For posterity, having recovered from spending Super Bowl Weekend in New Orleans, my assorted thoughts and observations on the New England Patriots 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
1) The memories from the nights when your team wins or loses it all tend to be blurry, sometimes because of beer, sometimes because of the moment. Sometimes both. Definitely both this past Sunday as the fourth quarter got underway and it felt like the Patriots were on the verge of getting blown out — right before the game took its third major swing and the Patriots powered back to win. From the start of the quarter to the goal-line with a minute to go, my lasting memory wasn’t the Edelman concussion play (though it was incredible) but the completion to a streaking Gronkowski across the middle for a 20-yard gain with 4:46 to go, which found me running into the adjacent bedroom, towards the kitchen, screaming and pumping my fist. That was the moment I felt sure the Patriots were going to win this game after all.
2) And yet. My realtime watch of the final minute of the game will never be reconstructed accurately. An attempt: I was standing behind a chair (?) as the clock dropped below the 1:00 mark and kept running; Jesse, somewhere to my front and right (?), screaming for Belichick to take the timeout. I can’t claim the clarity that I knew this to be Belichick’s finest moment, a belief which would by Wednesday pass into Patriots fan collective lore — but I also wasn’t screaming. I felt a certain peace, knowing that it would either happen or not happen, and all really fast. Then Wilson threw the screen pass across the middle that Malcolm Butler stepped up and picked off, my friends (all Giants fans and veterans of our horrid 2011 weekend) started congratulating me, and Jesse lost his mind over Pete Carroll’s call while I passed out (?).
3) Speaking of that Giants win in 2011, and that Giants win in 2008 — there’s something about the way sports plays out over time that’s not unlike how history itself can’t be written in the present. The bicycle catch by Kearse could have been the third in an unholy trinity. (In the moment, I tweeted this.) Instead, the way the game played out made both Giants catches fade into the distance, painful memories, sure, but all part of the path to the redemption of this past Sunday. I discovered this emotion as a Red Sox fan but never realized I’d feel it as a Patriots fan. I’m being straight up obnoxious about this because that’s really the whole reason to be a sports fan anyway.
4) When looking for the heroes of the Patriots offseason, my mind wanders back to January 10, the Divisional game between the Patriots and Baltimore Ravens. Early in the third quarter, when Baltimore had gone up by two touchtowns, I tweeted, “Very quiet at Rock Shop.” In patented reverse-jinx fashion, Boston scourge Mark Lisanti tweeted back at me:
All of which is why I’m convinced this exchange won the Patriots the Super Bowl. Mark, your gift is on its way.
5) Speaking of Grantland, a shoutout to Bill Barnwell, who produces the deepest read on every NFL game every week seemingly minutes after the games end. The fact that this Super Bowl opus was online by the time I awoke on Monday is nothing short of miraculous.
6) Finally, the end of the Super Bowl settled the bet mentioned on this blog back in the fall. $100 to Harryh; kudos, sir, even though thanks to you, we’re still stuck with Goodell.
As ever, onwards. Go Pats. Is it Truck Day yet?