Seventeen Years Later and the Pats are Still Playing in the Super Bowl

Article By: Chris Pennell

February 3rd, 2002. On this very date the Rams (St. Louis at the time) and the New England Patriots faced off in Super Bowl XXXVI, and Young Tom Brady and Bill Belichick defeated the Rams 20-17. And from that point on, the Patriots never looked back.

Tom Brady after Super Bowl XXXVI vs the St. Louis Rams   

Fast forward seventeen years, Brady and Belichick are still at the helm of the AFC as they look for their 6th ring during their hall of fame careers.  However, the wily veterans are up against the future of the NFL in the Los Angeles Rams.  32 year old head coach Sean McVay and quarterback Jared Goff look to dethrone the almighty Patriots in their Super Bowl debut

Although, going up against the Patriots, especially in the Super Bowl, is no easy task.  The Brady-Belichick era is something special, that every football fan, coach and player needs to respect.  They simply know how to win on the game’s biggest stage. Looking back at all of the amazing moments Brady and the Patriots have had in their many Super Bowls, there’s one that will stick out for the rest of my life.

Patriots-Falcons Super Bowl LI.  Patriots had no business winning that game.  Pats down 21-3 at halftime and with the MVP Matt Ryan under center for Atlanta, it was almost a lock that the Falcons would walk away with the Lombardi trophy.  But as people always say, you can’t count out Tom Brady.  And that game specifically, Brady proved to me that he is in fact the greatest of all time.  Brady brought the Patriots back in an overtime thriller, defeating the Falcons 34-28 while throwing for 466 yards and two touchdowns. Simply an unbelievable performance that will go down in the history books.

Now, back to the present.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Rams
32 year old Rams Head Coach Sean McVay with Quarterback Jared Goff

Patriots vs. Rams.  Since Brady and Belichick know a few things about winning this game, the question becomes, how does Sean McVay take down the greatest head coach quarterback combination of all time? Personally, I think McVay needs to be aggressive on fourth downs when in four down territory.  They need to keep Tom Brady off the field for as long as possible. Being aggressive on fourth downs is a risk the Rams should be willing to take in order take down the almighty Patriots.

Defensively, the Rams need to get to Brady.  Aaron Donald and Suh are two of the league’s top pass rushers and need to be up in Brady’s grill all night to make him as uncomfortable as possible. We all know what Brady can do when he is given all the time in the world, so if the Rams force him to make tough throws and feels the pressure all night, it will be tough for Mr. Brady to march down the field at will.

As for the Patriots, we know their offense will put up points so it’s up to their defense to put the game away. Defensively, the Pats should key on Gurley.  The all pro running back is dynamic on the ground and through the air.  Let Jared Goff prove to the Pats that he can take over a game in his Super Bowl debut.

With two high powered offenses and two of the game’s best coaches, I believe we are in for a high scoring shootout.  Although the Pats have the experience, I feel the Rams will walk away with the Lombardi trophy and bring it back to LA.

Prediction: Rams 34 Patriots 31


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