INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants reacts in the first half while taking on the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Manning, named MVP, led the Giants to a 21-17 victory. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Since I still found it hard to believe the 49ers weren't playing I watched the entire Super Bowl with a blank expression on my face. My wife thought I was trying to look like Eli Manning. In the end I was glad the Giants won, partly because it meant the 49ers should have beaten the team that won it all, but mostly because it made me smile to think about the hell Rex Ryan must be going through right now.
A part of me really didn't want to watch the game but I soldiered on since I still needed to write a story for all the good people here at Niners Nation. Plus, I kind of get a kick out of knowing I'm watching the same thing at the exact moment so many other people I've known in my life are watching it, including my ex-High School girlfriend Sarah Mumford. Man I hate her. So without further ado (do people still say that?) here are some of my observations from this year's Super Bowl.
Chris Collinsworth is a tool
Before this game I generally had no opinion of Collinsworth one way or the other. To me he was like the sports equivalent of soccer. If you ask me about soccer the most you could expect in response is a shrug and a comment of mild indifference. That all changed when he said in the 4th quarter, "We should just have these two teams play all the time." Sure, we should just let the Patriots and Giants play every year in the Super Bowl, the Lakers and Celtics play every year for the NBA Championship, and the Yankees and Phillies play every year in the World Series. That sounds like fun. Maybe there's a reason NBC is 4th in the ratings. By the way, I don't know if you noticed but "The Voice" is back on NBC as well as a new show called "Smash". There were a couple of commercial breaks where they forgot to plug one of those shows so you might have missed it. Seth Meyers made a good point when he tweeted, "It's hard to believe this is the last Super Bowl in the pre-Smash era."
More Super Bowl observations after the jump...
What was Belichick thinking?
Bill Belichick is often praised for his brilliance in calling and managing the game. No doubt many will point to him having his defense allow the Giants to score at the end of the game as proof of that. But he might actually have cost his team the win. The play before the TD on 1st-and-goal I was telling my wife the Patriots should let the Giants score. They didn't and the Patriots wasted a timeout before giving up the TD on 2nd-and-goal. Earlier in the same drive he cost his team a timeout when he challenged Mario Manningham's catch near the 50 and lost. I don't blame him for making the challenge, I would have done the same thing, but it did cost them another timeout. So instead of Brady getting the ball with just over a minute and 3 timeouts, he got it with 57 seconds and 1 timeout.
Yet neither one of those was his biggest mistake. The worst mistake he made was when the Patriots got the ball on the 5-yard line for their first position and they called a play-action pass with all 3 of their receivers running deep routes. Seriously!? You know the Giants have a great pass rush, why are you calling a play that takes so long to develop that close to the goal line? That's about as smart as hiring a prostitute and paying with a credit card. I know I'll never make that mistake again.
Hot at the right time?
A lot of sports shows and fans will try to sound insightful by saying the Giants got hot at the right time, but that's a stupid observation made in hindsight. It's literally impossible to win the Super Bowl without winning at least 3 straight games, or in some cases 4. In reality the Giants had lost as recently as week 15. Before their loss to the Giants, the 49ers hadn't lost since week 14. Meanwhile the Saints had won 9 straight and the Patriots had won 10. They might as well make the observation that Gronkowski was able to play because of tape and pain meds, Madonna still looks good thanks to botox, and my bathroom stinks because I ate too much bean dip. And that brings me to my next point...
Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good
The Giants are the Super Bowl champions and they deserved to win, but I can't help thinking about the amount of luck that got them to this point. Look at these examples of games they won that could have easily gone the other way and ended their season if not for unforced mistakes by the other team:
Week 14: Cowboys blow 11 point lead with less than 5 minutes to play helped greatly by Tony Romo missing a wide open Miles Austin on 3rd-and-5 with around 3 minutes remaining that would have sealed the win for the Cowboys. If Romo throws a good pass the Cowboys would have been in the playoffs instead of the Giants.
Championship weekend: With the 49ers leading 14-10 and getting the ball back, Kyle Williams stands too close to the ball even though he has no intention of fielding it and it barely glances off his knee. The Giants recovered and scored a TD 3 plays later. There were also two dropped interceptions and a fumble that wasn't a fumble because of an early whistle.
Super Bowl: The Patriots recovered a fumble but are flagged for 12 men on the field when one of their players doesn't get off in time. Two plays later the Giants score a TD. Then late in the 4th Wes Welker drops a pass that would have given the Patriots a 1st down around the Giants 20-yard line. Since the Giants were down to only 1 timeout the Patriots could have run out a lot of clock and taken at worst a 20-15 lead.
If any one of those plays doesn't happen there would have more than likely been another team holding the Lombardi Trophy. Again, this is not to take anything away from the Giants. They made the plays they needed to and the other teams made the costly mistakes they couldn't afford, and luck is part of the game. It was just an amazing string of self-inflicted wounds by the other teams. Now that I'm thinking about it, I wonder if Tim Tebow is secretly a Giants fan.
The other part of the Super Bowl, the commercials
There must be some sort of Super Bowl requirement that states every commercial must have either an animal (preferably a dog), a celebrity (preferably one that's past their prime), or a really hot chick (preferably multiple). I'm still not sure what all those commercials were advertising but I have come to the conclusion I don't like soda drinking polar bears, Adriana Lima could make me want to buy almost anything, Matthew Brodrick has somehow stopped aging, Jerry Seinfeld aged about 25 years overnight, and I really wish I could be as cool as Clint Eastwood. Oh, and that whole taking baby gimmick has to go.