Super Bowl Sunday

“And so it has come at last, the distinguished thing.” — Casanova, Camino Real by Tennessee Williams.

This may very well prove to be the “greatest Super Bowl of all time.” But as usual my team won’t win, because none of my favorite teams are in the game.

“And so it has come at last, the distinguished thing.” — Casanova, Camino Real by Tennessee Williams.
This may very well prove to be the “greatest Super Bowl of all time.” But as usual my team won’t win, because none of my favorite teams are in the game.
After rooting fervently against the Chiefs during their blood feud with John Madden’s 1970s Oakland Raiders and Tom Flores’ 1980’s Oakland and LA Raiders, and rooting for the Giants against Andy Reid’s Eagles all those later years, it is just impossible for me to root for the Chiefs now, even if I can admire their ridiculous excellence.
Sure I still smart from the 2001 Raiders losing to Tom Brady on his way to his first Super Bowl, due to the non-existent Tuck Rule. But if today’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the odds with their ferocious defense and living legend quarterback, I will be happy for the old guys like Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles, who are terrific people by all accounts, and for the veterans enjoying what may be their one and only chance at a championship, like Leonard Fournette and Mike Evans.
If young phenom Patrick Mahomes prevails, and the amazing adaptable offense schemes of Andy Reid earn him his giant double cheeseburger, I will marvel at “the kid” going 26-1 over his last 27 starts, with a lot of help by one of the most talented squads ever assembled.
Then again, on the other side of the ball are the Buccaneers, who beat the Raiders in their last Super Bowl, souring Rich Gannon’s MVP 2002 season, ironically thanks to the Raider’s current coach having gone to Tampa Bay after being fired by the Raiders shortly before.
So, I shall remain neutral and marvel at what is a match-up of the best teams who peaked at the right time and who each will hopefully bring their best game.
But then there’s Trumper Tom and his enviable perfection. His personal life in no way diminishes his unmatched achievements as one of the greatest athletes of any generation. He keeps his politics totally out of his public life, and he is hardly the only pro athlete who was raised by Republicans to be a Republican or who has been chummy with Donald Trump over the years, along with other wealthy businessmen in the east coast jet set social scene. Babe Ruth would likely have been at those same dinner tables.
But I get it. I understand why people loathed Brady and the Patriots with the same emotional fervor as those who would root against the Yankees if they were playing North Korea, and for the same sort of reasons.
But seriously! Moving to a new team during a pandemic, which went 7-9 last season, and starting the year 7-5, and then with less than a 10% chance of getting to the Super Bowl, running the table to make it all the way to his TENTH Super Bowl?
Win or lose, he is still Tom Terrific. But winning this one will make him immortal.
The unscripted drama of world-class athletics is hard to beat when it comes to entertainment.

Mike Curtis Remembered

My Mind Turns to Mad Dog Mike Curtis on Super Bowl Eve

The NFL Hall of Fame inductees will be announced tonight. One name that has faded out of sight is that of my childhood sports hero, Mike Curtis, the only linebacker to make All Pro at the Outside and Middle positions

Curtis died in April at the age of 77 years old. That week, Sports Illustrated ran an editorial lobbying for why he should be in the HoF.
After 11 years with the Colts, and the interception that sealed Super Bowl V, he was stolen away as the Seattle Seahawks #1 draft choice, back when expansion teams got to draft from other teams. Passed his prime, he was as much a teacher for the Seahawks and later his hometown Redskins, than a player.

Mike Curtis linebacker onemanz

One Sports Illustrated writer declared these 1970, ’71 Baltimore Colts the greatest linebacking core in NFL history. (Curtis, with Ted Hendrix, and Ray May who went on to captain the Broncos’ defense a few years later.)
Bart Starr played against Butkus twice a year, but said the only man he was ever truly afraid of was Mike Curtis, who was known as the Mad Dog.
A tall, skinny rookie named Ted Hendrix lined up next to him in 1969, and was so gangly the press nicknamed him the Mad Stroke as a joke.
Hendrix is in the Hall, as is Butkus, Willie Lanier, Bobby Bell, and Ray Nitchke. Many players of the time thought Curtis was their better. But he showed no interest in lobbying for the HoF and was pretty much forgotten, except when various Baltimore Ravens would seek him out at his favorite blue collar bar to buy him beer.
I still have his football card, now in a frame with an autographed photo I snagged off Ebay.
There’s gonna be some serious buzz saw linebacker play tomorrow to look forward too. “The human buzz saw” being his other nickname from back in the day.

A Super Bowl for the Ages

Super Bowl LIII was a Spectacle of Defense

People may have seen this Super Bowl as boring or even forgetful, when it was actually incredible.

I can understand why viewers did not find the game entertaining. It was almost as tense and frustrating for us as it was for the players, as the defenses kept blowing out the match before the offenses could light the fireworks.

While today’s casual viewers wanted to see high-scoring offenses do their thing, in the scheme of NFL history it was the defenses that made this game memorable, even legendary.


The winning defense put on the most dominating performance since Super Bowl III, played 50 years ago.

But there are significant differences. Sunday’s teams were pretty much even when it came to professional experts picking the winner. After blowouts in the first two Super Bowls, nobody picked the NY Jets from the upstart AFL to upset the NFL’s Baltimore Colts, which earlier that season were being called the Greatest Team in NFL History.

But the Jets victory was not nearly as impressive as the Patriots’, because several of their opponents were playing with significant injuries, and they were facing a backup quarterback. The Colt’s only points came late in the game when hobbled John Unitas came off the bench in a last-ditch effort at a comeback.

Super Bowl line

An overwhelming performance

The Rams had the second highest scoring offense in the league this season, with all their stars but one in good shape yesterday. The Patriots shut them out in the first half, with but two First Downs, and held them to 3 points total.

The victory was achieved in the boring and forgettable trenches, where continual penetration from New England’s front seven allowed no time for the Rams’ complicated trickery to unfold, forcing LA to resort to traditional plays.

It’s not that the Rams “didn’t show up.” The Patriots took the Ram’s usual game plan away from them.

LA’s defense was almost as impressive as New England’s, until the end. That’s when the boring and forgettable preseason conditioning paid off yet again for the Patriots.

Their defense had just a little more gas left in the tank, and their offensive line gave their quarterback the time to make the key throws he couldn’t earlier in the game, and then they split open the Ram’s Fearsome Foursome like a melon for the winning touchdown run.

Finally, the Patriot’s pass rush actually got better on the Ram’s very last drive, despite the refs not calling the blatant Offensive Holding, which got worse and worse as the game went on.

It wasn’t pretty, but it was awesome

The only other time both defenses were so dominant and disruptive in the same Super Bowl was Super Bowl V, which is often accused of being the worst Super Bowl, the sloppiest, etc., when it was really two ferocious defenses making two good offenses look bad.

The MVP was the middle linebacker for the losing team, the Cowboy’s Chuck Howley, even though it was the victorious Colts’ middle linebacker, Mike Curtis, whose interception set up the winning field goal.

Super Bowl Curitis

While I can appreciate that Julian Edelman’s 10 receptions were one short of Jerry Rice’s Super Bowl record, it seems to me that there were more-valuable players on the two defenses of this particular game, with at least three playing for New England who had more to do with the Rams losing than Edelman had to do with the Patriots coming out on top.

Super Bowl LIII was like a heavyweight prize fight of two dominant defenses shutting down two famous offenses, each making the opposing star quarterbacks seem “off” or “not themselves.” On TV, we saw passes not getting to where receivers were. We didn’t see the cornerbacks and linebackers disrupting timing routes so the receivers weren’t getting to where they should have been.

Super Bowl pass

And so the defenses kept blowing out the match to the fireworks – until Tom Brady’s last rocket took off on course and landed in Gronkowski’s hands, in the only little window it could have, due to the triple-coverage.


It was one of a handful of offensive plays from either side that succeeded, and it was the most important.

There will never be scripted drama quite like that. And anyone who thinks that can happen by the refs or the league “fixing” the Patriots’ victories should just keep their mouth shut so all the stupid doesn’t fall out.

And so, Tom Brady got his sixth championship victory, in eighteen seasons. He only needs one more to tie the GOAT.

Otto Graham Super Bowl

Otto Graham played professional football for 10 seasons and took his team to the championship game every year, winning seven of them. This was in an era before the ball was reshaped for more accurate passing, and still he set records not touched until Joe Montana was playing with rules that gave receivers much greater advantages while running routes; not to mention the coddling of receivers that goes on in Brady’s era.

For his time, Brady is indeed amazing. But with the pro-offense rules they have these days, it is the defensive performances in this most-recent Super Bowl that make it truly incredible, even legendary.

And that’s one man’s word on…

Super Bowl LIII was so incredible