Happy Monday my minions, how were your weekends? If you were like most of the people in the United States (and some would say the World) you spent Sunday watching Super Bowl XLIX on NBC. Whether you were working that day in some sort of food service industry job or at some sort of neighborhood Super Bowl Party, it ended up being one heck of a game. It turned out to be “One of those Games”, just like I stated in my Super Bowl Preview on Saturday. Both teams were looking to solidify their places in NFL history. The Patriots were looking to join Elite company with their potential 4th Super Bowl Title (along with Brady and Belichick’s individual legacies). The Seahawks were trying to avoid becoming the first defending Champions to lose in the Super Bowl since 1997-1998 (when the Packers lost to the Broncos). Also on the line for the Seahawks was more National validation. If you watched the game you know what kind of Classic it really was. It should rank up there as one of the top 10 Super Bowls of All-Time (if not right outside of the Top 5). The game gave the fans all they could have hoped for and then some. It was completely the opposite of last year’s Super Bowl, when the Nation pretty much knew it was over like 10 minutes into the game. For the product as a whole (The Super Bowl, the commercials, the game itself, the halftime show, the post game interview, etc) I give it: a solid A
Now as for some of the individual things that happened within the game itself…..that’s up for some debate and discussion. Let’s look at some of the “Winners”, and some of the “Losers”, that came out of this Super Bowl.
Well what can we say about Tom Brady, other than he is the big winner in the aftermath of Super Bowl XLIX. Let’s list all the things that Mr. Brady accomplished on Sunday:
Super Bowl Title: 4 (1st-tie: Bradshaw and Montana)
Super Bowl MVPs: 3 (1st-tie: Montana)
Super Bowl TDs: 13 (1st: Broke Montana’s record of 11….came in with 9 career TDs)
4th Quarter Comeback in Super Bowl History: 4 times (1st: No one has more than 2)
Completions in a game: 37 (1st: Broke Peyton’s record of 34 set last year)
Career Super Bowl Starts: 6 (1st: No one had more than 5)
Mind you those are just the records that he set on Sunday. He extended 3 Super Bowl records that he already owns (career pass attempts, career completions, and career yards) on Sunday as well.
Analysis: He is this generations Joe Montana. If you are a Joe Montana fan you may think that I just went into a whole heap of blasphemy, but stay with me kids. The first two Super Bowls that Brady won, he led game winning drives that were capped off with field goals by Adam Vinatierri. That is where Pro-Montana people start the backlash with the comparison. People may have to back off the hate though because, the last two Super Bowl wins for Brady have been GW TD drives culminating with Brady throwing the GW TD pass. He is firmly in the argument now, and has leap frogged into the number 2 position (with much apologies to the Great Terry Bradshaw and his supporters). The only things that have him below Montana (in my eyes and many other Montana apologists eyes) are the INTs and the Ls in Super Bowls, and those things are arbitrary and personally biased (but so is the fact that if Montana and those Niners played in today’s NFL environment they may have won 6 or 7 Super Bowls during their 15-20 year run as the Top Dogs in the NFL, but that is for another article) so it’s like splitting hairs between two different colored apples. BOTTOMLINE: He is the greatest QB since Joe Montana (I think we can all agree on that statement)
Say what you want about Tom Brady, but he doesn’t arrive to where he is arriving without the mastermind that is Bill Belichick. He also joined ELITE company on Sunday night. He became only the 2nd Coach in NFL history to win 4 Super Bowls (both did all of this with the same team btw), joining Chuck Knoll of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The thing is, not many people outside of the New England area will recognize this fact in about 2 months time. There are many reasons for this. He’s arrogant. He’s cocky. He’s defiant. He pushes the boundaries of right and wrong. He doesn’t care about the League outside of his Patriots. He’ll do anything to win. He can get players to play even though other teams told them that they shouldn’t even be in the League. He thumbs his nose at the media and the NFL in general. He cheats. He wins. He beats my team. My team can’t beat his team. I wish I had a coach like him, not him, but someone like him. I hate him because he is so consistently good with his teams, and always has a chance of winning the Super Bowl as long as he has his “Golden Boy” Tom Brady.
Ah…see. Now we are getting somewhere. I admit I hate the Patriots with a passion. There is nothing more I want to see than Tom and Bill NOT break all of these Super Bowl Records, en route to cementing their legacies as one of the Greatest QB/Head Coach Tandems of All-Time. But there is a reason for that. They are good and they threaten the memory of great teams in the past (like my Great 49ers teams from the 80’s/early 90’s); they also seem to just win…no matter what. Who wouldn’t hate a team like that, I mean if you’re not rooting for them in the first place.
Analysis: Bill is going to be Bill no matter what. He will never engage a room like say…Rex Ryan….or even Jim Harbaugh to some extent, but what he lacks in “outward emotion” he makes up for with “silent determination”. BOTTOMLINE: He is possibly the Greatest Coach in the History of the NFL (and it’s almost close to 100% without a doubt…..almost) and there will never be another one like him. Maybe in the eyes of the NFL that is a good thing.
Super Bowl XLIX stats:
24 carries, 102 yards, 1 TD; 1 rec, 31 yards
Like I said in my Super Bowl Preview in order for the Seahawks to not worry about the L they needed to feed the Beast 25-30 times, hope for about 125-145+ yards, and hopefully get 2 TDs out of him. Now…besides the yardage total it looks like that 25th carry (or 26th and 27th if they needed to go at it again on 3rd and 4th down) which would have potentially lead to his 2nd TD would have indeed sealed the deal for the Defending Champions. Instead they decided to “play the personal group matchup game” and passed it on 2nd down and 1, from the 1 yard line, with a timeout left. Now, I am a 49ers fan and I remember 2012 like it was freaking yesterday. That year, in the Super Bowl against the Ravens, the 49ers made the exact same mistake. They seemingly never recovered as evident by their slow degrade in the last 3 years (culminating in this years dumpster fire), since that moment. The Seahawks seem to have a better mental makeup so we’ll see what happens, but it is evident by the reports that there are a LOT of players confused and angry about the play call, inside of Seattle’s own locker room. Now people may have been wondering why I put Lynch in my “Winners” segment, here’s why.
The only person who was treated like a winner after the Seahawks lost was, Marshawn Lynch. Foes of Seattle were tweeting about how, “they were shocked that Seattle didn’t give it to Beastmode”. There were so many variations of that tweet across the twitterverse that it became almost comical. Lynch actually gave a very team oriented quote after the game, breaking away from his traditional banality. The conspiracy theorists were out in full force as well. A small group of people were (and still are) taking the stance that the Seahawks (and the NFL) were trying to elevate choir boy (and poster child for the “law-abiding NFL player”) Russell Wilson as the Seahawks savior, and not deal with League headache (and poster child for fines by the NFL) that was Marshawn Lynch as their Super Bowl MVP. As a diehard Sports fan I don’t really give credence to such rumors since, winning a Championship is one of the hardest things to do in Team Sports (let alone repeating that feat in consecutive years) and you can’t convince me that something like that would ever cross a coaches mind. We can debate that if you want though.
Analysis: Lynch is going to be a FA next winter and the Seahawks are going to have to make a decision as to what they are going to do with their All-Everything running back. With the fact that he seems to be the only Seahawks players that went through the fire and came out unscathed on the other side, because of the circumstances of how the game ended, Lynch is the big winner. He is going to get his payday even if that means he has to sign elsewhere. BOTTOMLINE: Lynch should have been handed the ball between 1 and 3 times from the 1 yard line. He would have scored. Seattle would have gone Back to Back. Lynch would have won the MVP. He would have gone to Disneyland and had Skittles with the 7 Dwarves, with him being the silly 8th. He’s the best power back in the League, and someone is going to pay him a lot of Skittles in the offseason, that’s for sure.
#1 team from the AFC vs. #1 team from the NFC
#1 Scoring Offense (Patriots) vs. #1 Scoring Defense (Seahawks)
Highest rated Super Bowl (in viewership) in the last 30 years
Most watched show in US Television History
Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, and Missy Elliot performed at Halftime
70+ decent commercials to keep the fans tuned in
Super Bowl was back and forth for the entirety of the game
GW TD drive by Patriots with :52 left in the game
Seahawks get to the Goal line only to come up short with :20 left in the game
So basically if you are NBC you just lived the wet dream you had on the Saturday night prior to Super Bowl XLIX. You couldn’t have ask for a better Super Bowl. Tied at the half, after an exciting first half. Seattle owns the 3rd and builds a 10 point lead. Patriots storm back in the 4th and hold on for dear life to take the Title. Brady is the MVP. If you’re NBC what more could you have asked for? I mean other than Russell Wilson pump faking and then taking off running to reach the pylon, and steal the MVP from Brady….but that’s for another time and space.
It is rare that the fans every truly “Win” during Super Week/Super Bowl Sunday. Usually the fans are the last to be thought of when it comes to the Super Bowl. Most of the attention is paid to: the event itself, the parties, the pre-game, the commercials, the players and their needs, the celebrities, the investors, the NFL associates, the Sports media, the other media, the businesses, the corporations, the post game, etc.
Basically everything except for the people who pay for the tickets the other 18 weeks of the NFL season/postseason. I get it, it’s a multi-billion dollar business and it definitely has mouths to feed, but the fans shouldn’t be neglected. For the most part the game itself makes up for that in the fans eyes but:
Last years game was a dud, the year before that there was as 30 min blackout, the year before that the fans got denied seeing an undefeated season, the year before that there was 100,000+ people and there were seats that weren’t even in the line of sight of the field. My point is this: tickets cost too much and the product rarely is worth the price, even if it is a good game.
This year? They got all that they paid for, and then some. They got an “Instant Classic”. They got to see a couple of “Super Bowl Moments” live and in person as well. Basically they were treated to a game that they will only see once in their lifetime.
Analysis: The fans will never lose interest in the Super Bowl, but it is nice to know that every so often the Super Bowl gives back to the fans, in the form of a Classic Game. One of those one in a lifetime games that will live in the memories of everyone involved because of the tremendous action on the field, and how tenuous the game was down to the last seconds. BOTTOMLINE: Next year is going to be insane because of the California factor, I can’t wait
Pete did everything that he could do to win the Super Bowl, up until he didn’t. Wait what? Yeah, I know. I know. That was a very contrarian thing to say. I don’t agree with the play that he used, but I agree with the logic that he gave the reporters after the game. He had a 3-WR set formation in the game. The Patriots had their Cover Zero package in at the Goal line. In that situation you do what Pete Carroll did, seriously. I know he had Beastmode in the backfield. Yes, Lynch just got 4 yards to get you to the 1. BUT….it’s 2nd down and 1. You have only 1 timeout. There is less than 20 seconds left in the Super Bowl. If you score a TD you win Back to Back Super Bowl Titles. You see Cover Zero (with 8 guys in the box, including the LB hovering behind the line in the middle). You waste 2nd down with a pass (maybe it should have been to the flats or a swing pass, BUT if you do that you may lose yards and then what?) JUST LIKE the Seahawks did. It’s a well designed “rub play”. Malcolm just made a better play to get to the spot before the WR could.
If Malcolm doesn’t pick it, and just deflects it…..they run Marshawn on 3rd down and potentially win the Super Bowl. But he did pick it, and the Seahawks didn’t have another chance. That reason is the ONLY reason that Pete Carroll in is the “Loser” section today. He’s a Bad Luck “Loser”.
Analysis: Pete Carroll could have easily thrown his Offensive Coordinator under the bus after the game but he didn’t. He could have blamed the WR for not fighting for the ball hard enough (like the OC did). But he didn’t do any of that. He manned up and faced the media scrutiny like the leader that he is. He blamed himself. He stood up for this guys and his team. He came off as someone who got beat by the better team because of the play of the field, not just one decision at the end of the game. BOTTOMLINE: He will be back (along with the Seahawks). As long as he can avoid the dreaded “he’s lost the locker room” trap of the media next year. Don’t be surprised if he’s back chomping on his gum on the sidelines in Santa Clara, for Super Bowl L (Super Bowl 50).
Once again, if the breaks go differently on that last play Russell and Tom are switching positions in this article. With Wilson being in the “Winners” and Brady in with the “Losers”. Russell Wilson did EVERYTHING that he could do in order for the Seahawks to win Super Bowl XLIX, except call an audible on the last play of the game.
You know why? Because it wasn’t there visually. Just like the scenario I am talking about with Pete Carroll, Wilson saw the Cover Zero too. There was NO REASON to audible out of the play. He isn’t thinking that Malcolm is going to be at the spot that quickly. Normally the DB will go back before he goes forward. If you watch replays of the play, Malcolm is seen immediately going forward to the spot. That is because the Patriots had run that play in practice a week prior and Malcolm had been beat to the spot that day. The coaches told him to “not go back but to react to the spot because they are trying to push you up the field anyway.” So because of good coaching and great practice awareness Wilson got beat by technique. I mean forget about the fact that if he wasn’t the QB this wouldn’t even have been a close game to begin with. Russell Wilson got the ball put into his hands and was told to win it for the team. He tried.
Analysis: He’s fine. He’s a Superstar in the making (some would say already there). He may win the MVP next year, he’s that good. BOTTOMLINE: Russell Wilson would be welcome on ALL other NFL teams as the their starting Franchise QB, even New England.
Legion Of Boom
The Seahawks secondary was banged up coming into this game. Richard Sherman would eventually need Tommy John Surgery after the game ended. They lost Jeremy Lane after he broke his wrist early in the game. Tharold Simon was his back up….Brady lit him up. Even with all of that the LOB were imposing their will throughout the course of the game. Cam Chancellor almost took Julian Edelman’s head off (though Edelman would stay up and gain another 13 yards). Sherman was only thrown to once. They had a 10 point lead going into the 4th quarter. Then they couldn’t stop Tom Brady from being “Tom Terrific”. Brady went 8-8 on the final drive. They got beat twice with the same play (though Edelman only caught one of the two), the second time being the go ahead GW TD with 2:02 left in the game. The vaunted LOB had blown a 10 point lead and had lost the Super Bowl.
Sound too harsh?
Well that’s what happens when you are the self-proclaimed “Legion Of Boom”. They play the villain card so well that they are cast in that light everywhere they go. Normally it doesn’t matter because they are just that much better than their opponent, but this time that wasn’t the case.
The Patriots exploited ALL of their weaknesses. Gronk ran wild all game. Their LBs were exposed. The Pats went left to right the whole time, yet methodically going forward at the same time.
Analysis: Not everyone has Bill Belichick as their head coach, also not many teams have a Tom Brady like QB to compliment such a coach. These are once in a generation tandems. The Legion Of Boom will be fine, but they did get exposed on Sunday. The real question is whether anyone has the personnel necessary to exploit them again? I personally don’t think so. BOTTOMLINE: There is only one Belichick and Brady. They just happened to face them when they were trending way up. Nothing to be ashamed of. They’ll be back next year. They will be a little worse for the wear after losing DC Dan Quinn to the Falcons as their next head coach, but they will still be elite. Don’t be surprised to see them back, and talking trash, in Santa Clara for Super Bowl L (Super Bowl 50).
I know. I know. The question here is: HOW COULD THE NFL POSSIBLY LOSE AFTER SUCH A GREAT SUPER BOWL?
Yet we all know that the NFL has a problem with just stabbing themselves in the eye for no reason this year. It was once again out in full force last night. Yes the game was good. Yes the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Yes….all of the things that I listed as “wins” for NBC had the NFL seal of approval. Yet the NFL still comes off looking pretty bad today.
First there was the “State of the NFL Address” given by the Commish early in the week. It was considered weak and sad by the general public. Then there was deflategate, where nothing happened with the investigation about nothing. But they continued to try and fine Marshawn Lynch for not wanting to speak with reporters. Then, there are the photos of Goodell and Kraft at parties and functions that raised some questions as Richard Sherman went off about the Commish and his relationship with all the owners. Then the pregame started.
The 3 things that stand out for the NFL during the Super Bowl were:
They don’t care about the actual fans of the NFL, just their corporate sponsors…especially during the Super Bowl
They OBVIOUSLY don’t care about concussions otherwise Julian Edelman would have not seen the field for a good portion of the game after getting almost cleaned out by Cam Chancellor. Yet there he was (NEVER MISSING A PLAY) catching the GW TD in the 4th. No tests to speak of, or even to report.
The people that watch the game DO NOT trust the NFL, or any of their “Leaders”
That last one ties into the theory held by some people who the reason that, Marshawn Lynch didn’t score the potential GW TD from the 1 yard line because “it is better for business” if Russell Wilson throws it in for a TD and HE wins the MVP, because you know Beastmode isn’t what the NFL would like as their “mouthpiece of the Super Bowl” (who knows how silent that interview would have been….probably really silent).
Analysis: In the wake of one of the best Super Bowls in the last 30+ years, the NFL should be in the midst of a living wet dream….but self inflicted wounds just hurt too much to ignore. BOTTOMLINE: The NFL is a multi-billion dollar corporation….they’ll be fine. They just have to revamp their PR department, and try to win some of their fringe fans back. They can’t be convoluted either, they have to be completely transparent. They will right the ship, but if you’re the other 3 major sports in North America you can’t help but have a smile on your face when you read about the self-inflicted wounds of the NFL this year. They aren’t any less popular, but the shine is fading a bit if you know what I mean.
Final thoughts from the mind of a Madman
Super Bowl XLIX was one of the greatest games that the masses have ever seen. Lots of back and forth and in the end a dramatic finish that will be remembered for a while in lore (as well as in NFL Films history). The fans got all the action that they wanted. The Commercials were funny enough. The food (where ever you ate it) was amazing per usual. Many new stars were born. The future of the NFL is in good hands. The Patriots may have had their last hurrah in the Big Dance. The Seahawks showed that they are the NFC Dynasty that they have been talking about and look to return to their third consecutive Super Bowl next year. The NFL managed to somehow leave the Super Bowl possibly a little worse for the wear because of the perceived lack of concussion protocol during the game.
No matter what though, another year is in the books and the 2014-2015 Football closes out with a roar. Here’s looking forward to the 2015-16 season. Until then I will see you on Mondays and Wednesdays (or Thursdays depending the old schedule).
Pitchers and Catchers report in less than 3 weeks!