Sunday, November 4, 2007

Good Game, But So What?

The so-called "game of the century" between the Patriots and Colts was pretty damn good, I have to admit. It included all the necessary ingredients from a long touchdown run to an acrobatic interception and even a big time fourth quarter comeback engineered by likely league MVP Tom Brady.

And in the end what did we learn from this clash of NFL titans? Absolutely nothing.

That's right, the game some people were calling the biggest regular season game of all time amounted to little more than an interesting matchup between two quality teams, both on their way to high seeds in the AFC playoffs.

In fact I'd argue that the Browns/Seahawks game playing opposite the Pats/Colts was a better and more important game. Seattle failing to widen its lead atop the NFC West and the upstart Browns going to 5-3 and just a game in the loss column behind division leader Pittsburgh, provided the type of drama and impact most thought would come from the league's two best teams going head-to-head.

I know Pats/Colts was sexier for all the big names and undefeated records involved, but in the grand scheme of things the matchup of these two teams will only mean something should it happen again in January; until then I couldn't care less.

It's a lot like the 50 Cent/Kanye West battle over record sales a couple of months ago. Who really gives a crap except magazines who need to sell more copies and terrible music television shows who could broadcast monkeys playing the drums and maintain their core audience?

Ultimately both of them made more money in a month than I'll probably see in my lifetime and last time I checked no one even gives a rip at this point.

If you really think about it, what did the Pats really accomplish? They barely scraped by against the defending Super Bowl champs who were missing their best receiver (Marvin Harrison), their starting left tackle (Tony Ugoh) and for the most part their slot guy (Anthony Gonzalez).

The fact that they came from behind doesn't make me even more impressed by New England, it makes me want to see if they can beat the Colts at closer to 100%. Do I think less of the Colts as a top team? Of course not, in fact I think they proved that they're the most well-equipped team in the league to handle the Pats come playoff time.

A look at the stats shows both teams averaged less than four yards per carry, hardly impressive, and the combined 171 penalty yards is pretty ugly.

So too were the three combined interceptions thrown by both Brady and Peyton Manning, and if not for Brady's fourth quarter flurry this game might have been remembered for the underwhelming play of the league's two top signal callers.

Clearly the thing that turned me off to this particular game was the hype. I tried to go into it with an open mind, hoping I suppose for a shootout of epic proportions in which Brady and Manning matched each other touchdown-for-touchdown. I didn't get that, and given how wonderful and exciting this game was supposed to be, it wasn't enough.

If there's one thing I hate it's being disappointed by a game everyone is sure will be great, because so rarely is that prediction ever true. It's the reason people not affiliated with the teams involved watch the Super Bowl more for the commercials than for the game itself.

In the interest of self-promotion, you need only read my #1 reason why college football is better than the NFL to figure out why there were no fewer than three games played on Saturday that truly deserved the type of hype that the Pats/Colts tilt received.

In the end there really isn't anything we can do to stop or even slow down the hype machine when it gets rolling, my only advice would be to steer clear.

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