If you were looking for a Super Bowl without Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, you’ll have to wait until next year. The Patriots have returned for their third straight Super Bowl appearance, and will face the young and fresh Los Angeles Rams. Led by University of California Berkeley alumnus Jared Goff, this matchup will feature the youngest quarterback to win the National Football Conference (NFC) against the oldest quarterback in the league.
The Rams have had a very impressive 2018-19 season, finishing with a 13-3 record. The duo of Goff and Todd Gurley proved to be an unstoppable offensive force for the majority of the season, with accurate passing from Goff and a lethal run game with an Offensive Player of the Year candidate at running back. Overall, this year’s Rams are very well rounded and the young team has proven itself time and time again throughout this season.
Meanwhile, Brady, the non-aging 41-year-old quarterback somehow led his two seed Patriots team to a win over the National Football League’s (NFL) hottest team, the Kansas City Chiefs, on Sunday, January 20, earning himself a ticket to the Super Bowl LIII. Down by four with two minutes to go, overcoming the deficit could feel insurmountable for many quarterbacks. But Tom Brady isn’t just any quarterback. The two teams combined to score a total of 38 points fourth quarter, ending regulation with a tie. The Patriots then proceeded to win the coin toss in overtime, and the Chiefs defense seemed to be moving in slow motion as Brady marched downfield, ending with running back Rex Burkhead punching in the final touchdown to end the American Football Conference (AFC) championship game.
As good as the Rams have been this season, without significant assistance from the referees in the NFC championship game, they would’ve almost certainly been watching Sunday’s Super Bowl from home. Nursing a three point lead with just minutes to go, the New Orleans Saints needed just one first down to clinch the victory. It looked like they were going to get it too, when one of the Rams cornerbacks appeared to clearly foul a Saints receiver. However, the refs thought otherwise, and the Rams went on to tie the game in regulation and win in overtime.
Meanwhile, after blowing away any speculations of their eventual downfall, the Patriots are back for revenge following last year’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Although the majority of people may have wanted to see the Patriots fall short, New England looks as sharp as ever, and have built up momentum coming into the Super Bowl. The fact that Brady and Belichick have appeared in nine Super Bowls since 2001 will certainly be a factor as well.
Although the odds seemed stacked against Los Angeles, last year the Philadelphia Eagles proved that a young team and an inexperienced quarterback could dethrone Brady with their victory in Super Bowl LII. In 2018, it was the Eagles backup Nick Foles who ended up leading his team to a championship. Although Foles became the hero that night, Goff has already demonstrated his abilities to lead his team to wins under pressure situations. He is a more than capable quarterback, who cannot be taken lightly.
While the memory of a Super Bowl appearance is fresh for the Patriots, you have to trace back all the way to 2002 to find the last time the Rams made it. Their opponent? Tom Brady and the Patriots. The result? A Patriots victory. Although this game from nearly two decades ago won’t affect Sunday’s performance, it will no doubt be in the back of the minds of long-time Rams fans.
Sunday’s game will be an exciting showdown, and even with hopes that our Berkeley alumnus at quarterback will be victorious, all anyone can do is watch as this will no doubt be an exciting matchup.