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Players Share Memories Of Last Patriots-Rams Super Bowl

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

ATLANTA (CBS Boston) -- Tom Brady is old. This does not qualify as headline news.

Yet even with the flood of coverage the ink on Brady's birth certificate generates on a daily basis, it's a story that's really punctuated when one considers how young his own teammates are.

And Monday at State Farm Arena, Super Bowl Opening Night -- aka media day -- provided the perfect opportunity to really paint that picture in vivid detail. The questions for several members of the Patriots were simple: Were you watching on TV the last time the Patriots played the Rams in the Super Bowl? And what is your earliest memory of the Patriots?

Their answers illuminate just how preposterously long Brady's run of success has been.

Running Back Sony Michel
Age for Super Bowl XXXVI: 6 years old

My first memory, just him playing in Super Bowls. All the Super Bowls, Tom Brady was probably there. I don't have a memory from the Rams one, because I was just too young.

Tight End Rob Gronkowski
Super Bowl XXXVI: 12 years old

Rob Gronkowski talks during Super Bowl LIII Opening Night. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

You know, I was a young buck. I mean, I've seen highlights from it before, but I don't remember watching the game or anything growing up. But I've seen highlights and stuff.

In Buffalo, that game must not have been celebrated very much.

I mean, no, not in Buffalo. Nope.

What is your first memory of watching the Patriots?

My real first memory is, I was a kid, they were playing the Bills and I was at the game because I was doing the Punt, Pass and Kick competition, and I was there when you go on the field and throw the football. When I was there before the game, I was yelling at a receiver. I was like, 'Yo, can I get your gloves?' And he threw 'em up to me. And I still remember that day. And it was a Patriots player. It was a wide receiver, I'm not exactly sure who it was. But it was cool that he threw his gloves to me. I was using them in the backyard for a few weeks.

That was a sign of things to come.

Yes! Definitely.

Running Back James White
Age for Super Bowl XXXVI: 9 years old

James White talks during Super Bowl LIII Opening Night. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

I most definitely was watching. I don't exactly remember the game vividly. But I mean I remember The Greatest Show On Turf, with Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk and all those guys. So it was pretty cool to see Tom and them come out with the win, being the underdogs.

Do you have a distinct first memory of watching the Patriots?

It was probably just once I got to high school and stuff, just them being contenders each and every year. You'd see the success they had, and we couldn't help but watch him and see what those guys could do.

Wide Receiver Julian Edelman
Age for Super Bowl XXXVI: 15 years old

Julian Edelman at Opening Night. (Photo by Michael Hurley/CBS Boston)

I was going crazy, because he went to Serra High School, which was like right down the street. I'm from the Bay Area, and he was there, so it was cool to see kind of that underdog guy that always had to work just to keep his job, supposed to be the second-stringer in college, but all he did was win. And he did it again. So there you go. That's why I rooted for him.

Running Back Rex Burkhead
Age for Super Bowl XXXVI: 11 years old

I was [watching]. I think I was 11 at the time. I do remember it, actually. It was unbelievable. From then, and now you're playing with Tom still. It was one of my early experiences watching football for sure.

Center David Andrews
Age for Super Bowl XXXVI: 9 years old

David Andrews (Photo by Michael Hurley/CBS Boston)

Yeah, that was kind of like, one of the first real Super Bowls I remember. And I was cheering for the Patriots, because the Rams had beaten the Titans in '99, and I kind of liked the Titans. But yeah, it's pretty crazy.

Was that your introduction to Tom Brady that night?

Yeah, it was. I didn't really know who he was. But shortly after that, I think the whole world knew who he was. So, pretty special.

Defensive End Trey Flowers
Age for Super Bowl XXXVI: 8 years old

Trey Flowers talks during Super Bowl LIII Opening Night. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

I was at home. I probably was watching it. I probably wasn't paying too much attention. I think I was around 8 or so. I probably wasn't paying too much attention, but yeah, I was at home, probably eating some meatballs, some wings, at a Super Bowl party.

What is your first memory of watching the Patriots?

To be honest, my favorite player was Robert Mathis with the Indianapolis Colts. So my memories with the Patriots probably wasn't … you know, I wasn't on their side. But they had that rivalry with the Colts and things like that. I was a Colts guy. But they were always in the playoffs. They were always competing for Super Bowls, and things like that. I understood it was a great organization.

Does that mean you grew up on the Peyton side of the Manning-Brady rivalry?

Uhh … I mean … I was a Robert Mathis fan. So, you know, it was more the Colts, not necessarily Peyton. But you know, Peyton's a great player, Tom's a great player, and Tom's my quarterback. So that's all love right there.

Safeties Coach Steve Belichick
Age for Super Bowl XXXVI: 14 years old

Steve Belichick, Bill Belichick (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Yeah, I remember an exciting night down in New Orleans. Them coming up with a big win. That was exciting.

How old were you?

I don't remember exactly. I've been asked that a couple of times. I guess I should have done that homework before I came in here. I was in about eighth grade, probably.

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore
Age for Super Bowl XXXVI: 11 years old

Stephon Gilmore (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

I was probably 12 years old. I was probably running around in the backyard, probably with my mom somewhere. I don't know.

What's your earliest Patriots memory?

I don't know … they had a lot of great players, I looked up to them. Always looked up to them.

Safety Patrick Chung
Age for Super Bowl XXXVI: 14 years old

Patrick Chung (Photo by Michael Hurley/CBS Boston)

I was trying to learn what a receiver was. Because I'm from Jamaica. So my first time playing tackle football was high school. So I really didn't watch Super Bowls. I was trying to figure out what the hell to do. What's a post route? I missed that one.

So what was your first Patriots memory?

I used to be a big Tennessee Titans fan because I watched Eddie George, and then I was a Brian Dawkins fan, just watching Brian Dawkins. And then seeing the reign of the Patriots, obviously you see that. But that came at a time of me just learning football, man. I was -- talk about aversion to the football game. I was that.

Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots talks to the media during Super Bowl LIII Opening Night at State Farm Arena on January 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Tom Brady (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Clearly, most Patriots didn't even know who Tom Brady was when he was winning the first Super Bowl in Patriots history. Come Sunday, they'll all be looking him to win number six.

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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