Super Bowl Night Breakdown
There are in depth analysis reviews of the Patriots @ Rams game all over the place. This one is just my take on the whole night, not just performance on the field but the whole entertainment package as a whole (spoiler, I did enjoy the on field performance as well). The Gents will be reviewing the Super Bowl in this weeks podcast so please do share your thoughts and questions with us. We’ll also be looking at season awards and would as always appreciate your nominations as well as some funny awards and their winners. Read on for a different British take on the greatest show on earth (no. 53).
I did have a great night, spent with the Renfrewshire Raptors Flag football team and ended up sat next to Gavin Newlands MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, who also sits on the Parliamentary committee that has been working with the NFL and NFL UK in bringing games over here. A life long Raiders fan, we had a good chat about the game in the UK (going back to the Claymores and Monarchs and other Glasgow based teams) as well good natured booing at the Patriots (only when the fans in the room asked for it) and chatting about the game. Top chap and hope to get him on the podcast in the future to talk about the game. There was a raffle, in which I won a bottle of wine, and pizza and wings were available at reasonable prices. Folk were wearing their teams gear and the Patriots fans were hamming up playing the pantomime villains. A lot of beer was being drunk by many so it was good and boisterous at times. The different levels of sobriety did seem to influence how much folk enjoyed the game. Just a wee bit too much and really the game was not gripping enough to hold everyone’s attention (apart from some Patriots fans who later on cheered every first down as if it was a touchdown, and everyone else who cheered a Rams first down as if it were a touchdown). I would not even say the game was totally for the purists of the game, there was enough other action going on, especially in the second half, that it kept tantalizing that both teams were about to open up a can of last quarter scoring flurries. The game was defence dominated and was a grind with the Rams secondary and most notably their defensive front causing all sorts of issues for the Patriots, limiting the ground game to an extent and the Patriots front doing such a good job of getting pressure on Goff, allowing the secondary to seemingly take away his options, narrowing his vision so he ended up not seeing open players and making risky throws that most of the time did not come off. The Rams ground game, apart from the odd flurry, was pretty well shut down. I think the defensive plays in this game really highlighted what has made this season so exciting, how there have been some really great defences. Yes there have been exciting high scoring games and electric offenses, the Rams being one of them and maybe that raised our expectations too much, because some of the grittiest games have been low scoring or relatively low scoring, defensive slogs. This game did remind me of the Rams v Bears game, defensive slog, with the team able to work just enough of a wrinkle to get a touchdown scoring drive, the Bears d managing to do what the Patriots d did: take away the ground game, blur Goff’s vision so that he does not see the over the middle open guy, only the long pass to the outside.
There is another side to last nights game, the third phase, special teams, so often overlooked. We saw precision punting from both Hekker and Allan and the punting team getting down to shut off any return, Matthew Slater again being a star for the Patriots, but Netson, Shields and Kiser all had good games for the Rams. Both special teams did a great job of putting their team in a good position, on both sides of the ball. I know it really shows that there was little excitement on at least one side of the ball if we look forward to special teams, but I was looking forward to this before the game, because these two teams have the top special teams units in the league (Patriots having already beaten two of the other top special team units). Getting punts downed with 5 yards of the endzone or 64 yard punts out of your own redzone is a big help. Yeah ok so Zuerlein and
Gostkowski missing kicks puts a dampener on this though Greg’s 53 yarder was quite something.
The real entertainment was the Patriots offence versus the Rams defence and at times it was seeing the blocking the Patriots o-line managed, or more specifically, how Gronkowski and James Develin worked as blockers. Everyone is talking about Julian Edelman and how he posted 151 yards, but the big on the ground gains came from Develin and Gronk creating the channels for Michel to run through. The touchdown was all to do with Develin’s block. That was some exceptional o-line work right there. Yes Donald and Suh won many of the small battles in the trenches, but in the end they did not win enough, the Patriots o-line did enough, gave Brady just enough time, often enough to make the passes over the middle to Edelman to get the yards. Donald and Suh and Brockers were blocked just often enough for the lanes to open for Michel and Burkhead to get through. And Gronk and Develin (as we said in our pre-Super Bowl podcast) were the key there.
That’s where I got some of my entertainment from, it was not just enjoying the schemes, just the skill of the players. The enjoyment of the night was completed (not by Maroon 5, though did enjoy a sing along with folk at the venue) by the coverage and the commentary. Tony Romo is fabulous and really made the game enjoyable, helping to properly weave a narrative and bringing humour where it was needed. We were watching the BBC coverage and that also helped. It is a personal view, I really enjoy the way the BBC cover the game, I like Jason, Osi and Mike all together, I think they give good fair analysis, they are engaging and really have fun. With Dave Chapman, there is good chemistry and a real enjoyment for the game, even if at times it seemed Chappers was delving into the #BBCNFL twitter feed to find positive comments. Obviously Jason and Osi like defensive football but I felt they were fair and it really beats sitting through all the adverts. Saying that there was one advert I was glad to go back and watch, the NFL 100 advert. A grand who’s who over NFL and football greats and thoroughly entertaining. Really topped off what was a very enjoyable end to the football season. Is that not what this sport is about? Entertainment (including Maroon 5), the season long stories leading to the Super Bowl and the sheer enjoyment of the game.
Thank you again to Renfrewshire Raptors for putting on a fun evening, very much enjoyed myself and was great to meet other fans of the sport in my area.
Thank you for reading, please do send us your thoughts, questions and comments for our podcast, where all the Gents will share their opinion of the game and we address the awards and the long months until we get football again. Get us on twitter @GridironGents, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/gridirongentlemen) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org