Super Bowl XLV
Sunday Feb 6, 2011
Hope you all are enjoying your post-Super Bowl Monday. Just a few quick thoughts on the big game and surrounding festivities for your enjoyment.
How many coach of the year votes did Mike McCarthy get? Not nearly as many as he deserved was my thought, after watching the 6-seed Packers romp through the playoffs and completely out-gameplan the Super Bowl built Steelers.
I think part of the problem is that McCarthy looks like an ordinary joe. He's not particularly in shape (unless "round" is a shape) but neither is he comically large like Rex Ryan. Like many coaches from the Marty Schottenheimer coaching tree (including the Steelers' Mike Tomlin, by way of Tony Dungy), he doesn't brook drama or believe in press conference soundbites. He doesn't call attention to himself, nor is he in a particularly unique situation. In short: the guy is a boring story. But he wins.
This game was sloppily played at times, with Pittsburgh committing a lot of dumb penalties and making a lot of mistakes in the first half, and Green Bay's offense stalling thanks to numerous drops in the second half. But from a strategic standpoint, the Packers had the perfect blend of passing and running to keep Pittsburgh's defense off kilter, did a fantastic job of limiting the rush that Aaron Rodgers had to face (which sounds crazy, considering he got hit more than 16 times, but that's not bad against this D), and were able to make the most out of big plays.
Are you listening, Coach Spags? That last point was key, as no one is going to run up a series of long sustained drives against Pittsburgh's defense. So you have to take your shots downfield to generate scoring opportunities. And that's what the Packers did, on any given down, not just when they needed it.
According to the NFL Gamebook, the Packers' biggest pass plays came on 3rd-and-9, 1st-and-10, 3rd-and-1 (TD), 2nd-and-6, 1st-and-10 (TD), and 1st-and-10. Only one of those downs was a textbook "long passing down." It's a good bet that Josh McDaniels is going to want to open up the offense, and be able to threaten the defense from any down and distance. Here's your proof -- even against the #1 defense in the NFL, you can do it.
Why do we spend so much time talking about the commercials? It's been a long time since the commercials were better than, or more memorable than, the game itself. And that's a very good thing. In fact, you'd have to go back to the Raiders-Bucs or Ravens-Giants to find a Super Bowl broadcast that was so awful that only a few commercials redeemed it.
That said, I've been saying "cram it in the boot" every time I can ever since yesterday. The fifteen year old boy inside me who never grew up thinks that's about the funniest thing ever.
The Rams had as formidable a presence during the Super Bowl's media week as they've had in a long time. Sam Bradford was a big star in interviews, even if people only asked about his hair. Then he waltzed away with the Offensive Rookie of the Year trophy. Steven Jackson was all over Dallas, camera phone in hand. And a former Ram -- perhaps the greatest Ram of them all -- Marshall Faulk had a big presence leading up to his enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.
The "Q" factor surrounding the Rams is edging back up, which is great news for fan pride and the intangible civic bounty it bestows on Saint Louis.
As VanRam says, there are signs for hope for football in 2011. And that's all we really care about. As much fun as we had during the season, and as good as the playoff football was, the day after the Super Bowl always leaves us with this hangover, and the internal clock starts ticking. How long until football starts again?
Any single extra tick on that clock caused by a lockout or a work stoppage of any kind is pure disorienting pain. If you've seen the "sensory disorientation" torture scenes from 24: Season 4, this is how it feels to be a football fan withheld from football. I wonder if any of the owners, or even any of the players, really feel the same way.
I'll close my thoughts with this: the best commercial I saw all weekend wasn't aired during the Super Bowl. And no, it wasn't the NFLPA's "Let Us Play" ad, either. It's this: The Ferd F-teenthousand