The Super Bowl game demonstrated once again that really good defense is the way to slow down a really good offense. The fact of the game was that the Denver DL dominated the Carolina OL on about 75% of the snaps. That same DL harassed Tom Brady two weeks ago in the AFC Championship Game and some folks chalked that up to the “patchwork nature” of the Pats’ OL. Well, last night’s performance was not against a bruised and tattered OL; the Denver defenders were too fast and too relentless to allow the Panthers to develop any kind of a running game and they made Cam Newton look human for the entire game.
Let me be clear; the Panthers’ defense played extremely well too; the Panthers were done in by two turnovers that produced two TDs for the Broncos. Those two TDs were the margin of victory. Here are a couple of stats that will tell you how dominant the defenses were in the game:
Panthers were 3-15 on third-down conversions.
Broncos were even worse with 1-14 on third-down conversions.
Cam Newton sacked 7 times for 68 yards
Peyton Manning sacked 5 times for 37 yards
Panthers held the Broncos to 197 yards total offense for the game.
Broncos defense took the ball away 4 times in the game.
Congratulations to the Denver Broncos…
I do not want to do much about the Super Bowl ads this year other than to say that I was underwhelmed by most of them.
Who cares if a car can go 205 mph? All that will do is get you chased down by a significant fraction of the State Police in your area.
Why spend something near $5M to run an ad telling me how much water it takes if I leave the faucet on when I brush my teeth?
PayPal seems to have missed a very important point. They did an ad leading to the punch line that “PayPal is the new money.” Really? Try to set up a PayPal account without any of the “old money” being involved and see how well the “new money works…
The multiple spots from the NFL touting the proposition that “Football is Family” brought to mind this observation from Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot last week:
“Hidden truths: The NFL’s ‘Football is Family’ campaign really does have a ring of authenticity to it – as long as you understand that on some level, most families are dysfunctional.”
In the world of college basketball, Louisville has declared that it will ban itself from all post-season tournament competition this year. That means it will not be in the ACC tournament, the NCAA tournament or any of the minor post-season college tournaments that do not amount to a smidgen of squirrel snot. This voluntary action seems to point clearly in the direction that someone somewhere has come across some very damaging information in the course of investigating the allegations that some recruits to the basketball program at Louisville were provided with strippers and/or prostitutes. It is just not reasonable to conclude that if the investigation to date had shown absolutely nothing of even minor concern with regard to said matter that the school would make this decision on its own.
It is perfectly all right for you to view this announcement with a bit of cynicism; the odds are good that some of the higher-ups at Louisville now know that the bright light of the investigation is going to reveal some things that the NCAA rules mavens are not going to like even a little bit. The school’s idea here is to try to get ahead of the game here and punish itself in the hopes that this seeming act of contrition and this seeming self-flagellation will ameliorate whatever penalties the NCAA is going to hand over. It would not surprise me in the least to learn that precise train of logic has already been under discussion along Mahogany Row at the University of Louisville. Here is the problem:
Rarely, if ever, does a school’s self-administered sanctions/punishments satisfy the NCAA folks on high in Indianapolis who see themselves as the only true guardians of the purity of intercollegiate athletics.
Obviously, none of this is going to shower Rick Pitino in glory. Nevertheless, it is important to keep two things in mind here:
1. To date, no one has provided any credible evidence that Pitino was the one who orchestrated the actions that led to the alleged providing of strippers/prostitutes to incoming recruits and Pitino has – very specifically – denied all involvement in all this.
2. Since the announcement of the voluntary post-season ban came from the Athletic Director and the University President, that would seem to indicate that whatever “bad news” they have learned is not a smoking gun incontrovertibly placed in the hands of Coach Pitino. Were that the case, I would have expected that the university would also have put him on “administrative leave” until the investigation was completed.
Finally, Greg Cote of the Miami Herald took a more synoptic view of this whole scandalous mess with this comment:
“Coach Rick Pitino claims no knowledge, but a woman wrote a book claiming she and her two daughters were paid to have sex with Louisville basketball players and recruits. Guessing she’s ruined her shot at that Mother of the Year award.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………