There are several reasons why Super Bowl 53 is sure to be a historic matchup.
Much of the championship’s storyline is centered around the Patriots chasing their sixth Lombardi Trophy under coach Bill Belichick, while the Rams look to establish themselves as a franchise on the rise under second-year coach Sean McVay. The game further pits old school against new school as Tom Brady and Jared Goff square off under center in what is the largest age gap (17 years, 72 days) of any starting quarterback matchup in Super Bowl history.
It’s also the second championship game between the two teams in 17 years after the Rams fell to the Patriots in Super Bowl 36 as the Brady-Belichick era began.
Here we take a look at 20 facts about the Patriots and Rams as they prepare for Super Bowl 53 with the help of our colleagues at Opta. (If you like what you see here, give @OptaJerry — the official Twitter page for Opta’s NFL and NCAA stats-driven football coverage — a follow on Twitter.)
20 Opta facts for Patriots vs. Rams:
— This will be the second all-time playoff meeting between the Rams and Patriots. The other came in Super Bowl 36, when the Patriots won 20-17 — the first of five Super Bowl titles of the Brady-Belichick era.
— The Rams are 21-25 in the playoffs and 1-2 in the Super Bowl. Their last appearance in the title game was the aforementioned loss in Super Bowl 36.
— The Patriots are the third team in league history to appear in three straight Super Bowls. New England is 29-10 in the playoffs under Bill Belichick – 81 percent of the franchise’s postseason wins.
— The Patriots and Rams are the seventh different pair of teams to meet in multiple Super Bowls. The team that won the first meeting is 4-2 in the championship rematch.
— The Rams have held opponents below 50 rushing yards in each playoff game this year, something they did once from the start of the 2017 season through the 2018 regular season.
— The Patriots had 524 yards in the AFC Championship game. It was their fourth game with at least 500 yards in the playoffs – two more than any other team.
— The last three teams to advance to the Super Bowl by an overtime field goal — as the Rams did — have gone on to win the Super Bowl.
— Each of the Patriots’ first drives this postseason have gone for 75-plus yards and resulted in a touchdown. Since 1999, only two other playoff teams have had multiple such drives in a postseason.
— The Rams are averaging a league-best 175.0 rushing yards per game in the postseason. Only one team since 2005 has averaged more in a single postseason.
— Since 2001, the Patriots have allowed an opposing player to run for 100 yards in 10.3 percent of games, the third fewest any team to have played 20-plus playoff games in that span.
— Rams wideout Brandin Cooks is one of two players to record a 100-plus yard-receiving game in each of the last two postseasons. He also did so last year as a Patriot.
— The Patriots’ Sony Michel is the third rookie with back-to-back 100-plus yard-rushing games and has set the rookie postseason rushing touchdown record with five this year.
— Rams running back Todd Gurley totaled 13 yards from scrimmage on 11 touches against New Orleans, his lowest total ever in a NFL game.
— New England wideout Julian Edelman is one of two players in NFL history with at least 100 receptions in the playoffs with 105. The other is Jerry Rice (151).
— The Rams’ Aaron Donald has nine games with 3-plus quarterback hits this year, one shy of the most of such games in a season since 2006 (including playoffs).
— New England quarterback Tom Brady has nine postseason game with 300-plus yards and 30-plus completions, more than double the next best player (Saints quarterback Drew Brees has four).
— Los Angeles’ Dante Fowler has recorded at least 0.5 sacks in three straight playoff games dating back to last season, tied for the longest active streak in the league.
— New England’s James White (53) tied Marcus Allen for the fourth-most postseason receptions all-time by a running back against Kansas City in the AFC Championship.
— Los Angeles’ Jared Goff is one of two quarterbacks with 90-plus career postseason passes to throw one or fewer interceptions.
— New England’s Rob Gronkowski is the 15th player and first tight end with 1,000-plus receiving yards in the playoffs. He needs one receiving touchdown to break a tie for the second-most in postseason play.