I have a lot of thoughts on the Super Bowl, so rather than try to shoehorn them all into some kind of column, I’m going to take the lazy way out and post them as random thoughts. Let’s just get right to it:
– Rob Gronkowski was a complete non-factor. In pregame warmups, he had absolutely no explosion getting out of his stance whatsoever. However, although I personally didn’t get to see him run and cut, the reports were that he looked OK running and cutting. Obviously, that wasn’t the case during the actual game. The Giants recognized it early, and didn’t give him any kind of special attention at all. In fact, they were often covering him with Chase Blackburn, which would be an absolute matchup disaster for the Giants with a healthy Gronk.
– I was very surprised to see the Giants trust Jerrel Jernigan returning kicks. In one game during the preseason, Jernigan attempted to field 5 punts. He muffed three of them, and fumbled a 4th. And yet, in Super Bowl XLVI, he was the first player to touch the football.
– The safety was just an atrocious, careless play by Tom Brady. How hard is it to throw the ball out of bounds in the general vicinity of one of your receivers? He had all day to get rid of the football, and chose to throw it 45 yards downfield, not within 20 yards of another human. It was certainly an unconventional intentional grounding call, but it was the right call. Kudos to referee John Parry for having the stones to make that call. It would have been easy not to throw the flag there. Nobody would have really complained all that much. But he did, and was right. I’ve been slamming the NFL referees all season, but they were excellent yesterday. There was a pass interference call (or no-call) that could have gone either way, but I thought they reffed a near perfect game.
– The flats were open for the Giants ALL NIGHT. If Eli didn’t like what he saw downfield, he dumped it to the flats to Jake Ballard, Henry Hynoski, Bear Pascoe, and Ahmad Bradshaw. It was there all game. The Pats simply didn’t cover the flats, and it killed them.
– Earlier in the week, I noted that the Giants haven’t fumbled since Week 13, more than 2 months ago. They fumbled three times yesterday. Two of those fumbles bounced the right way right back to them. The third the Pats recovered, but the play was negated by the Pats having too many men on the field. My wife, not an avid football aficionado, asked “How could they have 12 players on the field?” I didn’t have a good answer for her.
– I thought the Giants tried to get far too cute with Jason Pierre-Paul. By putting him on the interior, you get his ability to get those tree limb arms of his in the air to bat passes at the line, but if I’m Tom Brady, I’d much rather have JPP trying to play volleyball than coming at me off the edge. Furthermore, the defensive play call on the Danny Woodhead TD was baffling. Why would you have JPP drop back in coverage on such an important play? Have you ever been crabbing? Have you ever seen a feisty crab get out of the trap, extend his claws wide, and sort of dance around from side to side while simultaneously moving backward in a feeble attempt to defend itself? That’s kind of like what JPP looked like in coverage on that play. I’m sure you Giants fans will re-watch the game at some point. Check him out on that play. It’s kind of comical. Anyway, the point here is… JPP is a phenomenal player, and what he does best is rush the passer. Don’t drop him into coverage on the last play of the half.
– Jerod Mayo is not James Harrison. Same exact offensive AND defensive play calls in 2 different Super Bowls, and two wildly different results.
(Much more after the jump)…
– The Patriots’ drive to close the first half was a clinic in time management and QB efficiency:
|Down and distance||Result|
|1st and 10 at NE 4||(4:03) (Shotgun) PENALTY on NE-70-L.Mankins, False Start, 2 yards, enforced at NE 4 – No Play.|
|1st and 12 at NE 2||(4:03) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short left to 83-W.Welker to NE 9 for 7 yards (34-D.Grant).|
|2nd and 5 at NE 9||(3:34) (Shotgun) 39-D.Woodhead up the middle to NE 15 for 6 yards (59-M.Boley).|
|1st and 10 at NE 15||(3:01) 12-T.Brady pass short right to 87-R.Gronkowski to NE 35 for 20 yards (21-K.Phillips).|
|1st and 10 at NE 35||(2:32) (No Huddle, Shotgun) 39-D.Woodhead up the middle to NE 39 for 4 yards (95-R.Bernard).|
|2 MINUTE WARNING|
|2nd and 6 at NE 39||(2:00) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short left to 81-A.Hernandez to NE 49 for 10 yards (59-M.Boley).|
|1st and 10 at NE 49||(1:40) (No Huddle, Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short right to 81-A.Hernandez to NYG 43 for 8 yards (26-A.Rolle).|
|2nd and 2 at NYG 43||(1:20) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short left to 39-D.Woodhead to NYG 36 for 7 yards (26-A.Rolle). PENALTY on NE-54-B.Waters, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at NYG 43 – No Play.|
|2nd and 12 at NE 47||(1:12) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short right to 81-A.Hernandez pushed ob at NYG 45 for 8 yards (59-M.Boley).|
|3rd and 4 at NYG 45||(1:05) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short right to 81-A.Hernandez pushed ob at NYG 33 for 12 yards (59-M.Boley) [26-A.Rolle].|
|1st and 10 at NYG 33||(1:01) (Shotgun) 39-D.Woodhead up the middle to NYG 32 for 1 yard (59-M.Boley).|
|2nd and 9 at NYG 32||(:38) (No Huddle, Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short left to 83-W.Welker to NYG 22 for 10 yards (31-A.Ross; 21-K.Phillips).|
|1st and 10 at NYG 22||(:29) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short left to 39-D.Woodhead ran ob at NYG 11 for 11 yards.|
|1st and 10 at NYG 11||(:24) (No Huddle, Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short middle to 39-D.Woodhead to NYG 3 for 8 yards (59-M.Boley). Penalty on NYG-72-O.Umenyiora, Defensive Offside, declined.|
|2nd and 2 at NYG 3||(:18) (Shotgun) 39-D.Woodhead right guard to NYG 4 for -1 yards (90-J.Pierre-Paul).|
|3rd and 3 at NYG 4||(:15) (Shotgun) 12-T.Brady pass short left to 39-D.Woodhead for 4 yards, TOUCHDOWN.|
– My wife is a teacher. Her school has this yearly “talent show” that I’ve been to a few times. My buddy Steve also formerly had a wife that taught at the same school, and we used to grade each act, with written commentary. We’d then exchange notes, and hilarity would ensue. It was mostly pretty mean. The majority of the acts are God-awful. Some kids played the piano, or the violin or something. That I could at least respect. But more than half of them either “acted out a song,” a la Napoleon Dynamite, or they did little more than lip sync. The lip sync acts always got the worst grades from me and Steve. Madonna’s halftime show really wasn’t much different than the worst acts at my wife’s school. I mean, Madonna’s act had gladiators, preachers, breakdancers, flashlights, tightrope jumping Jew-fro guys, and it apparently achieved world peace at the end, but if you take away all the pomp and circumstance, I could have done in my living room with a hair dryer what was Madonna was doing on stage.
– Hakeem Nicks took a vicious shot from Patrick Chung. I thought he might be done for at least a series after that one. Nope. He was right back in there. That’s not the first shot Nicks has taken like that this year. Tough dude.
– On the Blackburn INT, I thought Brady actually had something there. Gronkowski had gotten behind him, but Brady simply under-threw it. Pretty badly, too. But that could have been a TD with a stronger throw.
– It was semi-amazing that NBC had the “sideline cushion” graphic ready to go merely seconds after Mario Manningham’s mental error on his non-catch down the sideline. It was as if they knew he was going to do that or something. And not only that, Cris Collinsworth was ready for it, too. Without skipping a beat, he was right on it, explaining the sideline cushion as the graphic came up. That’s TV broadcasting at its finest.
– Speaking of Manningham, the game in some ways came down to one guy making an incredible catch, and another guy dropping a relatively easy one. If I were to have guessed who would be the goat of Super Bowl XLVI, Wes Welker wouldn’t have been anywhere near my radar. Meanwhile, Manningham’s catch was gorgeous and fearless all at once. He was bracketed by two defenders, was right up against the sideline, knew he was going to get smacked, touched his toes in, maintaining control all the way through. If you’ve ever played wide receiver, you know how ridiculously tough that catch was. Great throw, too, I might add.
– Speaking of Manningham once more, he’s a free agent this offseason. I can’t help but wonder how many extra millions that catch earned him. The Redskins need a WR. The Eagles could be in the market if they let DeSean Jackson walk. Obviously, the Giants would like to retain him, but it’ll be tough to pay your #3 WR the kind of money Manningham is likely to be offered in free agency. He has become a very intriguing player to watch this offseason in the bEast.
– The end of the game was classic Tom Coughlin football. Bleed the clock, set up for 3 to win it. Except… Ahmad Bradshaw sort of messed up that plan, but he got away with it.
– I can’t help but wonder if there was some home cookin’ going on with the clock operator. The Super Bowl, after all, was played in Indy, and if you were to ask most Indy fans who their most hated team is, the majority of them with say the Patriots. Watch the clock in this video. The clock operator lets 2 full seconds run off after Brady spikes it. You’ll hear Al Michaels say the Pats are trying to get a couple seconds put back on, but they never did. The Giants were going to win this game regardless of those 2 seconds, but this is just abhorrent that this occurred. There’s no excuse. This would be a terrible job by a clock operator in 10 year old basketball league, much less the final drive of the freaking Super Bowl. Just awful. There’s no way in hell that clock operator should ever be allowed to do another game again.
– The Giants are dumb, by the way. Had they lost to the Falcons in the first round they would have had the 22nd overall pick. Now they’ll draft 32nd. They chose immediate gratification over building for the future. Idiots.
– And finally, Eli Manning… Enjoy your Spaghettio bath, my friend. You earned it.