Brady confirms GOAT status in historic win
TOM Brady wrote his name into the record books on Monday (AEST), winning the Super Bowl for a sixth time as the New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in the lowest scoring NFL championship game in history.
Brady, 41, became the first player to win six Super Bowls, 17 years after leading the Patriots to his first title way back in 2002.
The total of 16 points scored in the game was the lowest in a Super Bowl, surpassing Miami's 14-7 win over Washington in 1973.
Patriots icon Brady - already widely regarded as the greatest quarterback the National Football League has ever seen - provided the decisive moment to break open the game midway through the fourth quarter at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
With the score finely balanced at 3-3, Brady picked out tight end Rob Gronkowski for a 29-yard completion that left the Patriots just two yards from the line.
It was the first time in the game that either side had advanced to 1st and goal in a defence-dominated game that failed to live up to its billing.
The Patriots were in no mood to waste the hard-fought opportunity, and rookie running back Sony Michel crashed over for what turned out to be the crucial score.
The Rams looked to have finally found some fluency as they chased a touchdown to level, but quarterback Jared Goff was picked off by corner Stephon Gilmore to leave the Patriots in sight of victory.
The Patriots marched up field on the subsequent possession and Stephen Gostkowski's second field goal with 1min 16sec remaining made it a two-score game.
The Patriots' triumph saw them join the Pittsburgh Steelers with six Super Bowl titles, the most by any franchise.
Patriots receiver Julian Edelman was named Super Bowl MVP for a series of crucial receptions that kept the Patriots on the front foot at critical moments.
The Rams meanwhile were left reflecting on what might have been, with receiver Brandin Cooks twice having what looked like certain touchdowns denied by last-ditch defensive plays from New England in the second half.
It was a bitter end to the season for Rams coach Sean McVay, who at 33 would have been the youngest winner of the Super Bowl.
Instead McVay was outfoxed by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, whose defensive gameplan choked the life out of the Rams, the second most potent offence in the NFL this season who had averaged more than 30 points a game.
Belichick, 66, becomes the oldest head coach to win the Super Bowl. An attritional first half had seen defence dominate, with the Rams -- the second most potent offence in the league this season -- restricted to a meagre 57 yards.
The Patriots meanwhile looked the more composed with their run game making good yardage early on.
Although Brady suffered the indignity of throwing an interception with his first pass attempt, when cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman batted a pass intended for Chris Hogan into the arms of Cory Littleton, the Rams were unable to escape the Patriots defence.
Gostkowski missed an early field goal attempt from 46 yards but the Patriots finally got on the board early in the second quarter through the veteran kicker's 42-yard effort.
The Rams meanwhile mysteriously left star running back Todd Gurley on the sidelines for long periods, with doubts swirling about his fitness.
There was little improvement in the opening exchanges of the second half. Goff almost gave up a pick with his first attempt, but Dont'a Hightower was unable to haul the ball in.
Gurley raised Rams hopes with a 16-yard run but the drive fizzled once more. Two more stalled possessions followed, and the Rams owed a massive debt to Johnny Hekker when he conjured a 65-yard kick, the longest punt in Super Bowl history, from behind his own line to get Los Angeles out of jail.
With the Patriots forced to punt once more, the Rams then finally managed to string a drive together.
Cooks was denied a certain touchdown after hauling in the ball in the end zone only for Jason McCourty to bat the ball out of his control.
Goff suffered a sack on third down to leave Greg Zuerlein with a 53-yard effort but the Rams kicker stroked it over to level at 3-3 with just over two minutes remaining in the third.
But that was as good as it got for the Rams, who also saw Cooks denied a game-tying touchdown after he fumbled near the end zone.