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Thoughts on Superbowl

Thoughts on Superbowl XLIX

  • Patriots vs. Seahawks. The sports book calls it a pick ’em. Turns out to be a pretty thrilling game between two teams I don’t like.
  • Katie Perry was very entertaining at half time. Big show for a big stage. Well done.
  • The vaunted Superbowl ads were just so-so. The “lost dog” ad seemed to be a favorite, but it was just emotionally manipulative. Wait…all ads are manipulative. Okay, I liked it. I wept. Not.
  • Loved the Seahawks’ call to go for the TD at the end of the half. Bold in a big, close game.
  • LOVED the catch by Jermaine Kearse to keep the Seahawks, trailing by 4 points with just minutes to play, in the game. It would be known as The Catch, if things had turned out differently.
  • Loved the run by Marshawn Lynch to take the ball to the 1 yard line with seconds to play. Victory a yard away, he must be thinking. Just one more carry. I am LARGE, I am INVINCIBLE. Just GIVE ME THE BALL!
  • On 2nd down, the Seahawks call a slant route (!), which is intercepted. The Seahawks snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Stunning. This will probably go down in infamy as “The Call”.
  • Apparently, according to Doug Baldwin, the new way to do a touchdown dance is to simulate pooping. Who knew?
  • Both teams show their true colors by having a ridiculous, embarrassing fight at the end of the game. Perfect.

So, what does that one play mean? It depended on the outcome. Let’s examine two alternatives, one speculative, one actual.
A. Let Lynch Run the Ball (LLRB): 1 yard run, touchdown, time expires, Seahawks win.
B. Actual (The Call): Patriots intercept, run out the clock, win.

If A, then Kearse’s catch goes down in history (along with the Immaculate Reception and the Helmet Catch) as one of the greatest of all times. Chris Matthews, who never caught a ball in the NFL, might win MVP (maybe), or Russell Wilson gets it instead for beating both Manning and Brady in consecutive Superbowls, or maybe Marshawn Lynch gets it just so we can hear him say NOTHING after the game. Hard to say (no pun intended). Meanwhile, question about Brady abound. He’s 37. He can no longer finish. He made some very bad passing decisions. Maybe it’s time for a change. The Karma argument ascends (deflation-gate meant they had it coming).
But it was B. So Brady is MVP (!), but no one can say why. He is tied for the most Superbowl wins, of course, so the Legend continues. The Catch is quickly forgotten (hardly any discussion of it on the sports stations this morning. The Call is the main topic of conversation and not the performance of the Patriots (which was good, but perhaps not great). The Patriots didn’t win; the Seahawks lost.
And fortunes changed hands, contract potentials have shifted, the rosters of the teams (the Seahawks in particular) are up in the air.
It was a good day.
I guess.


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Joe Paterno R.I.P.

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Final Thoughts on Tebow

As his season comes to an end, here are a few parting thoughts about Tim Tebow:

1. He is young, and whether he can turn into a good quarterback is still to be seen.  But he is a gamer, and I give him credit.

2. I like to tease famous people as much as the next person.  Although religious (in some important sense) myself, I don’t mind religious teasing at all.  One must keep one’s sense of humor, especially about the most important things.  Jimmy Fallon’s “Tebowie” is funny. Dropping into a “tebowing” position at key moments throughout the day is funny.  Funny is good.  But reading the tweets last night, there are some tightly wound Tebow-haters out there – usually as a species of religion-haters generally.  I find their comments distinctly unfunny.  “Where’s your god, now, Tebow?” one asks. Really?  Do you think Tebow believes he just has pray and god’ll give him the win?  Do you really think he thinks that? Of course, if he does think that he’s a nut.  I just don’t think he’s a nut, and I wonder where the evidence is that he is.  “Tebow has that thousand yard stare like religious fanatics do.” Really?  No, not really.  And these are the mild comments that were floating around.  I don’t wonder what’s up with Tebow. I wonder what’s up with his mean-spirited critics.  Tebow is just a young guy with a deeply religious commitment in a harsh spotlight.  He’s not hurting you (unless of course your are the Steelers defense, in which case he inexplicably was hurting you very badly).

3.  Tebow is not the only religious guy playing professional sports. Why pick on Tebow so much? I am a fan of Troy Polamalu.  You do realize he makes the sign of the cross about a million times per game, right?  For what does Troy pray?  “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. O Lord, let me crush this receiver to dust. Amen.”?  Well, I don’t know what he prays for.  Yet I hear no wise cracks about Polamalu, except perhaps about his goofy hair. And the examples of devout guys playing sports could be multiplied many times over.  I’m thinking that if I had to face the likes of Polamalu once a week I’d be praying like crazy at least not to be killed or crippled (and, oh yes, if we could get a win out of this I’d be much obliged, amen).  You would too – face it!

4.  Well, anyway, I wish him well – within reason.  Tebow’s not my QB and Denver is not my team.  I’m never going to be unhappy to see them lose. But that’s not because Tebow has a relationship with his personallordandsaviour. It’s because they are not the Steelers (or even the Eagles).  Plus, how happy could I possibly be to see Brady and the Patsies beat anyone?




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Does God answer football prayers?

James Martin, S. J. answers the question we’re all asking: Does God care about football? The answer may surprise you (or maybe not)….

Also, have a look at this piece in the Atlantic.

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Why baseball is like life

Last night was magical…almost. It had everything…except….

At Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, the bronze statue honoring the beloved long-time Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas was unveiled. We all had “high hopes,” as you could imagine. Our seats were in Section 116, row 1 – right behind the Phillies dugout. Ace Roy Halladay was on the mound. He had a good night, even a great night: 14 strikeouts, allowing only 1 run going into the ninth inning, with the Phils ahead by a run. He even had two hits himself, including his career first extra-base hit (double). High hopes!

But he did give up that run in the 2nd. And there was that balk in the 4th inning. Nothing’s perfect.

And then the top of the ninth. Let him pitch. Why not? Roy retired the previous 12 batters he faced. He hadn’t yet thrown 100 pitches. Why not? So he allows a single. Okay. He can work through it. Then another single. Bullpen? “He’s my ace,” says Charlie Manuel. Why not? He can work through it. Next batter: strikeout #14. Here we go. And then…and then…Lyle Overbay, recently released by the Pirates for, well, stinking, is having a very good night. And then it gets much better…for him. A double drives in two runs. Diamondbacks lead.

The Phillies get a chance in the bottom of the ninth. A lead off walk for Ruiz, who moves to 2nd on Martinez’s sacrifice. High hopes…? Then strikeout, strikeout. High hopes dashed.

But, then again: Harry K’s statue! Phillies alumni in attendance (esp. Lefty Carlton)! Great weather (after recent deluges)! Spectacular seats! The black bean burgers were surprisingly very tasty! New cap for me! Polanco bobble-heads! 14 strikeouts! Pitcher goes 2 for three with a double! Being with my wife and my brother and his wife! The night had everything!


And that it why baseball is just exactly like life. It is magical…almost. It has everything…except….

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Can’t win ’em all…

Congratulations to the Packers.  All in all, it was an entertaining game, if less then perfect in most aspects (especially the outcome).

I knew it was over when Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin, in all the excitement, accidentally spit out his gum and made a desperate yet failed attempt to catch it.  I think that’s the same piece of gum he’s been chewing since training camp, so I knew it was a bad omen.  The tv caught only the flying gum…I don’t know if Coach picked the gum off the turf and started chewing it again….

And Big Ben…well, it’s hard to overcome three turnovers (and a morals charge) every time you put yourself in that position.

You can’t win ’em all.  But couldn’t the EAGLES win one???

Rare and untimely Mendenhall fumble

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Mike Tomlin on How It Is

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Write it down! (Again!)


There is no question, none at all.  It is a mathematical, logical, metaphysical, and theological certainty.  The Pittsburgh Steelers WILL WIN the Super Bowl on Sunday.  Write it down!!

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Let’s Go, Flyers!

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And now, some REALLY bad news…

After the last few posts, one would think it cannot get any worse.  But it can:  The Phillies lost their bid to repeat as World Champions!  Congratulations to the Phillies for a great season (special shout out to the vastly underappreciated Carlos Ruiz). 

Congratulations,too, to the Yankees, of course, of course.  As a baseball fan, it is fun to watch Jeter, Sabathia, Damon, Matsui, et. al. But note:

Yankees 2009 payroll:  $208 million.

Phillies 2009 payroll:  $111 million.

This means it cost the Yanks $97 million to get those last two games.  I know the NYC fans think it was worth it.  But institute a salary cap and floor in MLB and see what happens then!

Three months ‘til spring training!!!


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