The Stage is Set for Super Bowl 53

   Super Bowl 53 will take place on Feb. 3, at 6:30 in Atlanta, GA at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The NFC Champions the Los Angeles Rams will be facing the AFC Champions the New England Patriots.

   Both divisional championship games were close in score the entire time, and in fact, both games went into overtime. Both games also had controversial calls which led each games underdog to come out on top.

   The first game of championship Sunday was the NFC conference, Rams vs Saints. The Saints were favored 3.5 points going into this game who had home field advantage. This would be the second time that these two teams played each other this season in which the Saints won by 10.

   But, the NFC Championship meant so much more than any game played by these two teams so far. Although the Saints trailed by 10 points this game they made sure it wasn’t long until they caught up and eventually took the lead.

   Fast forward to the last 1:47 left in the game, which has been considered probably the most controversial time frame in NFL playoff history.

   Drew Brees and the Saints are on the Rams 13-yard line close to scoring position. Brees throws to receiver Tommylee Lewis and the pass is incomplete. The pass isn’t incomplete due to an uncatchable throw but to a bad non-call on the referee’s behalf.

   There was a blatant pass interference on Lewis from Rams defender Nickell Robey-Coleman. This play could’ve been a scoring play but caused the Saints to settle for a 31-yard field goal instead taking the lead by three points.

   The Rams got the ball back and were able to make it into field goal range with 15 seconds left. Zuerlein made the 48-yard field goal tying the game and taking the NFC championship into overtime.

   Starting in overtime Saints get the ball first and the worst possible thing that can happen, happens.

   Brees throws an interception. Giving the Rams the ball in which they take it to field goal range and win with Zuerlein kicking a 57-yarder for the win. This win punched the Rams’ ticket back to their first Super Bowl since 2001 against who you ask? None other than the New England Patriots.

   The AFC championship was held in Kansas City in 18 degree weather. Like the NFC championship game, both teams kept each other within less than two scores after the half.

   The fourth quarter of the AFC championship game sparked similar controversy of penalty calling except this time it was a call that didn’t need to be called at all.

   With a little over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter a roughing the passer call was called against the Chiefs which is an automatic 15-yard penalty and first down.

   However, that didn’t stop the Chiefs from doing what they have done all season, score touchdowns in clutch situations. In the last three minutes of the AFC championship game both teams scored two times each, which sent them into overtime.

   The Patriots received the ball first and were able to score a touchdown to end the game sending them back to the Super Bowl for the third year in a row.

   With the controversial calls coming from the NFC and AFC championship Sunday it is apparent that the NFL still has a lot of work to do concerning players, coaches and fanbases when it comes to protecting the players and doing their job.

   The Los Angeles Rams have moved across the country, and up in rankings 31 spots in three years, and have done so with Sean McVay, the youngest coach in NFL history, not to mention the youngest coach to make it to a Super Bowl.

   Although they aren’t the underdogs in the spread for the game their age and experience could beg to differ.

   Love them or hate them the New England Patriots are going to their 10th Super Bowl and ninth under the Brady and Belichick era. Tom Brady is the oldest quarterback to go to a Super Bowl and is looking at possibly his sixth Super Bowl ring.

Lindsey Elam
Sports Editor

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