David vs Goliath Roles Reversed

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Seventeen years ago a much younger Tom Brady trotted out of the tunnel at Super Bowl XXXVI with his teammates facing a most formidable opponent.  “The Greatest Show on Turf”, led by quarterback Kurt Warner and running back Marshall Faulk, led one of the most high-powered offenses in NFL history.  The New England Patriots were a far different franchise at this point in history and were transitioning between quarterbacks as Tom Brady had ultimately stolen the job from Drew Bledsoe due to an injury.  Although Brady came in and had a great season, few expected him to go all the way and lead the Patriots to Super Bowl glory.  The Patriots entered the game as fourteen point underdogs and the rest, well, that’s just history.

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Here we are all these years later and the Rams and Patriots are set to square off in the big game yet again.  There are many differences and changes between the two teams that suited up for Super Bowl XXXVI and the two teams that will take the field this Sunday.  However, the David vs. Goliath storyline still applies to this Sunday’s big game.  

The Patriots have built a dynasty that has almost spanned two decades, in the sporting world this is nothing short of a miracle.  Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Brady have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy five times in this historic run.  To underestimate them as a Goliath that all teams try to destroy would be laughable.  The 2018-19 Rams are certainly not the underdogs that the Patriots once were in 2001-02, but they lack playoff experience with a young roster.

The young roster centers around 24 year old, Jared Goff.  This will be Goff’s first Super Bowl appearance (Ironically, Brady entered Super Bowl XXXVI at age 24 as well).  Goff is hoping to obtain the same success that Brady had seventeen years ago and slay the perennial powerhouse.  Speaking of young, the Rams’ head coach Sean McVay is only 33 years old.  He has been able to connect with players on a more personal level but will this hold up under the pressures of the biggest game in the world?

The Los Angeles Rams tout a fairly impressive defense that include players like Aaron Donald, Aqib Talib, Ndamukong Suh.  The 2001-02 Patriots, although being massive underdogs to the Ram’s high power offense, had All-Stars such as Ty Law, Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi and Lawyer Milloy.  This defense held the Rams to just 17 points.  The Rams will look to hold Tom Brady and his plethora of weapons to a mediocre performance.  The New England offense has been clicking in their last four games.  However, they have experienced their fair share of struggles this season.  The Rams know that they will need to apply pressure to Brady to be successful.

The Rams also only have a handful of players who have been to a Super Bowl on previous teams.  Virtually all of the Patriots’ starting players have seen action in a Super Bowl over the last few seasons.  Will this be an advantage to the seasoned veterans?  In Super Bowl XXXVI the St. Louis Rams were back to back NFC Champions and had a large quantity of players who were making a second trip to the Super Bowl.  Their experience was clearly not enough of an advantage.

Although the Patriots are this year’s favorite by a slim margin, they’re mindset is far from that of a Goliath.  Over the past two decades the Patriots have thrived when thought of as the underdog.  Belichick and Brady have brought opposing teams trembling to their knees when cast as the weaker of the two teams.  New England has spent this postseason with a major chip on their shoulder as many local and national media members disregarded the team as a legitimate threat to make a Super Bowl run.  Look for players like Brady and Julian Edelman trying to motivate their teammates on Sunday by continuing to paint the picture that no one believes in their chances.  The Patriots will be confident but portraying the role of David in their own minds.

In the end the margin of the spread for Sunday’s game is much closer than that played between the Rams and Patriots seventeen years ago.  However, the story of the underdog or downtrodden is alive and well for Super Bowl LIII.  Both the Rams and Patriots could lay claim to being the challenger that has everything to prove.  The 24 year old kid looking to start building his own dynasty vs. the 41 year old champion who thrives off of the doubters that claim he is washed up.

The dialogue of David vs. Goliath is alive and well for Super Bowl LIII regardless of the team that you are pulling for to win the title of world champions. 

Super Bowl LIII Prediction

Like with all Super Bowls the Patriots have played in under Brady and Belichick expect a close and stressful game that has several changes in leads.  The Patriots defense will do what it could not last year and make at least one big play to affect the outcome.  Patriots raise their sixth Lombardi trophy in a 34-27 nail biter.  Tom Brady reclaims the title of Super Bowl MVP and closes the door on all those that question his abilities at the tender age of 41.


Follow Marc on Twitter @mrobes12.

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Boston Sports Syndicate: David vs Goliath Roles Reversed
David vs Goliath Roles Reversed
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