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- By far the most irritating thing going into Sunday’s championship games were the endless stories about the cold gametime temperatures expected in Foxboro and Green Bay. On Saturday evening, a story on the home page of CNN/SI hollered: “Giants/Pack Unlikely to be Coldest Game Ever.” A mere ten hours later: “Giants/Pack Getting Set to Play in Frigid Lambeau.” Are you serious? Nobody can come up with something better than these trite articles. Absolutely, weather was a factor in the games yesterday but the week long brouhaha was completely overblown. With that said, it’s with an impending sense of doom that I mentally prepare for two weeks of God-awful reporting on the Super Bowl. Thinking back on it, Hunter S. Thompson’s The Great Shark Hunt includes a piece about his covering of the Super Bowl back in the early 70s. Even then, sports reporters had nothing to do in the week(s) leading up to the Super Bowl. Thompson’s tales is laugh out loud funny.
- The roughing-the-passer call against Green Bay in the third quarter was exactly what that penalty used to be before the phrases “blow to the head” and “hit below the knee” entered the fray. Ten years ago, roughing-the-passer was a hit on the quarterback well after he had released the ball. It was such a foreign experience to see a legitimate roughing-the-passer call that confusion reigned. Fans at Lambeau Field were understandably furious with the call and Fox showed the play several times, with Troy Aikman and Joe Buck debating the penalty. I swear Joe Buck was thinking: “Wait a second, they didn’t touch his head. Is that still a penalty?”
- Peter King wrote in his Monday Morning Quarterback that he believes the early line of 13 in favor of the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII is ridiculously high and he sees it coming down. I said this following the Giants win, I think this Super Bowl will have one of the largest spreads in the forty-two year history of the event. I am not sure it will reach the epic number of 18 that the 49ers were giving the Chargers in 1995 but 15 or so seems reasonable. Though, the Patriots inability to cover the spread in the last five weeks might give me pause.
- What sweet redemption for Lawrence Tynes to hit the game-winning 47 yard field goal after missing a pair of short ones in the fourth quarter. Sometimes, it’s a bit easier to hit the one nobody expects you to make, isn’t it Lawrence?
- I really didn’t care for all the shots of the Manning family watching in the skybox on Sunday high above Lambeau Field. And thinking on it, the Mannings are rather spoiled. Peyton wins a Super Bowl last year, Eli silences his doubters in New York by taking the G-men to a Super Bowl (in which they are soundly defeated). All around, not a bad twelve months for that clan. The family patriarch, Archie is probably wondering what it’s like to play for a Super Bowl bound team after all those years suffering for the Saints. We should call them the Manning clan, they’re from the South and the extended family seems to travel as a singular unit.
- As for the Chargers and Patriots, that game was decided in the red zone where the Chargers boosted Nate Kaeding’s confidence by settling for chip shot field goals instead of touchdowns. That’s obvious, but I want to take a look at the biggest play of the game in my opinion. Midway third quarter, the Chargers are driving after a stunning second interception of Tom Brady. Third-and-one from the Patriots 5. A touchdown vaults San Diego into the lead. Chargers line up heavy, allowing the Patriots to crowd the line of scrimmage. San Diego’s RB Michael Turner gets it going off tackle left but penetration forces him further outside. DONE. He loses a yard and the Chargers are forced to settle for 3 in lieu of 4 th and a long two. Why not run between the tackles? At worst, a run up the middle virtually assures you a doable fourth-and-one. Instead of a shocking two point lead midway through the third quarter, the Chargers still trail and the tone of the game remains the same: the Patriots are still in control.