As San Francisco 49ers fans, this Super Bowl 53 matchup between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams is one of the worst things that could happen. So which is the lesser evil that you should root for?
We San Francisco 49ers fans wanted the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl 53.
If that didn’t happen, a Patriots-Saints matchup would be worse. But it would’ve sufficed, as we could witness two of the great quarterbacks in the league duking it out. Or, maybe even a Chiefs-Rams, a repeat of 2018’s frenetic shootout, arguably one of the best game of this season back in Week 9. But, no. The NFL had to give us the gift of the Patriots and Rams, where no matter which team ends up winning, we all feel like losers in the end.
On paper, this is a lose-lose situation. But if you look at it closely, this matchup is rooted in the Bay Area. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady went to Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, and Rams quarterback Jared Goff attended Marin Catholic, just north of San Francisco. Both grew up as 49ers fans and idolized San Francisco great Joe Montana — Goff even wears No. 16 in honor of Montana.
So it all comes down to this — which Bay Area kid should you root for?
On one hand, everybody is sick of Brady and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick playing in the Super Bowl. They’ve created one of the greatest dynasties to ever grace the realm of sports, and nobody outside of Massachusetts respects them for it. And yet, year after year, they thrive on this disrespect, annually coasting to postseason contention.
If they win the Super Bowl next Sunday, the Patriots will have six championship wins, which would leapfrog the 49ers over number of Lombardi trophies and tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for most in the NFL.
On the other hand, the Rams are in the same division as the 49ers, the NFC West. The Rams’ relocation to Los Angeles has fueled this once-innocent relationship into a fierce “NorCal versus SoCal” rivalry between the two teams.
As 49ers fans, we’re supposed to hate the Rams, just like we hate the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks. It doesn’t help the Rams’ case that they have an array of unlikable players (Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, etc.) and did everything they could in the offseason (making a plethora of blockbuster moves to build a short-term super team) to win the Super Bowl this year.
Watching this project blow up in their faces would be especially satisfying.
So, with all this being said, which team should you root for? It pains me to say it, but let’s root for Brady and the Patriots to go get their sixth Super Bowl title. The Rams are just too easy to hate (especially this year), and watching Los Angeles lose in the championship game, just like the city’s fellow baseball team does every year, will undoubtedly leave a smile on the face of 49ers fans everywhere.
Unless you’re a Niners fan from Southern California, of course.
And I say this as a student, who attends school in Los Angeles, and would very much like to attend a Super Bowl parade.