Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Super Bowl Preview: The Super Bowl Sequel

Super Bowl week is a joyous time of the year for every American. It’s a time to eat heavily, drink heavily, and refuse to go to the bathroom during the commercials. It’s also a time of the year, where recently, I’ve enjoyed comparing head coaches to other fictional characters. It started in 2006, with Sgt. Slaughter (Cowher) vs. Colonel Mustard (Mike Holmgren) and continued in 2007 with McDowell’s, the dad from Coming to America (Lovey Smith). In 2008, I pointed out that Bill Belichick is a Sith Lord. In 2009, I just said that Nobody beat the Whiz (Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt) except on Super Bowl Sunday. And in 2010, I realized that Colts- Saints was Good Guy vs. Good guy (at least for me) and was like Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior. In 2011, I pointed out the pure evil of James Harrison and how he is Mr. Glass from the Movie Unbreakable, who ***SPOILER ALERT***, harmed other people but had no idea he was an evil villain.

This year? I can't figure out if this "Sequel" is going to be more like Blues Brothers 2000 (where we want to pretend it never happend?) or like Terminator 2: Judgment Day (completely obliterating its quality predecessor).

Fact 1: The 2007 Super Bowl had an unprecedented event - a 16-0 team. The 2011 Super Bowl has a 9-7 Giants team.
The 2007 Super Bowl was incredibly gripping because of the historic nature of the event. The 1972 Dolphins famously went 17-0, by winning 3 playoff games after just a 14-0 season. The 16-0 and 19-0 seasons seemed mythological and almost impossible. Provided great theater... whereas this year's Pats and Giants have nothing historic on the table. Not even Belichick has the power to retroactively declare this season as an undefeated season and say "my undefeated season is inevitable."
Advantage: Blues Brothers 2000

Fact 2: The Pats brought in Chad Ochocinco to play WR... and for comedic relief!
This still is exciting. Just put a mic on him during the game. Please. And don't censor him. Let him take pictures of girls in the stands, say obnoxious things, second-guess the coaches, try to predict plays, put whopee cushions under the O-linemen before they sit down. Let him do all that stuff! You have to think outside the box if you want the sequel to trump the original... and we all know the Pats didn't get Ochocinco for his on-field performance at this point. This is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that leads to a shape-shifting, gelataneous terminator.
Advantage: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Fact 3: Randy Moss was in the last Super Bowl for the Patriots with a 1500 yard, 23 TD season... but not this one.
Is this like the Blues Brothers returning without John Belushi? Granted, in terms of getting the band back together, Kevin Faulk is still around. I don't think that's going to push the needle very far though.
Advantage: Blues Brothers 2000

Fact 4: The Pats have added Rob Gronkowski who had a 1300 yard, 17 TD season.
Does this mean he's John Connor from T2? Or is it Victor Cruz from the Giants (1500 yards, 9 TDs)? Both players had very special seasons and were two of the most explosive seasons in real football and in fantasy football. Of course, no one has any idea how healthy Gronkowski is. When healthy, he is absolutely impossible to cover may I just say.
Advantage: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Fact 5: The Giants have someone on their roster named Bear Pascoe. Yes, they have a Bear as a backup TE!
Talk about trying to do anything they can to entice us to watch the sequel? Adding Bears that play football is gimmicky. This is almost like having Blues Traveler guest star during the Blues Brother 2000 movie thinking it would really entice people to see the movie.
Advantage: Blues Brothers 2000

Thus, as I have shown from these facts, it appears more likely than not that this Super Bowl will not be as exciting as the original and will probably resemble Blues Brothers 2000 more than it resembles Terminator 2: Judgment Day. I sure hope I'm wrong, because nothing puts me in a worse mood than watching a Super Bowl stinker (I'm talking to you Ravens-Giants from the year 2000!)

Game Analysis

This year, as we all know, the Giants surprisingly ended the Patriots undefeated season in the 2007-2008 NFL season. Four years later, we somehow ended up with the same two teams meeting each other, though the teams have changed in some unique ways (Giants offense much better/consistent, Patriots defense much worse) despite the stability at QB and coach.

However, the strangest thing about this rematch... is that it is exactly 4 years ago, which in the NFL, happens to mean that each time the teams faced each other during the regular season. In that 2007 season, the Giants gave the Patriots everything they could handle to try to prevent the Patriots from getting to 16-0... but the Pats prevailed 38-35 (then lost in the Super Bowl). In this 2011 season, the Patriots lost to the Giants in week 9, 24-20, behind New England turning it over 4 times (but forcing 2 TOs), to go -2 on the day.

I think this game reinforces the one thing that has been true all season with this high-scoring Pats team... (and also applied to the high-scoring Packers and Saints teams)... they have to give up some turnovers for the other team to win. The Patriots lost to the Bills in a game where they also turned it over 4 times. In the Pats only other loss this year, to the Steelers, the Pats did finish +1, but the Steelers somehow held New England to 170 passing yards, which of course was a season-low.

The critical fact for me is that the Giants almost single-handedly let 49ers TE Vernon Davis beat them in the NFC Championship game. People don't talk about TE Aaron Hernandez as much as Gronkowski, but he is nearly just as skilled and will create just as many problems. Outside of the Giants finishing +2 or +3 in the turnover department, I only see an inevitable scoreline...

Pick: Patriots 38, Giants 21

Hope it is more exciting than Blues Brothers 2000!

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