I have just returned from a wonderful Super Bowl party hosted by the same person who handles all of the logistics for our annual Autumnal Pilgrimage to Las Vegas. He has done this many times in the past; it is always a fun gathering; this year it was a fun gathering plus a great football game – until the final minute.
Let me be clear; I had no emotional, financial or psychological investment in the outcome. In such situations, the thing that I want from the Super Bowl – or any other game is for the game to be competitive where the outcome is in doubt until the latest stages of the game. The game between the Patriots and the Seahawks provided that level of drama down to the end and so I would normally have been thrilled by the game.
However, the events of the final minute of the game tarnished the entire experience for me because one of the tacit conditions that underlies my hope for what I consider a “great game” is that the outcome is decided by players on the field playing the game at the highest level of competence that they can. That is not what happened here.
First, the catch by Jermaine Kearse to set up the ultimate drama was nothing but pure luck. There have been equally lucky pass receptions late in Super Bowl games in the past that have given me a sense that the “better team” did not win but the “luckier team” did. I expected the same thing to happen in this game with less than a minute to play.
Second, the call for a pass play with three shots at the goal line – to win the game – from the 1-yardline was THE dumbest play call in the history of the Super Bowl.
Cris Colinsworth said that he would never understand that play call. Colinsworth has to be a bit diplomatic in his pronouncements given his position as the analyst for NBC prime time NFL games. He cannot come out and say explicitly that Pete Carroll and the offensive coaches of the Seahawks came up dumber than soup when they sent that play in from the sidelines. I have no such motivation to protect a self-interest because I have exactly no self-interest associated with that game.
Third, after the abjectly stupid call that led to the interception at the goal line, the Pats did not have enough room simply to kneel down in victory formation to end the game. They had to run a play and by running a play they too could have done something fatally flawed. Nonetheless, the Seahawks’ defense then proceeded to do the single thing that could give the Patriots the ability to kneel down and run the clock out. They jumped offside. I cannot hang that blockheadedness on the coaches without assuming that the coaches did not emphasize to the players during the change of possession how devastating such a penalty might be.
What was a great game for about 59 minutes was polluted first by coaching stupidity and secondly by players reacting to their glandular signals instead of their cranial signals. For someone with no investment in the outcome, that was a horrible way to end a great game.
Here is a paraphrase of something I said to the assembled folks watching the game at our party:
Pete Carroll – as the head coach – bears the responsibility for the boneheaded pass call at the goal line even if he did not make it. He would have been crowned as a genius had it worked and no one would have asked him if he also called the purely lucky catch that set up that attempt for a TD. With that in mind – whether or not that is a righteous measuring stick – that call was so stupid that even if Pete Carroll wins 4 Super Bowls, he should not be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. I do not know if there is enough coaching “soap” in Seattle to wash away that stain.
A couple of other things from the game:
The NFL made sure that all of the footballs in the game were properly inflated. [Kudos to the NFL for not listing the psi readings for every ball to be used in the game to demonstrate their compliance with the rules. It is not impossible for that thought to have come up sometime during the past week.] With properly inflated footballs, Tom Brady and the Pats’ receivers did sufficiently well to score 28 points on the Seattle defense that had been holding opponents to less than half of that total over the past 6 or 7 games. The stat sheet says Brady was 37-50 (74%) for 328 yards and 4 TDs and 2 INTs.
The Pats lost the “turnover battle” 2-0 and still won the game. That tends not to be the way Super Bowl games come out.
For everyone who KNOWS FOR SURE that the only reason the Patriots won all those Super Bowls a decade ago is because they used Spygate cheating techniques, you are officially precluded from any more in depth analysis of football matters as of today.
Lots of folks will make tons of comments about the ads on the Super Bowl this year. I found most of them to be “ho-hum” but there was one ad that hit a Bad Ads Exacta. A Bad Ad can be tasteless and a Bad Ad can be stupid; then there are ads that hit this exacta with ease. In case you missed it, go and Google for yourself the Loctite Glue ad from yesterday’s Super Bowl. The group that thought up this spot and the people at the client who agreed to it and then paid the millions of dollars needed to produce it and air it during the game should be taken out and flogged.
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………