Monday, February 07, 2005

Second Annual Super Bowl Rundown Ramblings

First off, I’d like to thank Danny Klee and his family for hosting all of the freshmen in Dillon 1A at his house. His mom and dad were more than prepared, with square-cut circular pizzas, large amounts of chips and pop, both cookie dough and moose track ice cream, real hot fudge and melted vanilla topping and probably the least-effective headache medicine I’ve ever taken. Many thanks to them, and now on to business.

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For being tied after every quarter save the last and the final score only being a three-point spread, this wasn’t really that exciting of a Super Bowl. If you cut out the terrible games of the last half dozen years or so – the Bucs and Ravens wins – then this was by far the least interesting of the other two Patriots victories and the Titans/Rams tilt back in ’99. I think the problem was that everyone was familiar with how the Patriots handled their business, and even when the score was 7-0 and the Cris Collinsworth was unwisely declaring it “a wooping”, I wasn’t nervous for the Patriots. Brendan wasn’t nervous for the Patriots, and when I talked to my mom afterwards, you could tell this wasn’t like last year, when she was running between the kitchen and the computer room, alternating between exalting and cursing out Tom Brady.

It’s just that you had the feeling that whenever the Patriots wanted to, they could take the ball away from the Eagles, and whenever the Patriots really wanted too, they could call the perfect series of plays to get right down the field. The most shocking thing in the world to me would have been if the Eagles had somehow managed to tie or win that game on the final drive with the position they were starting in. Obviously, it would be amazing for any team to get that far down the field with no timeouts, less than a minute left and starting inside their five, but if a team could have done that against these Patriots, especially after AJ Feeley already used up all the negative-Patriots karma back in Week 15, then my jaw would have probably never came back up.

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Terrible, terrible commercials. You can count out the decent commercials on less than two hands, which is a shame. The best one was the Bud Light parachuting one, although I really enjoyed FedEx/Kinko’s Burt Reynolds “Ten things to put in a commercial” effort as well. Major props go to Ameriquest, whose two “Don’t judge too quickly” spots were great – the one with the taser and the one with the cat – and to Emerald Nuts and Lays for including mythical characters like unicorns, the Easter Bunny and MC Hammer. I would have like the P-Diddy/Diet Pepsi one more if freaking Carson Daly wasn’t in it, but obviously Pepsi didn’t realize that nobody in America likes Carson Daly anymore.

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So do you slot Deion Branch into the fourth All-Time Super Bowl Wideout spot, right behind Rice, Stallworth and Swann? 21 catches in two consecutive Super Bowls is pretty damned good, and I don’t exactly see his postseason career slowing down anytime soon.

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Paul McCartney was excellent at halftime, and was so much better than last year’s “If you enjoyed music in the year 2000, you’ll love this” halftime show, not taking into account BoobGate 2004. I don’t understand why the NFL just doesn’t get class acts like that more often, then just bust out as many visual effects, pyros and dancing lights as you can. U2 was awesome back in 2001, with the 9/11 lists scrolling down, and when you give Paul McCartney the benefits of a psychedelic stage and placards spelling out “Na” in the stands for “Hey Jude”, everybody is winning in that situation.

Following in the long line of "Classy Acts with Exciting Technology", how about Norah Jones performing with a gigantic robot piano that can levitate on Ford Field next year? Who wouldn't enjoy that?

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Donovan McNabb maybe had the least effective 350 yards, 3 touchdown effort in postseason history. He had 3 interceptions, and at least four more balls that were either picked and called back because of penalty or bounced off the chests of or through the hands of Patriot defenders. With the exception of that sweet-ass touchdown strike to Brian Westbrook, there wasn’t a pass that made you go “Wow” as much as there were just great catches all over the place by the Eagle receivers.

To be fair, though, the Patriots knew that the Eagles weren’t getting anywhere on the ground, so they keyed up the pass rush and forced McNabb to make plays downfield. Sometimes he did, sometimes he didn’t, but there’s one glaring stat that I feel may have hurt the Eagles more than the three picks their QB tossed lamely into the night sky:

Donovan McNabb – 1 rushing attempt.

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Obviously I didn’t count this when I was going over my favorite commercials because it’s tops and deserves it’s own section, but I was so glad the NFL brought out the “Tomorrow” remake again. I’m not sure if it was as good as last years, with Bill Parcells singing Annie, but Jon Gruden gave it a good run with his piece/screaming at his kids. That commercial means so much more to fans of NFL teams who didn’t win the Super Bowl then just the casual fans who are watching for the commercials, because after a 4-12 season, I can now proudly say that my Phins are undefeated. Hooray for the offseason.

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I didn’t really enjoy how the FOX announcers were stating the Corey Dillon couldn’t get into a rhythm when the Patriots really never gave him enough carries to get rolling. He averaged 4.2 yards a carry and added another 31 yards receiving, so he combined with Kevin Faulk, they gave the Patriots the balanced attack they needed. With that defense, you only needed to put up 24 points.

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If Tom Brady had spread the ball around a little more, instead of feeding Branch that monster game, he would have had himself another MVP. 23 for 33, 2 scores, no interceptions (although one fumble) and another Super Bowl victory for the 3-time champ. I can only imagine the total lack of nervousness he had when facing a 7-0 deficit.

“The guy with two Super Bowl MVP’s whose never lost a playoff game and could be on the cover of GQ is going to get worried about being down 7-0 to the Eagles? COME ON!”

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Budweiser and Cedric the Entertainer were the anti-Ameriquest, with both of their commercials falling flat on their face. Again, a terrible year for commercials.

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First Patriots touchdown caught by David Givens, Notre Dame alum. Hollllla.

Here's a couple random facts you may not know: Notre Dame alums are called "Domers", and Danny's dog, oddly enough, is named "Domer". What dorm the canine stayed in was not revealed to me by DK, still smarting from the Syracuse loss.

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Terrell Owens made me, and the majority of anyone else who wrote about this game, look like a fool with the way he played. Granted, the Patriots weren’t treating him special and he was being covered by a rookie cornerback, but Owens did more than anyone predicted. Patrick threw out a “How many catches does Owens get tonight?” question before the game started, and I answered three, with the highest number I heard being five. No one imagined he’d bring in nine.

I guess I’m re-warming up to TO again, because after supporting his antics while he was in San Fran – mainly because I didn’t see what was wrong with some celebrating whenever other players were trafficking cocaine, driving drunk and beating up their girlfriends – I was pretty disgusted with how he handled the entire trade-to-the-Ravens situation, crying about it until he got to go where he wanted and screwing Baltimore up for this season. He brought a swagger to Philly they didn’t have before and for my money was the MVP of the NFL this season, no matter how many touchdown passes Manning threw in second half when blowing out the Lions and Bears.

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Can you imagine how good the Homeland Defense would have been this postseason if they weren't missing their starting cornerbacks? How are Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison always around the ball? Can you remind me again why Mike Vrabel wasn't Super Bowl MVP last year?

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I think Charlie Weis is going to be a really good coach here at ND eventually, but I just can’t see next year going well for him, especially with the season starting at Pitt and Michigan, and then having to play home games against the teams who may start the season one-two in the country, USC and Ol’ Rocky Top. We’re lucky to have him, the Browns are lucky to have Romeo Crennel and despite the losses his staff is now finally enduring, I have a feeling the Patriots are still lucky to have Bill Belichick.

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My mom’s lament last night: “The shirts are white again. I’m pretty upset about that.”

I said it last year and I’ll say it again: If the Dolphins should happen to win a Super Bowl in my lifetime, I would gladly wear the shirt at least once a week even if it was pink and purple.

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Can you explain to me exactly why the Eagles weren’t hurrying up anymore with five minutes to go and down two scores? I realize this angle is going to be hashed over again and again, but it deserves to be, because there’s no reason for Philly to be taking that long. Did you see what Jake Dehlomme did in the hurry up against the Pats last year? Or what AJ Feeley did against them? Or how the Steelers kept the game close?

I think maybe Dehlomme’s the only guy in the NFC who can run a hurry-up, especially after watching the Vikings walkthrough their attempted comeback at Washington in Week Seventeen and seeing the Seahawks struggle mightily with the ol’ dropsies throughout the year. Philly may or may not have won the game if they’d sped things up, but they certainly wouldn’t have looked quite as ridiculous standing on their own four with only fifty-some seconds left and no timeouts.

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Just in case you weren't sure, Be Cool and Batman Begins are going to to be awesome, awesome movies. Hitch is probably going to be really good, because I love Will Smith and Kevin James, and I'm pretty sure Constantine is going to be as bad as a movie could possibly be.

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If anyone tries to tell you the Patriots are not a dynasty, please punch them squarely in the mouth. I don't care how dominant they are, they've won enough games to prove that they don't need to blow people out to win, and that they aren't "lucky".

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Last year, I predicted on the day after the Super Bowl that Jacksonville and Atlanta would square off in yesterday’s game. I wasn’t really that far off, for having neither team correct, considering Atlanta made the NFC Championship game and Jacksonville ended the season with ten wins, but I was still a failure.

Despite me not coming through last year, I’m going to again boldly proclaim that Super Bowl XL (that hurts to type), coming from beautiful Detroit, Michigan (which must be killing sportswriters to think about attending) , will pit the Tennessee Titans, hot off an AFC Championship upset over the Pats, against the Carolina Panthers, fresh off finally getting over the Michael Vick Hump in the NFC Championship.

However, I’m much more confident in stating that in Super Bowl XLII, you’ll get to see the Miami Dolphins vs. the Arizona Cardinals. I know it’s still three years away, but it seems a fitting way to end my college career by gloating the second half of second semester about my mighty Phins.

Next time… I’m sure some more Super Bowl insights after talking to Chrissy about her trip, the promised OC letter and reaction to our game against Boston College.

Bonus Linkage
USA Today’s rankings of the commercials (Don’t agree with some of these)
Watch all of the commercials at iFilm
Bill Simmons’ Super Blog
Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback

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