American Football

Super Bowl 53: Three key take-outs for the coaches

The culmination of the NFL season was a history-making affair, with New England Patriots’ 13-3 victory over Los Angeles Rams the fewest number of points scored in a title game during the Super Bowl era.

The Patriots were favourites in the Super Bowl odds for the game and never looked in any danger of losing. They led 3-0 at half-time, then scored the game-winning touchdown with seven minutes remaining.

The Rams weren’t able to get their prolific offense rolling and didn’t run a single play inside New England’s 26-yard line.

Read on as we look at three things the coaches of both teams could have done differently in order to change the scores.

McVay’s Plan ‘A’ exposed

The Rams’ offense had been superb all season, scoring the second-most points and gaining the second-most yards in the run-up to the Super Bowl.

The Patriots shackled quarterback Jared Goff, dismantled the Rams’ offensive line, shut down their skill players and left McVay scratching his head.

Belichick surprised the Rams by starting in zone defense after playing man-to-man all season and McVay’s lack of an alternative plan was brutally exposed.

Playing zone coverage confused Goff and his coach couldn’t resolve the problem. Trying something other than his favoured Plan ‘A’ could have changed the outcome.

Belichick gives a coaching masterclass

McVay admitted after the game that he had been “out-coached” by Belichick – it’s fair to say that was something of an understatement.

The Rams were humiliated statistically, gaining just 260 yards, recording 14 first downs and punting nine times.

Belichick’s decision to switch his system ensured that the game would be a tactical, low scoring-affair, and it worked a treat.

Playing a more open system would no doubt have led to more points in the game, but the Patriots won by following Belichick’s plan to the letter. It was a coaching masterclass.

Gurley’s diminished role was baffling

Todd Gurley had been a key part of the Rams’ offensive during the season, yet McVay barely used him against the Patriots.

Suspicions of a lingering knee problem were ruled out by McVay post-match, making it an even bigger mystery as to why Gurley was utilised so sparingly.

Gurley managed just 35 yards on 10 carries – a bafflingly low return for a player who had performed so well for the majority of the campaign.

McVay’s inability to get Gurley performing on the biggest stage was a crucial factor in the Rams putting just three points on the board.

Greatest NFL Coaches of All Time

There’s no denying that Bill Belichick is the best head coach of this era when it comes to the NFL, but where exactly does he rank when it comes to the greatest NFL coaches of all time? An NFL coach cannot be defined by only looking at their titles. You need to consider every aspect of their career, including full body of work, individual seasons, overall performance, and contribution towards the game. With that in mind, let’s look at the greatest NFL coaches of all time.

1. Vince Lombardi

Lombardi managed to win a total of 5 championships (2 Super Bowls and 3 NFL titles) with the Green Bay Packers from 1959 to 1967. He could have had the same success with the Washington Redskins if his career wasn’t cut short due to colon cancer.

2. Bill Belichick

Whether you hate him or love him, Belichick’s New England Patriots have certainly been a dominating force in the National Football League. Should he be able to claim a sixth Super Bowl title or achieve 20 winning seasons, Belichick will take the number 1 spot on our list.

3. Don Shula

Shula initially coached the Baltimore Colts from 1963 to 1969 before coaching Miami from 1970 to 1975. He managed to claim 16 division titles and had 6 Super Bowl appearances where he claimed 2 Super Bowl titles. He is also on the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 1997.

4. Bill Walsh

Walsh coached San Francisco from 1979 to 1988 and managed to claim 6 division titles along with 3 Super Bowl titles. He also invented a revolutionary offense and is on the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 1993.

5. Paul Brown

Brown is considered one of the best innovators and was the first coach to manage two football franchises, including the Bengals and the Browns, winning with both teams. His ten consecutive title game appearances with the Browns is a record that will never be broken.

6. Joe Gibbs

Gibbs coached the Washington Redskins from 1981 to 1992 and again from 2004 to 2007. During his career, he managed to claim 5 division titles and had 4 Super Bowl appearances where he managed to claim 3 Super Bowl titles with three different quarterbacks.

7. George Halas

Professional football certainly won’t be where it is today without the legendary ‘Papa Bear”, coaching the Monsters of the Midway for a total of 40 seasons and racking up a total of 324 victories along with 6 NFL titles.

8. Tom Landry

Landry coached the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 to 1978 and claimed 13 division titles along with 5 Super Bowl appearances with 2 Super Bowl titles. His record of 20 consecutive winning seasons is one that will definitely stand forever.

9. Chuck Noll

Noll coached the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1969 to 1991. He claimed 9 division titles and 4 Super Bowl titles. The Steelers never won an NFL championship since it was formed in 1933 until Noll arrived on the scene.