The big game is over, and I watched it all - 9 hours of nonstop NBC12 watching - so, knowing this is all ready going to be a long post, I'll just get going on 46 thoughts about Super Bowl XLVI.
1. Wes Welker has caught 500 passes in the last 4 years. He needed to make one more for the Patriots to win.
2. The unit that played the best? May have been the Pats offensive line. For the most part, JPP, Osi, Tuck and the gang were held at bay, away from Brady.
3. It was this easy for Brady - he had the opportunity to go down as maybe the best quarterback to ever play in the NFL if he won that game. But he proved he's just not the best quarterback ever. Simple as that.
4. Mario Manningham made the catch of his life.
5. Most Super Bowls, including this one, include two teams who are evenly matched. So it all comes down to who makes the bigger plays. With Blackburn's interception, Manningham's catch, and the Giants recovering the ball three times when they put it on the turf, New York made each one of the big plays.
6. Yes Eli is elite. Yes he's one of the five best quarterbacks in the game right now. But he did NOT play like a Hall of Fame QB the last two games. He was lucky it wasn't his special teams player who put it on the ground against the 49ers, and he had serious trouble converting on third downs in important times in the Super Bowl. He made a great throw to Manningham, but he got lucky Welker didn't make that catch.
7. I liked Madonna's halftime, not one of the best ever, but certainly better than most.
8. Overall, I thought the commercials were decent, but none really stood out. It's amazing that the advertising has not evolved - we're all still enthralled with cute dogs, talking babies and chimps acting like humans.
9. Through the five hours of pregame, my favorite part was the Steve Gleason story. The former Saints player who made the punt block in the first game at the Superdome post-Katrina is now battling ALS. It was a great break from the numerous Pats/Giants stories, and told by maybe the best football reporter alive - Peter King.
10. Other than that, the NBC pregame was very hit and miss. Most of the football stories were well-done and original. I actually thought some were too short - they went back to the high schools Tom Brady and Eli Manning and I thought they could've done more there. But interviews with movie stars on the side stage were brutal. Nick Cannon was atrocious.
11. The Patriots made two huge mistakes in the first half. Brady taking the safety was unconscionable. He could've airmailed one of his receivers on the outside and threw it into the guys on the sidelines and there's no way they would've called it grounding. I'm not sure what he was thinking.
12. .. and the 12 men on the field penalty. Unbelievable. That being said, the Patriots had a 17-9 lead in the third quarter, and therefore those plays can be forgotten.
13. What can't be forgotten is Welker's drop. Does Brady need to make a better throw? Probably. But this is the Super Bowl. To win you have to make big plays. And I can't think of one "huge play" the Patriots offense came up with all game.
14. The much-maligned Patriots defense did make some huge plays however. The pressure they got on Manning was quite impressive, and Sterling Moore continued to be the team's hero of the postseason.
15. Hakeem Nicks is a beast. The NBC peeps spent hours talking about Victor Cruz was the guy the Patriots D had to key in on, but Nicks is the guy who is a top 8 receiver in the league in terms of talent. Just like experts said he would, Belichick did all he could to shut down Cruz, and overall the Pats defense did a great job. But it is no surprise that Nicks had a big day.
16. Jim Boeheim was Tom Coughlin's RA at Syracuse University. Cool fact huh?
17. I don't like talking about whether players and coaches deserve to be in the Hall of Fame until their careers are over. Coughlin and Eli probably did book their tickets yesterday, but why debate it without knowing how their careers will end?
18. Most watched Super Bowl ever in the City of Richmond, with a 51.4 rating. Thanks for tuning into NBC12!
19. I am not a frequent viewer of the singing shows on television, but I watched "The Voice", and I thought that there were 3 or 4 people who sang on that show who are better than anyone who was on "American Idol" last year.
20. Carson Daly keeps that career of his going. Good for him.
21. Big thanks to my wife - great spread Sunday. Sausage & Peppers, homemade soft pretzels, great dip. She did it right.
22. Bill Belichick may be one of the best coaches of all time, but the Giants came out of the locker room more ready to play than the Patriots did.
23. I absolutely loved the play call to let the Giants score with a minute to go. In fact, they should've done it earlier. The game would've been over if New York was able to stay out of the end zone.
24. As painful as it is for Boston fans, this is much easier to swallow than 2007.
25. Boston fans painful losses of the past 15 years: #1. Aaron F'ing Boone
26. #2. Super Bowl XLII
27. #3. Celtics losing to the Lakers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals in 2010.
28. And then it's probably Super Bowl XLVI.
29. No class from whoever that R&B star was that flipped off the cameras during halftime. Madonna was hoping to have a controversy-free performance, and then some little-known singer steps in and tries to make a name for herself. Well, I'm not going to mention her name in this space, you can google it if you want.
30. Despite being incredibly nervous, I thought Cris Collinsworth did very well as the color analyst. (I'm going to get hatemail from my Mom because of that one).
31. It sounds weird, but I think I want to visit Indianapolis now. Sounds like everyone at the Super Bowl had a good time there, and it seems like it's a nice city to go check out. A little far from a beach though.
32. Also really classy of Peyton Manning to stay away from camera's eye. He was talked about more than anyone in the two weeks prior to the Super Bowl. And if he had a front row seat in a sky box we would've seen cutaways of him every 10 minutes. But he knew that - and we never saw him once. Even Al Michaels said "I'm sure he's around here somewhere", but there was no visual evidence to prove it. I tip my hat.
33. I think Manning winds up being a Dolphin.
34. The Redskins have a shot, but he'll feel more comfortable playing against teams he's been preparing against for years. And Brandon Marshall is a much better receiver than anything Washington has.
35. My bet is the Skins overpay for Matt Flynn, because it looks like the Browns will take Robert Griffin III in the draft.
36. Rob Gronkowski said today that he had full mobility for the Super Bowl. But there's no way that's true. He couldn't cut and get down the field. The Pats would've been better off sending Ochocinco out there for more plays.
37. I thought one thing that Eli did do very well - he was Brady-esque during most of the game. Taking what the defense would give him with lots of check downs to the tight ends and backs.
38. Just like I said, the Patriots should not have been favored.
39. Giselle needs to shut up. She gets paid to be looked at, not heard from.
40. In many ways, this will actually be harder for Brady to swallow than Super Bowl XLII. He put so much into avenging that loss, and winning it for Myra Kraft, that I think this will sting for the rest of his life, whether he gets back to win another one or not.
41. I've all ready decided that I'm not going to do 47 thoughts on Super Bowl XLVII next year.
42. Yes, it was pretty obvious that Manningham made that catch, and the timeouts were so precious, but I have no problem with Belichick throwing the challenge flag. Such a huge play, got to hope that something may have been wrong.
43. Marc Davis wants to add this: "Somebody won 50,000 dollars by betting that the first score would be a safety." Thanks Marc.
44. Deadspin.com points out today - two car commercials featured celebrities who have killed people while behind the wheel of a car - Matthew Broderick and Vince Neil from Motley Crue.
45. There's absolutely nothing that a Boston sports fan wants to talk about less than Spygate. Nothing at all.
46. What the hell..... Super Bowl XLVII prediction: Packers 28 Texans 20.