Sidelines: This week in sports

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The age old saying that “defence wins championships” was merely washed away heading into the Super Bowl this past weekend. The Rams and Patriots were mostly defined by their offence — Jared Goff and Tom Brady — the minds of McVay and Belichick. Though when push came to shove on Sunday night, the Patriots proved that defence can still win championships.

The Rams also proved that defence should be able to win championships, but when the offence doesn’t perform — their defence doesn’t look so great. Holding Brady to just one touchdown, and the Pats offence to only two field goals in addition to that, Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and his unit was everything it needed to be. So what happened to Goff? The Rams offence got exactly what they needed from their defence to be able to win the big game, and the offense did not return the favour. Their offence was just the second team in Super Bowl history to not score a touchdown, and the third team in Super Bowl history to not run a play in the red zone.

There’s a high chance they’ll be back — McVay and his staff are just getting things started in Los Angeles, they have a lot of great pieces in place for a team to be good for a long time. But, they’ll always look back on this game and the game that could have been.

As for Brady — when he stated that he’ll retire when he sucks — sounds about right. Brady has established himself as one of — if not the — greatest of all-time. Six rings, and still going at age 41, Brady is the Michael Jordan of football. He and Patriots head coach Belichick have created a dynasty that, while it may be one of the most annoying things for fans to watch the same team that isn’t their team, continue to dominate and win championships — it’s something that is unlikely to be seen again. Brady should play until he sucks, because it doesn’t look like that day is coming for a long time.

The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings this past week. Muzzin is, at least for now, playing with Morgan Rielly on the top defensive pairing for the Leafs. The Leafs got what they needed, a real number two defencemen, and whether or not he lasts for more than a few years remains to be seen, but they have him for long enough to compete until there are more Marlies players or drafted players who develop into elite defencemen.

Also news to Leafs nation was that Auston Matthews’ agent and Kyle Dubas have been talking about a contract extension — but that Matthews would not hit the same cap as Connor McDavid. While Matthews will still likely receive over $11 million per year, he’s looking at a five or six year deal, rather than an eight year deal like the likes of McDavid or Jack Eichel have with their respective teams.

Even if Matthews’ deal gets done this week (or in the coming weeks), the Leafs are facing other huge (should be) deals this summer, as Mitch Marner, Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen all become restricted free agents on July 1. While the Leafs core presumably wants to stay together, and for players like Marner, fans would assume he is someone who wants to play his entire career for his hometown team — there are many maneuvers that Dubas has to make in order to keep all those players rostered.

 

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