We are now only a handful of days away from Super Bowl LIII, as the New England Patriots will look to win their sixth Lombardi Trophy, a record that would tie them with the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl victories all-time. The Los Angeles Rams could have something to say about that, however. The Rams would earn a second Super Bowl title with a win over New England and their first since the “greatest show on turf” beat the Tennessee Titans after the 1999 season.
It’s a battle of old vs. new, as a young and vibrant Rams team look to dethrone a Patriots dynasty that is possibly the greatest ever in sporting history. The fresh faces of Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald are experiencing their first Super Bowl, while the duo of Tom Brady/Bill Belichick will have played in their ninth championship contest when the ball kicks off.
The big game figures to be close, as the Rams and Patriots match-up well. Two superstars to watch are LA’s Todd Gurley and New England’s Rob Gronkowski, both of whom are the best at their position, but have only been a shell of their former selves as of late. Both the Rams and Patriots run the ball extremely well (only three touchdown passes between the two teams this postseason) and have needed game winning drives to get to this point.
So who will emerge victorious? We asked our staff here at SteelersNow.com to break out their crystal balls and throw their two cents in on the big game, and some of their predictions may surprise you.
Mike Asti: There’s no denying the Rams have the better team on paper, but the same has been said before about teams Bill Belichick and Tom Brady end up beating. Darnold, Suh and crew will likely frustrate Brady with pressure, but if he can manage to still complete passes, the Patriots offense can still get down the field against the Rams secondary. Brady does just enough to win a close game and the Patriots defense forces turnovers to help the cause. Patriots claim a 6th Lombardi Trophy with a 27-23 win, which ties the Steelers for the most in history. Both Belichick and Brady further cement their legacies, although win or lose, the Patriots are still the greatest dynasty in NFL history.
Joe Steigerwald: The Rams will get pressure up the middle and harass Brady enough to keep it a relatively low-scoring affair, but the Patriots defense will shut down the Rams’ running attack forcing Jared Goff to win the game, which he wont. I really hope I’m wrong, but Patriots 24-19.
Alan Saunders: For everything that gets said about Bill Belichick, his ability as a defensive coach doesn’t get brought up enough. Yes, he has Tom Brady and that’s an advantage, but to me, an under-appreciated reason for New England’s success is Belichick’s ability to game-plan around imperfect offenses, and the Rams’ unit is far from perfect. Todd Gurley is great, but the passing game combo of Jared Goff, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods is far from awe-inspiring. Without Cooper Kupp or any tight end presence underneath, its easy to envision New England stuffing Gurley, playing off the outside speedsters and keeping everything in front of them until Goff makes a mistake. As a Super Bowl rookie, that sounds like a good bet. New England 35, Los Angeles 20.
Donnie Druin: This game figures to be a close battle, should the Rams offensive firepower decide to show up. It feels like we’re watching a movie where we know the ending, and that involves Tom Brady holding up a sixth Lombardi trophy. The Rams need Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers to show up on the defensive line, as Aaron Donald will be double-teamed on nearly every play by the Patriots dominant interior line. The game will ultimately be decided by the Rams secondary. Can they limit Brady and disrupt the timing of his throws? We all know Bill Belichick plays chess and constantly is evaluating his game-plan, will Sean McVay be able to match him? I’ve learned it’s wise not to bet against the equivalent of the dark side, no matter the strength of the Jedi. Patriots 26, Rams 17.
Mike Vukovcan: Rams 31, Patriots 28.
Mic Drop: Rooting for Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell Is Easy Choice
The idea that either Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell will become a Super Bowl champion after Super Bowl LV isn’t exactly something that makes Steelers fans excited for the big game. With that said, Mike Asti feels deciding who to root for should be an easy choice for Steelers fans. He wants to set the record straight once and for all of why Pittsburgh fans need to stop grouping the two former Steelers together.
While they both left the franchise in a cloud of drama, Le’Veon Bell doesn’t deserve to be treated as if he committed the same kind of sins against the Steelers that Antonio Brown did.
Former Steelers WR Martavis Bryant Signs with CFL’s Toronto Argonauts
Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant is heading north for his next opportunity and signing with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts, the team announced Monday.
While Bryant is currently suspended indefinitely from the NFL, he has nothing preventing him from continuing his career in Canada. He has not played since 2018 following multiple violations of the league’s drug policy.
Selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Bryant spent the first three seasons of his career in Pittsburgh, catching 126 passes for 1,917 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Steelers traded Bryant to the Oakland Raiders prior to the 2018 season, but played in just eight games before the suspension.
Steelers Connections Abound in Chiefs-Buccaneers Super Bowl
While the Pittsburgh Steelers saw their Super Bowl LV hopes dashed two weeks ago, fans will recognize plenty of familiar faces when the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet on Feb. 7.
Six players with Steelers ties are expected to take the field in either red or pewter on Super Bowl Sunday, with the two most notable examples being Tampa Bay wide receiver Antonio Brown and Kansas City running back Le’Veon Bell.
Both missed their respective championship games due to injury, but could return to health in time for the Super Bowl with two weeks to recover.
In addition, the Chiefs also boast guard Stefen Wisniewski and punter Dustin Colquitt, who both spent time in Pittsburgh earlier this season.
Wisniewski is in line to make his second-straight Super Bowl start in response to injuries along the Chiefs’ offensive line suffered Sunday, while Colquitt is on Kansas City’s practice squad.
Former Steelers defensive back Ross Cockrell and nose tackle Steve McLendon will take the field for the Buccaneers defensively.
But Tampa Bay’s Pittsburgh connections do not stop on the field, as the Buccaneers will also have six coaches with Steeler ties on the sideline for the big game, including head coach Bruce Arians.
Arians, who is in his second season in Tampa, spent eight years in Pittsburgh, serving as wide receivers coach (2004-06) before being elevated to offensive coordinator (2007-11).
Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich played under Arians in Pittsburgh, and had three separate stints with the Steelers as a backup quarterback to Ben Roethlisberger.
Tampa Bay also boasts assistant head coach and run game coordinator Harold Goodwin, outside linebackers coach Larry Foote, offensive assistant Antwaan Randle El and assistant coach Tom Moore.
Even with the Steelers at home watching along with the rest of the country, Pittsburgh should have no shortage of rooting interests when the Chiefs meet the Buccaneers in Tampa in two weeks time.