Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Eleven Thoughts on the Super Bowl

A few thoughts from the smoldering wreckage of the Super Bowl. Let's be honest, this was a beatdown so bad that if you squinted, you could see the Jim Kelly-era Bills playing there. Even so, there were some useful takeaways - some on the field, some off.

  1. If you give Peyton Manning time, you are toast. The few drives where it looked like the Broncos had gotten their act together and were moving the ball were the ones where Peyton wasn't getting his bell run on every play. Conversely, if you don't give Peyton time, then he's in trouble. The only routes that had time to develop in the Super Bowl were short slants over the middle, with basically zero yards after the catch. The Seahawks front line didn't allow Manning the time to wait for outside routes or screens to develop.
  2. Statistically speaking, Richard Sherman did not have a great Super Bowl. This is because Manning barely threw the ball his way. Part of that was the lack of time to try deep routes, part of it was Sherman's coverage. That, folks, is the definition of a shutdown corner.
  3. Much is going to be made of Manning's legacy in the wake of this game, which is, frankly, dumb. He is one of the greatest QBs of all time. Period. The failures of his offensive line do not alter that. Yes, he has won fewer Super Bowls than his kid brother. He's also forged fewer game-worn jerseys, so it balances out.
  4. Lots of tap dancing around the notion of Russell Wilson as "game manager" during the telecast Sunday, which is a nice way of saying "we don't think he's that good." One, teams do in fact win Super Bowls with "game manager QBs" who stay within the system and help their teams win (which is what you want any player to do) - the law firm of Hostetler, Dilfer, Johnson and Rypien would concur. Second, the guy's a second year pro, he's already QBed a Super Bowl-winning team, and all things considered, he's playing quite well. Isn't it a little early for the backlash?
  5. Yes, people got stranded in Secaucus going to and from the game. But at least the lights stayed on.
  6.  That being said, we will never see another NYC-area Super Bowl again. As Will Leitch pointed out over at Deadspin, the NFL likes to be the biggest game in town, and nothing's bigger than NYC. Towns that need a ballgame in February to draw tourists - hello, Indianapolis - are going to be much more attractive partners for the NFL's Super Bowl committee going forward. I expect the "just dodged a bullet with the snow coming in that night" rationale to get used, but regardless, this was most likely a one and done.
  7. So, yes, that likely means "no Philadelphia Super Bowl", just as a means of doing a CYA on the no more New York thing. Which means we lose our chance to replace the "people throwing snowballs at Santa Claus" story with a possible "people throwing guys dressed like Santa Claus out of the stands at Peyton Manning" story.
  8. The decision to run the opening kickoff out of the end zone was a dumb one. I don't believe it set the tone for the game and I don't believe it had much, if anything to do with the bad snap on the first play. But it was a dumb play, and the last thing you want to do in the Super Bowl is start off with a dumb play.
  9. Apparently the Broncos' center couldn't hear the snap count, so he just guessed, hence the airmailed snap and safety. Perhaps John Fox's decision to turn down the crowd noise during the Broncos' practice was not the best one. Or maybe this was just another case of a guy falling on his sword.
  10. Nice to see a defensive player named SB MVP again, though I'm terrified it's going to launch a whole line of "a linebacker...a linebacker and his truck" commercials. We already had the one with the cow sex, Chevy. Enough's enough.
  11. We get it. Couch burning's a thing, never mind the fact that taking your cultural cues for proper behavior from WVU's football program may not be the best life choice ever. But if you choose to celebrate your team's success - which, in theory, is a shared success for the entire city - by smashing one of the most iconic landmarks of your city, you are a moron. It does not matter if you were drunk. It does not matter if you were "swept up in the moment". At a certain point, you're the one smashing that glass. And you're the one who, if there is a kind and just God, will be putting it back together, sliver by sliver, to hopefully learn a little bit about the meaning of "perspective".

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