Super Bowl LIII: It’s the main topic this weekLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Super Bowl LIII: It’s the main topic this week

It was never my intention to be a sports writer. Nothing wrong with the profession. There are a lot of great writers in the world of sports, most of them in the great sports rags we read every day. Many of them in the daily rags that have sports sections. Actually, they all have sports sections.

I’m not one of them.

Los Angeles Kings

If I ever wanted to be a sports writer I would probably restrict myself to either baseball or hockey — or both. There’s nothing like a good penalty kill when it’s five on three. There’s nothing like a run-saving catch that is so acrobatic you think the players picked the wrong profession.

More interesting to me is what is going on with the Russia investigation, you know the Robert Mueller investigation, the battle over Trump’s Wall, what the California government is doing to facilitate high speed rail, global warming and the like. Sports are good, I watch them all, love the Bucks, Brewers, Packers and L.A. Kings, but what I find most interesting are political, social and scientific issues. Every year I get a wall calendar of photos taken by the Hubble Telescope … and a Hooters calendar for the kitchen. Don’t be judging.

But this is Super Bowl Week. No other sporting event is like the Super Bowl; one game, pitting the best team from one conference against the best team from the other conference. All the marbles in just this one game. The NFL playoffs are like that: you get one shot to move on. If you lose your season ends and you’re posting pictures of yourself during Super Bowl Week in the Bahamas. Unless of course the player(s) are in the Pro Bowl.

Patriots QB Tom Brady will play in his ninth Super Bowl

Two of the best head coaches in the league, one is young, the other is old; one is a very good offensive mind and the other is a great defensive mind. The New England Patriots defense is going to be facing a team that averaged scoring over 30 points per game. An offense that features two outstanding running backs that can get 100 yards rushing each in a game.

Our friend and reporter Claudia Gestro asked Patriots linebacker Brandon King what he thought about Rams head coach Sean McVay, the offensive mind behind the Rams’ success, and King, a four-year veteran, said, “I don’t really know how he runs everything over there …” and then he went on to praise his head coach, Bill Belichick. Which of course he should.

Maybe he didn’t understand the question, but if I’m on the Patriots defense I would have a lot to say about Sean McVay because not only did McVay get his squad to the Super Bowl, as a New England defender I would be tasked with trying to stop or slow down the second best offense in the league.

Rams QB Jared Goff has two very experienced receivers in Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks. The New England linebackers will have to help contain the wide receivers along with the tight ends and the running backs when they break out for the passes. Not to mention those running backs coming out of the back field with the ball.

Rams OT Andrew Whitworth

The players, from both teams, spent the first three days of Super Bowl Week, four if you count opening night, talking with the media and performing other acts of public relations. Be prepared on Super Bowl Sunday for the onslaught of one-on-one interviews with various players that were recorded this week for CBS.

In the hours long pregame show and during the game they will feature players like Rams offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth who, in a 13-year career, had never played in a playoff game, let alone a Super Bowl. There will be a short segment on what this Super Bowl — and a win — would mean to him and just as important, what he means to the game survival of QB Jared Goff.

Whitworth is part of an offensive line that has been healthy (for the most part) all season. They performed so well under the deafening conditions of the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in New Orleans partly because they have meshed as a unit for 17 games before the NC championship game. They have absolute confidence in each other.

Just like the offensive line of the Patriots. Tom Brady may have had a rough start to the season, but the rest of his offense played well. But let’s examine that rough start to the season. New England lost their second and third games. Then they went on a six-game winning streak. I always found it interesting people were counting the Patriots out of the playoffs, with no chance to make it to this Super Bowl. Just my observation: As long as Bill Belichick is the Patriots head coach and Tom Brady is their quarterback, they will be in the playoffs with a very good chance of getting to the Super Bowl. It doesn’t matter how their season starts.

Rams DT Ndamukong Suh

The game will come down to the defense and many believe that edge belongs to Los Angeles. Earlier in the week Claudia Gestro asked Ndamukong Suh about putting pressure on Tom Brady, who many believe has the quickest release of any QB in the league. He told her, “We have great secondary people so if he can’t throw the ball because of one, there are no options to throw the ball out to, but then also we’re in his face and we’re beating his offensive lineman, we’re doing our job.” He added, with some caution, “We just gotta’ continue to focus on those things, but, as I said before it’s important for us to stop the running game first.”

The Patriots running game is primarily Sony Michel who racked up 113 yards on 29 carries against a very good Kansas City Chiefs defense. His backup RB, Rex Burkhead, had 12 carries for 41 yards. He also caught four passes for 23 yards.

New England has a third running back, James White, who can rack up yardage on the ground and in the air as well. That’s three players who came out of the backfield and tallied up over 200 yards from scrimmage

The L.A. defensive line and linebacking corps has a lot on their plate for Sunday. The secondary, especially Aqib Talib, John Johnson III and Nikell Robey-Coleman, will have a big job covering all of Tom Brady’s targets, at least eight of them, starting with Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski.

One thing about Tom Brady’s performance in Kansas City: he threw two interceptions. If the Rams defense can force those type of turnovers and turn them into points, Los Angeles has a great shot at winning the game. But, the Patriots found a way to win in overtime, in Kansas City, in a stadium that is one of the loudest in the league.

Claudia Gestro speaking with Rams WR Cooper Kupp during Training Camp

The New England Patriots almost always find a way to win. Then there’s the fact they lost Super Bowl LII to the Philadelphia Eagles last year. They do not lose back-to-back Super Bowls, they just don’t.

When you look across the field to the other sideline, who you’ll see is a fire, started by their head coach, who needs a “Get-Back” coach to keep him from jumping across the sideline and getting flagged. If you ever see footage of a Rams practice, you will see McVay running along — at top speed — with receivers, running backs and defensive backs. It’s the craziest thing fans and coaches have ever seen. Even his players find it remarkable. During Training Camp, Gestro asked wide receiver Cooper Kupp (who is out due to an injury) about McVay’s practice habits. Kupp said, “He’s always running around and but he’s always saying he’s out of breath and out of shape. I don’t know, he needs to change his diet up or what’s going on. Hopefully we can get that fixed.”

Head Coach Sean McVay has guided his Rams into Super Bowl LIII

It looks like they got that fixed. McVay will bring his fire and passion into Mercedes-Benz Stadium and his team will feed off that fire and passion. It’s too bad Kupp won’t be in the game, but Jared Goff has some quality receivers, like Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods; and running backs Todd Gurley II and C.J. Anderson who can rack up rushing yards and catch passes. In press conferences Gurley looks like a laid back guy, but come game time, he is a dominating force on the field.

That’s L.A.’s greatest strength: that fire and passion, the will to win, whatever it takes. They will have to dig deep against this New England team.

Apparently, when Super Bowl Week comes around I’m a sports writer. It is a nice break from everything else that’s going on. It will all be there next week. So let’s talk about the Super Bowl. My pick to win: The Los Angeles Rams. If they can dig deep to beat the New Orleans Saints in OT, they have the fire to win this Sunday.


About the author

Tim Forkes

Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that. Contact the author.
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