Boston - Tom Brady will chase a
record-breaking sixth Super Bowl crown here on Sunday as the New England
Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams in a clash of the generations set
to rewrite NFL history.
Brady, 41, will become the oldest
quarterback ever to lift the title if he masterminds yet another
championship in the latest milestone of a career that has shown no signs
A win would also see Brady become the only player in
history to win six Super Bowls, an achievement which may never been
beaten in an era where the average length of a playing career has shrunk
to around three years according to recent statistics.
also set to tumble in the event of a win by the youthful Los Angeles
Rams, who are led by 24-year-old quarterback Jared Goff and head
coaching prodigy Sean McVay.
McVay, still only 33, will become the
youngest head coach ever to win the Super Bowl if he manages to outwit
Patriots counterpart Bill Belichick, 66, who has won five Super Bowls as
a head coach and two as an assistant in a coaching career that dates
back to 1975.
The generational chasm that exists between Sunday's
principal protagonists is highlighted by a cursory comparison of their
When Brady inspired the Patriots to their first Super Bowl in 2002, Goff was only seven years old.
do I remember about it? Nothing," said Goff, the 2016 No.1 draft pick
who has looked a model of calm this week as he prepares for the biggest
game of his fledgling career.
Similarly, McVay was playing at
quarterback for his high school football team when Belichick was winning
his first championship with New England in 2002.
Rams' head coach had not even turned one when Belichick helped the New
York Giants win the 1987 Super Bowl as the team's defensive coordinator.
vast differences in experience between the Super Bowl rivals have
prompted bookmakers to install the Patriots as favourites to win a sixth
title, putting them level with the Pittsburgh Steelers as the most
successful franchise in history.
The Patriots, who started the season sluggishly, have once again paced their campaign to perfection.
the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game, Brady delivered
another masterpiece of composure crowned by a game-winning drive in
The ferociously competitive Brady has sought to portray
the Patriots - the most hated NFL team in America according to a recent
analysis of social media -- as underdogs, irked by suggestions earlier
in the season that the team was in decline.
"It's just part of who
I am, part of my DNA," Brady said. "Those motivations run deep. And
when I get them scratched at, it's great motivation for me."
In attempting to claim a sixth Super Bowl, Brady will be able to turn to trusty pillars of previous successes.
receiver Julian Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski remain favoured
targets, while the Patriots have also forged a powerful running game
through James Develin, Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel.
gulf in experience, the Rams have drawn confidence from a free-scoring
campaign that saw them emerge as one of the most exciting offenses in
The Rams also point to their victory in the NFC title
game against New Orleans, where they battled through an ear-splitting
maelstrom in the Superdome, as evidence of their maturity.
they've played in a bunch of big games," Goff said of the Patriots.
"But we were inexperienced against New Orleans and we put that one
'We can get to him'
Like the Patriots, the Rams
have developed a solid running game to expand their options, with the
arrival of the physical C.J. Anderson at running back in December
complementing Todd Gurley.
The Rams also boast the
best defensive player in the NFL, Aaron Donald, who has a league-leading
20.5 quarterback sacks to his name in 2018, as they look to knock Brady
out of his comfort zone.
"He's a great quarterback, but you can
pressure him, just like anybody else," Donald said of Brady. "If we do
our job, we can get to him."
History shows however, that stopping the Patriots offense is easier said than done.
their past two Super Bowl appearances, in 2017 and 2018, the Patriots
have averaged over 33 points, while Brady amassed a staggering 971
passing yards across the two games.
It is the sort of record that makes Kurt Warner, Brady's opposite number in the 2002 Super Bowl, lean towards the Patriots.
"The one thing that hasn't changed with Tom Brady, it's his ability to play big in the biggest moments," Warner said.
"When the game's on the line, he plays his best football."