Super Bowl LIII: Brady v Goff
It is old school versus new school as New England Patriots veteran Tom Brady and Los Angeles Rams youngster Jared Goff face off in Super Bowl LIII.
New England are chasing their sixth Lombardi Trophy while Los Angeles are looking to establish themselves as a franchise on the rise.
There is also a redemption theme for the Rams, who lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI as Brady cemented himself as the starting quarterback in his second season.
Here, with the help of our colleagues at Opta, we break down their performances to this point and what to expect from the showdown in Atlanta next month.
Beyond the numbers
Brady, 41, and Goff, 24, are separated by the largest age gap (17 years, 72 days) of any starting quarterback matchup in Super Bowl history, so it is obvious who has the upper hand when it comes to experience.
Brady is preparing for his NFL-record ninth Super Bowl appearance. On the other hand, Goff has never made it this far into the postseason, as the Rams failed to get past the Atlanta Falcons in the wild-card round of last year's playoffs.
Ironically, Brady's first Super Bowl win came 17 years ago at the conclusion of the 2001-02 season when the Patriots beat the then-St. Louis Rams on a game-winning field goal. Brady has won four more rings since then.
Brady keeps getting better
After a less-than-stellar performance during the regular season, Brady has elevated his performances in the playoffs.
An inspiring voice in the locker room, he is also a prominent leader on the field. Brady has led 12 game-winning drives for the Patriots in the postseason, which is double the next closest quarterback (John Elway).
Despite being known as a pocket passer, he also has six rushing touchdowns in his playoff career, tied for the 20th-most by any player. Only Steve Young (eight) has more postseason rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
Brady's nifty footwork also gives him an edge considering he was sacked 21 times this season and Goff was sacked 33 times.
Should he continue his momentum and win again, Brady would own the most Super Bowl titles by any player and have the perfect opportunity to hang up his helmet given he began his career by beating the Rams to earn his first ring. Yet, he has previously spoken of his desire to play until he is 45.
"I'm too old...you're too slow...we got nothin'"— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 21, 2019
"Unreal, bro." pic.twitter.com/7b2V9q6K6M
Goff is finding his groove
In his third NFL season, Goff is in the mix for MVP along with Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and the favourite Patrick Mahomes.
But his hot streak cooled down the stretch before igniting once again in the final two weeks ahead of the playoffs. Goff then had an underwhelming outing against the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round before rallying his team against the New Orleans Saints to win the NFC title, overcoming a 13-point deficit on the road.
Consistency will be a key factor for Goff going into battle against the seasoned Brady. Goff is the 14th-youngest quarterback to have at least four fourth-quarter comebacks and four game-winning drives in a season. On the other hand, he had 12 fumbles this season, tied for the most in the league. He had 13 fumbles in the previous two seasons combined.
If he can cope with the pressure and get his offense going, Goff could join the likes of Eli Manning and Nick Foles as quarterbacks to beat Brady in the big game.
What a time to be alive.— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 21, 2019
Super Bowl bound! pic.twitter.com/f5NASOss8l