Monday, February 06, 2012

What About The Game?

I actually did watch the entire Super Bowl game this time, having been invited to a party where there were kids mine could play with. A very good time.

The game itself was perhaps the most mediocre Super Bowl game I had ever watched. It was just like most NBA games, where you can skip the first 58 minutes of game time, and see everything you really need to see at the end.

I mean, the most interesting play was where Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw had to decide, "Should I score or shouldn't I?"

If you didn't watch the game and just looked at the box score, you would have thought that this might have been a wide open game, with MVP Eli Manning throwing for 296 yards, and Tom Brady for 276. But, according to ESPN's game report, MVP Eli Manning threw 80 percent of his passes fewer than 15 yards downfield. Tom Brady only threw 5 balls deeper than 20 yards, and most of those were on the last drive, including a Hail Mary. I was noting this during the game. It was hard to miss. The game featured plodding, unspectacular runs up the middle, and checkdowns and quick hitters on three yard curl patterns.

Very little happened that showcased the skill and athleticism of the players- with the exception of Giants punter Steve Weatherford, who had three kicks inside the Patriots' 10. I thought he should have been the MVP. I know the NFL would never dream of doing such a thing, so the QB of the winning team wins the award for lack of any better options.

This has been a long developing trend in the NFL, and sadly so. I love wide open, daring football. As a kid in the 70s, I was first a fan of the Oakland Raiders, and then the Seattle Seahawks, who would throw passes from field goal formation. I wore my Steve Largent jersey yesterday, and because I had to explain being a fan of the inventive Seahawks, we were all aware that nothing inventive was happening. The teams of yore took chances, spread the field with long throws, and were very exciting to watch. Football today has focused so squarely on eliminating turnovers that it doesn't allow QBs to stretch the field so much any more. The days of great QBs with 25 or so interceptions (Stabler, Fouts, Hart) is long gone. So is the excitement. Instead, the game calls are safe and predictable, where it's better to get stopped short on 3rd down and punt than to risk an interception 25 yards downfield.

It makes good sense, but it's boring. So, in retrospect, I wish the Saints or Packers got in on the NFC side, and... well, I don't know who plays exciting football in the AFC anymore. I'm at a loss.

1 comment:

Doug said...

Simpatico, man. I was also at a Super Bowl party where my kids could play, and I could watch some of the game. I was saying that, if I were a coach, I'd go with an all-bomb offense and an all-blitz defense. (I allowed as how this was one of the many excellent reasons why I would never get a coaching gig.)