Not every Super Bowl is super, and we’ll find out if this year’s edition fits the tag on Feb. 3. But we do know some of what is in store.
One of those things is (no surprise) the New England Patriots, who will be appearing in their third consecutive Super Bowl and fourth in five years. The Los Angeles Rams will be the first team to represent Los Angeles in the game since 1984.
Those are not the only records and oddities about this year’s Super Bowl.
Game of ages
Sean McVay, who took over the Rams last season after a meteoric rise as an NFL assistant, turns 33 this week, which will make him the youngest head coach in Super Bowl history. He breaks the record held by Mike Tomlin, who was 36 when his Pittsburgh Steelers won the big game in 2009.
At 66, Bill Belichick will not be the oldest Super Bowl coach, as Marv Levy went to the game with the Buffalo Bills at age 67 and 68. But Belichick could become the oldest winner, breaking the record held by Tom Coughlin, who was 65 when the New York Giants beat the Patriots in 2012.
Game of ages II
Tom Brady is 41 and will become the oldest Super Bowl starting quarterback. He breaks the record set by, well, Tom Brady last year.
At 24, Jared Goff is not the youngest Super Bowl starter, but he’s not far off. Dan Marino was the youngest, at 23 years 127 days, and Ben Roethlisberger was just behind him at 23 years 340 days.
How did we get here?
Both conference championship games went to overtime; the Rams beat the New Orleans Saints, 26-23, and the Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 37-31. They were the first overtime conference championships since 2015, when the Seattle Seahawks rallied to beat the Green Bay Packers. It was the first time ever that both conference games went to overtime.
Both lower-seeded teams won, playing on the road. It’s only the second time that has happened in this century: The other instance was in 2013, when the fourth-seeded Baltimore Ravens beat the Patriots and the second-seeded San Francisco 49ers beat the Atlanta Falcons.
Offense > defense
When it comes to offense, both teams rank among the NFL elite. The Rams are second in points scored and yards per play and third in net yards per pass. The Patriots are just a bit behind at fourth, eighth and sixth.
But defensively the Rams did not put up great numbers, ranking just 20th in points allowed, 28th in yards per play and 23rd in yards per pass. The Patriots had better, though not great, rankings at seventh, 20th and fifth.
It adds up to a potentially high-scoring Super Bowl. The oddsmakers have set the over/under at somewhere in the 57-58 range, and depending on where it lands it could be the highest in history. The record came in 2017, when the Patriots-Falcons game was set at 57. (It went over.)
One more time
It’s a Super Bowl rematch, sort of. In 2002, the Patriots beat the Rams, 20-17. But it was the St. Louis Rams, in Year 7 of a 21-year exile from Los Angeles. Some things don’t ever seem to change though. That game’s MVP was Tom Brady.
By the number
The Roman numerals have reached LIII, or 53. You could also call it Super Bowl 110101 if you prefer binary numbers or Super Bowl 35 if hexadecimal is more your thing.
It’s the first prime-number Super Bowl since XLVII (47, Ravens over 49ers, 34-31.)
Among the athletes who have worn No. 53: Don Drysdale, Harry Carson, Artis Gilmore and Darryl Dawkins.
Back to Atlanta
It’s the third Super Bowl in Atlanta. The first two took place in the now-imploded Georgia Dome: The Dallas Cowboys dealt the Bills the fourth of their four consecutive losses in 1994, and the Rams (again in St. Louis) beat the Tennessee Titans in the 2000 game in which Kevin Dyson came 1 yard short of a game-tying touchdown as time expired.
Pop band Maroon 5 and rappers Big Boi and Travis Scott will perform the halftime show. Up with People, which headlined the show four times, is still awaiting its first appearance since 1986.
Gladys Knight will sing the national anthem, a year after Pink did the honors. Knight will join an odd mix of stars to carry out the duties, a list that includes Lady Gaga (2016), Billy Joel (1989 and 2007), Cher (1999), Kathie Lee Gifford (1995) and Al Hirt (1970).
Gamblers are saying the anthem performance will last 1 minute 50 seconds. You can bet on it. Or on whether a player will kneel (5-1 against). Or if a fan runs on the field (15-1). Or the color of Adam Levine of Maroon 5’s shirt (black is the favorite) or whether a Coke or Pepsi commercial will appear first, or — well, you get the idea.