Monday, February 4, 2019

Things that make me go ARRRRGGGGHHHH! -- Super Bowl reflections

The Super Bowl once again proved that the MVP is a flawed award.

I am grateful that it was not mindlessly given to the quarterback of the winning team.  Although, in just about every game, you have to argue that the QB is always the MVP just based on the fact that he handles the ball on every snap.  That kind of vaults him to a very important status over everyone else.

This year, it went to wide receiver Julian Edelman.  Now to be fair, Edelman did have a good game (10 catches for 141 yards; Brandin Cooks of the Rams had 8 catches for 120 yards--not bad either).  Running back Sony Michael had 18 carries for 94 yards and the game's only TD.  In a game where running the ball helped drain the clock and limit LA's chances to come back, that was pretty noteworthy.  These are the kinds of efforts which deserve more recognition.  Edelman, Cooks, and Michael do not touch the ball every play.  They are at the mercy of the coach who calls the plays and QB who has to get it to them.
Julian Edelman.  Good game, but not the MVP.

[Side Note: There was a sentiment in our house that the MVP should have gone to Rams punter, Johnny Hekker--9 punts for 417 yards, including a Super Bowl record 65 yard punt.]

But here is the flaw.  The MVP went to an offensive player in a game where the Patriots defense held the Rams to 3 points.  3 POINTS!!!  How does the MVP NOT go to a defensive player?!?!  Okay, Edelman's stats are easier to find and look more impressive.  A catch is more exciting than a tackle after a 2 yard gain.  But the Patriots defense won that game.

For that matter, if anyone had told the Rams before the game, "You will hold the Patriots to 13 points.  Do you like your chances?", they would have been elated, thinking about trips to Disney World and a Super Bowl parade.  The Rams defense was outstanding, too.  But of course, the MVP has to go to an offensive player because that is what we care about.  Thank you, Fantasy Football.

I suppose the argument against a defensive MVP is that no one player stood out.  Apparently, you need to have 3 interceptions before you get noticed.  I contend that in a game like this where the defense dominated so much, you have to give the MVP to a defensive player, even if it is awarded in the understanding that one defensive player represents the entire defensive effort.

Therefore, my Super Bowl MVP goes to Patriots defensive back, Stephon Gilmore with 5 tackles, 3 passes defensed, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble.  These are the stats people will see, but what we do not see is the effort Gilmore put in on coverage in which the ball never came his way because he covered the receiver well.  This deserves more recognition than it gets, but it is not gaudy stats so we generally do not care.

Congratulations to my Super Bowl MVP, Stephon Gilmore, to the Patriots defense, and to the Patriots over all.  And to those who chose Julian Edelman as the MVP in a game where the defense owned the game, I say ARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!

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