Let the Super Bowl media circus begin! But could we maybe skip these storylines?
After two thrilling overtime conference championship games, the Super Bowl LIII matchup has been decided. New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams. The storylines are already writing themselves. East Coast vs. West Coast. The 66-year-old Bill Belichick and 41-year-old Tom Brady will face off against the soon-to-be 33-year-old Sean McVay and 24-year-old Jared Goff. A stern, experienced defensive genius vs. a fresh-faced offensive guru.
Here are some storylines we’re all going to be really sick of by the game day rolls around.
The officiating cost the Saints a Super Bowl berth
Yes, there were some controversial officiating calls in the conference championship games: Most notably, the non-PI call in a critical moment for the Saints. With the score tied at 20, Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis ran a wheel route on third-and-10 from the Rams’ 13-yard-line. Lewis was about the catch the ball just short of the first down marker when he was hit prematurely and head-on by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. It was a clear example of pass interference, but the refs didn’t throw the flag. After seeing the video of the play, Robey-Coleman himself even admitted it was pass interference. The Saints settled for a field goal, which the Rams matched to send the game to overtime. A correct pass interference call would have given the Saints a fresh set of downs to either score a touchdown or run off the majority of the remaining clock. Saints head coach Sean Payton says the league office admitted that the referees, “blew the call.” This will generate What If headlines for days.
Jared Goff was just a twinkle in his mom’s eye when Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl
Okay, that’s an exaggeration. Goff was actually eight years old when Brady won his first ring, but it’s time to brace yourself for two weeks’ worth of stories referencing how young Goff was when Brady achieved various milestones in his football career.
Did you know Brady's first Super Bowl win came against the Rams?
Yes. We know.
Will Brady retire after this Super Bowl?
Brady is 41. He’s said recently he wants to play until he’s 45. Even though he’s said several times he plans to continue playing, there will no doubt be heavy speculation that he will retire if he wins his sixth Super Bowl.
No one thought the Patriots could win this season
Yes, Super Bowl LIII opening odds had the Patriots as underdogs against the Rams, but they are now the betting favorites, and these Patriots are not and have not been underdogs at any point this season. The team has really been milking their slow start and what critics said of them earlier this season as a motivational tool, and that’s fine, but let’s not pretend that a team that’s been to eight straight AFC championship games, and three straight Super Bowls is an underdog.
Sean McVay’s Super Bowl result will be meaningful for new NFL head coaching hires in McVay’s mold
Several teams copied the Ram’s McVay hire with their new head coaching hires. The Packers and Cardinals have hired Matt LeFleur and Kliff Kingsbury, young coaches with experience coaching innovative offenses, and who both happen to be good friends with McVay. The Bengals will reportedly hire McVay’s quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor after the Rams season. There will surely be several headlines projecting McVay’s performance in SBLIIII on his first-time head coaching pals.
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1. For now, The NFL has decided to refrain from issuing a statement admitting that the Rams-Saints officiating crew failed to call pass interference.
2. An all-time high 135 college players have left NCAA eligibility behind to enter the NFL draft.
3. Greg Zuerlein's game-winning 57-yard field goal is the longest game-winning field goal in NFL playoff history.
4. Brady asked a Chiefs security guard if he could speak to Patrick Mahomes, and the two had a private conversation.
5. I'll never get sick of videos of angry fans reacting to their teams losing.
Somehow, Tony Romo has gotten even better at predicting plays before they happen.
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