I needed a day.
I needed to collect my thoughts. I needed to process one or two things. I needed to watch at least eighteen replays of Malcolm Butler’s interception…you know, just to make sure it really happened. Because, it really happened right?
Okay, cool. I was pretty sure it had.
So, with that being said- I needed a day to fully comprehend that the Patriots, the mighty and demonized New England Patriots, had in fact won the Super Bowl. They had won in dramatic fashion because that’s how the Brady/Belichick Pats do Super Bowls and they had pulled a win out of their collective asses thanks in large part to one of the biggest what the eff coaching decisions of all time. They won, came back from being down ten points, overcame yet another soul-crushing circus catch, bypassed dancing sharks and for the first time since 2004, ended the season on top.
I just needed a day to process the whole thing.
Given everything that transpired Sunday, I would think that’s understandable.
And let’s go back to Sunday, starting with the pregame. Did I spend the majority of Sunday locked in a panic room, scrawling decrees and epitaphs on the wall, making little voodoo dolls of various members of the Seattle Seahawks? No. Truthfully no. Unless you’re question is dealing in metaphors. Then the answer might be…maybe. But whatever, instead of watching ass clown pundits question the legacy and track record of the Patriots for what will most likely be the biggest con job hype scandal ever, I watched the most recent episode of Austin City Limits, featuring two of my favorite bands, the Black Keys and J Roddy Walston and the Business. Screw you pregame nonsense, bluesy rock ‘n roll made much more sense.
As the game grew closer, I can’t say I was in the best of states- mentally and emotionally. Upon reaching myself for comment, my response was perhaps, somewhat dramatic.
But that’s not to say there wasn’t some truth to it. There was a lot of truth to it, baby! A shit load of truth. I had wanted the Patriots to win long before any talk of deflated footballs surfaced, way before they thoroughly demolished the Colts in the AFC Championship game and just escaped the clutches of yet another Ravens’ game. This went all the way back to 2007. This goes back to Spygate.
Spy (expletive deleted) Gate.
Google Spygate if you have questions. Then read this article by Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report. It’s okay, I can wait if you want to do it now.
Since 2007 and Spygate, everything good the Patriots have accomplished has come with an asterisk. If they won, it’s because they cheated. If they lost, it’s because they weren’t allowed to cheat. It doesn’t matter that after getting busted for Spygate that year, the Patriots almost pulled off a perfect season. That doesn’t matter. Just like how even if the Patriots purposely deflated footballs for the Colts’ game, they played the second half without them and out-scored the Colts 28-0. Facts are unfortunately selective and those facts get thrown out with the bath water when it comes to the Patriots. But just to be clear here, this is partially a circumstance of their own doing because Belichick did break the rules when it came to videotaping other teams’ coaches and he got busted for it. I’m not naive enough to think they are blameless unicorns here.
While not naive, I am spiteful, and as the negative barrage of human feces rained down on the Patriots following Spygate, For Spite was the main reason why I wanted them to win again. I wanted them to shut up all the trash talking, mouth-breathing naysayers. I wanted them to win a championship after Spygate so that even though I very much don’t feel the actions of Spygate helped them win the first three, they could still hang their hat on the retort- well, we still won after we got busted so go Eff yourself, San Diego. Of course the Patriots had two chances to do this and lost both times in equally heart-breaking fashion. Which loss was worst? Easy, the first one, the one with the David Tyree catch, the one that ruined the perfect season, the one that would have been the ultimate middle finger to the detractors and the blood-thirsty mob of anti-Patriots’ venom merchants. That loss was tough. The second loss, not as tough, but definitely not pleasant.
And then there were the times they didn’t even get to the Super Bowl.
2009: the blowout loss to the Ravens in the Wild Card round.
2010: the heart-breaking, sick to your stomach loss to the Jets in the Divisional round.
2012: another loss to the Ravens, this time in the Conference Championship game.
2013: losing to the Broncos and Peyton Manning in the Conference Championship game.
Is karma a real thing? Is karma why the Patriots would never win another Super Bowl with Brady and Belichick? Is karma really that much a son of a gun?
With each season-ending loss, frustration mounted. The ticks on the clock of Brady’s career seemed to be getting louder and louder. Then this season started off so terribly that it really kind of felt like the final bell was ringing. That the glory days were officially over. That another Super Bowl just wasn’t going to happen, at least not for the Patriots with Brady.
By now you know that after that disastrous Chiefs’ game in week four, the Patriots rolled through the rest of their season with relative impunity, with the exception of a close loss to the Packers in week 13. Heading into the playoffs I for one had adopted a why not us line of thought when it came to surmising the Pats’ chances of making it and/or winning the Super Bowl. It was a line of thought devoid of science, emotion and cautious reasoning. It quite frankly seemed like common sense- why not the Patriots?
And this brings us back to Sunday, back to glass cases of emotion, back to John Legend, back to Idina Menzel, back to Super Bowl 49.
Let’s go Pats.
The first quarter was largely a mere blip on the radar, the only moment of consequence being an terrible interception by Brady that pumped the breaks on a solid drive by the Patriots. The refs also missed a pretty blatant roughing the kicker penalty when a dude on the Seahawks went flying into Pats’ punter Ryan Allen’s left leg, his plant leg. Not a good start to the game from the perspective of the refs are no talent ass clowns.
The second quarter, the game got going. Both teams traded touch downs. The Pats got one from Brandon LaFell and one from Gronk.
I love Gronk. I really do.
Giddy Up America’s top 5 Favorite Patriots
5. Shane Vereen
4. Julian Edelman
3. Rob Gronkowski
2. Vince Wilfork
1. Tom Brady
Honorable Mention: Darrelle Revis, Rob Ninkovich, Jamie Collins
We go into halftime all tied up, which oddly enough was how my insides felt at that point, all tied up. Concerns: the Seahawks hanging around, Russell Wilson’s deep ball, the looming threat of another Brady interception, beers going down to fast.
Halftime Show Word Association
Katy Perry: delightful
Dancing Sharks: better than real sharks
Missy Elliot: a national treasure
Lenny Kravitz: him?
Dancing Beach Balls: regulation size
Who will be the performer at next year’s Super Bowl, which I should add is Super Bowl 50 and is in San Francisco. According to My Top Sports Books, Coldplay are the favorites with 5/1 to odds. My prediction? It’s going to be either Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood or…or…uh…someone else. Maybe it will be Coldplay. The NFL does have a thing for London.
But who should it be?
The Case for the Roots
The Roots are easily the best backing band alive and have gotten even more versatile while serving as the house band for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The band also curates and performs at the annual 4th of July concert in Philadelphia, where they back everyone from Nicki Minaj, Ed Sheeran, Hall & Oates and more. America, the Roots can do it all! So, let’s have the Roots curate the Halftime show and because it’s the 50th Super Bowl, let’s have them to a mini-tribute to previous halftime shows. The early Super Bowls featured college and high school marching bands, so let’s have a few of those. The Super Bowls of the eighties were mostly Disney-helmed productions so we’ll skip them. Same with the theme shows and the Up with People shows. Shit got real in 1993, when Michael Jackson performed at the Rose Bowl, so the Roots could incorporate a nod to that. And they could incorporate some of the better moments from the past fifteen years- things like U2’s performance, Prince, Bruce Springsteen and more.
Or whatever, just have Taylor Swift. You’re probably going to do that anyway.
Back to the game.
The third quarter?
No, I didn’t care for the third quarter. I didn’t talk during the third quarter. I didn’t move during the third quarter. The third quarter looked like it was the beginning of the end for the Pats and everything seemed to be coming up lime green. The Seahawks’ defense was getting chesty and the wheels on Gronk’s party bus seemed to be falling off. I held our dog Lucy tight (against her best wishes) and whispered into ear- we’re going to get through this together, Lucy. We just need something good to happen.
We just need something good to happen…
The fourth quarter was a different ball game. Smelled the same as the last game, but dude, it just felt different. All of sudden the Pats’ offense was rolling, thanks in large part to Julian Edelman, who just kept making big plays, possibly none bigger than the go ahead touchdown with just over two minutes to play, a play he may or may not remember thanks to the concussion he may or may not have suffered a few plays earlier.
Now we go to the two minute warning, Pats up 28-24. My heart full, my eyes clear. All the positive emotions I had ran rough shot through my body like gang busters. For the first time since the second quarter I started thinking that the Pats winning was possible, that yes, they could win the Super Bowl. I felt…
…the need to yell swear words like a frightened turtle.
Russell Wilson’s dead eyes as he strode onto the field looked the slow-marching forces of impending doom. He was fear-inducing, just the sight of him made me think that the end of days was near- similar to how I used to feel about Derek Jeter and currently sometimes feel about Joe Flacco and Eli Manning. If anyone could march the Seahawks down the field and win the game, it could be him.
My positive emotions ran to the shed to hide.
All of my emotions soon followed.
Because soon I would feel dead inside.
Well, if we’re going to lose at least we’re going to lose because of some bat shit insane freak play again…
That thought ran on repeat through my brain. It ran through my eyes, my ears, my heart, my soul, my limbs. I could do nothing but sit back lifelessly and wait for the Seahawks to score. Sure, they could be stopped and maybe they wouldn’t score. Or maybe they would, but would score too early and leave Brady too much time to get into field goal range. But that would require the kind of deep-passing game that hasn’t been seen in New England since the days of Randy Moss. But still, anything was possible, anything could happen.
Not this time.
Not this time because the Seahawks, after getting to the one yard line on a Marshawn Lynch run, elected to pass it on second down. And not only did they decide to pass, the decide to pass it to the middle of the field, on a quick slant route. And that’s the part the baffles me. You want to pass it? Fine. But go to the outside, go somewhere where throwing it away is an option. Throwing it in the middle of the field, you’re second best option is an incomplete pass. Out of nowhere though, Malcolm Butler, a dude from a Division Two school, who was undrafted, saved the day. It didn’t seem like it really happened. It all happened so fast. It all, it all just happened.
All the positive emotions…
The Patriots won. They won the (expletive deleted) Super Bowl. They won without cameras, deflated footballs or any other nefarious bullshit you want to attach to them. They won because they beat the other team fair and square.
Champions for the first time since 2004.
Patriots’ Super Bowl Victories Ranked
2001 will always be number one, but this one, 2014, wedges it’s way into the two hole. In a way, it felt somewhat similar to the Red Sox winning in 2013, in that it brought so many good feelings back with it. It was the Return of Fun. And it was much needed. The Sox were on the verge of falling into the abyss of mediocrity, the Pats on the cusp of the end of an era, with a certain hint of hopelessness in the air. Then it all changed. For one night, everything was good again. Save the hand-holding and accusations and talk of the future for another day. Save the ill will, save the pain, save the heart break. Save the missed opportunities, save the lamenting, save the bad swears, save the avoidance of sports talk radio, save the there’s always next year bullshit. Save it all.
Save it because dude it happened, the Patriots won the Super Bowl.
Let the good times roll.