Tom Brady during a Sept. 2018 game
Logan Bowles/AP

The biggest day in sports is finally set

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January 20, 2019 10:19 PM

After a Sunday slugfest between the NFL’s top four teams, Super Bowl 53 is finally set.

In the first of two games to decide the conference champions, the Los Angeles Rams beat the New Orleans Saints in an overtime thriller to claim the NFC title and the right to move on to the Super Bowl to face the New England Patriots, who beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City for the AFC Championship.

The Rams defeated the Saints at the New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome 26-23, while the Patriots bested the Chiefs — also in overtime — 37-31 at the Arrowhead Stadium.

The highly anticipated games pitted Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Drew Brees and Tom Brady, who are both in their early 40s, against upstart QBs Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City and Jared Goff of the Rams, who are almost 20 years their junior and likely the future faces of the league.

Each of Sunday’s games was a rematch of a game from the regular season — the Patriots squeezed out a tight 43-40 win when they faced the visiting Chiefs in October, while the Saints beat the then-undefeated Rams 35-45 during their game in November.

Despite having identical 13-3 records, the Saints were favored in the NFC championship over visiting Rams — led by 32-year-old Sean McVay, the youngest head coach in the league. Brees, who is often considered the third best quarterback of his generation behind Brady and Peyton Manning, previously won the Super Bowl in 2009, and it was considered that a second championship win before he retires would move him in front of Manning.

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay and QB Jared Goff during an Oct. 2017 game

Brady, a five-time NFL champion who lost last year’s Super Bowl to the Philadelphia Eagles, came into Sunday’s game as an underdog for one of the first times in his career thanks to Mahomes, who has wowed the league with his craftiness and athleticism on the way to securing a 12-4 record for the Chiefs.

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The Rams and the Patriots will now face off for the Vince Lombardi Trophy at Super Bowl 53 on February 3.

The championship game will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the home of the Atlanta Falcons. It is an indoor venue with a retractable roof that will prevent weather from playing a factor in the game.

As is tradition, viewers can look forward to a slew of multimillion-dollar advertisements and a halftime show with a musical guest.

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This year’s show will feature Maroon 5, Big Boi and rapper Travis Scott, who agreed to perform at the event on the condition that the NFL would join him in a joint donation to a charitable cause. In partnership with the league, Scott will make a $500,000 contribution to Dream Corps, a non-profit organization that champions social justice.

Super Bowl 53 will be aired February 3 at 6:30 p.m. ET. on CBS.

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