Here are some Super tids and bits to chew on

Here’s a few Super Bowl tids and bits to ponder as the week leading up to LIII begins on Sunday with the Patriots 10 a.m. rally and departure for Atlanta that afternoon:

—- Fellow New York Giants fans know the McVay name and cringe. Rams head coach Sean McVay’s grandfather, John, was the Giants head coach during the 1978 season which featured The Fumble, when instead of taking a knee for a sure win over the Eagles Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik screwed up a handoff to back Larry Zsonka, whose fumble was scooped up by Herman Edwards and returned for a game-winning TD, shocking the crowd in the Meadowlands.

Now consider this: What that did was create so much outrage among Giant fans that they cleaned house, which led to the hiring of Ray Perkins as head coach. Perkins hired a linebackers coach named Bill Parcells. Parcells, when he was Giants coach, of course had a defensive coordinator named Bill Belichick. And we all know the rest. Maybe it’s six degrees of separation, but you could argue the fact that McVay’s grandfather very indirectly has a part in this whole Patriots thing.

Incidentally, John McVay went on to be a superb personnel man for the San Francisco 49ers, drafting some household names for those Super Bowl teams.

—-It really looks like the Patriot to watch in Super Bowl LIII is tight end Rob Gronkowski. Why? The Rams are one of the worst teams in the league at defending the tight end, a bit weak at linebacker. Tight ends caught 80 passes against them, for a total of 1,075 yards.

In the AFC Championship Game, Gronkowski figured more prominantly in the offense. “It just happens to be that there were a couple more reads to go to me and it;s been like that throughout the whole year, though, from practices to games. …(Brady) finds the open guy and he throws it to them.”

Gronkowski will be a big focal point this upcoming week, because the question has to be asked whether this will be his final game as not only a Patriot, but of his likely Hall of Fame career. Probably won’t get a straight answer.

—–What is it with these NFC champion team coaches and their birthdays? Eagles coach Doug Pederson celebrated his 50th during the middle of Super Bowl week last year in frosty Bloomington, Minn., and just the other day McVay celebrated, uh, his 33rd. Yes, that’s right, just 33. Amazing.

—– Not to restate the obvious, but the line between winning and losing doesn’t get any thinner than last Sunday night. If Kansas City linebacker Dee Ford hadn’t lined up in the neutral zone, the Patriot narrative would be incredibly different. We’d be talking about Tom Brady throwing three picks in the AFC Championship Game, likely fueling the “Brady In Decline” arguments. And Gronkowski’s possible last play as a Patriot, a ball going off his usual sure hands to the other team to end the game. Oh, brother would it be different.

—-Remember the criticism that Bill Belichick took time out one evening in Minnesota to attend a Timberwolves game? Well, he won’t be able to see the Hawks in Atlanta this week. They’re on a west coast swing the entire week, at the Clippers on Monday, the Kings on Wednesday, at Utah on Friday, and at Phoenix on Saturday. Patriot fans will have to find something else to put under the microscope.

—–The hero of the Patriots first Super Bowl win, ironically over the Rams 17 years to the day of this year’s Super Bowl, Adam Vinatieri, will be back for one more season with the Indianapolis Colts. He reportedly agreed to a one-year deal, and it will be his 24th season at age 46.

Hard to believe, isn’t it? Vinatieri took the New England tour after he made that Super Bowl winning kick (after his big one in the Snow Bowl playoff win over the Raiders), and one of his stops was at a Manchester Monarchs game at what was then known as the Verizon Wireless Arena (now SNHU Arena). He was once one of the most popular Patriots, and he and Tom Brady are the only two left playing from that incredible game.

The one thing left for Stephen Gostkowski, who declared back before his first Super Bowl that “I’m not Adam”, is to boot a Super Bowl game winner as the clock hits zero.

—-Think there’s no game to pick? First Sunday without football? Wrong. Don’t forget the Pro Bowl. It’s Sunday at 3 p.m. in Orlando. We’ll go NFC 516, AFC 422. Mark it down.

LAST WEEK: 1-1

PLAYOFFS: 6-4

REGULAR SEASON: 75-42-2

Tom King may be reached at 594-1251 or tking@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow King on Twitter (@Telegraph_TomK).