Super Bowl: Eli Redux
February 6th, 2012

It’s hard to know who to root for in a Giants-Patriots Super Bowl. It’s like picking sides in a G.E.-Microsoft fight. But even without having a rooting interest, last night’s game was boring in its predictability.

What I couldn’t understand was why, with the ball and a 2-point lead, the Patriots were not in 4-down mode for most of their last drive. With under four minutes to play, and the ball and a narrow lead, they needed one of three outcomes: (1) Score; (2) Hold the ball until time expired; (3) Give up the ball in such a manner as to allow them maximum time to counter a Giants’ score.

From the way the Patriots’ defense played, it was unrealistic to think that after turning the ball over, they’d be able to keep New York out of field goal range. So why bother with a punt? Better to take your chances in getting a first down (which would have changed the play calls on both second, third, and fourth down of their penultimate drive) because even if you then turn the ball over on downs, all you’ve done is given the Giants a shorter field. I’d argue that the upside/downside part of the calculation would have been: Better to increase the probability of New York scoring (since it was already very high) while also increasing the probability of getting the ball back with more time to counter.

Punting in that situation makes very little sense. (At least to me.) It’s the kind of clock management I’d expect from Andy Reid.

All things considered, I’d probably have preferred a Pats win, I suppose. More Tommy from Quinzee, more squash-court Eli, and their championships weren’t predicated on inexplicably dropped pass from the opposition and two total-fluke circus catches. The Patriots earned their Super Bowls the old-fashioned way: By illegally videotaping their opponents.

  1. Nedward February 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    The expectations angle is a problem; Boston v. New York is the most clapped-out cliche in pro sports and it’s not like 10 years ago when everyone could get interested in a Cinderella story. I fondly recall the 2008 game (perhaps from living in N.E. at the time), I sort of always liked Coughlin’s Giants teams, and I bear no animosity toward the Patriots (I do hate their fans). Yet this was the dullest of the foreseen match-ups. Even something utterly silly like Saints-Broncos would more befit the SB which has been a semi-real event divorced from the actual season through most of my living memory.

    The other side is why this would affect the quality of the game, which I cannot explain. I guess it’s never much fun to watch an “upstart” team putting in a workman-like performance against a once-dominant team now flubbing it repeatedly. I’d say this even if it were the Steelers losing to the Alex Smith Experience. Actually, no, I would’ve enjoyed that

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  3. ChrisinTampa February 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    “The Patriots earned their Super Bowls the old-fashioned way: By illegally videotaping their opponents.”
    Funny, but am I the only person who notices that the Pats haven’t WON a SB since they got busted? Since they won 3 SB by a combined 9 points I can’t help but wonder how many points the videotaping earned them in those games? Can’t change anything but just wondering.

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  5. Chuck60 February 8, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Hah, Andy Reid. I’m so-so on him (I like much about him, but he can drive me crazy), but he’s undoubtedly the worst clock manager of any of the big-time pro coaches.