Super Bowl 52 Observations

I lost some cash on this game, but enjoyed it nonetheless. There weren’t too many penalties, they got the catch rule right for once, it was well coached and for the most part well played. I was actually planning to watch the 40-minute version of it this morning, but took an afternoon nap and powered through until 3:30 am in real time. I’m a little sluggish today, but I don’t regret it.

• There was so much offense this game didn’t just set the record for yards in a Super Bowl, but yards in a game. Let that settle in for a moment. There have been more than 5,000 games in the last 20 years alone.

• The Eagles won because they converted 10 of 16 third downs and both fourth downs. The Patriots defense could not get a stop or get off the field.

• Nick Foles picked up where he left off against the Vikings – pinpoint accuracy, smart decision-making and no mistakes. Even the interception was in Alshon Jeffery’s hands for a moment. Foles had that crazy 2013 season, but this run shows how important coaching and system is – probably at least as important as the QB himself.

• Doug Pederson kept the pedal down, made bold decisions and aggressive, unpredictable play calls. In short, he did everything we beg other coaches to do while shouting futilely at our TV screens each week. It’s amazing that basic common sense equals genius these days. Maybe this game serves as a turning point where coaches begin to assess risk and reward in  service of winning the game rather than not being criticized by morons, but I wouldn’t count on it.

• The only Eagle to have more than 100 yards from scrimmage was Corey Clement. Fantasy-wise, this is still likely to be a tough team to handicap.

• Had Carson Wentz stayed healthy, there’s a good chance the Eagles would not have won the Super Bowl because even if his baseline level is higher than Foles’ the odds he would have played this well are long. There’s no question Wentz is the team’s starter next year, but Foles is obviously a starting-caliber NFL QB somewhere.

• Tom Brady played a great game too, the fumble and dropped pass notwithstanding. (It’s a little unfair to compare Foles’ five-yard flip catch while facing the QB to Brady’s 15-yard over-the-shoulder target for which he needed to extend his arms fully. It was catchable, but anyone would have caught Foles’ target.) Brady also made one bad play at the end of the first half when he escaped the rush and instead of throwing it away (or aiming downfield) tried to run and got tackled in bounds, essentially ending the half. Otherwise, he set the record for passing yards with 505, threw three TDs and no picks against a much better defense than the one Foles shredded.

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• It was amazing on the final drive that Brady even got a live ball into the end zone. He converted a 4th-and-10 inside his own 20 and also escaped the rush to unleash the Hail Mary which made it to its destination as he took a hit.

• Danny Amendola had the fifth most receiving yards in Super Bowl history. When Julian Edelman went down, I mocked the notion he’d have a big role by Tweeting “Danny AmendoLOLa,” but the joke’s on me. Amendola doesn’t have a big catch radius, but if the ball’s in it, he comes down with it.

• The Patriots had an odd game plan. They barely used Rob Gronkowski in the first half and had to settle for two field-goal attempts, and they barely used Dion Lewis (nine carries, zero targets) all game, despite losing Brandin Cooks. Gronk, of course, had a monster second half, but you wonder why it took so long to feed him. And Lewis has been one of the best backs in the league this year.

• What if Matt Patricia is just some crazy homeless man, and Belichick was trying to prove he could win without a defensive coordinator? And the joke wasn’t supposed to go this far, but now the Lions hired Patricia, and Belichick can’t walk it back?

• I watched some of the halftime show, and I came away thinking two things: (1) I can’t believe how long it goes – much longer than a typical NFL halftime; and (2) How will they get all that stuff off the field in time for the start of the second half? In fact, here’s how:

Honestly, this is an engineering marvel. That we can do this and haven’t yet colonized Mars is surprising.

• I don’t care much for commercials, Super Bowl or not, and I was especially surprised people liked the goofy Odell Beckham-Eli Manning spot. First off, Eli sucks, and OBJ is a generational talent, so as a Giants fan, I didn’t like pretending it were otherwise (though the team apparently is.) But setting that aside, it was the obvious joke, the goofy white guy pretending to dance, two supposedly tough NFL guys pretending to be in love. All set to a cheesy ’80s movie theme, the kind of which has been mocked a million times. Don’t be such an easy mark.

• I’m not thrilled the Giants are apparently bringing back Eli, but if this season taught us anything, it’s that the system matters more than the quarterback in most cases. Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Case Keenum, Nick Foles and even Josh McCown had good years. Maybe Pat Shurmur can coax a good season out of Eli yet. Hopefully, they’re not foolish enough to pass up on the next Wentz or DeShaun Watson with pick No. 2 in the meantime.