“CHEATER’S BOWL” FAR FROM BEING SUPER
My take on Super Bowl LIII Sunday night is that two undeserving teams were matched up because of bum calls by game officials which produced one of the most boring world championship football games in history.
Football fans in New Orleans and Kansas City secretly cheered the lackluster offenses of both the winning New England Patriots and the powerless Los Angeles Rams knowing their Chiefs and Saints could have put on a much better National Football League extravaganza than what we were forced to watch.
Those who enjoy great defensive games were in seventh heaven as defensive genius Bill Belichick matched wits with Orange native Wade Phillips that produced the lowest-scoring game in Super Bowl history and the Patriots’ sixth championship by a puny 13-3 victory over the Rams.
Phillips didn’t receive nearly the credit he deserved for holding perhaps the best quarterback in NFL history to one lousy touchdown.
Ninety-nine percent of teams being held to a single touchdown lose as the son of legendary Bum Phillips dialed up a defense that bent but did not break against quarterback Tom Brady, who will be wearing his sixth Super Bowl ring in a few months.
Rams’ head coach Sean McVay, who’s viewed by many in the know as a great offensive mind at the tender age of 33, was badly out-coached by Belichick in every phase of the game.
In most of the regular-season games, Belichick used a man-to-man defense. But in two weeks, Belichick devised a zone defense that was as successful for the Pats as it was confusing for the Rams.
Sunday’s game rewrote many of the Super Bowl’s defensive records. It was the second-lowest scoring first half in a Super Bowl. Super Bowl IX had the Steelers 2, Vikings 0.
No Super Bowl had gone into the fourth quarter without a touchdown. The Patriots and Rams combined for the lowest-scoring Super Bowl through three quarters at 3-3.
And, the 16 total points established a new record for fewest points scored. The previous record for fewest points was 21 in Miami’s 14-7 win over Washington in Super Bowl VII after the 1972 season in which Miami was the only team in NFL history to run the table with an 18-0 record.
Sunday wasn’t the first time Belichick’s defensive genius made a difference on the final score. He has been doing it since before Brady picked up a football.
His defenses led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl wins in 1987 (XXI) and 1991 (XXV).
“The easy argument against Belichick is that he has yet to win a Super Bowl as a head coach without Brady,” according to last week’s issue of USA Today Sports Weekly, “which of course is true, but it ignores the fact that the Tom Brady who led the Patriots to a Super Bowl win over the Rams in 2001 was not yet the Tom Brady we’d all eventually agree is the greatest quarterback to play the game.”
The Patriots’ dynasty began 17 years ago to the day when they upset the St. Louis Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI after the 2001 season despite being a 14-point underdog. Brady was little more than a game manager during that season.
New England is 6-3 in Super Bowls with Belichick as their coach, and Sunday was the first one not decided by one score. And it was the fewest points they’ve scored.
Brady, who has won four Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Awards, was instrumental in helping wide receiver Julian Edelman win the MVP this time, connecting on 10 passes for 141 yards and eight for first downs. Brady finished with 21-of-35 for 262 yards and one interception. His pass rating was a not-so-great 71.4.
However, the most significant pass from Brady was an 18-yard pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski, who made a diving catch at the two-yard line. This led to the game’s only touchdown by Sony Michel with seven minutes left in the game, breaking the 3-3 tie.
The Rams only productive player, wide receiver Brandin Cooks, had eight catches for 120 yards but missed two catchable touchdown passes from young quarterback Jared Goff that could have made a huge difference in the game’s outcome.
The big question rabid football fans are asking is whether Belichick can win a championship without Brady when he is actually gone due to “old age.”
And they have yet to see Brady win without elite coaching.
KWICKIES…Super Bowl LIII was barely in the books when the geniuses in Las Vegas came out with odds to win next year’s event. Believe it or not the New England Patriots were not the first choice of the professional sports books at 8-1 to repeat but were second behind the Kansas City Chiefs’ 6-1 odds. Two other teams—the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans—also were 8-1 picks. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Chargers were far behind at 14-1.
I was happy to get back on the golf course Sunday at Sunset Grove Country Club. I played with Craig Couvillion and Bob Hoepner and broke 90 for the first time since my surgeries three years ago. I found out that long-time Sunset Grove member Dewey Scott got a hole-in-one Saturday on the Par-3 No. 12 hole using a seven iron.
And while on the subject of golf, one of my favorite young golfers, Rickie Fowler, hung on to win the PGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open after leading for all three rounds with a final round 74 Sunday. Fowler rallied back from a triple bogey to beat 19-year old Branden Grace by two strokes. Fowler’s 74 was the highest round by a winner in tournament history.
Former Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo is drawing raves from fellow sports media people for his adeptness at being an excellent color analyst for CBS Sports and is considered the voice of the future. He was especially good during Super Bowl LIII Sunday explaining why the offense for both New England and the LA Rams were playing so poorly.