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  • 28 May 2019
    ATLANTA (AP) —
    Hey ,
    have you guys been here before?If you’re a New England Patriot, the answer
    pretty much is “all the time.”If you play for the Rams, the reply basically is
    “never in my life.”So if experience is a factor in Sunday’s Super Bowl, the
    overwhelming edge is with the 2½-point favorites from Foxborough who are 5-3 in
    NFL title games with Tom Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick in the hoodie
    on the sideline.The Rams, whose past two Super trips were representing St. Louis
    in 2000 and ’02, have four players who have gotten this far. New England has
    four on its defensive line alone.“Probably, throughout the week, it gives them
    an advantage,” Rams tackle Andrew Whitworth says — and he’s finishing up his
    13th NFL season, though it’s his first that ends in February.“They kind of know
    this week. They know when things are a little anxious, when to kind of, ‘Hey,
    turn it on and get ready to play.’ They probably have a process and plan for the
    week.”Athletes in every sport talk about how helpful a comfort zone can be. It’s
    even more pronounced when it accompanies events such as the Super Bowl, which,
    for better or worse, transcends football.Brady and most of his
    teammates Womens
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    , in their third straight visit, barely flinch at all
    the attention, media demands and alterations to the norm they encounter during
    Super Bowl week — although they were taken aback somewhat by the cacophony and
    circus atmosphere of opening night on Monday. Aside from Aqib Talib, C.J.
    Anderson, Brandin Cooks and Sam Shields, for the Rams this is uncharted
    territory.Rams coach Sean McVay tends to dismiss that theory, however. Using
    quarterback Jared Goff as an example, McVay could have been speaking for his
    entire squad, which has made a sensational turnaround in his two seasons in
    charge.“He’s an unfazed quarterback,” McVay says. “I think his way to have
    success and handle adversity the same demonstrates that poise and confidence you
    want from your quarterback.”Nowhere is the experience matchup more uneven than
    at QB. At 41, Brady already is the oldest quarterback to start a Super Bowl.
    Goff is 24 and one of the youngest.Well, maybe nowhere is an exaggeration,
    because Belichick, at 66, could become the oldest coach to win a Super Bowl. He
    has worked 41 postseason games, with 30
    victories Jared
    Goff Jersey
    , most among head coaches in NFL history. He’s the only head
    coach with five Super Bowl rings.McVay is half his age and in his first NFL
    title game, the youngest Super Bowl head man.Rams President Kevin Demoff hears
    all of that so-called evidence, then cites so many positives about McVay that he
    sounds like the next dominant coach.Sunday will be a powerful acid test for
    McVay and his team.Some other things to look for in Super Bowl 53:GRONK’S
    FINALE?There’s widespread speculation that Patriots star tight end Rob
    Gronkowski could be playing his final NFL game. The four-time All-Pro has been
    plagued by injuries for much of his career, and only in his first two pro
    seasons did he play a full 16-game schedule. In 2018, he made it into 13
    games.Gronkowski has battled through back, knee, ankle and arm injuries
    throughout his nine pro seasons, and thought about retirement after last year’s
    Super Bowl loss to the Eagles. If this will be it for the big-play tight end
    with superb blocking skills, he isn’t letting on.“As of right now, those are the
    last things I’m thinking about,” Gronkowski says. “I love playing the game.
    After a long season, after the (Super Bowl), a few weeks down the road, you sit
    back, you relax, you get some
    downtime ,
    enjoyment time. And you just see where you want to go with it.“That’s a tricky
    question. You’re trying to get around me. You’re just trying to get you some
    answers over there, baby. But like I said, I don’t know. I haven’t done that
    sit-down yet. I’ve got to do that sit-down. About two weeks after (the Super
    Bowl), then I’ll know.”DONALD’S DOMINANCERams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the
    only unanimous All-Pro this season, led the NFL with 20½ sacks.Considering that
    Brady barely has been touched or pressured in two playoff games — both against
    teams with strong pass rushers — it is incumbent upon Donald to be a factor
    Sunday.Make that a major factor.“We’ll get to him, but we have to stay patient
    and don’t get frustrated,” Donald says. “We’ve got a great secondary that will
    do its job and make sure he doesn’t have easy throws. If he has to hold onto the
    ball, we’ll have our chances. We just have to go get him.”Otherwise, the most
    accomplished quarterback in Super Bowl history might tear them apart.CLOSE
    ONESThe Rams’ past two trips to the big game were tight affairs in which they
    beat Tennessee and lost to New England. In all of the Patriots’ eight previous
    trips in the Brady-Belichick era, the result was in doubt until the final
    moments.So to expect a romp at Mercedes-Benz Stadium seems foolhardy.“It would
    be nice to get one of those,” Patriots receiver Chris Hogan. “But the idea is to
    win, no matter how you do it.”The largest margin in a Patriots Super Bowl under
    this regime has been the eight points the Eagles beat them by a year ago. Guard
    Jamon Brown went from the penthouse to the outhouse on the standings front when
    he was waived by the Rams and claimed by the Giants, but pointed to a bright
    side on Tuesday when he said he’s “definitely excited” to play with running back
    Saquon Barkley.The feeling is mutual and not just because Brown offers a
    potential upgrade on the dismal offensive line play that the Giants have had so
    far this season. Barkley said that he hopes to use Brown as a resource so he can
    learn what makes Todd Gurley tick and, ultimately, take those lessons to become
    better than the Rams star.“I definitely can learn a lot from the guy who blocked
    probably Womens
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    , today, the MVP of the league, in my opinion,”
    Barkley said. “I watch film on Todd Gurley, I love the way he plays. He an
    all-purpose back and a threat any time he touches the ball, he runs physical and
    runs right in between tackles. Definitely, I would be wrong if I don go and
    pick his brain and go ask that guy, what do you see that Todd did or what made
    Todd exceptional, and the reason he is the player he is today. That something
    that I want to learn from him because I want to compete, and I want to be better
    than Todd one day.”Barkley’s been everything advertised in terms of his ability
    to impact games as both a runner and a receiver and profiles as a player who can
    make the kind of impact that Gurley’s made the last couple of years if all goes
    well. While he’s working on using anything gleaned from Brown to make that
    happen, the Giants will be focused on building a team that looks something like
    the one Gurley’s been helping to the top of the NFC.