The Latest: Patriots’ Gostkowski misses FG attempt
ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the Super Bowl (all times EST):
Stephen Gostkowski was wide left on a 46-yard field goal attempt that would have given New England the early lead in the Super Bowl against the Los Angeles Rams.
It also marked the first missed kick by any NFL kicker this season in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the home of the Atlanta Falcons.
After the Patriots’ first offensive possession ended in an interception by Tom Brady — just the second on the opening drive of a playoff game in the quarterback’s career— the Rams went three-and-out.
New England got the ball at its 12, and questionable officiating quickly became an issue when Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman was penalized for hitting a defenseless receiver after Brady’s pass to Rex Burkhead on second-and-14 went for a 4-yard loss.
Instead of third-and-18 from the Patriots 16, New England got a first down at the 35. Brady then marched the offense down the field — only to see the usually reliable Gostkowski miss.
Robey-Coleman was involved in the now-infamous play during which he was not penalized for his hit on Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis. No flag was thrown for pass interference for the helmet-to-helmet nature of the hit — for which Robey-Coleman was fined $26,739 by the NFL — possibly altering the outcome of Los Angeles’ 26-23 overtime victory.
Los Angeles has won the coin toss — but will start the Super Bowl on defense.
New England special teams standout and captain Matthew Slater called heads and the coin turned up tails — but the Rams deferred, giving Tom Brady and the Patriots the ball first.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest daughter Bernice King and civil rights pioneers John Lewis and Andrew Young stood at midfield with the players for the toss.
Dave Grohl was still floating from the Foo Fighters’ star-studded show the night before as he walked toward Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“An amazing night,” the Foo Fighters frontman told The Associated Press. “Great show. An absolute blast.”
Asked if he was planning a surprise appearance at the halftime show, Grohl smiled. “I can’t do any press. Sorry about that, but we’re lucky enough to be able to come to the game today. It’s a beautiful day. I love this city and I’m looking forward to it.”
Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi are the featured acts at halftime, but the Super Bowl show is renowned for last-minute, surprise guests.
The Foo Fighters played a sold-out show Saturday night before 8,500 in Atlantic Station. Queen drummer Roger Taylor sat in for a cover of “Under Pressure.” Tom Morello and Zac Brown came out for Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” and stayed onstage when Perry Farrell, the frontman of Jane’s Addiction, played “Mountain Song.”
Grohl, walking to the game with Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, was looking forward to a fun night.
“Hopefully somewhere where there’s cold beer and jalapeno peppers,” he said with a grin.
The Super Bowl teams had no surprises on their lists of inactive players.
Defensive tackle Danny Shelton and defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. both returned to the Patriots’ active roster after missing the AFC championship game. Also active were linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who missed a practice this week with an illness, and defensive lineman Malcom Brown, who was limited with a calf injury.
The Rams had no roster decisions to make with no significant injuries. Running back Todd Gurley, kicker Greg Zuerlein and defensive back Blake Countess were all ready to go after being cautious in recent practices.
New England’s seven inactive players: tight end Stephen Anderson, offensive lineman James Ferentz, safety Obi Melifonwu, defensive linemen Ufomba Kamalu and Keionta Davis, defensive end Derek Rivers and defensive back Duke Dawson.
Los Angeles’ inactives: defensive back Darious Williams, running back Justin Davis, linebackers Ogbo Okoronkwo and Trevon Young, offensive lineman Jamil Demby and defensive tackles Sebastian Joseph-Day and Tanzel Smart.
Is Gladys Knight going to hit some long notes today? If so, there could be money to be made.
The over-under for Knight’s rendition of the national anthem is set at 110 seconds by Bovada — one of many side-action wagers available for today’s Super Bowl, the most heavily bet event of the year.
The color of the first bag of Doritos featured during a Super Bowl commercial? The favorite is red at 3-2.
If you believe President Trump’s tweet count will be higher than the number of Tom Brady touchdown passes, then you can wager $140 to win $100.
Oh, also: New England is a 2 1/2-point pick to beat Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke got off to a losing start to Super Bowl Sunday.
Arsenal, the London soccer team owned by Kroenke since 2011, lost 3-1 at Manchester City in the Premier League.
The defeat could prove costly for Kroenke, with Arsenal down to sixth in the standings and three points adrift of the four spots to qualify for the lucrative Champions League European competition.
Arsenal has 13 games of the 38-match Premier League season remaining. Kroenke has faced criticism from Arsenal fans about the lack of investment in the team.
The NFL has announced plans for Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s retractable roof to be open for the pregame show, including a flyover by the Air Force Thunderbirds, and then closed for the game.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says the plan is to have the roof closed for the teams’ pregame warmups on the field. The retractable roof then will open for the pregame ceremony.
McCarthy says the plan could be affected by a change in weather.
The Thunderbirds practiced the flyover with the roof open on Saturday night as close as possible to the planned time for Sunday’s pregame show.
There was scattered rain in Atlanta on Sunday morning. The forecast called temperatures in the 50s for the start of the game at 6:30 p.m.
The city of Atlanta had to wait 19 years and build a $1.5 billion stadium to get its third Super Bowl.
Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay is confident it won’t take nearly that long for the big game to return to the A-T-L for the fourth time.
McKay says the city and team made it clear that Mercedes-Benz Stadium was constructed with the idea of hosting multiple Super Bowls, not just a single title game.
He expects Atlanta to become a regular part of the Super Bowl rotation with cities that are warmer in the winter, such as Miami, New Orleans, Phoenix and perhaps Los Angeles. He points to all the downtown facilities that are within walking distance of each other, including the stadium, numerous hotels, the Georgia World Congress Center, State Farm Arena and Centennial Olympic Park. All played major roles in this week’s Super Bowl activities.
Atlanta hosted the college football championship game last year, and the NCAA men’s Final Four will be at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2020. The city is also expected to have a major role in soccer’s 2026 World Cup.
McKay says: “On the big-event scale, we can be as good a host as anybody, because we have the airport and we have the footprint to really deliver. I hope that’s what this week shows.”
No matter what happens in today’s Super Bowl, Patriots coach Bill Belichick will be on top of the record book.
He has already coached in more Super Bowls than any other coach (nine going on 10) and already has more wins than any other coach (five with a chance for six).
If the Patriots lose, Belichick will also find himself sharing space the top of the ‘L’ column with his fourth loss. There are some pretty good names there, though: Don Shula, Bud Grant, Marv Levy and Dan Reeves.
The Los Angeles Rams will attempt to cap their remarkable two-year turnaround under coach Sean McVay with their franchise’s first Super Bowl championship in 19 years.
Just three seasons after returning to LA from St. Louis, the Rams are heading into Mercedes-Benz Stadium led by quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley, two-time AP Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and McVay.
The Rams had been through 13 consecutive non-winning seasons and hadn’t won a playoff game in 12 years before they hired McVay, who was 30 at the time. The youngest head coach in modern NFL history immediately engineered a seven-game improvement last season.
He followed it up by taking them to the Super Bowl for the first time in 17 years. Now 33, McVay would be the youngest coach ever to win a Super Bowl.
Today’s game between the Rams and Patriots marks the eighth rematch in Super Bowl history.
Good news for the Patriots: The team that won the previous matchup is 4-3. New England defeated the Rams, then in St. Louis, 20-17 back in 2002.
Pittsburgh and Dallas have met three times. Pittsburgh won the first rematch, a 35-31 thriller in Super Bowl 13. Then, 17 years later, Dallas defeated the Steelers 27-17.
—Redskins 27, Dolphins 17 in Super Bowl 17; a rematch of Miami’s perfection-capping victory in Super Bowl 7.
—Giants 21, Patriots 17 in Super Bowl 46; a rematch of New York’s win, which spoiled New England’s run at an undefeated season, four years earlier.
—Cowboys 30, Bills 13 in Super Bowl 38; a rematch of Dallas’ crushing of the Bills the previous year.
—Eagles 41, Patriots 33 in Super Bowl 52; a rematch of New England’s win in Super Bowl 39.
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