Super Bowl: What to Watch For

Rams-Pats offers plenty of intrigue

WIKICOMMONS | PHOTO COURTESY The new Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be open for business for the Super Bowl, just not the Chick-Fil-A.

Super Bowl LIII is just around the corner, and the parties will be plentiful. There will be food, friends and football, all to be enjoyed by fans and non-fans alike.

But are you a non-fan who wants to sound like they know what they are talking about or just a football fan looking for some new information?

If so, here are seven things to watch for this coming Super Bowl.

The teams

This year’s teams are the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams. The Patriots are the AFC Championship winner after beating the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime. The Rams also won their game, the NFC Championship, in overtime against the New Orleans Saints. The Super Bowl has become a regular event for the Patriots. This will be their fifth Super Bowl in 10 years and third straight for the team. The last time the Rams went to the big game was Super Bowl XXXVI when they lost to the Patriots 17-20.

The coaches

This year’s coaching story is “steady and experienced” versus “young and flashy.” The Patriots are coached by Bill Belichick, who was the head coach for the Super Bowl XXXVI win against the Rams back in 2002. Since then, Belichick has made eight Super Bowl appearances, winning five of them. He has become synonymous with the word “system” because of his incredible ability to take unknown players and turn them into Super Bowl champions.

On the Rams side is coach Sean McVay. McVay was hired in 2017, making him the youngest NFL head coach in history. In just his second year, teams across the NFL are trying to copy McVay’s “big name, big play” style.

The quarterbacks

The same story comes to play for the quarterbacks. Tom Brady has been alongside Belichick since the 2001-02 season when he came in as the backup for an injured Drew Bledsoe in just the second game of the season. He went on to carry the team to a Super Bowl victory later that season. Now, 17 years later at age 41, he will be trying to win his sixth, the most ever by a single quarterback.

The Rams have 24-year-old Jared Goff in only his third season. After a disappointing rookie season, Goff turned heads when he brought out an impressive three-digit passer rating his second year, the first under McVay.

The other big players

Despite their talented signal-callers, both teams are more than just quarterbacks. Here are some big names from each team to watch. The Patriots have two long-time veterans in tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman. Sporting No. 11, Edelman has been one of Brady’s go-to receivers for several years and has been on the team since 2009.

On the other sideline, the Rams have both running back Todd Gurley and defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Gurley was a big success after being drafted in 2015. However, he didn’t play the final two games of the season and saw very little playing time throughout the playoffs, but Sean McVay said, “He’ll … have a big-time role in our game against the Patriots.” Aaron Donald is another star, as he as he was recently voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He’ll be sure to put some pressure on Brady.

The venue

This year the Super Bowl will be played in Atlanta, Georgia. The stadium used will be the recently opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which just opened in 2017 and is the home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS’s Atlanta FC. There is also some big news out of the concession stands at the game. The Chick-fil-A restaurant in the venue will not be open for the game because it falls on a Sunday. Despite that, concession prices at Mercedes-Benz Stadium are lower than at most other venues.

The halftime show

Performing the halftime show for this year’s Super Bowl is pop band Maroon 5. This news has come with much controversy. Many people expected a native-born Atlantan to play the show. After receiving backlash from fans and media, the NFL added two performers to play alongside the band. Maroon 5 will be accompanied by rappers Travis Scott, who is from Houston, Texas, and Big Boi, who is from Atlanta.

The officials

A big talking point about this Super Bowl will be the referees. In case you missed it, many broadcasters and fans are claiming a missed penalty call changed the outcome of the NFC Championship. The same group claims the Saints rather than the Rams should have made it to the Super Bowl. This, paired with many other rule and referee controversies in the past years, means the refs will be under close watch this game. If they make any crucial mistakes, it will be big news.

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