When it comes to sleep, Rams head coach Sean McVay is notorious for not getting much of it. On a recent Saturday morning in California, NBC’s Peter King met McVay at his home for the head coach’s drive into the office. It was 4:10 am, and McVay had slept 4 and a half hours the night before.
On Thursday in Atlanta, McVay was asked whether he’ll be able to get some sleep ahead of Super Bowl LIII.
“I’m going to really try to commit to that these next couple days,” McVay said. “I’m a pretty wired guy. I think it is important, though, because that rest, being as sharp as possible by the time Sunday rolls around, is the most important thing.”
He’s not the only coach not getting enough Zs.
Patriots safeties coach Steve Belichick, son of head coach Bill Belichick, wouldn’t reveal his sleep habits, but he knows he’s not getting enough.
“Not as many (hours) as I should,” he told CNN.
But for the players ahead of Super Bowl LIII, sleep appears to be a priority. From the Rams players that CNN spoke with Thursday, it appears that aside from initially adjusting from Pacific to Eastern time, they’re getting that rest.
Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth says he normally doesn’t sleep much, citing in part he gets a little more rest when he’s at the hotel, away from his family.
“Normally, I don’t sleep a lot during the week until the end of the week,” Whitworth said. “The end of the week is kind of when I catch up, and I think he (McVay) is very similar that way. This week, I’ve actually been able to get in bed at a decent time. We have a little later start with the media stuff, so I’m hoping we get some good rest, which is going to be really important.”
Rams defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said his goal is to get between seven and eight hours a night.
“It’s not hard to go to sleep by any means, especially if you know how to calm yourself down and not focus on things and keep your mind at rest,” Suh said. “I think that’s one of the main reasons why I have a sports psychologist to focus on those things, breathing, all that different stuff. If you can control your mind, you’ll be in good hands.”
Rams offensive guard Rodger Saffold III estimates he slept around 12 hours from Monday night into Tuesday – which is not the norm.
“I don’t have my kids here, so I’m getting quality sleep, which is really good,” he said. “Normally, it’s normal to get between five-six hours of sleep some days, just because there’s so much to do because I feel like we have a responsibility to continue watching film and to keep going over our plays when we go home – but that’s just from a nine-year vet. I don’t know what the other guys are doing.”
He admitted he’s a little bit worried about Saturday night, but he’ll lean on the team’s nutritionist for cherry juice that should help him relax and fall asleep quickly.
“I always take a protein shake before bed, so my protein shake actually has melatonin in it as well, and I’m a huge human being, so I need all that,” Saffold said. “Usually, within 30 minutes, I’m able to fall asleep.”
Meanwhile, Rams quarterback Jared Goff doesn’t sound concerned. “The night before, I’ll sleep great,” he said.
As to how he slept before the NFC championship game against the Saints: “Slept like a baby. Slept great.”
In 2002, before he won his first Super Bowl, Tom Brady famously took a nap pregame in the locker room. As for Saturday night, “everyone wants to get a good night’s rest,” the Patriots quarterback said. “It’s a long day. It’s a lot of anxiety building up so everyone’s just got to find, to get to a good frame of mind and you gotta cut it loose when you get your opportunity.”
On Tuesday, the team’s off day, Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski told CNN he bought a humidifier for his hotel room to kind of help ease the transition into a good night’s sleep.
“Trying to make it as comfortable as it can be and as much as feel like home as I can,” he said.