It was the lowest scoring Super Bowl ever, but Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots continue to make history with their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy.
One year on from a Super Bowl of offense that featured 74 points, the most yards, the fewest punts and most points scored by a losing team – the Rams and Patriots, two of the four highest scoring teams in the NFL this year were involved in a defensive tussle that ranks as the lowest scoring game in Super Bowl history.
As is the Patriots way they bent it to their will, and in a season that looked to be rewriting the rules of how the game is played they evolved and did things their own way, ensuring the Rams, under the game’s brightest offensive mind, became only the second team ever to not score a Super Bowl touchdown.
With two of the greatest to ever play and coach the game at the helm, the Patriots, beaten 41-33 by Philadelphia last year, delivered when it mattered, again. Brady and Belichick finding the plays in the fourth quarter, on both sides of the ball that sealed their sixth Super Bowl ring as the Patriots dynasty shows no signs of letting up.
“We’ve been this far and lost which is really tough,” Brady said at the trophy presentation.
“We had a lot of resolve the last couple of weeks I wish we played a little better on offense but we won. Super Bowl champs.”
It wasn’t supposed to be like this, touchdowns were expected. Offense and drama was expected but as defense reigned there was plenty to delight the crowd and TV audience, on and off the field on one of sport’s biggest draws – Super Bowl Sunday.
Super Bowl Sunday is well know for its beverage and food consumption and the Sky Sports NFL audience did not disappoint, so with snacks at the ready it was time to get the party started.
Jon Bon Jovi and Kevin Hart were among the visitors to Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s box and Tottenham and England striker Harry Kane was to join them, bumping into Kaka along the way.
Atlanta’s $1.5bn Mercedes-Benz Stadium was a fitting setting for the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ and a spectacular start to proceedings saw both teams introduced to the crowd, before a spine-tingling rendition of the ‘Star Spangled Banner.
Having missed an early field goal, Steven Gostkowski kicked the Patriots into a 3-0 lead, and it stayed that way – giving the Super Bowl half-time score a look that would be more at home alongside Kane, who told Sky Sports’ Richard Graves he is on the mend after his ankle injury.
With action in unusually short supply on the field, the NFL turned to a couple of its staples to keep spirits high – the half-time show and the adverts.
This year it was the turn of Maroon 5 to headline the half-time show, joined by Travis Scott and Big Boi.
As the league prepares for its 100th year, some of the NFL’s stars past and present got together to start the celebrations early and give the sport an advert of their own on the biggest slot of the year…..
Gareth Southgate was another man in attendance and having told the Sky Sports crew about how much his England set-up had learned from the world of gridiron, a rousing half-time team talk along the lines of the Sir Alex Ferguson hairdryer may have gone down well.
Last year’s record-breaking shootout was long in the rear view mirror before Super Bowl LIII delivered its first record – halfway through the third quarter Rams punter Johnny Hekker booted the ball 65 yards, courtesy of a helpful bounce, much to the delight of commentators Tony Romo and Jim Nantz, who were getting desperate.
It took the Rams until deep, deep into the third quarter before they finally got on the board, Greg ‘the Leg’ Zuerlein kicking them level with a 53-yard field goal.
But that was as good as it got as Brady found Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski on the way to Sony Michel’s rushing touchdown with seven minutes left proved the decisive factor.
For Brady and Belichick, age is no barrier. Coming up against the youngest coach to lead a team into the showpiece match-up, the pair became the oldest coach and the oldest quarterback to win the Lombardi and the pair show no sign of letting up. For 33-year-old McVay, time is on his side.
All of the Patriots (and Belichick and Brady’s) Super Bowl triumphs have been by a single score, but a 13-3 win represents their biggest margin of victory in the season showpiece
A season that had seen the Patriots written off ended in familiar fashion with them lifting a sixth Lombardi in 18 years, a remarkable achievement in a sport that is not used to such dynasties.
Fittingly, while Brady and Belichick rightly get the plaudits, MVP on the night Julian Edelman underlined the mantra that has built the powerhouse.
“They should be the MVP — the whole D,” he said after racking up 141 yards on 10 receptions.
“We knew, it’s just about taking one play at a time. It’s about being resilient. It just matters that we won. It was a crazy year. We’ve got a resilient bunch of guys. It was unreal man.”
Brady and the Patriots have been keen to point out they are not going anywhere any time soon – and on Sunday night, not that anyone thought any different, and in front of the huge global TV audience it was underlined they are indeed still here.
Sky Sports coverage of the NFL will continue through the off-season as we track the player moves and the storylines in the build-up to the 100th year of the NFL – and we will have all four days of the NFL Draft covered in April
(c) Sky News 2019: New England Patriots make history as dynasty shows no sign of slowing down