Super Bowl lives up to expectations

Posted 2/15/22

Although I am still not quite used to watching the Super Bowl as a totally unbiased fan, it was refreshing to enjoy the experience with no dog in the fight. For 20 years, Tom Brady and the Patriots were either in the big game or were knocked off by one

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Super Bowl lives up to expectations


Although I am still not quite used to watching the Super Bowl as a totally unbiased fan, it was refreshing to enjoy the experience with no dog in the fight.

For 20 years, Tom Brady and the Patriots were either in the big game or were knocked off by one of the teams that made it. It was like that nearly every season.

Even last year, Brady was with a new team, but he was still present which gave me a little something extra. That gave the entire region something to tune into.

This year’s Super Bowl? I genuinely did not care who won or lost, and it was a great feeling that made it a lot of fun.

First off, what a game. It was truly a seesaw battle between two teams that very much deserved to be there. The Rams were the sexy pick heading into the year with all of their talent and free agent additions, including quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Bengals were a true Cinderella story. I can’t think of a single person that even picked them to reach the playoffs heading into the fall.

Stafford, the veteran that paid his dues and had 13 years of experience under his belt versus Joe Burrow, the second-year stud that has been taking the league by storm. It was a great matchup that came down to the final two minutes.

The game was everything that you hope a Super Bowl would be. Back and forth, good football being played, solid officiating. Sure, the refs did blow their whistles a little bit too much in the fourth quarter, no doubt, but overall I really did not have a major issue with the zebras. Even on the missed facemask penalty that resulted in the Tee Higgins touchdown … the Rams ended up winning and that call was early enough to not destroy LA’s gameplan. Not that it wasn’t a missed call, but overall, I felt the refs could have been much worse.

I am always a “Glass is half full,” type of person. When things don’t go my way, or something is new, I always try to find the positive. Or I at least try to.

As much as I miss the days of watching the Pats competing for titles. As much as I was disappointed by the team’s early playoff exit. As much as I doubt that the team will regain its championship form next year … I didn’t mind it all that much when watching the game this time around.

I am a fan of good sports. Regardless of which sport or activity it is, I find pleasure in watching high-quality action between evenly-matched up teams and athletes. That’s exactly what Sunday was. Two of the very best football teams in the world putting on a show.

I felt zero stress, no frustration, nothing but enjoyment. I was a fan doing what a fan is supposed to do. Going along for the ride as an onlooker.

Don’t get me wrong. I would absolutely trade it for a Patriots Super Bowl in which I’m glued to the TV and invested in every single moment. To say I wouldn’t would just be me in denial. However, if it does take the Pats a few more years to rebuild, I’m not going to complain. They won six titles in 20 years, they have bought my patience for the time being.

In terms of my thoughts on the Rams and their victory, I am happy for Stafford first and foremost.

During his 12 years in Detroit, many people questioned his ability and his winning pedigree as he never won a playoff game. Not that I felt he was elite, but I always gave him the benefit of the doubt considering the Lions are one of the worst organizations in the league. Tom Brady would probably be the only quarterback capable of bringing that team to the promised land.

So to see Stafford find a new home on a winning team with the pieces he needed to succeed, I was happy to see him break through and establish himself as a winner.

I was also happy for Aaron Donald, Andrew Whitworth and Cooper Kupp. Three elite players that deserved to be rewarded. As a sports fan, nothing makes my heart ache more than when a hall of fame player has to retire without a championship. I’m not being silly, either. I truly feel sadness in many of those cases.

Dan Marino, Charles Barkley, Ted Williams, Jim Kelly, Allen Iverson. It pains me to think that those types of generational talents never got a ring. The Bengals have a few players that have paid their dues as well, but Joe Burrow has a lot more career left in him than Stafford does. Burrow will be back, but this could very well be those Rams’ last chance.

My last takeaway will be regarding the Patriots, and it’s not a good one. Ignore my “Glass is half full,” approach for a moment.

Watching Stafford and Burrow, as well as guys like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, makes me a little concerned for Mac Jones.

Sure, Jones had a solid rookie year and took the Patriots to the postseason. However, there is no denying that all of those aforementioned signal callers have an X-factor that we did not really see in Jones.

Jones is smart, accurate with the ball, and makes good decisions. Beyond that, though, did he really do anything eye opening this past year? I’d have to say no.

Of course I am not jumping ship on the Jones project. He has promise and showed enough potential to get another crack at it next year. My point, though, is that for the Patriots to return to the Super Bowl, the jump for Jones will have to be significant. Those other top quarterbacks have everything he has, but they have that little something more that radiates through the TV screen. We’ll see if Jones finds it in 2022.

My Pitch, column


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