Monday, February 8, 2021

Super Bowl LV: It couldn't be more blatant or obvious........

 The uniform colors may change, but the result remains the same.

The NFL still thinks a 43 year old Tom Brady is a more important player, in terms of marketing, than a younger quarterback who won his first Super Bowl last year, was expected to be the first one to repeat since Brady did it in New England, has more endorsement deals than Brady ever has, and stands to be the face of the league, injuries aside, for years to come.

Brady won his record-setting 7th Super Bowl, giving Tampa Bay the championship for the first time in nearly 20 years, but the game, which ended with Tampa earning revenge for a stunning loss on the same field on November 29, was a farce.

Everyone assumed this was to be a passing of the torch, from Brady to Mahomes. Someone in the NFL office decided, nope, not yet. Fittingly, with the game in Tampa, Brady was posited as the NFL's answer to Tampa's most famous citizen. Some guy named Hogan.

I wrote on Saturday that Todd Bowles' defense had to make more adjustments to slow down, if not stop, Mahomes, and they did that. By all rights, Bowles, or at least one of his defensive stars, like, for example, Jason Pierre-Paul, who earned his 2nd ring, should've been named MVP. Yes, I'd get on the stump for Bowles, who has redeemed himself after a disastrous run as head coach of the Jests from 2016-18, becoming the first coach to be named MVP. But, just like Malcolm Butler, who made a game saving interception vs. Seattle, just like James White, who did more to lead New England past Atlanta, Brady was given another MVP trophy he doesn't deserve.

Brady & Mahomes were expected to light up the night sky in Tampa, just as they did in November. Brady held up his end of the bargain. Mahomes couldn't, shackled by the Buccaneer defense. Kansas City couldn't get into the end zone, and were baited into some irresponsible penalties in the first half. Worse, the officials' disparity in calling penalties in that first half favored Tampa, which had only one flag against them to eight on Kansas City. Typical of a Tom Brady team.

And as far as the Bucs' younger stars, such as Mike Evans and Leonard Fournette, who actually scored the last touchdown, were concerned, this was more about Old Home Week for Tampa. Brady threw three touchdown passes, two to his BFF, Rob Gronkowski, the other to Antonio Brown.

No, in the final analysis, Brady didn't deserve the MVP, and he knows it. He can say all the right things about the Bucs believing in themselves, and all that, but just like Hulk Hogan, Brady, the aging star, went over again when no one wanted him to. You can blame NFL director of officiating Alberto Riveron for that.

The irony of it all here, though, is that referee Carl Cheffers also was the referee three years ago when Brady's Patriots fell to Philadelphia. It makes you wonder if Riveron didn't sell Cheffers on the idea that it was "in the league's best interests", or whatever excuse you can find, that Tampa Bay, the first team to be be a legitimate home team in the Super Bowl, would win the game. I don't know who works in the marketing department of the league that would be working hand-in-glove with Riveron, but they're just as complicit. The league office had to have seen the television ratings for the November 29 game, and decided they just had to have this rematch for the Super Bowl. No, what you're supposed to do is let the players decide the games leading up to the big dance.

Too often in recent years have the Super Bowls been more of a marketing creation than a legitimate matchup that the public wanted to see. Instead of what we would've called the State Farm Bowl between the Chiefs and Aaron Rodgers' Green Bay Packers, we get an ego-stroking insult of a game. The ego, of course, being Brady's.

I've said this before, and it bears repeating. Tom Brady is not the greatest of all time at his position. Every one of his Super Bowl wins has been tainted by some sort of tomfoolery involving the officials, including this one. Tampa Bay may have won, 31-9, but if Brady had any remorse, he'd return the MVP trophy. He needed it like you or I needed tooth decay.

The Chiefs & Bucs will meet again. Preferably on a more neutral, level playing field.

As for Alberto Riveron, he gets the Weasel ears for manipulating the NFC playoffs to favor Tampa Bay and ensure they would not only host the game, but have the Bucs play. History is tainted because of this unrepentant rogue, and he must be held accountable.

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