By Andrew Carroll
The Patriots are back in the Super Bowl for the fourth time in the last five years, and for the ninth time in the Brady-Belichick era. Many thought the Patriots wouldn’t get there this year, but their 37-31 overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship clinched the spot. If you ever doubted Brady and Belichick, then you were wrong. Since 2001, this has been the most dominant dynasty in sports history. Nine trips to the Super Bowl, five wins, and now a chance for their sixth Lombardi Trophy, which would tie the Pittsburgh Steelers as the winningest franchise in the NFL. No sports team in the salary cap era will ever be able to replicate this. The way the Patriots have been able to compete for the Super Bowl year in and year out is unlike anything ever seen before. Belichick is arguably the greatest coach in the NFL, and Brady is the best player in league history.
In Super Bowl LIII next Sunday, the Pats will face the Los Angeles Rams, who defeated the New Orleans Saints in overtime for the NFC Championship. The Rams are led by a 33-year old head coach Sean McVay, fourth-year quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley (an MVP candidate), and Aaron Donald, one of the best defensive players in the league. No strangers to the game, I believe the Patriots will not be impacted by all the “Super Bowl distractions” this week. But the Rams, on the other hand, will be dealing with media day, an extra week of practice, and an extended halftime — all of which could all be a factor in the game. In an early prediction, I am going with the Patriots because of their outstanding play of late. But the Rams, who definitely have the firepower to shut down the Patriots, should not be counted out.
Side Note: The Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl, 20-17, which started this unbelievable run.