by Ryan Meehan
Super Bowl XLIX came to a close in a very unique fashion on Sunday night, and the 2014-2015 NFL season is now in the books. The new England Patriots found themselves the beneficiaries of a late game play calling mistake that saw them intercepting the final Seahawks play, and eventually winning the game 28-24 to claim their fourth Super Bowl title in fourteen years. This will wrap-up our coverage of the NFL for some time, and it’ll be a while before football is discussed on this site again. Here is what went down during Super Bowl XLIX…
As usual, the hype leading up to the game was beyond unnecessary and over-indulgent. You can only talk about one game for so long, and I think real fans tune out a lot of that stuff until a half-hour before kickoff. I thought John Harbaugh was a good sport for participating, but they were kind of prodding him a bit with hacky setups and by the second time he was at the desk I’d had enough of him. These things are way too long, and everybody knows it the same way everybody knows in-game interviews are stupid. Also, the decision to bring two very overdramatic figure skaters onto a football pregame show seemed very off to me.
As expected, NBC did one hell of a job taking care of this event. I thought Costas’ halftime piece was dead on, and even though Cris Collinsworth couldn’t argue his way out of an open field the broadcasting was solid. Al could have left the Chris Matthews/Chris Matthews thing alone, but those mistakes get made and they won’t happen again. Great camera angles, excellent replays, and spectacular goal line coverage. A plus work, and really sad that CBS will have the game next year. I don’t understand how that channel even works because I’m not in my seventies.
I have to level with you, the commercials seemed very heavy to me this year. I long for the days when marketing execs actually used humor and creativity to win over consumers. This year it became fear and it was almost psychological torture to a point. Lot of very morbid images and heavy thoughts here. I liked the Steve Buscemi cameo in the Snickers ad, and I thought that the Viagra feeding the Fiat commercial was well played. The rest of it was very forgettable. Everybody had seen the Budweiser one already, and a majority of these ads were on YouTube a week ago. The Kim Kardashian one was awful, and it was almost spitting on poor people because you have to realize that for somebody who’s as terrible of a person as she is those thoughts were not a joke – they were legitimate concerns. And the Nationwide commercial? That was just creepy, and playing with human emotion instead of just selling the product you sell. I just don’t get the fascination with raising your brand awareness to this level. The way I look at it, if you’ve got enough money to advertise during the Super Bowl your brand awareness is so high that you don’t technically need the ad to begin with. Also if I walk into a McDonald’s on Valentine’s Day and they ask me to call my mother in order to get a $1.19 McDouble that’s going to make me shit blood in a half an hour, I’m probably not getting that cheeseburger and definitely going to jail for doing something horrible shortly thereafter.
The Halftime Show
Meh…To be honest with you, Katy Perry outsourced her halftime show to two supporting acts which I believe are overrated and irrelevant: Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott. I had no idea Missy Elliot was supposed to be on the radar to do anything, so props to her…but so what? Those are average songs and they could have at least had recent artists perform their recent average material. Missy Fucking Elliott. Good Lord, Felony Felicia and Traffic Offense Trina are more relevant, and both of those girls have warrants. Anyway, I thought it had a really anti-climactic ending to it and just wasn’t my bag. It all sounded like one extremely long soda commercial to me, and wouldn’t you know that was exactly what it was.
Tom Brady’s mastery of time management sealed the deal for them to be in position to even having any shot at winning this one in the first place. The thing about New England is that the other thirty-one teams in the NFL only believe that time management is crucial during the last two minutes of the second and fourth quarters. The Patriots are now championship proof that this was not the case. The first quarter of this game was over in a flash, mostly due to the fact that New England was doing such a good job of controlling the flow of the game and making sure their aging defense wasn’t on the field a lot. Brady was 37 for 50, and that’s a crazy stat when you consider how much they were running the ball early on. Seattle obviously blew their season on a horrible play call at the end, but even when they were up 24-14 I still had a bizarre feeling that they weren’t going to win. The Pats were lurking in the shadows the whole time, ready to pounce on any stupid mistake that the Seahawks were going to make. I knew they were going to make a mistake at some point, I just didn’t figure it would happen on the one. It was pretty nuts to see them get all the way down there and then eat it. Especially after such an unbelievable catch, but such is life. That was a hard lesson for Wilson to learn, but he’ll be back again. One thing I noticed when looking at the stat line was that Russell only completed twelve passes, which leads me to believe that the Seahawks having such a great defense and the fact that they win a lot of football games has kind of masked the fact that his bursts of greatness are maybe not as common as the media would lead you to believe. He completes some amazing passes, but he makes a lot of bad throws for a guy who’s been to two straight Super Bowls. It’s hard for me to call him elite after a performance like this one. There are a lot of guys on that team who make Russell Wilson look amazing, and I’m still saying he’s in the neighborhood of being “great” than somebody that is going to blow me away every week.
The way this game ended didn’t feel right to me, even as a guy who had the Patriots eventually winning and was off by a total of three points for both teams. I can’t even wrap my head around that final play call for the Seahawks, and I just don’t understand why they put the ball in the air like that. You have a high quality running back that is one of the best in the league, and you have two timeouts and three plays to get in from the one yard line. That’s a litany of stupid in a butter tub, and for the next eight months you’re going to hear a lot of people question it. You’ll also hear that the particular play they ran was a typical goal-line play from other people, and that’s wrong. A lot of people were suggesting that Lynch pounding it in was the only clear option, but keep in mind they also have a big guy in Lendale White on that roster, and Wilson could have easily rolled out and scored with no problem. I just see no calculated reason to take that risk, and I bet Neil is going to have a hard time trying to jackhammer that image out of his head. This is a tough one for Seattle because it was so close and they really fucked up big time. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has been on Neil’s shitlist for some time now, and now I can finally see why as he just bit the big one on the world’s biggest football stage. Hard to believe, sad but true. As for the Patriots, it was cool to see some of those guys get a ring. I thought that with all that LeGarrette Blount has been through in his college and pro career, it was kind of cool to see him end up with one. I’m glad Brady now has four because he is in Montana territory, and – there are going to be some Steeler fans who think this is blasphemy – he’s better than Bradshaw. I don’t really care about Darrelle Revis, he’s always seemed like kind of a dick to me but I guess good for him too as he’s been very close to this moment a couple of times now. And even though Rob Gronkowski probably becomes Meathead Rob Lowe after a few Long Island Iced Teas, I’m actually starting to like the guy.
Where we are headed into next year
Both of these teams are once again going to be Super Bowl contenders next year and football is going to bigger than ever by the time September rolls around, but let’s be honest the NFL had a rough year off of the field. The Ray Rice situation was bad enough, but then the Adrian Peterson thing happened, and the integrity of the game was questioned with Deflategate over the past two weeks. The team that benefited most from that altering of the footballs won the whole goddamn thing because of a shitty play call, and to make it worse it was really obvious in the postgame celebration that their owner was hammered on the mic. The National Football League is saved every year by their large and dedicated fanbase, but that wall may be showing signs of cracking. If we could get through all of next year without anything like this happening, I think football will continue to warm the hearts of millions.
But those are a set of odds that I’m not going anywhere near.
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The final throw was right on the money…if it’s Baldwin, Matthews, Lynch, or any other receiver on the Seahawks roster than Lockette. My real problem with the final play call is that Bevell had the wrong players, in the wrong position, at the wrong time and they weren’t able to execute on a high risk, low reward passing play. It was an incredibly dumb decision on his part.
As for the Russell Wilson isn’t elite…during the regular season he threw an interception on 1.5% of his drop backs during the regular season. Another quarterback that had the exact same interception rate?….Tom Brady. And if you want to argue that Brady was more elite in the Super Bowl, I’d like to point out that two bad decisions led to two interceptions that should have cost the Patriots the game.