Thousands of media members from across the world flocked to Marlins Park, the home stadium of the Miami Marlins, to interview Super Bowl players and coaches during their only public appearance in Miami before Super Bowl LIV. The assembled media were given access to the 49ers full roster, as well as coaches, for an hour in a free-for-all media frenzy. From magicians, to WWE superstars, to live salsa dancers, there was no shortage of outrageous moments from the San Francisco 49ers. Here are a few moments that stood out as the NFL officially kicked off Super Bowl week in Miami.
Text Messages from the GOAT
Jimmy Garoppolo is no stranger to Opening Night. In fact, he was probably the most prepared member of the 49ers, hoisting two championship trophies as a member of the New England Patriots. However this time around is much different for Garoppolo as it's the first Super Bowl the quarterback will have ever played in after serving as Tom Brady's understudy for three and a half seasons.
In his first year leading a franchise to the Super Bowl, it only makes sense that he connected with the six-time champion. Garoppolo revealed Brady reached out following the NFC Championship and offered the quarterback well wishes in his pursuit of a championship.
"Yeah he shot me a text, just 'good luck' and everything like that and just 'go handle business,'" Garoppolo said of his conversation with Brady. "(It) wasn't anything too complicated, just 'go win.'"
There's no word on if Garoppolo actually replied, however.
George Kittle Gone Hollywood
George Kittle the actor? Well at least not yet. The 49ers tight end is focused on Sunday's matchup against the Chiefs. However, he was asked if he could star in any film, what would it be. Without hesitation, Kittle responded Lord of the Rings.
"Aragon. That guy's a bad a--," Kittle said.
Emmanuel Sanders Sees Resemblance of Super Bowl 50 Team
Emmanuel Sanders has only been with the team for three months, however quickly left an impression across the 49ers locker room. The 49ers have been influenced by Sanders' character and leadership. By the same token, Sanders is enthralled with the team's chemistry. The veteran receiver, who is making his third Super Bowl appearance, compares the chemistry of the 49ers locker room to the one of the 2015 Denver Broncos – the same team that was crowned Super Bowl 50 champs.
"I don't want to say it but it's the truth. That 2015 team, I love those guys on the team. But this team right here compares just the same," Sanders admitted. "I've only been here three months and I love every single one of these guys. I love everybody from the general manager to the head coach. From John Lynch to Kyle Shanahan to all my brothers on this team because it's just the love man. It's just a love. It's a organic, authentic realness coming from everybody. There are no cliques. There's not no beef. I've never heard any of my teammates speak negatively about anybody."
Sanders went on to discuss the team-first mentality of the 49ers locker room. He cited Ahkello Witherspoon's selflessness in offering to take special teams snaps when replaced by Emmanuel Moseley in the Divisional Round against the Minnesota Vikings.
"That right there shows and it speaks, because that's how our locker room is."
The Rock is in the Building
Former WWE superstar and actor The Rock was on hand for Opening Night, and no one could have been more excited than George Kittle. Kittle took the stage with Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce and Fox Sports insider Jay Glazer and was all smiles (and possibly starstruck) fresh off of a meet and greet with The Rock.
Glazer: "Kittle is like fan-boying out. Are you okay?"
Kittle: "I just met The Rock which is cool and Travis Kelce is here, so I'm living my best life."
Uncle Sherm's Babysitters Club
Opening Night is known for its wacky and unusual questions. Father of two, Emmanuel Sanders was put to the test to see which teammate he would most trust to watch his kids. Sherman, also a father of two, appeared the most trustworthy of the 49ers locker room.
"We call him 'Uncle Sherm', you know," Sanders said. "Some people's uncles are crazy, right? But he's like Richard aka 'babysitter.' I mean he's very responsible."
Don't Mess with Shanahan's Swag
It's been well documented Kyle Shanahan has a swagger of his own. During Sanders' opening press conference this past October, he referenced Shanahan's cool factor by wearing the popular athletic shoe inspired by rapper Kanye West, "Yeezys". He's also donned a signature flat brimmed hat that is now referred to as the "Shana-hat." With a stylish swag of his own, Shanahan opted to ditched the league-issued white Super Bowl custom track suit and opted for a casual zip-up hoodie instead.
"When I got here they had on the white marshmallow looking stuff for me," Shanahan said. "I said there was no way I was wearing that. They said that's all they had. I go 'I promise you Andy Reid's not wearing that.'"
49ers Still Can't Gather "GAROPPOLO"
In December of 2017, the 49ers were put to the test in an attempt to spell San Francisco's quarterback's distinctive last name. Now two years later, the team has yet to master the Italian name. Fred Warner was asked to breakdown the quarterback's name and had no success at the attempt.
"G-A-R-A-R-R-A- no?" Warner said.
"G-A-R-A-P-O-L-P-P-O-L-O? I don't know. Forget it."
"It's about Winning"
The 49ers are not concerned about Garoppolo throwing just eight passes in the NFC Championship game. Neither are the receivers worried about putting up a career performance in the Super Bowl. Sanders did not catch a single pass in the 49ers win over the Green Bay Packers, and he is content with his performance. But what is most gratifying for the 10-year veteran is his impact in helping open up lanes for the 49ers running backs and their record-breaking success.
"Man, there isn't anything like grabbing a dude. And you're blocking a dude, and I swear—this is the God's honest truth: It might be a better feeling than scoring a touchdown, seeing a running back running off your block and to the endzone," Sanders said. "Just one of the best feelings ever. Truthfully, I hope they keep it that way because at the end of the day it's about winning."