The final game of the 2019 NFL season was a history-making affair, with the 16 point total scored by New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams the lowest number recorded in a title match during the Super Bowl era.
The Patriots claimed their sixth NFL championship with a comfortable 13-3 success that never looked in doubt from the moment they took the lead in the first-half.
Los Angeles’ prolific offense was brutally stifled by a coaching masterclass from Bill Belichick that prevented the Rams from running a single play inside New England’s 26-yard line during the game.
Punters betting on American football had piled plenty of money on the Rams in the run-up to the game off the back of some impressive performances during the regular season and play-offs.
The Rams’ offense had been superb for much of the campaign, scoring the second-most points and gaining the second-most yards on the road to the Super Bowl.
However, the Patriots dismantled the Rams’ much-vaunted offensive line, shut down their skill players and left quarterback Jared Goff looking like a bemused and broken man.
Belichick shocked the Rams by starting in zone defense after playing man-to-man all season and they were unable to adapt their own game to any great effect.
Rams’ head coach Sean McVay admitted after the match that he had been “out-coached” by Belichick and the statistics certainly backed up his honest point of view.
The Rams gained just 260 yards, recorded 14 first downs and punted nine times during the game, with Belichick’s change in system working to perfection.
McVay barely used Todd Gurley during the game, with the star running back managing just 35 yards on 10 carries – a surprisingly low return for a player who had performed so brilliantly during the season.
Suspicions of a lingering injury problem were ruled out by McVay during post-match interviews, but it has since emerged that Gurley may have arthritis in his left knee.
Such a condition would be a major worry for the Rams moving forward, particularly with Gurley recently signing a $60 million contract extension with the franchise.
Arthritis would typically be the type of injury that requires surgery and that would potentially put Gurley’s participation next season at risk.
While the Super Bowl left the Rams with plenty of questions to answer, it was a major triumph for Belichick and his star quarterback, Tom Brady.
There were times during the regular season where Brady looked every inch a 41-year-old. However, when the chips were down, he delivered in style.
With six Super Bowl rings to his name, Brady has promised a 19th season by showing the rest of the NFL that he can still cut it at the highest level.
Bookmakers have installed Kansas City Chiefs as the early favourites for next year’s Super Bowl, with the Patriots, Rams and New Orleans Saints close behind in the betting.
However, with Belichick once again pulling the strings it would be a brave move to back against him guiding Brady and the Patriots to yet another Super Bowl victory.