Super Bowl LIII fell way short of the offensive slugfest everyone was anticipating, as the defenses took center stage. It was not the best offensive performance for either side, but the cool and collected Tom Brady, who was in his ninth Super Bowl, delivered the game’s only touchdown en route to giving the Patriots their sixth Lombardi Trophy. Sunday’s win brings New England even with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the distinction of most Super Bowl titles held.
My Five Takeaways
Super Bowl LIII wasn’t the most thrilling of games; in fact, Sunday’s game was the lowest-scoring in Super Bowl history. With that in mind, here are the five things to take away from Sunday:
- Experience matters. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were in their ninth Super Bowl, versus McVay and Goff’s first time on the big stage… and it showed. McVay usually isn’t hesitant to do whatever it takes to give his team juice. But against the Patriots, there wasn’t any juice from the offense, and not once did McVay even attempt to use Johnny Hekker as a weapon towards a fake punt, or try anything risky or creative to give his team a spark. On the field, Jared Goff wasn’t able to make the big play when his team needed him too. To put it simply, the stage got too big for the Rams, while the Patriots knew how to handle the emotion of a game that big.
- Brady was untouched. The biggest reason the Patriots hoisted another Lombardi Trophy was their offensive line keeping Brady clean. In the entire postseason, including the Super Bowl, Tom Brady was sacked only once, and hit seven times combined. Much of the credit goes to the Patriots’ offensive line for rising to the occasion and keeping their quarterback clean. Brady does an incredible pre-snap job of finding the matchups he likes. He is also superb at getting rid of the ball quickly, negating any pass rush. In fact, during the regular season, Brady was the third least-sacked (24) and fourth least-hit quarterback (only 68) in the league. Of all the pieces that have to fall into place for a team to go all the way, the biggest is the ability to keep their quarterback clean. No matter what the opposition tried, the Patriots were able to keep number 12 upright, and he handled the rest.
- Appreciate the Patriots dynasty. I know there are a lot of people who desperately wanted New England to lose. The truth is, whether you like them or not, the Patriots dynasty is one of the greatest in sports; no matter how many times people count them out, no matter what the other 31 teams do to improve to beat them, the Patriots constantly find their way to the top. This dynasty is going to end at some point, and while it is easy to hate New England, it is time people tip their cap to the team that finds a way.
- Neither of these teams are guaranteed a return
trip to the Super Bowl. While New England makes reaching the Super Bowl
look routine, at some point their dynasty will end. Sure, Brady is still
playing at an all-time high level in his 40s and doesn’t appear to be slowing
down any time soon. The AFC East is a cakewalk, but what about the rest of the
AFC? The Texans, Chiefs, Browns, and Ravens all have young promising
quarterbacks; the Colts have Andrew Luck, and the Chargers, with star power at
quarterback, will be in the mix as well. While the Patriots will be the
favorites in the AFC again next year, there will be plenty of challengers
trying to unseat them.
The NFC, on the other hand, is a dogfight of a conference. There has not been an NFC team to reach back to back Super Bowls since Green Bay went to Super Bowls XXXI and XXXII in ‘96 and ‘97. The NFC West figures to be a battleground next season, with the Rams facing stiff competition from the Seahawks and 49ers (depending on how well Garoppolo recovers from his torn ACL). If they make it out of their division, the Rams will have to get through a loaded NFC South, a pretty tough NFC East, and then the Bears and Packers are likely to be in the mix from the NFC North. The Rams have the talent and coaching to become back-to-back NFC Champs; the question will be how hungry they are they to get back.
- Defense still exists. It plays a critical role even in an era in which the rules favor offense. It was great to see both defenses take center stage for a change. Both teams put together great defensive game plans and executed them perfectly, as both offenses were not as sharp as we are accustomed to seeing.
Though the game was not a barn burner, congratulations to the Patriots for fighting and grinding their way to their sixth title, as their run of dominance continues to impress. Now we wait another year. The journey towards Super Bowl LIV in Miami has begun, as 31 teams look to snatch the throne from New England.