And thus the Superbowl proved once again that the game itself is better than the circus of cheesy entertainment around which swirls. Katy Perry's halftime show was standard-issue Katy Perry - it was a lot of flash signifying nothing worth remembering. The real stars of the Superbowl were the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, and the last eighteens seasons have seen the Superbowl finally become the competitive contest it was hoped to be when it began. The blowouts certainly still exist (see Seattle's massacre of Peyton Manning) but they sandwich within exciting games such as this one.
Some breakdowns worthy of the breakdown of Seahawks discipline at the end -
Joe Montana can not compete with Tom Brady - Brady has the four titles, and he got them against superior competition than anything Joe Montana faced - Montana's winning touchdown against the Bengals certainly was amazing, but it was against a Bengals team that was abysmal. Of Montana's four Superbowls, the only one that came against an opponent that actually showed some fight was the first one, against the Ken Anderson Bengals, and Anderson was not in the class of Kurt Warner, Jake Delhomme, Eli Manning, or Russell Wilson. I doubt Montana could have handled the Panthers had he played against them (Steve Young for one had a hard time against the Panthers as has the Niners organization in general).
Throw, Brady, throw - In 2006 at San Diego Brady became the first quarterback to win a regulation-length playoff game by throwing at least 50 passes; he's now done it several times, and seems to play better when he has to keep throwing.
The Brady-Manning rivalry is over with Manning routed - While Tom Brady has four Superbowls and three game MVPs Peyton Manning saw his NINTH playoff one-and-out and thirteenth playoff loss, and his losses have come against ten different quarterbacks including Brady. And the media's speculation about Manning's future is likely to rival media coverage of Brett Favre. It boils down to that Peyton will never win another Superbowl and may finish with a lopsided losing playoff record.
The Patriots Way succeeds where Denver's imitation of the 1993 Oilers failed - An immortal piece of hindsight comedy is Bert Breer's interview on Gary Tanguay and Andy Gresh's pregame show before New England's rout of the Bengals in Week Five - Breer talked about how the Patriots were not building their roster with any sense of urgency, while the Broncos were going all in for Peyton Manning. John Elway's imitation of the 1993 Houston Oilers produced the same results - the Broncos were bounced in the first round just like the 1993 Oilers got bounced in the first round - and both with a playoff bye to work with.
Russell Wilson is competing with Brady as the league's greatest playoff quarterback - Even with the game-ending interception, Russell Wilson made gigantic plays in a playoff game and his playoff record is only getting better. When it comes to big games, Russell Wilson is rivaling Brady as the game's greatest big-play big-game quarterback.
The Patriots defense failed yet again in a Superbowl, yet still made the play - It's a cliché - whenever the Patriots are in the Superbowl the defense fails in the fourth quarter. The difference was this time the defense got stabbed through the heart to their one-yard line yet made the game-winning play. Malcolm Butler made a play thanks to taking in coaching, and it reminds one of the uselessness of Ellis Hobbs, who seemed to ignore coaching and just freelance - it was why the Giants won the last Superbowl held in Glendale, AZ, because Hobbs had to make a game-winning play and because he's Ellis Hobbs, he failed.
It all showed once again that for all the effectiveness of defense it remains quarterbacking that wins.
The Seahawks give a preview for Seattle's NHL team - It appears a certainty that a new NHL team will be based in Seattle down the road, and it was appropriate a hockey game broke out at the end of the Superbowl. It also showcased how trying to be Oakland Raiders-style badasses isn't as effective as it looks - the Ravens play dirty football a la the Raiders and the Seahawks got away with several late hits all game before the game-ending brawl and ejection.
It was poetic justice against Roger Goodell - Goodell lied about Spygate and his credibility appears to finally be coming under fire with the incompetence of the entire "Deflate-gate" scam, this despite the media's refusal to make clear the obvious - that there was no rule-breaking or even rule-bending by the Patriots. So seeing him have to award the Lombardi Trophy to Belichick was even sweeter.
A harbinger for the Cardinals? - The last time Glendale, AZ hosted the Superbowl, the stadium's owner, the Cardinals, went to the Superbowl the following year - and this is no longer Bill Bidwell's team, it's instead a team that's good, though the issue of quarterback is as daunting now as it wound up being in 2014.
And thus does the National Football League wrap up its 2014 season; football junkies like myself will watch the Arena League and the Canadian League and enjoy it all as we count down to NFL training camps in the summer of 2015.