The New England Patriots and Tom Brady claimed a record-equalling sixth Super Bowl title with a hard-fought 13-3 defensive battle over the Los Angeles Rams in Atlanta.
After two record-breaking points-fests in the last two years, the third Super Bowl in a row containing the Pats was a far more defensive affair with neither Brady nor young opposing quarterback Jared Goff really being able to get into stride.
Only livewire wide receiver Julian Edelman, who walked away with the MVP award, offered anything like some attacking cutting edge as the defensive struggle between the sides took hold.
As the Super Bowl went three quarters without a touchdown for the first time ever, Brady finally got gong in the fourth leading a touchdown drive capped off by rookie running back Sony Michel.
While the Rams defence posed plenty of questions, Goff was hassled and harried all night and had little impact as the Patriots defence shackled the second-best offence in the NFL
Brady saw his very first pass of the game intercepted by Cory Littleton after an errant throw towards Chris Hogan was tipped.
The Rams failed to make that count though as they quickly had to punt and it was New England who should have opened the scoring as Stephen Gostkowski missed a 46-yard field goal as the quarter ended scoreless.
Gostkowski made no mistake from 42 yards to finally put some points on the board but that was as many as the teams could muster between them in the opening half.
The Rams finally got a few crumbs off offence going after half time, but only enough for Greg Zurlein to boot a 53-yard field goal – the second-longest effort ever converted in the Super Bowl.
More tough-hitting defence followed, but no more points as the Super Bowl went three quarters without seeing a touchdown for the first time ever – an unwanted piece of history made in front of the 70,000 fans in Atlanta.
As chants of ‘Brady, Brady, Brady’ rang out around the stadium, the Patriots talisman took charge of the game in the fourth quarter – hitting Rob Gronkowski with two big connections before handing off to rookie rusher Michel to punch it in from two yards.
The score seemed to spark Goff into action in response, but after driving down the field, his throw towards the end zone was intercepted just short by cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who was rated as the best in his position this season.
Starting on their own line, Brady then led his team 72 yards down the field before Gostkowski converted from 41 yards. Zuerlein then missed a desperate late field goal to seal yet another win for the Patriots.