Super Sunday Recap: 5 Things I Think

Brad’s 5 Things

I haven’t yet decided whether 5 Things will continue through the off season, temporarily morph into something else, or go into full blown NFL hibernation, but I wanted to thank the regulars for coming back every Monday the last 4+ months. Suggestions are welcomed! At any rate, we have one more NFL Sunday to reflect upon so let’s dive in!

1- I think nobody saw that shootout coming

Anytime I am watching a sporting event, my ears prick up when I hear that something is a “first ever” or the “most ever,” and we got a few of those last night. In NFL history no team had ever racked up 600+ yards of total offense in a loss, but New England totaled 613 yards last night on the strength of the only 500 yard passing effort in Super Bowl history. Along that same line, the record for most yards ever gained in a single game was set last night as the two squads combined for 1,151. Mind you that’s not the most yards in a Super Bowl game, but rather the most yards in any game. In combining to score 74 points, the two team blew past the over/under of 48 during the third quarter. No, this was not the game we thought we were going to get.

2- I still think defense wins championships

Despite the video game numbers put up by the offenses, the single most impactful play was made by a defensive player. And while there was just one punt, one sack, one INT, and one fumble, the superior defensive unit ultimately prevailed. The Patriots had issues with their defense from the very beginning of the season and, although they were able to mask some of those flaws with a dynamite offense, they were bested by a terrific game plan executed by the Eagles’ backup QB. Props to Brandon Graham and the Philly defense for fighting through a track meet of a game and having enough left in the tank to make a play when every defensive player had to have been exhausted. By the way, we were told that the Patriots’ conditioning was the reason they have been so good in the fourth quarter.

3- I think the Patriots could have used Malcolm Butler

Speaking of the defensive inadequacies on display in this game, it seems like New England would have benefited from inserting a player into the game who played 98% of their defensive snaps in the regular season. We still don’t have the whole story on why Butler was only on the field for special teams and, until Belichick addresses it directly, we will never know what happened. It’s a catastrophic fall for a man who, just a few years ago, made one of the greatest plays in Patriots’ history as they pulled off an impossible win over Seattle. New England under Coach Belichick has always been ruthless, but usually they aren’t petty. I’ll be curious to see if we ever get the rest of the story on this one.

4- I think Danny was right about the Patriots’ replay luck running out

I don’t want to steal the thunder from tomorrow’s Super Bowl AARs, but, like Danny predicted, the critical calls finally didn’t go the Patriots’ way yesterday. Touchdown catches by Clement and Ertz that looked exactly like some of the most controversial plays of the season were adjudicated in favor of the Eagles after replay officials kept America on the edge of its seat for what seemed like an hour each. One of the things I hoped for was a Super Bowl devoid of a major controversial call and I think we got that. Despite the efforts of Cris Collinsworth to drum up a national witch hunt, Gene Steratore and his crew did a good job in avoiding an instant replay snafu.

5- I think some of the odds for next year are . . . . odd

Patriots 3.5-1
Packers 8-1
Eagles 8.5-1
Steelers 10-1
Vikings 12-1
Rams 17.5-1
49ers 18-1
Saints, Texans 18.5-1
Cowboys, Falcons, Jaguars 20-1
Raiders 21-1
Panthers, Seahawks 25-1
Chargers, Chiefs 30-1
Broncos 35-1
Buccaneers, Colts 40-1
Cardinals, Lions, Ravens, Titans 50-1
Giants 55-1
Dolphins, Redskins 70-1
Bears, Bengals, Bills, Browns, Jets 100-1

Obviously it’s VERY early and we don’t know what these teams will look like after the draft/free agency, but it’s fun to see what the different sports books are offering right now. Despite the loss yesterday, the Pats and their QB (who turns 41 in August) are favored to advance to next year’s Super Bowl in Atlanta and win it. After that you have some of the usual suspects mixed in with playoff teams from this season, but there is a team in that grouping with a number that looks completely out of place: the San Francisco 49ers. At 18-1 they are considered more of a title threat than half of this year’s playoff teams: Chiefs, Falcons, Jaguars, Panthers, Saints, and Titans. This tells me that, if you want to jump on the Jimmy G-sus bandwagon, the time is now!