Tag Archives: super bowl

Super Bowl LVI Preview

By Ryan McKinney

Journalist Ryan McKinney gives us a preview of this year’s Super Bowl, and his prediction as to which team will take home the trophy.

On Feb. 13, the National Football League (NFL) brings us an unusual matchup in Super Bowl LVI. 

The Los Angeles Rams will host the Super Bowl as the team prepares for a matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are led by young star and “Comeback Player of the Year” Joe Burrow. During Burrow’s 2021 rookie season, he tore his ACL in Week 11 but went through rehab and came back this season better than ever. Burrow is joined by former LSU teammate and 2022 Rookie of the Year Ja’Marr Chase. This dynamic duo has been unstoppable this season, breaking many records and leading their team to the championship game. 

On the other side of the story, the Rams are led by veteran Matthew Stafford. Ever since leaving Detroit, Stafford has become the perfect leader for the Rams. Stafford is joined by 2022 “Offensive Player of the Year” Cooper Kupp. Kupp has had one of the most spectacular seasons of any wide receiver as he is seeking to break the record for most receiving yards in a single season in this year’s Super Bowl.

On the defensive side of the field, the Rams are led by many veterans including Aaron Donald, Von Miller, and Leonard Floyd. These defensive players have contributed to the majority of the team’s success. The Bengals defense has struggled a bit this year but is strongly held together by safety Jessie Bates III. 

The Bengals have been upsetting teams throughout the playoffs and defeating top competitors. These teams include the number one seeded Tennessee Titans, and the number two seeded Kansas City Chiefs. Along with the Bengals, the Rams also had a challenging path through the playoffs as it beat the now-retired veteran Tom Brady in the NFC Semifinals. 

These two teams have competed in many tight post season games this year and both seek to win one last game. For example, Cincinnati has beaten two teams this post season, both saved by game-winning or tying field goals. The Bengals season is still alive due to the rookie kicker from the University of Florida, Evan McPherson. McPherson revealed his confidence when he was on the sidelines getting ready to kick what was then the most important field goal of his career. “Looks like we’re going to the AFC Championship,” he said, before kicking the game-winning field goal in the AFC Semifinals game. Los Angeles also competed in a close game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as the score went back-and-forth the whole game. The Rams ended up pulling out the win on a game-winning field goal as time expired. 

The Cincinnati Bengals enter the Super Bowl 10-7 as the Number 4 seed in the AFC. On the other side, the Rams record was a little bit better as it went 12-5 but were also the fourth seed in the NFC. These two teams both contain talented players, but only a small number of players have playoff experience. This shows as both team leaders, Burrow and Stafford seek to win their first Super Bowl.

I would love to see a great game between these two talented teams, but I want the Cincinnati Bengals to win the game because of their underdog mentality, and I enjoy the players on this team. Although I want the Bengals to win, I do believe the Rams have the more overall balanced, and better, roster. 

In conclusion, Super Bowl LVI should be an interesting match-up to watch as the youngsters face the veterans to see who can gain their first Super Bowl title.  

The Hall Hub – Double Feature!

This week’s topic: The Super Bowl

On this week’s episode of the Hall Hub, we have two (not one, but TWO) very special Super Bowl editions! The first is with our sports gurus Shailey and Aiden, as they discuss the game and how Tom Brady might as well be considered the GOAT!

The second part of our double feature brings Kaylee and Jen, with what some say is the best part of Super Bowl Sunday, the commercials!

We hope you enjoy!!

Just Because: Super Bowl Preview

By Aiden Wacksman

On Feb.7, two of the National Football League’s (NFL) best quarterbacks will square off in Super Bowl LV. 

In Tampa, Fla., Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs will face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the second time this season. The rising star and the seasoned veteran are looking to add to their Super Bowl ring collections, with Brady looking for his seventh and Mahomes seeking his second. This is the fifth matchup between these two quarterbacks, and they have a 2-2 record against each other.

In their previous matchup on Nov. 29, the Chiefs won 27-24 and prevented the Bucs from making a comeback in the fourth quarter. Both teams, however, improved significantly after this game. 

Since the loss to Kansas City, Tampa Bay has gone on a seven-game winning streak. Along with a Brady-led offense, an efficient defensive unit has played a key role in sending the Bucs to its second Super Bowl in franchise history. No offense has scored more than 30 points against this unit in 10 straight games. Tampa Bay’s defense have also held opposing offenses to 327 yards per game (YPG) and have forced 30 turnovers. Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles and the Buccaneer defense will look to stop a fiery Kansas City offense on Sunday.

Brady and the offense are also looking to continue their postseason success. The 43-year-old veteran has thrown for 860 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions in three postseason games. In the regular season, wide receiver Mike Evans served as Brady’s main target, leading the team with 70 catches for 1,006 yards, and accounted for 13 of Brady’s 40 passing touchdowns. In the postseason, however, Brady’s attention has shifted toward wideout Chris Godwin, who has 14 receptions for 223 yards and one touchdown. 

“[Kansas City] has a lot of great players on their defense,” Brady said in an interview with NFL United Kingdom. Chiefs’ Defensive Coordinator (DC) Steve Spagnuolo faced a Brady-led New England Patriots offense in Super Bowl XLII while serving as the DC for the New York Giants. He was responsible for holding a strong New England offensive unit that contained all-time great wide receiver Randy Moss to a mere 14 points in a 17-14 Giants win. “I think [Spagnuolo] runs a great scheme that caters to the strength of his players,” Brady explained. He is excited to once again face Spagnuolo in the Super Bowl.

The Bucs five regular season losses had one thing in common: a lacking rushing attack. Tampa Bay rushed for more than 100 yards in only one of these losses. In its week nine loss to the New Orleans Saints, Buccaneer running back Ronald Jones III accumulated a mere nine rushing yards. This postseason, however, it seems that head coach Bruce Arians and company have made some adjustments, as their newly found run game has provided a balanced offensive attack. Jones III and Running Back Leonard Fournette have led this postseason rushing attack, which has averaged 115 YPG. The orchestrator of the Buccaneers offensive success throughout the season, however, is the offensive line. So far, the line has only given up 1.4 sacks per game (3rd best in the NFL) and are responsible for the strengthened running attack. It is crucial that Tampa Bay’s offensive line continues this success in the Super Bowl.

“It’s all about controlling emotions [before/during the game],” Tampa Bay starting Center Ryan Jensen said in an interview with 9News Denver. He looks forward to the game and hopes to continue providing Brady with the protection he needs.

Meanwhile, Kansas City has looked unstoppable throughout the season. The team has the best record in the NFL at 14-2 and are only the 19th team in NFL history to win 14 or more games in the regular season. Mahomes continues to lead the Chiefs’ offense to success, with the second highest quarterback rating in the NFL and 38 regular season touchdown passes. Head Coach Andy Reid and Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy are two brilliant play-callers, who have the ability to cause trouble for defenses. Mahomes also has some of the best receivers in the NFL at his fingertips, including Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Travis Kelce. In his two postseason games this year, Mahomes has thrown for 580 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. His decision-making abilities will play a key role in determining the winner of Super Bowl 55.

“I want to make sure I take advantage of the opportunity to be in these Super Bowls and try to win these rings, because they’re hard to come by,” Mahomes said in an interview with ESPN. He has continued taking precautions to prevent exposure to COVID-19. “You have to do whatever you can to be available for your team,” he stated.

The Chiefs defense, on the other hand, has been relatively average this season. The defense was a somewhat efficient unit during the regular season, but there is nothing outstanding about it. In the regular season, the defense totaled 22 takeaways, and turnovers will be an “X Factor” in this game. The Chiefs have embraced more of a “bend, but don’t break” style of defense, and so far, this has paid off, especially in the postseason. This unit gave up 24 points to the second-best offense in the NFL in the Buffalo Bills. Kansas City’s defense also managed to sack Bills Quarterback Josh Allen four times in the American Football Conference (AFC) championship. If they can do this at Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers are going to have a rough night. 

Overall, Super Bowl LV should be a great matchup between not only two elite quarterbacks, but two well-balanced teams.

“Mahomes Magic” Boosts Chiefs to Champs

By Aiden Wacksman

Before Sunday, Feb. 2, the Kansas City Chiefs hadn’t won a Super Bowl in 50 years. In the third quarter of this years’ Super Bowl, it appeared the Chiefs wouldn’t be returning to Kansas City with the Lombardi trophy. This, however, was about to change, as quarterback Patrick Mahomes made one of the most admirable comebacks in Super Bowl history. 

At the beginning of the 2019 season, Kansas City was once again considered a playoff contender and a team with talent across the board. NFL fans across the country had high expectations for Mahomes, as he won the 2018 regular season Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Mahomes also had many weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins looked to make a positive impact on the Chiefs’ passing game. 

After a 4-0 start to the season, Kansas City faced adversity as the Chiefs lost four of its next six games, putting the team’s record at 6-4. During this stretch, Mahomes suffered a dislocated kneecap that kept him sidelined for two weeks. Luckily, he was able to make a speedy recovery and returned in Week 10. After a heartbreaking loss to  the Tennessee Titans, a healthy Mahomes led Kansas City to win each of its next six games, and the Chiefs finished the season with a 12-4 record.

In the divisional round of the playoffs, Kansas City played the Houston Texans. When the two teams squared off earlier in the season, the Texans came away with the win. The Chiefs wanted revenge and a trip to the AFC Championship, which was accomplished. This win, however, was very different compared to other wins the Chiefs had during the regular season. At the start of the game, the Chiefs looked disorganized and inefficient, and in the second quarter, Kansas City trailed by more than three touchdowns. At this moment, the team leaders stepped up to the plate with Mahomes on offense, and Tyrann Mathieu on defense. In a press conference after the game, Mahomes said he encouraged his teammates to stay positive and not give up. “Let’s just go play-by-play and just put our best effort out there,” he said.After Houston failed to execute a fake punt with a 24-7 lead, Kansas City was able to organize a dominant comeback, scoring 41 unanswered points in a 51-31 win. 

Next up: the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee looked unstoppable on offense and well-coached on defense. In the first quarter, Tennessee looked dominant on both sides of the ball. This dominance, however, was short lived as Mahomes and company scored two touchdowns before halftime, earning a 21-17 lead. In the second half, the Chiefs successfully put the game out of reach for the Titans when Mahomes made a dazzling 35 yard touchdown run. Kansas City walked out of Arrowhead Stadium with a victory and a trip to Super Bowl LII. 

On the big day, the Chiefs would face off against the San Francisco 49ers at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla. In the first half, the game went back and forth with a tied game at halftime.

In the third quarter, the 49ers took control. San Francisco’s offense was finding the weak spots in the Chiefs’ defense, and Mahomes looked impatient and sloppy. Going into the fourth quarter, the 49ers led by 10. This was the moment in which Mahomes would establish himself as one of the best playoff comeback artists in the league. Toward the beginning of the fourth quarter, the 49ers were maintaining the lead. Now, however, was when Mahomes turned on his “Mahomes magic”, something he did often this season. Kansas City orchestrated a beautiful touchdown drive that cut the 49ers lead to three points with six minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs’ defense was able to make a crucial stand against the 49ers offense, and Mahomes got the ball back with five minutes to go. The highlight of the ensuing touchdown drive was Mahomes’ flawless 38-yard pass to wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who beat 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman to make the big play happen. A couple of plays later, Mahomes passed the ball to running back Damien Williams to grant the Chiefs a four point lead. 

The rest of the game was best summed up by a 38-yard touchdown run by Williams to put the Chiefs in the perfect position to win. Once the game clock hit zero, the Chiefs were officially champions. Mahomes ability to remain calm through adversity and to never give up throughout the playoffs was incredible. At one point in every single playoff game, Super Bowl included, Kansas City trailed by 10 or more points. This, however, wasn’t enough to stop Mahomes and the rest of the Chiefs team. His stats in the playoffs are absolutely astounding for a second year starter: nearly 1,500 yards passing, 13 touchdowns, and two interceptions, along with regular season and Super Bowl MVP awards. Mahomes is the future of the NFL, and he’s just getting started on his journey to become a G.O.A.T.

A Patriot-less Super Bowl

Much to the dismay of New Englanders, it might be time for Brady to hang up his cleats

By Aiden Wacksman

The New England Patriots are one of the greatest NFL dynasties to ever exist. In the last two decades, the Patriots have been to nine Super Bowls, winning six of them. Ever since 2000, New England has been led by one of the most consistent quarterbacks to ever play: Tom Brady. The Patriots’ dominance, however, is coming to an end, and its end begins with the star quarterback.

Let’s flash back to Super Bowl LLI. The Patriots traveled to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota to face the Philadelphia Eagles. The last time these two teams met in the championships was in 2004, where Brady led the Patriots to a 24-21 victory. In Super Bowl LII, the Patriots were considered the likely victors. To the shock of many, the Eagles won that night in high scoring fashion, 41-33. Early in the game, the Patriots had a chance to take the lead, marching down the field to the Eagles 35-yard line. New England devised a trick play in which wide receiver Danny Amendola attempted to pass the football to Brady. The play had unfolded perfectly, and the ball was thrown accurately, but the unthinkable happened: Brady dropped the pass. This one play determined the outcome of the game, as on the very next play, New England failed to get a first down.

Brady passed for 500 yards and three touchdowns, but this is where the stats lie. The Patriots’ quarterback cost New England the game with two “turnovers”: His inability to catch the pass from Amendola, and a fumble late in the game that gave the Eagles an eight-point lead. Did Brady have a great game when it came to passing the football? Absolutely. This, however, wasn’t enough to lead the Patriots to a victory. Head Coach Bill Belichik’s usually stout defense didn’t do New England’s offense many favors, but with such a stellar performance, Brady shouldn’t have lost the game. Super Bowl LII served as proof that the Patriots’ dynasty was coming to an end.

Gisele Bundchen shares emotional post of Patriots QB Tom Brady coping with defeat
Tom Brady sits on the bench after having the ball stripped by Brandon Graham of the Philadelphia Eagles late in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl LII
Photo courtesy of Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In Super Bowl LIII, the Patriots ended the regular season with an 11-5 record, but miraculously found a way to a championship win against the Los Angeles Rams.

The 2019-20 season for the Patriots was disappointing more than anything else. New England opened the season with an 8-0 record. This excellent start, however, was overshadowed by a 4-4 finish. The Patriots lost to the likes of Kansas City, Houston, and Baltimore. The worst loss suffered, however, was to the Miami Dolphins (5-11) in week 17. New England failed to produce much on offense, as Brady passed for a mere 221 yards, and the Patriots defense couldn’t stop quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who passed for 320 yards and a touchdown. For the first time in ten years, the Patriots failed to clinch a spot in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. Instead, New England faced the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card round. 

Entering the game, the Patriots were considered favorites to defeat the Titans. Little did New England know, Tennessee had a secret weapon: running back Derrick Henry. He carried the ball 34 times for 182 yards and a touchdown in a 20-13 Titans victory. For the first time in three years, the Patriots didn’t make the Super Bowl, and for the first time in 10 years, New England lost in the wild card round of the playoffs.

Brady can be inconsistent at times, but this game showed his age (he’s 42). He passed for 209 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. The interception he threw was returned for a touchdown, which sealed the game for Tennessee. His ability to compete is admirable, but his talent is now hindered by his age. No one can judge a quarterback due to one bad game, but he was inconsistent during the majority of the 2019 season. 

Yet another issue with New England’s normally balanced offense was Brady’s tendency to turn the ball over in crucial moments. His game-deciding interception against the Titans was just one example of this. He made the exact same mistake against the Miami Dolphins, and threw an interception against the Ravens that shifted the momentum of the game. One of Brady’s greatest weaknesses that NFL teams have failed to exploit is his inability to throw once he is hit by a defensive player. 

The Patriots ability to dominate on offense is coming to an end. New stars like quarterback Patrick Mahomes, running back Saquon Barkley, and wide receiver A.J. Brown are on the rise. New England’s bright light of victory is slowly burning out.