17 years later, we have a Super Bowl rematchby jasonmagnicari 1.21.19
Well, this got interesting. Perhaps the best subplot available took to fruition, after the outcome of yesterday’s two conference championship games. Patriots. Rams. Matching up in the Super Bowl yet again.
For those of you who have forgotten (heck, I don’t blame you if that’s the case since all of the New England Super Bowl trips start to blend together), it was 17 years ago that these same two team matched up in an epic big game that featured the underdog New England Patriots (yes you read that right… 14 point underdogs to be exact) knocking off “The Greatest Show on Turf” St. Louis Rams. It was a classic game that kicked off the Patriots incredible two-decade long dynasty and lead to the dismantle of the Rams, sending them to mediocrity for the next 16 years until finally reassembling a Super Bowl caliber team in this 2018-2019 season.
So, you may ask “what’s changed over the past 17 years since these two teams last faced off in the big game?” Well, for the Patriots, the answer is – not much. They have the same head coach (Bill Belichick) / QB (Tom Brady) combo, which is remarkable in this day and age with the salary cap and the current trends of the league. They have the same owner, Robert Kraft, although he’s a little richer these days, as he’s seen his franchise boom in value from $172 million when he bought the Patriots in 1994, to almost $4 BILLION today. And they have the same desire to win, even if the narrative has changed from being the underdog that nobody believed in to being the bully that keeps beating up the inferior opponents.
For the Rams, it’s the opposite. They don’t even play in the same city/state any more, moving their home from St. Louis all the way to Los Angeles a couple of years ago. In 2002 their head coach was Mike Martz. Since then, they’ve had 7 different head coaches! Their coach now, Sean McVay, was hired as a 30 year old in 2017, setting the record as youngest coach in modern NFL history. The current Rams quarterback Jared Goff is still on his rookie contract, being in his 3rd year in the league out of Cal. This Rams team is inexperienced in some aspects, to say the least. But what’s similar to the 2002 team is that the Rams are full of fire power. Back in ’02, it was Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Torey Holt, and Isaac Bruce. Today’s Rams have Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and a load of defenders that can wreck havoc (Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib and more).
My prediction: every ounce in my body is telling me not to pick against the Pats. Every time it looks like their reign is coming to an end, they silence the critics and win. If I were a smart man, I would put my money on New England and I wouldn’t think twice, especially in the playoffs. But I’m going to pick with my heart and the narrative on this one. Just like the way the Patriots kicked the game winning field goal back in 2002 to win this match up, I’m picking the Rams to return the favor and win this game on a walk off field goal. This would be the poetic justice that the Rams deserve and would be the outcome that everybody outside of the northeast would be rooting for.
Here’s hoping for a storybook ending!