The Super Bowl was best comeback but not best game.
This is the official dog day of summer. All-Star Game last night, open days today and tomorrow. British Open next weekend, and a Wimbledon you can’t find on the front page. The biggest story is some spectacle between a boxer and an ultimate fighter next month.
That’s why ESPN picked tonight for the ESPYs, its made-for-TV awards show. First category is Best Game of the sports year. The Super Bowl between the Patriots and Falcons is nominated. Do you remember? It was hardly the best game.
We scratched our heads wondering what happened to the favored Patriots, as they turned the ball over twice in the first half, could not complete a touchdown drive and trailed 28-3 late in the third quarter. Yes, Tom Brady engineered the greatest comeback in Super Bowl, perhaps football, history, but the Atlanta Falcons are as much to blame.
Without the Falcons’ putrid play-calling in the fourth quarter, Julian Edelman’s circus catch in the middle of the field and beating the long odds of scoring two touchdowns and converting two two-point conversions in the closing minutes would not have meant anything.
After Julio Jones’ spectacular first-down catch on the sideline, all the Falcons had to do was run the ball into the line three times, force the Patriots to use all their time outs and kick a chip shot field goal to secure the win.
But, for some reason, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan had quarterback Matt Ryan pass the ball twice. Once it resulted in a sack and the other a holding penalty that pushed the Falcons out of field goal range. They had to punt to the Patriots and send its pooped defense back on the field to face the red-hot Brady. Two minutes and eight points later, the game went into overtime. Was there any doubt remaining who would win?
Yes, it was miraculous and devastating, depending on what team you were rooting for. But, for 42 minutes, it wasn’t much of a game at all, not to mention the best game. I’m sure it will win the ESPY – to give the dog day of summer some bark.
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)