ATLANTA — No one has done it the way the Giants did it — not once, but twice. When Tom Brady closes his eyes and thinks of Super Bowls that got away, he must get awakened by nightmares of Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan rampaging in early 2008 and Jason Pierre-Paul joining in the fun early in 2012.
No one truly stops Brady, as long as he is upright and able to sling the ball down the field. In Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz., and again four years later in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Brady was not afforded that luxury. The Giants harassed him, the Patriots could not protect their great but fairly immobile quarterback, and the Giants became the first team, and then the second, to defeat the Patriots in a Super Bowl.
Can the Rams follow the blueprint the Giants laid out and slay Brady on Sunday in Super Bowl LIII?
“If you look at the roster up front for the Rams, Ndamukong Suh has a track record of getting after the quarterback and Dante Fowler has had a great year,’’ Tuck told The Post. “And I leave the best for last, who I think is going to be the defensive MVP and could make an argument for being the MVP in general, Aaron Donald.
“That guy has done things in interior-line play that I’ve never seen before. He’s obviously going to be a focal point for the Patriots. If you have all three of those guys working the way that me and our D-line for the New York Giants was able to do, it’s going to be very difficult for the Patriots to combat that.
“I do think the Rams can do that. It’s a different story on if they will.’’
Umenyiora, at the Super Bowl site working for the BBC, has a feeling the Rams can wreak some havoc.
“You got to have pressure up the middle,’’ Umenyiora said. “Brady, pressure from the outside, he feels it, he steps into the pocket. You have a guy like Aaron Donald and Suh coming up the middle, they’re gonna make things really, really hard for Tom Brady. They got the good corners and offensively, [Rams coach] Sean McVay is a genius.
“I think the Patriots are gonna be in big trouble.’’
Tuck is not so sure.
“It’s hard for me to pick against Brady and Belichick, especially coming off what happened last year,’’ said Tuck, in town on behalf of DraftKings. “It seems to me Brady is playing more than ever with a purpose, that team is clicking on all cylinders at the right time, with the experience they have compared with the experience the Rams have, even though they have a lot of up-and-coming superstars on that team. If you think experience is going to play a big part in this game you give the nod to the Patriots, and I think I’m leaning that way.
“But listen, I’m the prime example, and the teams I played for are a prime example, that any given Sunday anything can happen. If I was a betting man, I would pick the Patriots, but my heart is kind of up in the air.’’