Things have been pretty crazy since I last wrote. Players checked into the hotel for training camp, players were released, traded, upgraded, and downgraded, all in a matter of 3 weeks. Training camp kicked off on July 30, and we had two-a-days, every day until August 8th, which was the first morning off. Of course, they started again on the 9th and continued all the way up until the 13th, the day before our first preseason games. By that time, players were pretty worn down, and so was I. 5:45 a.m. wake up is not easy if you haven’t done it in a while.
The preparation for an NFL game is pretty unbelievable. The head coach here in St. Louis is a firm believe in live tackling and two-a-days like high school, and it takes a toll on everybody, not just the players. The hours got longer, nearly every department was in the office from 6 a.m. – 6 or 7 p.m. Practice totaled four hours a day, but seemed to fly by with all of the action. Watching the NFL is a totally different experience in person.
In preparation for the game, my fellow interns and I worked on everything from press releases to player interviews and coach interviews to personal requests from fans and requests from media. It got pretty hectic; especially when players started to ask me what their interview was going to be about and how I thought they should answer certain questions.
Things finally wound down a little bit a day before the game kicked off. Players were given the day off practice to study film and heal their bodies before the first preseason game. For this team, it was a pretty big deal, since the Rams are the 3rd youngest team in the NFL. The coaches had decided the most important thing was using this game as a learning experience for them as new coaches in their roles for the first time, and for the young players being out on the field for the first time in months against an opponent.
The plane took off for New Jersey (the actual home of the New York Jets) around 4 p.m. on Thursday for a Friday night game. Players checked into the hotel, had a meeting and dinner, and went to bed. The morning of the game was spent preparing the press box for action, and making sure everything on the field was set up correctly so that it would be smooth sailing for all departments come game time.
At 4 p.m. Tucson time, kickoff! By 7 p.m., the St Louis Rams walked away victorious, 23-20.
Unfortunately, the victory didn’t mean a day off. One more until the Rams face the Falcons at home.