Monday, February 08, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV

I started watching late, but watched almost all of the football game. I missed a few plays after the start of the 2nd and 4th quarters, and the Colts three-and-out after the Saints failed to score just after the 2-minute warning of the first half. I didn't watch any of the ads (though I've now seen a couple on-line and have been profoundly unimpressed.) I also saw not a single second of the pre-game, half-time and post-game shows.

But I saw almost all of the football.
  • Let's get this out of the way, right up-front - I derived an unhealthy amount of pleasure from the fact that the Saints essentially iced the game on a Peyton Manning interception returned for a touchdown. Manning's a great QB, possibly the greatest QB ever, but the coverage of him borders on hagiographic, and I tire of it. Throwing a pick-six with his team down seven and driving, inside four minutes to go in the Super Bowl - I enjoyed it. It speaks ill of me, I think, that I reacted that way, but I did.
  • Along the same line, I enjoyed Reggie Wayne dropping a ball on fourth down that would have given the Colts a TD and a chance to on-side kick.
  • Happy for Drew Brees, who seems like a good guy. And happy for the Saints.
  • One of the things that we enjoyed about the pick-six in my house is that it meant that Brees didn't have to throw the ball again, leaving him tied with Tom Brady for the most completions in Super Bowl history, rather than passing him.
  • And good for Sean Payton, who played the game to win. There were people criticizing the decision to go on fourth down in the second quarter - I loved it. (I didn't necessarily love the play call, though - they'd already demonstrated that they were having trouble getting outside, but that they could move the line off-tackle.) And settling for the field goal there would very likely have resulted in a bigger half-time deficit, as the Colts would have played differently if they're received a kickoff at the 25 than starting at their own one.
  • Loved, loved, loved the on-side kick. The Saints went in to win, and did.
  • I've heard some people putting goat-horns on Pierre Garcon for a key drop. I don't know which drop they're talking about. Looking at the game play-by-play, there are two "Manning pass incomplete to Pierre Garcon" plays. One was in the middle of the first quarter with the Colts at the NO 20 and no score, which resulted in a fourth down and a Colt field goal for a 3-0 lead. The other was halfway through the 2nd quarter, with the Colts at their own 28 with a 10-0 lead, and resulted in a 4th down and a punt. Was there another one that the play-by-play mislabeled? It's hard to see that either of those plays cost the Colts the game. So despite the fact that I saw almost all of the game, I hear that talk and don't know what they're talking about.
  • One of the questions that has kind of floated around in the ether this season is this - what, exactly, is Jim Caldwell doing as the coach of the Colts? By all accounts, Manning's running the offense, including, from the looks of it, whether they're going on fourth down or punting. Which decisions is Caldwell making? Is he just staying out of the way? How much of their success was a result of Jim Caldwell making decisions, and how much was him just letting the players and position coaches do their things? Unanswerable from the outside, and maybe he did everything just right. But the only difference between looking "calm and placid" on the sideline, and looking like a deer in the headlights, is the scoreboard. Caldwell transitioned from the former to the latter after the Manning pick.
  • Can we stop the "maybe the Colts are really the team of the decade for the 'aughts'" talk now? I don't see how they can even pass Pittsburgh for second.

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