NFL Super Bowl XLIX Recap: We Did it Our Way

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So the New England Patriots are Super Bowl Champions! Why do I feel like I need to take a shower after saying that? Super Bowl XLIX was truly one for the ages. The Patriots got out to an early lead and really shut Seattle down for most of the first half. Then it was the Seahawks storming back, making big play after big play and, at the start of the 4th quarter, they were up by 10. The Seahawks were 18 and 0 in games where they had at least a 10 point 4th quarter lead. No Super Bowl team had ever overcome a 4th quarter deficit that large. Of course, no quarterback has more Super Bowl experience than tom Brady and he now holds the record for Super Bowl touchdown passes as well. The Patriots took on the best defense in football and stuck it to them. Still, one miracle play put Seattle on the goal line again with the chance to win the game. Everyone knew what they would do. Give the ball to Marshawn Lynch and he would chew through the Patriots’ defensive line like so many Skittles. Instead, Russell Wilson threw the ball, the Pats intercepted and the game was over. It was an incredibly exciting finish but I couldn’t help finding the whole thing, well let’s just say deflating. Tom Brady is on his way to Disney World while the NFL continues its investigation as to whether or not he or anyone in the Patriots organization cheated in the AFC Championship Game. The last time the Patriots won a Super Bowl, they were subsequently fined and lost draft picks as a result of another cheating scandal. How are we supposed to feel good about this one? Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has sworn up and down he doesn’t know anything about anything when it comes to football or at least footballs. He backed up his claim with this bizarre explanation of how 11 of the Patriots game balls for the AFC Championship Game mysteriously lost a couple pounds of air pressure. Curiously, although all the game balls were prepared the same way, only certain ones were adversely impacted by “atmospheric conditions,” excessive rubbing and whatever else Belichick seems to think was going on. As convincing as he may have been, which he really wasn’t, none of his highbrow theories addressed why a locker room attendant was caught on surveillance video surreptitiously, or so it would appear, taking all those balls into a bathroom when they should have been delivered directly to the officials. Let’s talk about Tom Brady. He spent a lot of time explaining to the media that, unlike some quarterbacks, he prefers balls to be a little softer. It’s understandable. It could make the football easier to grip especially in inclement weather. Brady was very specific about air pressures and his process for selecting game balls. He also went into great detail about what should happen to those balls once he picks the ones he wants. “I don’t want anyone touching the balls after that. I don’t want anyone rubbing them–putting any air in them, taking any air out.  To me those balls are perfect and that’s what I expect when I show up on the field.” Ok, so Tom has very clear preferences. He should. He’s a professional quarterback. Here’s the part of his story that doesn’t make sense. He claims to never have noticed when the game balls he put so much time and attention into selecting were suddenly and significantly underinflated. He likewise supposedly didn’t notice any change when, in the second half of the AFC title game, the underinflated balls were replaced with ones that met NFL specifications. He says he was only focused on the game. I say his story has holes large enough to deflate a few thousand footballs. Many analysts have suggested “deflategate” is really no big deal because the Patriots won the game so convincingly. What difference does that make? Sure. They beat the Colts by 38 points, but New England had only been a 7 point favorite. No one expected the game to be that lopsided. Is cheating somehow more acceptable if you probably would have won anyway? And one more point. Why assume this was an isolated incident? It wasn’t an isolated incident years ago when the Patriots were caught videotaping opposing teams’ practices and stealing coaches’ signals.  New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft believes his team has been treated unfairly and has demanded an apology. He’s more likely to end up with egg on his face and perhaps a few more fines. What does he care? He’s got another Super Bowl trophy. Even if it’s a little tarnished, I’m sure he’d say it was worth it.   If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe to this blog or my Turn the Page book reviews blog. You can also visit michaelsova.com, or find me on Facebook, and on Twitter @Micsova. Please pick up a copy of A SHOT AT REDEMPTION, my debut mystery novel.  

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