21 Jan 19
When the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots face off in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta in two weeks, the Bay Area will be well-represented on the field.
Not only are both starting quarterbacks Bay Area natives, but there are impact players on both rosters with deep ties to the region.
So who should you root for in Super Bowl LIII?
I know choosing between the team from our region’s chief rival, Los Angeles, and the nearly universally reviled Patriots isn’t easy, but luckily, the battle lines are easy to draw.
If you live in the East Bay or the North Bay, congrats, you have to back the Rams.
And if you’re on the Peninsula, you should be rooting for the Patriots.
Cal quarterback Jared Goff passes the ball in the second quarter of the 117th Big Game against Stanford held at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)
As with most things football, it all starts with the quarterbacks.
Both the East Bay and the North Bay can claim Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who was raised in Marin Country, went to Marin Catholic, and then attended Cal, out of which he was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft.
And for those on the Peninsula, you know the drill by now — you’re represented by San Mateo’s Tom Brady, a graduate of Junipero Serra High.
There’s no doubt the storyline of the two Bay Area quarterbacks will be a massive one heading into the Feb. 3 game. But you don’t have to look far down either team’s roster to find more Bay Area ties.
Tom Brady sports his lettermen jacket while at Serra High.
For instance: While Brady’s top receiver, Julian Edelman, is a Bay Area native, too — a Peninsula guy, in fact. He might have been drafted out of Kent State, but he was born and raised in Redwood City, attended Woodside High and then the College of San Mateo before heading out to Ohio and, ultimately, New England.
And the Rams — maybe it’s the California proximity, but they have three other East Bay guys to back Goff.
Running back C.J. Anderson surprisingly usurped one-time MVP candidate Todd Gurley as the Rams’ top option in the backfield over the last few weeks — another topic that’s likely to be heavily discussed in the coming days — but before he landed in Los Angeles, he played for his childhood team, the Raiders. Well, for a week.
Anderson was born in Berkeley, raised in Vallejo’s The Crest, and then played junior college ball at Oakland’s Laney College.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Anderson recalled his 6:30 a.m. workouts at Laney — which required him and his grandmother to be up at 4:30 every morning so she could drive him to catch a 4:45 bus that would take him to the Richmond BART station to catch the 5:15 train to the Lake Merritt station.
Anderson transferred to Cal in 2011 and played two years there before signing with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent and winning Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium.
No matter what region you think Vallejo is in, Anderson is unquestionably a member of Team East Bay.
Oakland Raiders’ Marshawn Lynch, Los Angeles Rams Marcus Peters and free agent Josh Johnson, from left, socialize during the CourseCon: Oakland, Understanding the Community anti-violence summit at the Impact Hub in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, June 6, 2018. The three Oakland-born NFL players, civic leaders and residents all took part in the moderated forum. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
So is Rams backup quarterback Sean Mannion. He isn’t likely to play in the Super Bowl, but you can feel good about the fact that the Rams will always have a Bay Area native at quarterback in the Big Game — Mannion is an alum of Foothill High in Pleasanton.
But, of course, the captain of The East Bay Rams cornerback Marcus Peters, one of Oakland’s favorite sons.
Before Peters was an All-American at Washington and an All-Pro with the Kansas City Chiefs, he was a standout at McClymonds High in West Oakland.
And you might remember the time in 2017 when Lynch, pulled Peters out of a melee during a game between the Raiders and the Chiefs. The problem — at least from the outside perspective — was that Peters was playing for the Chiefs and Lynch was a Raider. But Peters’ friendship with the unofficial mayor of The Town was stronger than that rivalry — the two see each other cousins, bound by Oakland blood. Lynch was ejected from that game for protecting Peters, but the two rode the BART home together after the final whistle. I’m not kidding — there’s video and everything.
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We hopped on the Bart after the game. @mpjuiceman @beastmode @bmpllc24
A post shared by Squint (@iamsquint) on Oct 19, 2017 at 11:58pm PDT
All this to say that Peters is unquestionably Oakland — it’s totally normal to see him up by Mack or downtown at Lynch’s store in the offseason — and that he’ll have a strong contingent of support from The Town in both Atlanta and the East Bay.
(If you’re looking for a good Bay Area Super Bowl party in two weeks, that’s the one to attend.)
(Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
There are, of course, countless other reasons to root for or against the Patriots and Rams, but if you’re a Peninsula resident who just can’t bring themselves to root for Brady and the Patriots, I feel for you. Let me give you an out:
There are so many things that divide the Bay Area in sports. We have two NFL teams (for now) that are rivals, two MLB teams that are always in competition, and two Pac-12 schools that are generally ignored, save for the few days a year when they play each other.
That’s a lot of fraternal conflicts, but we can all agree on one thing right now: the greatness of the Golden State Warriors — the entire region’s NBA team.
Both Goff and Brady claim to be Warriors fans, but only one walks the walk.
Goff once told ESPN that Stephen Curry is a better player than Kobe Bryant, much to the chagrin of L.A. fans, and tweeted this out soon after he was drafted by the team down south:
.@Money23Green is my favorite player ever #GoDubs
— Jared Goff (@JaredGoff16) May 4, 2016
There are no casual Draymond Green fans — especially outside the Bay. Goff clearly rides with the blue and gold.
Meanwhile, I’d like to remind you that Brady was part of the Celtics’ free agency pitch for Kevin Durant. (I’d show you the picture, but I’d lose my job.)
Feel free to do whatever you want with that information when it comes to your rooting interest.
Me? I’m watching the Super Bowl for the commercials.