You’ve heard by now about perhaps the most bizarre NFL post season we have seen in quite some time. The smallest of details and sometimes the lack of professionalism, oversight, moral direction, and compass has changed the outcome of games past and has affected the biggest game of this season–Super Bowl XLIX (49).
This year’s Super Bowl features two teams that we did not think would make it to this point, especially early on in the season. Overcoming very concerning starts to their seasons respectively, both the Seahawks and Patriots know how to handle the haters–and the best part is the fun may be really just beginning.
While, sure, it’s fine and dandy that the two best teams (at least according to seeding) get to square off, the road to get to this point is what has many questioning the NFL and its legitimacy. In response to and in preparation for the big game this Sunday, I took the liberty of looking at three BIG determining factors in the match up we’ve all been waiting for.
1. THE BAKER’S DEZ’N
The term “A Baker’s Dozen” is often a reference to thirteen pieces of food–usually bread. Dez Bryant, a star receiver on the Dallas Cowboys, has his own version of the thirteen piece bonanza.
It was perhaps the most ridiculous play that I have seen in quite some time, and proved to be the perfect poster child for a rule change that should have been long coming to professional football. On a huge fourth down late in the fourth quarter, Tony Romo and the Cowboys had a make-it-or-break-it scenario unfolding before them where a conversion was needed–and what better target than Dez Bryant…right?
Well, no, apparently not. At least according to the “Calvin Johnson rule.”
Tony Romo targeted Dez Bryant on a marvelous throw that was placed perfectly out of the reach of safety Sam Shields of the Green Bay Packers and just where only someone with the stature of Bryant could make such a play.
Sure enough, Bryant wowed a national audience (and plenty of Cowboy/Packer fans) by snagging a miracle literally out of nowhere.
Coming down with the ball, it appeared upon first glance to be like a completion down to about the one-yard line, and that was the original call.
All is well, right? Wrong.
For some forsaken reason, Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy decides to pull the challenge flag. But even from the replays I saw, it still looked like a catch. The ball bobbled in Bryant’s control as a result of smacking the ground, but it didn’t come out of Bryan’ts clutches, it simply moved around (barely) and kept within the boundaries of his elbows.
In my book, and plenty of other fans’ books, it’s a catch.
Even Sam Shields, the guy on defense responsible for covering Bryant, recently stated that it was a catch.
The play was over-ruled by the officials and ruled an incomplete catch, ultimately costing the Dallas Cowboys a chance at a win in Green Bay and remaining unbeaten on the road this season.
What does this change, you might ask?
This changes the fact that Green Bay played the Seattle Seahawks the following week and provided one of the most mystifying chokes I have ever had to bare witness to. If Dallas were on the other side of Seattle and not Green Bay, we could have a different team in the Super Bowl from the NFC.
All rooted from this one play. Wow.
2. SQUEEZING BY IN SEATTLE
After the Packers pulled out a victory against the Dallas Cowboys following the overturned call regarding Dez Bryant’s apparent catch, Seattle returned the favor to the Packers and karma seemed to hit pretty hard against Aaron Rodgers and company.
The score was 19-7 in favor of the Green Bay Packers when, from apparently the Twilight Zone or some other fictional land, Russell Wilson snapped out of an atrocious performance and found the “God Mode” cheat code and used it to his full extent.
Oh yeah, it gets better.
After driving down the field to score just before the two minute warning, Wilson gave Seattle some hope and made the score 19-14 in favor of Green Bay. This was the second touchdown of the day for the Seahawks, but only the first true offensive one–the other one coming from their punter John Ryan on a fake field goal that worked to perfection.
Now with father time and mother taking their turns at trying to tear Seattle from its perch, the Seahawks now had to deal with recovering an onside kick to even have the–dare I say it– chance at winning and moving on to the Super Bowl.
Without hesitation, Pete Carroll showed he still has confidence in any part of his football team and sure enough the Seahawks came up with it. Jordy Nelson was blocked by his own teammate, Brandon Bostick, from retrieving the ball and it ended up perfectly in the hands of the hungry Hawks.
Seattle managed to drive all the way down the field–again, mind you–and take the lead at 20-19 with just over a minute to go. Not wanting to take a chance, Carroll & Co. went for a two point conversion and happened to pull off another miraculous play where Wilson scrambled back fifteen yards or so only to chuck the ball up, have a receiver juggle it, and then have it come into full possession and count.
And it’s a good thing too, cause Rodgers struck back by leading Green Bay to a game-tying field goal as regulation closed.
In overtime, Seattle didn’t look back. Tied a 22-22 now, momentum rested only with the Seahawks. After winning the coin toss and electing to receive, Wilson connected with Jermaine Kearse as the nail in the coffin ( a 35-yard nail in the coffin) and that sealed Green Bay’s fate and heartback.
3. THE FOXBOROUGH FREAKSHOW
Tom Brady & Co. aren’t liked by every fan, that’s fair to say, but what transpired this postseason when news of what was dubbed “Deflate Gate” by the media made even the good old folks of Boston cringe a bit. It’s no fun to know your team cheated, but it sure does suck a lot more when you get caught.
Shortly following the Colts-Patriots blowout in favor of New England, an investigation was launched into the footballs used by the home town team. A report posing as the conclusion of the evidence detailed that the Patriots did in fact use under-inflated footballs for eleven out of the twelve game balls made available.
This had some fans so riled up and in a fit that there was (and still is) a petition to have the AFC Championship game replayed between the Colts and Ravens and then the winner would move on to play the Seahawks–who at least earned their spot in the big game…the hard way.
But their efforts are to no avail, as it is not going to happen. Even if it were the only realistic option, the league would not follow through with it. We’ve seen in previous issues of honesty and player/team conduct that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell does not put his foot down with his friends–one of which is Patriots Owner Robert Kraft.
Issues involving Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson earlier in the season seemed to show Goodell’s true colors and makes me, as I’m sure it does many others, extremely curious about how the Deflate Gate saga will be handled.
But one thing’s for certain, nothing is going to happen to New England until after Sunday.
But if they were to win, there might be a huge asterisk put by their name…