Super Bowl XLIX: Delivering the goods

What a great game! Did Super Bowl XLIX meet our expectations or what? Although I didn’t get the winner right in my prediction (hey, the legendary Chris Berman also went with the Seahawks in his predictions, so I’m in good company), I did predict that it would be one for the ages.

Actually, it was the type of game we expected to see last year when the teams not only were the number one seeds (like this year), but it was the best defense (Seattle) against the best offence (Denver). However, that safety on the first play shattered the Broncos emotionally and the Seahawks soared above them.

Not this year, though. It was a contested game with emotions running high until the very last play and a great display of talent from both sides. It was one of those games that makes who likes the sport liking it even more and it is even able to flock some new fans.

Speaking of which, how about an audience of 1 billion people watching all over the world? When a sport that is mainly played in one country can reach this plateau of popularity, the league – the problems that we all know the NFL has notwithstanding – must be doing something right at least protecting the quality of the game inside the white lines.

Seattle defense showed his strength right in the beginning, intercepting Tom Brady in the Red Zone, but unfortunately for them they also lost Jeremy Lane, the very same guy who made the interception, who broke his arm falling badly after receiving a tackle.

However, Tom Brady and the Patriots have so much experience they didn’t let that first mistake put them down. Brady even threw another interception but not even that was able to make him lose his confidence and he finished the game with a deserving MVP title.

And the most interesting thing was that the two plays that decided the game didn’t have him involved: the magical reception by Jerome Kearse and the interception by rookie Malcolm Butler.

Now, about those two plays: as soon as Kearse had the ball it was impossible not to remember 2007 “helmet catch” and probably all New England fans thought: “Not again…” Lucky for them, it was really not again. And the interception? Well, I still can’t understand why Seattle didn’t run with Marshawn Lynch as they were on 1 yard line! Legendary Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith called it “the worst play call in football history” in his twitter account and although I don’t know if it’s that bad, it was head-scratching. Pete Carroll is a great coach and I heard his explanations but even so, it goes to show how pressure can impair your best judgment. And the rookie Malcolm Butler became one more of those improbable Super Bowl heroes with his first ever interception.

Last, but certainly not least, it is fair to discuss what this title means to Tom Brady’s legacy. Coupling his fourth Super Bowl title with his playoff numbers and his regular season numbers, is it fair to say that he is the greatest of all time? It’s an interesting and fair discussion. I, personally, think he is. However, there are people who might argue that today quarterbacks are much more protected by rules than they ever were, making their job less difficult. What is unquestionable is that he is a future hall of famer, certainly has the ability to improve his numbers even more and is up there with all other football legends.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal” winner of the NABE Pinnacle Awards 2014 Fall edition.

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