The Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots faced off for the Lombardi Trophy in Atlanta
After a thrilling season that ended with a low-scoring final game, a champion has finally been crowned.
In a matchup that lived up to expectations, the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 to take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, Georgia.
“We fought through it more than anything. It’s unbelievable to win this game,” Tom Brady told reporters after the game. Asking if a win means imminent retirement for Brady, he asserted “it doesn’t change anything.”
It’s been 17 years since the two teams shared the biggest stage in sports at Super Bowl XXXVI, and that stunning game would see the Patriots squeeze out a 20-17 victory over the Rams (then based in St. Louis) to earn quarterback Brady and coach Bill Belichick their first Super Bowl title. The Rams and Patriots matchup was the second Super Bowl rematch in a row for New England, who lost to the Philadelphia Eagles last year in a rematch of the 2004 championship.
Leading up to this year’s game, trash talk — and charitable causes — were in full swing, as New England wide receiver Julain Edelman posted a tweaked In-N-Out Burger logo to his Twitter account that spelled out “BEAT-LA SBLIII,” while Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman told reporters earlier in the week that Brady’s “age has definitely taken a toll” on him.
Robey-Coleman’s comments even garnered a reply from Brady’s father, Tom Brady Sr., who responded, “Sometimes it’s better to shut your mouth.”
Sunday’s win caps off a surprising season for the Patriots, which saw the team suffer back-to-back double-digit losses for the first time since 2002, coming in Week 2 and 3, which lead some analysts to question whether the dynasty was coming to an end. But the Pats rebounded to finish off the year 11-5 and saw Brady set a record for most career passing touchdowns in the process.
Still, when the Patriots came into the AFC Championship Game, New England was considered an underdog against the offensive juggernaut that was quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes wowed the league with his craftiness and athleticism that helped the Chiefs go 12-4 this season.
But the Patriots came into Kansas City with all cylinders firing and kept the Chiefs from scoring in the first half. When the game went into overtime tied 31-31, the Patriots prevented the Chiefs from touching the ball and were on their way to win 37-31 in the opening drive. If there were any doubts about the team’s potential, that game addressed them all.
When the Rams relocated from St. Louis back to Los Angeles at the start of the 2016-2017 season, they had their work cut out for them.
Many wondered whether the Rams would be able to carve out a fan base for themselves after their return, as many Angelenos had adopted the Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers as their teams since the franchise packed their bags in 1994. The antidote, it seemed, would be to win.
The Rams earned an uninspiring 4-12 record in their first season back, and head coach Jeff Fisher was promptly fired. The following season, the team made waves when they brought in Sean McVay, who — then just 30 years old — was the youngest head coach in NFL history. But the charming coach, known to fans as “McBae,” has brought the most out of running back Todd Gurley and Jared Goff.
In 2017, the Rams had one of the biggest turnarounds in history when they posted an 11-5 record, and improved on that this season by going 13-3.
Gurley, their star running back and arguably the face of the franchise, struggled with an injury for most of the season. The Rams have relied on his performance, and those of Goff, running back C.J. Anderson, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, kicker Greg Zuerlein, and cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters on their way to the championship game.
While fans of opposing teams have shown up in large numbers during home games at the Coliseum, the Rams can vaunt their best season in years, regardless of what happened on Super Bowl Sunday.
Now the Patriots have a parade to look forward to in New England, while the Rams will have to make adjustments heading into the next season, though they still have a bright future ahead.