Falcons, Patriots clash for Super Bowl LI glory
As the confetti flies and the familiar sound of Queen’s “We Are the Champions” echoes off the walls of NRG Stadium, the Vince Lombardi Trophy will make its way to the podium to be handed to the Super Bowl LI (51) champions, either the Atlanta Falcons or New England Patriots.
When the ball is kicked off in Houston it will mark the end of a long journey that started back on Sept. 8, back when 32 teams had a shot to be here in Houston. Now only two are left, the New England Patriots, who will be playing in their record ninth Super Bowl, and the Atlanta Falcons who will be playing in their second ever Super Bowl.
The Patriots will have the advantage because they will have who is arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play in Tom Brady. The Patriots are 4-2 in Super Bowls under Brady (one of which came in Houston in Super Bowl XXVIII in 2003). Brady looks to lead his Patriots a fifth title with a win over the Falcons this weekend.
On the other sideline is the Atlanta Falcons, led by quarterback Matt Ryan. Ryan has been an offensive for this season as he was second in the league in both passing yards with 4,944 and 38 touchdowns. He looks to lead his high flying Falcons squad to what would be a big time upset and win Atlanta’s first ever Super Bowl victory.
If Atlanta manages to win the game, it will be considered one of the biggest upsets in recent Super Bowl memory. The Falcons will have the difficulty of trying to contain Brady and his powerful offense. If they do, it will be a surprise. If they do not win, they have nothing to hang their hats on because they are not expected to win.
“I hate the Patriots with a burning passion,” junior Noah Compton said. “As a Colts fan, nothing gives me more joy than watching the Patriots lose and more importantly lose in the big game. I will 100 percent be rooting for the Falcons in the Super Bowl. I hope they blow out the Patriots.”
Every year in the Super Bowl, one player steps up to become the X factor and hero for the winning team. In 2007 when the Giants pulled off the biggest Super Bowl upset ever, wide receiver David Tyree made a catch that will be forever remembered in Super Bowl history when he caught an Eli Manning pass by pinning the ball on the side of his helmet, dubbing the play “The Helmet Catch” and helping the Giants beat the unbeaten New England Patriots.
“I think someone that will be the X factor will be Tevin Coleman for the Atlanta Falcons. He has had a great season sharing the back field with Devonta Freeman, and I think Coleman will be someone the Patriots will not plan as much for. If the Falcons win, look for Coleman to have a big performance unless he gets injured,” senior Mason Stunick said.
When the game starts, one player will step up. Big time players step up in big time games.
“I think either Julio Jones or Matt Ryan will have the biggest performance in the game. Both players have been great all season. Both players are in the running for MVP, and both were named to the AP All-Pro team this season. The success of the Atlanta offense will determine the outcome of this game, and that offense runs through Ryan and Jones,” junior Ricky Vandersteen said.