Well, I have to say that I did not see that coming. I was rationalizing in my mind that this is the third Super Bowl in a row where the Patriots played good enough to win, and then have the defense give up a game winning and heart breaking drive to lose the game…..again. As a fan, you can’t ask Brady and the offense to do much more than they did. In the 2 losses to the Giants and in this game, they gave the team a lead with small amounts of time left on the clock and the defense neglected to defend. Not to mention that they put up 28 points against the best defense (statistically) in the NFL and were very efficient in producing those points (4 TD passes to 4 different receivers, 14 points each half).

I started out actually pretty happy with the defense for most of the first half. Lots of 3 and outs and Wilson didn’t complete a pass until late in the second quarter, and they were keeping Lynch in check. Obviously the Brady interception at the goal line was a killer, but it did help them in the fact that it knocked out their nickel back for the rest of the game (I’m not actually happy when a guy gets hurt, but hey it’s football and it happens in most every game). I started getting more nervous when Wilson kept throwing the Hardball (note play on words) to Chris Matthews and he kept plucking it off the heads of the smaller Pats’ DBs. First of all, who is this guy (same can be said for M. Butler) and why hasn’t he made a catch all year? I’d love to see BB’s scouting report on this guy if he even had one.

I was feeling better when the Patriots scored late in the half to go up 14-7 and seemed to be in good shape heading into halftime. Then the cracks began to appear as large as the refrigerator repairman’s backside with the defense. Are you f***in’ kidding me? 80 yards in 30 seconds? Any feelings of content and confidence were deflated as quickly as a properly inflated football in sub Arctic temperatures. I was so pissed and distraught that my foot hardly tapped at all to Katy Perry’s halftime bonanza.

An hour later, once the smoke cleared from the halftime show, we were ready to commence with the roller coaster agita ride. Halftime adjustments didn’t seem to be talked about for the Pat’s defense, and they continued to give up too many big plays. They’ve always had this bend but don’t break mentality, but it was feeling as broken as my athletic dreams when Seattle scored to go up 10 at 24-14. I especially enjoyed Sherman’s mime act to the cameras about 24 (either a jab about Revis giving up a TD or the actual score, unclear) and can only tell him what goes around comes around.

Once again, the offense put everything out on the field and played really well in the second half. Brady’s numbers in the 4th quarter (13-15, 124 yds, 2 TD’s) tells you all you need to know about how the offense played. When they were driving on their last possession down 24-21, I was pleading with McDaniels to start running the ball when it was under 3 minutes. My premonition came to light when they scored and left Seattle with 2 minutes to score. If they can go 80 yards in 30 seconds, what makes you think that they can’t go 80 yards in 2 minutes? Defense was playing better after giving up the 10 second half points, but I’ve seen this movie before and giving the defense the chance to pee their pants was going to happen again.

Sure enough, they start out with a bang with the 30+ yard play to Lynch, game on, blood pressure up, vomit in my throat. Once “The Catch” happened, I was 3 seconds from changing the channel to reruns of Seinfeld, but like a car accident, you just had to look. Clock ticking down, no timeout from BB, he actually was believing that the defense could make a stand (he has more confidence in them then I do). After the Lynch run to the 1, it was only a matter of time. And then, it happened…..Seattle seemed to screw up just enough (taking the 2 timeouts, letting enough time come off the clock, and seeming to have some uncertainty about what play to call). It was almost like BB gave them a sharp knife and said, “be careful, don’t cut yourself”. All the credit to Butler for making the read correctly and jumping the route at the right time to arrive right when the ball did. At first I couldn’t tell what happened until I saw the other Pats’ defenders jumping around. Alleluia. Alleluia. The football gods finally winked their way after stepping on them the last 2 Super Bowls. My favorite shot was the look on Sherman’s face and his mime act was actually really enjoyable now. To quote him “are you mad, bro?…are you mad, bro?” Priceless……

A couple of postscripts on the play (GW interception). I admire Carroll for taking on all questions after the game and repeatedly answering the same questions. If I was a Seattle fan, I would not have a problem with them throwing there. I would not, however, thrown a slant into the teeth of the defense, which opens up all kinds of issues, tipped balls, INT’s, not getting into end zone etc. I would have either thrown a fade to the corner of the end zone to a tall receiver, either he gets it or it goes out of bounds, or I would roll Wilson out, giving him the option to throw to a receiver, run it in, or throw it out of bounds and live for another down. Easy to say now after seeing what happened.

Observations from the Space Needle

I have always liked Pete Carroll and appreciate his enthusiasm, energy and general demeanor. If NE was to lose this game (which was obviously more than able to happen), I was OK with losing to Pete and his Hawks. I do think, however, that I lost some level of respect for them through the course of the game. Sherman is Sherman, and you expect his antics, and I guess it’s part of his makeup. They never showed the “excessive celebration” penalty on Baldwin, but he was apparently flagged for simulating dropping a deuce in the toilet. WTF? What is wrong with these guys that you know you’ll get a penalty, and you know that you will get the wrath from the media, viewers, fans, and others and you do it anyways? If a player did that on NE (or any number of other teams), that guy wouldn’t be around much longer. Seems like the inmates are running the asylum to some degree if that type of behavior is tolerated.

Second item was the “brawl” at the end of the game. Again, a lack of player control that allows players to just tee off on an opponent because they’re “frustrated” that they just lost the game. Prior to that, an undisciplined offsides penalty gave the Pats a much needed 5 yard advancement from the goal line. Newsflash hotheads, if you actually played the game to the end (20 seconds left), you could have possibly forced a safety and a chance for GW field goal off a free kick. That went out the door with the penalty and then the totally uncalled for extracurriculars. Very interested to see if any fines are coming to the Northwest courtesy of Madison Ave.

Observations from the Snow Bank

I thought the officiating was pretty even handed for the game. There were some calls that went uncalled for both sides (For Pats: should have been 15 yd roughing the kicker not 5 yds, hit on Edelman should have been 15 yd Personal Foul- helmet to helmet hit, For Seahawks, trip by Pats’ DB should have been PI). Can you imagine if an official threw a flag on the Butler pick? Didn’t look close to PI, but I’m glad no call had a major bearing on the outcome of the game.

How can you not like Edelman? He reminds me of a faster version of Wayne Chrebet from the yesteryear Jets. Catches everything thrown his way, takes hits, dynamic return man, puts nails in his cereal. Wes Who??

Defense might win championships, but giving up big plays at inopportune times will lose you championships too. The Pats D gave up way too many long pass plays to feel like they have a “lockdown” defense. At times, Wilson looked like he had a force field around him and he would just stutter step and they would fly by him. I was looking for the magic wand and cape that makes himself disappear.

If Brady is not considered the best quarterback of all time now, he is no less than #2. I think if he can get one more SB win in the next couple of years, he can put himself on the top of Olympus and Montana at #2. Could be 1A and 1B at the moment, tough to say that 4-0 and 11 TD’s and 0 INT (Montana) is not the best.

Better to have Bad Luck than No Luck (and I don’t mean Andrew)

So, a quick recap on the NFC Playoffs. Detroit generally loses a game to the Cowboys because of a PI call that is never made. Dallas celebrates, moves on. Dallas has an apparent catch called incomplete which may or may not have won the game. Green Bay celebrates, moves on. GB (sorry Jim) gives up a substantial lead, can’t catch a bouncing football, loses in OT. Seattle celebrates, moves on. Seattle brings the ball to the 1 yard line, is 36 inches from having back to back Lombardi trophies. Interception thrown. NE and 6 states celebrate, parade on Weds. Definitely some sort of voo-doo black magic going on……

Final Thoughts

I have really soured on the media the last month or so. This whole Deflategate crap is really bothering me. Now, if the Pats did indeed cheat and deliberately underinflate balls, then they should be punished and assessed the appropriate penalty. I’m not saying they did or didn’t, but why does the media immediately assume that it’s true? What proof do they have? Why do they take things and blow it completely out of proportion? Aaron Rodgers admitted that he likes his balls overinflated, where is the investigation? What a cheater. Now I like Aaron Rodgers and don’t think he’s a cheater, but no one is knocking down their doors and checking their PSI. It’s all a load of crap and you would think that some very offensive (no pun intended) crime has taken place and lives are at stake. When national news programs are opening their telecasts with stories about the amount of PSI in footballs, I think we have lost our way.

I think that sports fans in NE have been truly blessed and should appreciate the quality of our teams over the years. It’s really difficult to win a (single) championship in any sport, never mind doing it over and over again. As I get older and have a longer timeline to look at, it’s amazing to think what has been accomplished in this area this century (4 Super Bowls, 3 World Series, 1 NHL, 1 NBA). I think other parts of the country won’t see that over the course of their lifetime.

I’ll get off my snowbank now and get ready to watch the parade (it’s too damn cold out to be outside, hey you kids, off my lawn)……..