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Super Bowl stinker exactly what the NFL deserved

February 4, 2019

The NFL was riding high entering Super Bowl 53, coming off an exciting regular season and scintillating games in the conference championships. Scoring was up, interest was revived, and complaints were down not counting an egregious missed call that renewed debate on instant replay.

Life was good for commissioner Roger Goodell and his 32 bosses. Sunday’s matchup featured the old, faithful New England Patriots, versus the new, exhilarating Los Angeles Rams. One coach-quarterback combo is headed to the Hall of Fame, and the other has been anointed football’s next great thing.

Then the game was played.

Calling it a letdown is too kind, too gentle.

The teams took our anticipation and spiked it, like an offensive lineman who gets overly excited when handed the ball after a touchdown. They took our expectancy and crushed it, like a gunner slamming a punt returner who should’ve signaled for a fair catch They took our longing for a fantastic finale and served up one of the dullest, most-boring Super Bowls in recent memory.

Only fans of the Patriots and New Orleans Saints could enjoy the 13-3 snoozer that resulted in yet another celebration for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

“Happy that things worked out for us this year and we were able to be the best team in football this season,” Belichick said with his typical enthusiasm. “That’s hard to be in this league, but those guys earned it.”

We’ll have to take his word on the level of difficulty, considering how he and Brady have won more Super Bowls in 18 seasons (6), than the Bengals, Bills, Browns, Cardinals, Chargers, Falcons, Jaguars, Lions, Panthers, Texans, Titans and Vikings have won in forever (0).

If dynasties are great for business, the Patriots’ victory is the only good thing that happened Sunday for the league.

Otherwise, the game was a stinker, exactly what the NFL deserved.

Many fans still wish a pox on the league for blackballing Colin Kaepernick as a slew of inferior quarterbacks were handed contracts. Goodell used his State of the NFL address to insult our intelligence yet again.

“I think if a team decides that Colin Kaepernick or any other player can help their team win, that’s what they’ll do,” Goodell said Wednesday. “They want to win, and they make those decisions individually in the best interest of their club.”

That’s not a half-truth; it’s a whole lie.

Kaepernick’s shoddy treatment had a direct impact on the halftime show, as Rihanna reportedly turned down the gig to show solidarity with the banished QB. And no matter what the ratings reflected for the season, or Sunday, more than a few people are turned off and tuning out the NFL due to Kaep’s continued unemployment.

Other former and/or would-be fans stopped watching for a different reason, discomfort with the violence-for-entertainment exchange. On the NFL’s biggest day, President Trump amplified that sentiment ... at least concerning the possibility of HIS offspring playing.

“I just don’t like the reports that I see coming out having to do with football I mean, it’s a dangerous sport,” Trump said in an interview with CBS News, stating he’d “have a hard time” letting his 12-year-old son Barron play. “The helmets have gotten far better, but it hasn’t solved the problem. I hate to say it because I love to watch football.”

Mind you, he also has criticized the game for cracking down on head shots and becoming “soft.” In other words, he wants more violence in the sport, as long it’s not inflicted upon his kinfolk (who look nothing like 70 percent of NFL players).

You should understand how the competing interests of fans like Trump create a problem for the league.

Sunday’s game highlighted another issue, too, teams’ foolish and futile attempts to find “the next Sean McVay.”

The hot, young Rams coach was cooled off and thoroughly outwitted by Belichick. The loss doesn’t take away from McVay’s brilliant two-season run. But it should remind the copycat league that it’s OK to think outside the box and consider more coaches with different backgrounds and features. There’s only one McVay, and he’s no more superhuman than the city’s other NFL coach, Anthony Lynn of the Chargers.

“I’m pretty numb right now, but definitely I got out-coached,” ” McVay said afterward. “I didn’t do nearly good enough for our football team.”

Belichick barely did enough for his own team in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history. With apologies to defensive aficionados, the product on the field wasn’t great. Neither were the continuing storylines off the field. Also, the halftime show and many of the commercials were pretty meh, too.

No, Sunday wasn’t super.

But the NFL had it coming.

⦁ Brooklyn-born and Howard-educated, Deron Snyder writes his award-winning column for The Washington Times on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Follow him on Twitter @DeronSnyder.

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