Well, the food at the party was good. I can say that without hesitation. It was a divine spread. I don’t think I can say the same for the game, though. Football fans in Philadelphia were put in the most awkward of positions on Sunday. On one side you had the Patriots going for a fourth Super Bowl title in the last decade. On the other you had the division rival Giants, a 9-7 team during the regular season, looking for their 2nd Super Bowl in the last five years. Both of these teams are cruel reminders that there are many different ways to win a Super Bowl. You hardly have to be a dynasty these days to raise the trophy, but the Eagles are still 0 for 46. So, while most people probably picked a side for the sake of having a rooting interest, I think most Eagles fans probably just squirmed uncomfortably in their seats and recalled past moments of what might have been.
The game itself was an odd one, a bit of a boring nail-biter. I imagine there will be a lot of praise for both defenses. They stepped up. Much-maligned secondaries rising to the occasion. Gronkowski=eliminated. The Patriots once again creating serviceable players from the scrap heap. I call BS. This was an ugly, ugly game on offense. And, even though both QBs would go on long streaks of completions, the game lacked sharpness and rhythm. If you want to heap praise on the defensive game plans, go right ahead. I say it was a bit of a stink-fest.
It started with that first Patriots play (who had a safety as the 1st points–monster payday). I’ve watched a lot of football and I don’t ever remember seeing an intentional grounding play out in that manner. It was a gutsy call by the officials (the two points would be huge in the end) and set the tone for a strange day for Brady, but one that is becoming more common. Tommy B seems to be lacking his once signature consistency, and the Super Bowl played out as a little microcosm of that trend. There were two excellent drives, several nice throws, but the rest wasn’t very inspiring. And, while no quarterback is perfect is every time out, the bad games for Brady have come in big spots far more frequently in the 2nd half of his career. Blame Gisele, blame Gronk’s ankle, just don’t blame Tom.
Both defenses were operating in a bit of a bend, but don’t break mode. For 750 yards of offense to result in only 38 points (2 of which came on defense and 4 more which were essentially conceded), seems unusual to me. And, is this where I give the shout out to Weatherford? That guy was in the damn zone. On fire. He may have been the true MVP and I say that with only a trace of sarcasm. The Patriots didn’t have good field position all night and it was mostly thanks to the happiest special teamer since the Grammatica brothers. Three Patriots drives started inside their own 10, and every single one of them started inside their own 30. It allowed the Giants defense to surrender some first downs, but still force punts, or force the Pats into an eventual mistake (like Brady’s heaved pick–his new signature move). The Giants on the other hand, had back-t0-back FG producing drives that started at their own 35 and at the NE 48. In a game this close, it was all those little things adding up to give them the edge in the end.
It was, as I said last week, a game of legacies. Predictably, the stories have started coming in about Tom Coughlin’s status as one of the great NFL coaches ever. I’ll tell you what, the guy has a knack of winning the Super Bowl right about when everyone wants him fired. And, the Giants in general have a way of maximizing their post-season runs. In their last 8 trips to the post-season they’ve been one and done on 5 occasions. But, in the 3 years they’ve won games they have 3 Super Bowl appearances and two trophies. The Eagles by comparison have only 2 “one and dones” in their last 9 post-season trips, but have only 1 Super Bowl appearance and no victories. So, I guess if the G-Men win their wild-card game next year–buckle up.
There’s Eli to discuss too, though I think for the most part his brother will be left out of the discussion for now. No need to poke a Manning while he’s waiting for his neck bones to fuse. Saying Eli is better than Peyton would be going back on years of Peyton love and nearly as much Eli apathy. It’s far easier to just say Eli is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and move on. Peyton is still miles ahead in all the statistical categories, though he’s also the one that has to answer about his questionable post-season record. I think more than anything, the win probably gives Eli some long-awaited status around the Thanksgiving table. He’ll likely no longer have to sit in a high-chair in the kitchen.
In the end, the game lacked a bit of something for me, but I suppose there was no way I was going to emerge from a Giants victory feeling stellar. It was a shame that Ahmad’s Bradshaw’s last second decision to not bypass a Super Bowl TD didn’t create a little more tension. I thought he was let off the hook by the announcers who said, “he couldn’t stop himself.” No, I don’t think that was it. But it wouldn’t matter, because the Giants deflected a crucial pass, Tom Brady took a terrible sack (again), and that was all she wrote. An NFL season in the books. New York wins again. Tough one to swallow.
On The Commercials:
It seems to me that every year people are less and less impressed with the commercials. I think this is partially due to the viral video age we live in. “Clever,” doesn’t carry that much weight anymore. You shrug, half-smile, but something is missing. None of these ads would get millions of hits on YouTube if they just appeared without context. I thought there were some decent spots. Doritos did a nice job. As always, monkeys and dogs are funny. We covered that. Coke really dropped the ball on the polar bears. Unfortunate. But, what I really remember is all of NBC’s promotion for their own shows. SMASH! TONIGHT! AFTER THE VOICE!