Defence still wins championships; no way Tom Brady retires; and was Bill Belichick the real Super Bowl MVP? Paul Higham runs through the major fall-out from the New England Patriots’ sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy victory.
It’s meant an NFL full of attacking teams and record-breaking quarterbacks this season, yet we’ve just seen the lowest scoring Super Bowl in league history.
It was also the first time the Super Bowl has gone three quarters without seeing a touchdown being scored, but it all still added up to a ridiculous sixth ring for Brady and Belichick.
Let’s look at the big storylines…
Was Bill Belichick the real MVP?
OK, so the 13-3 victory in Atlanta was not the points-laden shootout we’d hoped for, or had seen in the last two years of watching the Patriots in the Super Bowl, but they showed their versatility by winning it in the ugliest way possible.
Ugly, that is, unless you’re a student of the defensive side of the NFL, in which case it was a masterpiece from head coach Bill Belichick as the Patriots showed their versatility having previously won a wild overtime shootout two years ago.
That’s down to the head coach and his defensive coordinator Brian Flores to nullify the second-best offence in the league to just three points. Three points! The 66-year-old, the oldest Super Bowl-winning coach, was one step ahead of young genius Sean McVay all night long.
Jared Goff left the field dazed, confused, and beaten - as so many young quarterbacks have felt after facing Belichick in a big game. For all the performances on the field, this game was won in the sidelines.
How long will Brady keep going?
He’s 41, but he’s certainly not looking like it going on his performances this season. They’ve not been gaudy passing numbers but with a strong running game allowing him to hand the ball off and stay out of trouble, Brady can then use his genius when it matters – to win games.
Brady’s got six rings now, nine Super Bowl appearances and every post-season record worth having, so why keep on going? Well, if you know anything about Brady you know what a fierce competitor he is, and you know how much he loves winning.
He’s not really the ride out on a high type of guy, winning only proves to him that he can keep doing it, and it may take an injury or a big drop-off in performances for Brady to call it a day before he really wants to.
He plans to play on for another four-to-five years having previously stated his “mid-40s” as his end point – note him being vague to give himself some wiggle room!
Defence wins championships
We’ve had Patrick Mahomes throwing 50 touchdown passes and teams clocking up points and touchdowns here there and everywhere this season, but it was good for hard-nose old NFL fans to see the old adage of defence coming out on top can still ring true.
There was no room to breathe for either side for most of the game – you’ve got to take your hat off to the Rams defence as well. They were on the field a lot more than they’d have wanted yet they allowed just 13 points, that’s usually more than enough to win a Super Bowl.
Can the Rams rebound?
There’s plenty of time, of course, with McVay and Goff both being young and well able to learn, and they got further than last year when they suffered a tough home play-off loss when well-fancied to go further.
McVay and Goff, in particular, will surely learn from the entire experience of playing in the Super Bowl – and facing the Patriots – but it’s so hard to get to back-to-back championship games. The Patriots make it look easy but it most certainly isn’t.
Look at the Panthers, Falcons, even the Eagles, have all struggled after getting to the Super Bowl – only the Seahawks have managed back-to-back efforts in recent times.
Hope can come in the fact that Todd Gurley clearly wasn’t fit in the Super Bowl and Goff’s favourite receiver Cooper Kupp has been out for some time, and with both of those fit and firing Sunday’s game may have been different – so having both at 100 percent will be a boost. But it’s a long road back…
Patriots primed for magnificent seven?
Never, ever, write off this New England side. That's a lesson we've learned over many years, yet it happened again this season with their 3-5 away record and a couple of bad back-to-back defeats leading many to, yet again, claim the dynasty was dying.
When will we learn! Nothing stokes the fire like being written off, and that is what gets Brady and Belichick working even harder to succeed. They don't hit the panic button, they get their heads down and graft with all eyes on the play-offs.
They then hit the reset button better than anyone else, and they're a different animal in the play-offs, especially when they have a week off! There looks to be no obvious worry of them not claiming another AFC East title next year, so again they should walk into the play-offs, and we all know what happens from there....
Super Bowl records set
- Most Games – 9, Tom Brady
- Most Games, Winning Team – 6, Tom Brady
- Oldest Starting QB, Winning Team – 41, Tom Brady
- Most Games, Head Coach – 9, Bill Belichick
- Most Games, Winning Team, Head Coach – 6, Bill Belichick
- Oldest Head Coach, Winning Team – 66, Bill Belichick
- Most Passes, Career – 392, Tom Brady
- Most Completions, Career – 256, Tom Brady
- Most Passing Yards, Career – 2838, Tom Brady
- Longest Punt – 65 yards, Johnny Hekker
- Most Games, Team – 11, New England
- Fewest Points, Game, Both Teams – 16, New England (13) vs. L.A.Rams (3)
- Fewest Points, Game, Winning Team – 13, New England
- Fewest Points Through 3 Quarters, Both Teams – 6, New England (3) vs. L.A.Rams (3)
- Fewest Touchdowns, Game, Both Teams – 1, New England (1) vs. L.A.Rams (0)
- Fewest PATs, Game, Both Teams – 1, New England (1) vs. L.A.Rams (0)
- Fewest Kickoff Returns, Game, Both Teams – 2, New England (1) vs. L.A.Rams (1)
- Most Consecutive Drives Ending With A Punt, Game, Team – 8, L.A.Rams
Super Bowl Records tied
- Most Field Goals, Career – 7, Stephen Gostkowski
- Most Receptions, First Half – 7, Julian Edelman
- Most Punt Returns, Career – 8, Julian Edelman
- Most Games Won, Team – 6, New England
- Fewest Points, Game, Team – 3, L.A.Rams
- Fewest Touchdowns, Game, Team – 0, L.A.Rams
- Most First Downs By Penalty, Game, Team – 4, New England
- Fewest Touchdowns, Passing, Game, Both Teams – 0, New England vs. L.A.Rams
- Fewest Fumbles Lost, Game, Both Teams – 0, New England vs. L.A.Rams