Sunday, February 06, 2005

Super Bowl post-mortem

Now that was a game, even closer than I thought it'd be. Patriots 24, Eagles 21. The ending was a little ho-hum, however, because of the Eagles' seeming ineptness in running a hurry-up offense. (Well, it wasn't completely inept; they did score a touchdown to cut the margin to three points - on a great throw from McNabb to Greg Lewis.) But like the FOX announcers, I was baffled that Donovan McNabb and the Eagles' offense was taking its sweet time calling plays and moving down the field. It's like they didn't realize how little time was left in the game. Or thought their two time-outs would save them precious minutes.

McNabb also made an inexplicably boneheaded play with less than a minute left and 95 yards to go. With no receivers open down the field, McNabb settled for a short pass over the middle to his running back. Not only did the pass gain no yardage, but since it was complete, the clock kept running - a clock the Eagles couldn't stop because those last two time-outs had to be used on defense. And that sealed the game. 95 yards in 17 seconds? No way. McNabb should've thrown that ball away, settling for an incomplete pass and keeping at least another 10 seconds on the clock. It's easy for me to say, and I'm sure instinct takes over when you're in such a position, but McNabb lost his head on that play.

Maybe I'm being too hard on McNabb, but he made the mistakes when the game was on the line, and New England's Tom Brady didn't. McNabb had two interceptions, while Brady had none. And in a three-point game, that was probably the difference.

Other random thoughts:

● The Eagles' Terrell Owens was a man on the field. The man has two screws holding his broken (and badly sprained) ankle together. But Owens insisted he'd play, despite doctors telling him he was endangering his football career. Not only did Owens get on the field, he had nine catches for 122 yards. He was Philadelphia's leading receiver in the game. That was an impressive performance. Owens might be a loudmouth, but he plays and plays hard. He did everything he could to help the Eagles win the game.

Deion Branch, not Tom Brady, won the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award. One of the amazing things about New England's success is that their players are low-key, relative no-names even to die-hard football fans. They're not attention-grabbing stars like Terrell Owens. But Branch quietly killed with the Eagles, grabbing 11 catches for 133 yards. It was a star-making performance. It'll be interesting to see if he draws the kind of attention and commercial endorsements in the weeks following this game that Brady would've if he'd won the MVP.

● Did anyone else think the commercials were lackluster? Only two stood out to me: the Diet Pepsi ad with P-Diddy hitching a ride with a Pepsi truck driver and the spot that had a man working with monkeys in an office. But I can't imagine morning radio shows and water cooler conversations will be talking much about the commercials this year.

(The geek in me loved that "Batman Begins" trailer, though.)