*A lot of words clocked here. You have been warned. I've been writing it and editing it all day. Any typos or errors...come on, give me a break...
Normally, I have like a million notes from the Super Bowl and I have to limit myself on my post-game analysis or it will run over 5,000+ words. Not quite as many game and fantasy notes from this defensive slug-fest…so, maybe only 4,000+ words and 5+ minutes of videos)
Watching the game and staying in communication with friends and family during it, I got the overwhelming sense that these are the main things that will stick in people’s brains from this game…
-- The game was SOOOO boring.
-- Jared Goff sucks.
-- The NFL wants the Patriots to win.
-- Jared Goff sucks. The Rams suck.
-- Maroon 5 sucks.
Does that about cover it? No need for me to write thousands of words about it, right?
OK, alright. I’ll write about it in way too much detail…just so you can pass the time at work or before bed.
I’m not going to micro-analyze this game play or that play, or go through ‘this was the defining moment’, etc. Who cares? This was two great teams playing in a defensive battle -- it was 3-3 after three quarters of play. Give me a break if you think this game outcome proves the Patriots were the definitive better team. At least, don’t give me the ‘Rams suck’…because by that same measuring stick the Patriots sucked right along with them for about 3.5 quarters of this game. They both had chances. One stepped up in the end and the other fell short.
How I will, and I propose that people should, view this game/event – we got to see pure greatness of players and (especially) coaches on display in a way we might not ever get to see for decades.
The Patriots, regardless of the outcome of this game, are the best dynasty/team in the history of football. The Belichick/Brady era will probably never be duplicated…ever. In order for another NFL team to prove that they are worthy of comparison – it will take about 20 years of results to sort out, starting today. The next great NFL dynasty can’t be realized for another 15-20 years because if there is one today…it’s in its infancy.
Walsh-Montana-Rice used to be the standard bearer. Jimmy Johnson could’ve been the gold standard had Jerry Jones not decided to be ‘Jerry Jones’ and take over the team and lead a two-decade era of nothingness for the Cowboys. Belichick-Brady are the greatest coach and quarterback in the history of the sport. Likely, never to be rivaled for winning/dominance again. If they do, we’ll all either be dead when it happens, or it will be robots playing each other. Football is more likely to be a defunct business/entity than the odds another team rising up and having this level of dominance over the league.
We just got a chance to witness ‘the greatest’ doing their thing again…and, yet, we complain that it was ‘boring’. Many of us got to live in and witness firsthand, the era of Belichick-Brady…and we yawn at it today. Tom Brady just won a Super Bowl at age 41.5…when we thought QBs had a shelf life of about 35-37 years of age. Brady has led his team to the last three Super Bowls. Belichick should not be doing this – facing the young wiz kid, boy wonder, offensive genius. Belichick not only beat the young upstart…he beat him senseless/totally shutdown the Rams’ offense. One of Belichick’s greatest tactical victories of his career.
I hate to be graphic (but laugh at this made/edited-for-TV scene), but this scene from Goodfellas is exactly what just happened in the Super Bowl. Bill Belichick is Ray Liotta/Henry. Sean McVay is the young person about to receive a beating...conveniently wearing Rams yellow. I like to think the guy who says “Don’t shoot” at the end is Andy Reid/Patrick Mahomes. Here’s what you just saw Sunday night encapsulated in a 0:39 second Goodfellas movie clip: https://youtu.be/bGUv5chhYAs
If the Patriots had beaten the Rams 45-40…we would be celebrating the genius of Tom Brady outgunning the Rams, but 13-3…holding the Rams to zero points in a half and three points for the entire game – we should enshrine Bill Belichick into the Hall of Fame right now. How many times has Belichick found a way to not only beat the great QBs, but humiliate them? How many times did he thwart Peyton Manning early in Peyton’s career? This season Bill beat Patrick Mahomes twice, beat the upstart Bears, and then crushed both upstart L.A. teams in the playoffs. We all thought, all 2018… ‘this isn’t Belichick’s best team.’ Well, is it possible then that we just witnessed the single greatest act of coaching in one season in NFL history? Not carried by a hot QB or all-time defense or lucky schedule or key injuries to key opponents. Belichick just took down all the contenders for ‘team of the future’ – Bears, Rams, Chiefs twice.
The MVP of the Super Bowl was Bill Belichick. And we just got to watch, perhaps, his masterpiece.
My cousin who watches football once a year (at a Super Bowl party) thinks the Rams/Jared Goff sucks because she had the Rams winning by whatever score in a football pool. I want to make fun of her for her limited view of the Rams, but many people who watch everything football-related all year had a similar reaction.
Why do we gravitate to the negative and look right past the positive, in this case ‘the beauty’ of Belichick? I don’t expect my cousin to understand it, but some reading this are pretty much diehards and amateur/pro studiers of such football things – and you went to the same ‘feelings’/angst about the Rams and/or Goff
People used to do this with Peyton Manning. Peyton would have these incredible, ahead-of-his-time seasons and then Belichick would shut him down in the playoffs early in his career – and we’d all spend time making fun of Manning as ‘can’t win the big one’. It wasn’t fair to Peyton. It also didn’t show enough respect to Belichick. Why isn’t this win a celebration of Belichick on level like watching a Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson (in their primes) or Secretariat or Floyd Mayweather display of the great ones being great? Maybe, it’s easier to see greatness in an individual sport. It’s also easier to see it in a single performer in a team sport – Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, Hank Aaron, Wayne Gretzky, Tom Brady. It’s harder to comprehend it when it’s the best ‘manager’ or ‘CEO’ of all-time.
Who is more impressive? Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, or Bill Belichick? Before you laugh at the inclusion of a coach – NFL teams are worth billions. Their BIG business. The games are the highest rated TV events every year for like a decade+. Football is the most bet on, followed, watched, etc., thing in our country…maybe, on the planet. Only the rules in the business of football are set up to break-up monopolies. Yet, without top draft picks and constantly churning his roster and losing all his assistants all the time…there stands Belichick.
We should be celebrating Bill Belichick this day. We should be in awe. We should have college courses studying the man. Instead…we’re bored with 13-3, Jared Goff sucks, and all the NFL teams are trying to hire embryos that look like Sean McVay so they can have ‘their McVay’. You’ve never heard anyone say, recently, “They’re trying to find their Bill Belichick.”
He can’t be found…he just ‘is’.
Bill Belichick last won the NFL Coach of the Year in 2010. Since then Bruce Arians and Ron Rivera have won it twice each.
The last people who will find ‘the next Belichick’ are current football people.
The last people to appreciate the era of Belichick they live in, and this Pièce de résistance he delivered Sunday, are the fantasy-first minds/fans.
Which brings me to my next point, going back to my earlier statement: The last people who will find ‘the next Belichick’ are current football people.
Bill Belichick was stuck under Bill Parcells for years…while a million other coaches were hired and fired before Bill got his shot. Belichick was run out of Cleveland after a few years in his first head coaching gig. Tom Brady was a 6th-round draft pick. Joe Montana was a 3rd-round draft pick. Kurt Warner…undrafted. Could people in an industry know any less about the best things within their industry?
I say all that to remind us – if you think the NFL owners, GMs, ex-players turned analysts, or the media know how to evaluate player or coaching talent better than your or I -- you’re insane. You think there is an owner-GM-organization combination that can spawn a Patriots-esque type dynasty ahead? You’re kidding me.
The one man in recent times to thwart Bill Belichick on the grandest stage – 3rd-round draft pick Nick Foles, who we were all told was a terrible QB from the time he was drafted to the time he threw 7 TD passes in a game in 2013 to his overall magical season of 2013 to his Rams debacle to even his Super Bowl MVP triumph. It was all deemed ‘lucky’ by the NFL intelligentsia. So, what’s Foles’ status today? The Eagles can’t wait to trade him/rid themselves of him.
You really think any organization that exists today can topple Belichick’s dynasty? Seriously, you have to be joking.
Most people (and football people) still take their football info from ESPN or the NFL Network, so I’m probably wasting my breath/fingers typing about it. Because I’m not saying ESPN things, I’m deemed unworthy of the critique. What do I know anyway?
What do I know? You should be asking – what do THEY know?
So…where does this leave Sean McVay?
How badly do you want to punish him? For his crime of losing 13-3 to Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl in his second season of coaching…what’s the punitive damages? I know you want to blast him. Post-Super Bowl Monday is for punishing things that lost for a week and barely patting the head of the thing that worked so well. So, where do we go here with McVay?
How about – obviously, Sean McVay is not in Bill Belichick’s class of strategic planning, yet. Both coaches had two weeks to prepare for this game, and a (seemingly) hour-long halftime show to make in-game adjustments. The boy genius was outmaneuvered at every turn by the master chess player. McVay’s crime – he’s not as good at this as Bill Belichick is. Whatever sentence that carries…levy it onto him.
McVay took over a loser team, destroyed by terrible Jeff Fisher coaching and out-to-the-beach GM Les Snead’s awful roster building and changed it to a division title year one and a near-Super Bowl win year two. Not a bad start to his coaching career. He just got beat by the best that ever coached the game. It wasn’t a unlucky game…he was just out-strategized. So is everyone who comes across Bill Belichick lately.
…except Nick Foles.
McVay will be fine and, perhaps, he will make a run at the Belichick standard of dynasty-building as the years unfold. He’s just two years into a 30-year NFL career of coaching. To make it this close to the mountain top in just two years, and to have the rest of the NFL trying to hire ‘their McVay’, is a pretty awesome start to a coaching career. Better than Belichick’s started out.
The comedy of the Nick Foles situation…
Nick Foles was not stopped by Bill Belichick. Beating Belichick in a September regular-season tilt…nice, but who cares? Beating him on the grandest stage…totally different ballgame.
Much is made of Belichick/the Patriots making it to three-straight Super Bowl, and that’s shocking/astounding enough as it is. But this also makes four Super Bowl appearances in five years, with three wins in those four games – the lone loss to Foles single-handedly defeating him. Since 2014, Belichick is 12-2 in the playoffs. He lost a squeaker AFC title (20-18) at Denver (who would win the Super Bowl) in 2015-16 and they lost a shootout to Nick Foles.
That’s how good Nick Foles is.
Rumor has it Foles can be had for a 3rd-round draft pick right now.
Are you kidding me?
You think these NFL numb-nuts are ever going to defeat Belichick on a regular basis when a great quarterback is just sitting there among them, in Foles’ case for years…and no one wants him. They really don’t even want him after he defeated Belichick….nor after another miracle run to the playoffs this past season.
So, let’s all hate Jared Goff now…
From all the people who knew Nick Foles was TERRIBLE even as he won the Super Bowl MVP…now brings you Jared Goff is terrible.
A game ago, Goff was getting kudos for rallying his team in the most hostile road game situation I’ve seen in years (at New Orleans) – rallying from a Saints early onslaught and coming back to defeat the team everyone thought would win/win the Super Bowl. One game later, stymied by Belichick, the book is closed – Jared Goff was never any good, and you knew it.
I love that this will be the narrative on Goff. I love it for Fantasy purposes. He should be a top 5 fantasy QB for 2019 and beyond. He will probably be lucky to be in the top 12 for 2019. The illustrious overrated future bust Drew Lock will be more in demand. I’ll buy all your Jared Goff stock you want to dump.
It’s funny. The same people who will doom Goff from this game will turn around and go…”Well, McVay got out-coached by the master, but he’s still early in his career. He’ll have many titles in his future!” Like Goff is so old in the league? Why doesn’t Goff get the same grace?
Because the people who get everything wrong in football analysis don’t like Goff, so as independent a thinker you think you are…they’ve gotten to you. It’s why you don’t trust Nick Foles. They still report on Foles as a ‘miracle worker’. It can’t be talent…it’s just dumb luck (i.e. miracles). That non-stop chorus seeps into your subconscious and becomes fact. You go ahead and listen to and buy the hate on Goff and Foles, as they talk about Bruce Arians as the best thing that could happen to the great Jameis Winston. You go cozy up to inept ESPN and Jameis. I’ll stick by Goff and Foles.
OK, 2,000+ words in. Let’s call it a ‘halftime’ and talk about the halftime show.
I couldn’t name you one Maroon 5 song, and still cannot. I just know that one dude is on that American Idol knockoff show where the chairs are turned the other way…that show I’ve not seen 30+ seconds of in my life. Needless to say, I wasn’t really interested in the halftime show.
I had it on…but on mute. But I did glance over and see the fake, paid audience that ‘rush’ the stage to watch from the field level was still in effect. What a coincidence that as the lead singer walked the row of ‘fans’ singing and 90+% of them looked like female supermodels. I wonder how that happened?
I prefer to watch fake professional wrestling over fake excitement for a musician I don’t know or like. At halftime, I watched the only pro wrestling worth watching – NXT. They put on a halftime show at the same time. I love NXT but this wrestling halftime show was just ‘meh’ for me because it was just out of place and not the right time for it. It was to showoff for casual viewers to suck them in to becoming fans, but without any of the backstory it likely made no sense. For NXT fans, like myself, something didn’t feel right. I wasn’t as into it even though it was my favorite show featuring the best wrestlers on the planet doing their most dangerous moves for casual audiences.
The next boom era of pro wrestling is at our doorsteps. It’s just waiting for Vince McMahon to get out of the way. Vince McMahon has become Jerry Jones – take the best product in the industry and interject yourself and your kids into running it so much that you have a two-decade long (and counting) malaise and declining ratings. The Cowboys are still highly rated, but they can’t win or be a dynasty with Jerry and ‘fam’ steering the ship. Jerry Jones had his version of Bill Belichick (Jimmy Johnson) but threw it away. Vince McMahon is throwing his company away…while his Bill Belichick (Triple H) built NXT out of nothing to become the driving force in the industry. Vince then gets his hands onto NXT byproducts/wrestlers and totally ruins them at the next level.
NXT is to WWE like what college football is to pro football -- all the best and most innovative games (matches), plays (moves), players (wrestlers), and coaches tend to be in college (NXT), and they usually get micro-managed to watered-down, underwhelming performances in the NFL (NXT). When Vince McMahon loses a fortune with his ridiculous XFL reboot...change in pro wrestling will be a-comin.
The Todd Gurley Excuse Machine…
Here’s why you can take your ‘Jared Goff sucks’ narrative and shove it from this game. The same people that are killing Goff are making every excuse in the book for Todd Gurley.
’Oh, you know he’s hurt!’
OK, then why is Gurley starting these games? Why is he even active? Is it because he’s arrogant and wants to hurt the team? I thought he was all about team? Do the Rams not have doctors clearing him? The guy has been hurt since like the week leading up to December 9, 2018 when they lost to the Bears. We’re nearly two months later and he took off Weeks 16 and 17 and had a week off before the playoffs due to their bye, then had two more weeks before the Super Bowl.
In the last nine calendar weeks Gurley has been off for five of them. How is he not ‘better’ yet? It’s not like he’s playing a lot when he has played, recently, either. If he’s not ready, why was he still out there?
If he’s really not hurt…what’s wrong?
Well, remember when Gurley was underwhelming after his first few NFL games? Remember, when he was terrible in 2016 (Jeff Fisher’s last year)? It’s not like Gurley has been amazing every year and then this ‘shocker’ happened. Gurley’s been as perplexing as he has been productive over his four-year career.
I don’t know if he has the ‘yips’. I don’t know if he has some energy zapping injury that doctors cannot find. I don’t know if he has ‘issues’ off the field finding their way onto the field. I don’t know what it is – but I know this…it’s been an on and off theme with Gurley and I’m not buying ‘he’s secretly hurt’ as the reason for this terrible end to the season. You’re just making excuses for Gurley because the NFL establishment is hoping/praying/jamming it down your throats that it is true. Gurley’s nine-week flop has been swept under the rug/never questioned. Goff gets outdone by Belichick in the Super Bowl, and he sucks forever…and you knew it all along.
Gurley has the reverse of David Johnson…DJ had nowhere to run in 2018 with all his O-Line on I.R. and Steve Wilks was terrible at coaching and didn’t know he could throw him screen passes. While Gurley gets EVERYTHING, all the touches behind a stellar O-Line, and he cashed that in for a league MVP in 2017 season…and then got a big contract…and, now, ‘issues’ – while still working with an offensive genius and fantastic O-Line. C.J. Anderson has looked exponentially better than Gurley.
Does this mean Gurley should no longer be the auto 1.01 pick for redrafts, or dynasty startups for that matter? If you buy, ‘He’s just hurt’, then go for it. If you think something might be wrong…it’s now a thing you have to factor in. What if C.J. Anderson is re-signed…CJA just sits there as Gurley is hit and miss?
Credit to McVay – as soon as he sensed the Gurley collapse, he went with CJA. Most NFL head coaches would have ridden their failing workhorse into the ground. Not McVay…and it saved the season.
In NFL terms…running backs are so useless and interchangeable. Why teams spend big money on them and draft them highly is ridiculous.
We may be getting there again for fantasy…a world where RBs should not be the top fantasy options. Who wants a top 1-2-3-4-5 pick slot so you can fight over the top RBs, like we all did last redrafts? We all fought over taking Gurley-DJ-Le’Veon-Elliott at the top of 2018 redrafts. One of them helped you for the fantasy stretch run. You lamented not having a high pick, but were soothed by just taking Kareem Hunt, Fournette, Devonta, Dalvin, or Jordan Howard later 1st-round ‘just to have an RB1 on the roster’…why did we do this?
The hit rate of the top RBs drafted in fantasy was less than 50%. Missing out on the RBs that did work didn’t matter if you scored C.J. Anderson and Damien Williams down the stretch.
I’m so over high-pick fantasy running backs…still.
OK, above…those were my main takeaways. Now, to finish out with quick hitter notes…
-- Is Julian Edelman a Hall of Famer now? My gut started to say, “Yes.” But the more I looked at his career numbers – very solid but no real ‘wow’ seasons. He lost a few seasons sitting behind Wes Welker early on and then was hurt some in 2015 and for all of 2017 regular season. Has sweet playoff numbers, but that’s on the back of riding the wave of Belichick/Brady. I think he’s ‘out’ but two great seasons the next two years, then maybe?
It just feels like Edelman is close but not quite there. Not quite there in my Hall of Fame. Will he make the real NFL Hall of Fame? Probably. Everybody who had a decent career seems to.
Julian Edelman…7th-round draft pick college quarterback turned special WR weapon for the greatest team in our lifetimes. Another ‘miss’ by the football scouting community.
-- For about 2+ quarters of this game, when it was 3-0 and 3-3…I wrote down that I thought Rams LB Cory Littleton was the game’s MVP, at that stage.
Littleton was one of the best defensive players of the year – undrafted. Oh, NFL scouting…you did it again!!!
Which also reminds me…I should’ve stated this earlier – Wade Phillips is a Hall of Famer. And what made this game more special (just dull to watch) was getting to see two of the best defensive minds of all-time square off again. Phillips has given Bill Belichick/Tom Brady fits in the past – maybe their greatest single nemesis during their dynasty?
Phillips coordinated for Denver in the Super Bowl back in 1989. He won it as coordinator for Denver in 2015-16 season. He was back again with the Rams this season. One of the best defensive coordinators’ in the history of the game. He’s been a coach or coordinator in the NFL since 1981 (one year off in 38 years, if I see it correctly).
-- 2020 Super Bowl early favorite per Vegas odds…Kansas City. The Rams body isn’t even cold yet, and they are not projected as ‘favorite’…nor are the three-straight-appearances/defending champs. Somehow, we’ve STILL not learned our lesson on Belichick and Andy Reid’s coaching prowess yet.
Last season, I think the Vikings and Saints were the early Vegas favorites.
Belichick returns to the AFC East to face Sean McDermott, Adam Gase 2.0, and his old defensive coordinator now in Miami. Yeah, I think I’ll take the Pats to win the East and go to the Super Bowl again.
The Rams have Pete Carroll and his run game and dysfunctional Arizona to get by – but the real challenge will be the mended/healed up 49ers. A tougher path to return than the Pats.
-- It was quite enjoyable watching the Super Bowl with Tony Romo on the broadcast. I never want to watch a Super Bowl again without him.
Although, I could live without his NFL-imposed gag order. He’s seeing situations and play calls ahead of time so brilliantly…so, they make him stop? Why? Part of the fun of listening to Romo was to see what he was seeing…and to see if he got it right. Thanks for taking that away NFL.
Why does the NFL want to withhold that info? They don’t want you suckers to realize Tony Romo can see and sense all this, but none of the 9,000 ex-NFL head coaches they chucked into the TV or radio booth ever could. What game tape are all these coaches watching anyways? What do these coaches do at the team facilities from 3am to midnight (their supposed work hours)? Ex-coach analysts have never said anything about a game that made you think they were brilliant. Within his first 5 minutes of TV analysis, Romo was the best there ever was.
The NFL doesn’t want you to realize or question that false mystique on coaches…the mystique Romo sees through in 5-10 seconds.
-- How did you like the commercials this year?
I think they’re getting better…not great, but they seem to be less cheesy than before. For so long Super Bowl commercials were as befuddling as the NFL. Like…companies spent millions of dollars to get ads made and ad companies worked on them for months in advance – and you’re like ‘this’ (almost every Super Bowl commercial you’ve ever seen) is the best they came up with?
I would point out two positive things among a sea of ‘OK’ and ‘trying to hard to be funny, but not funny’ of the commercials I caught.
(1) I thought the commercial where we get the sense the guy had died and was walking through a field and sees his grandfather…where he is then shown/given this awesome car…only to be pulled away from the experience by the Heimlich maneuver because he was really at his office choking on a cashew – it actually elicited an LOL from me.
(2) The best thing I’ve ever seen in a pregame was this -- and was the best thing I saw all Sunday. Whomever created and executed this should get all the Super Bowl Ad work: https://youtu.be/Jvr8IyGuSVE
-- Finally, congratulations to Jason Katz…winner of the entire Playoff Pick ‘Em challenge. Jason picked the Pats, the under, and got four of his 5 prop bets correct. No one else among our group was close.
I bet against (under) Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead rushing total props…and was right for 55 minutes of game play. Two big runs by them late blew that up. At least, I cashed in on Cordarrelle Patterson’s ‘over’ 12.5 receiving yards (he got 14).
The group was all in on James White props, which resulted in him having two carries for 4 yards and 1 catch for 5 yards…and the Pats still winning. Whatever you think with Belichick and his RB usage…the opposite will happen. He’s brilliant…not I, not our Handicapping group, not Sean McVay could figure Belichick and his RB usage out.
Thank you to the Handicapping group for all their input and picks in the preseason and in-season. A short rest…and then there will be all kinds of football things to bet on once again. Hopefully, with more states passing laws so that more of you can join the betting society as well.
That’s it! Another season in the books. Now, free agency, the Combine, the Draft…it never ends and we cover it daily here all year round.
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