The Patriots won AGAIN (congrats to the Pats for the 6th win though, seriously), but that’s not why Super Bowl 53 was terrible. The commercials were mediocre and the highly revered halftime show was atrocious. Mainly though, the game itself had very little offensive action. The scoreline was 3-0 at the half! We heard analysts and commentators predict a high scoring game, yet the outcome was not close to that, as this Super Bowl was the lowest scoring Super Bowl in the history of the NFL!
I’ve heard people ranging from the average football viewer to NFL commentators claiming that people should complain about the Super Bowl. This is a bad argument. Why shouldn’t we expect the Super Bowl to be the most exciting game? Do these people expect us to act all jolly about the lowest scoring Super Bowl game ever, and put up a nice face? For what? Some say that “we sat through the game, so we shouldn’t complain.” Again, just because we watched the whole game and enjoyed a few plays, does not mean that we can’t argue that this Super Bowl didn’t live up to its hype and that it was terrible in comparison to previous Super Bowls. With those counter arguments out of the way, after sitting through hours of bad football, here are my 8 reasons for why this game ended up becoming such a boring Super Bowl contest.
1) Both defenses were absolutely stacked
I’ll get into more detail about the specific aspects of the defenses that made the game so offensively stale, but overall, the defense in this game made the offenses extremely stagnant. Again, 3-0 at the half, with 8 out of 8 drives ending in punts for the Rams is absolutely atrocious. The Pats weren’t much better with Brady’s early INT and lack of drive consistency.
2) Jared Goff
Goff was awful. Let’s say it as it is. He took sacks that he should not have. He overlooked a great slant pass seven minutes into the 2nd quarter which he instead flung it dangerously to Cooks for a bad 50-50 ball that luckily fell incompleteHe mistimed another long ball to Cooks in the endzone with 3:40 left in the 3rd; He took forever to pass to wide-open Cooks, giving Jason McCourty a boatload of time to knock it incomplete. He threw a terrible interception to Gilmore with 4:19 left in the 4th quarter; a ball that didn’t even reach the endzone. To top it all off, he completed only half of his throws. This year, Goff’s postseason TD-INT ratio was 1-2 in three games, so one could question his standing as the Rams’ future. Personally, this bad playoff series should not define his career which has seen a lot of regular season success, but his atrocious performance in the Superbowl surely does not help his case.
3) Patriots’ secondary
The Patriots’ secondary was on fire. Honestly, the four sacks the Patriots had could be mainly attributed to the Pats’ secondary. The Rams’ offensive weapons were clearly locked up, and Goff was unable to throw on any of his looks. Furthermore, the Patriots’ lockup secondary caused Goff to throw away a good amount of passes. The Patriots’ secondary really limited the offensive action for the Rams. Less Rams offense means less entertainment.
4) Pats’ 3rd down defense
On top of their great secondary, New England’s 3rd down defense was on point. The Rams looked absolutely static on 3rd downs, as they had to punt on their first NINE drives. Every single one of their drives in the first half resulted in a punt! In the first half, I honestly thought Hekker was going to be named MVP. The Pats defense played extremely well on third down to force those punts.
5) Great punts
Continuing on from my previous point, this game had a lot of punts. The abundance of punts is a meme at this point, but it definitely played a major role in the lack of entertainment in the game. Rams’ punter Hekker kicked nine punts averaging 46 yards, also kicking the Superbowl’s longest punt ever at 65 yards. Ryan Allen of the Patriots didn’t have a record breaking day, but he still kicked five punts averaging 43 yards. These great punt plays forced the Rams and Pats to start inside their own 20 yard-line three times and five times, respectively. Starting near their own goal line observably limited both teams’ play-calling options, as we saw some static offenses after punts.
6) Aaron Donald and the Rams’ D-line
Aaron Donald played like a beast. As fun as he is to watch, his run-stopping in the trenches and the many early throws he forced Brady into created inconsistency in the Pats’ offense. Ndamukong Suh also looked pretty dangerous. In the end, Belichick and the Pats found a way to build a game-winning drive with big plays from Sony Michel and Gronk, but that offense was not buzzing as it usually is in the Super Bowl. This lack of Patriots offense caused by the Rams’ lockup D-line didn’t help the game in terms of entertainment.
7) Brandin Cooks
It seems like I’m just naming all the Rams stars, but the fact is, Cooks missed two huge TD opportunities. One on the not-so-perfect pass from Goff in the 3rd quarter, and one on the perfect deep pass from Goff with 4:24 left in the game. While the first pass was contended by Jason McCourty and was a difficult ball to catch that was thrown late, the second opportunity was clearly a missed chance by Cooks. Both plays were pretty difficult and could have went either way, but a top-10 WR with Super Bowl experience should make those clutch plays.
8) Lack of redzone play
You could argue that the lack of redzone play is the result of the things listed above, but either way, this factor made this game so boring. In the first half, there was not a single snap played in the red-zone by either team. That fact shows us how strong both teams’ defenses were, but also how boring it could be when two talented defenses with great head coaches clash in the biggest stage.
While Brady and the Patriots had a good amount of yards, they couldn’t translate it to many points. The Rams on the other hand, lacked severely in both yardage and scoring. We saw great defensive plays, many special teams appearances, and multiple missed opportunities throughout the game that created a boring Superbowl. While any Superbowl game is worth watching til the end, this game was not a fun one to sit through. Let’s all hope for a step up next year. I mean, there is no way but up after a game that literally broke a record for its lack of points scored.
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