It’s that time of year again where we convince ourselves to guzzle beverages (some of them adult beverages) and pig out on various gameday food. Maybe that’s every Sunday for some NFL fans (I usually do), but Super Bowl Sunday is somehow special. It’s special to the point where people who aren’t even football fans will gather for a watch party simply because Super Bowl Sunday is everything but an official holiday. Pizza and wings will abound, your neighbor’s famous Super Bowl dip will be available in large quantities, and we’ll all gather in front of the most gaudy display of an audiovisual setup belonging to that one friend who spent thousands of dollars to deck out his man cave.
At this point, I think this is becoming a bit of a cynical rambling, but I think you should hear me out on why I feel this way. I have watched the Super Bowl, and put in my predictions for the event consistently since I recall the New York Giants destroying the New England Patriots’ perfect season. Sure, the commercials may be getting worse, and I never watch the halftime show, but there’s something about this Super Bowl that has me ambivalent towards its outcome. Personally, I have valid reasons to hate both of the teams that are in it.
Representing the AFC is the NFL’s version of the Galactic Empire from Star Wars, the New England Patriots. Headed by their supreme leader, I mean head coach, Bill Belichick and his apprentice Tom Brady, it seems like the AFC is becoming a contest of who can topple the Patriots. I don’t mean to take anything away from a team that had moments where we questioned whether this was finally the year that the Patriots were topple, but it’s become an expectation to see them in the Super Bowl. They needed everything that they could muster to beat the Chiefs in overtime, and deserved to win that game. Add on the fact that Brady is basically an android programmed to be the best quarterback, and there’s little doubt as to why he is considered the greatest of all time.
The NFC’s challenger to the reign of the Patriots is the Los Angeles Rams. All blatantly missed calls aside, the Rams executed their gameplan and were the better team against the New Orleans Saints for most of the NFC Championship Game. Still, I cannot pull for them either, and it has nothing to do with them beating my Dallas Cowboys, and everything to do with the evil human being that owns them. I am no expert on Stan Kroenke, and his evil regime, but my experience as an Arsenal supporter has given me just about all I need to see. In case you aren’t read up on why he’s bad, you can call your friend who supports any of the Denver Nuggets, Arsenal, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Avalanche, the Rams, or anyone who lives in St. Louis as to why Kroenke is unpopular. Beside the fact that he hijacked the NFL’s plan with moving teams to Los Angeles and trashing St. Louis in the midst of that, Kroenke is the epitome of an owner who is simply in it for the money, and really doesn’t care about the success of his teams (he does own several if you needed reminding). Sean McVay has been a revelation, so much so that any team will hire anyone who has ever had a football conversation with him, and he has transformed Jared Goff and Todd Gurley II into one of the most potent quarterback/running back tandems in the league. In case you doubted my above claims, Deadspin wrote an article that I like.
I guess I should go ahead and get down to business because you’ve probably had enough of me giving you reasons to not like the Super Bowl LIII matchup. In a nutshell, the game comes down to the ability of Wade Phillips to construct a gameplan that will be able to stop Tom Brady by applying pressure on him. At this point, I am sounding like a broken record because I mentioned this in the other predictions articles I have written, but I speak the truth. Brady picked apart the Kansas City Chiefs who were unable to register much of a pass rush and didn’t even sack Brady in the game. On offense, the Rams will also have to run the ball effectively in order to keep Brady off the field and the clock running. The final piece of the equation is also touchdown efficiency. That sounds fancy, but it’s actually simple: the Rams need to punch the ball into the end zone when they move the ball into the red zone, or they could be in for a long day.
As for the Patriots, the Patriots’ gameplan is fairly straightforward. Make things stand up on defense and give Brady a chance to have the ball and win the game. The best example is against the Chiefs who were able to hang with the Patriots in terms of scoring, but when the Patriots were able to stop the Chiefs early on, it allowed the offense to take pressure off of the defense by making the Chiefs one-dimensional since they had to pass. When the Chiefs finally did wake up, the defense was pretty helpless, but had it not been for the first half where they were solid, they could have been in more trouble.
Now, for the moment that you’ve probably been hoping for me to get to for the last three paragraphs, the prediction. If I had my way, it would be a tie because I just care that little for both teams. However, I do want the Rams to win in my heart because the Patriots are the NFL’s New York Yankees. My head also tells me that a Rams victory is possible, but they will have to play a near-perfect game to give themselves a chance. So, I am going to lock it in with the Los Angeles Rams exacting their revenge from their days in St. Louis.