The Grandest Stage of Them All

It has finally arrived! Super Bowl LI is here and we are on the verge of NFL History. No matter how the big game turns out it will be memorable in the annals of time and space. This is the Atlanta Falcons 2nd ever trip to the Super Bowl, the first being in 1998 which they lost to the Broncos, and if victorious the Dirty Birds will join only the 1995 Braves to have won a championship in all of Atlanta’s professional sports history. On the flip side… Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will appear in their record-setting 7th Super Bowls and can become the most winning-est head coach and quarterback in Super Bowl history with 5 victories. ALSO, if the Patriots win their 2nd title in 3 years this Sunday, that will not only be the franchise’s 5th Super Bowl victory in the past 15 years, it will also add to the city of Boston’s 36th – THIRTY SIXTH – professional championship in the big four of sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL). Also not to mention, Tom Brady would join only defensive lineman Charles Haley to win 5 Super Bowls in NFL History.                                               

But let’s focus specifically on these two teams.
The Falcons started out the season like they did last year, HOT. As a matter of fact last year was even hotter starting 5-0 but this 2016 season they fell to the Buccaneers in Week 1 only to rattle off 4 wins in a row including defeating both teams that represented Super Bowl 50 in back to back weeks (Panthers and Broncos), a feat that no other team can claim. It finally clicked for this Falcons offense the entire season and not just a portion of it by having the #1 scoring offense after 17 weeks. After earning a bye week, Atlanta made mincemeat out of Seattle and a red hot Green Bay team in the playoffs to earn their well deserved spot in the 51st Super Bowl in their 51st season as a franchise. QB Matt Ryan definitely made his case for MVP this year definitely having the best year in virtually every statistical category including falling just a few yards short of 5,000 yards, 38 TDs to only 7 INTs, and one of the best single season passer ratings in NFL history at 117.1. They will be one of the most dynamic offenses to ever represent the Super Bowl.

As for the Patriots, they had probably their most unique start to the season in its 57 year history. They started the first quarter of the season without their greatest player ever in Tom Brady due to the billion long day DeflateGate saga. Backup Jimmy Garoppolo did very well for himself leading New England to a victory in Arizona on Sunday Football in Week 1 for his first ever career start. He was lights out for a Quarter and a half in Week 2 against the Dolphins throwing for a team record 177 yards in just the 1ST QUARTER; he left the game midway through the 2nd with a shoulder injury despite already throwing a whopping 232 yards and 3 touchdowns. In comes rookie and 3rd string QB Jacoby Brissett to play the next 2 and a half games in Brady’s and Garoppolo’s absence. At 2-0 going into Week 3 now it is Brissett with his first ever start and he leads the team to an impressive 27 to nothing spanking of the Houston Texans only to get shutout themselves the next week by the Bills. A 3-1 record without Tom Brady to start the season was a job well done considering the greatest QB ever took the reigns back and went 11-1 to end the regular season with a league best 14-2 record and having the most efficient season for a quarterback in the process throwing 28 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions.  Another year another Patriots team going deep in the playoffs.

AS FOR THE GAME ITSELF! Even though these are the #1 and #3 scoring offenses in the game this year (Falcons and Patriots respectively) I feel a “shoot out” is just not possible in the Super Bowl considering it rarely ever happens. And what I mean by a shoot out is both offenses moving the ball downfield shredding the opposing defense and scoring virtually on every drive throughout the game. Both defenses are being largely overlooked and should have giant family size bags of Lays Potato Chips on their shoulders for this monstrous game. The top scoring offense and the top scoring defense have faced off in the Super Bowl 6 times with the defense winning on five of those six occasions. The Patriots defense are the #1 scoring defense holding opponents to just a little over 15 points per game this season. The Falcons on the other hand were near the bottom of the pack allowing 25 points per game, HOWEVER the last six games including the playoffs, Atlanta’s defense faced some decent quarterbacks and allowed an average of 19.33 points a game. Both teams are likely playing their best at the best possible time which aligns the stars for a very good Super Bowl. Both teams will score but both defenses have playmakers that will leave a mark in this ultimate game.  And above anything else, teams in the big game that wear white jerseys have won 11 of the last 12 Super Bowls. You can’t tell me that’s a coincidence! Lock it up!





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