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Superbowl 50: Broncos versus Panthers

I know that some of my readers don't really understand that the Superbowl has come and gone for another year until they read what I have to say on the subject. So this one's for you.

refer to caption

The Broncos/Panthers matchup was widely anticipated. Neither of the two teams comes from a really huge consumer marker (no New York, Chicago, or southern California team was involved) but the comparisons were intriguing. A great offense, Carolina's, would be going head to head with a great defense, Denver's.

Things went Denver's way, almost from the start, more consistently than anyone had expected.

Another big item: the standout commercial in the first half was a Marilyn Monroe take on the Snickers bar series, "you're not you when you're hungry."

The stand-out for the second half involved a herd of running hot dogs, and the tagline "Meet the Ketchups."

The evolution of the game

One much watched player: Michael Oher, the inspiration for the human interest portions of Michael Lewis' book THE BLIND SIDE, and for a Sandra Bullock movie inspired in turn by that book. Lewis used Oher's personal story to give some specificity to the theme of his book, which is that the evolution of the game of American football has made the role of the offensive left tackle ever more important. Lewis thought that the career of Lawrence Taylor in the 1980s had really set this development in motion. Oher's ascent was simply a more recent manifestation thereof.

Most quarterbacks are right handed, and they tend to face right and throw that way more often than otherwise. This means that their "blind side" is on their left, and the tackle on that side is often the only fact standing between the QB and a bone crushing and/or game changing sack.

The movie adaptation isn't interested in the dry stuff about the evolution of a game over decades. It focuses on the human interest stuff concerning Oher, a black homeless fellow, and  the wealthy white family that took him into their home.

Back to the playing field

Finally we get back to the playing field and to what happened in this game, this Super Bowl. At the end of the first half, the Broncos sacked the Panthers' quarterback, Cam Newton, and twitter lit up. The tweets mostly said the same thing. Referencing a well-known scene from the movie, they said with slight variations in wording that Sandra Bullock should run on the field and give her stepson her pep talk again.

One of the relatively kind tweets said simply that the famous Oher -- pictured above -- was having nothing more than an "Oher-dinary" game.

THEN THE decisive play of the game, with 4 minutes left on the clock, was an utter failure of the Carolina Offensive line, though not especially of Oher. The whole defensive live pressed forward and, because the whole offensive line crumbled, this forced a fumble.

The tweets about that play bashed Cam Newton, not his designated bodyguards. Newton visibly drew back after his fumble, apparently trusting that another team member would jump on it, not trying to do so himself.

Here's a link to a particular discussion:  from Sporting News.

So: now you know how it went down. That fulfills my Super Bowl duties for another year.  Except for one point: this should have been known as Super Bowl L. Every porior Super Bowl has been designated by a roman numeral. This time, though, uniquely, in all the marketing it was Super Bowl 50. Go figure.


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