Super Bowl 53: New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams
Well, here we are! You spend all season waiting for the Super Bowl and suddenly, it’s just a couple days away. And even though we’re being forced to sit through another few hours of Tom Brady, most people would agree that the chances are good we’ll have an entertaining game to watch.
So, let’s start off our extravaganza by ….
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
WE INTERRUPT THIS SUPER BOWL PREVIEW TO DEAL WITH THE SAINTS
Sigh. New Orleans, I feel your pain.
You have every right to be upset. You really do. Nickell Robey-Coleman definitely committed at least pass interference when he plowed into Tommylee Lewis on a crucial third down in the fourth quarter. It should have been flagged.
And yet, at the same time, it’s hard to feel THAT much sympathy. There was still football left to play after that non-call. You could have kept the Rams from advancing far enough to kick a game-tying field goal that sent the game into overtime. You didn’t.
I would have felt really bad if the Rams won the toss in overtime and went right down the field for a touchdown to win it without letting Drew Brees on the field. That didn’t happen. The Saints won the toss. It was crucial for Brees to take care of the football. He didn’t. He got hit and floated a pass that was intercepted by John Johnson, giving the Rams a short field to set up for the game-winning field goal.
You could have made that non-call irrelevant. You didn’t.
The Saints’ postgame complaints were predictable, but to put all of the blame on one decision by the referee is disingenuous. And the demands for Roger Goodell to immediately show himself and comment on what went down seemed asinine.
What is the commissioner supposed to say? Referees miss calls all the time. And no, what happened in the Superdome doesn’t qualify as some cataclysmic event where the game must be replayed from the spot of the foul. Goodell said as much during his “state of the NFL” press conference on Wednesday.
It’s over. I’m sure Saints Nation will continue to complain about this in perpetuity, but as of right now, this storyline needs to stop.
Then again, I’m a Rams fan, so I’m probably biased.
BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING
Now that we’ve taken care of that, let’s take a look at a few names to watch on Super Bowl Sunday.
I always knew he had it in him. That’s a lie. I had my doubts, but he quickly silenced them beginning last season. Maybe he’s a system quarterback, maybe Sean McVay is babying him through his helmet microphone and spoon-feeding him the proper reads.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. Goff is the one throwing the ball and he’s made some excellent throws this season. And when the Rams needed him to stand strong through adversity, he was right there in the NFC championship game dealing with a raucous crowd.
He’s going to need to be perfect on Sunday. He’ll have to be an adult and deal with what Bill Belichick throws at him. He needs to take care of the ball and convert on crucial third downs. In fact, if he could repeat the performance he had against the Vikings on a Thursday night this season (465 yards, 5 TDs, perfect passer rating), that would really be ideal.
If he wins on Sunday, it just adds to his greatness. If he loses, nobody will think any less of him. It’s good to be Tom Brady. As corny as his “us against the world” postseason attitude has been. You can’t deny what he’s done.
He smoked the Chargers at home and he got out of Kansas City with a win. Now he’s got the upstart Rams on a neutral field. Something tells me he’s not sweating this one.
THE CITIZENS OF ST. LOUIS
This has to hurt, huh? Bad enough the Rams left, but for them to go from perennial NFC West doormat to the Super Bowl in just three years? Ouch.
Why does that sound familiar? Oh, that’s right, because I know exactly how that feels. The Rams left Southern California in 1995 and just a few short years later, had the Greatest Show on Turf and won a Super Bowl. I had to watch then owner Georgia Frontiere say, “It proves we did the right thing in going to St. Louis.”
There have been a few stories over the past two weeks about glum St. Louis residents and their hurt feelings at watching their former team reach the big game. I’ve read them all.
And I haven’t lost any sleep. If that makes me a bad person, I’ll live with that.
LAS VEGAS SPORTSBOOKS
Reports out of Sin City is that a huge majority of Super Bowl bets are being placed on the Patriots. A Rams win could be a big windfall for the establishment. Remember, there’s a reason those casinos are so huge.
I’d hate to own a sportsbook if the Patriots win though.
This poor bastard.
Maroon 5 is an easy band to mock, because their songs are way too catchy and their lead singer is really handsome. But from all accounts, Levine seems like a nice guy and he’s been caught up in this halftime controversy, through no fault of his own.
Is it his fault Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job? No.
Then, there’s no reason he should turn down the chance to play on undeniably the grandest stage in this country. Nothing draws a bigger audience than the Super Bowl and Adam Levine has nothing to apologize for.
However, I feel comfortable predicting this: No matter what he does on Sunday, the wide majority of the media coverage on it will be negative. Bitter bloggers and media hacks will go into Sunday determined to hate Maroon 5 and will bend over backwards trying to prove their snarky bona fides to each other.
In case you hadn’t heard, the Super Bowl will be broadcast on CBS! And if you choose to watch it on the CBS All Access app, you can rest easy knowing that my wife will be on duty to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Anyway, Mr. Romo has made quite a name for himself as a broadcaster, as he displayed his knack for knowing what play was coming during the Patriots-Chief AFC championship game.
Romo should be able to do the same on Sunday. Let’s put the over/under on successful predictions at 20. I’m taking the over. Especially if this game comes down to the wire.
Super Bowl week was pretty quiet, all things considered. The only facepalm moment came when Robey-Coleman, the man who stuck the knife in New Orleans’ back, started running his mouth about Tom Brady showing his age.
Now, there’s no need to make more of this than necessary, because he was also very complimentary. He also walked back his statement later in the week. However, he should know better.
The referees will undoubtedly keep a close eye on him on Sunday. He’s not going to get the benefit of the doubt in this game, no sir. If he so much as breathes on Julian Edelman, the flags will come flying. He doesn’t need to give Tom Brady motivation to make him look stupid on top of that.
If the rumors are to believed, this could be the final game for Gronk. Win or lose, people are saying he’s going to hang up his spikes and find a party that he can keep going for the rest of his life.
I’ll miss him. Even though I get embarrassed watching him dance. It would be nice if he went out with a win.
The Patriots starting linebacker missed practice on Thursday with an illness. Bill Belichick, in true Belichickian fashion, didn’t give many details except to say that Hightower will be evaluated again on Friday.
Reason for concern? Maybe not, as there’s plenty of time between now and the game for Hightower to recover. But, you know how Belichick is when it comes to last-second Super Bowl decisions. Will we see a repeat of Malcolm Butler if Hightower is unable to practice the rest of the week?
He’s still a young man. But, can you imagine what will happen if he actually wins the Super Bowl? People he went to elementary school with will get NFL job offers.
But seriously, many a trained eye will be focused on the wunderkind on Sunday, as he’s going up against the best coach in NFL history. Will he panic under the pressure? Will he be overzealous and take too many chances? Will he feel that annoying need to be the smartest person in the room?
One thing is for sure: His hair will be outstanding.
This is my nightmare scenario. Patriots get the ball to start and go on a 13-play drive that ends in a touchdown. The Rams get the ball back, go three-and-out and give the ball back to Tom Brady, who begins another double-digit play scoring drive. Rinse and repeat and the score is 28-0 before the game reaches halftime.
That very well could happen. However, this is what is most likely happen.
There will be runs by both teams. The game will go into halftime with just a few points separating the Rams and Patriots. Then, in the second half, the Rams will take the lead. For a few minutes, I will actually be somewhat convinced that the Rams can actually win.
Then, Tom Brady will get the ball, go 7-for-7 on a clutch late-game drive that will earn him Super Bowl win No. 6.
Final score: Patriots 31, Rams 28.
Enjoy the game!
Currently a Mobile Editor at Yahoo, Saraf spent 5.5 years (Oct. 2010 - Feb. 2016) working for FOX Sports as an NFL Editor and Writer. Prior to that, Saraf worked for CBS Interactive for 4.5 years (May 2006 - Oct. 2010) as a Staff Editor.