Watching the game on Sunday (13) night, I told myself that the NFL all-season long struck gold with its nationally televised matchups, including the playoffs. But this particular game was a ‘bust.’ You can’t win them all, NFL! Los Angeles, hosting the Super Bowl, couldn’t even fill the stadium with home team fans against the 49ers just two weeks earlier. The Bengals, albeit an aggressive team, are just from too small of a market. Had it not been for 1 minute of high school play to start the 3rd quarter from the Rams, where they gave up 10 points like they were giving out candy, it was not a close game. I found it very dull, but I recognize my bias of being treated to over a decade of Super Bowl battles from Brady and Manning, who played in 14 Super Bowls in 20 years.
I was shocked to learn that the NFL is reporting that it had 112 million viewers, the most in 5 years. How is this possible? My first guess would have been the star-studded halftime show, which is being hailed as the best halftime show ever—allowing the 40 aged population to relieve its rebellious youth for a few moments.
omething else has occurred to me; last year’s Super Bowl was between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes, the greatest ever against a youthful great who is almost always spectacular. How could that game have drawn fewer views? The halftime show was a weaker lineup for sure. Perhaps though, people are tired of winners winning all the time. Brady was playing in his 10th Super Bowl and has done it all; Mahomes was playing in his second straight and made the AFC Championship two years prior, where he again lost to Brady. So, boredom might have something to do with it. Maybe, people wanted to see the perennial loser Matthew Stafford win, or they wanted to see Joe Burrow, win, as he’s the cocky kid who just won’t give up! Ultimately, I believe it’s a combination of both. People tuned in to see the halftime show and the celebrities all over the stadium, which seemed to have more since the game was in Los Angeles and people want some new winners in the NFL.
I am happy that Matthew Stafford won a Championship. He had to endure over a decade of torment playing for the Detroit Lions. He and his family have also gone through a lot, with his wife having to have emergency brain surgery to remove a tumor two years ago. Although I do not admire the arrogant Cincinnati Bengals, and I disagree that Joe Burrow is the star everyone thinks he is. I will say I feel bad for this underdog team because no one, and I mean no one outside the Cincinnati area, thought they had a chance of even making the playoffs in the ultra-competitive AFC North. It will be challenging for the Bengals to make it back to the Super Bowl next year, with the plethora of talented teams the AFC Conference has!
The Upcoming Quarterback Carousel
As it stands right now, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger have retired. Aaron Rodgers, who wanted out of Green Bay last season, again is undecided about his future with Packers and the NFL. Russel Wilson is very, very tired of playing in Seattle. The 49ers will be moving on from Jimmy Garoppolo. It will be exciting to see how all of this unfolds. Even the Titans, who still publicly say that Ryan Tannehill is their #1 guy, must be very unsure about that statement behind closed doors. Miami and Houston, two teams, filled with controversy, could also be looking to make big moves. The Truth is if Aaron Rodgers wants another Super Bowl, Green Bay is the place for him. He can’t go to an AFC team like Denver where everyone thinks he might go. Aaron Rodgers on the Packers, or Aaron Rodgers on the Broncos! Which one sounds more likely to make the finals? Exactly! He could go to Tampa Bay, they still have a team as competitive as any, and they will need a new quarterback.
For the record, I don’t think that Brady is officially done. I think he is waiting to see what the 49ers are going to do, he has always wanted to play there, and I know they have reached out to each other before behind closed doors. It all depends on what they do to replace Jimmy G. That said, he doesn’t strike me as a guy who flip flops on his decisions. So, I guess we shall see what the next couple of months brings.
Season Totals – ATS: 122 – 115 – 1
Playoff Totals – ATS: 8 – 5 / SU: 10 – 3
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