Super Bowl LIII Preview
By: Adam Bihi
Seventeen years ago, in 2002, one of the greatest sporting events took place. Super Bowl XXXVI between the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams wasn’t expected to be a very interesting game, with many favoring the Rams because of their high-octane offense, which was referred to as “The Greatest Show on Turf” led by Kurt Warner, who led the Rams to a Super Bowl win two years prior. The Patriots, led by a gangly 6th round draft pick quarterback named Tom Brady, shocked the world by upsetting the Rams 20-17 and giving America a feel-good story while the effects of the 9/11 attack still lingered. Now in 2019, things haven’t appeared to change, with a 41-year-old Brady still maintaining the clutch reputation he has earned over the years and is now looking to possibly walk off and retire with his sixth Super Bowl championship. The Rams, on the other hand, have had a successful rebuilding era thanks to their scary offense that is eerily similar to “The Greatest Show on Turf.” One could wonder though, who’s going to win and will it change the landscape of the NFL?
The Patriots, who are five-time Super Bowl champions, had a lot of critics this season. After a slow start to kick off the season, they rebounded after the bye week and just finished with an 11-5 record, a slight decline from the 13-3 record they had last year. The Patriots were underdogs in both of their playoff matches. They humiliated the L.A Chargers 41-28 and stormed into Kansas City to sneak away with the 37-31 overtime victory against the heavily favored Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots have had a lot of success this season, no doubt, but their below average defense signals big trouble against the Rams. Tom Brady is going to need to have the game of his life if he wants to be holding that Lombardi Trophy on February 3rd.
The Rams, who’ve experienced a depressing playoff drought from 2005-2016, finally have things looking up for them. With the team relocating to Los Angeles in 2016, and former Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay joining the Rams as their new coach in 2017, the Rams’ fortunes changed, making the playoffs back-to-back times. With an all-star lineup led by Todd Gurley, Jared Goff, and Aaron Donald, the Rams exceeded expectations by going 13-3. The Rams easily dispatched the Dallas Cowboys 30-22 in the divisional round. In the NFC Championship against the Saints, the Rams took the overtime victory thanks to a controversial no-call in the 4th quarter that the referees failed to call that would have given the New Orleans Saints the victory. If the Rams can just maintain their high level of play on offense, and have their defense show up for once, they will easily win this game.
This game will be an offensive shootout, no doubt. It’s just difficult to tell which defense will show up ready to play since both defenses have been playing poorly this season. I’m going to go with my gut here and predict the Patriots will defeat the Rams by a score of 27-24. I could be wrong and the Rams could start their dynasty and get revenge for Super Bowl XXXVI. All we know is that this is a game we will be talking about for ages.