Monday, February 5, 2018

"Brotherly Love" strip-sacks Trump's team

Yes, for once “brotherly love” trumped Trump’s gang. The Philadelphia Eagles, with its core of black wide receivers, got the best of the New England Patriots and their squad of all-white wide receivers in the Super Bowl, which Tom Brady apparently favors for reasons we can only “speculate” on. We of course know that the Patriots’ “Big Three”—Brady, coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft—are all idolizers of Donald Trump, so at least we can pass a few days knowing that Trump will shut-up about how “great” the Patriots and his good friend Tom are. 

As for the game itself, it was remarkably free of defense for almost the entire game, with a record 1151 yards accounted for. Nick Foles’ first half interception occurred when the Eagles were driving for another apparent easy score, and the Eagles’ defense had no answers between the 20s. But was it not remarkable how the Patriots managed just 12 first half points on 350 total yards of offense? I mean, that’s just 24 points on 700 yards over an entire game. A botched field goal attempt, loss on downs and running out of time ended three potential scoring drives and accounted for 150 of those yards, uselessly spent. Brady threw for 276 yards in the first half, but 213 were accounted for on just six passes; on his other 18 pass attempts, just 63 yards were gained, showing how the Patriot offense stalled at inopportune times. The Eagles’ offense, on the other hand, was more efficient, scoring touchdowns on three long drives and nearly matching the Patriots offensive yardage output (323 yards), and led 22-12 at halftime.

In the second half, the Eagles did not do what the Atlanta Falcons did in last year’s Super Bowl—wilt under pressure. After the Patriots marched effortless for a touchdown to pull within three points, Foles marched the Eagles 85 yards for a matching touchdown. Both teams traded scores on their next two drives, and the Eagles were up 38-33 with 2:21 left in the game. For those on both sides of the aisle, this was the game; there was a high probability that given the history, Brady would lead a game-winning touchdown drive despite no timeouts remaining. That was just the law of averages; we have seen this magic act before. On the other side, the Eagles’ defense had been so porous throughout that something “good” had to happen, just as the Packers defense stopped the Steelers on fourth down late in the 2010 Super Bowl. There had to be just one great defensive play to pull out of the hat, like that mind-numbing interception that Russell Wilson threw at the goal line that prevented a sure Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.

But this time, it was the “great” Tom Brady and the Patriots who were victimized by the play of the game, when Brandon Graham strip-sacked Brady and Derek Barnett recovered the ball. An Eagle field goal set-up a final desperation heave into the end zone, but Brady is no Aaron Rodgers in that department, and by a final score of 41-33, the Philadelphia did what most of us were praying for: someone—anyone—to take down that arrogant “giant.” Trump likes “big,” constantly belittling the “little guy”; this time, the “little guy” cut the Goliath down to size. We need to hope that we can take down the arrogant, narcissistic Trump likewise.

It is interesting to note just how “lucky” the Patriots have been to win all their Super Bowls. Their first three victories were all won by a field goal, and the victories over the Seahawks and Falcons were one bungled play from defeat. Being a Packer fan, it was satisfying that for at least this year Belichick and Brady failed to surpass Lombardi and Starr for the most NFL championships by a coach/quarterback combo. The Lombardi teams, despite playing in a game where the talent was evenly distributed (but not as well coached), were clearly the class act in their championship games, even in their loss to the Eagles in 1960, when they were driving for the winning score before time ran out. While five Super Bowl wins is impressive (one fewer than the Steelers), it also should be noted that the Patriots five Super Bowl losses are also the most of any team.

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