SBXLV Observations

1. Rashard Mendenhall didn’t lose that game. All the people who wanted Mendenhall to put two hands on it are being hypocritical because they like his running style that carried their disjointed offense through the playoffs. “But, his mistake happened when they had momentum.” Yes, and Ben’s interception – which may fall also on Tomlin and/or Arians if Ben was told that a deep throw would be acceptable in close space at the end zone – gave the Packers 7 points. Clay Matthews made the perfect play in the perfect conditions to force the fumble. If you want to blame someone for the loss…

2. Coaches walk a fine line with injured players. When Jay Cutler couldn’t play up to NFC Championship par with his sprained MCL, Lovie made the difficult decision to pull him. In the case of Tom Brady, it’s been two straight years where he might have been able to pull out a win in the playoffs if he had been healthy. In his case, his replacement likely would not have done much better. I do think that if Rivers had sat out with his torn ACL in 2007, Billy Volek would have beaten New England. Now in a Super Bowl, Troy Polamalu looked ineffective and was a key part of a secondary that couldn’t make a play. Would the Steelers have done better if they had benched a hobbled Polamalu?

3. My argument of talent being more important than coaching is starting to get challenged. In the last twelve Super Bowls, we’ve seen some of the greatest offensive (Mike Holmgren, Sean Payton, Josh McDaniels, Mike Martz, Mike McCarthy, Tom Moore) and defensive mavens (Dick Lebeau, Bill Belichick, John Fox) in the NFL. I think coaching is important but I still maintain that pretty good coaching with great talent will usually win over great coaching with pretty good talent.

4. That was not a boring game. I heard some complain about the Super Bowl a day later. The game featured not one, but two, amazing touchdown throws-and-catches (Greg Jennings catching a perfectly-thrown pass in between two defenders as one of them gets a piece of it, Hines Ward makes a great adjustment back to the ball gently soaring above the Green Bay defense). There was a triple-option two point conversion and a huge sideline Nick Collins interception with him weaving his way to the end zone and putting the ball just past the plane between two Steelers. The offenses were a little out-of-sync early but the game had great runs from Mendenhall, a few sacks, a Houdini act by Rodgers, some great throws, a controversial Shaun Suisham 52-yard FG attempt and the game basically ended on a 4th down incompletion. In fact, the last five Super Bowls have been sealed with defensive plays late in the 4th quarter.

5. I think they need to have a ten-site rotation for the Super Bowl, with only three cold-weather cities (Detroit, Chicago, and New York). If they reward individual players for making the Pro Bowl by sending them to Hawaii, they should reward teams that get to the Super Bowl by letting them spend a week someone warm. I also think the NFL should have been more hands-on to make sure the problems in Dallas didn’t happen in the first place.

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