It’s like a tired, worn-out cliche — the New England Patriots are in the Super Bowl.
Alas the Pats are here once again, the third year in a row and ninth time in the 2000s.
This year, though, I’m even more put off by them being here. Once-likable Tom Brady has now become nothing more than an annoyance, trying to hoodwink the public into thinking his team has been an underdog this year.
Who does he think he’s fooling?
As long as he’s the quarterback and surly Bill Belichick is on the sidelines, the Patriots are the favorite EVERY year — although this year I picked the Pittsburgh Steelers at the start of the season before I knew that Le’Veon Bell would pull a no-show.
The Patriots do have incentive as they felt like they let last year’s Super Bowl get away to Philadelphia and Foles Magic. They won it 2 years ago in what may have been the most exciting Super Bowl ever, roaring back to defeat Atlanta.
At least the Patriots have a brand-new foil this year. The glitzy Los Angeles Rams, just a couple of years removed from being cannon fodder, have totally changed the culture under young super-nova coach Sean McVay, who is now the template for what teams are looking for in the ever-revolving NFL coaching carousel. McVay has players older than him on his roster, but his new-age thinking has this franchise primed to be good for a long time.
I have to admit I’m more jagged about this game since Brady, Belichick and the Patriots broke the hearts of the Kansas City Chiefs. If Dee Ford had just not picked that one play out of 94 to lineup offsides...
Anyway, a Chiefs-Rams game could have broken all records for points and yards. The teams played a breathless track meet during the regular season, maybe the most explosive game in NFL history. While a rematch may not have approached the 54-51 score, it would have been enlightening.
The problem with the Super Bowl is the 2 weeks between the conference championship games and the ultimate prize. That gives Belichick ample time to go into his lab and concoct confusing schemes for LA quarterback Jared Goff, who I’m still not sure can win the big one. A lot is going to depend on Rams running back Todd Gurley, who looked like Jim Brown for the first 10 weeks of the season, but it was as if an impostor invaded his body against the Saints. He barely was a factor after being a Fantasy Football legend.
I just have a feeling Brady and Belichick are going to run all the way to the bank with their underdog card. There’s no substitute for experience.
New England 31, Los Angeles 27.