A lot can happen in a weeks time. It took God seven days to make the earth, really 6 because the last was a furlough. So I figure, after a week of letting all the prognosticators and “experts” inundate you with their hot takes on the biggest sporting event in the world outside of the quidditch cup, I would let you have a chance to be blessed with my own outlook and lessons I took from the big game.
Keep it simple stupid
Football, historically, has always been dressed with a “meathead” aesthetic. The idea of the big jock who is more braun than brains, has a grain of truth when it comes to the world of the gridiron. More than any other major sport, the determinant of success is less about fundamental skill as it is about who is the strongest of arm and fleetest of foot. It is why the SEC dominated the BCS era of college football and its why as much as the cliche “Any Given Sunday” is promulgated amongst fans, that the game comes down to your guy against ours lets see who wins. It does not take elaborate schemes, its best against best, and if they dominate you, you go home the loser.
The Seattle Seahawks on the last play that sealed the game against the New England Patriots, did not adhere to this line of reasoning apparently. They outsmarted themselves. To paraphrase the theory of Ockham’s Razor, if you got options choose the simple one, you know the one that involves handing it to the best player on your team aka the best running back in the league. If they stop you three times in a row on runs then they just deserve the win and you live with the fact that they took your best punch and were still standing. Now instead for the next decade we are going to forever question why did not Pete Carroll just let the juice get loose on the Patriots.
The “Patriot Way” isn’t a thing
The New England Patriots, along with teams like the Steelers and Colts, are always presented as shining examples of the proper way to run organizations. From owners down to (deflated) ball boys, everyone does their job and not much else, never stepping out of line or making waves that would draw attention and be construed in a negative fashion. When it has happened, the offending party is dealt with, shoutout to the https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkvBhMIAWHA. However, as that example shows us, what we are told is exactly what the evidence is really saying. From Spygate, to (debunked) Deflate Gate, to Tom Brady cursing out refs and trash talking opponents, and finally to the Patriot Super Bowl Parade the “Patriot Way” is not a thing and you need to shun anybody who try to tell you different. What was supposed to be a celebration of accomplishments, ended up devolving into a session of giving the Seahawks, what the public at large deemed, as their comeuppance. Lagarette Blount brandishing a shirt with the Seattle colors and the Marshawn Lynch number 24 in the middle with the words “Beast Mode” emblazoned across the chest. Except instead of “beast” there was another term in its place that starts with a “b,” rhymes with rich, and is used in reference to female canines. Then you had the good ol’ boy, feel good story, Mr. “college quarterback turned top flight receiver” Julian Edelman holding this sign.
Now I myself adhere to the Michael Irvin school of thought, that if you do not want someone showboating or talking mess, then win and shut them up. However, the Patriots are supposed to be above these type of low brow shenanigans, pointing us all to a life of righteous living. So we should expect more from them right? The answer is a resounding no. Lets just all collectively hope that we are no longer subjugated to the theory that the Patriots are somehow the vision of class and conduct going forward because at this point the jig is up.
Tom Brady is an all time great (that needed some help)
The reactionary way to analyze this game would be simply to say Tom Brady is quite possibly the greatest quarterback ever, and this past Sunday he proved it again by winning against one of the best defenses ever. I mean how could you argue against a 97 QBR in the 4th quarter (I’m pretty sure no one outside ESPN uses this stat), going 8/8 on the game winning drive, throwing for 4 touchdowns and over 400 yards against the awe-inspiring Legion of Boom and the rest of the Seattle defense? Case closed, no need to do anymore digging or analysis cause the golden boy has proven without a shadow of a doubt that in the pantheon of all time great quarterbacks, he is second to none.
What about nuance you say? Why do we ignore the fact that Cliff Avril, the best Seahawks defensive lineman did not play the entire 4th quarter? Why brush aside that the menace known as Kam Chancellor played with a torn MCL which forced coaches to take him away from being closer to the line of scrimmage effectively taking away his ability to aid in the crossing routes that Tom killed them with? Or how about Jeremy Lane after picking off Brady in the first half, was forced out the game due to injury and replaced by Tharold Simon who was subsequently responsible for three of Tom Terrific’s touchdowns? That terrifying aggressive Seattle defense that effectively brought Peyton Manning to his knees, was less Seahawk and more Sparrow on Sunday (see what I did there), and to ignore that to bolster the story of Tom Brady coming through again is fundamentally dishonest and lazy analysis (I am looking at you Colin Cowherd).
This story of this game was more about the importance of having a defense that can make up for the mistakes and failings of an offense, and less about the prolific nature of a new age offense resplendently scoring enough points for the scoreboard to malfunction. In one of the best super bowls of recent memory, you were treated with excellent football played by two teams (nearly) at the height of their respective powers. And I for one could not have asked for a better game.
(though I would have asked Pete to run the ball… promise I do not hold grudges and I will only bring this up once a month for the next 15 years)
Till next time kids.
Anakin | Jotham