Day Late & Several Dollars Short: Scenes From The Super Bowl Party Wudder Sports Report
Whelp, guess we were “right” in predicting a Patriot victory.
Yet somehow, we were as wrong as the day is long, on all of it.
While watching the epic choke job facilitated by the Atlanta Falcons’ coaching staff, along with the unprecedented Super Bowl comeback by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, it was a quote from another sporting postseason, by 1994 NBA Finals Game 7 goat that kept ringing in our heads.
“Man, did dis dude just did dis?!?”
Tom Brady, now with the hardware to make calling him The GOAT an argument with empirically irrefutable evidence, was as close as he ever gets to being absolutely terrible thru three quarters.
He was sacked three times on the first two possessions of the game.
With only one bona fide blue-chip pass rusher, occupying one edge, heading into the contest, the Atlanta Falcons D managed to get pressure in the only place where it typically can affect Tom Brady: up the middle, directly in front of him.
That push seemed to change everything in the early frames.
It started feeling eerily reminiscent of the way the Seattle Seahawks’ defense was able to fluster, frustrate and make Brady uncomfortable in the Super Bowl two years earlier, before being undone by the arrogance of their coaching staff, who refused to play situational football and RUN THE DAMN BALL when the game required them to do so.
It made us wonder why we hadn’t weighed Dan Quinn’s experience in scheming for that Seattle defense against Brady into more consideration.
The Pats were shut out in the first half.
Brady threw an atrocious Pick-Six that led to him lying on the turf, after flailing at Robert Alford’s knees to futilely try to prevent him from taking it to the house, while presumably taking his team out back for a mercy kill.
There wasn’t seemingly much left to do after that, besides see whether Gaga was going to mention Trump in her halftime performance for prop-bet purposes.
This being an actually entertaining football game?
That just didn’t seem poised to happen, even if in the back of your mind, there was still a feeling of “It’s the Atlanta Falcons, and they’re the New England Patriots”, which was just enough to put a kernel of doubt in the mind about outcome, despite all the mounting evidence of a full half, and then almost a full three quarters.
Brady’s best efforts in snatching victory from grizzly-death, Jaws-of-Life status began to surface a bit in the second half.
But even that felt like Fool’s Gold.
It took forever and a day for New England to generate a single field goal, as the Patriots’ passing routes were shortened to distance that would make Alex Smith tosses look like Favre-like FUN-balls by comparison.
As the third quarter drew to a close, the Patriots finally scored their first touchdown, presumably bringing it to a 28-10 score heading into the fourth.
Or would Belichick go for two, to attempt to make it a slightly-more-manageable 17-rather-than-18-point deficit?
Once he elected to kick the extra point, Wudder Sports correspondent Jason Keenan, owner of the “8 & 0” square at the Egan Super Bowl Blowout, was up in the living room doing the Dirty Bird and counting his cash.
Then Gostkowski’s kick sailed into the upright with a crash, and his green dreams sank to the carpet with a thud, as Jason felt the cat-calls of the DAWG-pile.
28-9 without the ball to start the fourth quarter.
New England still felt out of touch, and out of time.
We don’t need to rehash everything that happened after that.
All we need to know is this: the Atlanta Falcons as a coaching staff, with help from their quarterback, whose pre-game injury status shown on the screen had him listed for 'Super Bowl Nerves', something I've never seen before, let down all of their starved-for-success fans, as well as the rest of the players on their depleted roster.
The Pro Bowl Center Alex Mack was playing on a broken leg.
The seemingly superhuman wide receiver Julio Jones, who bizarrely was only targeted four times in the entire game despite reeling in any pass in his vicinity, while logging the best Super Bowl catch I’ve ever witnessed (a legacy that would stand for about three total minutes) despite a broken toe, put his team in position to win, despite his defense’s obvious exhaustion (the Pats would run 96 offensive plays to the Falcons’ 41, an all-time postseason record of infamy), would have been the difference-maker to seal it if his coaches had just had the sense to RUN IT, KICK IT, WIN IT.
1st and 10 on New England’s 23, with about four minutes to got with a proven fourth-quarter kicker in Matt Bryant, kicking in a dome, for you to run the game clock down to maybe two minutes, while forcing them to burn the rest of their timeouts, up two scores.
Despite the furious comeback by the Patriots, if Bill Belichick switches sidelines to manage the final few minutes of this game for the Falcons, this game is OVER.
But the former Seattle assistant coach turned Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, along with his now formerly offensive coordinator turned San-Francisco-head-coach Kyle "Yung Shan" Shanahan, let their “we gotta play the way we got here regardless + show the world why we’re so smart” Seahawk-like Super Bowl end-of-game ways, which we all saw soon resulted in "call it déjà vu".
And they bleeeeeeeeeeeeew it!
It’s really as simple as that.
It ain't a second-guess when you can see it clearly in the moment, before it even happens.
By the time New England got the ball back, needing just a TD + a two-point-conversion to tie, after Matt Ryan’s offense started their fateful backpedal, while owner Arthur Blank was standing on the sideline hunched over in agony, you knew the Pats were tying this game.
When the Pats won the coin-toss, you knew they were winning this thing with a touchdown on that dog-tired Falcons defense (who deserved better from their coaches and their MVP QB after doing more than their share) without even so much as handing the ball once to the Falcons' offense.
In between, I couldn’t help but be caught up in my own seemingly fortuitous drama at the Super Bowl gala, since “88” was my SB square coordinates, much like my favorite hockey player of all-time, whom we talked about this summer in The Wudder on his HOF election.
I was already feeling lucky just off winning the first two electric horse-race buck-up games, hitting on most of the early props and seemingly witnessing a Patriots loss.
I was falsely told that each square counted for the score at the end of a quarter, which didn’t really make sense to me in light of the first-overtime game in Super Bowl history, but I’d certainly take the $400 that came with it.
But approximately four minutes later, I was being informed “You’ll get nothing and like it”, while Tom Brady stood flashing a Colgate smile on the podium, as one of my surrogate big sisters from childhood, Erin Egan, took Big Bank from Little Bank, smiling while pocketing all that cash directly in front of me.
As I headed out to the back deck to refill my cup and manage my disappointmrnt, I hear my man Ray mockingly say “Lost Again, Lindros” before I shut the sliding door closed.
Whether at age four, fourteen or in the case of this weekend, turning forty-one, it’s always been a bit of a fait-accompli that in a house of ten kids, with me and my sister being the 11th and 12th respectively, lead to taking some double L’s like Roger Goodell.
But those callouses developed from those humbling moments inside an Egan house, have always better prepared me to handle life’s roller coaster ride on the outside.
And for that, along with the food, folks & fun, we wholeheartedly appreciate the love.
We also have to thank Dan Quinn & Kyle Shanahan for the Nostrabombus win, even if it's one we didn't really want, nor did we actually deserve.
Nostrabombus’ Final Postseason Record: 7-5