Tom Brady can clinch another NFL record at Super Bowl 53 on Sunday – but most of the United States will be rooting for the Los Angeles Rams against the New England Patriots.
In a battle between youth and experience in Atlanta, the Super Bowl’s youngest coach-quarterback combination of all-time takes on the most successful.
The Patriots have won five Super Bowls, with coach Bill Belichick, 66, and quarterback Brady at the helm for each one. Victory on Sunday would mean the Pats tie Pittsburgh Steelers’ record of six titles, and give 41-year-old Brady more Super Bowl rings than any other player.
The Rams are the new kids on the block. Having just turned 33, Sean McVay is the youngest coach to lead a side to the Super Bowl. Quarterback Jared Goff, 24, will play in the big game in just his third year as a pro.
Many are asking if McVay and Goff will be the new Belichick and Brady, but most don’t necessarily care if it’s the start of a new era for the Rams – they just want to see the Patriots dynasty come to an end
Brady alone has reached nine Super Bowls – more than every other franchise in NFL history – so maybe it is jealousy that fuels the haters. Some are sick of the Patriots being so good, others just can’t stand the way they go about it.
Steelers fans don’t want them to tie their record, while hardcore Rams fans are still annoyed about the Pats stopping their ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ side winning two Super Bowls in three years – and then building their own dynasty.
Many neutrals were mad at the Pats denying them a repeat of the game of the season – the Rams’ 54-51 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in week 11 – by beating the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game.
There is also the ‘spy-gate’ affair of 2007, which saw Belichick fined $500,000 (£331,000), before Brady was banned for four games in 2015 over ‘deflate-gate’.
A Pittsburgh TV producer probably chose an unwise way to air his grievance – he was sacked last week for describing Brady as a “known cheater” during a news broadcast.
However, they are not all Brady haters outside New England. New Orleans Saints fans are backing the Pats after the ‘no-call’ which cost them a place in Atlanta.
And there is still bad blood in St Louis over the way Rams owner Stan Kroenke took the franchise back to LA in 2016. Four lawsuits have since been filed against the Rams and Kroenke, who also owns Premier League club Arsenal.