The biggest day in sports is here.
Super Bowl LIII is set, and the Los Angeles Rams of the NFC will face off against the AFC champions, the New England Patriots, on February 3 for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The Patriots, led by Tom Brady, will be appearing in their third consecutive Super Bowl, while the Rams — three years out from their return to Los Angeles — will be entering their first NFL title game in 17 years.
Just three months after the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, teams from the regions will once again meet for a professional sports championship, adding more depth to the already storied rivalry between the two cities. The Super Bowl will also be a rematch 17 years in the making between the two franchises, as the Rams and Patriots met back in 2002, with New England taking the trophy.
Brady was only 24 years old when he led the Pats to their Super Bowl win over the heavily favored Rams, which began a dynasty in New England that has spanned nearly two decades. Now 41, Brady will be facing Los Angeles’ young quarterback Jared Goff, 24, who has surpassed all expectations over the last two seasons since coach Sean McVay, 33, took reins of the team.
Before the teams take the field, here is everything you need to know about Super Bowl Sunday 2019.
Where can you watch?
So, who are the Los Angeles Rams?
When the Rams relocated from St. Louis back to Los Angeles at the start of the 2016-2017 season, they had their work cut out for them. Many wondered whether the Rams would be able to carve out a fan base for themselves after their return, as many Angelenos had adopted the Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers as their teams since the franchise packed their bags in 1994. The antidote, it seemed, would be to win.
The Rams earned an uninspiring 4-12 record in their first season back, and head coach Jeff Fisher was promptly fired. The following season, the team made waves when they brought in McVay, who — then just 30 years old — was the youngest head coach in NFL history. But the charming coach, known to fans as “McBae,” has brought the most out of running back Todd Gurley and Goff, who many analysts labeled a “bust” during his rookie season under Fisher.
In 2017, the Rams had one of the biggest turnarounds in history when they posted an 11-5 record, and improved on that this season by going 13-3. While fans of opposing teams still show up in large numbers during home games at the Coliseum, the Rams can now vaunt their best season in years.
Gurley, their star running back and arguably the face of the franchise, struggled with an injury for most of the season. The Rams will need to rely on his performance, and those of Goff, running back C.J. Anderson, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, kicker Greg Zuerlein, and cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters if they hope to hold off the Patriots.
One thing that might get airtime during the game? The controversial “no-call” on the Rams in the NFC Championship against the New Orleans Saints. While many people have pointed out multiple missed calls during the showdown, many angry Saints fans have gone to great lengths to voice their displeasure.
What about the New England Patriots?
Name a more iconic duo than Brady and the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl LIII will be Brady’s ninth appearance in the big game over his legendary career, and he’ll be hoping to leave with his sixth championship after falling short to the Philadelphia Eagles last year.
While it may be no surprise now that Brady and Belichick made it to the Super Bowl once again, at the beginning of the year, many had their doubts.
The 2018 season saw the Patriots suffer back-to-back double-digit losses for the first time since 2002, coming in Week 2 and 3, which lead some analysts to question whether the dynasty was coming to an end. But the Pats rebounded to finish off the year 11-5 and saw Brady set a record for most career passing touchdowns in the process.
Still, when the Patriots came into the AFC Championship Game, New England was considered an underdog against the offensive juggernaut that was quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes wowed the league with his craftiness and athleticism that helped the Chiefs go 12-4 this season.
But the Patriots came into Kansas City with all cylinders firing, and kept the Chiefs from scoring in the first half. When the game went into overtime tied 31-31, the Patriots prevented the Chiefs from touching the ball and were on their way to win 37-31 in the opening drive. If there were any doubts about the team’s potential for naysayers, that game addressed them all.
For the Super Bowl, the Patriots will have to look to Brady, Belichick, and the performances of running back Sony Michel, wide receivers Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman, tight end Rob Gronkowski and kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
Who will perform during the halftime show?
This year’s show will feature Maroon 5, Big Boi and rapper Travis Scott, who agreed to perform at the event on the condition that the NFL would join him by making a joint donation to a charitable cause. In partnership with the league, Scott will make a $500,000 contribution to Dream Corps, a non-profit organization that champions social justice.
Maroon 5 guitarist PJ Morton told PEOPLE earlier this month that the band is excited for the opportunity to perform.
“You work hard and you expect and you want these things to happen, but there’s no guarantees,” Morton said. “We were just in shock initially, and then all of the excitement came.”
Where will it take place?
The championship game will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the home of the Atlanta Falcons. It is an indoor venue with a retractable roof that will prevent rain from playing a factor in the game, but will be open if weather permits.