On one side of the ball is the game’s superstar, Tom Brady, who in the last three seasons has rendered the argument about who is the greatest player of all time, redundant.
This is Brady’s ninth SuperBowl, his third in the last three years, and at age 41, there is little sign of anyone stopping him, certainly not in the AFC from where his New England Patriots team have emerged as SuperBowl representatives in four of the last five years. Along with Bill Belichick, the two have formed the most successful head coach-quarterback axis in NFL history.
If the Patriots are the established order, then the Los Angeles Rams are the fashionable upstarts. In Sean McVay they have the youngest head coach in the NFL, exactly half Belichick’s age, and in Jared Goff, a third-year quarterback who was barely walking when Brady won his first.
That momentous occasion back in SuperBowl 36, offers neat symmetary. That year the Patriots and their second-year quarterback Brady were huge underdogs against the fancied Rams, then of St Louis, but Brady masterminded a victory drive in the dying seconds. Whether he can do so for a sixth time 17 years on depends on how well his offensive line protects him against defensive player of the year, Arron Donald, and whether Goff rises to the occasion or not.