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Why this Falcons fan is cheering for the Rams in Super Bowl 53

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I’m a Falcons fan. So please allow me to explain why I’m all in on the Rams.

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I wasn’t born a Rams fan. I was molded into one — for now, at least — by the constant heartache that stems from being a Falcons fan.

I’ll spare you a detailed historical perspective. Here’s a brief summary: Eugene Robinson, Michael Vick, no back-to-back winning seasons until 2009, only managing to score a safety in a playoff game against the Giants, and blowing the NFC Championship Game against the 49ers after the 2012 season. The most relevant pain points for Falcons fans, though, are the New Orleans Saints and 28-3.

So for this postseason, I’m a Rams fan. And I’m definitely not alone.

This is why I’m rooting for the Rams against the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. I hope you’ll join me.

The Rams earned my undying loyalty by beating the Saints

That blown call in the NFC Championship Game was a disaster, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Saints got the ball first in overtime at home. Drew Brees threw a pick, and the Rams capitalized with a game-winning field goal. That’s what cost New Orleans the game.

Until that moment, I was consumed with dread thinking about the team Falcons fans despise most in the world not just heading to a Super Bowl, but a Super Bowl in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Saints would have used the Falcons’ practice facility and the home team’s locker room on game day. That insult, added to the injury of a 7-9 season for the Falcons, would have been quite a bit to bear, and Saints fans would have never let Falcons fans forget it.

After the Super Bowl 51 loss to the Patriots, fans of the other 31 teams hazed us mercilessly. Two years later, most of the 28-3 jokes I still get are from Saints fans — fans of a team that went 7-9 in 2016 and definitely didn’t have anything to do with the outcome of Super Bowl LI. The Rams spared me from years — maybe decades — of painful trash talk from Saints fans. I am eternally grateful.

The Rams can beat the team that gave us the 28-3 meme

The 28-3 jokes didn’t slow down when the Eagles beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. But maybe — just maybe — if the Rams pull this off, people will pivot to making fun of the Patriots for losing Super Bowls two years in a row instead of harping on old stuff. A girl can dream.

Bonus points to the Rams if the Patriots jump out to a commanding lead and then blow it, Falcons-style. If that happens, I might officially make the Rams my permanent and official second-favorite NFL team. Sorry, Cleveland Browns.

The Rams are the real underdogs

I’m so tired of hearing about the Patriots thinking they’re underdogs. They’re the PATRIOTS. They’re a dynasty. They’re the team that everybody just assumes will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl every single year. They have five — FIVE — rings in the Brady/Belichick era. The idea that this team is, was, or ever could be a true underdog is an affront to reason.

The Rams, on the other hand, really are underdogs. They weren’t favored to beat the Saints in the NFC Championship Game, but they pulled it off. They’re not favored against the Patriots, either. They have just four players on the roster — C.J. Anderson, Brandin Cooks, Sam Shields, and Aqib Talib — who have played in a Super Bowl. For the Patriots, 38 of the 53 men on the roster have been there before. Twenty-seven of those guys have been to the Super Bowl more than once.

It’s hard to accurately convey what a circus the entire week leading up to a Super Bowl can be. Players and coaches are pulled in a million different directions during a time when they need to be wholly focused on the biggest game of their entire lives. The experience the Patriots have with it is a tremendous competitive advantage.

The Rams are the real underdogs, and they can keep the Patriots from earning a sixth ring and tying the Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins in NFL history. They can also make the Patriots stand alone as the losingest team in Super Bowl history. That in and of itself is reason enough to be a Rams fan — at least until Monday morning.