“Tips from the NFL, Super Bowl and Superstars”

The first Italian to win the “Vince Lombardi Trophy” talks about his life with the Los Angeles Rams: “A crazy organization. What an honor to train with Whitworth!”

Pietro Razzini

@
pedro78pr

He was the first Italian to win the Super Bowl, the final act of the NFL season that drives millions of fans crazy every year. He is the protagonist of an exciting story, from Bressanone to Los Angeles to make the dream that every athlete who wields an oval ball aspires to come true. Maximilian Pircher, born in 1999, only started playing football in 2018. Talent, determination and predisposition took him to the top of the world in a very short time. But don’t worry: the boy doesn’t seem to suffer from vertigo. And remembering that historic afternoon a few months ago, when his Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20, he relives the sensations of a magical moment: “First of all, I remember the atmosphere: being on the field with my teammates has been wonderful. What the NFL manages to build around this event is crazy. And then Cooper’s touchdown moment (Kupp ed) – the one that marked the final score. Finally, the locker room party – sheer bliss That’s when I began to realize that I had won something crazy”.

Crazy is also his way. How was the first acclimatization?

“The Los Angeles Rams never leave anything to chance: there is a group of people who help rookies in various ways. Also, we can call a 24-hour phone number if we need to resolve a problem. They supported me in everything.”

Staying on topic: was the language a problem?

“In the soccer year that preceded my arrival in the United States, I played on a team with some English-speaking athletes. It was very useful. Sure, some words are different across the ocean but, in a couple of months, I’ve adapted. I had no choice but to speak English. It was easier to learn that way.”

Are the training sessions between Europe and the NFL so different?

“The presence of great coaches in the Old Continent has brought the two worlds closer together. One of the main differences is related to the number of people who work with us as players. In general, training here is a little harder but life is easier because we don’t have to think about anything other than training to the fullest”.

How is your day marked?

“I always start with a good breakfast. Then space for massages, sauna, stretching. In this period we are working to achieve the best conditions. So lots of legwork and plenty of room for weights. We train from Monday to Friday in the morning when there is no championship.”

How do you spend your free time?

“I try to get to know Los Angeles: I like the city. It is wonderful to live here even if it is strange not to see snow at Christmas. I have my own car and I move freely. On the weekend, however, I fly to Florida to spend time with my girlfriend.”

How important is a girl like Katie in your life as an athlete?

“It’s fundamental: we talk every day, he supports me despite the distance. We face many situations and he always has the right word to help me. Here we players have everything except what you think is worth a lot to me. I think we can define the importance of affections.”

So, let’s introduce the topic of the mental aspect in the game.

“We have a sports psychologist who is on staff with the Rams. It is the veterans of the team, however, who have a decisive role in this area. His experience, his advice, make the difference. In addition, the “Nfl PA” (Nfl Player Association) helps and supports us”.

Speaking of veterans: You played Andrew Whitworth, one of the best left tackles in the league.

“An honor to have worked with him. I play as an offensive lineman. Just like Andrew. It was inspiring to be able to see up close what he does every day on the pitch. He is able to teach faster and more effectively than many other people because he has already experienced everything that I am experiencing. And he explains it clearly. We keep in touch even now that he has stopped.”

In your opinion, what are the characteristics that a good offensive lineman should have?

“Being heavy is not enough for this role. How you move is decisive: you need to have the speed of a 90-kilogram person in the body of a man who weighs 150. That’s why training and nutrition become essential. And then, in my role, you need to learn a lot of “works”. So the mental aspect is just as important as the physical.”

How much time do you spend analyzing the Playbook?

“Now I feel more confident but at the beginning of this adventure I had to study more than for high school or for a university exam. In addition, the schematic book is constantly evolving because, week by week, the coaches study the opponents and adapt the tactics. You never stop learning.”

Mind, body but also nutrition.

“The Los Angeles Rams nutritionist perfectly explains what we should eat and how much we should eat. Fortunately, his program includes sushi and steak, my favorite foods. I also really like pizza. But the Italian, not the American. So giving up is not that difficult.”

What did you give up to pursue your dream?

“If it’s really a dream, you have to pursue it with all your might. If you are not 100% committed to your goal, you cannot achieve it. This is showing me the path I’m taking. This way you can also push your limits.”

“When I arrived in Florida, at the Orlando Academy, I discovered that my body could go beyond what I expected. And that my mind could withstand certain difficulties or pressures. You have to give your best in the present. And then also trusting fate a little bit, knowing however that you have done everything in your power to achieve the goal.”

Did you pick number 66?

“In Europe I used to play with that number on the shirt. They gave it to me when I moved to Innsbruck. The Rams thought to confirm this. What I like the most is the attention that the company gives me. A non-trivial gesture. It’s nice to see my shirt hanging in the locker room before a game”.

What’s life like in the Rams’ locker room?

“There is great respect for the stars of the team. But at the same time, even the big names reserve the same treatment for other athletes because they know how difficult it is to break into the world of the NFL. Our veterans invite us to their home to improve team spirit. They don’t weigh your status. We often run the risk of forgetting that they are superstars in the United States.”

“The will of the company is to win the Super Bowl again. From a personal point of view, I want to help the team by giving my best and leaving nothing to chance. And when my teammates need me on the pitch, I’ll be ready.”



Leave a Comment