII.
A German reporter asked Jeffrey Lurie what "It's A Philly Thing" meant to him during Opening Night at the Super Bowl. Said Lurie: "Being so obsessed with the Eagles that nothing else comes into play. I try to explain to those who aren't in Philly the passion of our fan base. We don't have many away games, honestly. We dominate the other stadiums in an incredible way. It's a Philly thing to be really proud to be an Eagles fanatic."
Lurie is preparing for his third Super Bowl since he purchased the Eagles and he feels every bit of the excitement and every other emotion that we all feel, if not more.
"They're all wonderful groups of people, I'm proud of them all, and it's a combination of intense pride of where your team is at and extreme nervousness," Lurie said, "because we so want to win another one and bring another championship back to Philly and our fans. I'm really proud and also extremely nervous. We have a really good team and so does Kansas City and it should be a great game for fans across America and around the world."
The longest-tenured coach on the current staff, Jeff Stoutland has overseen one of the best offensive lines in the NFL for a decade.
In 2021, the Eagles led the league in rushing. This year, the Eagles started five players who were all drafted by the organization, with three of them earning Pro Bowl honors. The Eagles' offense set several franchise records, including points (477) and scrimmage touchdowns (57).
Stoutland reportedly drew interest from several other teams looking to copy the Eagles' blueprint for success.
Cue the Leonard DiCaprio meme because Stoutland isn't going anywhere, as he signed a contract extension.
"I think that in this business, it's very hard to call someplace home. I call the Eagles organization my home," Stoutland said during Opening Night at the Super Bowl. "The players I coach, they're family to me. So for me to be able to say this is my home is really nice.
"It's my family. It's been my family and I couldn't be in a better place."
Five years ago, in Super Bowl LII, Stoutland's unit helped the Eagles amass 41 points, 538 total yards of offense, including 164 on the ground. The goal this Sunday is to replicate that effort.
"That's the mission, that's part of preparing for this game," Stoutland said. "If you don't prepare the proper way, then that kind of stuff will not come to fruition."
The Eagles said all along that the second season in the system for Jalen Hurts would help him make a huge jump. That's exactly what happened for Hurts, who accounted for 35 touchdowns from the quarterback position in the regular season and another four in the two NFC playoff games. Quarterbacks Coach Brian Johnson talked about Hurts' rise on Opening Night at the Super Bowl.
"He's done a great job so far. It's been a really, really long season and he's obviously put in a lot of work to get himself ready to play," Johnson said. "He's battled and I'm excited to get to this point and watch him play on Sunday. He's done an excellent job in terms of understanding the system and being more comfortable. He's put himself in a position to play really well on a consistent basis.
"When we started this thing and wanted to come into Year 2, one of the main things was consistency down in and down out and he's been able to do that, so I'm really excited and proud that he's been able to play really well this season."
Johnson said it was apparent right away that Hurts was advanced in the system, and that had the coaching staff excited.
"You could tell right away," Johnson said. "Jalen has always been very intentional and we were very, very intentional with what we wanted to improve coming into this season and he took that to heart. The way he works, and the way he is as a person, it's not a surprise at all."
A huge media throng surrounded Haason Reddick during Opening Night at the Super Bowl and he talked about being respected and how his play spoke for itself this season, and also he got into some key needs for the defense on Sunday.
"I mean, you have a great team on the other side of the line of scrimmage," he said. "Patrick Mahomes, I don't know if you can shut him down. He's going to make some plays. He's just that good. But we think we're good, too, and it's going to be a great game.
"For me, to be here with the team I grew up cheering for, it's a dream come true. But I also know that we came out here on a mission and we are here to complete that mission. So, that's what we're here for. We have to prepare all week the best way we can and have fun and work together, like we've done all season. This doesn't change anything. Our season isn't finished. We have one more game. It's going to be fun."
He was asked to sing some Rihanna lyrics and, of course, Darius Slay reciprocated. And he made sure to tell all of the reporters at his podium during Opening Night at the Super Bowl to refer to him as "Big Play" Slay or just Slay. And he talked about being an offensive player, a wide receiver, because he has a dream.
"Just give me that rock," Slay said. "I'm not as talented as (former NFL player) Percy Harvin, but I'm like the new edition Percy Harvin and I'd be something like him."
Let's see if Nick Sirianni will draw up that one for Sunday ...
Another one from Slay: Who has the most swagger on defense?
"I'd have to say C.J. (Gardner-Johnson)," he said. "He's got the swag. He comes down with a lot of attitude."
It's all ball for Brandon Graham, in his second Super Bowl and totally appreciative of the moment.
"I'm staying where my feet are. Man, I'm loving this, I'm having fun and I know that I will be prepared to play my best football on Sunday because that's what we're going to need to win," Graham said. "All of these reporters, it's fun. I am not stressing at all. I don't know if I will ever be in a position like this again, so I'm going to soak up every minute of it."
Married in an Eagles suit?
Evan Thorpe, a reporter from USA Today's For the Win, was walking around Opening Night at the Super Bowl wearing an Eagles vest that he was having players autograph.
The story behind it? Well, he was married in the vest in September of 2021, a day before the Eagles' season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
Thorpe grew up in Richmond, Virginia, but became an Eagles fan because of Donovan McNabb. He knew that he wanted to wear a green suit for his wedding. When he was fitted, he was offered a chance to line the jacket and the vest with the Eagles' logos. Say no more.
"I say thank you for not only allowing me to celebrate everlasting love with her (Joelle), but I could do it with my Eagles as well," Thorpe said.
Thorpe hopes that the Eagles win on Sunday and he can get enough Super Bowl confetti to frame it and hang it in his fan cave back home in Virginia.