For years I have been claiming that Super Bowl XXXII was the greatest Super Bowl of all time. It had all the elements to a great storyline. Aging legend John Elway fighting for his last chance to win the big game. The Packers were trying to win their second straight Super Bowl. Terrell Davis, with a migraine, was the MVP. Helicopter dive. Down to the wire ending. The game was the greatest Super Bowl game ever.
Today, I think Super Bowl XLIX takes the top spot.
The game I just witnessed also had a great storyline. With the Deflategate scandal still in people’s minds, we have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick chasing history. We have an amazing defense trying to repeat as champions for their team. Both teams were evenly matched and this was expected to be a great game. The comeback win, especially the ending, will have people talking for years.
There were a few things in the first half that really got my attention. I knew that a good start early on would dictate the tempo of the game and the Patriots had it. Their first drive was there for the taking, but Tom Brady’s early pick killed all that momentum. Fortunately, the Seahawks offense was struggling so bad that Brady and company got a second chance and scored first. It was clear that with Jeremy Lane hurt, his replacement Tharold Simon would be tested.
Pete Carroll makes gutsy calls and most times people are left scratching their heads. Instead of kicking an easy field goal to end the half, he goes for a passing play that would most likely eat up the entire clock. No problem. Chris Matthews (yeah, who?) gets the touchdown and we go into halftime tied. What a gutsy call and the call that gave the Seahawks momentum in the second half. The touchdown would start the Patriots’ run of 17 unanswered points.
Exciting first half. Now we wait by watching the halftime show.
I know very little about Katy Perry. Before this game, I could only name two songs from her. But watching her performance, I was reminded about a couple of things. The first thing was that I know Perry is a great performer and her extravagant outfits and props showed me why she’s so popular. Secondly, I recognized five of the songs during the set. I didn’t know them by name, but I knew I had heard them before.
The show was really enjoyable. It had lots of lights, colors, odd-looking aquatic dancers and a flying star. I wasn’t ready for all of that but overall, it was a well-choreographed performance. I think I really liked it.
The second half started off with the Seahawks gaining all the momentum and taking a 10-point lead. They had that lead into the fourth quarter but the Patriots just needed one score to give themselves a chance. Taking advantage of Simon on the corner, the Patriots attacked him and got moved down the field. Shane Vereen and Rob Gronkowski were both very effective all game long and helped spread the field for the offense.
Coming back from 10 points down, the Patriots scored two unanswered touchdowns and this set up for one of the craziest finishes in football history.
I have no explanation for this. Simply amazing. By this point, as the Seahawks were getting closer. I thought that the Patriots should let the Seahawks score to get the ball back. But Bill Belichick believed his defense would make the stop. He didn’t even call a timeout. This was all on the defense.
Then came the most baffling play of all.
I have no problem with the play call. Of course, Marshawn Lynch should have gotten the carry instead but the passing play was not a bad call. The problem, however, was that the ball was poorly thrown. It had to be away and low. Instead it was slightly off and that was the difference for Malcolm Butler to make the pick. This pick ended it. But the game ends on a what if. What if the Seahawks ran the ball and scored? We will never know.
I think that is what makes this game so great for me. I am left wondering what would have been. It was so close that a multitude of endings could have come from it. But we got this and there is an appetite for wanting more. It was that good we didn’t want it to end.
Tom Brady gets elevated to a status that matches and surpasses Joe Montana. Bill Belichick as well. The Seahawks in defeat are still expected to be favorites next year. This felt like a chapter to a book that has yet to be finished.
You can still argue about which Super Bowl is the greatest. But for my money, the storyline, the ending and the desire for more even after the game makes me think we just witnessed the best Super Bowl ever.