Feb 6, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; A detail view of the Vince Lombardi Trophy as New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning speaks during the Super Bowl most valuable player and winning head coach press conference at the Super Bowl XLVI media center at the J.W. Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Super Bowl Limbo


The reputation of the Super Bowl is in limbo. It’s vulnerable to becoming just the next game on the calendar. Just another game.

How many of you Chiefs fans were sitting at home watching the big game and saying to yourself, the Chiefs could beat either of these teamsMe too. Now, the current Chiefs are still Not-Ready-For-Primetime-Contention so, that’s not so much a statement for the Chiefs as it is a commentary against the premise that the “best team in the NFL” is the one who’s won the Super Bowl.

Hmmm? Thebest team in the NFL” is not the winner of the Super Bowl?

Could that be true? Well yea. And: if the Super Bowl can’t produce a meaningful champion, then the game is in limbo, as far as I’m concerned.

So many times I’d say… Flowers could have made that play… Bowe would have made that catch.

This is not sour grapes. It’s actually what I was thinking. This is not so much about parity as it is that the game came across to me as… just another game.

Beyond that, the NFL and the Super Bowl have other problems to deal with. Like, what has this game of football really become about anyway?

Maybe it should be renamed!

Perhaps it should be called the Duper Bowl because I feel like I have been duped to a degree. Obviously pro football is the only major league sport to hold a postseason tournament that does not give teams multiple chances to prove they are better than an opponent before moving on to the next level. The one-and-done structure in the NFL postseason has produced a number of “streak” winners who aren’t nearly the best team in the league but, still, they’ll eternally be referred to as “champions,” hollow though it may be.

Perhaps it should be called the Hyper Bowl because the 60 minutes of football seems to have gotten buried beneath the rubble of a five hour long extravaganza that more resembles a “Fourth of July/New Year’s Eve/Elton John’s Oscar Party trapeze act. It’s gotten so far out of hand that I can see the that someday the Monday after, will be declared a national Holiday. They’ll probably call it, “Hangover’s Day.” The three days of the NFL draft have become a greater celebration of the game of football than the Super Bowl has been in years.

Perhaps they could call it the Plugger’s Bowl because the commercial “plugs” have taken over. I know the league has become increasingly about money and I’ve heard the phrase “it’s a business” enough times to know they mean it, but it shouldn’t take away from the football game and it has. If the American dream is to “capitalize” for profit, then the Super Bowl has maxed its potential and there should be 32 people — owners — sitting at home today saying to themselves, “I’m livin’ the dream.” Aren’t you glad you could assist them in fulfilling their economic growth potential and help them accumulate so much swelling wealth that they could turn the game you grew up loving to play every day after school, into a Donald Trump reality show played by money grubbing vultures. A commercial now costs… are you ready for this… $100,000.00… per second! Of course, that’s pocket change to me. I’m just sayin’.

What really concerns me is the viability of an NFL champion being accepted legitimately as the best team in the league, in any given year.

 

Ask yourself, are the Giants the best team in the league this season?

If you’re from NYC, I feel ya. However, I would speculate that the vast majority of fans across our fair nation would not concur. Yes, Eli Manning is great. But, look at the shoddy body of work the Giants have shown during this season.

  • A 28-14 loss to the 5-11 Redskins.
  • A 36-25 loss to the 7-9 Seahawks.
  • A 49-24 loss to the Saints.
  • Another loss to the Redskins 23-10 at home late in the season.

It was ugly. Plus, the Giants were streaky all season long. They had two 3-game winning streaks and a 4-game losing streak.

Seven teams beat the Super Bowl champions this season. Seven. There ought to be a rule against that: if you lose seven or more games then your team is eliminated from playoff contention.

The 2010 Seattle Seahawks only won 7 games and made the playoffs. 7 and 9. Wow. Do you realize, for them to end up with a winning record that year they would have had to win up to and including the Super Bowl? Would you want to celebrate that kind of champion and that kind of championship? Not me.

However, I don’t think the Patriots were the best team in the league this year either, but that just goes to prove my point even more. What we may have this season is a default champion.

Growing up as a kid outside of L.A. in the late fifties and early sixties, there were times I “wanted” my Lakers to be better than the Celtics. The reality is they weren’t, and after one seven game series after another, who could argue.

So, just wanting the NFL champion to be the best team in a given year, does not make it so.

In the playoff football arena, the multiple game format vs. another team isn’t a possibility, not in the NFL. The only other major tournament that reminds me of the one-and-done NFL format is the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament.

On the big pass play from Manning to Manningham, I was telling myself that Brandon Carr could have broken that pass up. Of course, I hope Carr doesn’t sign with the Patriots this off-season, so he can do just that… break up passes for them.

After watching this… this… whatever you want to call it… Bowl, if these same Giants and Patriots were to play again next week, who do you think would win?

Could the Patriots win? I’d give them better than a 50% chance.

That’s another reason why this Super Bowl was… just the next game. In other words, if the season didn’t end on Sunday night, would the outcome be different next weekend, or the weekend after. Yea, I think it would.

I didn’t feel that way last season. I thought the Packers were the best team and if the season had continued, then they would have continued to prove they were the best. Just as they did throughout this past season.

Two years ago, yes, the Saints were the best team in the league. Over the past two seasons Drew Brees and the Saints have proven they are one of the elite teams in the league.

However, three years ago the Steelers had to beat the Cardinals on the final drive to over take a Curt Warner led team that could score readily. Continuing that season… the outcomes would not always be the same. Those teams were part of another season with a default champion.

When the Giants beat the Patriots four years ago the Giants came to the championship game in the same way, by getting hot late in the season. The next season the Giants lost four of their last five games and needed overtime against the Panthers to get that victory. In other words… there was never any extended period of time when the Giants dominated their foes… not like the Packers did this season.

And… I don’t expect these Giants to do that this next year either. It’s laughable that they’re talking about a “repeat” in next year’s Super Bowl. They’ll likely finish third in their division next season.

This season, when the Giants lost 4 out of 5 from November 13 to December 18 no one thought they were a team of destiny. Not even them. Especially not any New Yorkers. That was just 7 weeks ago. The lone game they won in that stretch was a 37-34 victory over the Cowboys in Cowboys stadium.

Consequently, the Cowboys are sitting at home right now thinking, we could have been in the Super Bowl. We could have won the Super Bowl. And they might be right.

The current structure of the NFL regular season, post season and championship game… allows teams to get hot and then go win it all. I’m not sure anything can be done about that.

However, I’m not sure I want to see that possibility remain a possibility any longer.

To paraphrase Michael Lombardi who was interviewed Tuesday morning, on 1310 The Ticket, about these Super Bowl results, Michael said,

Look, the ball could have bounced either way. This particular game was up for grabs and it literally could have gone either way. It just so happened to go the Giants way this time but, it probably won’t next time.

 

Once again, this doesn’t point to parity. It points more to happenstance. Chance. Luck. Kismet.

The NFL champ is a precarious prize winner. Some years the Super Bowl winner clearly shows, they are the superior team. Other seasons, the winner is the winner because of an unheard of rule, a slippery ball, a blown refs call, an incredibly rare dropped pass, or a freak accident injury to a key player.

In any event, it can turn the Super Bowl into, just another game.

Especially if my Chiefs aren’t in it.

 

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