Kiwi gridiron legend Riki Ellison is picking the Atlanta Falcons to upset the New England Patriots in Monday's Super Bowl.

The three times Super Bowl winner believes the Dan Quinn-coached Falcons will upset the Patriots, who are guided by the game's finest coach Bill Belichick and star quarterback Tom Brady.

"The Patriots' experience is significant but it is also a problem for them," said Ellison, who won fame as a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s.

"(Belichick) is the best coach by far- he will have his players completely prepared and will most likely out-coach Atlanta.


"But the team has been there so many times, the pressure is immense. Atlanta can bring additional energy and games-ship that will be surprising.

Listen: Riki Ellison on the Radio Sport Breakfast

"I'm kind of pulling for Atlanta. They have a great shot. It will be about who has the best defence on the day. I'm picking Atlanta. They will win in a tight game or it will be a blowout win by New England."

Ellison told the Radio Sport Breakfast that opponents need a second or third game plan to beat a Belichick-coached team.

"You have to do something special - it's like beating a machine," he said.

"They are so well coached, so far beyond any of the other teams. They can insert anybody in certain positions (such as wide receiver) are not game planning against superstars, you are playing against the play calls and their adjustments.

"It is a much more cerebral plan. You can't just shut down certain players."

Handling the razzmatazz of the build up was also vital.

"Some players have not been able to curtail or control themselves on media day and in those two weeks being up in front of the country," he said.

"A lot of teams get distracted and get beat pretty badly."