THIS is What’s Going to Decide Who Wins Super Bowl LIII
The week leading up to Super Bowl LIII has been overshadowed by the ongoing debate (or maybe the lack thereof) about the missed call in the Saints-Rams NFC Championship Game.
Here’s the thing. I’m done talking about it. There have been referee issues and that’s been discussed. Yes, it was a terrible call. “Who Dat Nation” filed a lawsuit, but no judge in their right mind is going to stop a $13 billion entertainment company from the biggest sporting events in the world. It’s over.
The Rams and Patriots will face off in Super Bowl LIII (53)
Here’s what I want to talk about when it comes to the Super Bowl.
This Super Bowl is not about Tom Brady.
This Super Bowl is not about C.J. Anderson.
This Super Bowl is not even about Bill Belichick.
It’s about Wade Phillips.
This Super Bowl will come down to Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and his success against Tom Brady in 2015-16 with the Denver Broncos. He’s one of the few coordinators in the history of their job to go 2-for-3 against Brady in the span of three years, including beating the Patriots in the playoffs.
You hate to say that a defensive coordinator has figured Tom Brady out. (Can I even say that???) Whatever the closest thing is, it’s going to be Wade Phillips.
The last time Tom Brady faced Wade Phillips, he went 16/32 for only 188 yards and 0 touchdowns.
So how did he do it? How did he manage to hold the “GOAT” to under 60 points and 800 passing yards over a three-game span? How did he force a typically clutch Brady to hurl two interceptions while sporting a QBR of less than 60 in the AFC Championship Game?
He had a combination of a ferocious pass rush and a defensive backfield that could get interceptions.
Flash forward to present day and what is he equipped with? You got it — the combination of a ferocious pass rush and a defensive backfield that can get interceptions.
You could argue this combo is more lethal. Aaron Donald, 21 sacks this year. 106 pressures, by himself, in 16 games!
Ndamukong Suh, coming into his All-Pro form at the right time. Corey Littleton, John Johnson, Marcus Peters. The list goes on. Vacuums in the defensive backfield.
Another interesting point to note, the New England Patriots arrived a day earlier this year. That’s something the Notre Dame Fighting Irish did in the Cotton Bowl.
I’m not saying the Irish and the Patriots will meet the same fate. What I am saying is that as an athlete, as a player, as a human being, when you’re away from home for another day, it does something to you.
To me, it always diminished the importance of the game. You eventually begin to think about being home vs. enjoying where you are in the pursuit of your dreams. Got kids? They don’t care where you are, it’s one more day you have been away without presents for them. Needy significant other? Uff da.
If you’re the Patriots, you’ve been there since Sunday. That’s a long time to be away from home and your routine. And on Super Bowl week, it’s not typically until Friday that players’ families come into town.
So when we talk about the Super Bowl, when people at the office or a Super Bowl party are talking about the game, make sure they’re talking about the “poppin’ since my demo”, fur-coat-wearing, the McDonald’s-breakfast eating, and the Tom Brady BEATING Wade Phillips.
He will dictate who wins the Super Bowl.