Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Super Bowl

Due to the fact that the Super Bowl was sandwiched in between such momentous events as Mock Con and Groundhog's Day, the big game did not get the treatment that it deserved on Banshee Blog. I'm sure that any of you who really cared about the game either watched it or read a detailed account of it by now. Therefore, I will not commence with a play-by-play. So, here's some commentary on various aspects of the game.

Monday Morning coaching: I normally hate this sort of thing, but I simply cannot resist a little critiquing of the Panthers' coach John Fox. Why, oh why, did the Panthers go for a two-point conversion with 7:30+ left in the game? I know that they were trailing by 5 at the time, but there was so much ball left to be played. Both teams scored again several times before the game finally concluded.

Here's how it went down. The Panthers failed on their first two-point attempt, and the score remained 21-16 in favor of the Pats. Then the Panthers scored another TD to take a 22-21 lead. Due to their first failure, the Panthers were forced to go for two again. They failed again. Instead of kicking two PATs to make the score a natural 24-21, the Panthers now only had a 1-point advantage. The weird score spread created by the Cats led the Patriots to successfully try a two-pointer after their next TD. That made the score 29-22 in favor of the Patriots. The Panthers next TD and PAT tied the game at 29. We all know what happened next -- another heroic Vinatieri FG to give the Patriots a 3-point victory.

I know that was a little convaluded, so here's the summary for those of you who skimmed over the last paragraph. If the Panthers had not commenced with the two-point conversion attempts with almost one half of a quarter remaining in the game, they would almost certainly have had 2 more total points. The Patriots would in all likelihood have had one less point because the scoring sequence would have remained normal. Therefore, the Panthers would have been leading 31-28 when Vinatieri kicked his last-second field goal. Then all of America would have been blessed with the first overtime game in Super Bowl history.

Kickers: The play by the kickers in this game was bizarre. First of all, Adam Vinatieri, one of the game's all-time greatest clutch kickers, continued his Reliance Stadium struggles and missed two field goals in the first half. Then Vinatieri's squib kick (probably not his call) at the end of the first half led to a gift FG for the Panthers. But, Vinatieri's mishaps will all be forgotten since he split the uprights with 4 seconds to go.

But the kicker I really want to talk about is the Panthers' John Kasay. Kicking the ball out of bounds with 1:30 to go is just abominable. It's inexcuseable. Kasay is a kicker for a living. His job in life is to kick a football. And yet, he couldn't even get it onto the 50-yard wide field when it counted. I doubt Kasay could have kicked it into the Pacific from the beach with that effort.

MVP: I'm certainly not going to quibble with the selection of Tom Brady for MVP. Brady played very well in this game. Well enough to earn the MVP honor. But, I'd like to make a pitch for Patriots' linebacker Mike Vrabel. Vrabel caused the fumble that set up the Pats' first TD. Vrabel also had a couple of sacks in the game. And to cap it all off, Vrabel caught -- yes, that's right -- caught a TD pass to give the Patriots a 29-22 lead with 2:51 remaining in the game.