Monday, February 8, 2016

Super Bowl 50, re-booted

First of all, the halftime show wasn't terrible, all you Coldplay haters. It was better than the puppymonkeybaby, and Willem Dafoe re-enacting the Marilyn Monroe skirt-blowing-up scene from "The Seven Year Itch."

Some things you just can't un-see. Know what I mean?

Cam Newton, for instance, will never be able to un-see Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware repeatedly busting down the door to the pass pocket and doing unspeakable things to him, like forcing two fumbles, one of which was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown and the other of which put the Denver Broncos on the doorstep for the touchdown that sealed Super Bowl 50. Sometime this morning, no doubt, Newton peered out his window just to make sure Miller and Ware hadn't followed him home and were waiting for him to emerge so they could sack him again.

A few more observations:

* The Denver defense was so overwhelming it was apparent by halftime that A) Carolina was in deep trouble, and B) Von Miller was going to be your Supe 50 MVP. And it was apparent after three quarters that the Broncos wouldn't need to score another point, because by then Cam and Co. had absolutely no idea what to do.

Go ahead and slot the '16 Broncos' performance right next to the '75 Steelers, '86 Bears, '01 Ravens and '14 Seahawks as the most dominant defensive performances in Super Bowl history.

* Mismatch of the game: The Denver defensive backs vs. the Carolina wide receivers. The Panthers' wideouts simply couldn't get open, and when they did, they dropped it as often as they caught it. That set up everything else for the Broncos, because Newton had nowhere to throw the football as his pocket repeatedly crumbled around him. He couldn't even take off running because most of the time there was nowhere for him to go. Rarely will you see such a dynamic offense reduced to such utter helplessness.

* Egregiously awful call of the game: The Jerricho Cotchery catch that the officials ruled was no catch on account of the NFL imports its receiving rules from the Klingon home world. Nowhere else in the universe was Cotchery's reception not a reception. He caught it, had it in both hands as he went down and still had control of it when he hit the ground, which theoretically ended the play.

Well. Except in the NFL, of course. And perhaps Lieutenant Worf's hometown.

* Pointless speculation of the game arising from an egregiously awful call: The notion that Cotchery's 24-yard catch/no catch was the turning point of the game, on account of Miller stripped Newton on the next play and the Broncos fell on it in the end zone, giving them (on this day) an insurmountable 10-0 lead. Yeah, maybe. But even if it's ruled a catch and Newton gets stripped 24 yards upfield on the next play, the Broncos still win the game. The way this one was going, a 3-0 Denver lead was going to be insurmountable.

* Peyton Manning's legacy: He and Eli both have two Super Bowl titles now, which means the little goober can no longer one-up his big brother at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

* Manning's legacy, Part Two:  His career will never have as perfect a closing chapter as it does now, which is why the smart money is he'll decide to call it quits. On the other hand, Manning has never been predictable in this regard. By all accounts he loves the game as hopelessly as any man ever has, and so he might decide he can squeeze out a couple more seasons playing the way he plays now -- carefully and cerebrally, with an emphasis on avoiding the big mistake as opposed to making the big play. We shall see.

* Manning's legacy, Part Three: Or he'll go the Dallas Clark route and sign a one-day contract with the Colts so he can retire as a Colt. If he still wants to. Which he might not. Hard to read how he feels about Indianapolis and Jim Irsay these days.

* Manning's legacy, Part Four: In any case, if he decides to hang it up, he'll do so as the only man ever to win Super Bowls with two different teams, and as indisputably one of the top five quarterbacks of all time. So he's got that going for him.

Plus, he'll always have this.

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