As we come to the end of another football season, we reach the biggest game of the year: the Super Bowl. Seeing as how the Super Bowl is such a big game, there are so many people who watch the game that don't watch football any other time of the year. Well, just like when you watch the ending of a movie without watching everything that came before it, there is a lot of details needed to understand the game.
Since I consider myself an aficionado of sports, I figured I'd help everyone prep for the big game. Whether you're trying to impress your significant other, relate to your sports' loving friends, or just want to better understand the game, this list is for you. So here are the ten Things Everyone Needs To Know Before Super Bowl LIII.
1. Setting the Stage
As even the casual fans know at this point, Super Bowl LIII is between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams. Most of y'all are also probably aware that the game is in Atlanta, Georgia at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. What's important to note is that the local Falcons fans are probably cheering for the nuke because they lost to the Patriots two years ago in the "28-3" game and they are the only team to beat Sean McVay's Rams in the playoffs.
Whoever wins, the Falcons' fans lose.
2. The Road So Far...
The New England Patriots went 11-5 in the regular season en route to a tenth straight AFC East title and ninth straight first-round bye. The Patriots won the AFC side of the playoff bracket by beating the Los Angeles Chargers in the Divisional round and the Kansas City Chiefs in the Championship round, who both finished the regular season 12-4. This resulted in a third straight Super Bowl for the Pats, after an eighth straight AFC championship game appearance.
The Los Angeles Rams went 13-3 in the regular season en route to a second straight NFC West title and their first first-round bye since 2003. The Rams won the NFC side of the playoff bracket by beating the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional round and the New Orleans Saints* in the Championship round, who finished the regular season with a 10-6 and a 13-3 respectively. This resulted in a fourth Super Bowl appearance for the Rams franchise, and the first since returning to LA.
*see entry four
The Rams and the Patriots have faced once before in the Super Bowl, which was won by the Patriots and Tom Brady, who took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe. This began one of the greatest dynasties that the sports world has ever seen, with five Super Bowl wins, nine Super Bowl appearances, sixteen AFC East titles, and sixteen playoff appearances.
The Rams have been almost the opposite of the Patriots in terms of success since Super Bowl XXXVI. Now they have the opportunity to bring the sunset on the Pats' dynasty, after being the team that "started" it.
4. The Call
In order for us to get to the sunrise-sunset moment, the Refs had to blow the biggest call of the NFL season in the NFC Championship game. There are a lot of layers to this story, but the bottom line is that the Saints got robbed of the opportunity to be the team facing the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Now the Rams do deserve some credit because the capitalized on the call and the Saints' mistakes, but they should have never had a chance.
Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Georgia's own Big Boi. This is an... interesting line-up, but one with the ability to over-deliver on their performance. Given the current run of Super Bowl halftime performances, this could be a classic or meh.
I'm leaning more towards meh, but that's partly due to the expectations of this set-list being meh. That said, if Andre 3000 comes out with Big Boi for an OutKast reunion, I am jumping out of my chair and grading this show a ten out of ten.
6. The Commercials
When halftime comes around, some of the best Super Bowl commercials tend to come on. If the "leaked" ads are anything to go by, then we could be in store for one of the best sets of commercials in recent history. If the leaks are the peak, however, then this could be underwhelming like last year.
Still, knowing some of the ads beforehand can be beneficial to know when to pay attention to ads.
The Drake curse gave us to overtime games in the championship games, so the Super Bowl could end up going to overtime thanks to his prediction that everyone would win. If the Drake curse is real, then we should be getting a Rams' win in overtime. If it happens, blame or thank Drake.
8. Old-School Football
Given that this season was passing galore, the fact that both teams are going into the Super Bowl with committees of great running backs. Expect to hear the names Sony Michel (NE), James White (NE), James Develin (NE), Rex Burkhead (NE), Todd Gurley (LAR), and C.J. Anderson (LAR) throughout the game. The Patriots defense has been amazing at stopping the run this postseason, and the Rams stopped the league's top rusher this postseason, so the war in the trenches should be very old school.
The GOAT vs The Kid
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said he was not giving any advice ahead of the Super Bowl to Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who is 17 years his junior. The gap is big enough to mean that Goff is young enough to be Brady's son, which goes with the Goat vs Kid motif. When you have two teams so evenly matched, the quarterback play can be the difference between leaving with the "L" or leaving with the Lombardi.
Can Goff overcome the living legend or will Tom Brady be #BeatinGoff on Sunday
Super Bowl LIII should be one for the ages, with both teams likely to score in the thirties and the old men of New England facing the young men of Los Angeles. There are layers to this game, from the history between the Rams and the Patriots, to the age gaps of the coaches and quarterbacks, to the Rams returning to the place they won their only Super Bowl, etc, etc.
At the end of the day, the Evil Empire is still the safe prediction.
Final: NE 38 - LAR 34