Monday, February 02, 2015

Super Bowl

Even though football doesn't mean nearly as much to me as it used to, I still think yesterday's Super Bowl was my favorite (and I've watched all 49, believe it or not).

First off, there's Chris Matthews, a rookie receiver for the Seahawks, who was working as a security guard at Foot Locker in the offseason. He'd been cut by the Browns, played two years in the CFL, and was cut by the Seahawks in the preseason, but joined the practice squad. Then he was cut from the practice squad, then resigned, then cut, then resigned. After he was promoted to the 53-man roster six weeks ago, he played almost exclusively on special teams and didn't have a single catch.

So, of course, in the Super Bowl, he had 4 catches for 109 yards, and two of those catches were big-time.

Even better--incredibly--is the story of Malcolm Butler, the cornerback whose interception saved the game for the Patriots. He played college football at Division II West Alabama (opponents included Shorter, Stillman, and West Georgia). He'd only been averaging 10 plays a game on defense, but when the Patriots made an adjustment to help them handle Chris Matthews, and part of that adjustment was to get Butler on the field.

Here's what people are missing about the end of the game: Butler made two great plays, not one. On Jermaine Kearse's incredible catch, Butler had the presence of mind to assume the ball was still live, even though he lost sight of it when he rolled over. In most cases, Kearse just walks into the end zone for a touchdown, because the catch was so unlikely and unusual that players wouldn't react normally.

Then, two plays later, he makes the right formation read (preparation) and makes one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history.

So this was the Super Bowl of Underdogs, hence my favorite.

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