First of all, the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday. How many people are still drunk this morning? Or if not still drunk, hungover?
I am not among them, but I certainly have been in that situation. And if the Green Bay Packers had played in the Super Bowl, regardless of whether they won or lost, you can bet your ass I would still be celebrating (or drowning my sorrows) and thus, doing absolutely nothing today. It’s not like it’s an afternoon game where you’ve got the evening to get it out of your system.
What’s holding this up? Stupidity?
Anyway, that was a great game. The first overtime game in Super Bowl history left me pretty speechless.
Here are several thoughts on the New England Patriots’ win over the Atlanta Falcons and how they pertain to the Green Bay Packers.
The Easy Road
We all kind of like to think that the Packers should be like the Patriots. That they should be in the championship game every year and be in the Super Bowl most years. That would be great, but I tend to believe the Packers have a tougher road simply because they play in the NFC. If you think about it, who the hell is always good like the Patriots are in the AFC? Pittsburgh is probably the closest team, but they are rarely elite. I look at the NFC and I see that Seattle is always strong. The Giants always seem to be good since Eli has been around. Although they’ve fallen off in recent years, the Saints. Hell, one of the other teams in the NFC North is always good, which makes winning the division hard. Who the hell is any good in the AFC East? Just the Patriots. They have an easier road every year because of the AFC. They play those weak-ass teams and secure home field advantage. Aaron Rodgers was right — the Packers should be worrying about home field advantage in the playoffs, but they don’t have the easy road to it every year that the Patriots do.
The Lombardi Argument
Patriots coach Bill Belichick now has five Super Bowl wins. That means the idiots calling for the NFL to rename the Lombardi Trophy for Belichick are only going to get louder. This was the primary reason I was cheering against the Patriots in this game. Anyway, I would still point out these stats to those people. Lombardi has five championships. Belichick lost two Super Bowls among the five he’s won. Lombardi was 9-1 in the postseason. Lombardi’s overall winning percentage is .738 vs. Belichick’s .673. Belichick has coached for 22 years to Lombardi’s 10. So yeah, Belichick should have more Super Bowl wins at this point. I’m not denying the guy is a great coach, but people should look at all the facts. These idiots just want to rush to judgment.
Changing of the Guard
Tom Brady certainly had an argument as the greatest quarterback of all time before this game, but in my mind, that guy was still Joe Montana. Not anymore. As I’ve said many times, I value championships as part of what makes a great quarterback. That’s why Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning aren’t even in this conversation. Brady now has five and the way he pulled out this last one leaves no doubt in my mind. The score was 28-12 when the Patriots got the ball back after that Matt Ryan fumble. That’s when I said to myself, the Patriots are going to come back and win this game. I could just feel it. Tom Brady, hat’s off, man.
Shades of the NFC Championship
I’m talking about the game the Packers played in Seattle, which we’d all like to forget. I’m also talking about strategy. You’ve got yourself a nice lead. What do you do to bring home the win? As you’ll recall, the Packers went conservative pretty much across the board in that game, from running the football to Morgan Burnett’s slide on the interception. Mike McCarthy caught hell for that, but as I always point out — Aaron Rodgers was playing like crap and didn’t deserve to have the ball in his hands. Atlanta faced a similar situation in the Super Bowl. Momentum had or was swinging, but they held a nice lead. What did they do? They did what the Packers didn’t. They put the ball in the hands of their MVP quarterback, even though their running game was having success. That obviously didn’t work either, as the Falcons didn’t score but seven points in the second half. It was really two plays by Matt Ryan that ultimately cost them the game. The fumble was obviously one, but not much he could have done about that. On the following drive, Ryan took a 12-yard loss on a sack shortly after hitting a big play to Julio Jones. That was a pretty dumb play because he could have thrown the ball away. It moved the ball back to the Patriots’ 35. A holding call followed and then a punt. A field goal on that drive and the game was probably over. I say it was the right call, though. You put the ball in the hands of your MVP, unless that guy is playing like butt and Ryan wasn’t.
Two things we should look at in terms of how the Patriots build their roster. First, they utilize all means in doing so, unlike the Packers. That’s the obvious point. Second, they always have these role players who step up. On Sunday, it was Badger great James White, who set a Super Bowl record with 14 catches and scored three touchdowns. At other times, there have been guys like Chris Hogan or LeGarrette Blount who have stepped up. None of these guys are great players. You could say it’s the system. You could say it’s coaching. You could say it’s scheme. Maybe all of those. What I think is clear, however, is the Patriots somehow get more, often, it seems, out of less than the Packers do, particularly in the playoffs. Can we identify why that is? I think, to a degree, the Packers are looking at the wrong kind of players. You can’t construct a team entirely of lunch pail guys, but it sure seems like the Packers don’t have enough guys who will just do their job properly or step up when called upon.