By Trent Tetzlaff and Jake Zipperer
Super Bowl LI is almost here. This year’s matchup between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons promises to be a great game. Fascinating questions surround the game such as what team will win, who will take home the MVP, and is Bill Belichick the greatest coach in NFL history?
We’ll give you our game predictions later, but first, let’s look back at the Super Bowl history of both squads.
- Atlanta is one of 13 teams to never win a Super Bowl, and have only reached the big game once.
- The Falcons fell big to the powerhouse Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII, 34-19.
- Chris Chandler was Atlanta’s quarterback during their lone Super Bowl run. During that 1998 season he threw for 3,154 yards and 25 touchdowns.
- The city of Atlanta’s last major sporting championship was in 1995 (Braves World Series Title).
New England Patriots
- Tom Brady is tied for the most Super Bowls won as a quarterback. With all four coming as a Patriot.
- New England has appeared in the Super Bowl nine times in franchise history, which is the most of any NFL team. Seven of those have been with Bill Belichick as coach.
- The Patriots’ last Super Bowl win came back in 2015 when they defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24.
- This is Tom Brady’s first Super Bowl appearance since the Deflategate scandal in 2015, which led to his four-game suspension earlier this season.
— Eastbay (@Eastbay) February 1, 2017
Eastbay sports writers Jake Zipperer and Trent Tetzlaff sat down to discuss the big game and all of the surroundings.Here’s their picks breaking down coaching, quarterbacks, offense, defense, special teams, MVP, and the score prediction.
TT: Matt Ryan. He outdueled Aaron Rodgers with ease, so why can’t he take down Tom Brady as well?
JZ: Tom Brady. Been there, done that. Tom Brady is the one of the greatest of all time, and shows that in this game.
TT: Patriots. This one is self-evident for me — Bill Belichick and crew know what to do in the big game.
JZ: Patriots. Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia have been here before, and have the experience to get the job done.
TT: Atlanta. Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu — The list goes on and on. Atlanta has the weapons needed to win it all.
JZ: Atlanta. The weapons surrounding Matt Ryan make this number-one-scoring offense a major threat.
TT: Patriots. An experienced secondary and line-backing core puts the Patriots defense ahead of the Falcons in my mind — but it’s close.
JZ: Patriots. The number-one-scoring defense shines bright on the big stage once again.
TT: Atlanta. Punt and kick returner Eric Weems comes up with some big returns to give the Falcons good field position, and kicker Matt Bryant knocks in all of his extra points and field goals.
JZ: Atlanta. Returners and the kicking game put this one in Atlanta’s favor.
TT: Julio Jones. Julio picks up where he left off against the Packers and torches the Patriots secondary for over 200 yards receiving and multiple scores.
JZ: Tom Brady. The savvy veteran who has been there before continues to play well in the big game with over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns.
TT: Falcons 34-31. The Falcons playmakers show how good they really are as they torch a normally strong Patriots secondary.
JZ: Patriots 31-21. Tom Brady continues his Super Bowl magic, and the Patriots defense slows down Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.
Join in on the Super Bowl conversation with us and drop us a comment below with your thoughts on the big game! No matter who you are rooting for Sunday, we’ve got you covered at eastbay.com with our selection of Atlanta and New England fan gear!