It's hard for me to fathom spending between $5 and $6 million for a commercial, but among those that came the closest to getting the most bang for their buck, in this view were the Bud Light-Game of Thrones combo, The NFL 100 celebration (admit it, you were having fun trying to name this player and that played), the Captain Marvel trailer (we are not a comic movie guy, but that commercial made me want to see that movie, which is a monster win), and the Microsoft commercial with the disabled kid and the video games.
The 5-at-10 Super Bowl picks from Friday. We had the Pats minus-2, under the 56.5, Longest FG greater than Trump's approval rating later today (and while that's not official, do we believe Trump's approval rating will be > 53?), and the roof being closed at kickoff. That's no worse than 3-1 and likely 4-0.
NFL officials. After a two-week barrage of bellyaching and a fortnight of fans' frustration, the only questioned calls have to do with Todd Gurley's usage and when did Sean McVay forget how to call plays. OK, the early helmet-to-helmet call was fringe, and the holding call on Gurley's strong run in the fourth were questionable, but there was not an outrage-inducing omission or mistake. Plus, the lack of reviews was much-appreciated by this viewer.
Boston sports fans. Geez. A whopping 97 days after the Red Sox won the World Series, the Patriots delivered a Super Bowl title to New England. Hope no one was too distraught.
SEC elite hoops teams. UK and Tennessee are headed for a showdown Saturday, Feb. 16, and each had a tough road test with a monster target on its back. Each was in a dog fight late in the second half, and each responded like a true title contender. Tennessee was amazing in the final six minutes at Texas A&M, and Kentucky flipped a switch and swamped the Florida Gators.
Bonus: Rickie Fowler. Dude had struggled with a 54-hole lead, and he was not exactly bolted down Sunday in Phoenix. But it was enough. Here's hoping that Rickie finds a way to win a major this season.
Maroon 5. Egad. What was that? And we're pretty sure there is a small spot above Adam Levine's right hip where he might could add one more tattoo.
NC State. Saturday, the Wolfpack, who are ranked by the way, scored 24 points. On Saturday, 77 Division I players scored more points than N.C. State did.
TurboTax. Seriously. More than $5 million for 30 seconds of that robot child commercial? Man, I'd be looking for a refund.
Sergio Garcia. Dude, could you be more of a spoiled brat? Garcia was DQ'ed from a tournament in Saudi Arabia for purposefully damaging several greens. Wow, this is the type of behavior that would be unacceptable from either of my kids (ages 11 and 8 by the way). And to make matters worse, Garcia was reportedly given an appearance fee of 500,000 pounds. And he got booted for being a baby. As golf is dealing with a bunch of bull-snot rule interpretations across all organizations, this one deserves some serious penalty for Sergio — like a month without being eligible for any PGA, USGA or European Tour event.
Adnan Virk. One of the most versatile and likable ESPN regulars was reportedly fired over the weekend for leaking confidential information. Wow.
We, for the most part, stayed away from the Super Bowl action in the weekend winners and losers. And we did it for this reason because there were so many bouncing back and forth.
Winners: Tom Brady has crafted a resume that makes him the most accomplished NFL player of the Super Bowl era. Period. If you want to quibble that Peyton or Rodgers or Marino or someone else is a better quarterback, well, then you also have to be open to LeBron or Kobe or someone else being better than MJ. But in terms of accomplishments — his six Super Bowls, his statistical place among the all-timers, his Super Bowl and regular-season MVPs — make Brady's career the best ever.
Loser: Not to be tit-for-tat and back-and-forth guy, but the moment was simply too big for Jared Goff. He watched the rush too much. He missed makable throws. He was late on what should have been a game-changing TD to a wide-open Brandin Cooks. That interception that sealed it with less than five minutes to play was a rotten throw. It was rotten, and it's pretty clear that Goff was part of the Rams offensive machine not the reason for it, and when you are trying to decide on franchise QBs, that's an important distinction that was magnified on sport's biggest stage.
Winner: Patriots O-Line. Wow. That was impressive. One sack in the entire postseason — and that was on a pass play that Brady should have thrown away. Shaq Mason stonewalled Aaron Donald all night, and did a lot of it 1-on-1.
Loser: Todd Gurley. There has to be more to this story, right? Has to be. Not unlike the Malcolm Butler sit-out with the Patriots last year, this feels like something. Because if we are to believe he was not 100 percent healthy, he popped a couple of nice fourth-quarter runs that looked pretty close to 100 percent to me.
Winner: Atlanta as a host. Unlike the previous Super Bowls in the A-T-L, there was no ice or no future Hall of Famers stabbing folks. The reviews were strong and the pregame festivities — the flyover was money — looked top notch. Plus, the controlled and affordable concession prices from the regular season remained for the Super Bowl. Job well done.
Loser: Tony Romo. Yes, he was playing to an impossibly high standard after crushing the AFC title game. But he was rather forgettable Sunday, and that is a loss for a guy that was the buzz of the two weeks before. Plus, Romo seemed down right apologetic for some really bad stretches of QB play. He should have told it how it was and how it was was that Goff was bad and Brady was only pretty good and was less than that throwing to anyone not named Gronk or Edelman.
Winners: Stephon Gilmore and Donta' Hightower. For the most part, the Pats defense is a hodgepodge of minions pulling off the tapestry of Belichick's genius. Well, when Belichick gets All-Pro talent, he certainly knows how to deploy it. Hightower was everywhere across the line of scrimmage, and If I had a vote — and had to vote for a player — I likely would have picked Gilmore over Edelman as the MVP
Winners/Losers: Was it the Super Bowl we expected in a season that set monster records for points and offense? No. And unless you are really fond of punting, the first half was devoid of highlights. But the folks who say this was the worst Super Bowl ever are simply prisoners of the moment. C'mon gang. It was exciting to the final minutes, even without a series of offensive highlights.
Loser: Sean McVay. The Gurley situation has got to have layers. But the wunderkind who has started a ripple effect of franchises trying to find the next Sean McVay was completely and totally pantsed by the all-time GOAT.
Biggest Winner: Bill Belichick. I know the 'P' in MVP is for player. But if MVP stood for most valuable performer, Belichick deserved it. Heck, I would have seriously considered voting for even either way.
What Belichick did in the last two weeks in the first halves against two of the top-20 offenses of all-time is simply staggering. He game-planned the Chiefs and the Rams and held each of the them scoreless in the first half. Ponder that for a second please.
It was a majestic performance that was nearly perfect. (And McCoy's inability to adjust was more than a little surprising to be honest.)
And one of the sneaky great moves by Belichick was his ability to use one of the Rams' strengths — the coach-to-QB communication pre-snap — against them was simply genius.
Here's a tip of the visor to Belichick as the greatest professional coach in the history of American professional sports.
This and that
— Contest results will be posted when we get the results of the Rasmussen poll on Trump's approval rating, but it's hard to see Trump topping the 53 (harder) Greg the Leg put on the board for the Rams. Thanks for playing along friends. And of course it will not be without controversy. Here's the story on how a lot of sports books are paying out the over and the under on the length of the National Anthem because Gladys Knight sang the word Brave to end the song and then sang the word again. Hmmmmmmmmm.
— The Chiefs are listed as the favorites to win Super Bowl 54 a year form now in February 2020. Kansas City is 6-1. Crap. Even at 8-1, we can already hear the Pats talking about how no one believed in them at the start of next season.
— Could be a fun week with the NBA trade deadline set for Feb. 7 — also know as Thursday of this week.
— Zion Williamson is a boss. That is all.
— Hard to quibble with any of the five players elected this year to the NFL Hall of Fame. (Yes, there were eight total — a veterans committee guy and two off-the-field contributors — but there were five modern-era players elected.) Ed Reed, Champ Bailey and Tony Gonzalez were all no-doubters. Kevin Mawea and Ty Law were also elected, and each was great. But, I'm not sure Mawea was even the best O-Lineman on the ballot. Was he better than Steve Hutchinson or Tony Boselli or Alan Faneca? Hard to know. And how Edgerrin James is not in the Hall is puzzling to me.
Weekend winners and losers. Go.
Super Bowl winners and losers. Go.
Super Bowl commercial winners and losers. Go.
I know that's a lot of going.
As for today, Feb. 4, let's explore.
On this day 15 years ago, Facebook was launched from Mark Zuckerberg's Harvard dorm room. Wanna hear something crazy? Never had a Facebook thingy.
Byron Nelson would have been 107 today, and here's betting he assuredly would have shot better than his age. Lawrence Taylor is 60 today.
On this day in 1991, Pete Rose was barred by the Hall of Fame board in a 12-0 vote due to his gambling on baseball games as a player and manager.
"Patton" was released on this day in 1970. Wow.
In honor of Belichick, let's do the Rushmore of all-time coaches in American pro sports history.