Ryan Vespi and Murphy Foss
On Sunday, Feb. 5, two teams will take the field in the Super Bowl LI, both looking to make history. One quarterback and his head coach will be looking to solidify themselves as the greatest ever. The other quarterback hopes to become a hero by bringing the Vince Lombardi championship trophy to a city that has never before earned one. Starting Quarterback Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons are looking to begin their dynasty and dethrone starting Quarterback Tom Brady, Head Coach Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots.
The Falcons are coming into the the game with the number one scoring offense in the NFL. They have several offensive weapons that have gotten them to one of the biggest events in sports. They have large, speedy targets at wide out like Mohamed Sanu and Julio Jones, who earned the title of best receiver in the league, which could create issues for the young New England secondary. They also have two young running backs, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, that create a dual threat out of the backfield. “Julio is hard enough to stop on his own, but to plan for him, Sanu, Coleman, and Freeman is extremely difficult,” said sophomore Jakob Ellithorpe, who is a Falcons fan.
With an MVP candidate at helm in Matt Ryan, the Falcons will be tough to stifle. “I just don’t think there’s a way to stop them; the Patriots are really just going to have to pick their poison,” said freshman Brevin Scullion, fan of the Dallas Cowboys. “It’s going to be a high-scoring shootout, but the Falcons will win with a difference of 14 points,” said Ellithorpe. These predictions may hold true if the Falcons young pass rushers can stop Brady. After a slow rookie season, linebacker Vic Beasley held the NFL sacks title in 2016 with 15.5 sacks on the season. His number one goal for Sunday: make life miserable for Tom Brady. In order to do that he must get past Patriots lineman Alan Branch, who had a breakout season this year, which will provide for a great matchup.
Although these matchups are difficult, Belichick has a history of shutting down high-powered offenses. In the Brady/Belichick era the Patriots have made a record-setting seven Super Bowl appearances, and were victorious four of those seven times. For Brady, this is the most ever by a quarterback. “Tom Brady is… Jesus,” said sophomore Nick Brotzki.
This dominance has earned them a spot as one of the most hated teams in the NFL. “You have to give credit where credit is due,” said physical education teacher Jeff Ike, who is a New York Giants fan, “they’re good, they’re really good.”
The Patriots offense isn’t too shabby this season either. Even without Tom Brady at quarterback, the Patriots averaged 27.6 points per game in the first four games, which is third in the league. They have one of, if not the greatest quarterback ever in control of their offense, but they also have pass catchers like Julian Edelman and Martellus Bennett, along with the number one scoring running back in the league, LeGarrette Blount.
The Patriots also have the number one scoring defense in the league with up and coming playmakers like Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan, Dont’a Hightower and Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler. This gives the Patriots a slight edge in Vegas coming into the game, since in Super Bowls when the number one scoring offense has met the number one scoring defense, the defense has won five out of six times.
The halftime show from Houston is highly anticipated as well. Lady Gaga, known in the past for being her creative with her performances, will be performing, which should provide for a good show. “It’ll be interesting for sure,” said freshman Amirah Britt. “I’ll definetly be interested to see whether or not she’ll be wearing clothes,” said sophomore Tyson Echols, “she’s been pretty controversial lately, so I wonder what she’s going to do.”
Each year people have been becoming less and less interested in the Super Bowl commercials, which used to be one of the comedic highlights of watching the big game. “I’m usually excited for the commercials but over the past few years their quality has gone down, said freshman Luke Hobika. The nation has been greiving since Doritos will not have a commercial slotted for this year’s big game, “It kinda made me cry a little bit when I found out,” said Echols.
There is a reason that so many people tune in for the Super Bowl and we will see that yet again on Sunday. Two Patriots legends with a creative offense and a tough defense battle a young fiery Falcons team with an explosive offense and a defense that is tenacious. This promises for a great matchup in NRG Stadium in Houston on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.