The narrative I keep hearing about is how boring last night's game was. America wanted to see Sean McVay's young, creative offense hang half a hundred on old Bill Belichick's defense. We wanted Tom Brady to turn 28 again and have wide receivers get separation and put up big numbers. If defense was going to play a part, we wanted that part to be miraculous pick sixes and devastating sacks. Instead we got a 3-0 half-time score, a Spongebob Squarepants snub, shirtless Adam Levine, and the somber reality that the torch isn't ready to be passed.
Brady gets his sixth
Let's just get this out of the way now; Tom Brady isn't the story. Whether Tom won or lost, this game really had no massive impact on his legacy. If he lost, the only difference would be the total number of times ESPN's First Take uses "Should Brady Retire" as a show topic going from 50-100. He threw an interception on his first throw of the game, and went on to throw for 253 yards, 141 of those coming from short throws to Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman. He wasn't a hero, but he did exactly what was demanded of him; his job.
Pump the Breaks
The real story of last night was Sean McVay being out-coached by Bill Belichick. Like I said before, America so badly wanted high flying offenses in this game. A vast majority of us wanted Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff to be gunslingers and give us another 54-51 showing like they did in Week 11. The entire league has been in a panic over the past couple of weeks. Teams that addressed coaching decisions were looking for a young, dynamic offense. Oftentimes we hear broadcasters talk about head coaches that come from a "coaching tree". The Chicago Bears first year Head Coach, Matt Nagy, comes from the Andy Reid coaching tree and just won the award for Coach of the Year. Anybody that watched the Bears this season will tell you that the defense was the star of the show. Despite this, many organizations are looking for somebody to fit the Sean McVay mold. It's exactly what we're seeing with Kliff Kingsbury being hired by the Arizona Cardinals. Kingsbury was just let go by Texas Tech after having three straight losing seasons and going 19-35 overall in conference play. Sure, Kingsbury developed the shiny new toy that is Patrick Mahomes, but there's more to the NFL than just putting up points. I'm not saying Kingsbury won't be successful in the NFL, but his road isn't as simple as Arizona's front office thinks.A lack-luster defense can leave you exposed if your offense has an off game. Because as great as the Chiefs offense was all year, they were blanked for an entire half of football, at home, in the AFC Championship game. Meanwhile, Brady and company put up enough points to go into overtime and march down the field and win the game.
The Rams were a more balanced team than the Chiefs were, but the same concept still applies. Jared Goff could not make the throws he made against the Saints in the Superdome a couple weeks ago. They couldn't piece anything together that resembled a scoring drive in the first half. I am a firm believer that the difference between a good and great coach is the ability to adjust when the game plan fails. Belichick abandoned man coverage and played zone the entire night. He threw blitz packages at Goff and dared him and his line to deliver under pressure on the biggest stage. They took away the run game from the Rams offense, a team that Tony Romo described as a "play-action pass" team. It was everything the Rams did not expect from the Patriots defense, and McVay and company had no answer to it. For the first time all season, the sensational Rams looked one-dimensional. The reason the Patriots have been beyond elite is because they can win the game multiple ways. Last year Tom Brady threw for over 500 yards and had three touchdowns! None of that matters, because they lost. The Patriots don't have to rely on one star having the game of his life, they can win multiple ways. They rely on everyone playing their role and doing their job.
It will End
The Patriots dynasty will eventually end. I know it doesn't seem like it will, but the time will eventually come. What won't end will be the need to have a defense to step up in big moments when the chips are down. The Rams defense played a great game, but it wasn't enough. Sean McVay is a great, young coach with a bright future. Patrick Mahomes, will undoubtedly be the best Quarterback in the league once Brady, Rodgers and Brees are gone. Offense will continue to evolve and be more and more prevalent in the NFL due to the evolution of the game. However, what will you do when your offense is rattled in a big game? What will you fall back on? Do you have an adjustment? Bill Belichick had answers, and now has his sixth Super Bowl title. The torch will eventually be passed, but Tom and Bill aren't ready just yet.