Super Bowl 53: The Rematch!

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Super Bowl 53: The Rematch!

Adam Carroll, Nick Lorensen, and Ben Hall

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The biggest game in football is coming up again. Super Bowl 53 will be an interesting one to watch with a blend of old and new as the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams. 

This is a rematch of Super Bowl 36, from 18 years ago, when the Patriots upset the then-St. Louis Rams, by a score of 20-17. This game kickstarted the Patriots dynasty that continues to this very day. 

Many things have changed for both teams, namely the players on both teams and the relocation to LA by the Rams. However, the quarterback and coach for the Patriots, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, are still there and they are showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. 

So how did the teams get to where they are? 

For the AFC Champion Patriots, Super Bowls are the norm. This is their third consecutive Super Bowl appearance and fourth in five years. However, heading into the playoffs, many experts have been saying that this is the weakest team the Patriots have fielded in years because of their sloppy play against inferior competition during the regular season. They had the second seed for the AFC and a first-round bye. Their first game in the divisional round against the LA Chargers was largely uneventful with the Patriots taking care of business by a score of 41-28.  

The next week, they traveled to Kansas City to take on the MVP frontrunner Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs with the AFC Championship on the line. In the first half, it looked like the Patriots would run away with it. However, the Chiefs stormed back in the second half and the game went to overtime. The Patriots drove down the field and scored the game winning touchdown to clinch the AFC. 

As for the NFC Champion Rams, this is a remarkable turnaround from years of being a laughing stock. They started out the season 8-0 and clinched the second seed in the playoffs for the NFC. After their first-round bye, the Rams hosted the Dallas Cowboys, winning by a score of 30-22. In the NFC Championship the next week, the Rams travelled to New Orleans to face Drew Brees and the Saints. Like the Patriots, the Rams won in overtime.  

However, the game was not without controversy. Towards the end of regulation, with the score tied 20-20, the Saints were driving down the field when the Rams got away with a pass interference. Had the PI been called, the Saints would’ve gotten a first down and the ability to run down the clock and kick a chip shot game winning field goal. Instead, the Saints kicked the field goal with plenty of time for the Rams to tie the game and send it to overtime. In overtime, the Rams were able to get an interception and kicked another field goal to win the game 26-23.  

The Patriots have a lot of talent that will look to continue to prove the naysayers wrong. In addition to future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady and longtime head coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots have many unsung heroes on offense. They have tight end Rob Gronkowski who can produce big results when he’s healthy.  

One setback for the Patriots was losing wide receiver Josh Gordon due to drug problems. However, they got very potent receivers in Julian Edelman, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Philip Dorsett. They also have a good running back corps. Sony Michel has had a breakout year, Rex Burkhead scored two key touchdowns in the AFC Championship, and Super Bowl 51 hero James White has been a reliable pass catcher out of the backfield. Although they aren’t known for having a good defense, they have key players who can make plays like Donta Hightower and Stephon Gilmore. 

As for the Rams, head coach Sean McVay was the savior the Rams needed to turn their fortunes around. At only 32 years old, he will be the youngest head coach ever to coach in a Super Bowl.  After years of being the wide receiver and tight ends coach of numerous different teams, the Redskins hired him as their offensive coordinator in 2014, where he coached for three years. In his first year with the Rams last year, McVay led the Rams to a 11-5 record and their first playoff appearance since 2004.  

The Rams also both have a very potent offense as well as a solid defense. They have a young quarterback in Jared Goff and he has many weapons at his disposal. They have a good running game in Todd Gurley, although he has been nursing a knee injury recently. However, CJ Anderson has been racking up stats in Gurley’s absence. They got good wide receivers in Brandin Cooks, Josh Reynolds, and Robert Woods. On the defensive side of the ball, they got two fearsome linemen in Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, as well as a solid secondary led by Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. 

In conclusion, although the Patriots are the favorites to win, this game could go either way. The Patriots have all the momentum in the world, but they aren’t invincible as history shows us. The Rams have a well-rounded team and that can give Jared Goff the opportunity to join Eli Manning and Nick Foles as quarterbacks who were able to take down the evil empire and win against the Patriots in the Super Bowl. 

For those interested, the game will happen on February 3rd with a kickoff time 6:30 pm on CBS.