PHOENIX — Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix was bustling for Super Bowl Opening Night.
Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs jerseys were well represented in the arena.
The Eagles were introduced first and they were greeted by a thunderous ovation. Eagles players were interviewed on the floor of the arena for roughly an hour. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts drew the largest audience during Philadelphia’s session.
The Chiefs proceeded the Eagles, and they too came out to a loud applause. The popular man of the Chiefs’ hour was quarterback and MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes.
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Here are some of the highlights from Super Bowl Opening Night:
Jalen Hurts hungry to be part of history with Patrick Mahomes.
Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes are the first Black quarterbacks to go head-to-head in the Super Bowl. Hurts said he hasn’t fully digested the magnitude and significance of the accomplishment, but called the feat special.
“It can be done. The game has evolved. Times are changing,” Hurts said. “Obviously being part of something so historic and making history. You talk about breaking records and being the first to do this, but I think this is something on a whole different level. A whole different magnitude holds a different type of weight.
“I don’t know if I really have digested and kind of understand what’s going on just yet. But maybe later on. But obviously for my parents and my grandparents, this is something that isn’t normal. It’s special.”
Patrick Mahomes says ankle is doing good; motivated to get another Super Bowl win
Patrick Mahomes high ankle sprain wasn’t 100 percent during the team’s AFC championship game win over the Cincinnati Bengals, but he was able to lead Kansas City to a hard-fought win. One of the first questions he was asked on opening night was about his ginger ankle.
“It’s great,” Mahomes said when asked about his right ankle he injured in the divisional round win versus the Jacksonville Jaguars. “It’s doing good.”
Mahomes is 1-1 in Super Bowls heading into Sunday. He won Super Bowl 54 but lost Super Bowl 55. He said he used the most recent Super Bowl loss as motivation to get back to football’s biggest game.
“I think the Super Bowl I won, I just learned how special it is to have a team that believes in each other and to overcome the obstacles. We were down in every single playoff game. To be able to do that was special,” Mahomes said. “And then the loss, you learn that you can’t take things for granted and you can’t come to a game without having every box checked.
“I thought we did and we obviously didn’t. We lost that game but we used it as motivation to get back here.”
Eagles’ Haason Reddick idolized Troy Polamalu
Haason Reddick’s favorite all-time NFL player wasn’t an outside linebacker. It’s Pro Football Hall of Famer and Steelers great safety Troy Polamalu. He actually wears No. 7 in part because of Polamalu.
“Troy Polamalu, what a defensive player he was. All out every game. I loved to watch him, what he brought to the game, his intensity, the way he played and his passion. It was the reason why I chose 43 when I first came into the league because that was his number. When you add four and three together, that’s how you get seven,” Reddick said. “I was a huge Troy Polamalu fan growing up.”
This season, Reddick tallied a team-high 16 sacks, which tied him for second-most in the NFL. His 3.5 sacks this postseason leads the NFL.
Chris Jones takes notes of all the top defensive linemen
Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones didn’t really model his game after anyone or watch defensive linemen when he was first in the league, but now he watches film of some of the best defensive linemen.
“Now that I got older, I kind of realized that it’s ok to watch other people and take stuff from their game, steal a little bit and apply it to your game,” Jones said.
Jones then named some of the defensive linemen he studies.
“Fletcher Cox. I’ve been stealing some of his power moves. Quinnen Williams, Jeffery Simmons, Aaron Donald, Dexter Lawrence.”
Jones had four tackles, two sacks and five QB hits in Kansas City’s win over Cincinnati.
Darius Slay talks Eagles defense
The Eagles defense ranked No. 2 in the NFL during the regular season and has not allowed more than seven points in a game this postseason. Eagles cornerback Darius Slay was asked what made the unit so stout this season.
“We play together. We play as one. Nobody is bigger than the defense. That’s what we always preach. We make sure everyone just does their job. Nobody does nobody else’s job but yours,” Slay said. “We got guys that play for each other.”
Miles Sanders: ‘We didn’t come here just to be here’
Miles Sanders isn’t big on motivational speeches, but he might give one Sunday.
“I’m not big on rah-rah speeches. I won’t be yelling at them or anything like that. It’s the game of y’all lives, man. It’s the last one of the year,” Sanders said. “We had a great season. How do you want to be remembered, it’s simple. We didn’t come here just to be here. Let’s get the job done. Let’s win this thing.”
Sanders has 132 rushing yards and two touchdowns this postseason.
Chiefs WR JuJu Smith-Schuster names his top 5 QBs
The Chiefs wide receiver was upbeat and talkative during opening night. He was asked to name his top five quarterbacks ever.
“Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Big Ben, Aaron Rodgers and Michael Vick,” Smith-Schuster said.
Smith-Schuster played the first five years of his career in Pittsburgh, so it comes as no surprise that he named Ben Roethlisberger in his top five.
The Southern California native was also asked about being back out West again. He is feeling the warm weather.
“The state of Arizona, I love it here. It’s nice. Nice weather,” Smith-Schuster said. “I was in Kansas City and it was 20 degrees. Coming here it’s 70-plus (degrees). You can’t beat that.”
AJ Brown reveals what’s he’s going to listen to pregame
A lot of athletes listen to rap music to hype themselves pregame. For AJ Brown, it’s a combination.
“I listen to gospel before the games and then I switch it over to rap. Then right before I go out I listen to the gospel again,” Brown said.
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Chiefs’ Nick Bolton says he’s going to listen to Lil Baby
Nick Bolton is a fan of more new school rap. He said he’ll be bumping Lil Baby before the Super Bowl.
“Lil Baby is who I listen to the most,” Bolton said. “He’s probably the best one right now for me.”
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes among stars of Super Bowl Opening Night