Stephon Gilmore’s legacy in Super Bowl LIII

Earlier today, cornerback Stephon Gilmore was scheduled to be released by the New England Patriots, but that didn’t last long as they eventually traded him to the NFC South frontman Carolina Panthers for a pick of sixth round in 2023.

Gilmore is sure to bring an intense level of play to the Panthers for which he was known during his time in New England. However, Stephon Gilmore made his mark in the league, especially in arguably the biggest game of his career.

Similar to how Malcolm Butler’s interception defined his career for many fans, Stephon Gilmore’s own Super Bowl interception was just as important to the cornerback. Super Bowl LIII saw the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams in a Super Bowl XXXVI rematch.

Many expected the game to be a shootout like Super Bowl LII a year earlier. Thanks to Gilmore, the game was a slugfest.

Stephon Gilmore’s brightest moment

In Gilmore’s brightest moment, the Los Angeles Rams showed up following one of the most explosive offenses of the decade with head coach Sean McVay and quarterback Jared Goff. Gilmore’s job was to act as the first line of defense against Brandin Cooks. He finished with eight receptions for 120 yards, but most importantly, no touchdowns.

A stunner: The Patriots release Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who was eligible to drop off the physically unable to play list after Week 6, a source told ESPN. https://t.co/31H8KQF8hq

The Rams were held up without touchdown and ended up scoring just three points. The Patriots needed such a performance from the defense as they scored just 13 points with the final touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

If the Rams had averaged 32.9 points per game, the Patriots would likely have lost a significant amount.

Instead, the Gilmore-led Patriots defense gave Tom Brady his biggest Super Bowl win so far in his career, despite just 13 points. With 4:17 left in the fourth quarter, the Goff Rams needed a touchdown to tie the game as they were down seven points.

Goff chased Gilmore one too many times and threw his only interception of the game. It couldn’t have come at a better time for the Patriots and helped cement Gilmore’s place not only in Patriots history, but in the history of the NFL as well.

Stephon Gilmore’s time with the Patriots was legendary. From his 99 overall Madden rating to the Super Bowl interception, Gilmore’s career with the Patriots ranks among the top cornerbacks.

Stephon Gilmore’s career

Gilmore is famous for his time in New England, but he only spent the second half of his career wearing the Patriots logo. After being drafted in 2012, Gilmore spent his first five years with the Buffalo Bills. It wasn’t until 2017 that the Patriots landed the cornerback.

Until then, with Gilmore having had two great seasons (2014 and 2015), he was just a solid starting cornerback for the Bills. According to PFF, 2014 and 2015 were the only years in which Gilmore achieved an overall rating over 70.0 with the Bills.

It wasn’t until he landed with the Patriots that Gilmore’s career took a step forward to become the elite cornerback he is today.

In his first season with the Patriots, Gilmore had the highest-rated season of his career at 78.2. 2018 saw his game soar to even higher heights, ending the season with a stunning 90.7 PFF score. It was the year the Patriots beat the Rams in the Super Bowl.

In 2019, he had a career record in interceptions. That same year, Gilmore intercepted six passes and finished the year with an excellent 82.8 PFF. Sadly, this will be Gilmore’s last big season with the Patriots.

2020 saw his game dip to rookie level and by October 2021 the cornerback suffered an injury, held out and was eventually released by New England.

New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles
New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles

and is looking for a new team. With his time with the Patriots over, the cornerback still has gas in the tank at 31. He should have no problem finding another team for one or two final contracts.


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