The Super Bowl is set. Super Bowl 51 in Houston will feature the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots. It’s early; we still have almost two weeks to go, but let’s not let that stop us from jumping into this year’s match-up.
1. The over/under is 60 points. Is it too much for me to want the Patriots to put up 60 by themselves? Asking for a friend.
2. The Patriots are playing in their ninth Super Bowl; their 7th in the Brady/Belichick era. As a result, your co-worker who doesn’t really care all that much about the game likely responded in one of the following ways upon hearing the news:
- Aren’t they always in it?
- Doesn’t it get boring?
3. Yes, again. No, unfortunately. Come on. No, it doesn’t get boring.
4. People should be stoked the Pats are back in it for one simple reason: the Patriots put on an exciting Super Bowl. Just look at the scores of their past six appearances.
- Super Bowl XXXVI: Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17
- Super Bowl XXXVIII: Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29
- Super Bowl XXXIX: Patriots 24, Philadelphia Eagles 21
- Super Bowl XLII: New York Giants 17, Patriots 14
- Super Bowl XLVI: New York Giants 21, Patriots 17
- Super Bowl XLIX: Patriots 28, Seattle Seahawks 24
Fun fact: those are all close games and each one was decided in the closing minutes. So settle down, America.
5. The scores of the last two Super Bowls not featuring the Patriots? In 2014 the Seahawks beat the Broncos 43 to 8 and last year, the Broncos beat the Panthers 24 to 10 in a game that was as boring as the score would indicate.
6. So yeah, instead of getting all up in arms about the Patriots being in the Super Bowl again, maybe breathe a sigh of relief because there’s a better chance than not it’ll be a good game.
7. You should also take a knee and reflect on the greatness of Tom Brady. Yes, I am a Patriots’ fan. Yes, I believe Tom Brady is a damn fine individual. Yes, I believe I would risk my life if it meant saving Tom Brady’s life. But all of that aside, dude is the greatest, if not one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play football in the National Football League. If he beats the Falcons, he is the greatest. The argument is done. We are witnessing sports greatness and that’s something everyone should get behind, regardless of your party affiliation. Listen, I did not care for LeBron James but I eventually came around. Be the bigger man (or woman) America and embrace Brady. I bet he gives great hugs.
8. Tom Brady probably gives the greatest hugs.
9. Matt Ryan deserves some love too. Remember, he came to the Falcons to help erase the stain that was Michael Vick after Vick was busted for dog-fighting. He had to take over for an incredibly popular athlete in an incredibly strained and fraught time. By all accounts, he should have failed and the Falcons should be on their second or third quarterback by now. But they’re not and even though he’s definitely had some bumps along the way, he’s eventually become the franchise quarterback they were hoping he’d be.
10. Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford, Jay Cutler. They were all kind of next to each other in the lower second, third tier of quarterbacks. With a win over the Pats, Matt can throw deuces at those jabronis and go hang out with Joe Flacco and spend their blissful days asking each other if they’re elite or not.
11. Joe Flacco is not elite.
12. I think part of Ryan’s problem was his nickname. You need to be a baller to get by with the nickname Matty Ice. Even on his best days that nicknamed seemed borderline ridiculous.
13. Worth making a note of: the Patriots are 2-0 when playing against teams named after birds in the Super Bowl.
14. The Falcons are named after falcons, which are a bird.
15. The Patriots are less successful against teams whose names denote strength and power in some form or the other (i.e. the Bears, the Packers, the Giants.)
16. The Falcons also lost to the Packers in the Super Bowl.
17. Nope, that was the Broncos. Disregard item 16.
18. Please strike item 16 from the record.
19. The Broncos, led by John Elway, beat the Falcons 34-19 in Super Bowl XXXIII.
20. Here’s a fun little tidbit from that game, courtesy of Wikipedia (which means there’s a 40% chance it’s not true.)
“On the night before the Super Bowl, Falcons safety Eugene Robinson was arrested for solicitation of prostitution. While driving alone in a rented car along a downtown Miami street, he approached a female undercover police officer posing as a prostitute and offered $40 for oral sex. Although he was released from jail and allowed to play the game, he was widely denounced by the press and fans for the incident. Ironically, on the morning of the day Robinson was arrested for the incident, he had received the Bart Starr Award for his ‘high moral character.'”
21. There are so many times when the word “ironically” could be replaced with “unfortunately.”
22. Early prediction for the game: Patriots 35, Falcons 31
23. Or…Patriots 30, Falcons 28
24. No, I’d go with item 22.
25. The Pats do have a better defense, but has been noted, that defense really hasn’t been truly tested this year. But, that’s not their fault. You play who is on the schedule, who lines up on the other side of the ball. What should matter is that regardless of who that was, the Pats shut them down.
26. Except for the Seahawks, who despite being named after a bird, beat the Patriots back in November. The Seahawks were pretty legit at the time and had their way with the Patriots. I don’t think you can read anything into that game though. Why? Because I don’t want to read anything into that game.
27. Given the success of Atlanta, a Falcons’ win could really cement 2016 as Atlanta’s year.
28. Wait, what else has happened to Atlanta that would constitute 2016 being the city’s year if the Falcons won? I feel like that’s a thing but I’m not sure it should be a thing. And hey, I loved Atlanta, but does one hit TV show about a city and that city’s team winning a championship mean a year was yours? It seems like a stretch to me.
29. Ha, good thing no one from Atlanta will read this.
30. I mean, if Outkast had reunited and the Hawks did something amazing and the Braves had a memorable July and like, two or three other things happened, I could see the idea of 2016 being Atlanta’s year making sense.
31. I’d be pumped for a new Outkast album by the way.
32. If A Tribe Called Quest can do it, why can’t Outkast? That seems like a perfectly reasonable question.
33. What if Tribe and Outkast joined forces and called themselves A Tribe Called Outkast? That’d be pretty dope.
34. I’m prepared to be sufficiently okay with Lady Gaga’s half time show. It’ll be on that Katy Perry level.
35. I still feel like Coldplay got the shaft last year and were unfairly shit on. They did fine!
36. Lady Gaga really was the only option to perform this year. Who else could the NFL have gotten?
37. I bet Taylor Swift does it next year. She’ll probably release an album this fall and the timing of Super Bowl 52 will be too good to be true.
38. You could probably make an argument that Taylor Swift is the New England Patriots of pop music. Very successful, consistent, constantly evolving and changing with the times, easy to hate, obnoxious, associated with super models. If someone from Slate is reading this, you’re welcome. Maybe just give me some credit in a footnote or something.
39. I’d say there is a 30% chance this game is a blow out. But I’m not sure who would be blowing out who in that situation.
40. If the Pats were to get blown out, it’d be interesting/potentially heart-breaking to see what that would mean for Brady’s legacy.
41. On the flip side though, if the Pats just simply demolish the Falcons, how could you even find a way to question Tom Brady’s greatness. Shut up, Internet. I know you probably could. That’s why no one likes you and only hangs out with you when they need something.
42. For the record, I don’t think it’ll be a blow-out. Both offenses are too good and both defenses aren’t that good.
43. Call me crazy, but this white jersey = success thing stuck with me.
44. Any sane sports fan would follow that completely insane logic.
45. Ha, sports are dumb.
46. Patriots X Factor: Dion Lewis
47. Falcons X Factor: Mohammed Sanu
48. If I had to put money on anything, it’d be that the Falcons come out slow and look rattled, overcome by the moment. It happens all the time. The less experienced team rolls into the Super Bowl, feeling all big and mighty and then get lost in the bright lights. The second quarter will be huge for both teams.
49. When your team is winning, the longest quarter is always the third quarter.
50. If a gate emerges at some point between now and the game and that gate involves the Patriots, Facebook won’t have the bandwith to handle the amount of rage I’m prepared to unload. On the plus side, at least I won’t be posting stuff about Trump.
51. If that gate happens and it involves Trump, I might walk into a wall.