Brady and the Butler – Was Sunday’s Super Bowl Ending One of Best Ever?
I'll admit it, I wasn't looking forward to this year's Super Bowl.
I was excited for Katy Perry and the commercials - I learned a lot about parenting, Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, Nationwide was depressing and Dodge was inspiring - but not the big game. It's was probably because I wasn't over the Green Bay Packers losing in the last five minutes of the NFC Championship to the Seattle Seahawks.
But I watched the game and I enjoyed it. In fact, it was so good I had to go to the bathroom the last five minutes and didn't even leave the couch. I screamed at the ending on my television. Sorry, apartment neighbors.
I'm sure a lot of people, sports fans, Patriots fans, Seahawks fans, football fans, or casual fans did the same. Overall, Sunday's Super Bowl received a 49.7 overnight rating, which was the highest-ever.
To the game now.
Both teams were scoreless after the opening quarter. New England has never scored in the first quarter with Tom Brady at quarterback in six Super Bowl appearances.
Early in the game, New England's defense was making it hard for the Seahawks offense. Russell Wilson didn't complete a pass until midway through the second quarter.
The Patriots got on the board with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Brandon LaFell in the second quarter.
Finally with just over two minutes until halftime, Marshawn Lynch scored from three-yards to tie the game at seven.
Back came the Patriots, as Brady found Rob Gronkowski for a touchdown. Richard Sherman wasn't covering Gronkowski at the time and the Patriots tight end took advantage of his mismatch and scored six points.
Seattle answered quickly. Instead of kicking a field goal, Pete Carroll displayed guts. He sent his offense back out there. It paid off, as Wilson completed a 11-yard touchdown pass to Chris Matthews. (The touchdown was Matthews' first in the NFL and second catch of his career).
The Seahawks were outplayed by the Patriots in the first half, and yet had all the momentum.
Seattle dominated the third quarter, taking a 24-14 lead into the final quarter. I thought Brady's interception in the red zone early in the game was going to come back and haunt the Patriots.
Then Brady got his magic back. He found Danny Amendola for a four-yard touchdown to cut Seahawks lead to three with under eight minutes to play in the game. New England's defense got a stop and Brady did it again. He found Julian Edelman for a three-yard touchdown to take a 28-24 lead.
But Seattle had 2:02 to play. Wilson lives for these moments. He was 10-0 against Super Bowl quarterbacks.
Wilson drove the Seahawks down the field. He found Jermaine Kearse in Patriots territory and Kearse made one of the best catches in Super Bowl history. It was eerily similar to Antonio Freeman's catch on Monday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings. Patriots fans had to be thinking they were getting 'Tyree'd' again.
The Seahawks got to the one-yard line with under a minute. It was second down. Then Wilson throws an interception to Malcom Butler of the Patriots and New England would go on to win its fourth Super Bowl under Brady and Bill Belichick.
Rewind a moment, though. Seattle elected to throw on second down? What?
Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell were ballsy at the end of the first half and it worked. So why not again? Right logic?
But here's the thing, the Seahawks have one of the best running backs in the NFL with at least two chances to get into the end zone.
Carroll and Bevell might have thrown because they knew the five times Seattle tried it earlier in the season, Lynch only scored once.
I think they should have tried to run it at least once. Many others would agree.
However, I'm not going to blame Carroll and Bevell totally. I think it's all about execution. Why was the play call a slant route when the safeties and linebackers are in the middle of the field? Plus, Wilson could have audibled out of the play.
Plain and simple, the Seahawks didn't execute.
Sunday's game was fun. But might I say, I wish more people were talking about the brawl at the end of the game. Bruce Irvin of the Seahawks was ejected for throwing punches. Gronkowski threw a couple haymakers, too, but wasn't ejected.
Everyone was watching. Kids were watching. Kids look up to professional athletes. These athletes get paid millions dollars of athletes and they fight on national television because their team is about to lose? Not picking on you Seahawks fan. I would say same thing about any team.
To me, sportsmanship is a big deal. It wasn't shown very gracefully in the Super Bowl. It made me disappointed as a sports fan to see the Super Bowl end this way.
At least it was cool to see Brady and Sherman respecting each other after the game.
Now, back to the game with my final thoughts.
Seattle fans, don't worry. The Seahawks have won a lot of games up until this point and will win a lot of games in the future.
Patriots fans, enjoy it. Early in the season after a blowout loss, the odds were stacked against you. The offensive line wasn't good - traded Logan Mankins to Tampa Bay - Brady looked uncomfortable and offensive weapons didn't look in tune with Brady. New England relaxed and now they're Super Bowl champions.
Brady and Belichick have four rings. Brady is the conversation for best quarterback in the Super Bowl era - Sorry Joe Cool, but you have company.
Sunday's Super Bowl was a team effort. Brady was clutch. Brady's weapons came through. Shane Vereen and Edelman were just as much MVP's - in my opinion. The defense made stops when they had to.
I'm naming this Super Bowl: 'Brady and the Butler.'
This Super Bowl was really good. From start to finish.
In my life - Packers over Steelers in 2011 and Green Bay defeating New England in 1997 on my sixth birthday hold special places in my heart - it was better than the two Super Bowl championships won by the New York Giants when they won on two catches by Mario Manningham and David Tyree.
More thrilling than Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens title over San Francisco.
Best since 2009 when Santonio Holmes got his toes in the end zone to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a world championship over the Arizona Cardinals.
Just as exciting as the Greatest Show on Turf led by Kurt Warner's St. Louis Rams, who were almost beaten by Kevin Dyson and Tennessee Titans.
Sweeter than when Adam Vinateri kicked the Patriots to Super Bowl titles in the 2000's.
2015's Super Bowl was cooler than the other side of the pillow. Boo-yah.
What do you think? Where would you rank Sunday's Super Bowl?
*This the first column by Sam Tastad. Every week, he will write about a local or professional sports topic. For story ideas, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @samtastad.