Carolina Panthers

Rams or Patriots? My Super Bowl pick for what should be a high-scoring classic

New England quarterback Tom Brady (12) will start his ninth Super Bowl on Sunday. Brady is 5-3 in his previous Super Bowls, and the Patriots are a slight favorite against the Los Angeles Rams.
New England quarterback Tom Brady (12) will start his ninth Super Bowl on Sunday. Brady is 5-3 in his previous Super Bowls, and the Patriots are a slight favorite against the Los Angeles Rams. AP

I am so ready for this Super Bowl to be played, in large part because I’m tired of listening to New Orleans Saints fans whine for two straight weeks.

Let’s get on with the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams, please! Bad calls happen. They will happen in the Super Bowl. If you don’t like to watch a sport where the occasional erroneous call made by an official is a part of life, stick to watching tennis.

And listen, for the millionth time, New Orleans won the coin toss in overtime! The Saints had the ball first, and they could have done just like the Patriots did and scored on the first overtime possession and ended the game abruptly. They didn’t. Drew Brees threw an interception instead.

So the right two teams made this Super Bowl — two No. 2 playoff seeds, each able to win on the road in a very difficult environment and now meeting indoors on neutral turf in Atlanta.

Before we get to my pick, though – and I will remind you that I picked Philadelphia to upset the Patriots in this very space last year (that way maybe you can forget about my two recent predictive misfires on the NFC and AFC title games) – can we talk about some of the awesome wagers available to the betting public?

For instance:

Will the national anthem sung by Gladys Knight last over or under 110 seconds?

Will Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine be wearing a hat at the beginning of his halftime performance?

Will Bill Belichick be referred to as a genius?

Will the age gap between Tom Brady and Jared Goff be referred to during the game broadcast?

I’m going over, hat, yes and yes.

This is amazing to me. Brady has now started nine Super Bowls. Do you know what Super Bowl start it was for him in the 2003 postseason, when the Patriots edged Carolina, 32-29? Only his second. So he’s been in seven more Super Bowls since that game. That’s ridiculous.

I’ll be surprised if both quarterbacks don’t throw for at least 300 yards. With ideal weather conditions guaranteed, you’ve got two of the NFL’s best offenses going at each other and also with the understanding that conservatism won’t get it done. That will surely guarantee someone going for it on fourth down a time or two.

As Panthers head coach Ron Rivera likes to say: “Field goals will get you beat,” and in a game like this it’s true. You’re probably going to need 30 points – at least – to win. I’m hoping for a high-scoring classic.

OK, prediction time.

I rode with the underdog last year over the Patriots, and I’m doing so again. The Rams are slight underdogs and will need a big break or two. But they will get it and former Panther C.J. Anderson will score a touchdown and win himself another Super Bowl ring.

My pick: Los Angeles 34, New England 31.

Sports columnist Scott Fowler has written for the Charlotte Observer since 1994. He has authored or co-authored eight books, including four about the Carolina Panthers. In 2018, Fowler won the Thomas Wolfe award for outstanding newspaper writing. He also is the host of the Observer’s hit podcast “Carruth.”


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