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The Super Bowl Worst-Case Scenario

February 2nd, 2019 · 1 Comment · Football, NFL, Rams

That was my feeling, moments after the New England Patriots completed their 37-31 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the American Football Conference championship game 14 days ago.

“This is a worst-case scenario.”

“This” being the Los Angeles Rams playing the Patriots for the Super Bowl trophy.

And why, pray tell?

Because the most painful outcome involving the four teams that got to the Super semis … is also now the most likely.

Have you seen those maps of the U.S. that break out which states are pulling for which Super Bowl finalists?

That would be the map that shows six New England states backing the Patriots in tomorrow’s Super Bowl and 43 states supporting the Rams.

That is, every state not in the scrawny little New England corridor is backing the Rams — aside from folks in Louisiana, who are nursing some hard feelings toward the Rams, who had nothing to do with the blown pass-interference penalty that allowed the Rams to win 26-23 in overtime.

I watched the AFC and NFC title games in an odd fashion.

Each was new to me, as I saw it. The first, the Rams and Saints, I saw on delay after honoring a long-term commitment to join five in-laws at noon for Chinese dim sum. Or precisely when the Rams were kicking off.

I made a point not to have the radio on, on the way back to where we were staying, in San Clemente, and when I arrived I was ushered up a back way, past the Big TV and upstairs to a second-site TV set to kickoff.

And I watched the Rams and Saints there: The fourth quarter was going on in real life, and I was at kickoff. I figured, even after all these precautions, that the Rams were winning, or had won, because of cheers I could hear through the window.

I was waiting for some glorious moment on the part of the Rams, something great and grand that led to their victory. And, as you may recall, it came down to Nickell Robey-Coleman smashing into a Saints receiver and somehow not get the PI call the Rams cornerback so richly deserved.

And then the OT ended fairly limply, unless you like watching field goals, when the Rams could get no closer to scoring than the Saints 40 — from where Greg Zuerlein kicked the decisive, 57-yard field goal.

And I felt a little empty. The Rams had won, but had they, really? The game should have ended with a Saints field goal at 20-20, and with almost no time left on the clock. Instead, the Rams needed an incident called “the worst blown call in the history” of … fill-in-the-blank.

Then, I went downstairs to join the rest of the people in the house, who were shouting at the Patriots-Chiefs game, which featured the Chiefs digging out of a 14-0 hole to take a 28-24 lead with less than two minutes left … only to see Tom Brady drive the Patriots to a go-ahead TD which turned into a 31-31 tie when the Chiefs responded with a field goal.

A Chiefs victory is what most right-thinking Americans wanted because we are a nation with Patriots fatigue; this is their ninth appearance since 2001, and third in succession. With a victory, they will pull even with Pittsburgh for most Super Bowl triumphs.

Anyone but the Patriots!

But, of course, it rarely works that way. The Patriots won the overtime toss, then sliced up the exhausted Chiefs defenders to score the clinching TD … and I sprang immediately to “this is the worst-case scenario”.

And I made sure everyone in the room heard it, because I am sure the Patriots will defeat the Rams, and perhaps by a big margin. Brady, Bill Belichick, a team that sets “Super Bowl” as their primary goal every year.

Meanwhile, the Rams have young guys all over the place, including QB Jared Goff and the guys on the headsets, led by 33-year-old Sean McVay, and their star running back Todd Gurley may be hurt.

So worst-case … The Patriots get in (it could have been the Chiefs, and I would have been happy with that) … and the Rams ride their no-flag luck …

I would prefer to see the Saints, rather than the Rams, lose to the Patriots. I would be fine with the Chiefs winning the AFC. I would be fine with the Saints winning the NFC. I even would have been OK with the Patriots playing the Saints, but less OK than a game with the Chiefs in it.

Of the four potential outcomes, the worst (from the perspective of the Rams fan) came in.

Ugh. Ugh. Ack.

The worst-case scenario.

Remember, tomorrow, that I was telling people that two weeks ago.

I would love to be wrong. But that Patriots final drive left me bereft. Something ugly is about to happen.

 

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Jim McCormack // Feb 3, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Good morning (here), Paul … Got your website from your sister Lynn, who I contacted after being a Facebook post about your family gas station being sold and will become a brewery. When it opens, if you ever are back in Long Beach, let me know and I’ll join you there for a pint. Seeing the Oberjuerge brought back memories and I enjoyed reading your personal and thorough post above. I’ve been retired since 2006 and love it. Hope life is treating you well. Jim

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