The countdown has begun.
The Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots are a little over three days away from kickoff in Super Bowl LIII, but before they make their final preparations for the big game, they had to first address the media for the last time on Thursday morning.
"I'm looking forward to not having to sit here and do media every day," joked Rams place-kicker Greg Zuerlein when asked what he's looking forward to this weekend before kickoff. "Normally I sit and don't talk to anybody. Nobody cares about specialists."
No Greg, when you're the final two teams left standing, everyone cares. Just ask the nearly 40,000 fans that showed up for the Super Bowl send-off rally on Sunday in Inglewood at the site of the new stadium set to open in 2020. Those fans proved they care about "specialists" as they chanted in unison "Greg the Leg," for the 31-year-old kicker that sent the Rams to the Super Bowl after converting a 57-yard field goal in the NF Championship game.
"That was pretty cool," admitted Zuerlein. "That's been my nickname since high school. It was a cool experience seeing all the love, but at the end of the day I still have to make kicks."
You see, Greg? Specialists do matter.
Zuerlein and the rest of his 53-man team were all in attendance at the Marriot in Buckhead, Georgia to answer any final funny questions before heading out for an outdoor practice in the cold.
Temperatures reached as low as 30 degrees on Thursday, but that was a lot warmer than the 20 degrees experienced the day prior. With the uptick in the weather, Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay opted to hold practice outdoors on a grass field in nearby Flowery Branch, Georgia, home of the Atlanta Falcons facility.
"It really was (the plan to go outside)," McVay said. "We were flexible with it, but I think just having the ability to go outside and get on this surface, we felt like it was going to be a little bit better on our bodies, and the weather allowed us to do that, so it was a great day."
Now that their media obligations are behind them, the NFC Champions will fine-tune the game plan before taking the field on Sunday at the new Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Thursday's practice session started with a walk-through before stretching, and then a 70-minute practice session, that McVay called a "spirited practice."
After another practice on Friday, the Rams will head to Mercedes Benz Stadium on Saturday for one final walk-through before the big dance on Sunday.
"I'm looking forward to Sunday," said Rams center John Sullivan. "That's the only thing I'm focused on. I'm looking forward to competing for a World Championship. That's what this whole thing is about. You can take it all in, soak it up, and enjoy it, but don't lose sight of what's important this week and that's going out there and trying to win a Super Bowl."
Super Bowl LIII kicks off at 3:30PM PT on Sunday, February 3rd from the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.