For Fans Of Football, Super Bowl XLIX Played Out Perfectly
I deviated from my normal Super Bowl crowd this year and headed home to hang with my family; they always throw their own annual shindig.
My dad makes an entire drink menu with cleverly themed names based on the two teams in contention, and my mom makes food for the 50 people who are not coming so the 12 people in attendance can enjoy gluttonously.
Squares are only $0.25 each. I had to explain a side-bet pick-em board to each and every individual slowly, and I'm not sure if everyone in the room knew which “blue” team was which. And, you know what? It was perfect.
Seriously. Perfect. I'm not just talking about being relaxed on a roomy and sizable couch amidst nice, courteous adults; I'm also talking about the Super Bowl. It was perfect.
I don't care if you thought Katy Perry wasn't good, Missy Elliot was washed-up or Pete Carroll made the world's worst play call to lose the championship. I'm calling perfection, people.
Sit back and sob over the spilled milk or indulge yourself in the reasoning for yesterday's matchup being the utopia of NFL Championships. Both the Seahawks and the Patriots played out their generalizations for the past seasons in one 60-minute showdown.
Remember September 30, 2014?
Tom Brady does. He watched a large chunk of the Pats/Chiefs game while riding the pine. Drowning in the misery of leading his team to a 41-14 loss in the early stages of the NFL season had the media going crazy.
Loud and not-so-secretive whispers circled and swarmed about the Michigan grad coming to his career end in a disgraceful way and taking Belichick's squad down with him. Things looked dreary.
On the other coast, the Seahawks and the 12th man seemed almost too hot to handle all season long.
Shattering Peyton Manning and the Broncos by a whopping 35 points in the 2014 Super Bowl, they had every reason to be favorited by sportscasters and bandwagon fans everywhere.
Richard Sherman was blasted for his drastic emotion in front of the camera and Marshawn Lynch was fined for his lack of presence altogether in front of the camera. The team was young and up-and-coming, and they knew it.
The generalizations for Seattle are different than those the Patriots faced. The Hawks are young and flashy; Pete Carroll never wears the same, grody sweatshirt twice, and they just play a pretty game of football.
A back-to-back trip to the 'Bowl was expected for Seattle, and they earned it justly, without much strife. The rise seemed to be quick.
Flash forward four months later to Brady and the Pats touching down in Arizona to compete for the Super Bowl ring. With a win, it would be Brady's fourth title with the Patriots.
And, this time, no one is whispering about New England's season being cut short due to a lousy quarterback.
Yet, the Seahawks were the team to watch. We wanted the crotch grab, the blocked punt and the back-to-back title, and so did they.
I don't need to tell you what happened during yesterday's game. If you're reading this, you know. The pattern remains, though. Both teams stayed true to their subjection to hype and hysteria.
Brady threw two interceptions, cried on the sidelines and media mongrels turned on him nationwide, casting him as an early flop, despite completing a plethora of accurate passes and keeping the lead for the beginning of the game.
Seattle, while having to battle uphill during the early stages of the game, came out looking pretty impressive, from Lynch dragging three linebackers to the first-down marker, all the way to a bumbling catch off the foot to line up in a game-winning position.
We were right back to the expectations. Brady can no longer handle the spotlight at the ripe age of 37 years old, and the Seahawks are just too young and too flashy for anyone to dethrone them.
And then, the young, flashy boys threw the dumbest, but most entertaining interception of all time, Brady smiled and broke yet another NFL record, and then took home his fourth Super Bowl ring.
It's a classic tortoise and the hare situation, to some degree.
The Patriots are old; their coach looks like he just rolled out of bed; the players throw fits when they don't get their way and when they do smash a team in the AFC championship, the integrity of their ball pumping management is questioned.
The Seahawks are fast. They have a quarterback who can gain 12 yards without thinking twice and are likely the most televised and talked-about pro-team for an array of reasons.
Fast doesn't always mean wise, though.
We're talking about the Patriots. Julian Edelman threw a game-winning touchdown pass against the Baltimore Ravens on arguably the best flea-flicker play in any playoff matchup.
Belichick checked in an extra eligible receiver and pissed Harbaugh off so badly that it caused a Ravens penalty minutes later. Yesterday was the Pats' sixth trip to the Super Bowl since 2001; they're not just winging it.
Pete Carroll, Seattle's OC, and every Seahawk on the field faltered under the assumption that their team was about to win the championship.
If they were in a game of chess, it was the equivalent of calling “check,” jumping up out of their seats and wiping the pieces off the board in celebration, not recognizing that there was still a play left on the other side and “check” just means being close.
The play call didn't lose the game for the Seahawks, but it reiterated the generalizations that both teams functioned under all year.
The Patriots are doubted into heartbreaking losses and the Hawks are rushing through, knocking off opponents and smiling pretty afterward. Patriots = tortoise.
The journey was steady, and laying the groundwork of allowing a team to think it could throw a Super Bowl touchdown, game-winning pass, a yard away from the end zone isn't a coincidence. Seahawks = hare.
Grappling for a second chance, they quickly fell for the bait and jumped offside before brawling into ejection to solidify the win for the Patriots. Faster isn't always better, and it certainly isn't always wiser.
So, yes, the Super Bowl was perfect. Not because of one single act or the winner, the fight, the polka dot bikinis or my date with a different type of audience. It was perfect because of the way it all played out.
Tom Brady is getting his third MVP award after being deemed “finished” four months ago. He's not my hero, but I would tell kids around the world he's a pretty good one to have if it means sticking with the game you love in spite of what others say about you.
I like the Seahawks and the Patriots. I love football. Everything came together yesterday for a perfect display of cruel irony. Thank you, Super Bowl XLIX.