By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Nickell Robey-Coleman is gladly embracing his role as the villain from the NFC Championship Game, where he delivered an illegal hit against the Saints that will live in infamy. Now, the Rams cornerback is taking Patriots hatred and bulletin-board material to a staggering new level.
Robey-Coleman had a lot to say to Bleacher Report’s Tyler Dunne, delivering a spectacle of scorching-hot takes about the Patriots, Saints, and Super Bowl LIII. New England’s search for a bad guy is over. Robey-Coleman just wrecking-balled in.
His most scrutinized comment will be what he said about Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who’s trying to become the oldest QB to win a Super Bowl at age 41. Robey-Coleman apparently feels that age has caught up with Brady to the point where he’s really not that impressed in what he’s done lately.
“Yes. Yes. Age has definitely taken a toll,” he said. “For him to still be doing it, that’s a great compliment for him. But I think that he’s definitely not the same quarterback he was. Movement. Speed. Velocity. Arm strength.
“He still can sling it, but he’s not slinging it as much. Whatever he was doing—because of his age and all that—he’s not doing as much of that anymore. He’s still doing the same things; he’s just not doing as much of it. And sometimes, it’s not the sharpest. But it still gets done.”
As far as how he wants and expects Super Bowl LIII to go between the Rams and Patriots? Robey-Coleman got, well, dark. He referenced the famous bar fight scene from A Bronx Tale (warning: NSFW language and violence) in which a group of disrespected mobsters beat and bloody a boorish motorcycle gang.
“We kick ’em out of the bar, beat ’em up—and the one thing he said, he looked down at a guy and said, ‘I did this to you.’ That’s how I want to feel: I did this to you. I did this to you,” said Robey-Coleman as he acted out the scene for Dunne.
Apparently, he’s something of a movie buff in addition to an extremely brash, confident player who doesn’t think much of Brady going into this game.
As you’d expect, the former Bills cornerback simply hates the Patriots as an organization after years of getting a front-row seat to their AFC East dominance.
“I’ve got Buffalo blood running through my veins, so you know I hate these guys,” he said. “I naturally hate them. I never liked New England.”
Robey-Coleman cited the oft-mentioned “arrogance” as a reason he hates the Patriots, as well as “antagonizing” teams, and “little [a-hole] stuff like that.”
His description of how to approach the Patriots? Like a fatal stabbing, of course. Give them a particularly long, excruciating death.
“Stick a dagger in them. They’re not a team that you want to play around with. Stick the dagger in them and don’t leave it in them! Take it out!” Robey-Coleman said. “And let them leak. Let them leak slow. Put the dagger in them, pull it out, and let them leak slow. Just kill ’em slowly. That’s how you do them.”
Robey-Coleman’s supreme confidence in knowing how to beat the Patriots is fascinating. The Bills went 2-6 against the Patriots in his four seasons. The two wins: a 17-9 tractor-pull in Week 17 against a Patriots team that had sewn up their playoff seeding and split the snaps between Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo; and a 16-0 shutout against the 2016 Patriots with a rookie Jacoby Brissett at quarterback.
Brady, meanwhile, posted a 97.7 passer rating in seven games against the Bills with Robey-Coleman on their roster, throwing 15 touchdowns against just three interceptions.
Robey-Coleman’s swagger, however, hasn’t grown without overcoming adversity of his own. He’s in fact had to battle through two massive family tragedies. In 2010 he lost his mother at age 44 to a heart attack, and his father had “faded out of the picture” before that. On Nov. 15 of this season, his newborn son Nickell Jr. died due to lung complications after being born prematurely.
Robey-Coleman has also had to overcome adversity in his football career, having gone undrafted in 2013 before signing with the Bills. He signed a three-year, $15.75 million extension with the Rams in 2018.
He reached a new level of notoriety after his hit on Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis, which Robey-Coleman admitted was an attempt to take a flag in order to prevent a touchdown. The officials somehow didn’t penalize him on the play and the Rams went on to beat the Saints 26-23 in overtime. The league responded with a $26,739 fine for Robey-Coleman, after ex-Patriot and Saints tight end Ben Watson had called for Roger Goodell to break his silence on the infamous non-call.
Surprise! Robey-Coleman had something to say to Watson too.
“Ben Watson, you didn’t even play! Be quiet,” he said. “I respect you as a 14-year veteran. I respect you as a league rep. But, no, in this case. No, bro. No, bro.”
Many may look at Robey-Coleman’s shot at Brady and the Patriots as inconsequential to what ultimately happens on the field in Super Bowl LIII, when the Pats take on the Rams at Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. But it’s pretty much impossible to describe this idea as anything other than bad. No need to put comments this strong out into the public, at the start of Super Bowl week. Now his words are certain to make it to the Patriots in short order, and he’s going to have cameras and microphones flooding his personal space for four straight days.
Robey-Coleman is an important player for the Rams in the Super Bowl, as he’s expected to follow Julian Edelman around on the field. Now, if Edelman can come up with one more big-time playoff performance, it will be that much more satisfying for him, Brady, and pretty much all of New England.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.