I missed most of it, but caught the end…the best part. And what I’m sharing about the Super Bowl now is not about how great the event is, but rather, how the Patriots are a reflection of the best elements of the American way.
True to what I wrote last week, I did not watch that much of the Super Bowl, or at least the first half of it.
No, I was flipping back and forth Sunday, principally caught up in the four-hole playoff between Webb Simpson and Hideki Matsuyama that would determine the winner of the PGA event on CBS. Beautiful to watch in high definition, great photography, and Matsuyama ultimately won.
But about 9 pm I received a text from a friend in Columbus, saying, “Uh, I think you might want to catch the end of the Super Bowl. Brady’s doing his thing.”
In fact, I had kept track of the score, and when I took his words to heart and flipped back to the game Atlanta was still leading, 28-12.
“I really don’t want New England to win,” said my wife. “…because they’re cheaters.”
“It’s not likely,” I replied. “There’s only nine minutes left and Atlanta would have to have a bad turnover and give the Patriots a short field to score quick to even have a chance.”
And boom…that’s exactly what happened. You know the rest of the story. And to my core issue with the Super Bowl, I checked at the end and it took 4 hours and 12 minutes from kickoff to conclusion. Yawn!
But in retrospect I admit that the end of that game was one of the best football finishes I’ve ever witnessed. Since then I’ve seen the replays of the first half and Atlanta owner Arthur Blank prematurely celebrating a what-seemed-to-be sure win for the long-suffering Falcons. Never count your Falcons before they hatch…eh?
And I’m willing to concede this: That whatever it is that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have…it’s something that the Bengals will never have under their current direction – and something the Browns let get away 20 years ago when Belichick was learning the coaching ropes on the lakefront. Respectively, they’re the best at what they do in the history of the game. You can’t even fathom the Bengals pulling off what New England did Sunday, as you can’t fathom the Browns ever having the chance.
But more, I came away with this observation of the Patriots and the way they do business. They represent something very elementary about America itself. That is, the Patriots are made up by a lot of players who were drafted late, signed as free agents, cast-offs from other organizations, and guys who just wanted a chance to be part of their winning “system”. One was actually quoted, saying, “I’d play for a dollar if I could be a Patriot.”
You don’t see a lot of Patriot players demanding personal attention, or special consideration, like many of the partisan elements of American society who declare their rights are being violated for the good of the country. No, in New England you do it Bob Kraft’s way, Bill Belichick’s way, or you go somewhere else. It’s the system that makes them good. You do it their way and you win and prosper. You make a scene on your own behalf…and you get cut.
Randy Moss learned that in his short stay. And Terrell Owens never got the chance. It’s kind of like ‘trickle-down’, NFL style, from Kraft, to Belichick, to Brady, and to the complementing cast. Just do your job.
It’s actually worth watching, and appreciating. I was reminded on Sunday.
I’ll keep it in mind for future Super Bowls.