I’m not sure what I’ll be doing this Sunday. There should be quite a few options. I hear the first Sunday of February is a great day to go skiing. I bet the grocery stores will be nice and empty. Maybe my bathroom needs re-grouting.
I know what I won’t be doing: watching the Super Bowl.
I don’t remember the last time I missed a Super Bowl. There have been years when I barely watch it, because a fair number of them have sucked. But I was at least in a room with the game on, so I could occasionally turn to the screen to see a big play, or to check the time it took to sing the national anthem, or to mark off a box on my “Commercial Bingo.”
This year, I can’t even muster that much attention. Not even the prospect of deep-fried crap can entice me. I’m not even going to GAMBLE on the Big Game, and that’s saying something.
Part of it is my belief that it will be an absolute snoozer of a game accompanied by seven hours of announcers swinging from Tom Brady’s nutsack. But it goes beyond that, because a lousy Super Bowl with annoying announcers and played-out storylines wouldn’t normally be enough to push me away. I did mention deep-fried crap and gambling, right?
This year, I’m going out of my way to not watch the game. I want it to be the lowest rated Super Bowl of all time. I want NBC to consider switching over to a re-broadcast of “Heidi” to get viewers back.
Will I be successful? Probably not. In fact, I just had to google which network the Super Bowl was on, which I think means Roger Goodell and Tom Brady each get another reach-around. But you know, think globally, act locally.
I haven’t been following much of the hype, but I imagine the East Coast media is talking about Boston vs Philadelphia as the next best thing to Boston vs New York. We have the greatest quarterback/coach/owner/team/fans/celebrities of all time against the long-suffering, much-maligned quarterback/coach/owner/team/fans/celebrities who are finally getting their shot. Since both cities are along the Bos-Wash corridor, where all the wonderful people live, they clearly have the greatest fans in the country.
Bullshit. These two fan bases should be tied for the worst in football, if not all of sports. Only Yankee fans might be more superciliously sanctimonious, and that’s only because their “rebuilding” took about five years shorter than it was supposed to.
Just the Yankee way, man. Aura and mystique, yo.
They’re insufferable for different reasons. Philly fans are generally just despicable human beings. I don’t need to rehash all of the famous examples, right? Cheering injuries, even for their own players. Throwing beer bottles at their own players. Booing Santa Claus. Intentionally barfing on other fans.
Are we really going to say these people deserve happiness? If there was a chance that they’d become decent if the Eagles win, maybe I’d root for them. But Philadelphia’s won a number of titles. The Phillies have won the World Series twice. The 76ers won three NBA Championships. The Flyers have won twice. And yet Philly fans have remained Philly fans.
Oh, and did I mention I would’ve won $1500 if the Phillies had lost the World Series in 2008? But no, this isn’t about that.
No really. I don’t hold a grudge. I don’t think about the paid-off car or the high-roller suite or whatever. Who cares if I put $10 on Tampa Bay to win the World Series back in March only to have them come up three games short and, to add that extra little Philadelphia-fuck-you, let’s suspend the final game for two days to stretch out the misery.
But seriously, Joe Maddon, why didn’t you just start David Price when the game restarted? It’s a tie game, so treat it like a fresh game, albeit one you only need to win four innings of.
Okay, enough about Philly. Let’s move on to the Mass-holes.
Boston suffered for a very long time. But holy shit, as soon as that turned around, they became Yankee fans, right? Their winning every year is ordained by God. Only making it to the AFC Championship or the ALCS is a disappointing season. And Tom Brady’s balls taste better than Joe Montana’s taint on John Elway’s chin.
Is that the same Tom Brady whose first major success happened as a result of the Tuck Rule? Yes, that was the correct call for the rules at the time. But you can’t tell me he didn’t have a horseshoe up his ass on that play.
Oh, and remember that time, in 2006, when Tom Brady, down by eight with six minutes left, threw an interception on 4th and 5 that sent the San Diego Chargers to the AFC Championship Game? No, you don’t remember that, because Marlon McCree decided to run the damn ball back and proceeded to fumble it. That horseshoe is permanently attached to Brady’s sphincter.
But, the Mass-holes counter, that’s part of Brady’s magnificence. That he can get players to drop his interceptions.
But whatever. Players get lucky. What really separates the mediocre from the great is what they do when they get those opportunities. For instance, after Brady got a little bit lucky with the tuck rule, the Patriots seized the opportunity by… filming the Rams’ practices from underneath the bleachers. And after the Chargers game, they… filmed defensive coaches so that they knew when a blitz was coming.
And what fortune were they following up on when they started sending janitors into opposing locker rooms to take pictures of game plans? Before or after they deflated the balls to cut down on fumbles?
You’re right, Mass-holes. Clearly you’re the victims in all of this. The NFL is picking on you.
And Brady’s such an upstanding, nice guy that he made Kraft send Garoppolo to the west coast because he doesn’t want Belichick to win after he’s gone. Hell, if anyone knows about a QB getting the starting job because of how well he played when the real starter was out, it would be Brady, right? I’ll take Drew Bledsoe injury for five hundred, Alex.
Speaking of making the best of luck, how about the officiating in the playoffs this season? It’s almost like the refs are rooting for the Patriots. It’s not like they’re patting Brady on the back after a win or anything, but… wait, what?
Seriously, there were two calls in the Titans-Patriots game that were atrocious. Eric Decker got called for offensive pass interference after converting a third down. Patriots receivers were making similar moves all day. But they play was reversed, it was 3rd and 9, and the Titans failed to convert.
Then there was whatever the hell that call was in the second quarter. Fourth and five, two of the Titans defensive linemen jump and then point to an offensive lineman. The back judge throws a flag and rightfully calls a false start. But then, wait a second, somebody realized 4th and 10 would mean the Patriots have to punt from their own endzone. And if Tom Brady doesn’t like a call, they have to change the call. Except the play had been called dead, so they can’t call offsides. And the D-linemen didn’t make contact with the O-line, so they can’t call encroachment. So they just make up a penalty called coming into the neutral zone, which I’m pretty sure is legal as long as you’re back onside by the time the ball is snapped.
What they basically called was a defensive false start, even though the offensive players flinched. Oh, who am I kidding? What they called was “A Bill Belichick team doesn’t make mistakes, so let’s give them a first down. Five yards.”
The frivolity continued in the AFC Championship Game. The Patriots were called for one penalty, on special teams, for ten yards. The Jaguars lost 98 yards on six penalties. Are the Patriots a more disciplined team? Sure. But do they also get away with a hell of a lot more than the Jaguars? Absolutely.
And let’s not forget the catch-that-wasn’t-a-catch in the Steelers game in week sixteen. Shall I go on?
I’m not saying it’s a fix. I’ve seen a fixed game before. Game six of the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals was fixed, and I don’t think there’s a soul on Earth who saw it and thought otherwise. The NBA wanted a game seven in a very competitive, highly-rated series. Whichever team won was going to roll the Nets in a pretty boring Finals.
So the NBA made sure game six went to the Lakers, to the tune of twenty-seven free throws in the fourth quarter. The Kings got nine. Boy, that ratio looks awfully similar to the Patriots-Jaguars last week, huh?
A lot of people in Sacramento think it was fixed because the NBA wanted the Lakers in the Finals, but I don’t buy that at all. The Kings got a number of calls in game seven, which went to overtime. Had they been able to hit their free throws, the NBA would’ve been perfectly fine ushering them into the championship. The NBA fixed game six, not game seven.
And the NFL hasn’t been fixing the Patriots run. These calls are much closer to all of those other NBA games.
In the NBA, star players are not held to the same standards as others. Jordan pushed off defenders on a regular basis. Kobe always had wide-open shots because of his flailing elbows. Lebron can plow through anyone he wants if he’s en route to the basket.
In the NBA, I understand why it happens. The league can’t really have all of the stars fouling out of every game. I don’t think Kobe would’ve made it out of the first quarter if he got called every time his elbow made contact with a chest or a face. And if Kobe’s out of game six, then who can the refs send to the free-throw line? Shaq? Only if the Lakers were the team that was up three games to two and the Kings had to win.
I think the NFL refs definitely have some of that subconscious bias going on. Either they are in awe of Brady or they are afraid of Belichick. The Patriots are not being held to the same standards as whomever they are playing.
Here’s how I think the inner monologue went on those two penalties in the Patriots-Titans game: Huh, the Titans aren’t a very good team. They shouldn’t be converting that third down/forcing a Patriots punt. I better throw a flag/change the call to make sure this doesn’t get out of hand.
As Tony Romo said, if those two penalties go the other way, we might be looking at a Titans 21-7 lead instead of a Patriots 14-7 lead. And that just can’t happen.
And when Gronk swim-moves past a defender and knocks him to the ground? Well, that’s just what Gronk does. He’s such a great physical specimen.
Must just be all that Yankee aura and mystique, huh?. Ho do ya like them apples, Mass-holes?
Did the same thing happen in the Super Bowl last year? Did the refs get caught up in the story of the greatest comeback in history? I don’t know. Were there some questionable holding calls against Atlanta? I think so. Did the Patriots hire another janitor to go spy on the Falcons? I wouldn’t bet against it.
This Super Bowl will be no different.
If Carson Wentz were playing this weekend, he might’ve gotten the benefit of the doubt. An up-and-comer taking on the old-and-weathered. That’s a good story, and Wentz has been anointed as someone worthy of good calls.
But Nick Foles? Go ahead and assume every first down he gets will be heavily scrutinized by the refs. They say you can call holding on every play in the NFL. But if Tom Brady has seventy seconds in the pocket, well that’s just good blocking right there.
That’s why I won’t be watching. Nobody to root for and I’ve seen it all before.
I guess if I had to root for anyone, it would be the Eagles. I’m an Angels fan, and if Mike Trout’s favorite football team can win a championship, maybe he won’t feel the need to leave for the east coast himself in 2020.
Plus the celebratory riots in Philly will be so much better.