The Super Bowl Was Fun But The NFL Has Some Major Issues To Deal With
So how many of you are still hung over or tired from watching Sunday Night's game? Can't say that I'm not a little weary as I write this on Monday morning---but that's okay, I'm at home and not back to the paying job until Wednesday.
Yeah, I was surprised as many of you were the Super Bowl actually lived up to---and probably exceeded the hype, topping the tense excitement of last years overtime game.
The Philadelphia Eagles played far from a perfect game---but they made plays when it counted and as we all know, won the game 41-33 behind MVP Nick Foles.
And the storylines were great. Foles was the backup all season until the end when QB Carson Wentz got injured. He was actually drafted by Philadelphia in 2012 and was a Pro Bowl level player in 2013 when he set an NFL record for best TD to INT ration in history, throwing for 27 TD's and 2 Interceptions. Foles came back to earth with a mediocre 2014 season and found himself traded in 2015 to the then St. Louis Rams.
Anyway---his story well documented, he stole the show from Tom Brady who arguably may be a Cyborg....
Brady absolutely put on a passing clinic throwing for 505 yards and 3 TD's. The Eagles could not put much--if any pressure on him and he was picking them apart. It took Brandon Graham's strip-sack with just over 2 minutes to go which lead to a 46-yard Jake Elliot Field Goal which essentially sealed the game.
Both teams were awful on defense struggling to make tackles or stop the other team. Yes, the offenses were good but not that good.
I should mention Philadelphia Coach Doug Pederson here. Pederson cemented his legacy with one of the best called offensive game plans I've ever seen. He went for it on 4th down--a lot. And the play call on the direct snap/reverse/pass to the Quarterback on a 4th and Goal was the ballsiest call I've ever seen an NFL Coach make.
Here are the highlights--but there is so much more to talk about.....
Oh---the NBC Broadcast. It was terrible. Fred Gaudelli (director) had a horrible night. From the what seemed like an eternity dip to black to the random use of the overhead camera on kickoffs--which really jumbled the view, there was nothing outstanding to see visually. Was kind of disappointed as NBC usually shines in these situations.
Game Production Grade: B-minus
It didn't help that most of America wanted to strangle or have Gaudelli mute Cris Collinsworth.
For reasons I'm not sure of, Collinsworth felt compelled to talk...and talk, and talk over everything. He is a usually astute, smart analyst who knows the game, but he just would not stop talking.
It was made worse by a BIG NFL problem---the Catch Rule.
Two different touchdown calls had to be reviewed and Collinsworth not only failed to call them right--he talked about them for a full 5 minutes. Each time.
Game Announcers Grade: D (Al Michaels was solid as always (B), Collinsworth was horrible (F)
Halftime: I didn't have a major issue with Justin Timberlake, I find him entertaining and his show was largely light and breezy. Yeah, sure at times it was pretty obvious he was lip synching--but understand in that kind of venue, the audio delay/echo makes it hard to do everything live.
That being said, it was far from the "Greatest Performance" ever. Though the Prince/Purple Minneapolis thing at the end was extremely cool.
Honestly--the bar for Super Bowl performances stops and ends with Prince---none compare.
Halftime Show: B-plus
I'm not going to get into the pre-game stuff mostly because I don't really care about it. The 5 or 6 hours of pregame babble and features drags on forever. I don't and haven't watched much of it in years.
Yes, if you are the NFL you have problems to address in the offseason. A LOT OF PROBLEMS....
The league has taken some horrific public relations hits this season. Some of it easily avoidable some of it not. But all of it needs to be addressed.....
One: Replay. Instant replay was a good idea when the NFL finally got around to implementing it. But it has become a MAJOR problem. Instead of being a one-minute or two-minute delay, it often takes 5 minutes or longer to determine if a call was correct.
And they seemingly review EVERYTHING. It slows the pace of play, makes the games nearly unwatchable due to all the breaks and is just a logistical nightmare.
Twice Sunday night the game came to a SCREECHING halt. Once on this catch by Corey Clement:
These are just some of the "On the Field" issues.
Between these, the concussion issues, the injury issues and piss poor public relations---the NFL has some work to do.
There were so many times during the season where players looked like they were concussed and went right back into games....and the injuries--they have been piling and piling up. Players are getting hurt seemingly more frequently then ever and its hard to convince parents to let their kids do something where the kids run the risk of permanently injuring themselves.
I won't delve too deeply into the anthem issue because quite frankly it is pure out and out politics triggered by Fearless Leader and The Ministry of Propaganda. Both totally and completely hijacked a message the athletes were trying to get out (Mistreatment of minorities by authorities) and made it about something it was not (Disrespecting America)....
However the NFL could not muster an argument to defend the players correctly and ultimately everyone who believes what Fearless Leader and the Ministry say---think the NFL is "Un-American".
It's an issue whether they want to admit it or not.
The last issue the NFL needs to deal with but refuses to admit...TV.
The league in my opinion has watered down the product. A lot.
Yeah, sure they just got $600 million or so from Fox for the universally hated Thursday night games. The TV ratings are down because watching an NFL game is no longer an EVENT. You can watch any number of games on any number of days. Used to be Sunday's were special because you got to see games. You couldn't see them at any other time except Monday nights. And it made people tune in if they wanted their fix.
Now you have Thursday nights, Sunday Nights and some Sunday Mornings....it's too much.....
Needless to say---it's entirely possible the NFL has jumped the shark. Other sports are sensing weakness and are only getting more popular while Football is struggling. Yeah, sure, the TV ratings still dwarf most everything else but there is more at play.
Kids aren't playing--parents are putting them in other sports. College Football is not what it once was. Unless you are in a "Power 5 Conference", you have no chance of winning it all--you'll have a good season and end up in a stupid, sparsely attended Bowl Game.
If the NFL doesn't take the lead and get their public relations house in order--they're in trouble. In 10-years, it may very well NOT be "The Big Dog" in town.
Only time I suppose will tell.