Ahead of Tom Brady’s battle with Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LV, Marshall Faulk – the NFL icon who faced Tom in his first Super Bowl – tells HL EXCLUSIVELY why this game will be a ‘classic.’
If there’s anyone who knows Tom Brady’s drive to win, it’s Marshall Faulk. The former running back was part of the St. Louis Rams squad that faced the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI nearly twenty years ago. A lot has changed since then — Marshall, 47, has retired, Brady’s no longer a Patriots, the Rams are back in Los Angeles – but one thing remains the same: Tom, 43, is playing in the Super Bowl. “You know, it’s just unbelievable,” Marshall says when speaking EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife. “[Tom] is arguably going to go down as the greatest football player to ever play.”
“I saw him when he was at his first one when he was young and wet, threw for like 150 yards,” Marshall tells HollywoodLife. “And now you have this monster of a quarterback, with all the obstacles that they have managed to throw, for the amount of yards, and lead a team, with not a lot of practice, and all the COVID stuff. He got a team to the Super Bowl. It’s just unbelievable.”
Before hanging up his cleats in 2007, Marshall tasted sweet victory by helping the Rams defeat the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. So, he knows what Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, must have felt when the squad won the title last year – and how hungry they are for a second helping. The Chiefs take on the Bucs on Sunday (Feb. 7), and Marshall tells HollywoodLife that this game has a greater significance – no matter who wins. “There’s either going to be a torch passed or a lesson learned,” he says.
Marshall will also be in Tampa during the Super Bowl weekend as part of the Foundation for a Drug Free World’s “Truth About Drugs” campaign. He’ll be educating kids about drugs and sharing facts with the youth, so they can make informed decisions about the path they want to go down in life. Marshall spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife about this partnership, whether he thinks Tom will secure his seventh Super Bowl ring and more.
HollywoodLife: Tell me about the Truth About Drugs campaign of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World you’ll be focused on while you’re in Tampa this weekend?
Marshall Faulk: This campaign is one that we’ve done for several years now. We’re working with the community where Super Bowl is being held in Tampa and providing information to schools and teachers, speaking to different community centers to give kids the education necessary to know about drugs. We don’t want to tell people what to do with their life, we just want to educate them on what they’re doing with their life if they choose to partake.
Not just kids but also teachers, and we also work with the parents. If you’re a parent and you have no idea about what’s going on in your kid’s lives, or you don’t know the telltale signs of drugs, we educate you on it. We have programs.
You can go to drugfreeworld.org. We have online classes, we have information in 20 different languages. So we’re just providing.
Why are you so passionate about working with this foundation, and why is it so important to you to use your platform to spread awareness about this cause?
Growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the Desire Housing project, I saw drugs take a lot from people. And when you understand that and the lack of education on how drugs affect you. At the time that you take the drug you are alleviating the problem maybe, but boy, in due time, you become hooked, and you have a worse problem than you had before you started.
And so just the education on how it works. And I think another reason is because we only talk about street drugs when we talk about this. I’m talking about prescription drug addiction as well, or recreational with prescription drugs. Knowing when you mix two drugs, what can happen, is also part of what we provide, what we do to help people with their walk in life.
Why is it so critical to get this message out to young people, especially during this pandemic?
I mean, just think about it, we were doing this before we had a pandemic where people stuck at home. At home, there are some mental health issues, and if you add drugs with that. There’s a lot of people who needed a community, and what we do and how we do it was a way for people to maybe find refuge in something that they didn’t know they had a problem with.
The other thing is figuring out where and how to get help for this. You may not have a problem at this moment, but you might know someone who does, and you can give them the education to go to drugfreeworld.org, and I always encourage people to not wait until drugs become a problem in your house to be an advocate for abstinence with drugs.
How does it feel knowing you played against the Patriots in Tom Brady’s first Super Bowl appearance and now seeing him going for his 7th ring?
You know, it’s just unbelievable. The guy is arguably going to go down as the greatest football player to ever play. I saw him when he was at his first one when he was young and wet, threw for like 150 yards. And now you have this monster of a quarterback, with all the obstacles that they have managed to throw, for the amount of yards, and lead a team, with not a lot of practice, and all the COVID stuff. He got a team to the Super Bowl. It’s just unbelievable.
What are your thoughts for the Super Bowl as Brady, 43, who’s considered by many to be the greatest quarterback of all time, goes up against Patrick Mahomes, 25, who’s been labeled an NFL legend in the making?
To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. This is classic. There’s either going to be a torch passed or a lesson learned.
Who are you rooting for?
For the most part, I just want to see a really good game.
Do you think Brady will get his 7th ring?
It’s 50/50, you know, he’s quarterbacking one of the teams that’s going to win.
Cam Newton recently said how challenging it was learning the Patriots’ system. Brady also stepped onto a new team and made it to the Super Bowl. What are your thoughts on that?
The caliber of person and student of the game that Tom Brady is, his professionalism, and what he dedicates to the game, it shows.
What effect on the players’ mindset will it have, if any, with the Super Bowl stadium at roughly 30 percent capacity due to COVID? Do you think it will help since there will be fewer distractions? Or do the fans cheering help energize the players & keep them motivated?
They’ve dealt with it this whole season, with not having fans and having fans. To be honest, up until the Super Bowl, I never really paid attention to the fans. You just play the game, and that’s it.