Monday, February 08, 2010

Saints, Sinners, Losers, Winners: Super Bowl-ing in Nashville

Nope, I have no problem with the Saints winning the Super Bowl. Good for them, and always cool to see a previous non-SB winner join the esteemed club.

Now let’s get working on the Browns, Lions, Eagles, Bengals, Titans, Texans, Jaguars, Panthers, Falcons, Chargers, Vikings, Bills, Cardinals and Seahawks. (Man, that’s a LOT of teams who have never won a Super Bowl in a supposedly parity-rich league.)

But pardon me if there are lots of things about the event that require correcting. Like bandwagon sportwriters saying how “brilliant” Sean Payton’s second-half-opening onsides kick was.

Things are always brilliant when they work. If it hadn’t, and Manning takes the Colts down for an immediate score, and the Colts go up 17-6, then Payton looks like a complete dumbass who just short-circuited the little bit of momentum his team had built at the end of the second quarter when they got lucky and got a chance to kick a field goal that they should’ve kicked four minutes earlier but didn’t because their “brilliant” coach decided to go for a touchdown on 4th and goal in a very close game—and failed.

If you want to say that Payton’s aggressive stance overall turned the tide in the Saints’ favor, I won’t disagree. But really, it was probably the Saints’ defense that won the game, forcing Manning and the Colts to punt at times when they normally might have put points on the board. The FG miss by Matt Stover didn’t help, either. There’s irony there, too, since Stover was acquired as a fill-in for Adam Vinatieri, and he was never expected, at his advanced age (42), to be hitting long field goals. Stover proved still very good within 40 yards, and he helped the Colts a lot this year, but he’s not the guy you want attempting 51-yarders. Big games turn on little things.

Funny, Joseph Addai was running lights out for the Colts—13 for 77, with a TD and some punishing yards—and one wonders why the Colts didn’t press the game on the ground. It probably never occurs to them actually. Maybe it will next time around.

The Saints’ running stats were lame, by the way—51 yards in 18 attempts. Overall, the Colts yielded 100 fewer yards than the Saints, and their D seemed to be exerting maximum effort. But, like in love and in getting a cool job, timing is everything.

The Saints played well, and when Manning threw the INT—he does do that from time to time, and the law of averages caught up with him—it was over. What happens if Manning drives his team down the field for a game-tying TD, possibly forcing overtime, is a question we’ll never get answered.

On the media front, I was relieved of hearing Jim Nance’s play-by-play due to a glitch with my cable that gives me picture but no sound on CBS. Fine with me. Fact is, I don’t think Nance is any good. Yeah, he’s handsome and has that warm, resonant voice, but truth is, I don’t think of him as a “sports guy.” He’s always filling up the air with personal sidebars and shit that some PA probably handed to him earlier in the week. Then they send Nance-y Boy down onto the field afterwards to pass out the hardware. He’s soft. Like those “legacy” speeches he makes about the Master’s while tinkling piano music plays in the background. (Those make me ill, too, actually.)

So I listened to the radio while I watched the telly, and you can’t beat Marv Albert and Boomer Esiason on Westwood One’s national feed. Marv may be an acknowledged sex pervert—for which I would never judge him—but he sure calls an intense game. He even makes an incomplete pass sound good. And Boomer is not bad as an analyst. Marv just lets Boomer go on his merry way and sticks to the play-by-play, and the effect is great.

Now, as to half-time entertainment, well, I left my house around then to get a burger and some other necessary game supplies. I only, thankfully, caught about a minute of The Who, and I’m here to say definitively that I hate geezer rockers, and that if the best the SB committee can come up with is a 45-year-old non-American band, half of whose original members are dead (Moon and Entwistle), then our pop culture is in really sad shape. Worse still, over the weekend, I heard moron Mike Golic state on ESPN Radio that he was hoping they’d get Kenny Chesney for next year’s SB halftime in Dallas. God help us all.

Allrighty then! See you at the draft in April.

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