Category: Super Bowl LIII

Super Bowl LIII: Patriots DB Obi Melifonwu has backing of coaches as he lives out dream with hometown team

Obi Melifonwu has had a rollercoaster start to his NFL career.
A second round pick in 2017 by the Raiders, Melifonwu was released in his second season. He latched on with the Patriots, the team he cheered on as a child growing up in Grafton, Mass., first with a practice squad deal.
Now he’s preparing to play in the Super Bowl for his hometown team.
For Melifonwu, it’s a valuable point on a journey that he hopes won’t end anytime soon.
“I’m a strong believer in if you’re not getting better at something, you’re getting worse, so to be in this position and to come this far, you definitely have to have something that’s deep inside that nobody can really push you to be great or do things to the best of your ability,” Melifonwu told NESN.com. “That’s something that you have to push yourself. What motivates me and gives me a chip on my shoulder is I wasn’t highly recruited out of high school. I had one offer to UConn. So, that’s definitely something that’s given me a chip on my shoulder.”
Melifonwu’s former coach and principal at Grafton (Mass.) High School are both excited about the Patriots playing in the game … and seeing their former charge excel on the stage he has. And they’re confident that Melifonwu landing with the Patriots was meant to be.

I grew up a Pats fan, and as a little kid I would pray that one day I would be a part of this team and end up going to the Super Bowl. All I can say is thank you God. If you knew what I’ve been through you would understand why I am so grateful, I am truly blessed beyond belief. pic.twitter.com/vuxDD1eK3k
— Obi Melifonwu (@Obi_1nOnly) January 21, 2019

“What he’s gone through – being drafted and then being released and then picked up by the Patriots – he’s worked hard, it’s well-deserved,” Grafton High School Principal James Pignataro told MassLive. “Beyond that, he’s just a tremendous person.”
Added Grafton football coach Chris McMahon: “I think he always knew that he had the ability to maybe do something special. When he came here from the Raiders, I think we all felt this was the best possible situation for him – to be in a place where there’s tremendous stability, where there’s veteran presence in the locker room to guide him. I think him being in the Patriots organization himself was probably the best thing that could’ve happened to him.
“The biggest thing to me with Obi is just the type of person he is, he’s genuine, honest, hardworking, he’s the kind of guy you want on your team. He’s the kind of guy you want to root for, as well. Sometimes we lose track of what makes these guys successful, and I think Obi’s success lies in his personality.”
With one more win on Sunday, Melifonwu would get to flash that personality alongside the Lombardi Trophy, and bring a little bit of Grafton, Mass. to the brightest lights and stage. He dreamed of doing precisely that with precisely this team when he was in high school, and now he’s almost there.

Tom Brady's dad shares funny stories of a younger Tom Brady throwing objects

Tom Brady is 41 years old and continues to throw footballs at a high level.
According to his dad, Tom Brady also enjoyed throwing something else when he was younger: golf clubs.
The father, Tom Brady Sr., and son oftentimes made bets on the golf games they played, per Boston.com.
“I remember one particular day we were on our way to Candlestick Park to see the Giants, but we stopped at the golf course to play nine holes,” Brady Sr. told ESPN’s Get Up.
“Of course, we would always [do] double or nothing. By the time we got to the seventh hole, he owed me about 40 car washes, and he ended up throwing the club into the tree.”

RelatedRams star Todd Gurley had a big-time college doubt him in HSSuper Bowl LIII: Patriots RB James White's nickname comes from HS writing teacher, not his footwork
Brady Sr. said, that after Brady threw the club, the father sent his son to the car and told him he would not play golf with him anymore.
“He begged me he’d never do it again,” Brady Sr. told Get Up. “And we drove home [after going to the Giants game] and stopped at the golf course and played another nine holes of golf, but that didn’t stop him from throwing golf clubs.”
That wasn’t the only time Brady threw something out of anger.
When his son went off to college, Brady Sr. saw a hole in his wall, left by a television remote that the younger Brady had thrown about three years earlier when he was in high school. Brady Sr.’s wife, Galynn Brady, hid the hole from her husband by putting a picture over it.
“Then she moved the picture, and I discovered the hole in the wall,” Brady Sr. said. “It was one of those things where he couldn’t believe that something had occurred, and put the T.V. remote through the wall.”
Barring an injury, Brady will be throwing in Super Bowl LIII when his New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams are quarterbacked by Jared Goff, who, like Brady, grew up in the Bay Area playing football, basketball and baseball. The game is on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

RelatedSuper Bowl LIII: Rams coach Sean McVay even shows total recall on high school playsALL-USA players in Super Bowl LIII: Sam Shields

ALL-USA players in Super Bowl LIII: Lamarcus Joyner

High school rankings aren’t everything, but sometimes top players continue to excel into adulthood. Super Bowl LIII will feature five players who made an ALL-USA team while in high school. Let’s take a look at the players who blossomed into NFL-caliber talent and their high school accomplishments leading up to it.
The list doesn’t include Los Angeles Rams RB Malcolm Brown (Injured Reserve), DB Steven Parker (practice squad) or New England Patriots RB Jeremy Hill (Injured Reserve), none of whom will play in the game.
The 2019 Super Bowl between the Rams and Patriots will take place Feb. 2 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. It can be viewed on CBS.
MORE: Andrew Whitworth | Sam Shields

<p><strong>Position</strong>: OL<br />
<strong>High school</strong>: West Monroe HS (La.)<br />
<strong>Year named ALL-USA</strong>: 2000<br />
<strong>Noteworthy</strong>: Whitworth won two championships in high school and played in the first-ever U.S. Army All-American Bowl in 2000.</p>

<p><em>Photo: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports</em></p>

<p><strong>Position</strong>: WR<br />
<strong>High school</strong>: Booker HS (Sarasota, Fl.)<br />
<strong>Year named ALL-USA</strong>: 2005<br />
<strong>Noteworthy</strong>: Shields serves as a cornerback nowadays, but in high school, he was a dominant receiver. Shields put up 67 receptions, 1,201 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2005.</p>

<p><em>Photo: AP (left); Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (right)</em></p>

<p><strong>Position</strong>: DB<br />
<strong>High school</strong>: St. Thomas Aquinas HS (Fort Lauderdale, Fl.)<br />
<strong>Year named ALL-USA</strong>: 2009<br />
<strong>Noteworthy</strong>: The 2009 ALL-USA Defensive Player of the Year, Joyner consistently shutdown his receiver. MaxPreps lists him as having 10 tackles in 2009 while also playing offense and special teams.</p>

<p><em>Photos: Eliot J. Schechter (left); Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports (Right)</em></p>

<p><strong>Position</strong>: WR<br />
<strong>High school</strong>: Junipero Serra (Gardena, Calif.)<br />
<strong>Year named ALL-USA</strong>: 2009<br />
<strong>Noteworthy</strong>: The No. 3 player in his class ranked by 247Sports, Woods put up consecutive 1,000+ yard seasons and had 41 total receiving touchdowns in high school. On defense, he had three straight seasons of seven or more interceptions and 80+ tackles.</p>

<p><em>Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports (right)</em></p>

<p><strong>Position</strong>: RB<br />
<strong>High school</strong>: American Heritage School (Plantation, Fl.)<br />
<strong>Year named ALL-USA</strong>: 2013<br />
<strong>Noteworthy</strong>: As an eighth grader, Michel rushed for 1,825 yards and 18 touchdowns. He did not play his sophomore year, but finished his career with 6,659 yards and 81 touchdowns, and broke 2,000 all-purpose yards as a senior.</p>

<p><em>Photos: Tom Lemming (left); Brian Fluhart/USA TODAY Sports (right)</em></p>

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2009 ALL-USA DB Lamarcus Joyner
High school: St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
“Everybody has a plan until they get hit.”
That’s the mantra of Los Angeles Rams DB Lamarcus Joyner. He’s typically the one doing the hitting.
It’s been that way since high school, when he emerged as a star at Southwest High School (Miami, Fla.) and then transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) for his senior year, which, according to Sports Illustrated, was a move in part to help his grades reach college eligibility.
That season, he was the ALL-USA Defensive Player of the Year. He prevented the players he covered from even catching the ball, racking up only 10 tackles, according to MaxPreps. Quarterbacks would look the other way or be punished.
Joyner was also a contributor on offense and special teams. This includes one kickoff return he returned through calf cramps for a touchdown, the SI piece describes. “We call that Automatic Six,” Joyner told the outlet. “It’s just an automatic with Lamarcus Joyner back there.”

He went on to attend Florida State, where he became a unanimous All-American and helped the Seminoles win the 2014 BCS Championship Game.
Joyner was drafted in the second round, No. 41 overall, to the Rams.
Tomorrow: 2009 ALL-USA wide receiver Robert Woods, Junipero Serra HS (Gardena, Calif.)