Skip to main content

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.


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.


Popular posts from this blog

A Story About Coleridge

This is a quote from a memoir by Dorothy Wordsworth, reflecting on a trip she took with two famous poets, her brother, William Wordsworth, and their similarly gifted companion, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

We sat upon a bench, placed for the sake of one of these views, whence we looked down upon the waterfall, and over the open country ... A lady and gentleman, more expeditious tourists than ourselves, came to the spot; they left us at the seat, and we found them again at another station above the Falls. Coleridge, who is always good-natured enough to enter into conversation with anybody whom he meets in his way, began to talk with the gentleman, who observed that it was a majestic waterfall. Coleridge was delighted with the accuracy of the epithet, particularly as he had been settling in his own mind the precise meaning of the words grand, majestic, sublime, etc., and had discussed the subject with William at some length the day before. “Yes, sir,” says Coleridge, “it is a majestic wate…

Great Chain of Being

One of the points that Lovejoy makes in the book of that title I mentioned last week is the importance, in the Neo-Platonist conceptions and in the later development of the "chain of being" metaphor, of what he calls the principle of plenitude. This is the underlying notion that everything that can exist must exist, that creation would not be possible at all were it to leave gaps.

The value of this idea for a certain type of theodicy is clear enough.

This caused theological difficulties when these ideas were absorbed into Christianity.  I'll quote a bit of what Lovejoy has to say about those difficulties:

"For that conception, when taken over into Christianity, had to be accommodated to very different principles, drawn from other sources, which forbade its literal interpretation; to carry it through to what seemed to be its necessary implications was to be sure of falling into one theological pitfall or another."

The big pitfalls were: determinism on the on…

Philippa Gregory

My recent reading includes large helpings of Philippa Gregory's latest, THREE SISTERS, THREE QUEENS (2016), another of her fictionalized takes on love and betrayal among the royals of Renaissance Europe.

In this book, the focus is on the early Tudor dynasty, and especially on Margaret Tudor, the eldest daughter of Henry VII, founder thereof, and the older sister of the future Henry VIII. Margaret became Queen of Scotland with an arranged marriage to James IV. She reigned and ruled under the title of Dowager Queen after James' death at the Battle of Flodden in 1513.

So who, you ask, were the other two sisters of the novel's title? One is Margaret's blood sister, Mary Tudor, who was known as one of the great beauties of the age. Mary was the inspiration for the name her brother Henry gave to his older daughter. More important for Gregory's story, she wed the King of France (Louis XII) in 1514, and Anne Boleyn served as her maid of honor at that ceremony.

The third &…