The big game was certainly exciting, and came with a play that will be discussed for a long time to come. Bob Sturm casts his knowledgeable eye on the game, which marks the end of football, at least on the field, for a long time.
There is no sport like football. And no better example of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat than the playoffs. Legacies intersect between all-time legends like Brady who had his place in history cemented and undrafted rookies like Butler who were working at Popeye's Chicken not long ago. The Patriots don't win without both of them stepping up at their moments of truth and being reliant on all men on the roster and the coaches to do their job and hope for a smile from lady luck along the way.
Of course, the one thing everyone is talking about is the play where the Seattle Seahawks snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. A couple of former Cowboys players, who know a thing or two about winning championships, certainly had some definite opinions.
"You have Marshawn Lynch in the backfield," Deion Sanders said after the game. "The best running back in football this season. And you chance it with a pass play? You called a pass play first of all, that was wrong. But to actually make that throw was the second wrong. Two wrongs on one play. Everyone is leaving the stadium saying, ‘Are you kidding me?' It's the worst play call in Super Bowl
Todd Archer wonders what would have happened if it had been the Cowboys in the game. He looks at it from both sides, and wonders if Dallas could have done as well defending the play from the one, but the scenario that would have been actually possible, the Cowboys representing the NFC, is more interesting.
If the Cowboys passed the ball down there, it would have been a fade to Dez Bryant. That is one of their go-to plays in the tight red zone and Bryant almost always wins. Almost. But imagine if the Cowboys didn't run the ball behind DeMarco Murray, the league's leading rusher, and an offensive line with three Pro Bowlers?
Those coaches might not have gotten on the plane on the way home. Romo would have been vilified. Pete Carroll's postgame explanation sounds OK, but who wastes a play with the Super Bowl on the line?
While Pete Carroll and Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell have taken endless heat over the play call, there is no real criticism of Russell Wilson for making the throw. It is very doubtful that the quarterback would be getting any kind of a pass if it had been Tony Romo, as David Helman observes.
There's no doubt in my mind that Romo would be taking more
heathad he thrown the same type of interception to lose the Super Bowl. But you're crazy if you don't think the play call would be criticized. Think back to just this past season, and how furious the reaction was when the Cowboys would opt to throw in short yardage situations, like they did in the loss to San Francisco. On top of that, I think it's currently harder to criticize Russell Wilson than Tony Romo. On top of that, Romo plays the most important position for the most polarizing franchise in the league. He will be treated differently no matter what, and like Bryan said: it just comes with the meal.
If Romo throws that pick, people kill him not the call. Not with Wilson— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) February 2, 2015
There has been a lot of talk about the impending demise of the NFL. With scandals ranging from the extremely serious issues of domestic violence and the damage caused by concussions to the supremely serious discussion of deflated balls, the league has not looked good at all for much of the season. Roger Goodell has become a target of well-deserved criticism for his handling of these and other matters. But as this article observes, reports of pro football's demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Either way, there's a grand futility in this kind of argument. At every turn, football has proven to be an ever-evolving media beast of a sport that can adapt to survive virtually any hostile environment. The ratings will come out later today and they will tell us that this was the most watched television program in American history, and for some people that will feel like a defeat... a stinging rebuke to the overwhelming evidence of football's inherent badness. And they'll
continuefighting against the football industrial complex.
Like the guy was saying . . .
The Patriots' 28-24 victory Sunday over the Seahawks on NBC delivered the highest overnight rating in Super Bowl history.
THIS JUST IN: The NFL is the most healthy business in the state of crisis in world history.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 2, 2015
Jean-Jaques Taylor neatly sums up why the selection should not have taken this long.
Haley was a beast on five Super Bowl-winning teams. No other player has five championship rings. He more than earned the right to be granted football immortality with a bronze bust in those hallowed halls in Canton, Ohio.
What made Haley special was he contributed significantly to every championship team he played on in San Francisco and Dallas.
Jerry Jones pushed hard to get Haley in the Hall. Now that is done, and it's time to look at another player that should already be there, Darren Woodson. Todd Archer runs down why.
He is the Cowboys' all-time leading tackler with 1,350. He had 23 interceptions. He had 11 sacks. He was named to the Pro Bowl five times. He was named an All-Pro three times. He was on the Cowboys' three Super Bowl teams of the 1990s.
But he was more than that.
Archer also mentions some other personnel that he feels earned some recognition, like one player whose contributions were not very visible, but quite valuable.
Best player nobody talked about all season: Tight end James Hanna. He only caught four passes for 48 yards, but his blocking was top notch throughout the season. The Cowboys were a big "12 personnel" team in 2014, and in part that was because of the blocking of Hanna. He showed up to the Cowboys with the reputation as a speedy pass-catching tight end but has really elevated his game
Archer hits a trifecta. ESPN graded every team's offseason last year, and now have gone back to reassess their too premature grades from them.
The initial grade was a C. The loss of DeMarcus Ware as a cap casualty was cited. The team also did not have any "wow" factors in free agency and the biggest wow, at least to those not paying attention to their plan, was passing on Johnny Manziel in the first round and drafting Zack Martin.
Now Martin has become a "wow" player and there was some "wow" news delivered by Manziel and his decision to enter rehab.
Oh, yeah, remember all the "experts" who told us over and over how Jerry Jones could not resist Manziel in the draft? And how many people decried the decision to go with that boring guard? Imagine the storm if the Cowboys had picked JFF and this came out.
Meanwhile, that Zack Martin thing worked out pretty well, don't you think?
It was evident very early in the season that when the offense had success running the ball against the Seattle Seahawks and the work that Martin was able to put in against Brandon Mebane, they knew that they had drafted a special player.
For years we have heard that the Cowboys were in "cap hell", only to see them work it out. It is interesting to see that this list of the current cap space of all teams show seven clubs that are already over the cap - with the New Orleans Saints already have to clear up a staggering $26 million they are over.