Now that the Super Bowl is history, and all the hype and chatter about it is waning a bit, I want to look back and let you all know what I thought. I bet you can’t wait! Anyway, I have waited a couple of days to let all the hype settle down, and after all the happiness, grumbling, and accusations, I thought it was a very good game.
First let me say to the Chiefs fans, congratulations, and to the Eagles fans (one of my “helmet” teams), better luck next year. I think both teams have the ability and the rosters to get back, but the game of football is decided mostly by 2 factors; injuries and turnovers. Both teams were relatively healthy, and I thought the turning point in the game was Jalen Hurts fumble. I thought the Eagles had all the momentum, but the fumble return for a touchdown seemed to me to change things. Another turning point was the long 65 yard punt return by Kadarius Toney to the Eagles 5 yard line. I thought at the time that the return was going to seal the deal for the Chiefs.
Both QB’s played well, with Jalen Hurts actually passing for more yards than Patrick Mahomes. Jalen had 304 yards passing, a touchdown, ran for 70 yards and scored on a 2 point conversion to tie the game up late. Patrick had 182 yards passing, 3 touchdowns, and 44 yards rushing. Both QB’s are not to be blamed for the loss. If there is any blame, or fault for lack of better words, it is on both defenses. They both played, well…….bad. The Chiefs defense gave up 340 yards, not bad, but gave up 35 points, usually not good enough to win. The Eagles gave up 417 yards, not good at all and 38 points. That is not a winning defense for either team.
I thought that the Eagles had a better rushing offense and defense, too. In this game, I was wrong! The Chiefs ran for 158 yards to the Eagles 115. To me, that is the most telling stat. The MVP’s of the game in my mind was the Chiefs offensive line. They did not allow a sack of Patrick Mahomes all day, and the Eagles had the best pass rush in the NFL all year. Kudo’s to the big guys! All in all though, the game was very entertaining, and held your interest throughout
Of course, the Super Bowl could not be played without some controversy. I am referring to the holding call against the Eagles. Having officiated before, I can maybe shed some light on the call, along with the statement by James Bradberry, the Eagles quarterback. James showed real class by stating after the game that “it was a hold, but I was hoping they would let it go.” Real honesty there, but the truth is there is usually some holding, grabbing, tugging, whatever you want to call it, on each pass play.
The secret, if you’re an official, is consistency and “when do you call it”. By that I mean, did the penalty affect the play? I thought that for the most part of the game, both teams were allowed to play without much interference from the officials. There were only 9 penalties in the game for 47 yards, with 10 total flags (one was an offsides penalty against Chris Jones of the Chiefs that was declined). The Chiefs had 3 penalties for 14 yards, and the Eagles 6 for 33. So, obviously the stripes let them play.
After consulting with the greatest back Judge in High School history, Larry Ullery, (too far?) for his expert opinion (?), Larry said “You can’t call it in the 4th quarter if you don’t call it in the 1st quarter.” I totally agree. Both teams can be seen giving little tugs on the receivers all the time, but none of those offenses really affected the play. The Officials let it go, maybe with a verbal warning, who knows?
On the play in question, honestly, I would have let it go. It did not affect the receiver’s ability to catch the ball, which most people say was uncatchable. However it was a holding call, not pass interference, so, the uncatchable ball rule would not apply. Besides, I had the ability to see the replay over and over, and even I could not tell whether or not the tug on the jersey was that bad. The official on the field, it was NOT the Referee it was one of the back end people, called what he saw. I can’t argue with that.
The only question to me is would he have called it in the first quarter? The call was correct, but the timing, as it seems is always the case, was unfortunate. No, I do not think the game is rigged, I do think that officiating guys that big and fast is very tough, and mistakes are going to be made. Overall, I thought the crew did a really good job. Nobody noticed them until the last 2 minutes, and that’s too bad.
So, let me end this opinion by saying that I thought the Super Bowl was very entertaining, Halftime……meh…and it wasn’t over until the last second. What more could you want? That’s the way I see it, from the sidelines.