Did Peyton Manning play a small role in helping the Patriots beat the Rams?

Did Peyton Manning play a small role in the New England Patriots beating the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII?

It appears so.

Manning has been retired for three years, but Patriots backup quarterback Brian Hoyer used one of the projects Manning is currently involved with to help him prepare his teammates on defense for the Super Bowl.

Hoyer’s hunch proves correct

The 33-year-old Hoyer is in his second stint with the Patriots. He signed with the team as an undrafted rookie in 2009, spending three years as Tom Brady’s backup.

He bounced around a bit, but got a chance to be a starter in 2013-14 with the Cleveland Browns. In Cleveland, Hoyer played under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan — and a young coach named Sean McVay, who was then tight ends coach.

Via Albert Breer of The MMQB, Hoyer (who also played for Shanahan in San Francisco) believed he’d have institutional knowledge of the offense McVay now runs with the Rams because of his time in Shanahan’s system.

So in the days before the Super Bowl he watched Manning’s “Detail” on ESPN+, the episode centered around Rams quarterback Jared Goff, and quickly realized the offense is the same one he worked in.

Hoyer watched film of the Rams, saw an interview in which Goff and McVay discussed McVay being in Goff’s ear right up until the 15-second cutoff during games, and for good measure, he watched the Amazon series “All or Nothing” which focused primarily on the last days of Jeff Fisher’s tenure with the organization but included McVay’s first organized team activities from his first months with the Rams.

The language was the same.

Armed with all of that, Hoyer was able to do a great job impersonating Goff during practice, preparing his teammates for how to play Los Angeles’ young quarterback.

“Having played in that offense, they don’t have an answer for all-out pressure,” Hoyer told Breer. “Their answer is for the quarterback to make a play.”

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Super Bowl LIII: Patriots vs. Rams
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Super Bowl LIII: Patriots vs. Rams
Tom Brady (12) de los Patriots de Nueva Inglaterra festeja tras un touchdown ante los Rams de Los Ángeles durante la segunda mitad del Super Bowl, el domingo 3 de febrero de 2019, en Atlanta. (AP Foto/Jeff Roberson)
New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski (87) catches a pass in front of Los Angeles Rams' Marcus Peters (22) and Cory Littleton (58) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
New England Patriots' Stephon Gilmore, right, intercepts a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams' Brandin Cooks (12) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
New England Patriots' Kyle Van Noy (53) sacks Los Angeles Rams' Jared Goff (16) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
New England Patriots' Jason McCourty (30) breaks up pass intended Los Angeles Rams' Josh Reynolds (83), during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Los Angeles Rams' Aaron Donald (99) hits New England Patriots' Tom Brady (12) during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
New England Patriots' Stephen Gostkowski (3) gestures after scoring a field goal, during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. The Patriots defeated the Rams 13-3.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Los Angeles Rams' Robert Woods (17) breaks a tackle by New England Patriots' Jonathan Jones (31) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
New England Patriots' Tom Brady (12) throws the ball as Los Angeles Rams' Ndamukong Suh (93) rushes during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Los Angeles Rams' Jared Goff (16) throws a pass during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Los Angeles Rams' Greg Zuerlein (4) watches his field goal during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the New England Patriots Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
New England Patriots' Jason McCourty (30) breaks up a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams' Brandin Cooks (12) during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots runs the ball against John Johnson #43 of the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Sony Michel #26 of the New England Patriots scores a touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots is interviewed after his teams 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots and teammate Tom Brady #12 celebrate at the end of the Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: James Develin #46 of the New England Patriots celebrates with his son William Robert Develin after the Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Hoyer helped Stephon Gilmore’s interception

Devin and Jason McCourty told a story about Hoyer: earlier in the season, Hoyer pointed out that when the defense was playing close to the line of scrimmage, a quarterback would throw deep, looking to take advantage of the secondary being at a disadvantage.

He was right: the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers both saw the same thing and had some success with deep passes against the Patriots. But they adjusted.

So as the clock was ticking in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, with Los Angeles facing second down from the New England 27 and clicking in the passing game, New England cornerback Stephon Gilmore played a little farther back when teammates blitzed. Goff threw off his back foot, and Gilmore was in position for a critical interception.

Hoyer had done such a good job preparing his teammates that when the Patriots were practicing in Atlanta, he felt frustrated.

“They had everything covered,” Hoyer said. “I was like, ‘Either these guys know what all our plays are, or they’re gonna ball out in the game.’ You could see it. They were playing so fast, they were so on top of it. And you get to the game, and they go and have the best defensive performance I’ve ever witnessed.”

Hoyer was the only one of the Patriots’ 46 players in uniform for the Super Bowl that didn’t play a snap, but he made his contribution to their win before kickoff.

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New England Patriots celebrate Super Bowl LIII win
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New England Patriots celebrate Super Bowl LIII win
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Brandon King #36 of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Los Angeles Ram in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
New England Patriots' Julian Edelman, left, and Tom Brady celebrate after the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. The Patriots won 13-3. Edelman was named the Most Valuable Player.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
El entrenador Bill Belichick de los Patriots de Nueva Inglaterra es bañado tras la victoria ante los Rams de Los Ángeles en el Super Bowl 53, el domingo 3 de febrero de 2019, en Atlanta. Los Patriots ganaron 13-3. (AP Foto/Patrick Semansky)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: New England Patriots players give head coach Bill Belichick a Gatorade shower after winning the Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: David Andrews #60 of the New England Patriots celebrates his teams 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams with the Vince Lombardi Trophy during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Head Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (C-R) and quarterback for the New England Patriots Tom Brady (C) are surrounded by journalists as they celebraet after winning Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots hugs father Tom Brady Sr. after the Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: New England Patriots cheerleaders celebrate their 13-3 win over Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Matthew Slater #18 of the New England Patriots celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after his teams 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Matthew Slater #18 of the New England Patriots celebrates his teams 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with Vivian Lake Brady after his 13-3 win against Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
New England Patriots' Tom Brady (12) embraces Patriots owner Robert Kraft after the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. The Patriots won 13-3. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
New England Patriots' Tom Brady holds his daughter, Vivian, after the NFL Super Bowl 53 football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, in Atlanta. The Patriots won 13-3. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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