Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Game Notes - Super Bowl

Well, I decided to write some game notes for the Super Bowl, as I kept trying to find an interesting game throughout the playoffs to write about, and I never saw one. I missed most of the good ones - Pitt-Indy and Chicago-Carolina come to mind - so I didn't have anything I really wanted to write about. And then I saw the Super Bowl, and one thought continually seeped through my mind:

If these teams are the best two, the Lions aren't that far off.

I know it's wishful thinking, but in reality, that play in that game reminded me of a typical Lions game of the last few years. Stupid mistakes aplenty. Penalties everywhere, many of them questionable. Dropped passes. Poor blocking. In fact, what may have been the biggest boost to my Lions ego is that the Lions scored 21 on the Steelers in a must-win game for the Steelers a little over a month ago, and the #1 scoring team in the league could only score 10. Heck, if not for some really bad special teams play, the Lions would have knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs before they even got started.

But let's get back to the game at hand. Looking at the QB play, we saw two different QB's doing a Lions QB imitation. Hasselbeck was the victim of drops aplenty and some bad officiating. I swear that Jerramy Stevens looks just like Stephen Alexander. And Darrell Jackson is a tool - the pushoff in the end zone was ticky-tack (but a correct call) but he still couldn't figure out how to keep his feet in bounds TWICE on routes down the sideline. Joe Jurevicius was probably the best option as a receiver, but he was mostly ignored during the game. If you simply changed the names to Harrington, Pollard, Rogers and Williams, you had the Lions passing O exactly represented out there. Only not as efficient against the Steelers.

On the other side, Ben Rothlis-whatever-the-heck-his-name-is couldn't complete a pass to his own team to save his life. He seemed to want to throw the bomb on nearly every passing play while completing more to the other team than to his own guys - ala Jeff Garcia. Hines Ward was about as clutch as iRoy on a good day, and Randle El looked like Az Hakim when he caught the ball (OK, so maybe not all this years Lions). The only problem was they couldn't get the ball. It was a comedy of errors with neither QB rising to the occasion. Again, how different is this to watching the Lions play? Not so much.

Then in the run game, both teams were again equally inept. The league MVP was held to 20-95 and never looked to get in sync - KJ had 18-78 against them. Fast Willie Parker had a 75 yard TD in his 10-93 performance - ala Shawn Bryson. And the Bus had a very Pinner-ish 14-43 day. None of the backs seemed to have much running room all day, which was suprising based on the track records of both teams. Neither team seemed to be able to get much of a push at the line and open any holes. And again, it looked a lot like watching the Lions.

Defensively, both teams tried to shoot themselves in the foot repeatedly. Pittsburgh's vaunted D was getting moved around at will by Seattle in the first half, only to watch Seattle shoot themselves in their own foot. Seattle's D played OK, but couldn't get a stop when they needed it. None of the star players seemed to perform well. When push comes to shove, it was a boring game that was reminiscent of nearly every Lions game played during the Millen era.

As far as the officiating goes, well, we as Lions fans have seen worse, right? The calls that directly lost us games at Tampa and Green Bay. The non-call against Carolina. The yellow flag fests both for us - Baltimore - and against us - Dallas. Truth be told, compared to a typical Lions game last year, that officiating crew was great. But then again, that's not really saying much. If anything, that game should have woken the NFL up that replay should be able to challenge called penalties. IMHO, officiating has been taking a steady nosedive in recent years, and I wouldn't be shocked to find out about a scandal in the near future regarding an officiating crew and bookies. I'm not insinuating that the game is fixed, but I'm saying the potential is there. And the evidence is strong that something just isn't right.

What all this is telling me is that this years Super Bowl, while a close game with some interesting sub-plots, was completely and utterly boring. If it was up to me, I'd ban both Pittsburgh and Seattle from playing in the post season for 3 years as a penalty for making us watch that game. Neither team played well enough to win, it was simply who could keep from shooting themselves in the foot the most. I never thought I'd say it, but I actually missed having the Patriots in the game. At least they would have played a relatively disciplined football game.

Ugh. I need the offseason to get that flaming turd of a game out of my mind.

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