Super Bowl LIII has arrived. Other than Christmas, what kind of hype in America is so worthy? I would say none. Over 100 million Americans will sit down with their wings and their chips and their dip and their favorite beverage to take in the action. It is the height of viewership in all of American television. The next watched show is another football game and it is not even close.
The New England Patriots are playing for the third time in a row and eleventh overall time in franchise history. They are taking on the Los Angeles Rams who are getting to the franchise’s (they were the Los Angeles Rams and then the St. Louis Rams and now they are the Los Angeles Rams again) fourth Super Bowl. Their first Super Bowl since losing to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI on February 3, 2002. Wait a second. Wait one minute here. Are you telling me the New England Patriots are taking on the Los Angeles Rams 17 years to the day after they last played in the Super Bowl? That is a weird coincidence.
Before I start talking about the game I must talk to my prognostication this year.
Well That Was Not So Good
I ended my prognostication 0-2 and it finalized a 3-7 record in the playoffs this year. By far my worst prognostication in memory but I was due for a disaster. I was riding with an Uber driver who liked to watch the NFL on the second weekend and he told me he had bet on the very teams that I thought would win. I went 1-3 and thought how could contrarian thought be so well known? But picking these games are difficult, right? I believe that is why this is just an opinion and not a fact but it is certainly fun to write about. As we inch closer to the end of the year I have to pen yet another piece about the New England Patriots and mindshare.
It Is The Super Bowl And Here You Are Again … New England Patriots
Just imagine for a moment that the Super Bowl Stadium was an intelligent object. A mesh network of all Super Bowl stadiums past. The Stadium’s all know the participants of the previous Super Bowls. Kind of like a fan who is left in the dark the whole season and then, with great anticipation you (as a stadium) wait to see who will be coming out of the tunnel to run on your back-side. The first thing the Stadium would say is “Holy Schnikes it is The New England Patriots … again”. Hey this is the 53rd one and as a stadium you know they have been to 10 others so this is their 11th.. That is more than 20% of all the Super Bowls ever played. Since you are a only a Super Bowl Stadium, you did not even know they existed until Super Bowl XX. Your Louisiana Superdome friend stadium in New Orleans told you about that one. That means the Patriots have been to 33% of the Super Bowls since you first met them. Just for full effect, the Stadiums are completely unaware that the Browns, Texans, Lions, and Jaguars even exist! I think even the stadiums are suffering from Patriot fatigue as well.
What Do The New England Patriots And Lance Armstrong Have In Common?
There is a concept called School Yearbook Domination. Lance Armstrong appeared in seven yearbooks in a row with a humble footnote of Tour De France Winner. It may have been taken away but it did happen and the Yearbooks still have that footnote. And it was in print seven senior classes in a row. The New England Patriots visiting their fourth Super Bowl in five years is starting to enter that era of domination. Just like how the French had an overall cold shoulder to Lance, those people who are not Patriot fans exhibit unrestrained vitriol. As an example, we were out to dinner with our good friends Manny and Karen during the Patriot game and they are from Indianapolis and they could not stop watching the game updates on their phone in the last quarter hoping and praying the “Patty Rats” (Indianapolis fans have a way with words) would lose. But the Patriots did not and the anger and frustration vented at the table must have been similar to the atmosphere at the meal of the president of the Tour De France after handing over the Coupe to the aforementioned cyclist seven times in a row.
The four out of five appearances in the NFL cap era is out of this galaxy. Not all the players are the same but when you have coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady the parts seem mostly interchangeable and for the most part, they appear to be yet again. But key healthy players like TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Julian Edelman seem to smooth out the edges from the players that did not return. The revival of a running game seems to help out Tom Brady as well.
So let us talk about the game.