We're going to need a few minutes to collect our thoughts this morning. It dawned on us that football is officially done. We'll have to make due with everything else until the end of August when the college season kicks off. Sigh.
OK, we're back, let's get moving.
From the "Talk too much studios," let's go.
New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck (91) reacts after sacking New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Giants won 21-17. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
Super Bowl in name primarily
What do we make of a Super Bowl that was won by a reluctant TD that was allowed on purpose by a defense that played over its head? What do we make of a game that swung drastically when the game's best possession receiver dropped an off-target pass from the best QB of his generation? What do we make of a Super Bowl that had a halftime show featuring Madonna that included an obscene gesture and Madonna was not involved in said obscene gesture? What do we make of a world where Eli Manning fans have a legit argument that the youngest Manning brother is better than his more celebrated older sibling and now owns Tom Brady?
Obviously, the New York Giants' 21-17 Super Bowl win over New England left a lot of unanswered questions. The game was entertaining, albeit lower scoring than almost everyone other than the 5-at-10 expected. (We did miss on the Pats, but we hit on the over... well, there's more gambling recap below.)
The Giants were the more complete team — punter Steve Weatherford should have been a serious contender for in the MVP discussion — but they certainly benefitted from an untimely Wes Welker drop and an even more painful Aaron Hernandez drop. The Giants gameplan was better — short passes rocked New England all night — and that plan was better executed — Turnover tote board: New England 3, New York bagel.
So does this change the perspective of the Giants' Manning or coach Tom Coughlin? Sure it does. Does it negatively alter the legacies of Brady and Pats coach Bill Bellichick? Maybe a little (but getting to the Super Bowl and losing is way, Way, WAY better than never getting to the Super Bowl, no matter how much the Buffalo Bills get heckled).
It's hardly surprising that there are more questions than answers today. The Giants won the game, but what will be the lasting memory from this Super Bowl? Ahmad Bradshaw apologetically falling into the end zone in the final minute for a game-winning TD that the Patriots allowed to happen? The Pats' missed chances? Mario Manningham's brilliant catch down the sideline on the game-winning drive?
For us, it's probably Manningham's great catch and Welker's great missed chance. Making the most of the moment, that's the definition of most Super Bowls, really, and these Giants did just that.
Kelly Clarkson sings the national anthem before the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Super Bowl this and that
— Here are some of the gambling highlights from the busiest gambling day in the history of mankind (apparently, there was more than $10 billion — yes, billion with a 'B' — wagered Sunday worldwide; that's some serious cabbage — as always thanks to friend of the show RJ Bell from pregame.com for some of the numbers):
Over/under for Kelly Clarkson's national anthem was set at 1:34: It went over at 1:34.5. Seriously. And if you think the gambling guys no more than you do, re-read this entry.
You could have gotten 100-to-1 odds on the first points being a Giants safety. Nice.
The Pats snapped the 14-year streak of the NFC winning the coin toss. Heads increased its all-time Super Bowl edge to 24-22 over Tails.
The Gatorade bath for Coughlin was purple, which was not a color on the board. Sigh.
— The Super Bowl was entertaining but we felt somewhat underwhelmed. And the commercials probably had a big hand in that. The commercials for the most part were rather flat — which is somewhat surprising considering 30 seconds of air time was $3.5 million. Here were our favorites in order: M&Ms, Clint Eastwood, VW dog, Camaro graduation.
Special mention for the John Stamos ad because any time John Stamos gets head-butted that deserves a "Well-played indeed," and a quick question for the group: Jerry Seinfeld looked kind of strange, huh?
— Odds for next year (so much for the Giants grabbing respect — they are listed as an equal pick with the Cowboys and Falcons for crying out loud):
1) Packers: 5 to 1
2) Saints: 6 to 1
3) Patriots: 8 to 1
t-4) Steelers: 12 to 1
t-4) Eagles: 12 to 1
t-4) Ravens: 12 to 1
t-7) Texans: 15 to 1
t-7) Chargers 15 to 1
t-9) Giants: 20 to 1
t-9) 49ers: 20 to 1
t-9) Cowboys: 20 to 1
t-9) Jets: 20 to 1
t-9) Falcons: 20 to 1
t-9) Lions: 20 to 1
— Take a look at this Recruit-niks: If you are still bemoaning your team's lackluster signing day showing or still thumping your chest after another top-10 class, you need to know this. According to Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports, 36 players on the Patriots roster were part of the internet recruiting generation and 18 were ranked as two-star players or lower.
Missouri's Marcus Denmon, center, walks off the court with the ball after Missouri defeated Kansas 74-71 in an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, in Columbia, Mo. Missouri won the game 74-71. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
When did we get to the point that college basketball referees think the crowd and the TV audience is watching the game to see them make a call? Seriously, it's out of control. And we're to the point that any time a defensive player falls, the refs call a charge — especially if a player from the home team takes a dive — and does so with such antics that it's a combination of Mr. Miyagi "Sand a deck," part breakdancing with a twist of gymnastics where they stick the landing.
A perfect example was Saturday night in Missouri's stunning late rally to beat Kansas. Missouri scored the last 11 points in a 74-71 win. It was pretty sweet. Crowd going nuts and some dude name Marcus Denmon went Reggie Miller on the Jayhawks. Denmon hit back-to-back 3s after an old-fashioned three-point play in the span of four possessions. He scored nine of the Tigers' final 11.
But Denmon's heroics likely would not have been enough without the blown charge call on Kansas star Thomas Robinson, who drove the middle, made a spin move to avoid the Tigers defender and dropped in a bucket. (Side note: T-Robinson is a MAN. That is all.) Notice we said "avoid the defender," well, the Missouri kid fell and the ref acted liked some one shot his dog — sprinting to mid-court, hopping on one leg and waving his arms to the point that a Cessna 172 almost landed inside the arena. This ref rewarded a flop — what is this soccer? — and by doing it he followed a sad trend in college hoops and took the game from Kansas and T-Robinson.
On to the Elite 8:
1) Kentucky. Ho-hum. Another week, another couple of chances of enjoying the Cats, who are quickly becoming must-see TV even for us non-Big Blue bleeders. This team is so talented it may be the most entertaining college team since the UNLV bunch of the early 1990s.
2) Syracuse. Welcome back Fab Melo. A Syracuse-UK title game would be boss. This needs to happen
3) UNC. Still as talented as anyone and playing better. Such size.
4) Ohio State. Nice win at Wisconsin, and the Buckeyes can guard as well as anyone in the country. That said, are they going to be able to run with any of the other teams on this list?
5) Kansas. Take away the blown charge call, and the we're talking about how Kansas landed a huge road win in a hostile environment. That said, the Jayhawks are going to wreck brackets one way or the other.
6) Missouri. When you can score like these Tigers can score, you are a tough draw. That said, they are not deep enough and not big enough.
7) Baylor. Perry Jones will be the No. 2 overall NBA pick behind Anthony Davis, but point guard Pierre Jackson is the Bear that gives Baylor a chance in the tournament.
8) Michigan State. Wow, a 42-41 win over Illinois? Congrats, Spartans and thanks for allowing TV viewers everywhere a perfect nap opportunity. That said, if Draymond Green's knee injury is serious, so are MSU's worries.
Pro Bowl fans hang signs asking to Pro Bowl to remain in Hawaii before the start of the NFL Pro Bowl football game at Aloha Stadium, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012 in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
This and that
— We'd like to wish a good luck to Chas9, and his Top Tenn today. There's not a lot of good men's college hoops in Tennessee right now.
— Roger Goodell says eliminating the Pro Bowl is an option. And while we're stunned that we're in support of LESS football, we agree. Bag the Pro Bowl, and let's have the players picked for the Pro Bowl go through a skills test/NFL combine-type competition. Hey, we love the draft — you know this — so we'd love to see how the stars of today would do compared to the draft picks of today (and even compared to themselves when they were entering the league). And if you're thinking, "How much fun would watching a combine be?" Or "How competitive would they be?" Well, it would certainly be more competitive and entertaining than last week's Pro Bowl. Gah-Ross.
— The NFL handed out its hardware this weekend, and Drew Brees was the offensive player of the year (deserved), Aaron Rodgers was the MVP (we're OK with that) and Cam Newton was the offensive rookie of the year (you betcha'). Wonder what SportTalk's Dr. B (he's a doctor after all) will have to say about Newton winning the award after setting a slew of records, including most passing yards for a rookie (more than 4,000) and the most rushing TDs for any QB in NFL history (14)?
— Major-league props to Kyle Stanley, who erased an eight-shot lead Sunday to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Stanley earned more than $1 million for his first PGA Tour win, and earned a lifetime of respect for completely bouncing back from a complete and total collapse in the course of a week. A tearful Stanley imploded eight days ago, blowing a seven-shot lead that was capped by a triple-bogey 8 on the 72nd hole before losing in a playoff. He was crying again yesterday after carding a bogey-free 65 that was good enough for the win after watching as Spencer Levin endured a shot-hemorrhaging meltdown. Maybe Levin, who finished with a 75 and squandered a seven-shot lead, could follow Stanley's lead next week, too?
— Some guy who won one of the Tour de Frances was stripped of his title because of steroids. Wait, that's not news. Let's move along.
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning speaks during a news conference after NFL football's Super Bowl XLVI Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Giants beat the New England Patriots 21-17. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
We're going to re-introduce a longtime 5-at-10 favorite: The Monday freestyle.
That's right, it's open-mic morning here at the 5-at-10. It's reader's choice after a crazy weekend of sports.
Give us your Super Bowl thoughts, your college hoops view, your post-signing day grades (and lest we need to mention that Auburn added another big-time OL prospect this weekend) and any and all topics in between. If you're struggling with a topic, here's a starting point brought to you by Linda Richman and Coffee Talk: This Super Bowl was neither Super or played in a bowl. Discuss.
Bring it, and we'll be back around lunch to check in.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...