The New England Patriots are heading to the Super Bowl — for the third consecutive year — to face the Los Angeles Rams.
The last time the Rams made it to the Bowl was in 2002 when the Patriots delivered a surprising 20-17 defeat with quarterback Tom Brady named as the game’s MVP. The Patriots are hoping to repeat history this year.
It will be the ninth Super Bowl Brady has been to in the nearly two decades he’s been in the NFL.
“It’s hard for me to imagine. Nine Super Bowls. I know. It’s ridiculous,” Brady told NBC Sports after his team’s victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. “I never imagined any of this, believe me. This is beyond. I mean, who could ever imagine this? Nine Super Bowls? I just take it for what it is and enjoy it. I love my teammates. I love my coaches. I love my family. It takes a lot of people to support you, for all of us. I’m just happy for all of us.”
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the big game.
When is the Super Bowl?
Super Bowl LIII is on Sunday, February 3, 2019. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. ET but there will likely be pregame coverage on CBS.
The teams will compete for the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where roughly 75,000 fans are expected to gather to watch the nail-biter.
And there’s good news for those who want to stop for a snack during the event: the stadium will keep its “Fan First Menu Pricing.” That means $2 hot dogs and $5 beers for lucky Super Bowl spectators.
Atlanta Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay confirmed this was the case to ESPN on Jan. 21, saying inflating prices was “never an option.”
“We said this in our negotiations with the SEC, the college football championship, the Super Bowl, and the Final Four … every customer that comes through that door is our customer,” McKay told the sports network. “So we want to treat all those customers the same and give them the same experience in food and beverage.”
How much are tickets?
The average Super Bowl ticket is between the $2,500 and $3,000 range. The cheapest available Super Bowl LIII ticket as of Jan. 21 was $2,862, Fox Business reports.
“We expect the price curve to behave similarly to 2017, when the Pats and [Atlanta] Falcons played in Houston. From a demand perspective, in 2017 Pats Nation was on their third Super Bowl in a decade and the Falcons were (and are) a regional team without a fan base known for travel,” TicketIQ founder Jesse Lawrence told Fox Business. “For 2019, the Patriots are now in their 5th Super Bowl this decade, while the Rams, despite their on-field success, are still developing a fan base [in Los Angeles]. In 2017, prices dropped 38% after Championship Sunday, with the lowest prices coming the Tuesday game week.”
Despite some pleas to boycott the Super Bowl halftime show over the ongoing national anthem protests, Maroon 5 agreed to be the headliner. Atlanta native and OutKast rapper Big Boi also agreed to perform alongside the band.
Travis Scott later agreed to perform as well — but only after teaming up with the NFL to donate $500,000 to Dream Corps and various other charities to show solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Dream Corps has been at the forefront of social justice issues pioneering new initiatives that close prison doors and open doors of opportunity for all. The donation comes on the heels of the NFL’s ‘Inspire Change’ program,” a rep for the rapper said in a December statement.
A petition is now circulating, asking the performers to take a knee during their act.
How do the teams compare?
The matchup pits the NFL’s past against its future.
At 32, Sean McVay is the youngest Super Bowl coach. At 66, Bill Belichick has an NFL-record 30 playoff wins.
At 24, Jared Goff is the youngest quarterback to win the NFC championship. At 41, Brady will be the oldest quarterback to start a Super Bowl.
The Rams (15-3) are back in the Super Bowl for the first time since that meeting against the Patriots — and for the first time as the “Los Angeles Rams” since 1980, when they fell to the Steelers. The Patriots (13-5) are back for the third straight time — they lost to Philly last year — the fourth in five seasons and the ninth since Belichick got the New England dynasty on track in the 2002 win over St. Louis.