Diary

I only write what I don’t care if the world reads. It’s sort of similar to a captain entering information in the captain’s log. Alas, I don’t have great sea battles and sunken treasure to write about, but an occasional anecdote does get entered if I’m feeling up to it. Check it out! Or don’t. I’m easy like that.

Latest Entry: Saturday, February 13, 2016

Super Bowl Thoughts

Not the best game ever. Not even a great game. A surprising one, of course. But that’s all. I probably saw 20 games this season that were more exiting.

(And perhaps I’m watching far too much football each year.)

PUBLICITY

Definitely missed the antics of Lynch. “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.” Or the inappropriateness of Gronk. But Manning had nothing he wanted to get off his chest and Cam exuded his usual feelings and personality. Since the media asked boilerplate, spoon-fed, canned response type questions, I tuned out before day one. (I saw the highlights—that’s how I know the questions and cliché answers.)

There was the drama of such a powerful team taking on a sure underdog. (Two years ago still hurts to think about. It was so painful from the first snap.) There was no doubt this year would not belong to Carolina. I’m actually glad the Panthers weren’t undefeated going into the game. Sucks to see someone so close to perfection get yanked away. Though I want to see the 1972 Dolphins veterans stop drinking their damned champagne!

FANS

I was impressed to not see a bunch of Panthers fans giving off that “new car smell.” I only know one true Panthers fan—who actually made the news in North Carolina last week. Granted, many may have been rooting for the Panthers, but at least were not buying new shirts exclaiming “I’ve been a fan for all of three weeks.”

And with Broncos fans, it’s impossible to vet out the real ones, since so many people do root for the team year after year. Of course, countless fans just follow and root for Peyton. He could join the Raiders and they would immediately become “America’s Team.”

(That spot may be open—The Cowboys have fallen from grace.)

And some of course just don’t like the Panthers. Because, well, they win a lot of games and all that. Actually, last week I read an article title (didn’t have time for the article; I needed a haircut) that started with “Next Week, the Panther Can Silence Their Haters.”

Odd.

Why would anyone “hate” a team that wins? Maybe fear them beating your team. But “hate”? I mean to truly hate a team or the players or the quarterback? Yes, Cam has a personality and celebrates his joy on the field. But if that’s a problem, it’s more than balanced out by the expression on a little child’s face when he or she is handed a touchdown ball. (And the banner incident? Just don’t fly the enemy’s colors in someone else’s house. I’m sure legally, one could get the $5 in materials back if pressed.) Terrell Owens had a personality—and was sure entertaining to watch. You tuned in to see what drama he would come up with next (Cowboys Star, Sharpie incidents).

While on the subject (I’ll get to the game soon) I saw another article about the most hated players. They were mainly a mix of personnel. If someone hates the women-beaters (Hardy) or dirty players (Suh) then fair enough. I have no issues with those people being banned from the NFL for life. People also seem to hate people they feel are cheaters (Brady—though I really have read a lot that suggests what happened has not be proven, but mainly speculated. Who knows? Who cares?) I would advise again hating (why do we now love that word so much?) someone for accusations of cheating. Finally, they “hate” winners. Wilson was on the list and he’s one of the most humble players who does more than his share of charity work. Big Ben did have troubles in the past, but not so much in years. To hate people for people successful is just idiotic. Maybe fear playing the team, or hate the nerve-wracking close game and stress. Otherwise, it’s just not okay. Find another sport.

Back to the actual game…

DEFENSE

They say that defenses win championships. Most of the time, it’ll get you halfway there, but without a strong offense, you’re still risking up coming up short on points. It only takes a field goal to win a zero-zero game. A strong offense always complements a strong defense. This season—it was defense. Period. At least down the stretch. I’m not sure any other defense except the league’s best could have stopped the Panthers. And I don’t recall hearing all that much about the Broncos throughout the season. Though I guess they were doing well since I also didn’t hear that much about their offense, and they were winning a lot of games. By process of elimination, that just leaves… a strong defense.

Much credit to their coaches. They had two weeks to prepare for one team and one particularly unstoppable player. We (the royal I at least) always spend time critiquing and offering our best armchair quarterback (and coaching) opinions on what they “should have done,” but NFL coaches spend 50 plus hours per week studying films and crafting game plans. And that’s outside of practice time. When it comes to IQ and NFL football, those are your Einstein’s.

Football is cat and mouse. Something that works well one year might be countered and contained the next season (Remember Kaep?) Then again, some QBs just have crazy skills. Nevertheless, for this season, the defensive game plan won the battle and the Broncos took hoisted the trophy.

OFFENSE

Manning is a great guy on and off the field (from what limited knowledge I have at least). Maybe his interviews sound canned, yet I still appreciate his humility, his pattern of passing the praise and taking the blame. This season ended with more of “I’m just going to enjoy this and relax right now.” Any other game would have been, “I need to work on a lot of things.”

In terms of a great guy and career player, he’s a legend, with record seasons numerous times. He also gets to claim two rings now. No doubt he’ll leave a legacy.

Still, when reflecting on just this season, and the final game, it was not one filled with Peyton-led victories. Several mistakes could have easily cost this game. The defense was the game, but luck was on the field too. That was your twelfth man, Denver.

Truly, they may have actually scored much more with Brock. However, the ends justified the means. The outcome was a win.

I do feel he’ll retire. He was wise not to announce it. Never make huge choices based on emotion. Favre did and regretted it several times. I think Manning should retire simply to mitigate the health issues and to avoid spending a season on the bench. He could help mentor Brock more, but if he wants to teach or lead, become a coach. Less physical pounding that way. And the pay is still not bad.

Then again, football is often a great deal of fun—especially when the team is winning. One probably hates to let it go forever. Behind a stupendous offensive line, Peyton might pad his stats some. He doesn’t seem averse to being benched when necessary. I think it would be the wrong choice, but if he decided to stick around, I’d understand the reasoning. (And Favre actually almost had another Super Bowl appearance with the Vikings—after a solid season for the Jets.)

SPECIAL TEAMS

No great mistakes. So there you go. I don’t fault the Panthers for playing conservative fourth downs. Most of the time, the Broncos were responding with 3 and outs.

COMMERCIALS

I felt they were the worst I can remember. Some very weird ones, which I suppose got some water cooler talk, but occasionally those can backfire with one associating the product with an odd creepiness.  Overall, it was money well-wasted.

Sure, I laughed a few times, but I can’t even remember when.

(Shots and IPAs might have affected that.)

HALFTIME

This one is always susceptible to one’s appreciation of pop music. I don’t listen to Beyoncé or Cold Play (lately at least) so I can’t evaluate how good or bad they were. If only one could be kept, I’d suggest Bruno Mars (though didn’t he already do that song before?) as his songs just seem to be the catchiest. At least last year had Left Shark. This year had … just a cliché halftime show: entertaining, but nothing special or to talk about for years to come.

NATIONAL ANTHEM

Impressive. I didn’t know Gaga (Sorry, unless you have a large landed estate in Great Britain, I don’t address you as “Lady”) had anything other than a bubble gum pop voice, so when I heard the announcement, I thought they were hiring her for the name only–and the recent fame of the Emmy award for a role that I felt was anything but Emmy level. Don’t get me wrong, she acts fine in AHS and plays the character nicely, but the character as written is just nowhere near an award-winning role. Hollywood is weird like that.

Yet for the anthem, it was nicely sung. I’m not going to say it was the best ever, but it was much better than I expected and executed flawlessly. Her creed as a legit singer went up several notches.

FUTURE

Could be the exact same scenario next season (with Brock leading the Broncos of course). If the Broncos step up the offense some, the Patriots will be the ones considered the underdogs. I’d say Steelers but Big Ben might be close to a Big Breaking. That’s it for the AFC (Okay, if Dalton stays healthy, then they may advance). But who knows. Maybe the Raiders will have a shocking breakout season.

NFC is a much tougher call. Certainly, the Hawks will probably continue to dominate and probably control the West. Cardinals were strong, but I don’t think their grasp will last long. 49ers will need much more rebuilding time. NFC east? Nope. Rodgers of course has the talent, but a healthy team around him is paramount. He does have a lot of luck though. Not sure if he’s Catholic, but he’s King of the Hail Mary lately.

Pity that Cam and Wilson don’t play in the same division. That would ensure some fun rivalry for the next few seasons. And let’s face it–you sort of do have another Brady and Manning lineup insomuch as opposing personalities. You decide which is which.

So that’s the season. All that remains is too see if the Sheriff walks off into the sunset.

It would make a great movie ending.

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