This NFL season saw record highs in points, yards, and passing touchdowns. Back in week 11 the Chiefs and Rams game was immediately dubbed the greatest game of all time solely because the two combined for over 100 points. And if you come in close contact or breathe on the young boy offensive genius in Los Angeles, head coach Sean McVay, you might just get a coaching job for a basement dweller team.
Point being, this football season was all about the head coaches and quarterbacks that can combine to create explosive offenses. It makes games exciting and puts butts in the seats, I get it. But in Super Bowl LIII, while most call it a sluggish mess that wasn’t fun to watch, I’ll take the glass half full approach and it call it a breath of fresh air.
We were all reminded how crucial that the defensive side of the football is in January and February when it matters most. The combination of the greatest head coach of all time in Bill Belichick and now former Linebackers coach soon-to-be Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores’ chess match with Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips stole the show in the big game last night.
In an utterly shocking result, the Patriots 13-3 victory over the Rams was the lowest scoring Super Bowl game in NFL history. The first play from the red zone from either team came midway through the fourth. The Tom Brady connection to tight end Rob Gronkowski for 29 yards late in the game was the lone explosive play of the entire game.
But still in all, offense creates more headlines and is more appealing to the eye, so of course they gave Super Bowl MVP to Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. Naturally as a Pats lifer I love me some Julian Edelman, and he balled all night, victimizing Rams corner Marcus Peters on option and out routes routinely throughout the football game.
However, I’ll go as far as to say it was criminal to give Edelman MVP honors. Los Angeles averaged 33 points this season, and got punked by the New England defense on the biggest stage only mustering 3 all game.
The headliner to the greatest defensive performance in Super Bowl history belonged to all pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The man stuffed the stat sheet about as much as a corner could. He recorded five tackles, three pass breakups, a forced fumble and had a critical interception with 4:17 left in the game that slammed the door on the Rams abysmal offensive showing.
He shadowed speedy 4.32 wide receiver Brandin Cooks all night, who played for New England a season ago. Gilmore took advantage of the familiarity with Cooks and all the battles they had in practice a year ago by putting him in a straightjacket most of the night.
Although there was excitement among fans back when Belichick and the Patriots went out and signed Gilmore two years back from division rival Buffalo, there was still cause to pause. It’s very unlike New England to go get the big fish in the free agent market, especially for someone who plays a position like he does.
They broke the bank for him too, giving him 13 million dollars per year through 2022. He earned every penny of that salary last night, he was the best player on the field, period. He deserved to win MVP. But being a defensive player, I knew it was never realistic.
So if you’re an NFL general manager, before going out and trying to hire the next fresh faced hot shot offensive genius to be your head coach, remember Bill Parcells old cliche “defense wins championships” absolutely proved itself again last night.