My experience at Super Bowl LIII


Photo by Meera Dahiya

Confetti drops after New England Patriots win their sixth Super Bowl over the Los Angeles Rams. My family took a trip down to Atlanta to witness it live.

By Meera Dahiya

“Beat L-A, beat L-A, beat L-A!” Swarms of Patriots fans chanted a phrase that has been dear to Boston sports since the 1980s rivalry between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. As a Patriots fan myself, I joined in on the chant and later that night enjoyed a 13–3 Patriots’ victory.

Concerned that this might be the last Super Bowl of the Belichick-Brady era, my family and I traveled to Atlanta to see Super Bowl LIII in person.

When my brother, Mom, Dad and I first arrived in Atlanta Saturday, we were met by a crowd of city PR reps sporting pink shirts and welcoming disembarking passengers to Atlanta. Atlanta was the perfect city to host a Super Bowl—the low 60 degree weather was comfortable but not too hot, and the new Mercedes Benz stadium provided an electric atmosphere. We stayed at my family friend’s house over the weekend, saving money that we would have spent on a hotel.

On Super Bowl day, fans were prepping for the game, tailgating and listening to the live pop music played by a band at the NFL GameDay Fan Plaza adjacent to the stadium. After getting lunch, my family and I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the plaza.

An hour and a half before the game started, we entered the stadium filled with over 70,000 excited football fans. Around 70 percent of Super Bowl attendees were Patriots fans and 10 percent were Rams fans, according to a poll from SB Nation. The abundant Patriots support made me feel right at home.

The first half of game was slow for neutral Super Bowl viewers but stressful for Patriots fans; we looked on worriedly as our normally explosive offense only scored three points total. My family and I cringed at Stephen Gostkowski’s missed field goal, which was especially disappointing since, from our seats, it looked like the ball was going in. After half an hour of brief, ugly drives with exciting plays here and there, I was looking forward to halftime more than watching my favorite team play.

Maroon 5’s halftime performance must have been better live, because despite what critics said, I thought Maroon 5 had a fantastic performance. Adam Levine’s voice sounded incredible live and fireworks added to the energy of the show. On the other hand, Travis Scott and Big Boi’s performances were not as dynamic.

Soon enough the stage was cleared away, and the second half began. Our hopes of a quick start to the half by the Pats were quickly washed away as their first few drives ended in quick stops by a relentless Rams defense. The Rams tied up the game with four and a half minutes left in the third quarter, causing me to leave my seat and spend a few minutes pacing the halls of the stadium, getting out my nervous energy. Rams fans cheered “Whose house? Rams’ house,” excited to have finally gotten points on the board.

With nine and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady got the ball and his chance to put the Patriots ahead. Brady has three more Super Bowl game-winning drives than any other quarterback, so I was confident the Patriots were in the right hands.

I was right; with around seven minutes left they finally scored a touchdown, set up by a beautiful 29-yard throw to Pats legend Rob Gronkowski. The crowd fell silent as the ball arced into the air, and then the stadium filled with cheer and excitement after seeing the ball fall into Gronk’s hands at the 2-yard line. Running back Sony Michel finished off the drive with a short run for a touchdown, and my family cheered and high-fived all the Patriots fans around us.

Eight minutes later, a field goal by kicker Stephen Gostkowski pretty much sealed the deal; but having seen miracles happen before, Patriots fans didn’t start celebrating yet. It was after the missed Rams field goal with eight seconds left that the stadium erupted in cheers. Even after six rings in the past 20 years, winning never gets old.

My family stayed at the stadium to bask in our glory and watch Commissioner Roger Goodell hand the Lombardi Trophy to Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft … again. I welled up with tears hearing Tom Brady, Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman and head coach Bill Belichick speak about the “do your job” team motto, which they felt was key to the team’s victory. After the game, the streets were crowded but surprisingly calm.

Being a crazy Patriots fan and watching my favorite team win the Super Bowl yet again was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. All of the stress and nerves, along with two hours of sleep that night due to a 6:30 a.m. flight back home, were worth the win.