Superbowl LIII Pits Rams Against Patriots

Students were asked what team they would root for in this year’s Superbowl. The survey received 150 responses, with 78 students choosing the Patriots and 72 for the Rams.

Nicholas Lorentzen

Students were asked what team they would root for in this year’s Superbowl. The survey received 150 responses, with 78 students choosing the Patriots and 72 for the Rams.

On February 3, 2002, the young backup-turned-starting-quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots triumphed over regular season MVP Kurt Warner and the Rams on football’s biggest stage. 

Seventeen years after that Super Bowl victory, Brady will have to recreate the win that started it all, in order to earn his sixth Lombardi trophy and break the record for most championships for a single player.

Though both of the Rams and Patriots were highly seeded at the outset of the playoffs, their paths to the Super Bowl were anything but smooth. For the first time in NFL history, both the AFC and NFC championship games were decided in overtime. Both games also resulted in a fair share of controversy. In the NFC Championship, the New Orleans Saints were situated 13 yards away from the end zone with 1:49 left on the clock when a pass to Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis fell incomplete. Before Lewis had the chance to go for the ball, however, he was knocked to the ground by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman in a clear-cut case of defensive-pass interference. Had a call been made against him, the Saints would have likely won the game pending a short field goal. The no-call gave the Rams a chance to score and tie the game before the end of regulation and eventually win in overtime, thanks to a 57-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein.

The AFC championship contained late-game heroics from both quarterbacks. With less than a minute remaining in regulation, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs into field-goal range, tying the game at 31. Nevertheless, Tom Brady and the Patriots scored on their first drive, dashing the Chiefs’ Super Bowl hopes. In a game where both offenses were scoring at will, some objected to the fact that the Chiefs had no opportunity to respond due to the overtime rules.

As the school gears up for Super Bowl Sunday, football fans across campus are preparing for what looks to be an instant classic. For Patriots fans, this championship is more than just a trophy: a sixth Super Bowl would prove the doubters wrong and tie the team with the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl victories by a single franchise. Patriots fan Jack Kempczinski ’20 said, “If the Patriots win the Super Bowl it will prove to the entire NFL that the greatest football team of all time is still here and they are still the champions.”

The Rams, however, led by visionary Head Coach Sean McVay, pose as a formidable threat. McVay, at age 31, is younger than many current players – ten years younger than Brady. Quarterback Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley headline an explosive offense, while defensive tackle Aaron Donald has the capability to control the line of scrimmage. 

Fans without a team to root for often pick a side. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many fans not previously committed to either team are rooting for the Rams, opting to cheer for the underdog. Even in Lakeville, which is usually considered Patriot country, the campus is split nearly even on which team to support. Fifty-two percent of the 150 students and faculty surveyed said they will root for the Patriots, while 48 percent said they will root for the Rams.

Regardless of outcome, the Super Bowl is sure to captivate the student body.