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What I Learned Watching Super Bowl XLV

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I try to learn from everything I experience. Some times are tougher than others; for example watching the Cavs. Super Bowl XLV was not one of those times however. During the 4+ hour menagerie of aesthetic stimulation here are some things I was able to pick up.

1. No Team Can Use Injuries as an Excuse Ever Again

To say that the Green Bay Packers were snakebit is a like saying Snooki likes to have a drink now and then. Not only did they end the season with 16 players on injured reserve, but lost two more stars during the Super Bowl. The Packers were somehow able to push conventional wisdom aside and win a ring without any running game whatsoever. When Ryan Grant went down for the year, the Packers tried a few different options at RB, none of which had any sustained success. Things only got worse from there as one of the top 5 tight ends in the league: Jermichael Finley went down for the year along with starting RT Mark Tauscher. Pro-Bowl wideout Donald Driver was slowed most of the year with an injury of his own. Making matters even worse, Nick Barnett hit IR leaving a hole at linebacker. Even QB Aaron Rodgers missed a game with an injury but when he was healthy he was dynamite. Green Bay’s last 6 games were elimination games and they won them all including a Super Bowl marred by injuries to Driver and 2009 defensive player of the year Charles Woodson.

2. The Black Eyed Peas are Awful

ESPN ran a poll yesterday for people to give out grades for the Black Eyed Peas halftime performance. It was a non-scientific poll, but the overwhelming winner was “F” with nearly 40% of the vote. The shocking part was that 13% graded it an “A”. I hope that I never meet nor come in contact with any of that 13% for the rest of my life. If you could watch that steaming pile of crap and say anything other than “I weep for our future.” I have to question your sanity. That being said, we are the same nation that bought rocks in the 1970’s and used them as pets, so there’s that. It wasn’t always this way with the Black Eyed Peas though, their first two albums: “Behind the Front” and “Bridging the Gap” were very good. Then they added Fergie to the group… their income increased, their music decreased to the level of “50 Tyson.” I hate being cliché when it comes to bands and calling them sell outs because what does that really mean? That they are rich and popular? In Metallica’s words: “Yeah, we are sell outs, our concerts sell out in every city we go to.” In the Peas case, they have made themselves a lot of money putting out 95% borderline unlistenable music with an occasional catchy hook or flashback to their prior excellence. Halftime of the Super Bowl brought neither catchiness nor anything moderately close to excellence, but it probably did bring them a lot of money, so that seems consistent with their past 7-8 years worth of efforts.

3. Aaron Rodgers Really is a Top 5 NFL Quarterback

There is always a knee-jerk reaction by the media to put a quarterback among the elite after they win a Super Bowl (I’m looking at you Eli Manning), but in Rodgers case the praise is completely justified. Rodgers was simply outstanding over the last half of the season and into the playoffs. He wasn’t great in the NFC Championship, but did lead the Packers to 14-0 lead and got the win. Aside from the game that he was injured in, here are his QB ratings from week 9 forward: 131.5, 141.3, 114.5, 135.1, 139.9, 89.7, 122.5, 136.8, 55.4, 111.5. That averages out to 118.8 over the 10 game span. His full stat line over that time-frame looks like this: 230/327 for 2959 Yards, 25 TDs, 4 INTs and 278 yards on the ground with 3 more TDs. These numbers would’ve been even better if not for his receivers’ propensity for drops. Over the last 10 games he was hitting receivers like George Costanza spots dimes. His velocity rivaled Walter Johnson, his placement was laserlike, and his spirals were tighter than Scott Norwood. Coming into the season the big 3 in anything but fantasy football rankings were Manning, Brady, & Brees, but any list without Rodgers is both incorrect and incomplete.

4. Despite the Economy Companies Waste a Lot of Money on Crap

I couldn’t have been more proud of Budweiser, Doritos, Pepsi, and the other brands that spent millions and millions of dollars on advertising time. The reason? Nearly every commercial was horrible this year. Why does this fill me such pride? Because hopefully, if there are football gods, the misguided souls that watch the Super Bowl primarily for the commercials won’t watch next year. I detailed these social miscreants in a previous article, but if the commercials are terrible, maybe that will bring the Super Bowl a little bit closer to being about football. As of now the importance of the actual football game in many people’s eyes falls somewhere between the overdone and uninspired GoDaddy commercials and halftime shows with 1980’s special effects. It’s not as if the NFL is concerned about this, they sit there and count their money while true football fans are screwed over in pursuit of almighty dollar.

5. There’s No Such Thing as Clutch

Clutch is an indefinable entity substantiated by the media. Trust me I’ve tried. I have algebraic expressions out the wazoo attempting to come up with a Sabermetric formula to define clutch. Is Derek Jeter clutch? Not by the numbers. His nickname is Captain Clutch yet his career postseason batting average and on-base percentages are below his career average (.309/.377 postseason vs. .314/.385 regular season). His numbers aren’t even good enough for top 20 on his own team. Oh, and his OBP is much lower than Alex Rodriguez (.396) who has been seen as a “choker” his entire career.  Bringing it back around, is Ben Roethlisberger clutch? Not if you look at yesterday when he missed seeing a wide open Mewelde Moore right in front of him on 3rd and 5 with a little over a minute to go in the game. If the Steelers would’ve won, would Roethlisberger have been clutch? Does that make Aaron Rodgers not clutch even though his receivers dropped 5 passes… Unless someone has a 100% success rate, since there is no bar to determine clutch, they aren’t. Kobe & MJ are purported to be clutch, but over Bryant’s entire career, regular season and playoffs he has attempted 115 shots in the final 24 seconds of a game in which the Lakers were tied or trailed by two or fewer points. He connected on 36, and missed 79 times. That’s 31 percent. Hardly clutch. MJ missed more game winners than he made, but he’s the “clutchest” of all-time because of the ones that he did. Since there is no “clutch,” anyone can be and everyone isn’t.


One Response to “What I Learned Watching Super Bowl XLV”

  1. I agree on the commercial front. There was a time when they were good and added something to the super bowl experience but the only good that came from them was the previews of upcoming movies. Well, actually there was one I liked and it should hopefully provide a formula for future super bowl commercial success… was just a compliation of nut shots for some random insurance company. If I was looking for insurance I’d switch to them in a heart beat because they protect against nut shots, possibly my biggest fear.

    Posted by Kevin Hocevar | February 9, 2011, 1:31 pm

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