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2.01.2004

Postgame blogging 

Well, aside from the first 28 minutes, that was an exciting game. This year I had to contend with a number of Patriots anti-fans -- people who were cheering for Carolina not because they had any particular allegiances to the team but because they thought Patriots fans in Boston were obnoxious and they got sick of hearing about the Pats at the office all the time, or some nonsense like them. That just made the ending sweeter.

Here are some random observations:

1. After the first Super Bowl win, it was decreed that Adam Vinatieri will never again have to pay for a drink in New England. I'm not sure what'll happen after this one -- I think all there is left is to declare that Adam Vinatieri will be our god.

2. What's up with the New England secondary giving up that 85-yard TD pass and the other TD pass that tied the score late in the game? Both times Ty Law acted as if he had safety help when there was none. I don't have the game recorded, but I think that on at least one of these plays, the Patriots sent a safety to blitz, so Law should have known that he would be alone.

Other than that, Law played an excellent game. Or so I would think; Carolina didn't give him a whiff of the ball the rest of the game. I don't know whether that was their plan or whether he just did such a good job of shutting down his man that they couldn't hit him.

3. Does anybody have stats indicating one way or another whether the hoary tactic of icing a kicker works? It clearly doesn't work on Adam Vinatieri, who is 2-for-2 on Super Bowl-winning kicks after being iced. (They weren't easy kicks either -- 48 yards in 2002 and 41 yards this year.) I'd bet that as a whole, kickers' percentages don't change after they've been iced at the end of a game. Vinatieri in particular seems to get better, if my selective memory serves me correctly.

Not only is icing a kicker a dubious and annoying tactic, it is sometimes counterproductive, since those wasted times-out often prove useful on a last-ditch drive. The clock read 0:09 when the ball was snapped on Vinatieri's kick and it read 0:04 after the score. That timeout could have been useful if Carolina had wanted to review a trick kickoff return or offensive play (if the field goal had missed, if they had been fouled on the kickoff return, or if the kickoff went out of bounds).

4. This time I think Tom Brady was the right choice for Super Bowl MVP -- I thought last time the distinction should have gone to Law or Otis Smith or Tebucky Jones or maybe the Patriots defense as an aggregate, if such a thing were allowed.

5. Warren Sapp thought that the Panthers' defensive front would demolish the Patriots' offensive front, especially with Russ Hochstein subbing for Damien Woody. Obviously that wasn't the case, but what surprised me the most was how ordinary the Panthers' defensive line was against the run. Sure, they stuffed the Patriots on third-and-short a couple times early in the game, but the Patriots had success running the ball for most of the game.

6. Speaking of the Patriots running the ball, I'm really glad they stuck to the plan of balancing the running and passing games. I really don't understand why so many teams abandon the run so early in the game. Any game theorist will tell you that you need multiple options to succeed.

7. Jake Delhomme throws a really sweet deep ball. Both times he threw it deep he threw the ball in a perfect arc and landed it on the correct shoulder of the receiver. The first one in particular was very nice -- the Panthers caught the Patriots in a blitz, and Delhomme put the ball up promptly and accurately.

8. The officials called a lot more penalties on DBs and receivers in the Super Bowl than they had been doing the rest of the playoffs.

9. The two-pointer where the Patriots scored on a direct snap to Kevin Faulk was about as perfect as such a play can be run.

10. Ken Walter had a rough game; he hit two punts high and short and had them bounce backwards for net gains of 22 and 23 yards. I guess he's worth his salt as a kick holder though.

11. The Pats are now 2-for-2 when U2's "Where The Streets Have No Name" is played at some point during the Super Bowl broadcast and 0-for-1 otherwise. Draw your own conclusions.

12. The grass inside Reliant Stadium might be the worst playing surface in the NFL. Vinatieri missed two short field goals early, John Kasay shanked a crucial kickoff at the end of the game, and players were tripping on the surface left or right.

13. Here's an excerpt from a wire article about Janet Jackson's boob shot:



NEW YORK (AP) -- CBS apologized on Sunday for an unexpectedly R-rated end to its Super Bowl halftime show, when singer Justin Timberlake tore off part of Janet Jackson's top, exposing her breast.

"CBS deeply regrets the incident," spokeswoman LeslieAnne Wade said after the network received several calls about the show.

The two singers were performing a flirtatious duet to end the halftime show, and at the song's finish, Timberlake reached across Jackson's leather gladiator outfit and pulled off the covering to her right breast.

The network quickly cut away from the shot, and did not mention the incident on the air.

Timberlake said he did not intend to expose Jackson's breast.

"I am sorry that anyone was offended by the wardrobe malfunction during the halftime performance of the Super Bowl," Timberlake said in a statement. "It was not intentional and is regrettable."

...

"We were extremely disappointed by elements of the MTV-produced halftime show," Joe Browne, NFL executive vice president, said. "They were totally inconsistent with assurances our office was given about the content of the show.

"It's unlikely that MTV will produce another Super Bowl halftime."

MTV issued a contrite statement, saying the incident was "unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional."



Riiiiiiiiight. Shouldn't CBS have had their five-second delay on?

That's all for now. Only 29 days until spring training.

UPDATE: The Drudge Report claims that CBS executives approved of that little bit at the end of the halftime show. Naturally, all of the sources are anonymous, so take this report for whatever it's worth. (Warning: link is unsafe for work.)

UPDATE: The boob shot probably is the most TiVoed moment of all time.

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