Why Tom Brady Will Once Again Prove He’s the GOAT: A Preview (and Recap) of the Super Bowl

Previewing and recapping the the biggest game of the year.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

As Super Bowl LIII approaches, the story going into the game on Sunday is youth versus experience. Led by evergreen quarterback Tom Brady and veteran coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots have been a dominant team in the NFL for years, and despite enduring some struggles this year, they are back in the big game. The Rams, on the other hand, are led by a quarterback, Jared Goff, and a coach, Sean McVay. They have never been in a Super Bowl before. In fact, while this will be Brady’s ninth Super Bowl, it is only Goff’s fourth playoff game. If McVay wins the Super Bowl with the Rams, he would be the youngest head coach ever to win it all (he’s eight years younger than Brady); if the Patriots win, Belichick would be the oldest.

Speaking from a talent standpoint, the Rams definitely have the upper hand. They have skilled players at every offensive position and seemingly find a new way to attack defenses every week. Running Back Todd Gurley is coming off a foot injury and should be healthy with two weeks of rest, which will further elevate an already dangerous offense. Besides Gurley, the Rams also have star receivers Brandin Cooks, a former Patriot, and Robert Woods. Both had 1,000 receiving yards, which is a mark usually only eclipsed by one receiver on a team. McVay is an offensive genius who has incorporated all of his weapons into a smooth and effective offense that was second in the NFL in both yards and points per game.

The issue for the Rams is they are also going up against a genius who has had the past two weeks to figure out how to stop them. Belichick is known for neutralizing the opposing team's best player, a prime example being what he did to the wide receiver Tyreek Hill of Chiefs in the AFC conference championship, holding him to only three catches for 42 yards. If Belichick can take away the Rams’ top passing weapon, Cooks, much of the responsibility to make big plays will fall on fellow Rams receiver Robert Woods. Because the Patriots like to run man-to-man defense, Woods will most likely be covered by undrafted Patriots rookie J.C. Jackson, a huge matchup that has the potential to make or break the defensive gameplan of the Patriots. No matter what, Belichick will be able to slow down the Rams’ offense by getting defensive pressure on Goff, but the Rams have too many weapons and will find a way to put up points.

On the other side of the ball, the Rams’ defense matches up poorly against the Patriots’ offense. Tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman are going to have a field day against the Rams’ secondary. Both line up on the inside but Rams’ star cornerback Aqib Talib will most likely stay on the outside. The Rams’ safeties are small and won’t be able to match up with Gronk. If the Rams want to win, they have to be able to stop the run game and prevent the time consuming, lengthy drives that the Patriots execute so well. The Rams have allowed a total of 98 rushing yards in the playoffs against two of the league’s best rushing attacks, the Saints and the Cowboys. In the regular season, however, they were ranked 23rd in the league against the run. This could be the deciding factor in this game because the Rams will struggle to find a way to stop Brady and his receivers. The Rams also need to find a way to put defensive pressure on Brady because of a stout offensive line of the Patriots. Against the Chargers and Chiefs, the Patriots allowed zero sacks. As great as defensive end Aaron Donald is, his impact on this game will be limited. The Patriots will be able to figure out the Rams’ defense and dominate time of possession.

Both offenses will be able to put up points and have long drives on offense. However, at the end of the day it is hard to bet against the GOAT quarterback and coach, Brady and Belichick, respectively. When the Patriots are in need of a score or long, clock-killing drive, Brady and his offense will deliver. The Patriots are the better team situationally, especially on third down and in the red zone. Brady will once again prove that he’s the best player to ever step on the gridiron.

Final Pick: Patriots: 34 Rams: 29

Post-Game Recap:

After nearly four grueling hours of defensive pressure, punts, and incomplete passes, the Patriots came out on top—13-3 over the Rams in the lowest scoring super bowl in the history of the NFL. No one expected the defensive battle played out by the two teams. Both high flying offenses were shut down by the opponents’ defensive scheme, and no team scored a touchdown until running back Sony Michel of the Patriots ran into the end zone in the middle of the fourth quarter. Laughingly, one of the biggest highlights of the game was a record-breaking punt by Rams punter Johnny Hekker, who the commentators jokingly suggested could win the super bowl MVP because of how much he needed to play due to the inadequacy of the Rams’ offense. Even the halftime show was lackluster; everyone anticipated a Spongebob performance of Sweet Victory, only to be disappointed by Travis Scott’s autotune-less performance of Sicko Mode.

Despite the close margin of victory, the Patriots dominated the game from start to finish. The Patriots scored only three points in the first half, but they had the ball on offense for 20 minutes compared to the Rams’ 10 and forced punts on all of the Rams’ offensive drives. The Rams’ potent running game was shut down early, without help from their star running back Gurley, who was inexplicably off the field for much of the game. Young quarterback Jared Goff was constantly confused by the tricky defensive plays that Bill Belichick drew up and was sacked four times in the game. When the Rams finally found some rhythm to their offense and were in position to mount a comeback, Goff was pressured into chucking up a game-sealing interception. The Patriots’ offensive line also managed to turn the Rams’ best defensive players into no-factors, and if the Rams didn’t get a massive game from their front seven on defense, they had little chance to win the game.

This super bowl was a perfect example of why it’s hard to bet against Brady and Belichick. Belichick won a masterful defensive game, and Brady delivered clutch throws in the fourth quarter to put the Patriots up for good. Even though the game seemed unexciting and dull because of the lack of big plays on offense, true fans of football appreciated the high level of play from both defenses throughout the entire game—orchestrated by Brady and McVay for the Rams. Brady now has his sixth super bowl ring in 18 years and proved that the Patriots are far from finished. Again, it’s time for the rest of the NFL to try and knock down the Patriots as they take a familiar spot atop the league for at least one more year.