Brady Burns Down Atlanta

New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady holds the Vince Lombardi trophy as interviewer Terry Bradshaw approaches after his team defeated the Atlanta Falcons to win Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas, U.S., February 5, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

For Falcon fans, that’s about as awful as it can get. A slow motion choke for the ages. There’s no solace in the fact that you got done in by the game’s greatest assassin. Nope. You blew it.

As I talked about on my show last week, the Super Bowl creates permanence. What happens on that stage, lasts a lifetime… and well beyond. For those who are graced with glory, it’s a wonderful thing. For the less fortunate, a curse.

Julian Edelman will cradle that ball just an inch above the turf while getting kicked in the face… for eternity. That ball shall never hit the ground. Dont’a Hightower will crash into Matt Ryan’s arm at the perfect possible moment to force a fumble, not an incompletion…. for all eternity.

EDELMAN_catchAnd the Falcons might well not return to this game for 20 years.  Sure, they look like they are set-up to be good for a long run. But so was Carolina last year. Recent history has been especially cruel to the loser of this game in the immediate aftermath.

To second guess the Boy Wonder, Kyle Shanahan, on his playcalling is not just fair, but necessary. For a sharp young man who got so much hype prior to this game, an equal amount of “what-were-you-thinking” scorn is merited while the ashes smolder.

To run the ball twice for 9 yards, then set-up a deep drop passing play on 3rd and 1 is criminally brainless. Then, having had the chance to see your life flash before your eyes and still be alive, to call two more deep drop pass plays after the Julio Jones catch had basically iced the game, and watch a sack and a holding call push you out of Matt Bryant’s range?

Thanks, kid. Good work. Enjoy San Francisco.

As somebody said: Kyle lost his backpack on Monday, and his brain on Sunday.

FAIRNESS

It didn’t take long for the “Fair”-ies in sports to start bellyaching about how Atlanta lost the coin-toss, then lost the game. Wah! Unfair! Never mind that nobody was saying before this SuperBowl (or any of them, since the OT rules were changed once to make them “more fair”) “hey, we need to fix this SuperBowl overtime, because somebody is going to lose an eye!”

Nah. Typical of today’s mood in this country, it was a meek little after-the-fact “wah, wah…” from a few. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk – whom I am increasingly mistaking for being smarter than he really is – was quick to rush out a thought that somehow the Patriots win “felt incomplete.” Whatever.

For the last time: These are GAMES, people. Not life and death. You had 60 minutes of “fair” – at some point it comes time to decide the game. It’s that simple. I actually do NOT think that baseball’s endless games, or hockey’s marathon contests in the Stanley Cup playoffs are anything to brag about. I think they are stupid. Who wants to endure a “double-game” just because to adhering to some old-school romanticism. In baseball I’d make it next-run-wins after the 10th. In hockey, I would have 4-on-4 in the 2nd overtime. And no, I’m not crazy. You are!

I actually saw some people on my timeline complain: “How come the Patriots got to call BOTH coin flips!” Really? Who cares? Do they have some clairvoyance about which way a coin is going to fall? IT DOESN’T MATTER!

Then there were people honestly upset that the referees called pass interference on the would-be Martellus Bennett touchdown pass in overtime. Yes, they really thought that call should not be made, only because of the time and circumstance in the game!

This is the kind of nonsense thinking that had man-child Travis Kelce calling out the same Carl Cheffers for daring to call a hold on the Chiefs’ would-be game-tying 2-point conversion.

In truth, Cheffers and his crew were brilliant last night. Aside from the sideline mistake on the Amendola punt return, they just about nailed every bang-bang play in real time, without the need for replay. From an early Matt Ryan sack that might have been a fumble, to the James White touchdown to win the game, they were absolutely dialed in. Just remember this, when you start agitating for full time refs. There’s nobody better in the world than these guys. And making them quit their other jobs, won’t make them any better.

BRADY_goodell

GOODELL

The handshake with Tom Brady went down pretty much like I expected. Brady took the high road, and followed through with more high road on Monday morning. Brady is smart, even if you think he’s a cheat. Brady knows about permanence in sports and his own image. What might have felt good at the time, might look clunky and cheap in the years to follow.

Besides, the tsunami of boos Goodell was drowned in while on stage, was all that history needed to record in that moment. It was amazing. And fitting. As somebody wrote last week, EVERY sports fan should root for Brady against Goodell. It’s represents the victory of a talented, athletic genius who has earned his position in the sporting firmament through hard work and perseverance.

Goodell meanwhile, is a talentless bureaucrat, whose biggest accomplishment was being born a Senator’s son. There’s only one Tom Brady in the entire world, and now nobody can argue there’s been anybody better. Yet there are not just 1,000 would-be Goodell’s out there, but at least 1,000 more who would be a marked improvement.

My only wish was that Bob Kraft had taken that podium moment to tell Goodell – the lying coward who said this week he was waiting for an invitation to return to Foxboro – “… and we’ll see you in September at our place, when we raise the banner!”

GAGA: If you like her, that show was a home run. A masterful piece of stagecraft, and a nice clean performance. I’m sorta “Meh+” on her as an artist. I appreciate her genuine musical chops – far beyond pop avatars like Katy Perry – and her legendary ability to write a good musical “hook” for modern pop songs. But I only like a few of her songs (Applause, Edge of Glory, Perfect Illusion) and she didn’t play any of them. Oh well.

FOX: As I mentioned right away on Twitter, it was an absolute joy to see the game uncluttered by a bottom-of-the-screen crawl showing scores or – worse – fantasy stats. A joy! Joe Buck was great – a point hammered home by Phil Mushnick. But still lacking, was a sharp color man to point out in real time that the Falcons were blowing it by calling risky pass plays when they could just run the ball, and close out the game. Troy Aikman admitted this week that he has no memory of the 1994 NFC Championship game because of a concussion, yet we are left to believe as an audience that he retains top-flight mental faculties to analyze a game un-affected? Please.

BELICHICK: The guy is a certified weirdo. Example: going out of his way to find a Patriots blue pullover that has NO logos whatsoever. What? But he’s also the modern Lombardi. He’s so good, at everything required of a modern NFL head coach, it’s a joke. James White was a 4th round pick out of Wisconsin. He arguably should have been the MVP. Belichick finds talent. Develops talent. Deploys talent. And he creates a culture of “buy in, or get out” that is un-matched in a league full of “me-firsters.” That said, enjoy the rare relaxed Belichick he let out with Berman and Co. on the ESPN set after the game.

 

About the Author

Steve Czaban is a 25 year sports radio veteran, who hosts an afternoon drive show in Washington D.C. He also appears on "Bob and Brian" in Milwaukee. "Czabe" also writes and edits his own commentaries for www.czabe.com and other on-line and print publications. He can be reached at czabe@yahoo.com.

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7 Comments

  1. Czabe you hit the nail on the head with the world cheering for Brady against Goodell. Goodell is terrible for the league for so many reasons, and blowing “deflate-gate” out of proportion after criminally mishandling so many domestic abuse cases was the final blow for me. I wanted Atlanta to win because, as a Packer fan, I needed to salve my soul knowing at least we lost to the Superbowl winners. But, in the end, watching the Ginger Hammer hand the Lombardi to a team of guys he tried so very hard to screw this season, amidst a waterfall of boos from fans who are tired of the No Fun League spending more time on penalizing end zone celebrations than figuring out how to keep players from committing actual crimes made yet another win by the Dark Sith Lord and his superhuman robot quarterback worthwhile.

  2. – Yep, this one will haunt the Falcons and their fans like Super Bowl 18 haunts the Redskins.
    – Ryan deserves some grief for failure to avoid sacks in crucial situations, especially at the 23 yd line late in the game.
    – Stop being prisoners of the moment. The OT process is fine. It is the pros; stop the TD or go home.
    – The refs were fine and there seemed to be less play stoppages and interminable reviews. Need more of that in the regular season.
    – Goodell: If we wasn’t in football he’d probably be a pastry chef.
    – Gaga: This middle aged conservative doesn’t really follow her but that was one of the better halftimes in a decade.
    – Buck was very good and Troy not only added nothing, but he took 10,000 words to do it as usual.
    – Brady: Great guy, can’t stand him. You are the GOAT (m’fer).
    – Belichick: Single minded genius always comes with a heaping dollop of weirdo

  3. This game ought to silence the haters, I mean how can you argue with what we all witnessed? I was in absolute shock as somehow what seemed to be an insurmountable lead by the Falcons turned into an outright rout of the Birds. This was only made possible by the never-say-die attitude of the Patriots, and their typically awesome management of the play clock. People only hate Brady because of jealousy/envy. Yeah hes got all the accolades and wins, yes he is good looking, rich, and has a super model wife. That will earn a lot of peoples hatred. But he also seems to be a great, classy guy and he’s always acted gracious and professional. He’s the GOAT, no question, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he adds one or two more Superbowls wins before he retires at age 54. The end.

  4. My wife asked me last night why the falcons loss bothered me so much and commented that it seemed to bother me even more than when Auburn lost the championship game a few years ago. (I’m more of a college fan by far)
    I think there’s a couple of reasons.
    One, those of us who follow football know just how rare these opportunities are for any team, so to be so close and blow it like that stings.
    Two, if the falcons have been consistent at anything in their 51 years as a franchise, it’s their ability to be INconsistent. Although I was too young to remember the 1980 season, I’ve read enough and heard enough to know that although we lost to the cowboys in the NFC championship game, we had a good team that should’ve made another run. They didn’t, and the 80’s were awful. After the 98 super bowl season, everybody was coming back and there was a lot of promise for 99. But …Jamal Anderson held out seeking a pay day, then blew out a knee very early in the season and that group never did much of anything else. Then we got VICK! After he took us to the NFC championship game, and even though we lost to the eagles, there was a lot of promise that we would be back. But … He had us all fooled and went to prison. Down the tubes. Then, after suffering through petrino, we went to the NFC championship in 2012, and even though we lost a close one to the niners, there was promise with Ryan and Julio. But then we stunk again and fired another coach.
    So that’s why it bothers me. In my life as a falcon fan, they’ve given me no reason to believe that next year will be anything more than a .500 season again. Our offensive coordinator is gone, our RB is already bellyaching about a payday, and our schedule will be tough.
    Man I hope I am wrong, but these chances haven’t come often for us and when they have we just can’t get over the hump.
    I’ll keep rooting for them, flying my falcon flag, and hoping for the best regardless.

    As for my opinion of the game ….. The falcons have touted their ‘brotherhood’ thing all season, and they lost in ‘brotherhood’ just like they had been winning in ‘brotherhood’. It was a team effort. Plenty of mistakes made by just about everyone except our kickers.
    But ….. Shanahan. Holy hell! If I took a minute to explain clock management and end of game situations to my 8 year old daughter, I think she would say that with an 8 point lead late in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl on the opponent’s 23 yard line ….. YOU RUN THE STINKIN’ CLOCK, KICK A FG, & GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE WITH A CHAMPIONSHIP! The falcons were getting almost 6 yards per carry for the game!!!!!!! So why we didn’t hand to Freeman 3 times and give Bryant a chance to put the game out of reach, I will never know.
    Instead, we lose 23 yards on the next two god awful plays. I haven’t checked the stats, but I would bet we didn’t lost 20+ yards on two plays all season. That just doesn’t happen. And I definitely give Ryan a pass on the sack there. He shouldn’t have been dropping back to pass. He didn’t have time to get out of the pocket to throw it away and it would’ve been grounding anyways.
    Oh well … here’s hoping they can get back there again, because the ONLY way they ever come close to living down that epic collapse is to get back to that game and WIN it.

    Also, I gotta end this post now cause I just took a temporary gig with a moving company so I can personally help Shanahan pack for San Francisco.

    One last thing, Czabe. I am not a big Gaga fan either, but it was nice to see a half time show that wasn’t R rated, and didn’t turn political.

    See ya,
    Cary
    Long Suffering Falcon fan

  5. Atlanta just isn’t ready to be champions yet. Look at all those great Braves teams of the ’90s and only walked away with 1 World Series and only won it against the hapless Cleveland Indians (can I still say Indians?). Lost 2 pro sports franchises in the Flames and the Thrashers who both went to Canada.
    Losing a Super Bowl is a crusher . . . My Pack lost it to the Broncos and conspiracy theories abound about and we’re still reeling from that Seattle loss in the Championship game a few years ago that but I digress. But this loss isn’t easily recoverable and I don’t think they’ll be back.
    Overtime . . . you had your chances Atlanta. If Vic Beasley intercepts that pass to Bennett before White ties the game . . . game over. To be fair, I do believe that Freeman their RB did get injured which is why that passed on 3rd and 1. But I think Czabe said it basic fundamentals kill you. The pass interference call . . . there should have been more the way Atlanta’s secondary were holding and grabbing the WRs . . . saw it in the Conference Championship game against GB too.

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