Super Bowl LIII was played at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, this past Sunday, Feb. 3.
You know the participants.
You know who won. The Patriots won, 13-3, over the Los Angeles Rams, in a game that made history because it was the lowest scoring game since the Super Bowl has been played.
First and foremost, the Rams advanced to the Super Bowl as a result of a flawed and questionable pass interference penalty that was not called against the Rams in the NFC Championship Game against the Saints.
The NFL did not penalize the men officiating Rams/Saints because officials are human and like all of us, human error can occur at any given time, with no premeditation intended. Even though the Saints lost the game, they can take comfort in the fact that the “non-call” that ended their 2018 season, however egregious, was just a huge mistake.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady completed 21 passes out of 35 attempts for 262 yards and 1 pick. Rams QB Jared Goff completed 19 of 38 passes for 229 yards and 1 pick. With Goff’s “anemic” passing stats and time of possession, it appeared as if some pregame videotaping of the Rams signals might have been going on…oops, wrong game.
On Feb. 3, 2002, Super Bowl XXXVI was played between the St. Louis Rams and the New England Patriots at the Louisiana Superdome and it was alleged that the Rams’ pregame practices and walkthroughs before that game were videotaped by certain staff members of the Patriots. The Patriots won that game by score of 20-17. Brady was 16 of 27 for 145 yards in that game. Ex-Rams and former Arizona Cardinals NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner was 28 of 44 for 365 yards. On that occasion it was the Rams that were sent packing empty-handed and empty-hearted but history would soon reveal that the Rams defeat was not the result of happenstance but was the result of deceit, skullduggery by the management and possibly the ownership of the Patriots. “Spygate” was the name of a cheating controversy by the Patriots that was exposed during the NFL’s 2007 season, when the New England Patriots were disciplined by the league for videotaping New York Jets defensive coaches’ signals from an unauthorized location during a Sept. 9, 2007 game. The Patriots were videotaping the Jets’ coaches from their own sideline during the game. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell deemed it to be in violation of league rules, stating that the act represented a calculated and deliberate attempt to avoid long-standing rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field. After an investigation, the NFL fined Patriots head coach Bill Belichick for his role in the incident, fined the Patriots $250,000 and docked the team their original first-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft.
As part of their probe into the allegations, the NFL required the Patriots to turn over all notes and tapes relating to the taping of opponents’ defensive signals; the Patriots did not want the videotapes to leave their facilities. After Super Bowl XLII, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told him that Belichick had been engaged in the cheating practice since he became head coach of the Patriots in 2000.
The Rams practices weren’t even videotaped in Super Bowl LIII (as far as we know), but they still managed to only score 3 points. Maybe the Rams should hope that if history repeats itself that the officials don’t miss any pass interference calls: it might save them some heartbreak. Did the Patriots have any outside help this time around, or did the Rams just beat themselves?
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