It’s estimated that more than 110 million people will watch the New England Patriots play the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII (the Roman numeral for 53) on Sunday.
Not all of those television viewers are big football fans. Some tune into the game for the funny ads and the over-the-top halftime show.
But whether they are longtime fans or first-time watchers, most people keep their eyes on the quarterbacks. After all, they are the most glamorous players in any football game.
The quarterbacks in Super Bowl LIII are real superstars. Tom Brady of the Patriots may be the greatest quarterback in the history of the National Football League (NFL). Brady is among the all-time NFL leaders in career passing yards and touchdowns. And no NFL quarterback has won more games or Super Bowls than Brady. No wonder they call him Tom Terrific.
Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams is one of the hot, young quarterbacks who has been burning up the NFL. This season, Goff threw for 4,688 yards, 32 touchdowns and led a Rams offense that averaged almost 33 points a game.
Goff is an outstanding all-around athlete who played basketball and baseball in high school before he concentrated on football. Parents and kids should remember Goff the next time anyone says you have to specialize in one sport when you are 9 or 10 years old to be any good.
But I think the winner of Super Bowl LIII may be decided by the not-so-glamorous guys in pro football: the offensive and defensive linemen.
Brady is great, but at 41 years old, he can’t move around very well. If the Rams defensive line can put some pressure on the Pats’ quarterback, they may keep him from picking apart the Los Angeles secondary.
The Rams have just the man to pressure Brady: defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The five-time Pro Bowler led the league with 20.5 sacks.
So it will be up to the Patriots offensive line to keep Donald and the other Rams away from their star quarterback.
It’s the same with the Rams offensive line. The big guys up front will need to protect their quarterback and open up holes for running backs Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson. This will take pressure off Goff, who may be nervous playing in his first Super Bowl.
The game should be close. Every one of the eight Super Bowls that Brady and the Patriots have played have gone down to the wire, with some being decided on the last play.
I think the Rams will win a thriller, 33-27.
So enjoy the game. And keep an eye on the linemen.