And speaking of luck, to get to the Super Bowl, the Patriots crushed quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game by a 44-7 score. It was a total beatdown, as once again, the highway to the Super Bowl runs through the New England thruway.
New England Coach Bill Belichick, known in some circles as “The Hoodie” for his wearing of sweatshirts along the sidelines, says he was shocked to learn about the story and has never talked to anyone on his staff about football air pressure, the function of atmospheric conditions or his recipe for linguini with red clam sauce.
The Patriots say they will continue to cooperate with the investigation. But this where the story gets interesting.
Back in 2007, the NFL determined that New England had violated league rules when a Patriots staff member videotaped signals by opposing coaches. This undercover operation became known as Spygate. The team was fined and stripped of their 2008 first-round draft pick. The NFL then fined Belicheat, er Belichick, the maximum allowed $500,000 for this black ops affair, the largest fine ever imposed on a coach in the league’s 87 year history.
A report described the league office as “disappointed, giddy, angry, euphoric and distraught,” after learning of the ball alterations. The Patriots could lose future draft picks, a couple of cheerleaders or one of Belichick’s favorite hoodies if the league confirms the balls were deflated.
Hey, if you don’t get caught, it’s not cheating. And if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.
Now for the Seattle Seahawks, the road to the Super Bowl was a bit tricker, as they found themselves trailing with four minutes to go, 19-7, to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game. At this point, Packer fans, known as the cheeseheads, knew they were headed for the Super Bowl and were going wild, celebrating with swiss cheese fondue, melted brie inside puff pastry and my personal favorite, crab rangoon. The game was in the bag.
But then, the greatness of sports finishes took over, as the Seahawks came back from the dead, and in a finish that you wouldn’t believe, went ahead and won in overtime, after taking the lead in final two minutes, only to have the Packers drive downfield in the final minute of regulation to tie the score.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what you call must-see TV. The Packer nation was left in shambles, or as longtime Packer fan told me, ‘It’s the worst loss in my lifetime.”
The last four minutes of the game was surreal, as it was the largest comeback ever in a conference title game. It was so unscripted. You had to see it to believe it. I saw it and I still didn’t believe it.
After the game, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who claims Jesus came to him in a dream when he was 14 years old, said,“That’s God setting it up, to make it so dramatic, so rewarding, so special. I’ve been through a lot in life, and had some ups and downs. It’s what’s led me to this day.”
Packer QB Aaron Rodgers had a slighty different take on the subject. I don’t think God cares a whole lot about the outcome. He cares about the people involved, but I don’t think he’s a big football fan.” Amen, brother.
One more note on the game. It seems the Las Vegas initially screwed up the point spread and made the Seahawks an early 3 point favorite. Well, 80% of the bets in the first 24 hours were on the Patriots, which means the big gamblers thought the spread was wrong and put a ton of dough on New England. So the big money is riding on New England, and if the Patriots win, Las Vegas is going to take it the shorts. Big time. Count on it.
Remember, it’s doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s whether or not you beat the spread.
For our Super Bowl viewing session, we are going to back to a series of photos I shot back on a Sunday night back in February 2006. The place was Stockton Avenue along West Cliff Drive, and on this night the sky did not disappoint. The cloud color went from soft tangerine to vivid orange orange before finishing up with the grand finale of a blood red. Meanwhile, the waves were pumping and the crowds along the cliff were loving it, making it a perfect, super Sunday night.
“Vice President Joe Biden said he has privately met with 17 Republican senators at his home to try and connect on issues like tax reform. Biden asked what he can do to speed up negotiations, while Democrats asked, “Does this door lock from the outside?” A new helicopter service called Gotham Air is now offering users cheap flights from Manhattan to JFK or Newark airports that start at just $99. If there’s two words I trust together in the same sentence, it’s “cheap” and “helicopter.” – Jimmy Fallon