COLUMN: Tom Brady can add to legacy in Super Bowl rematch with Rams


New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates after the game-winning touchdown in overtime for a 37-31 win against the Kansas City Chiefs during the AFC Championship game Jan. 20 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Tribune News Service

The Super Bowl stage is set. Whether you like it or not, Tom Brady will be there for a third consecutive season. 

Even when the talk all year was about how historically limited the Patriots were on both sides of the ball, Brady knew something that everyone else had seemed to forgotten: he knows how to win. 

With the Patriots as favorites, however, the 2019 Super Bowl may be the greatest challenge Brady faces in his impressive career.

Once again, Brady found a way to put the pieces of the puzzle together at the right time, carrying the Patriots to their fourth Super Bowl in five seasons. They will face the Los Angeles Rams on Feb. 3rd in Atlanta. 

It will also be a rematch of the 2002 Super Bowl, which saw New England defeat the then-St. Louis Rams, granting the Patriots their first championship in franchise history. It also set the winning precedent the Patriots have become known for under Brady and head coach Bill Belichick. 

Since this has been the season of doubt, it seems fitting that the Patriots found their way back to the top of almost every statistical category in the postseason, but this year’s Rams are right up there with them.

Brady threw for 348 yards en-route to an OT win in the AFC Championship game, taking down the No. 1-seeded Chiefs. While first-year starter and MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes had a solid outing with 295 yards, his total for the postseason was eclipsed by Brady, who brought his total to 691. 

Brady’s competition in the big game, Jared Goff, sits at sixth in total passing yards. Expect Goff to bring everything in his arsenal while he's within reaching distance of his first Super Bowl ring in just his third season.

The ground game has been a focal point for both teams. The Rams dominated defenses all season with running back Todd Gurley. During the season, Gurley joined Priest Holmes as one of two players in NFL history to score 14 touchdowns in their first seven games. 

In the postseason, however, Gurley has not put up the same numbers. His partner in the backfield, C.J. Anderson, has the third most rushing yards in postseason play, whereas Gurley is sixth. The Patriots have seen success return on the ground with rookie sensation Sony Michel, who leads the league in rushing yards in the playoffs.

Both the Patriots and Rams have proven their defenses are forces to be reckoned with. With both ranking in the top-five in total defense, it will be crucial for both teams to bring their A-games as they face off in what will surely be a clash of the titans. 

As Brady looks to add to his already incredible resume, Rams head coach Sean McVay will also look to become the youngest head coach to win a Super Bowl in league history. All eyes will be on Atlanta to see what unfolds.

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