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Super Bowl 51 (or LI)

Image result for scarlett johansson ghost in the shell

The bettors' line usually fluctuates in the days prior to the Super Bowl, as money comes into the market first from one side then from the other. The line serves as a "price," and responds to the forces of supply and demand. The fluctuation didn't happen this year. The line was 3 pts, with the New England Patriots favored, from the start and it stayed that way right up to kick off.

What lesson if any can be derived from that: I don't know.

First story: ads. Scarlett Johansson in "Ghost in the Shell," an upcoming movie I had never heard of. Wild footage in the ad, though. Japanese anime thing? See images above.

Later, good Buick ad. "If that's a Buick, then my kid is Cam Newton."

Near the end of the first half there's a clever ad about how the "half time bathroom break is coming," so it is good to have FEBREZE around. Yuck yuck.

Also, T-Mobile has a couple (more?) of spoofs of the FIFTY SHADES movie franchise.

Late in the game, there's a good promo for the new BAYWATCH. Dialog, "Why does she think she's running in slo mo?" "You see it too?"

But enough about the ads already....

The score was 0-0 at the end of the first quarter. That was a surprise. These are both good offenses.

Second and Third Quarters

Early in the second quarter, Falcons manage the first turnover of the game. They turn it into a touchdown with the benefit of some great rushes. On their very next series, they establish their passing cred, and are up 14-0.

Things look even worse late in the 2d. Robert Alford reads Tom Brady all too well and picks off a pass, and makes more than an 80 yard return. With point after, 21 - 0. I'm not sure who Brady's pass was intended for.

Patriots finally get a good drive going at the very end of the half and, heartbreakingly, they have to settle for only 3 points. Still, better than a goose egg going into the locker room.

Back out of the locker room, Falcons score another touchdown. They are now ahead 28 to 3, and this looks like a historic blow-out victory for them. But there is a reason some wise ancestor said something about chickens and the act of counting.

Late in the 3d quarter, with the game apparently decided, Tom Brady runs the ball, something he almost never does. Gets his team 15 yards, tying his season high in rushing. The drive ends in a TD, BUT with a failure at the extra point, so the score becomes 28-9.

The Wild Fourth Quarter

At the opening of the last quarter, the Patriots again have to settle for a field goal when they would have dearly loved a TD, making the score 28-12.

With 8:30 left to go in the game, the Falcon offense coughs up the ball, their first turnover in the postseason. Gives the Patriots a shot. They are 16 points behind. They need two scores of 8 pts each to tie. They get the first of those 8 pt-ers on this driven with a little less than 6 minutes left to play.

Then the Patriots make the stop, with the help of a big penalty call against the Birds, and they get the ball back with a chance to tie the game with 3:30 minutes to go.

They drive down the field expertly, Brady back up to his best form, and Edelman makes a miracle catch while falling, and while his arms are intertwined with the arms of two defenders. The ruling on the field is that he made the catch, and the ruling is upheld on appeal.

Soon a TD follows, and a second consecutive two pt conversion. The game is tied as seconds count down, after a historic comeback.

Finish

We get a quick refresher in the NFL's overtime rules which (like electoral college math) is open to controversy but until changed it defines who wins.

The idea is: sudden death except. First team to score wins except that IF the first score is on the first possession AND that score is a field goal, then it isn't sudden death, the other team must have a chance to answer.

So the Patriots were determined to end this with a TD. And, as it happens, they did so, with excellent play while the Falcons seem at last to have been winded by it all. Game ends 34 to 28.

So that 3 point bettors' line that showed unusual equilibrium? It seems pretty reasonable as an accurate predictor both of a close game and of a Patriots victory.

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