Monday, July 27, 2009
The Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part VIII
The Sloppy Joe of Super Bowls
What if we watched a Super Bowl that was:
3) Had a couple 4th quarter lead changes
4) And was decided on a last second field goal
That has to be the greatest Super Bowl of all-time right?
Well, what if we filled out the picture with a few other critical details:
1) Lots of penalties
2) Offensive, defensive and coaching blunders at key moments of the game
3) Terrible special teams play
4) Excepting a five-minute stretch of the 2nd quarter, no scoring in Quarters 1-3
5) Game overshadowed by Janet Jackson’s exposed nipple.
Now where does it rank?
C’mon we can’t be picky. You know how many Super Bowl blowouts there’ve been? If you watched a lot of Super Bowls in the 80’s then you better get down on your hands and knees and thank the football gods every time you get an entertaining Super Bowl like Super Bowl XXXVIII. If it’s close and comes down to the wire it’s a great game. And so it was.
Now calling it the greatest Super Bowl ever is another matter. To earn that honor the game must succeed on a number of levels. And one of those levels is Quality of Play. You want what an earlier generation of sportswriters might have described as a “Crisply played game”. Super Bowl XXXVIII featured too many mistakes to be the best ever. 20 penalties alone (25 called) disqualify this game from best-ever status. And what about the special teams? Adam Vinatieri cemented his legend as the greatest clutch kicker ever with his 41-yard game-winning kick. What’s that? He earlier missed 31 and 36-yard attempts? Move along, nothing to see here. Of course Carolina kicker John Kasay greased the skids for the Pats winning drive by sending his kickoff out of bonds, setting Brady and Co. up at their own 40. Brady and Co. should have been driving for a tying, not a winning FG, but Panthers coach John Fox panicked and started going for 2 prematurely, costing his team three points (New England never would have gone for 2 if they’d led 27-24 instead of 27-22). Then again, Carolina was lucky to even have a shot at the end.
The real story of the game was New England’s continual squandering of chances to put the game away. In the first half we had the two missed FG’s and later a loss of ten yards on a botched trick play on 3rd-and-3 from the CAR 31 that cost NE a shot at another FG. In the 4th quarter, NE gave up a 33-yard TD run right after going up 21-10. Then, leading 21-16 in the 4th, Tom Brady drove his team to the Panthers 9 with less than 8 minutes to play but instead of icing the game the supposed best big game passer of his time threw a pick in the end zone. A few plays later, Bill Belichick’s great D forgets to cover Muhsin Muhammad and he blew all our minds with an 85-yard TD score to give the Panthers their first and only lead of the game.
It was non-stop action the rest of the way. But overall just too many mistakes to be the best ever. Plus Janet Jackson’s nipple. Let’s call it the Sloppy Joe of Super Bowls.
The Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part I
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part II
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part III
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part IV
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part V
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part VI
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part VII
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part VIII
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part IX
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Part X
Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time, Conclusion